Episode 223: Corey Graves, Renee Young, Bianca Belair Controversy, State of Wrestling
Release Date: January 31st, 2019
Recap By: James Hayes
From New York, Sam welcome you to the show!
Sam gets into The Royal Rumble, Dean Ambrose’s exit, and his controversial comments regarding Bianca Belair.
Sam is excited that Halftime Heat is returning. It was basically a concept that as soon as the Superbowl went to half time they could flip over to USA and watch The Rock vs.. Mankind.
He says, “It’s Gargano, Ciampa and Adam Cole. Which is big because it’s the first time Gargano and Ciampa are on the same team, in recent memory, taking on Ricochet, Aleister Black and Velveteen Dream. Top bad guys vs top good guys. I’m so excited. I am so glad Halftime Heat is coming back.”
Sam got an invite to CB Live in Phoenix, Arizona. They invited Sam to hang out and do a live show. He roped in Corey Graves. And then Corey roped in some of his friends. Here are some of the highlights.
Corey Graves Interview
Who is irritated when Corey does pray hands:
“Big Show always gives me crap for that. I’ve never seen The Lego Movie but apparently, there is a bit where Batman says,’Humble hands. Humble hands.’ So, every time I see Big Show he goes, ‘Humble hands. Humble hands.’ It’s like, you’re a Giant that’s weird. It’s not funny. It’s uncomfortable. Apparently, me doing this (His pray hands) offends everyone in his (Big Show) house.”
How to keep him happy while doing voicework:
“If you want to keep Corey Graves happy just keep good beer in the fridge all day. So, if I’m slurring my words in the 2k game… Yeah.”
“Historically, I’ve been a fan all my life… This is the coolest pay per view of the year… for fans. Those of us, that know, this is the kick off to the most important part of the year. People that don’t even like wrestling watch WrestleMania. It’s the Superbowl.”
How much does he know beforehand:
“According to the internet, which I read sparingly, I have a script in front of me, which is news to me. I would love to have a script, it would make my job and life way easier. We have this thing called run sheets, every television show has this, so you know what’s happening. As far as the commentary goes I wish I didn’t have to think for myself. Beyond that, I hate to know what’s going to happen before it happens. Ultimately at the end of the day, I’m a wrestling fan. I have been for thirty… However many years I have been on Earth.”
“I’ll give you an example, the Hardy’s came back in Orlando, I had no earthly idea, I swear on my children, I had no idea that was going to happen. I heard the first few beats of their song and whatever I said, it wasn’t particularly cool, it was just real. It was like, ‘Oh my God! The Hardy’s are back. This is nuts.’”
Really a fan:
“Ultimately I’m still a fan. In a way that is my job. I kind of get to be the in-between between the fans and what we have to do, obviously, we have business we have to do. All of us… If you talk to Roman, or Seth, or Dean, or any of the guys on top, they are on top because they haven’t forgotten what it means to be a fan.”
(Is that why Brock is on top? Is that why Goldberg beat Kevin Owens? I doubt either of them is in his third viewing of the All In PPV right now. They are on top because Vince chose to put them on top.)
“As much as the business has changed, and it’s crazy, and we get frustrated and tired, and it’s different than it was when we were kids, we are fans. We all love the same thing even if you want to pick it apart. You love pro wrestling whether you like this guy or this company… you like movies, you like tv shows. We are fans! Being able to keep that is very important to me. I try to.”
Does the Royal Rumble include The Greatest Royal Rumble:
“According to a 73-year-old Billionaire I work with it does. Statistically, Greatest Royal Rumble is included as far as all Royal Rumbles are concerned.”
Titus be trippin:
“That was as hard as I’ve ever laughed in television or maybe in real life. The thing people don’t realize is how close Titus was to dying. About a half centimeter above his head is a steel eye beam that goes the entire way across the ring. Had he hit that, it would have been the saddest day in history. Instead, it lives up to one of my favorite moments in wrestling history.”
“It wasn’t just that he fell down it’s that he disappeared. All of my friends know that there are two things in the world, no matter how pissed off I am, that will always make me laugh. It’s that, and the scene in National Lampoon’s Vacation when Chevy Chase is hitting himself in the face with a sandwich, when he sees Christie Brinkley.”
“My best friend could have just died if I see one of those two things I’m like, ‘Alright, It’s not that bad,”‘
Renee Young Interview:
How is life as Raw commentator:
“It a lot. It’s cool. I’m kind of rolling with it every day, every week, I’m getting more experience under my belt with Monday Night Raw. I’m getting to call my very first Royal Rumble. It’s cool.”
How it happened:
“I sort of feel like I brought it upon myself, a little. I know a lot of people online were saying, ‘Hey, you should try commentary again.’ For a long time just doing backstage interviews, you run through it, It’s not changing and nothing else is really happening. So, I kept wanting to do more. I always wanted more on my plate. So, when this opportunity came up to do commentary and people were poking me to do commentary, I sort of put it out in the universe when I started tweeting like, ‘Yeah, you know what, maybe I would want to try it again.’ Then all of a sudden Michael Cole says, ‘Your filling in next week.’ I was like, ‘Oh, s**t! Wait. What?’ I didn’t really know something like that was going to come to fruition.”
Has she accepted her place in history:
“I didn’t think that opportunity would be on the table for me, let alone doing Monday Night Raw. My head was spinning. It still sorts of is. It kind of goes through waves. I feel like when I first started doing it, It was like, ‘Man, things are synching up for me where I want them to be.'”
How she has adapted:
“I’ve been working for WWE for 6 years now and I feel more comfortable talking about the product in the WWE way, while when I first starting doing commentary I had not a clue. I didn’t know what the Hell I was doing. I was really just winging it, but after years of doing panels, and understanding what my role was with that. The fans got used to me in that role as well. So when I first started I felt like it was coming together and then you have an off night and it’s like, ‘Oh f**k. Maybe this isn’t what I’m supposed to be doing.’ There are nights when I feel like it’s a step in the right direction, but it’s just such a big hill to climb and there is so much to it. And then you sit next to his f****n guy who’s so good at it.”
(Renee’s language is like watching Eddie Murphy’s Raw.)
Working with Corey:
“He’s so good at it and such a natural, and I’m sort of just finding my footing and trying to figure out what works for me and what doesn’t, and I’m under the microscope massively with that.”
How she remains enthusiastic:
“I just get really excited for my friends. It’s like watching people that you know, that you see putting in all this hard work, and understanding where they come from, and certain people getting opportunities, like Mustafa Ali. I am so stoked for what that dude. I’m so happy for what’s coming his way. I feel like this will be his year. When you see these people, who have success coming their way, it’s easy to keep you motivated.”
How will she work the Rumble:
“I’m doing the Women’s Royal Rumble Match. The cool thing is no matter what, every 90 seconds-ish something else new happens, so I’ll just go with that news story. ‘Holy s**t! Look!,’ I’m just going into it to have fun that’s my mindset right now, try not to be so serious and have my s**t together.”
How she saw Dean cash in his MITB:
“When he cashed in his MITB and won the WWE Championship, and he never tells me anything, but I heard people backstage saying, ‘Make sure you watch tonight’s main event.’ I was like, ‘Okay, what?’ And thank God I got to a monitor and I got to see John cash in his MITB contract, otherwise, I would not have seen that. But, to get those magical moments… It blows your mind.”
How they celebrated Dean’s title win:
“We went and drank tall boys behind a gas station.”
To hear about Corey’s live reaction to Seth Rollins winning the WWE Title as well as Sam’s interview with Pat McAfee and Tony Hinchcliffe hit the link at the top.
The Bianca Belair Situation
“Something that I know a lot of you didn’t miss was the NXT Takeover Kickoff Show. I don’t want to dwell on this, which is why it’s not part of The State of Wrestling. The fact is Sam Roberts became a trending topic on Saturday night because of what I said about Bianca Belair on the Takeover Kickoff show. I know a lot of people have a lot of opinions about it. A lot of people are upset, a lot of people agree, a lot of accusations are being thrown my way. Look, WWE brings me to those Kick Off shows to give my opinion on things. I was not fed an opinion by WWE. I had a crisis of conscience. And I felt that I was just going along with the show so I decided to say exactly how I felt. Mark Henry has started a campaign that I owe Bianca Belair an apology.
I certainly will not be apologizing to Bianca Belair. My opinion is my opinion. Do I think she deserves to be at Takeover after her performance? You’ll have to ask me at the end of March. The next Takeover is in April, I will tell you in April if Bianca Belair, in my opinion, deserves to be at Takeover. But I found that match at the beginning of Takeover, it felt underwhelming to me, so I talked about it. There were people after the show who had conversations with me about the way I said what I said. The fact is I said what I said. It kind of is what it is. Was everybody thrilled with it? No. However, we’ll see how things go as we move forward.”
(Good for him. Stand your ground.)
And her response.
(Good for her. Stand your ground.)
State of Wrestling
5. Superstars and their future
This is kind of related to different wrestlers and the releases that are being asked for and given, like Hideo Itami, as well as a rumored request by Dean Ambrose. Sam says it’s time for Hideo to go. Things have not worked out for him. The experiment has failed. His series of injuries have destroyed his buzz.
On Dean Ambrose, Sam hopes this is just a rumor. He thought Dean would be the Shield breakout. Sam admits Dean’s heel turn on the night Roman left was not executed properly.
He wonders if Dean leaving is a storyline, if not, Sam says the guy may never be back on WWE television. Why invest tv time if he’s leaving?
Sam hopes Dean changes his mind, but if not, he supports him.
4. Royal Rumble
Sam breaks it down. Basically, he liked it and had no problem with the predictability, but the length was a bit much.
3. I guess it was Daniel Bryan and his new title.
2. Elimination Chamber
This is all about the Women’s Tag Titles.
1. Wrestlemania Main Events
Sam gives his take on Seth Rollins vs Brock Lesnar (yawn) and Ronda Rousey vs Becky Lynch (yay)
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
I enjoyed this show a lot. I don’t need more Corey Graves in my life. He’s great, but between the Royal Rumble, Smackdown Live, and Raw I’ve had my fill for 7 days. Renee Young? That is another story. I’m a big fan. I really liked the interviews and I loved Sam sticking to his guns with regards to Bianca Belair.
Based out of New York, James Hayes is an independent filmmaker and podcaster, currently working on a true crime series focused on African American crime. When he needs a break from the seriousness of true-crime he turns to pro wrestling. James has 27 years of following the sport. You can also find his wrestling editorials at http://www.twm.news/ And here is a link to his film credits https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2026980/, as well as His Twitter @JamesHa34395813.