This week we chat with Tom Stoup from the PWTorch’s PWT Talks NXT pdodacast. We chat about how he got into wrestling, the PWTorch and even a bit of the Orlando indy scene. Oh and of course we have to talk NXT. You can find Tom on twitter at @TomStoup

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Now head into the ring at a total combined weight. Oh

wow, the top rope was playing

Welcome to another edition of the top pro wrestling Podcast. I am Rick and drew is once again at his home studio 1570 I don’t know what what’s what’s your studio name

2184 it literally never changes. And I’m going to mix it up this week. Usually I say I’m looking more and more like Java as the quarantine. goes on I’m gonna say I’m looking more like Baymax now

you’re wearing more like Baymax

yeah I’m getting more of a marshmallow this to me

than prior

and today

i’m gonna i’m just gonna ignore that but as a guest we have Tom stout on he is the host or co host or I don’t even know what your exact title is. of pw torches NXT or daily NXT podcast, but I will let you

introduce yourself NXT

pw torch talks and I see NXT I knew it was something like that.

Thanks for having me on guys. I’ve been looking forward to it. Yes, indeed. pwT talks NXT. Every Wednesday night after NXT goes off the air we go live on pw torch for live callers and emails to analyze the show.

How did you get involved in wrestling? I know most of us got into it as a as young children or even in their adolescence. How did you find wrestling

You know, it’s it’s funny, I guess I say it’s funny. It’s probably not that abnormal of a story. But I remember like my cousins had like an A Hulk Hogan action figure or something. And I was just like, Who’s this weird guy in the in the yellow trunks. I’ve never, I’ve never read his comic book or whatever it was, it was very peripheral. And I guess it was just good timing because I just happened to be bored with old sitcom reruns on TV as an adolescent, flipped channels and saw the the first ever thing I watched live was that it was me all along Austin promo, and I was hooked right away. Just I thought, Oh my gosh, I’ve got to tune in next week to find out what’s going to happen. And you know, as a lot of people do over the years, I was I was in and out over the years but came back into it and I actually attended college at full sail. And so coincidentally, NXT comes to full sail and I started going a couple years ago after I moved back to the area. And eventually just again, maybe just Good timing thing I just followed, followed the coverage on the torch, again as a fan and a reader just sent an email to wade like, Listen, man, I know you’ve probably got somebody already covering these tapings for you, but I’m going every every month Do you? Do you need somebody to do write ups? And he said actually, a couple months ago, our guy who was doing the write ups left so if you want to send something in go ahead and it wasn’t too long after that, that he said I’ve got an idea for a podcast and and here we are and actually about, about Oh, it’s Yeah, it’s almost exactly a month from right now. On June 20, a pw torch VIP podcast we’ll be starting up with myself and, and my regular co host co host. We don’t even have official titles ourselves on pwT talks NXT we’re going to be starting an NXT flashback Podcast, where every week we go back eight years to the day and watch the episode of the Full Sail version of NXT. So we’ll be starting right from that. first tournament that Seth, Seth Rollins ended up winning.

Yeah, I was gonna say I started NXT is what really got me back into wrestling. I was in it as a, you know, I, I was really into it as a kid, you know. And then growing up, I was a teenager during the Attitude Era. I mean, who didn’t want to be a teenager during the Attitude Era of wrestling, right. And then I got away from it for a long time, but then I friend of mine started inviting me to go to the NXT tapings. And next thing I know I’m here I am hosting a podcast. You know, it’s there’s a it’s really been a it’s an amazing group of talent that they’ve managed to collect over the years. And I mean, it’s a shame that a lot of them don’t get the respect when they end up moving up to to the up to the next level. But that man they put on some of the best shows I’ve ever been to.

It’s true. I think it harkens back to I make this comparison all the time on Wednesday nights that it’s, it reminds me of old mid-south shows like from the early 80s and I know And like, of course, my fan hood does not go back that far. But thanks to the WWE Network, I’ve been able to watch a lot of it. And I know there are other studio shows to pick from. But I feel like the the essentials, the bare essentials that made early 80s Mid South just so addicting, are still present even to this day in the wholesale version of NXT. And it still has, because it’s it’s this by design, it still has that WWE presentation without a lot of the veneer of extra bs for you know, Ron Smackdown added on to it. So it boils down to something that works because wrestling doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be very, very simple and that’s sometimes where it’s at its most effective and that’s what we get with NXT a lot of the time.

Yeah NXT was like I said, that’s what brought me back and I I think I enjoyed going to the tapings just because you got three episodes all in one and it was interesting to then go back and watch them when they aired on the network because you could see how it was cut differently. The promos you didn’t see you know, the different things and it was also interesting to see like, Okay, well this got botched we’re gonna go shoot it again. You know, it was it was definitely right. It was a different experience because I’ve been going to indie events for you know, quite a long time. But it it’s different than a regular indie event because it is a television taping.

Yeah and it’s funny with a lot of people even some of our listeners on the on the podcast will ask me about your like velveteen dream is one that he’ll He’ll slip up his lines in a promo, and they have to sort of edit his promo together. And I’ll mention that because I think it’s a notable, you know, the my gimmick on the podcast is that I’m there at full sail and I can provide notes from the live experience, but I don’t want to accentuate it too much. Because a lot of people think that a lot of these boxes happen just because I mentioned it once. That must mean it’s happening so many times. And of course, like as you as you alluded to earlier with how disappointed we sometimes are with how these guys and girls pan out when they hit the main roster. As we know, the developmental is Just what happens with the PC and and a lot on what we call the coconut loop of course the the shows that they do in Florida, but the road loops in the in around the country and what they do on TV, they’re they’re ready for primetime and to call up is really more just When are they going to? When have they outgrown the NXT ecosystem when one of their arcs been completed there and when are they going to fit into what the main roster is offering at the time, and a lot of that is you know, you get something like Lacey Evans where she’s going to be hot for a while, but then she’s going to slot in she’s going to merge into traffic and some some people just merge into traffic right away with their obligatory Dolph Ziggler feud, and that’s what the main thing for a lot of the time I’m not defending that necessarily. Not not. Not at all, really. But that’s the reality of it. So it’s, it’s, uh, yeah, I agree. It’s, it’s funny when we do see that kind of thing. But I always make a point of saying It doesn’t happen as often as, you know, as you as you well know from being there. It doesn’t happen as often as a lot of people seem to think it does. These people are definitely ready for primetime.

Oh yeah, there’s definitely no question that they’re good at what they do and they’re ready. They’re ready for it. It’s just because of, you know, having gone to Raw and SmackDown quite a bit. They can’t retake things because it is live where this one you know, it is not like, I mean, it’s not live it is now but it was not live. So, yeah, it’s definitely a different experience than your standard TV airings. But I love it. It was just it was so great. And it’s been a while since I’ve gotten to go to a taping, but I still try and hit all the local local events whenever they have them.

And those can be more interesting. I actually haven’t been going to as many of those as as I would like, and those are where you see that like Cal bloom Daniel vido. Trying to I’ve never actually said her name out loud. I’ve only seen it online, Emily and Julie. I’m Just probably completely butchering that, but that’s where you see the people who again that’s the real developmental before they hit the black and gold brand or even in certain cases like a bronze strohm and get launched right up to Monday Night Raw and that really is just so fascinating and it’s it’s that the cool kids club have you know, I knew them before when

do you think any of the the wrestlers that shot up to the main roster without going NXT could have benefited like, like bronze showman went straight to to the main roster, anyone would have benefited more had they gone through the NXT system instead of just going straight up to the main roster.

You know, I’m trying to think of many more than than Stroman. Stroman is the foremost one that comes to mind. I guess you could say a group like like the former OSI gallows Anderson and styles and i don’t i don’t think too many people would argue that they had too much more honing to do it. See, it seems like you know you get you know, your Finn ballers Kevin Owens people who they know what they’re doing already it’s just a matter of hammering them into the WWE style and knowing what marks to hit for the cameras and everything. But yeah, you mentioned the Bron Stroman and you know I was hot on him at the same time that everybody else was after he broke away from the Wyatt Family and and shaved the sides off of his hair and he was doing squash matches all the time you know the the James Ellsworth era if you will, but yeah since then it’s been rough like he’s got he’s got chemistry with Roman and he’ll be the first one to tell you that and and those are his best storylines but other than that, it really just feels like a pale imitation of big men that we’ve seen in the past and of course nowadays with social media being so imbued I I’ll be one of the first people to say separate art from artists but you know, it blends together so much more with with wrestling and he’s he’s that guy who was on social media saying I forget the exact quote, but something like indie wrestlers are losing losing money due to COVID-19, that they should just get real jobs, just something completely, you know, not in touch with the reality of the situation. And, you know, I actually I wasn’t attending the shows at the time that he was a rosebud and doing whatever else he was doing. So if there was more to it that I’m aware of, then there’s that. But NXT, of course, also has a relationship with evolve. And they will send guys and girls over there to get a little bit more of that indie wrestling experience because they do see how valuable that is to be in that locker room and around other people who aren’t under the WWE umbrella directly. So that’s definitely something that I think someone like Stroman could have benefited more from if only an attitude

and this is just kind of an out there question, but and I have my personal feelings on it. As far as NXT and the evolution of of NXT as a brand. How do you think moving from the network to television and actually having competition on Wednesday nights, do you think how do you feel that affected NXT. We were

and when I say we, I mean we on the on the podcast but I’m sure we’re we weren’t alone. We were afraid that NXT as we knew it was going to, if not disappear, become more like I’ll just say booked week to week because of course another advantage of the tapings is that they had to know what they were doing for three, four, sometimes eight weeks out, and there was no changing week to week depending on the circumstance. They had everything in the can. The the most adapt to that I’ve seen them get was when they I’m not. I think this was long enough ago that maybe you were at this taping, I’m not sure what your timeline is there but they filmed two different endings to a gargano dream match. Dream match garganta versus velveteen dream, you know, maybe a dream match to some, but they filmed two different endings to it. And they tried to tell it logically in the moment but they clearly didn’t know for like three or four weeks that out What what ending they were going to go with but usually that wasn’t the case. So we were worried that it was going to turn into being booked week to week and trying to do giveaway main events to to try to outdo at W for the most part. Although there have been little things here and there that have been blatantly strategic and there have been more big matches than then we’ve gotten in the past over the the uptick hasn’t been too massive. And we of course got have started to get well that’s gone away now under quarantine, but we were getting like five to eight minutes overrun regularly. And I thought it was always interesting to see who they put in that over on. I think a lot of times it was Finn Balor because they were like, Hey, here’s a guy who a lot of people know and if you’re tuning over from the other channel, if you’re tuning over from TNT, fin ballers, probably the kind of guy who’s up your alley, so check out who we’ve got in our main event spot. So there have been a little things like that, but for the most part, I personally have been very impressed with how they seem to have stuff To the NXT booking strategies that made us all fall in love with that product to begin with, it does seem like they plot out story beats months at a time and and more or less stick to them and and when a wrench gets thrown in the gears like, like a injury or somebody getting sick and you know, we can’t confirm anything like that, but we’ve seen Finn Balor mysteriously disappear for one week of TV. We’ve seen the tag team of industry share introduced and then completely evaporated with no mention. Little things like that, that make you wonder if a injury or illness has has gotten in the way and they still they still manage to stick to what seems like an overarching plan that was plotted out ahead of time so So yeah, I give that a thumbs up for them for sure.

Yeah, they’ve definitely done a good job. Transitioning. I there are certain things that I definitely miss about it, because it it was a cleaner product when they were able to go back and edit it and everything else. But they have really they have done a, an excellent job keeping with the style of what they are, and it kind of gives it like that. Almost more of an indie television feel. Yes, it has the web feel, but it has that indie TV feel to it now, too. So, you know, it’s been an interesting transition for sure. Yeah, yeah, I agree. I thought you had a question. Sorry. Sorry.

No, no, it was it was it was it was in my head. And then as soon as you pointed at me It flew right out.

I know what that’s like,

oh, we’re professionals around here, right? Yeah, exactly.

I’ve, I’ve got two kids at home and yeah, focus is not a thing in my life anymore.

I’ve got an eight year old running around here and yeah, it’s a it’s always it’s always fun to Hey, turn that down. Don’t do this. Yeah.

Or hey, I’m recording.

Yeah, yeah. they’re they’re they’re great barometers though I don’t I use that word all the time. And I don’t even know if that’s the word I’m looking for. But I’ll just, I’ll just use it. They’re great barometers to sort of bring us back. It’s usually watching the main roster, but like when, let’s just say the axe throwing competition from raw, it’s very silly, and I want to roll my eyes at it. But then my daughter is like, oh, they’re doing this now. I wonder if the street profits are gonna win. And she’s really into it. She’s 10. And I’m like, Okay, you know what this is for somebody. So that does help me help bring me back down to earth a little bit. And you know what, while so many of us, you know, wrestling journalists who are doing our podcasts and everything, our adults have, at least in some definition. And we’re like, well, we want a product that that is more attuned to our sensibilities. There are a lot of other people watching that that like some of the sillier stuff that we criticize a lot. So as long as there’s an internal logic to it, and and my daughter’s is into it. Now. My son who’s five is is getting into it peripherally a little bit more and he and he does really like bronze Stroman. So there’s that, that that brings me back down to earth and reminds me that it’s for somebody.

So when you look at like so I have a thing like with the with the championship and the WWE Championship of, you know which one’s supposed to be more prestigious and in my mind, it’s whoever I prefer as the champion is the more prestigious belt like right now to me Drew McIntyre is the champion. Yeah. Do you have that same feel or do you kind of put the the universal championship over like the the World Championship?

I agree with you and I think that his credit to how they are presenting both championships as important right now so we we can choose in the past. And I guess you know, there have been times throughout the universal championships run thus far. It’s it’s brief run, where it’s felt a little more even I thought they did a pretty good job, when when Rollins and Kofi were champions at the same time, feeling pretty equal. But they You know, you look at you know, when they did the World Heavyweight and WWE Championship before those got merged, it was blatant that World Heavyweight was not as important and it’s it’s hard to look back and say that people like Mark Henry or Christian or great Collie wherever actually World Champion it just it felt like a rundown it felt like the new in a way it felt like the new Intercontinental Championship after what had that been what that had been in the 90s. So, so yeah, that that was definitely not always the rule. But right now I’m definitely more on of your perception. And I would agree that if I guess if I didn’t make that clear with my comments on Brian earlier, Drew is definitely my champion right now. And and as I think a lot of other people would concur, he’s he’s a guy who, for a long time, we’ve we’ve believed that he had what it would take to hold the championship and it’s do it in a more significant more involving way, for the Audience then I’ll just state the obvious someone more like a Roman Reigns, who is more of a straightforward, clear cut the term I’m looking, we all know how Roman Reigns is just very stoic, and he doesn’t really bring you in. And Drew. It’s like, you wouldn’t wish the current circumstances on any new champion. But drew is just the perfect guy in that company to be doing it right now. Because he just plays fast and loose and he comes off, like a badass that we haven’t seen in years at the top of that company. So I, if I was Vince McMahon, I there’s nobody else in the company. I’d want to be holding that belt right now.

Yeah, it’s like he’s um, it’s like you’re going along on the ride with Drew as opposed to Roman where it’s just like, he’s the champion.

Yeah. So we got like you met you. We got connected through the Orlando in the wrestling scene because we were doing when we were doing mayhem on Mills, you were nice enough to reach Wheaton and have recommend people watch our live broadcast for mayhem on Mills. What’s your connection to the Orlando indie scene outside of NXT?

Yeah, that was so cool that you guys did that because unfortunately, I’m not able to make it out to every show. But you know, I, it was after. It was after the May young classic, the first may on classic that I got really fired up. I just, it’s still probably my favorite wrestling event I ever went to. I loved that first may on classic. And I got really fired up about a lot of the women that were that were in it. So I saw that ml w was running their show at the time it was called one shot, and that Mia yem was on the card. I mean, the thing was headlined by ricochet and Shane Strickland and I was still like, I’m going to see me again. And going there. That was when I saw you know, Snoop strikes and Barrington Hughes and I’m gonna say Mike perot. I don’t know if I’m being rigged. It was actually Barrington Hughes, who said, Oh, everybody says says pero and so he’s okay with But it’s really perot and maybe he’s just pulling one over on me. But you know I that was the show when I got introduced introduced to those guys. And so I saw the clip of of Mike Big Mike throwing one of the ugly duckling ducklings off of the roof into the ring at that one mayhem on mill show. I want to say it was this third one that Mills did. And I thought I’ve got to make it out to one of these. And finally, when I saw that Barrington Hughes himself was promoting that he was going to be there I thought Alright, enough is enough. I got to make sure I get out to one of these shows. And it was an absolute blast. To my shame I have not been too prolific on on any indie scene, but I really really like a lot of the the guys and girls that Mills brings in. And, you know, I made it out to a nerd street wrestling show when I saw that sigh Eve and tree were booked against one another. So you’ve also bought and treehouse Lee and And so it’s it’s it really is just that that core group of guys and girls that that frequent the area and of course other areas like Hughes is based out of Miami I should I remember what specific area it doesn’t matter coral something or other but yeah it’s it’s really just cherry picking who I see on the card and then with Mills it’s a promotion that I enjoy enough that when I can I like making it up to the show and I make a point of covering it for the torch because if anyone out there is seeing it and seeing the name Siva or seeing the name Sawyer rec. And then one of those wrestlers gets a TV deal or comes to an indie show through their area. Maybe one of the readers of the torch will go like oh, you know, Tom said something really good about them. I think I’ll go to this show because I want to support the the wrestlers and the products that I that I like and I can do that through the torch

and I we were both really happy to see Sorento this We’re on AWS dark. He made his debut. I wonder if I didn’t I hadn’t heard that

I, you know, being being an NXT guy I haven’t done too too much at UW and although I’ll, I’ll catch it here and there. I did watch this week’s show just because I knew it might come up tonight, but I hadn’t heard that I’ll definitely have to go back and check that out now so Francisco I don’t think there’s a single thing I’ve seen him do that. I haven’t been impressed by

Yeah, he fought Darby Allen in the main event, so it was Oh wow. Yeah, it was a wonderful it was a really good match. I’m not gonna blow up his spot with anything else that may have happened on the show so I’m but the Yeah, it’s it’s great that we have such a good


a bunch of local talent or at least, Florida talent. You know, Florida has been a wrestling mecca for as long as I can remember. I mean, back in the day with Florida Championship Wrestling, and I mean, that was that was the beginnings of NXT back in the day, so yeah.

Yeah, I Think that, uh, yeah. Do you have anything you want to add?

Yeah, just since a lot of people that that listen to us know, we go the mayhem on metal shows and stuff, can you go to a lot of the NXT stuff compare, like those two crowds really quick just how different they are, like, you know, go to a local show.

That’s, that’s a really good question I, I sound like such a jerk when I say it, the NXT crowd likes to get itself over and I will,

I will or not wrong.

I will preface it by saying two things that I whenever I have met, or whenever I have talked to somebody from the regular NXT crowd one on one. They are always awesome. I’ve never had a negative interaction with any of them. Even if it’s somebody that I’ve seen being really boisterous on TV, and I’ve never run into them in the first place and I have a preconceived notion. If we do have a conversation every single time I’ve walked away like they’re actually really cool. But yeah, as a collective when the red light goes on, they like to get themselves over and that always perturbs me a little bit. The other thing I’ll preface is that, even after I’ve said that, there’s a number of times where if you dig deep enough and go back through the network, you can see yours truly getting close ups here and there where I’m just totally marking out and going like, oh, man, if I scream loud enough, maybe they’ll give me a close up. So I’ve definitely done that as well. With the first ever mayhem on Mills show that I went to. I usually wear a jean vest, and a black Jean vest and my like rock revival jeans and whatever, like affliction t shirt or whatever, you know, judge me as you will, but I thought, Okay, I’m gonna look cool going to the show. I’m gonna stand out. And like, every other person who shows up is wearing a dark Jean vest, and Robert Eiffel pants shirt. I’m like, oh, okay, like I found my crowd. And it’s, I think, I mean, you get this with NXT Because there is a bit more of that college football field NXT than there is on on the main roster where everybody is supposed to be perceived as already being a quote unquote superstar. But at at mayhem on males people just seem like they are so passionate about supporting what the show is doing. And and supporting the wrestlers and just wanting the show to be to be the best for everybody, not just not just the fans, but also for the performers and for the promotion. And Mills thankfully has had, you know, some some success so they can keep on coming back with with new shows. And, and there’s, there’s a bit more maybe maybe you get this at a lot of indie shows, again, unfortunately my exposure to it is is limited through through my own fault of just not pursuing it as much but particularly at Mills. Like I mentioned, I went to that one nerd street thing, and it was a very different atmosphere at Mills. It really feels sort of like, like a rebel radio version of rescue. It’s it’s I don’t want to say it’s chaotic, but it is a bit more like a party, especially at the outdoor shows that they’re able to do. I mean, don’t get me wrong during the colder months and everything I love that they use the orange studio, but that outdoor venue is just so cool. And there’s definitely that like, you know, when when Troy Hollywood cuts this promo at the end, sort of dragging the major companies and saying that this is where real wrestling is at. That’s that pops the crowd like crazy and that’s definitely the the rebel vibe.

Yeah, I would have to agree. And there’s also a problem. I know that there’s video of me going back to pass the next two years with my hands up in the air doing the 10 for tidal injure and, and it’s so funny when those guys do transition over to the main roster. You know, you you you expect the reaction being an NXT guy, but then you realize how few people at least back then were watching NXT on the network. Because you’re like, yeah, these guys would show up and you’re late and you’re popping to the town and you’re just looking around, you’re like, hey, No, okay, what’s going on?

I remember when I was living down in the in the southwest area, I went to a house show in a WWE branded house show in Fort Myers. And as a surprise, we got an NXT match of Tyler Breeze versus Baron Corbin. And at the time I was, I mean, I still like both of those. I know. My Scarlet Letter of thinking Baron Corbin is actually all right. But I at the time in particular, I was really high on both of those guys in NXT. And so Tyler breezes music hit and without thinking that I was going to be making a scene. I just left up like, yeah, Tyler Breeze and then I look around and nobody’s looking at Tyler Breeze. Everybody’s looking at me like Yeah.

stop and look at you too.

I think I was sitting at ringside but I think by the time he got got down to me, he was uh, well no, he was still looking at his his selfie cam the whole time. So yeah that didn’t that didn’t happen but I should have tried to I should have tried to make more of a scene when Baron Corbin came down because like my favorite thing that he does is act like he’s going to be cool with the fans at ramp side and then and then just this ism

well we appreciate you joining us tonight and for this week, but uh, can go ahead and plug anything you got coming up I know you said you have a new podcast coming up soon in the VIP so

yeah, thanks very much. I think the best way is just follow me at Tom stout t o m sto up. I tweet out all the pertinent week to week there. But yeah, 30 minutes after NXT goes off the air which which is a little weird but the other two hosts like normally I used to write tapings reports. So I had a thing on the website too, but they still cover it live for the torch on on on TV. So they’re still putting up their reports for those 30 minutes but 30 minutes after NXT goes off the air. You can call us you can email us chat with us live. About what we just saw. We cover it very similarly to how Wade covers raw AWS and SmackDown. And if you do go VIP on the torch for 999 a month and every once in a while Wade runs a deal where you can get it for for a lot cheaper. Kelly wells and myself are going to start on June 20, doing the NXT flashback Show. I’m not sure if that’s what it’s going to be called or not. But going back eight weeks, to

sorry, eight years to the week.

analyzing those shows, in retrospect and talking a lot about how people panned out once they got to the main roster and certain headlines like once we get to build a mods resignation. We’ll be talking a lot about that so that I’m very much looking forward to to doing that as well. Thanks so much, guys. This was a lot of fun.

Absolutely. I’m glad you could join us drew you want to go ahead and plug our social media?

Sure. You can find us at top of wrestling podcast on Instagram. You can find us at top rope rescue dot com and top rope wrestling podcast on Facebook. And I’ll have Rick take it over from here.

So Twitter is top wrestling without the G because you know character limits and you can always email us podcast at top rope wrestling comm we’re always available. So let’s get out of here. I yeah, yeah.

Yeah. Okay. See you

guys next week.

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