WWE After The Bell Podcast, Episode 1

Yesterday, the WWE debuted their podcast, hosted by Corey Graves. It was taped last night. Guests include Seth Rollins, Triple H, Ric Flair, and Bayley.

It runs at just over one hour long

 

Corey runs down the guests and format of the show. He talks about how this will not be a “corporate” show and if it was he would not have taken the job. He even jokes how this show might even get him fired. Corey also talks about having some ideas but no clue how the show will turn out and just promises they will cover what happens on the TV shows and have guests from those brands. Also, he says the “mythical list” of banned WWE terms does not apply here and hopes to entertain and enlighten on the way. Getting some buzzwords out of the way early.

 

He also says the company is in a state of flux right now and how while some of the product is awesome, there are some stuff that really sucks and promises keep his fingers on the pulse of the fans.

 

Corey is excited about the Crown Jewel show and how it features mythical heavyweights such as Tyson Fury vs. Braun Strowman and says it could be great or a trainwreck. He also talks about Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez and not knowing what to expect while saying Cain has been doing some wrestling in Mexico.

 

Seth Rollins

Corey first jokes how he is legally required by the WWE to let us know that Seth is in a relationship with Becky Lynch and how he is as tired of saying it as Seth is hearing it as Seth agrees. Seth is calling in from St. Louis where he is scheduled to fly over to Saudi Arabia.

 

Seth talks about how he had a delayed flight over the weekend because the plane hit a skunk and it created such a bad smell. And he still managed to make it just in time to the live events.

 

Corey then talks to Seth about Twitter and how over the recent months Seth has found himself on the “wrong side” of certain segments. Corey makes sure to label the Twitter fans a vocal minority then asks him about the controversial ending to his Hell in a Cell match against Bray Wyatt. Seth asks “why” then talks about fans whining on Twitter when they do not get what they want. Seth then says whining on Twitter happens everywhere nowadays and not just in wrestling then talks about wrestling being in a weird place in 2019.

 

We then hear Corey talk about Seth being the “internet darling” when he was Tyler Black then asks Seth what it feels like to main event a PPV and do the best to his ability and afterwards see it being panned by the “internet community.” Seth talks about how even just six months to a year ago he was a favorite but now they say he’s not cool. Seth then says he does not know what changed then immediately says he became the person these fans wanted him to be and calls the audience “fickle.” Seth adds its an awful feeling to put your body on the line and get booed and criticized. Corey adds that Seth is one of the best at what he does in the world.

 

Corey continues to address Twitter and once again calls them a vocal minority before telling Seth he’ll give him a platform that is not 140 characters or less. Corey asks about Seth’s comments regarding Will Ospreay, who both guys says is extremely talented, and what was his intent. Seth puts over Ospreay and talks about the tweet in which Seth said he was the best wrestler alive and Ospreay said he is still here as Seth adds part of being the best in wrestling is drawing money but people did not like that coming from his mouth. Seth even goes as far how other people talk about money naming, Sasha Banks and Karl Anderson, and how people think that’s cool but when he does it he is the bad guy. Seth then says if these fans want him to be that guy then its fine and quotes the Eric Bischoff “controversy creates cash” line when saying if everyone is just buddies it gets boring and lame. Then said Twitter is suppose to place to have fun but if you take it seriously it will eat you alive.

 

Now, Corey talks about how when Metallica released their “Load” album everyone said they sold out because they cut their hair as Corey then adds it was all because they made it to the top of the mountain and in doing so lost all credibility and sees that with Seth and others in wrestling. Seth says he is not the only guy who made it to the top and got hated as a result while citing Roman Reigns and John Cena as examples. He then says the next flavor of ice cream that gets boring to the audience will have it happen to them as well.

 

Corey now brings up Seth’s comments about Kenny Omega and AEW where he called AEW the minor leagues. Seth talks about working with Omega in Ring of Honor a decade or so ago and had some good matches, even considered him a friend. Seth brings up Omega quitting WWE Developmental and having success around the world then says if he just sat there and said nothing it would be boring so he decided to say something to make a headline as Corey cackles like an idiot. Seth says that WWE is the top of the mountain and if Omega wants to get out of the minor leagues and face him he’d love that because he is not leaving WWE to face him elsewhere.

 

Seth is now asked what we should expect in his match at Crown Jewel. He says to expect an all-out brawl as he will do anything to put The Fiend away. Corey then appreciates Seth’s time and hopes this podcast does not get cancelled as we are apparently supposed to believe what we just heard was so controversial the WWE would have no choice but to immediately cancel.

 

Much like his appearance on the SI Podcast this past June, Rollins once again mostly talked about people complaining on the internet. At least this time he was not as angry. However, the questions were similarly structured, the same company messages were being sent out, and once again Rollins comes off poorly and someone unable to handle criticism. He does not come off as a guy you want to cheer when you hear him in the media and quite frankly, does not seem genuine when trying to get his points across. Its everyone else’s fault he is getting booed, apparently, and nothing he is doing himself or his character on screen. And his responses were inconsistent too. Like, he acted all sad people criticized him with the intent being anyone who boos someone that puts their body on the line like a wrestler is nothing more than a whiny jerk then turns around to say how you should not take Twitter seriously and use it to make outrageous statements as to not seem boring. This was eye rolling but not as bad as his SI podcast. 

 

Triple H

Corey puts over Triple H then asks him about Strowman vs. Fury and Lesnar vs. Velasquez. Triple H talks about Velasquez coming to the Performance Center at one point but still wanted to do MMA and how it would not work if you’re not 100% committed to wrestling but knew he would have some interest. Triple H said they reached out to Fury for something down the line and was surprised he wanted to do it right away since he has a fight against Deontay Wilder in February. Triple H said that Fury grew up a fan and how Fury said in interviews he doesn’t want to live a life of “what ifs” and did not want to pass on the opportunity.

 

Triple H talks about Fury telling him he watched wrestling with his brothers as a child and they would reenact what the saw. Triple H puts over Fury for his hard work at the Performance Center and his match against Strowman will surprise people as he says Fury has been catching on to the psychology just like Floyd Mayweather and Ronda Rousey have in the past.

 

Corey then asks if Velasquez has signed with the company and Triple H confirms. Triple H also puts over his work ethic and dedication then adds how Velasquez was taught to fight “cold” and not show emotions so its tough for him to let those emotions out in the ring.

 

Triple H keeps dropping how he was with Fury for the ESPN interview then Corey asks about going live on Wednesday nights with NXT. Triple H is excited for this time as Corey says at one time NXT was the redheaded stepchild. Triple H references the talk about the “Wednesday Night War” and how they were always going to be on Wednesday nights and references the viewing pattern. He also talks about a one hour show as not enough for all the talent they had on the roster and despite the fact its was an easy one hour show to digest it did not allow to debut all these new talents. Triple H then adds that they started off with all-star shows of sorts and now will focus more on the storylines. He likes NXT because its different than RAW and Smackdown and true to its brand.

 

He talks about the importance of getting guys over organically and stresses that NXT is a third brand and in fact part of the main roster.

 

Triple H said when he came into the WWF he was blown away that Undertaker had been there for six years and content on staying as he now equates NXT to a territory system where guys can stay fresh. He also talks about NXT helping talent learn how to work for television as Corey references the “hard cam” and how shows on the Independent scene were just on one camera and how eye opening it is to experience wrestling with the WWE production. Triple H even added a story when he first got to WWF and as soon as he left the curtain, Vince told him to look at the “jib cam.” He then talked about having no idea what Vince meant and when he got backstage Vince asked why he did not look at that camera.

 

Triple H now tells a story of Vince calling him and saying he basically needed the entire NXT women’s division and how he got Vince to agree to let him keep Asuka as Triple H wanted to build the rest of the division around her while the other talent went to the main roster. Triple H says now, they need to give consideration to the brand that is losing talent and they plan out switches in advanced. Corey asks Triple H if we will see another Finn Balor type of situation where they go to a new brand as Triple H said more stuff like this will happen in the future.

 

Triple H then references a meeting with NBC Universal and how one executive likened RAW & Smackdown to the big budget Hollywood films like The Avengers while NXT is like going back to Broadway and that he mentioned that to Balor, who used that in a promo on Fox.

 

Corey then tells Triple H about a game they are going to play called “The Electric Seat” as Triple H makes a joke about being asked something embarrassing like the Katie Vick angle as Corey reacts like that was some sort of controversial remark. How referencing a past terrible angle is controversial is beyond me but whatever. Corey asks rapid-fire questions in one minute

 

What time did he go to sleep last night: 1am

Ozzy or Lemmy: Lemmy

High School, awesome of terrible: Awesome

Toothbrush Color: White

Last Book Read: Forgets the name but a book of quotes from athletes and coaches

Who makes him laugh: Shawn

Biggest Pet Peeve: Podcasts

What Would He Do If He Did Not Have to Work Tomorrow: Doesn’t answer and says he does have to work tomorrow. (The implication that he does not take days off was hinted at here).

Song that reminds him of his wife: Anything by Sade

Worst Style Choice He Made: 90’s until the mid 2000’s

 

They close this out by talking about their experience with Lemmy at the Rainbow Theater in Los Angeles.

 

Now this was actually good. It also helps that unlike Seth, Triple H knows how to handle himself in the media. We got some behind the scenes stories and insight into what Triple H has planned for NXT. And hyped up Fury and Velasquez for their matches at Crown Jewel. The electric seat segment was lame but this was an easy 15 minute listen. 

 

Bayley

Bayley is upset for being called while trying to eat brunch on her day off. Corey then asks Bayley about her change in attitude and if it was a long time coming. Bayley said all she did was cut her hair and slashed a few Bayley buddies then said everyone was telling her how to live and to add some edge. Bayley said she is friggin 30 years old and walked around with a side ponytail. Corey said he has known her in Developmental and not suffering from arrested development or anything but that its not the same Bayley he knew then.

 

She now calls Twitter “stupid” and how it changed the wrestling business and how “they” think they know what is right but really do not know a damn thing. Bayley said she still gets crap about needing a new finisher and how she is the first grand slam Women’s Champion so must be doing something right. Bayley also says Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch get the credit for the Four Horsewomen while no one gives any to Sasha Banks or herself.

 

Corey then asks Bayley what happened after WrestleMania when Sasha and herself lost the Tag Team Titles and it was reported that they threw a fit or laid on the locker room floor, leading to Sasha leaving for four months. Bayley is appalled that he would ask her this question then hangs up the phone.

Yikes, this was awful. It was Bayley heeling it up for her new character with some more focus on fans complaining on Twitter and how they do not know anything. At least it was short.

 

 

Now, Corey talks about Smackdown having a great six-man tag main event that was fast-paced with tons of action. Corey said that once again Cesaro stood out and the single most underrated and underutilized superstar in the entire industry. Corey says that Cesaro is physically similar to Randy Orton and knows all sorts of styles, adding he is incapable of having a bad match. He then says Cesaro is not compelling on the microphone, something Cesaro would admit himself, and assumes that is why he does not get the opportunities. Corey wants to see Cesaro main event a PPV and that the last few minutes between Cesaro and Reigns was more exciting than anything on WWE TV this week. Corey also talks about Drew Gulak not getting his due and how he can wrestle and talk. He is happy that Gulak got the opportunity to get a roster spot on Smackdown and would love to see Gulak vs. Cesaro as it would make for a great “sports” feel. Corey genuinely discussing the shows could be an interesting part of the podcast.

 

Ric Flair

Corey asks Flair why the rumored match between Hogan did not happen at WrestleMania VIII. Flair believes Hogan was leaving to do “Thunder in Paradise” but Flair was not upset as he was having a fun time in the WWF. Flair then talks about how awful it was in WCW with Jim Herd and he was talking to WWF many times in the 80’s and would back out at the last minute. He said they wanted him to wrestle Randy Savage at MSG for SummerSlam in 1986 (1988 I assume he meant).

 

Flair is then asked about if he was in his prime and could go 60 minutes with anyone today, who would he choose? He says it would be Reigns then talks about being in his 50s and 60s wrestling then said Shawn Michaels completely carried him in his retirement match. Flair then said he added a more entertainment aspect to his work when his skills declined.

 

He talks about doing stuff with rappers and loves the respect and appreciation from other walks of life and thinks it is flattering. Flair said he did not like Hollywood and said its long hours and no fun with too many takes, saying that he is “one take Naitch.”

 

Corey asks Flair about his deal with ADIDAS. Flair said that the company is jumping into the pop culture and will have a lot of leisure sneakers that look nice while talking about the importance of branding. Apparently the price of these shoes will be similar to those of Air Jordans.

 

Flair puts over his team at Crown Jewel to close this out as Graves hopes to have him on again as Flair jokes about telling him the secrets of the business. Flair also jokes going to Saudi Arabia because there will not be any liquor.

 

This was not much more than five minutes long. It was alright I suppose with Flair getting some dates wrong but you cannot hold that against him since those were things that happened many years ago. Flair seemed game here at least and could be an interesting guest if he returns but this was rushed. 

 

Graves tells us that he will be back next week with wisdom and vitriol.

 

Final Thoughts: Despite the intro with Graves saying how this would not be a “corporate” show and would be unpredictable, it was not the case. Then again, you should not have expected otherwise. I did like the Triple H part and Graves talking about the actual shows seems to have potential but the rest of the show was as overproduced and incohesive as WWE programming. The Rollins part was a glaring example of this. It was bad but they actually could have used this as an example to admit the Hell in a Cell ending was crap but once again they double down and blame the internet, despite the crowd that night also booed the angle. I also remain baffled as to how they present Rollins on social media. This was not as brash as other WWE attempts at shows designed to spread their message like “Bring it to the Table” but those same messages remain. I really do not have a desire to listen to the second episode. If you are a WWE hardcore fan then you’d enjoy, especially if you view non-WWE wrestling as the enemy, but otherwise I would pass.

I listened to this on iTunes and its probably available elsewhere as well.