PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents a special Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featuring a WrestleMania 36 Preview with ex-WWE Creative Team member and professional stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.

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Torch Today – Thursday, January 21, 2016

– PWTORCH LIVECAST ALERT: “X-Pac” Sean Waltman returns to the Livecast with Wade Keller at 5:00 p.m. EST at PWTorchLivecast.com!

– Tonight’s WWE Smackdown wraps up the Road to the Royal Rumble with Roman Reigns (pause for the alliteration to play out) facing the League of Nations in a handicap match. Plus, Miz TV with Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens. (Full SPOILER Results) (Non-Spoiler Match Preview)

– The latest on Daniel Bryan is he was cleared to return to the ring by UCLA’s medical team, according to the Wrestling Observer. Bryan was also cleared by the Arizona Cardinals’s team physicians last year, but WWE has been reluctant to green-light Bryan until he passes WWE’s own testing. It remains to be seen if more independent test results leads to Bryan’s in-ring return. (Sports Illustrated picked up on the news.)

– Roman Reigns seems more comfortable acknowledging struggles during his ascent to the top of WWE. Whereas in 2015, Reigns was defiant and dismissive of criticism, Reigns is now framing it as “part of the process” of doing 52 weeks of TV per year.

“For me, I stayed the course,” Reigns told Scott Fishman for Channel Guide Magazine promoting the Royal Rumble. “You’ve seen some bad stuff, some decent stuff, and what I like to think, some great stuff. It’s all about growth and progression. There is no off-season, so we have plenty of time and platforms with the shows that we have to put that out there and show the evolution of a character and personality. That’s where I’m at now, I’m just trying to be me.”

– Sami Zayn was interviewed on WWE’s website about injury recovery, returning to the ring this week on NXT, and what the future holds, including wanting to be two-time NXT champion.

“In the interest of full disclosure, while I was looking forward to returning to NXT, part of me wanted to continue where I left off on Raw the night I got hurt and capitalize on that,” Zayn told WWE. “The opportunity didn’t present itself, so I’m making the most of my time on NXT. I feel like I helped get NXT to where it is now, so while I’m here, I just want to make it the best it can be. This could come off as arrogant, but I honestly feel every show that I’m on is better because I’m on it. I feel I have a lot to offer NXT, and I’m happy to be here as it grows. I want to leave a legacy behind that is undeniable.”

– “The Tag Rope” wrestling magazine released interview quotes from A.J. Styles from last weekend’s big “Five Star Wrestling” U.K. Tour. Included was Styles dancing around a WWE question since he’s not at liberty to discuss his WWE status at this time.

“You know, I’m always going to do what’s best for my family,” Styles said when asked about WWE. That’s my first priority, my job is to take care of them, any way that I can. Wherever that business takes me, I’m taking care of them, that’s where I’ll go.” Styles also posed for a picture with the Bullet Club hand signal and commented, “Might be the last time I ever do that.” (Full Interview)

– Pro Wrestling Tees sent out an email noting that New Japan star Shinsuke Nakamura’s t-shirt lines “will be discontinued after January 31.” Nakamura wraps up his New Japan run on January 30 before heading to WWE, where WWE will likely introduce their own line of Nakamura merchandise.

– Mark Henry, a Texas Longhorns football fan and native of Silsbee, Tex., recently met up with current and former members of the Longhorns football team for a steak dinner. Henry was also trying to recruit a high school football player from Silsbee on his official visit to Texas last weekend.

– “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson’s “Baywatch” movie project has been slotted for theatrical release on May 19, 2017. The movie is scheduled to begin filming in February in Georgia.

– Scott Hall and Diamond Dallas Page recently recorded a video interview with satellite radio host Sam Roberts. Hall discussed NXT, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, the Bullet Club (tributing the NWO), and his battle with alcoholism.

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