Here Comes The Big Dog
The following program is original. WWE podcast coming up. I'll be talking with very special guest. The Big Dog Roman reigns and one of the most controversial men in all of WWe Fin. Ballard plus I may or may not have a few thoughts on what went down on Monday night raw after the bell starts starts. Now what's up. What's up? I am corey graves. This is after the bell. Got Some business to handle right at the top of the show before we have have some fun. Make sure you follow at after the bell. WWe On instagram twitter and facebook. If you're talking about me good better indifferent use the Hashtag after the bell follow. Let me personally at wwe graves. I swear paying attention. I'm really bad responding. But I read stuff and subscribe to after the bell and give it a five star rating rating on Apple podcasts. To help get the word out and if you're using an android follow. ATP On spotify or Stitcher or wherever it is that you choose. Used to get your podcasts. Another insane week here in. WWe Travel Wise. Personally I'm still trying to recover my body and he's still trying to figure out which side of the Earth it's on right now but fear not I am here I am fired up I am. Well caffeinated. Lots to get to one one week from this Sunday survivor series. The old classic once upon a time the Thanksgiving Day tradition which has really evolved and the matches are starting to be announced. Teams are starting to be assembled. I have no doubt my mind that the action on this card is going to be next level. In case you haven't heard announced the one that's got me buzzing personally intercontinental champion Shinsegei Nakimora versus United States champion. Aj styles versus North American champion Roderick. Strong you got three of the best in the game. It's going to be outrageous. I have no doubt that belts Abell. This event is going to deliver. Maybe better action in rings start to finish than any other card. You take this level of talent you throw them together magic and fireworks on tap but that's not to say that maybe we couldn't do survivor series a little bit better here me out. I I enjoy survivor series. I hearken back to the days when it was rivalry based where you had two guys that had an issue that we're forced to assemble a team and those two teams would due battle as a chapter in the rivalry. Sometimes it got solved sometimes. It didn't but it wasn't about the brands and I understand the battle for brand supremacy raw or smackdown vs an X.. T. But my question is this. Does anybody in the WWe universe really identify with a particular killer brand. Saying I only watch raw or I only watched smackdown get the NFC has a bit more of a niche audience. But to me the whole brand supremacy thing doesn't seem to matter to anybody outside the doors of wwe. That's not to say we can't fix that. Okay we just need some steaks All we need to do is take these matches in the battle for brand supremacy. I'M GONNA say it Ad Nauseam like I will on television because I know it makes you crazy but I'm programmed like a robot what I worry that. The survivor series event which is once upon a time a tent pole event. One of the big four as we call it internally. Throw some steaks on a man it's becoming coming like the pro bowl in the NFL. There's really no point in playing the pro bowl aside from having an extra game giving some guys trip to Hawaii or somewhere nice because they had an awesome awesome season. It happened a few years ago with Major League Baseball when the All Star game began to matter because the winning league would host Homefield advantage in in the world series. So here's my pitch. How about whichever brand wins the most matches at survivor series? You reward them with something. Maybe the the thirtieth spot in the men's and women's role rumble matches. Maybe you reward raw or smackdown or even annex t whoever wins at survivor series with the main event spot at Wrestlemainia give the WWe universe a reason to be excited for the entire pay per view. Yes you are going to get incredible. Oh action you're going to have awesome matchups but put some steaks on the night as a whole that way. One brand walks away not only with bragging rights which is about the only reason we can really give for why these guys are trying to fight each other and form these weird alliances but something tangible to look forward to in the future and not that. I'm not excited to see. Champion versus champion versus champion. Because I am as a wrestling fan these matches are going to be awesome. I have no doubt about that. But I don't think think I'm the only one that thinks that there are too many freaking titles in wwe so why not consolidate all the titles. How much bigger would survivor series B.? Be If all of these champion versus champion versus champion matches were winner-take-all. How crazy would it be to see Roderick? Strong win the match up. I talked about before beat Nakimora for more a beat styles and then consolidate the North American intercontinental and United States championships into one title. I mean they all are essentially the same geographic region but that we have one champion and then let the champion float. How cool would it be to have the intercontinental champion? If that's the title you decide to hold which would be my personal pick. Because I'm a big fan of it. Show up on x t if Nakimora wins and shows up on a Wednesday night and challenges velveteen dream to an intercontinental title match. How cool would that be not only for survivor series but beyond it would really give an air of unpredictability and to me make all the championships more important rather than every brand having forty seven titles? Titles it's really hard to keep track of. It's very frustrating. Maybe I'm just old get off my lawn but I think it could really make survivor adversaries. Even bigger than it already is the other reason I'd say this is because multi-man tag matches used to only occur at at survivor series. Occasionally once in a while you'd see a six man or an eight-man throughout the course of the year but that was almost exclusively survivor series thing. That was kind of the hook now. All every episode of raw every episode of smackdown. There's at least one match. That has six or eight or ten or twelve or thirty eight participants. It's kind of lost its luster. I'm not saying every match at survivor. Series needs to be traditional five on five but we just had it at Crown Jewel granted. It wasn't elimination the rosters stirs are stacked you put this level of talent in a match with time and creativity and you're GonNa have some memorable moments I honestly looking at. I think the only team at this point that's been officially really announced is the raw men's team completely and the level of talent on that is unbelievable. I'm excited to see what they do. I have no doubt smackdown is going breath. Put together an Amazing Team Annex T. I'm curious to see what they put together. I'm curious to see what's left of their roster after takeover in the war games games matchup and Them doing what they do the night before I think survivor series still has the potential to be one of if not V. coolest is pay per view of the year with just a slight few tweaks. See I'm not all negative. I'm giving constructive criticism. I'm excited I just think I could be more excited on those points. I'm actually curious what you think. Send me a tweet at WBZ graves or tag the show at after the bell. WWe I want to know your feedback feedback. Do I have great ideas or am I it complete bumbling idiot feeling I know what the answer already is on twitter but hey trying to engage you and getting into debt is easy getting out. That's a whole other story and I know we've all been there. It can be. It's up to dig yourself out especially if your credit score isn't great. That's where upstart dot com comes in upstarts the lending platform. That knows. You're more than just your credit score. They actually reward you. uh-huh based on your education and job history in the form of a smarter interest rate plus. It's fast and simple to check your rate in just a few minutes. You can even do it from your phone. But here's the best part wants. It's a loans approved. Most people get money in their account the next business day the next day over three hundred thousand people use upstart to pay off their credit cards. See why upstarts ranked number one in their category with over three hundred businesses on trust pilot and hurried upstart dot com slash after the bell to find out how Europe start rate is checking. Your rate only takes a few minutes. It won't affect your credit. That's upstart dot com slash after. The Belt smackdown emanated needed live from Manchester in the UK and a lot of big happenings. This past Friday night on the Blu brand gotta start at the very top talking about the new Oh smackdown tag team champions fray seventh time the new day taken the titles from the revival and let me just say this. It's no secret how I feel L. About the revival. I have been a massive fan of Dawson and wilder since their time and to this day. Some of my favorite matches I've ever had the pleasure of calling we're the revival all versus diy all through an xt an unbelievably talented duo. But I'm not mad at this. You could do a lot worse than Biggie. Ian Kofi. Also shout out to my man woods. He sitting at home recovering from Achilles Surgery Probably playing video games. Maybe he can listen to podcasts. At the same time multitask regardless everyone was clamoring and complaining because Kofi lost the WB championship in nine seconds to brock listener and seemingly didn't recover immediately. Recover fast enough for everybody. Uh So hopefully this will hold people over is it the same as being. WWe champion no all but Kofi Kingston is one of the most valuable talents in the business today so to have coffee in the TAG team. Picture alongside Biggie just elevates it's the smackdown tag team championships it also changes the complexion of the match up scheduled for survivor series out go the revival income the new day. Now you have Kofi. Oh fee and biggie versus the Viking raiders who I'll get to later in the show and the undisputed era members Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly this one could steal steal the show. I'm stoked for it but I'm also excited to see where this goes in the long term and I've heard rumors and rumblings because that's part of our business But I'm going to take full credit for what I'm about to say and you heard it here first from Corey Graves on after the belt. This should be the opportunity for for big ease. Big singles breakout performance. Now I'm not saying break up the new day they've gone on the record a million times and said NOPE THEY WANNA stay a unit forever. Her and I don't want to be the one to argue but people forget big. He was a former annex. T champion Biggie. United States are intercontinental champion very shortly into his. WWe career and that's what he was still figuring things out my producers told me was intercontinental champion. I've called way too much wrestling. I feel like everybody has been the champion of something at at some point. But regardless biggie now has the seasoning. He's no doubt learned spending all this time with Kofi. He's definitely developed in the ring. Yeah I mean if you can't see that then I don't know what you're watching. Biggie has got future. WWe Or universal champion written. All over him as entertaining thing is all three of the new day members are in front of the camera. We haven't even scratched the tip of the iceberg with what Biggie is capable of as a performer. One of the funniest human beings beings that I know not. WWe Superstars human beings that I've ever met in my life. biggie is wildly talented and honest to God man. I would love some some sort of control to make this happen. I start right now and I think take this all the way to Wrestlemainia biggies final opportunities always been the muscle of new day. I call them the third member. Because they've been a cohesive unit about as cohesive as as a trio can be but I think it is damn time for big e to have a massive main event singles opportunity in wwe. Now I'm going to go right back to saying awful things about all three of them on Friday night smackdown smack down because I genuinely enjoy it. But they'll tell anyone actually tell everyone. I want people to listen to this so that six eight months a year from now I can say ha ha I told you so biggies. WWe champion and a man who is no stranger to being WWe champion. He's done it three times. Times is my next guest. But that's not he is a three time. WWe champion former universal champion Grand Slam champion. He's won royal rumble match not much. He hasn't accomplished. It is in fact his yard. Please welcome the big dog. Roman reigns or thanks man. Oh you know I think I should be asking you that question. You guys are pretty deep into a tower. But that's just this story. It seems like you've been on tour nonstop for the past few months. Yeah this is Diprivan the craziest quarter of a year I've ever had. It seems like I've hit every tore a thing. I really feel like we were just talking about it. I feel like I've done every tour this year except for Japan Japan So yeah man. Between the South America trips than we had the one where we did The Philippines I believe Shanghai y aid so that was like around the world trip is. We'll be called bets or working. Downed Australia backup west coast domestic domestic shows and then pushing onto Saadi. And doing that whole thing in the meantime trying to be A. You're not trying to be a dad trying to get home when I can all the way back. Got Ya to Europe. So it's been it's been a hell of a few months man well. You didn't do Japan this year. I'm sure there's always next year I I've had a few Japan story story. I had my Japan moment so if I've missed the next couple it's not gonNa hurt me but I always like going out there. It is a fun one especially when you got the recognized with you absolutely. I was talking talking to some of the guys that after the Manchester. TV's about how as tired as we always constantly. Are you guys obviously a lot. More than I am. I'm not out there taking bumps anymore. But it's all the difference in the world and you got a good crew behind you and with you to spend the time and get through the days you know you you gotta kind of left each other spirits you you gotta keep that morale up and that kind kind of comes from the energy and enthusiasm being on tour. I've always had that kind of always been one of my things you know being in my position being in a leadership role Good smooth tour have fun. You know what I mean. D Malingco told me a long time ago. You GotTa really enjoy these moments Enjoy these tours enjoy. Hey you know traveling the world with your friends You know and I know just from his experience you know. Obviously he lost a lot of his his close friend but you you know his coworkers that that he was with time. But you just never know and you know life can be short and we just have to be grateful and just enjoy the moments You can't it'd be scared to work hard and and have a drink the friends after and just you know enjoy these good times. I enjoy each other's company to touch on something. You just mentioned about the being in a leadership role. Oh It's twenty one thousand nine hundred and being locker room later. Which you undeniably are this day and age? What does that entail? I mean it seems like the only real locker room leaders that you hear of and it's some almost in a wrestling lower sort of ways like undertaker back when days where the wild west in two thousand nineteen what does it mean to be a locker room leader. WWe I think a little bit of everything thing you know like the job and and this position expanded so much you know with with the growth of wwe with the growth of our products you know and and just the just the whole role of superstar in general. So I mean I think always for me I mean especially I think lead by example And that goes from everything you know what I mean like you know just the way you carry yourself you know how you sell everything and you you you know the deal. Don't sweat the little stuff you you you sell in the ring but not outside of it And especially in on the backstage so. I think that's something that I try to do is just make everything. Look easy that everyone's just like and they're doing. It is not going to doubt. This is a rub travel today but it was just sitting over there. You know he's just gotTa shaved on Schilling listening to his music. You know what I mean and so I think just being able to handle everything And keeping a level head even when the Times get tough when when situations aren't ideal we're having even those crazy travel days. What would you do live? Delay Game All the way to cancel Cancellation of the flight There's just got to be a few different things that you can do. You know through your experience your example you roles as a locker room later you mentioned staying on top of the game. You've had experience sort of the things that a Lotta guys will never have the trouble or the hassle of experiencing I'm talking about the The crowd reactions and lately Assaf Rollins. Your brother in the shield has had a A. I WANNA say love hate relationship with a lot of the audience. But he's finding himself in that that role where you once where where you could have saved an orphanage from a missile attack and no one would say say anything good about you. You kind of weathered that storm. And if you had any conversations with the seth or is he asked you any advice as to how to deal with that. We've talked very briefly. You know but just the way like the kind kind of explaining the old travel lately. It's it's really separated US 'cause like we've kind of been divided. We're both out to conquer you. Know what I mean I mean and then we have to hold it down for you. Know respective sides You know with the it's one of those things where he knows what to do. You know what I mean. And he knows what to do he knows what to do in this business knows what to do in the ring. You know how to carry himself. He has all the intangibles I it's just a matter uh-huh of just writing it out. This is a a situation you know what I mean where sometimes it can be. What have you done for me lately and you? You just have to remember. Go out there the next night and kill it just continue to kill it. Just keep killing it and that. That's really all that matters is just continue to go out there and bust your ass and work hard and the product and the work and the cream always rises to the top. You know what I mean so I am. That's something seems told me a long time goes. Don't go out there and stink it up. How a good match on I mean God there and entertain the crowd and just work hard for him and at the end of the day our fans ends are very passionate and they? Can you know ride that sense from time to time. But there's no doubt they have respect for what we do and and whenever they know a guy is all in for him a guy you know what I mean as WanNa go out there and get everything which sets as one of those guys. A thousand percents They always come back. So he's I said to. You know throw wrestling guy You know and he's never gonNA go anywhere he's always had the dream of being WWe and doing this and You know having a little bit of a roller coaster ride still isn't gonNA scare them away if anything this is this is what you want man like. I mean just talking through it and and cycling through it in my brain that you want to have a little bit colder. Is You want them to compete. You want him to go nuts. That's the key I mean when they are or with may didn't like me you're in arena. It was loud as hell and they were. They were loudly. Because there's going to be those fans that WANNA fight back and cheer for you can people the ones that want to hate But you gotta remember you know what I mean. All those people on on his team on his side that you know that are loyal to him. We'll be there you know what I mean. And he just has to do him and just continue to be the performer. That is they may have a negative reaction. You may hear a chorus of boos when they make their insurance insurance but there is nothing like watching the crowd the entire arena eventually make its way to their feet and then county along and the one to all that to me just standing there and watch your sitting ringside watching. That's the coolest thing in the world to watch as you said. Take him for a ride. Just play that game. I do this. They do that and you just learn from it every single night and you just build these little skills and instincts and these secondhand nature's so where you know it'd be guys in there with me now and I just I do stuff a few not me and my body would just do stuff and it's it's just a no I don't even think about it. Just say here's a certain noise. Here's a rumble years Chan. I don't know what it is. It's just I guess muscle memory and just reps men just taking these reps and all these tours year after year after year It's really neat to you. See all kinds of come together from you. Know the the reaction standpoint kind of the love and respect and fans and then also just the the fine soon details details of of the work talking about learning and putting in the Work Corbin. I think you and I will agree. And I know I've had this conversation with a lot of guys when he popped into. FCW He wasn't anybody's favorite. But here's a guy who put in the work and now you could say he's worked his way into a top spot on smackdown and within. WWe being able to work with guys of your caliber. Who that you look up and down the roster do you notice right now saying maybe a little more work or I? I really like to to spend some time working with with that guy that could be the next up and coming to climb the ladder Yeah I mean yeah you know. Let me just touch on Tom or Time Yeah Yeah. Say if you would've told me I'd be like he's been in the main event with me every single night This whole tour. So if you would've told me I would have made it a a European tour with football town. Let's get the hell out of here but but one thing we didn't we we always end and it was even with the boys back then. He got a reaction right. He like rubbed us a certain wage abrupt. Everybody a certain way and I put when push came to shove and it was time from to get in the ring and you put in there like dude. You'RE GONNA get fired if you don't get in the ring. He picked it up you know. He's a big Guy You know and and he's got good timing given that But yeah I mean it's it's just one of those things and you've seen it a billion times and you. Oh you most likely saw it with me is guys will just get it. You know what I mean. There would be a point in time where it's like two feet just become you know. Good footwork. They they just learn. Oh this is what I'm supposed to be doing out there. And it just clicks and I think in the past couple of years that transition is really happened for him. He's Kinda ever since he cut that hair off. I think actually picked up as you got Fridays off it. And all that crap and it got real stupid and cocky it just kind of started working for him and the crowd started really eight-minute boom and I'd say you whatever every time they've been in the they just despise them so it makes my job a lot easier when when a guy can just walk out there and get under people's skin And just you know make it to where the crowd wants one another guy to come out there and kick his ass. So it's it's surprising but I don't know man you know there's so many guys that can really you know they're they're all. I really think we have a locker room full of guys who were just a step or two away you you know. They just need that that little bit of time to shine they just need a little bit of investment they need whatever that character niches. Really stand out and put them on the map but As we all know it's one thing to get you know sitting that position it's another stay man. That's that's where you really you know. Show your value. Is You know not I just you know why it does come back down to it as what what have you done for me lately. I mean we can't just go out there and have one good month or you know one good year ear you in this day and age to run has to be pretty significant. You know what I mean. It's a really make waves John you know seen a change that whole game for us. It was a lot different for Iraq. And Steve You know they. They did their thing and it seemed like it was Kinda. You know a transitions into the next guy's but you haven't man you gotta you gotta be able to hold it down for a while and show that you can do this for quite some time because there's no off season You know the real way to show your value. Nowadays nowadays it's consistency and I think that's everything does not just this business. You know people can complain and say that it's tough. I mean the schedule tough but any any deep level of success is an every day job you have to be on it working at all times constantly thinking about it so Yeah man well you certainly have proven your ability to stay on top of the game which begs the question. What's next what's left for Roman reigns you've done just about everything? There is to do main eh multiple wrestlemanias. What does what does Joe look forward to in? WWe really just interaction with the crowd. And I you know I I enjoy you know being in there with my co workers and you know there's some guys that you know when you super calls to them and you have those great moments it's out there. You know being south ever have a big match. You know. They're they're it'd be a point where you hit a big double down late in the match and your boches laid out breathe even in spelling and you can just hear that energy and those are the moments that chase is when it's like we're out there together and we're both hearing this amazing you know response and it just makes it also worth that. It makes everything that you go through in this job. So we're just just the addiction to to the reaction is kind of where I'm at now Yeah and just continuing to just payback You know the Locker Room and the company that that's done so many wonders for me. You Know I. I've been heavily invested in for years. So there's a way to help that there's a way to help out younger talent If there's a way to to bring anybody up as usual we should always want to be doing that But yeah just just being able to create new superstars on and push this product even further and just continue to show just different insides You know what we do within our genre of entertainment And just continue to blow things up with Fox that that's kind of where I'm at nowadays just culpa wherever I can then you know the deal maker Brother Day. I'm not going to keep any longer. Get out there in front of the. WWE Universe earthern France and get your fix power through that torment. I'll see you in a couple of days. I appreciate your time moves. Thank you so much beneficially. Yes sir. Monday Monday Monday. It has come that time where we discuss all things Monday night night. Raw Big news coming out of our friends and colleagues renee young and Booker T. and crew. Over W W backstage reported this week that the Viper Randy Orton signed a brand new five year deal keeping him here in. WWe This is great news. Not only for Randy but for the WWe one of the top stars of all time. I'll say of all time. Not just recently Randy Orton. One of my personal favorites. This only helps not only the raw brand. It helps the entire roster. have a veteran the caliber of Randy Orton who still active. Who can still teach the young guys who can still compete at a high wrestlemainia level? Whatever whatever Randy Orton is getting paid is well worth it but to Monday night? Raw itself. Another three hour extravaganza as it often is raw emanate from Manchester in the UK. Much like Friday night smackdown. Truth be told I was out of the building by the time raw went on the air so I actually really watched it as a fan as it happened Monday night on USA network and a lot of really cool things to get to the annex t UK take over continued. Then you'd once again Walter and imperium making their impact felt. I'm a big Walter Fan. I just think everything about Walter so different just a big bruiser. I love the whole concept of imperium off or those guys treating the Matt as sacred. What better place to really make your debut on the grand? WWE stage than in the United Kingdom as the United Kingdom champion. Walter wasting no time making a big impact with one seth rollins of course as tends to happen and on Monday nights and Friday nights and anytime. WWE does anything. Chaos ensued and we were robbed of what I thought was pretty cool match for the few minutes. It was taking place which led to another cool match? Multi man actions Kevin Owens street profits coming to the aid of Rollins Fund match for what it was but give me rollins and Walter one on one. I don't know when I don't really care when but just give it to me. Also Flash Morgan Webster and Mark Andrews of annexed to UK. Got A little face. Time in the ring with the Viking raiders. The raw tag team champions always cool. I'm a big mark. Andrews Fan really really cool guy glad to see him get an opportunity but unfortunately originally what I took out of that is the waste that has become the raw tag team. Champions the Viking raiders. That's right I'm calling it a waste. I am not calling them a waste. I am calling what I see of the Viking raiders on my television is nothing but a massive missed opportunity. A tune ity. Yes they are the raw tag team champions. I have known Eric for probably fifteen years. We came up on the independence together in the Cleveland area. One of my favorite people in the business. I've gotten to know I've are fairly well. These are two outrageously talented dudes. If you're not familiar jump on. WWE network take a look at their time in Annex X T. Should you be so inclined. Get on Youtube and find some of their stuff in new Japan or anywhere else that they've done it because the Viking raiders are one of the best tag teams on the Planet Planet Earth. They're capable of awesome matches night after night after night and I don't think it's doing them any favors or the raw tag team. Titles any favors having them beat the Long Island Polo Boys or whatever baseball team I think was the cubs a few weeks ago. It's cartoony silly you've got to legitimate bad ass athletes. I've are especially over three hundred. Something pounds can do stuff. Men of that size should never be able to do. Let them shine hopefully really at survivor series. When it's champions versus champions versus champions you've got the Viking raiders? You've got the undisputed era and now you've got the new day I have a feeling those those three teams will make the most of the opportunity and may end up stealing the show at survivor series. I am clamoring. I am stoked beyond belief for the the prospect of Eric in biggie facing off to true powerhouses in the midst of that matchup throw undisputed air into the mix. This has so so much potential to be awesome. I'm excited to see it. I'm excited for you to see it but back to my original point. Give the Viking raiders. A chance man started Hashtag. That's how things change right elsewhere on Monday night my favorite segment and yours and because this is a podcast. If you cannot feel the sarcasm chasm dripping out of my voice the next chapter in the reuss of Lana Bobby Lashley Saga. I'M NOT GONNA get all fired wired up anymore. I addressed last week. I'M GONNA look at it for what it is. Somebody's watching this stuff. These segments have been doing massive numbers on social media on Youtube. So somebody wants to see this. Maybe I'm missing the boat. All I know is when I watched these three incredibly talented performers. I want to see Bobby Lashley fight. I WANNA see legitimate bad ask Bobby Lashley and a fighter former champion and wwe. I WanNa see Lashley do that. I WANNA see the Bulgarian brute. I WANNA see Rousseff who is exceptionally entertaining and just about every aspect of his life. I'm glad he's getting eight and a chance to show what he can do in front of the camera rather than being a stoic monster and Lana is outrageously talented. I miss the days of ice cold. Manipulative Uber Bitch. Lana I miss that. That was awesome. I will never forget. I think it was the first time I had a conversation with Lana with after Wrestlemainia when route seven John Cena did battle for the United States Championship and a lot of like the Ice Queen. Come into the ring and all white with the further for and the soldiers in the tank which apparently Roussev had just finished trying to conceive in. That's clearly why he lost the United States Championship but regardless that that was money to me that was awesome so in no way shape or form in my speaking ill of the people involved in this. Maybe it's just not my flavor of ice cream dream. I guess a lot more people enjoy car crashes than I do but hey it looks like No matter what we do on After the bell or how much complaining everyone else is doing on twitter. It's here for now and basically the best we can hope for is what it reminds reminds me of a spin off. Show that once existed whether it'd be on E. OR comedy central. I don't remember the network. But somebody had the idea to take all of the plotlines of adult films and cut out all the nudity and all the suggestive material and just put the plotlines in succession to form a show. That's what this reminds me of. You're taking all the payoffs out of the story and you're just going. Oh Hey wait. It just doesn't I'm confused. I don't understand the pizza guy did what I don't know I'm confused regardless. Just enjoy it for what it is if nothing else. It's it's a car crash and everybody else will be better off when this runs. Its course I know that after sitting through that I wanted to take a cold shower. Maybe even some time off annex t continuing to make waves on raw on smackdown with the takeover of the red and blue brands as we march towards survivor series. But we need to talk about an x t takeover and. I'm not talk about what happens on USA and on Fox. I'm talking about the live event. One of my personal favorites in sports entertainment annex t takeover. It goes down the night before survivor series in Chicago and what a colossal announcement was recently made by General Manager William Regal the first first ever all women's wargames match. This is one that genuinely excites me. Wargames classic concept made new in annex t over the past few years but this is the first time the ladies get a chance to try their hand. And if history's any indicator when the women are given an opportunity unity this magnitude they over deliver and it's something that is actually reminiscent to me of of a few years back with all due respect to the women on raw with women on smackdown down. This current iteration of the women's division is more exciting to me than anything else going on in. WWe It reminds me of a few years back the glory days so to speak. It wasn't even that long ago but in the days of the four horsewoman. The days were annexed tease. Women's division. Really set the bar and kind of helped put the wheels in motion and for what would become the women's evolution. They are stacked with talent right. Now you've got Shayna Baizley. Who In my opinion is the best women's wrestler in the game right now? I cannot get enough off of watching Shane of beat people up and hurt people. I believe everything about her. You've got rear Ripley. Who's just so different refreshing Bianca? Belair I mean the list goes on and on and every time these women are given a platform they knock it out of the park. I have absolutely no doubt that what these women do in Chicago will have people buzzing for potentially years to come. But if it's about creating a buzz not too many people have turned the T. Universe and beyond upside down in the past few weeks like my next guest. The yellow brand was happy to welcome the return of the Prince. My guest right. Now Finn Ballard. According what's going online. Good to talk to you. Likewise it feels like it's been a million years since I've seen you and feels like it's been a million years. I bumped into you in the performance center when also also I let my first week at an xt. It was it was a crazy crazy. I just missed you. Talk about ships passing tonight by entering stuff had just finished up before you arrived and I remember being kind of bummed out. We never got to work together. I know I'm on your one of the guys that you know. I'd be in Japan on Wotton Annex T and you how do you naval. Sammy's Zane. All these guys were kind of you know doing something that was so cool so new. You know you're one of the guys that I always hope to work with. And I I think you were just getting like your evaluations or something. We get concussion. Writers that was coming in on there wasn't meant to be timing is everything but at least we Get to work together in this capacity as I mentioned before you kind of turn the next two universe upside down and shocked everybody. When you've been off of Ron smack down for quite some time and you reappeared reappeared where it all began in the wwe in annex t the start at the top man? How did it start? How did this come to be came to be a couple months ago and you all things weren't cutting too gone smoothly or not? I don't want to say as smoothly. But I just wasn't happy with where I was at Ron smackdown and had a conversation. Hunter we paying some ideas back and forth. I took a little time off and came back at Annex T and there is all been awesome since someone had talked to you about your time off it seemed like for a long period of time here in. WWe That was sort of a bad word. You know what I mean. Nobody nobody ever wanted to take time off. How important was it for you? Not only as a man Dan but as a performer. To get a little little. You time. It's weird right. It's almost like gap you're asking for something that's taboo you know. It's like people wear like this. The idea of like wrestling hundred seventy shows a year as a as a medal of honor and let you know it is cool but like last year wrestled hundred seventy two matches more than anyone else in the company. Albany you know it takes its toll not physically. I think more mentally and I've been doing this nineteen years. I've had my fill arrest them. I just felt like you know what I haven't done anything for me in. You know probably since I left highschool so you're not figuring it was time to take time off reevaluate reassess assess where I was not only professionally but personally on that went away got married to a beautiful woman and that kind of took stock to what I was doing with everything in wrestling. And Kinda gave myself plug into perspective on everything. Congratulations by the way. I feel like a terrible friend that I yeah. I didn't even send you a text. I found out about it on instagram Liz. I think my parents found out about a text the day off. This is so you mentioned needing needing a little mental refresher which could be a result of a significant amount of time. You debuted on Monday night. Raw became the first I ever universal champion between injuries and just various different occurrences. Maybe didn't find the level of success. You'd hoped for on raw smackdown. I don't know the people like gauge success differently. You know not everyone can be chomped but for me I was I was having a great time on raw was going out darrow's learning I was adopted on you know. Sometimes you just gotTa make the best of what you're given in those situations. I'm you know I feel like I always made the best of anything that I was given. I don't think was anything. That was a failure so to speak. I just feel like maybe I'm guilty of not kind of being a squeaky wheel. Sometimes what regards. Hey I don't WanNa do that. Hey I don't think that's a good idea. You know. I think definitely the time away helped to reevaluate. You know how I view myself on the how I appreciate. You know my own input because this for sixteen years before I came to be an on every idea every match every entrance every costume is your own thought it comes from your imagination and then all of a sudden era is machine is telling you what to wear town. You ought to say Tania what to do and a hold my hands up and say I'm I'm guilty of just gone okay yet. No problem whatever you guys want a team player. I'M GONNA I'M GONNA do whatever it is total company line on. I think that probably affected a lot of not only eating my performances bought maybe my creativity not believing in what it was doing out there air but what people wanted me to do and you know what the time off and kind of reset in reevaluate and everything I feel like I'm not playing ball anymore that I'm GonNa do whatever I WANNA do. A value myself a little more as a performer. And as I said I'm not gonNA play ball anymore. I'm going to do what I I WANNA do. If people like it cool if they don't cool but I'm tired of pretending to be someone I'm not a lot of people said. Hey Finn's gone back to annex CBA really the off just come back to me and myself. Hindsight being twenty twenty fin ballard could change something about his time on raw or smackdown. What would it be? And why did I wouldn't change anything because I learned so much. It's almost like a a growing process. Do you have to go through those growing pains to kind of get to where I am now and you know. Everyone's been true times in her career her everybody's interest times in their life and I don't want to say it was time but it was a time that you know looking back. Now learn more than anything in those. You know whatever it was two years on the on. Ron's my down so I wouldn't necessarily change anything but concerned a lot from it on. You can take that forward and do I still got another like I believe like eight years left in me so not a lot of people have been fortunate enough that have don what I've done so fast and people always think hated disguise been around forever. I was like a year on the main roster and I'd had like four matches soon. You know 'cause I've gotten hurt so like I come back and I'm still learning how to hit times. Do sags understand what break sponsor spots are on live. TV and it's my fourth match. People are going to disguise established as Guzman around years. Let my fort match you know so. Even though like you know I was considered like the first universal champion. All this stuff beat Roman reigns on my first night on raw came in so hot that people didn't realize that I was still green of green. Is How when I was still learning. Still you don't trying to figure out the lateline figure out what works in the wwe style. Because W Louis Stars like totally different than anything. It's different than next T.'s. Japan Mexico different in Europe. Trying to figure it out as I'm going on on live TV as the world's watching and critiquing and talking and it's put me in a place obviously knows it was a difficult process but as a place now that I feel like avenue advantage over everyone because of done the British in these of Don Mexico has done Japan of Donna next of done. WWF done wrestlemanias in royal rumbles. Most on all that trust me. I know what I've done in this business on a note of achieved on the chiefs on done more than most people will ever can imagine. But it's time now to lift To Restart Finn in annex t reassess everything takes stock of everything that have done for the last nineteen twenty years. Put it all together. Put it in something that I believe in something that you know. I'm invested in. And put it out there as creatively. The as I can so it sounds like your time spent in the fire so to speak has given your Rhode. Scholarship to succeed. Back in annexed all began. What are you most excited excited about being back in annex t and schedules great? I wouldn't say that too loud. You have half the roster trying to get down there. Hey more to marry her. Honestly I'm just happy to be back in the ring. Obviously to Tom Away was great mentally physically to be back into remain to background. The boys to be working with a brand. That's kind of everyone's kind of working in the same direction. Got The same kind of drive. And I'm visteon passion. Shen just got to be part of something that you know. I believe in the chance to talk to Adam Cole last week and he said what was different from. I know my time. In annex t versus today was it was always sort of an US versus them mentality. He said to this day it's more of an US versus Uh us where it's an x t trying to constantly one up one another each other and try to really the advanced. The brand as a whole is an exciting to be a part of for you yeah of course duress and businesses obsessed with US versus them. But we're not in competition dish on anyone except ourselves Maryland. That's the only person I'm trying to compete with as myself. Who was yesterday last week last year? So of course you know people want to do well WanNa do better but I just wanted to better myself. What's it mean to? You personally have hundred come to you and basically give you the keys to the kingdom him and say hey. This is my brand. This is our brand welcome back and kind of have your own input and be able to put your stamp on it for a second time. It's beautiful because I feel like GAM- first time I came in I was to learn and not only about you know. WBZ Arrests still learning about America's logistics life in a different country that you know I'm still working here on a visa dude like I don't have a green card on Citizenship so still a lot of things that was going on on my personal life that I was trying to adapt to you know could really fully focus on what my job was which was to develop as NFC superstar and be any see champion champion so kind of coma now fully committed having gone to all kind of growing pains a adopted the life the US feel like right now mentally. I'm cleared on I've ever been in my career when I go to work. I'm one hundred percent vested. I WANNA come home a switch off and it's it's perfect man. I'm not sitting at home. Do over what happened last week. And I feel like it's given me a better a better perspective on everything. I'm not influenced winced in any way by anything else so I know that when I go out there doing something that is mine when something that is original on their get to work with hunter obviously You know he's someone that you know of worked with a lot over the last five years and that get into it exte- again with the brand now on that on TV TV. It's a cool. It's funny you mentioned all the growing pains coming here to America and I seem to remember vaguely some sort of Moment with dusty. Rhodes when you were just learning to drive. I remember sitting in the lobby of performance center. And I think you just come back from a lesson or you just got your license. I believe leave. Dream took credit for teaching. You how to drive. Yeah of course. Of course I remember. It was so amazed by the fact that I'd never driven before. Confirm a small town in Ireland where it wasn't really necessary to drive in on a maintain all of a sudden. I'm in England that I'm getting both around to dress and shows in Japan at twenty four. You're just driving. Hadn't really been something. That was a necessity until I came to. US So I was at the performance. Enter knows getting might Miami my license at skip out of class at the performance center to do driving lessons and I think I came back from one and I was just coming into doors. They'll see what's coming out zone where we come from. It's come from my driving lessons that I was pretty much about it. I think I sat up in the car with him. When we took a photo on that I recall the feels like a million? Oh years ago man absolutely crazy. How fast everything? That's five years ago man. I know it's insane. It's absolutely insane. It's kind of scary to think about. How fast not only life with the business especially moves along and that was kind of a reason? Why while wanted some time off to reassess and we value time because we I do so much and so little time like I remember? I was in Europe for eight days. Nine days straight we flew back to Texas than we flew. The Saudi Arabia Vietnam flew back to like San Francisco like the days were becoming a blur. And when I was when I talk to the person I must've been like six seven weeks Sydow Hawkins and he goes dude. That was last week so what everything was becoming such a blur. I'd like no like gauge only time. In the sense of when that happened when the what happened. Who did I wrestle last week wrestle two months ago what was that much six months ago? It feels like you know ten years ago so that was kind of a part of the reason why I wanted to take some time off to and just kinda chill and here. We are now. Did so now that you're refocused in refreshed and you've got a essentially a brand new roster at an xt compared appeared to your time spent there before. Give me some names. Who are you excited to step in the ring with an annex t I noticed storyline is not really add? Divulging any the information but someone who have been doing it once before and someone who I'd love to get in a ring with again it's out of coal will happen or not. I don't know Johnny Gargano. Someone who I think is really connected acted with the annex. T audience Someone who I'd love to get in there too. I think Matt Riddle would be credible test for me personally. Cheer those guys is for sure it's a stock roster. I'll get into definitely. Isn't we saw last week. The closing moments of annex t a little Little tease. He's with you in some old friends. What are the odds that someday within the confines of WWe whether it beyond raw or smackdown or now an annex t we see the? I'm GONNA say it. The bullet club reunion the bullock trouble. Union everyone talks about the ball club reunion. What like Oh you know off camera were still? We're still we're still boys. You know so what happens on screen or not I don't know is one of those things that it almost nearly nearly happens and then doesn't is that cooler or will it be the case of when we give it to them it's it's That was I was hoping it was going to be good enough. Yeah Yeah Yeah. That's that's definitely a real risk or you could just left well enough alone. Leave the memories alone rather than trying to recapture the past to a lesser extent. And you know we keep talking about this. Five years has been the five years so that blows still for me is six seven years ago so trying to let go back in time dot far for me as I'd rather compete with something new create something new fade something that people can talk about fresh. That can leave an utter legacy and under chapter of my career. And hopefully that's what we can do. It UNAC- st now. It's definitely a new chapter for you. This is a new attitude to anybody. Who maybe he hasn't followed Fin Baylor for his entire career? This is really the first time you've been the onscreen villain so to speak. How exciting is that for you to show this? WWE Universe this side of you that you know maybe you are comfortable with many many moons ago. People won't believe for most of my career villain. I remember. I remember the Princeton when I was like Oh man this is cool. I feel like I'm not a Dick but like I don't want to you know all this is nice. Be Polite and humble but I think You know my real personality comes out when I'm when I'm playing a villain on a plane. What we call a healer a bad guy and that I feel a lot more comfortable people in that role you know? There's only so much you can say as a baby face. There's only so much and you know of the squeaky clean smiling. Good Guy Underdog baby face that people take on that. I think for me having gone through what I've gone through. I should have a chip on my shoulder. I should have an ego. I should want more. I feel like it's easier for me to to kind of channel my own personal Phelan's plan Avila. I'm happy for you man personally professionally. Sounds to me like you're in an awesome place and I'm really glad to hear that that's where you are. Thank you very much broader on the good luck with the with the podcast. I'll be listening. Please do please do. I need to pay the bill. Somehow and maybe I'll take a trip down to Orlando sooner or later come check out a an xt hopefully hopefully hyphen. Thanks man thanks gory. Alas our time time here on after the bell is winding down. I feel like I should take a nap. But after listening to Roman reigns at the top of the show. I think I'd feel guilty doing that. Power through the big big dog. Anyway make sure you give us a follow at after the bell. WWe On instagram twitter and facebook. Join the conversation. Use the Hashtag after the bell so follow me a wwe graves. Tell me how much you love my show or how much you hate me. It's fine I probably won't pay attention anyway but I'll pretend subscribed the ATP gives a five star rating on Apple podcasts if you're on android follow. HEB On spotify stitcher Pandora Google podcasts. Or wherever you choose choose to get your podcast WanNa thank. The big dog. Roman reigns Finnbogadottir for joining me and chopping it up for a little while today. I also want to take a second to thank thank everybody from top to bottom in the WWe crew. Both Ron smackdown still winding up their European. Tours I was lucky enough to get home a few days before four but I had a little moment of gratitude after TV. The other night and I was sharing some cocktails with some friends the entire crew were gathered. And it's it's just kind of dawned on me happens once in a blue moon where I realize how grateful I am to have not only this awesome job within this world in this business that I love but to have an awesome crew to share it all with and it truly is a team effort from the catering crew to everybody in the travel department. Of course all the boys and girls on screen screen behind the screen It is it's truly an honor and I feel like sometimes isn't expressed verbally enough so I think I'm not only speaking speaking for myself. I think I can speak for each and every person in this crazy life of ours that we owe everyone each other a thank you and let's keep doing this thing. This actually is quite a great segue because this is what I do for a living now segues into my little moment of Zen Brennan Brown was the one who said it. The quote is what separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude. I've got gratitude for you guys for for sitting through my nonsensical diatribes today for all things. WWe and this entire wacky business. That's Zen for you. I am full of it. I will be back next next week. Hopefully better rested chock full of more wisdom more vitriol and more. WWe after the bell. This has been an original W._W._e.. PODCAST.