The Cult of Personality! The Cult of Personality!
As WWE heads for TLC, what will the Voice of the Voiceless have to say about Seth Rollins, Rusev’s divorce, and Corbin VS Roman?
Renee Young runs down the schedule!
The panel will preview the final WWE PPV of 2019 in TLC, talk directly to King Baron Corbin, and hear everything CM Punk has to say about it!
Let’s get Just the Highlights!
The Revival survived a Fatal 4 Way Elimination Tag and now head for a rematch with the New Day! Will they bring an end to lucky number 7? Bray Wyatt is playing a dangerous mind game with The Miz, but he’s also winning it so far. Will The Miz settle the score on Sunday? Lacey Evans isn’t intimidated by bratty Banks and Bayley, but she was beat down by them. The Big Dog gets treated as less than human, but is the Lone Wolf’s bark worse than his bite?
On Raw, Rusev and Lana are no more, and so is the table they signed the papers on! Will the Bulgarian Brute break more tables using Bobby Lashley? #KabukiStrongStyle also wrecks tables as Asuka and Kairi Sane take bold action against The Man and The Queen. Will Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair use ever table, ladder and chair possible to get revenge and those WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships? And The Viper slithers in, but doesn’t bite, because Rey Mysterio retaining is more than enough damage done to AJ Styles! And while Kevin Owens was right all along, it didn’t stop Seth Rollins and the Authors of Pain dealing out damage of their own. What does this new alliance mean for all of the WWE?
Renee and the panel felt this coming, but that doesn’t lessen the impact, both physically and emotionally. What does everyone think of Rollins truly going bad? Booker T likes it. Rollins was riding that line, but now he’s pulled the trigger. AOP have been waiting, and now they’re in the game again. They are finally getting the opportunity and the rub they deserve. Punk feels this new trio is more a “wait and see.” It doesn’t need to be another Shield, but showing up in suits all the time, they might get stuck wearing those in a match. One kick splits the slacks! But we’ve seen Rollins have guys behind him when it was J&J Security, so hopefully it isn’t that either. Paige feels it’ll be different, but “big shocker,” she’s liking this role. Never trust someone sitting in the back of a van!
Where did this van even come from? Booker did like how it was used, though. The turn around made a great reveal moment. And then Rollins running down the fans, “What do you want from me?!” is a great move. Punk knows we all want Rollins to be entertaining, and sometimes wrestlers just aren’t good at being good guys. Rollins can be a great Heel so be the Heel. Ironically, this’ll probably get him over again. Paige had that in her notes, too, she feels this’ll just turn things back around.
Moving on: The Big Dog and the King of the Ring!
Friday brought the feud of Roman Reigns and Baron Corbin to a new level. Corbin and Dolph Ziggler smeared dog food all over Roman as the “humiliation” Corbin promised. Renee can still smell the dog food, and Punk smells a certain something else. But this scene was the most viewed video from SmackDown and on the Fox YouTube channel. Not more than CM Punk, though, right? But is this really the hottest thing? Punk isn’t so sure. Punk surprisingly didn’t hate this segment. He has a different perspective, and his thought was Carrie, the pigs blood scene and she goes crazy. This could be that for Roman! Bad guys do bad things to good guys and this over the top thing was what “wrassling” can have. Punk would complain about a huge collection of dog food under the ring, but then he realizes kendo sticks always seem to be under there for no reason.
Booker does agree the realism is a detail, but surely fans are already pointing that out. Booker remembers Bogeyman’s $5000 collection of worms. 5 grand?! Yes, and they were real, and he actually ate them! He made himself sick for the sake of his character! But Paige points out the mystery man under the ring, too. No one saw it in commentary. At the same time, it may not be commentary’s place to point it out, but Renee is happy to know fans are discussing it, too. Booker says it is all connected to King Corbin. The plan worked, Roman was caught. But they’ll be able to ask Corbin himself up next!
Hear ye, hear ye! King Corbin is here!
The 2019 King of the Ring is Backstage, and even King Bookah is giving him praise. Anyone helping with the ropes? Renee does it as the host. CM Punk doesn’t remember getting that treatment when he first showed up. Corbin takes his seat and Renee asks how fun it is being one of the top bad guys right now. It’s a lot of fun. He is the top SmackDown Heel, and in the WWE. He loves irritating people, he’s great at it, it just comes natural sometimes. People have told him so since he was a kid. Corbin loves seeing what buttons he can push and hear about it on social media now.
Booker says not since Vickie Guerrero has a Heel gotten heat like Corbin. Corbin says he was with Ziggler and Ziggler said the same thing. How does Corbin stay on that? He just revels in it. When fans boo and spew hate, it makes Corbin feel like he’s doing his job. He loves every second of it. Booker says that is what is missing in the industry. That’s because some people can’t take the backlash. A lot of people want to be “cool.” Punk already knows the answer to this, but has Corbin ever been a Face? Nope! Punk says it’s easier to be a bad guy, especially when starting. Then if you’re good enough at being bad, the fans will find something to love. Is it getting there yet? Nope, still feels like pure hatred. The King of the Ring tournament started getting him some fans, but then he worked on getting them to dislike him again.
And Corbin does agree, it is hard to stay a consistently good bad guy that fans love to hate. But that’s Corbin’s job, making those good guys look great. Paige wants to know if there’s a specific time when a fan’s hate felt so good. Corbin can really see it on the faces in the crowd. After WrestleMania, Corbin beat Kurt Angle, this little kid gave him the middle finger! But that kid was really into the show, and sometimes kids cry. Sometimes older people freak out just from him looking at them. But those fans are the ones who really are fans. Now, “triggering” happens easy, but especially wrestling fans on social media.
Speaking of the internet, does Corbin find it easier or harder to maintain that persona? Corbin feels it goes back to just exaggerating a natural part of himself. He isn’t out there to be friends with everyone, from college to sports to pro-wrestling. This is a job that puts food on the table. It’s almost too easy, these people are too into it at times. Anything anyone comments on about not liking, like his “TGI Fridays waiter” suit, that just becomes what he does more of to further that irritation.
Corbin has very thick skin by Punk’s assessment. Punk was in the same boat with the Straightedge Society angle where it bordered on cult, especially in the Bible Belt region of the US. People were legitimately angry, like little old ladies. But Punk was also proud of getting that reaction. Bad guys do bad things, and again, the dog food. Punk’s instant analysis was Vince insisted on “real dog food.” It was 1000% real. Even Corbin got a taste of some, so he knows. And (in character) Roman deserved it, for getting spoon fed so much in his career, so Corbin decided to force feed him some dog food. The Big Dog was hungry, wasn’t he? Booker again brings up the real worms from Bogeyman, so fair is fair.
Booker also remembers back to his first match with The Undertaker, and how he was a big fan of his. Corbin had that with The Rock. What was that like? It was a special moment being in there with an icon. There is just something about The Rock that helps you understand he’s a star. Even if you somehow don’t know who The Rock is, you get that feeling. Taking a Rock Bottom, the People’s Elbow and having The Rock run him down, just great stuff from one of the greatest ever. Punk chuckles a bit, but Corbin knows people feel the same about Punk. #PipeBomb, remember? Corbin hung with Rock, but owes him one. Maybe through Roman on Sunday. Corbin is going to stick around, come up with some more dastardly things to do to good guys.
Backstage goes back in time to TLC 2017.
When Bray Wyatt was too ill to finish up his story with Finn Balor, in stepped a Phenomenal substitute in AJ Styles! And it was a night that was #JustTooSweet!
AJ Styles flew up from South America to be in the ring with Finn Balor. Their career paths paralleled each other, but this was the moment for the dream match everyone wanted! The Demon and the Phenomenal One already got “This is Awesome” chants, and that is what it was immediately. Finn knows their styles gelled together so well, and going out of the ring, avoiding that double count out and the back and forth, the electricity was in the air. “It was a pretty, pretty sweet moment. Too Sweet.” In the end, Finn wins, and got to Too Sweet with Styles in the ring. It was Styles’ idea, but it made for an iconic moment from that night. They more than delivered, and without even a build. It was just two guys at the peak of their careers, giving it everything they had.
The panel discusses Balor VS Styles.
Booker was on commentary then, and seeing the fans said it all. That standing ovation was well deserved. Styles showing up without any preparation, but he was surely ready to steal the show and have a moment. When you get a moment, that’s the chance you get. Styles and Balor gave the fans what they wanted, showed the respect of the craft and created magic. Paige and CM Punk are lucky to have moments like those in their careers. Paige remembers The Rock telling her the day before WrestleMania that she would debut the day after, and we all know now that it was against AJ Lee to win the Diva’s Championship. Paige loves AJ Lee for helping her with that moment, because AJ was just so relaxed. The promo was the only thing planned, but AJ helped Paige keep calm for the rest of it. Punk can attest AJ does that.
Punk remembers his shot for the WWE ECW Championship. There was almost no one there because of weather. It was just Ricky Steamboat, The Undertaker, MVP, Chavo Guerrero (who was champion at the time), and Punk. Ricky just figured they could go there for the 60 minutes, then Taker VS MVP as the main event. They did 2-out-of-3, 55 minutes hit and Ricky had them wrap. But those special moments makes pro-wrestling so great. Punk just wished that after the Too Sweet, it would’ve been a kiss, too. It was a missed opportunity. But will this year’s TLC match that phenomenal dream match?
Brandon Williams gets Savage.
Randy Savage, that is. The Ravens DT is a big fan of the Macho Man, and rightfully so. OOH YEAH~! Big Baby Brandon loved him some Macho Man.
Renee joins Baron Corbin and Matt Leinart to talk football.
Corbin was on the Arizona Cardinals with Leinart, and the Fox debut helped them reconnect. Leinart saw Corbin, Becky and The Rock, and then afterwards, they all met up later. Corbin looked a lot different when he played. Fuller face and fuller head of hair. He was 335 lbs, now he’s a lean, mean 270. He doesn’t have to hold his breath to tie his shoes anymore. Leinart is proud of what Corbin’s doing now. Corbin talks about being the midseason transfer, he walks in and Leinart welcomed him and invited him to a party. Leinart kept things fun and loose but still a good training atmosphere. And this was back when Kurt Warner was the starter. Leinart got cut, “good stuff,” but the football locker room atmosphere is a great place. When you’re on the field, it’s a great bond.
Corbin says it is still competitive. You could get into real fights over wanting your spot on the line-up. But Corbin was previously on the Colts, and that was a different tone. Arizona was looser, Corbin got in a fight, worried about getting fined, but he just got an “atta boy!” Then it’s like nothing happened, everyone let it go. Renee has some dirt on Corbin now. But more to come from the Lone Wolf King as Backstage digs deeper into TLC.
TLC has a Raw Tag Team Championship OPEN CHALLENGE! The Viking Raiders are ready for anyone, but who steps up to go after the gold?
Time to Pay It Off!
The Fiend has been doing what he wants, when he wants, and things got personal with The Miz. Paige says the dads should get involved, Papa Miz and the one and only IRS. But it is going to be exciting to see that this is Firefly Fun House Bray, not The Fiend. No red lights is a bonus, obviously. An exciting switch-up really.
The Rusev-Lana-Lashley triangle brought about a divorce. Lana blamed the WWE Universe for making the marriage “FAAAAAIL~!” Yikes, yet also perfect. This Tables Match, Punk could go into it forever. Punk is glad he’s not the one behind this story, it means he’s still sane. But he says the match, the blow-off, Rusev wants away from Lana. Lana and Lashley do go on to be the on-screen couple, but then guess what? Lana grinds Lashley’s gears, too. Lashley leaves Lana for another “divorce” or whatever. Lana gets another two men, they go after Lashley and Rusev who have bonded over Lana being crazy, and we have a great WrestleMania “Lana in a Shark Cage” match. The new team is even sick of her, the losers get stuck with Lana! It can go forever, to Saudi Arabia special #5!
It’s time to Smarten Up!
The WWE’s influence spreads further than you think! Even Jeopardy got into it recently! The WWE Slammy Awards was a category! For $200: “New sensation of the ring in 1997 was this guy who now dabbles in action films, and TV, and basically, world domination.” How obvious. Who is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson? Slammy Awards for $800, “No winner for 1987’s Song of the Year–Sika ate the envelope–but this WWE head honcho was nominated & did perform ‘Stand Back.'” How did they not get this one? Who is Vince McMahon?
But now, Renee is taking credit that being Canadian makes you a fantastic host. That includes game shows! And so Renee is going a Triple Threat Trivia match! To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man! Booker puts up some “long green duckets!” First, CM Punk! Then, Paige! And of course, Baron Corbin! The levels are $100, $300, and $600, all in the case. They will write their answers, the correct answers get the cash, but of course there is Final Smarten Up, where you can go big or go home.
First question: This WWE superstar beat Hulk Hogan for the WWE World Title at WrestleMania VI. Booker knows, but do the contestants know? The answers are in, Paige says Ultimate Warrior. KACHING! Punk says Sergeant Slaughter. BUZZ! Corbin says Ultimate Warrior. KACHING! Well keep eyes on who is writing when, just in case. Punk was always more an NWA guy, not WWF, “brother.”
Second question: This future WWE Hall of Famer made his debut as The Ring Master. Another easy one, right? Paige says STONE COLD! KACHING! So does Punk! And Corbin… Wait, wait did he do that last minute again? It looks like he put “Stone Cob” on there… Well anyway, Corbin and Paige are tied with 400, Punk’s on the board with 300.
Third question: This man was the first to win the WWE world title by winning the Royal Rumble. $600 on the line, who gets it? Corbin blanks. Paige says Ric Flair! KACHING! Paigepedia! Punk says Flair, too. Corbin puts “WOO,” that shouldn’t count. So Paige has $1000, Punk has $900, Corbin is stuck at $400. But now, the Final Smarten Up is for all the beans!
Final question: This former WWE world champion once held the title for 2138 days, then shocked the world in 1994 when he won it again at the age of 45! All or nothing! Paige says Harley Race, but NOPE. She lost it all! Punk put Flair, but NOPE. Corbin says he’s getting paid to fight, not do trivia. No one wins, it was BOB BACKLUND! Booker keeps his cash, hahaha. But speaking of future Hall of Famers, we’re already learning about some big names. Backstage will be back to talk about them and those that could be joining the 2020 class!
The WWE Hall of Fame gets Too Sweet!
That’s because the nWo is in the Class of 2020! Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and X-Pac are in! But so is the Animal, Dave Batista! Social media posts vote for Christian to be in! The panel feels that’s fair. Well, except for CM Punk. The WWE Hall of Fame is illegitimate unless they put in EVERY SINGLE MEMBER of the nWo at its peak! Wallstreet needs rings!
Social media has also found the fight Corbin got in on the practice field. Corbin is proud he punched that helmet off. Social media also has “Stone Cob,” a big ear of corn, hanging out with Kenan Thompson to show Corbin. But with that, WWE Backstage signs off! What happens between now and next week that will make the headlines?
A pretty good episode, though it does lean more towards shoot than kayfabe compared to previous episodes. This episode was basically what fan sites like ours talk about, but on TV. I’m actually surprised Punk didn’t hate on the dog food stuff, but I suppose there is merit to going over the top in a somewhat logical way. Hearing Corbin talk about enjoying being a legit Heel was great, we really do need more of those, and especially in the WWE. Corbin is definitely one of those guys that can make an entire career out of getting Heel heat, but sometimes what Vince writes for him to do does border “go away heat.” I’m moderately disappointed they didn’t bring up how Corbin’s match with Roman is a TLC and the implications of that decision, i.e. was this really the match for them to have? But it was still a good amount of material from Corbin. That quiz show stuff was pretty funny, too. It seems Corbin’s weakness is trivia.
Again, I do wish this episode would’ve talked more about how TLC’s build has gone, but I suppose since this is a WWE show, they weren’t going to go that hard on criticizing Vince’s decisions, as much as I’m sure CM Punk would love to. But again, that’s why sites like ours exist. I did like that they chose the Balor VS Styles match to reminisce about, and I realize that was before we were “The Chairshot,” or else I would’ve linked to it here. And one point that’s true is that if TLC (as a whole) is even half as good as that match, we’ll be alright despite the lack of announced matches.
Mitchell’s Raw Talk Report! (1/25/21)
Who wants to Talk With Elias?
It will be a golden Raw Talk before the Royal Rumble!
The Hurt Business put in work and the Queen is worried about usurpers, but they’re here for some Raw Talk ahead of this Pay-Per-View Sunday!
#CharTruth welcomes us back to the show!
Charly Caruso says we’re on our way to one of the biggest PPV’s of the year, the Royal Rumble! She cannot wait! But she also can’t wait for tonight’s episode of Raw Talk, with Truth, who is still WWE 24/7 Champion! Isn’t she also champion by association? They should center the belt. And not to rub it in or anything, it’s been a long night for everyone, but Truth had his shot to officially enter the Men’s Rumble and it didn’t work out! What happened? AJ Styles is phenomenal and he has Omos with him. Omos is big. A mountain of a man! Hugigantimongous. Mount Everest or Mount Kilimanjaro? Both. You gotta look up, and East to West. You can’t focus on Styles with Omos there, there and over there. Charly almost thought he was here, but Truth says you’d have seen Omos if he was here.
And then speaking of directions, there was an interesting misdirection with the main event, Lil’ Miss Bliss, The Fiend’s protégé, what even do we call her? Truth says they’re family. And then Orton with his sunburn face gave her an RKO! Hard to know how to react to that, other than that was the worst thing that could’ve happened. Or one of them, maybe. Orton wants revenge for what happened to him so he took back his pride, dignity, etc. Truth says Orton needs some Aloe Vera or something. But Truth getting that close to Orton might get him in Alexa’s sights, too. Truth can’t risk that, Charly needs him to be a cohost. Truth needs Truth to be here, so he’s going to just move on.
Moving on to an exciting match coming at the Royal Rumble, the WWE World Championship, Drew McIntyre VS Goldberg. We almost got a throw down between them but they went after Miz ‘n’ Morrison as they were egging everything on. That’s what they get, though! Spear AND Claymore! But that won’t stop them from going after each other on Sunday. Who you got? Charly will make a prediction. Just because of what he’s done in the WWE and that Charly has a lot of respect for him, she goes with McIntyre. Nothing taken away from Goldberg, but Charly’s voting McIntyre. Truth is with Gillberg. Well, alright then. And speaking of another big time champion with something going on at the Royal Rumble, it’s the Queen!
Charlotte Flair joins Raw Talk!
Charly says Charlotte looks amazing these days and Truth agrees. Super shredded, and very happy, but of course because she has the championship. Charlotte’s got Andrade at home to help her, after all. She hopes she got the roll of the R just right. But yes, a lot of things to be happy about. A live-in trainer, some championship gold, but also some problems… Just a little. Let’s talk about that after her mindset for tonight’s match with Shayna Baszler that didn’t even turn out that way. There was some involvement from Lacey Evans, the “problem” they were about to bring up. Charlotte was looking forward to facing Shayna, given the history with Shayna’s buddy, Ronda. Maybe they texted like, “Do you remember when Charlotte kicked your ass?” Whoa~!
But Charlotte says Shayna means business, so she knew to give her the best. But then there was Nia Jax and all that. The tag titles will be on the line against Nia and Shayna, how is Charlotte feeling about that? Charlotte has Asuka so there’s that. Truth knows Asuka is great, and Charlotte may sound cliché but she knows she doesn’t want anyone else with her as she goes into battle. Charly said it before and will say it again, Charlotte and Asuka are two of the greatest women in the WWE. But Nia and Shayna were very strong tonight. Charlotte says they were just mad tonight. Truth agrees with that. Charlotte has had the opportunity to be in the ring with the Irresistible Force, and it isn’t often she faces someone bigger than her, but they bring out the best in each other and expect nothing different.
But then Charlotte also wants to be in the Women’s Rumble, but there’s everything with Lacey and Ric Flair. Some family drama, Lacey attacked Charlotte in front of Ric, what is going on? Charlotte knows Ric thinks he’s being cute and funny, and for the last couple of years it’s just been hard. Everyone around Ric are Yes People, they just praise Naitch, and then they leave and it’s just Ric. Charlotte has only ever wanted to protect the Flair legacy. She would do anything to do that. So looking Ric in the face and pointing out how Lacey is sexy and all over him, she can get that. But Ric is going from legend to creepy old man and she will say it because she’s not the villain here. Charlotte doesn’t even have time for Lacey, who is just an opportunist. Are the intentions the title? Is it really about Ric?
Truth says how could it not be about Ric? He’s the Nature Boy! Charlotte knows Truth is a Carolina boy but slow down. Charlotte has done everything she can to show she’s here because of her work, not her name. But then those who will do anything to get to the top, that is Lacey. You hear about it while everyone else is doing things the right way, but you see that kind of girl everywhere at every level. It’s hard to be sure why Lacey is doing this to Ric and Charlotte, but she’s definitely doing it to get at Charlotte.
So Charlotte has her hands full with the tag title challenge, Lacey’s antics, and then the Women’s Rumble. Charlotte is sure people think she’s had a happy-go-lucky life as Ric’s daughter, but she’s used to obstacles in her path. People don’t see it, but the ones who have obstacles don’t talk about it. Charlotte will be prepared for everything coming her way. Truth loves it and Charlotte feels like she has a hype man. Charlotte says she has mac ‘n’ cheese to share with him. Is there pork chop in there? Truth only does light pork chop in the mac. But Charly thanks Charlotte for her time and wishes her luck. See you later, champion!
Elias & Jaxson Ryker join Raw Talk!
The Drifter and his follower are back and they talk BBQ after what we just got. What is his favorite? How do they mean? Regional, Carolina, Tennessee, etc. They vote for Carolina, which is Truth’s liking. Charly makes sure everyone knows the question wasn’t just because they were talking BBQ with Charlotte there. Charly was testing if they could come to an agreement given the miscommunication the last few weeks. Wow, Charly! They’re pals, but great journalism move. So then what is happening? There was discord but are things moving in the right direction?
Of course! They got on the same page, the communication problems are gone. They handled things on WWE Main Event on Hulu, but not like two weeks ago. The footage shows things, but Ryker & Elias took on Ricochet & Jeff Hardy on Main Event and took care of business! Hardy is a living legend, we all know that, and Ricochet is one of the most talented wrestlers in the world today! But Ryker is an intense animal that loves the Universal Truth, and Elias himself is a once in a lifetime performer. But those four on Main event shows how jam-packed Raw really is. Charly asks if Ryker sees Elias’ guidance as serving him well. Of course!
Wait, Elias is sinking in his chair. Truth says it’s cuz Elias is lying. Well it happened to Keith Lee but for a very different reason. Get us a montage of people sinking in the chairs. That’ll go viral. Elias says he wrote the Universal Truth cuz he speaks the truth and now he’s talking to Truth! Nice one! Okay, one last time to see if they can get on the same page. Who do they think wins the Royal Rumble? They say “WE are going to win the Royal Rumble.” Oh so if one wins, they both win. Yes, they are going to win. Simple as that. Watch this Sunday! Elias is declaring officially, so there you go. It is an official declarence. A declaration? Yes, that, too.
Well Charly will pass that along, though we don’t know the rules right now. Truth says it’s about opportunities but Ryker wants to take it. Ryker and Elias will write history at the Rumble when THEY win! 2021 will be historic! Well alright. Good to have them on the same page with the declarence, be ready for a Raw Talk BBQ. But now from BBQ to perhaps fine dining? The Hurt Business is here!
Bobby Lashley & MVP join Raw Talk!
MVP warns Truth, “Every word out your mouth tonight, measure very, very carefully. Because I am not here for it. And I give you my word, one, ONE, wrong thing out your mouth, and it’s on.” Like a pot of neck bone? Don’t play around, Truth. Charly seconds that because of what we saw the last few weeks. Bobby Lashley told us two weeks ago that he’s not playing around with Riddle’s bro-ness stupidity and Truth went and said something that angered MVP. MVP almost got Truth that night, and Charly is just happy that she wasn’t here for that. Things will not go that way this week, Charly won’t allow it. Oh, allow? Is that’s how this is? Y-Yes…? So if MVP slaps Truth, how will she stop him? Right, nevermind what she said, then.
Lashley tries to lighten the mood as he keeps MVP back and has a big smile. Riddle won tonight’s gauntlet match and has a rematch for the US Championship. Lashley’s feelings about Riddle, the one thing the Hurt Business wants to accomplish is to get rid of disrespect. Lashley beat Riddle before, Riddle is not a problem. But he was a problem for the rest of the team. No, the problem was inside the Hurt Business. There is some dysfunction, but they’ll sort that out. So why is it happening now? The VIP Lounge was meant to be a celebration as they have major titles, so why is it happening now? Lashley wants MVP to relax but MVP keeps glaring at Truth.
Truth tells MVP he’s missing out on interview time, they’re just asking questions. Lashley says when you get on top, sometimes things get tense. They’re all friends. MVP has been a great friend, as has Shelton Benjamin, and even Cedric Alexander is a friend. But they have titles, money, but that causes tensions to rise and things get out of hand. Truth says he was a friend and got put in the Nelson from the Simpsons. MVP says this is just a speed bump. It’s done, as is the line of questioning. What will Charly “allow” now? She just wants a feel for what’s going on. Individually and together, the Hurt Business is successful, but it is a bit worrying when things start to break down. You may want it to be a speed bump, you may want to rebound, but look at Conor McGregor!
Lashley says it’s been awhile since McGregor won. But the Hurt Business is fine. They’ll talk it out, it’ll be back in place. They can’t be crumbling if they still have the gold. Truth says he likes the THB necklace. MVP asks how much Truth likes it. He likes it a lot. Charly says not to push any more buttons. The show is done, MVP and Lashley head out, and #CharTruth says they appreciate their time. The Royal Rumble is coming, will that speed bump hit someone in the butt?
A pretty good Raw Talk, but I will say this. Elias and Ryker did a good job to plug WWE Main Event, and I like that they tried to put it over as proof that Raw is so stacked, they couldn’t fit their match with Ricochet and Jeff Hardy on the show so they put it on Hulu. That’s not true, I’m sure that match could’ve been fit on tonight’s Raw if things were a little different, but at least it’s happening somewhere. Charlotte had a good segment, nice little shoot on how she is with Andrade romantically, and for being able to play that confidence bordering on arrogance, she seems like a really nice person in her day to day life.
The Hurt Business had a really good segment to close, and I like that there is this ongoing story of tension with MVP and Truth. I really hope MVP gets the 24/7 Championship before the faction loses one of the other titles. And that shouldn’t be too hard, it’s the 24/7 Championship. He might even lose that title as the Raw Tag or US Championships are lost because Truth could just sneak in and roll him up. I just hope the Hurt Business lasts long enough to only break when they lose it all.
Mitchell’s Talking Smack Report! (1/23/21)
DING DONG, HELLO~! Talking Smack!
Talking Smack has a strong episode this week!
Cesaro, Bayley and Sami Zayn are all here to talk some smack on what went down! Will there be any sore losers among them? *cough* Bayley */cough*
Kayla Braxton welcomes us back to the show!
We’re just over a week away from the Royal Rumble, and Friday Night SmackDown had us on the edge of our seats! Kayla is here with cohost Paul Heyman, who has some explaining to do as he does his evil finger pyramid. Kayla knew right away Heyman had something planned, and he did, and instead of Adam Pearce VS Paul Heyman, we got Roman Reigns beating Pearce up. Roman did beat Pearce up, but Kevin Owens got back at Roman, too, and Kevin asked Heyman if he was watching. Were Heyman’s eyes open? Then yes, he was watching. “It was the perfect plan. Conspiracy theories abound and they’re all true.” They had Pearce locked in, Sonya was about to take over because Pearce was out the door. Heyman pulled the strings, he kept Kevin away all evening, but somehow Kevin screwed them. “Card subject to change.”
But Heyman isn’t done ranting! Wait until he finishes his point. Well he took a breath- Yes, he just took a breath! She made the mistake to jump right into any opening. Heyman continues to say that this is Kevin’s problem now: “The Royal Rumble, next Sunday, we’re not going to be pulling Card Subject to Change. Card will be delivered as advertised!” Which means KO is stepping into the ring with “an angry, infuriated WWE Universal Heavyweight Champion who understands that this match only ends when one man is left standing.” And it won’t be Kevin. That’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler! Three, two, one, now your turn, Kayla. Kayla appreciates that. Let’s lighten the mood, the host of DING DONG, HELLO~!
Bayley joins Talking Smack!
Heyman shakes Bayley’s hand and says he is a great admirer of her work. Bayley thanks him for that and appreciates Kayla’s slow clap. Heyman introduces himself and says if she wants to see something outside of her own brilliance, watch Roman Reigns get his hands on Kevin Owens in the Last Man Standing match to not only defend his title, but to put Kevin down with a beating that will earn a Parental Advisory Warning. Bayley likes that! They should get their people on that. Kayla has people? Yes. Now, to the “Ultimate Athletic Obstacle Course Challenge.” Bayley is flexing now, but Kayla points out that while it was Bayley’s idea, it didn’t go as planned.
Heyman says nothing goes as planned on SmackDown! And they had the best plan! The absolute best plan! But Kevin screwed it up! Kayla brings this back to Bayley’s plan in the obstacle course. Kayla gets Heyman relates to that here, but Bianca Belair, the EST, proved herself on Bayley’s course. She even embarrassed her. Bayley says to stop the replay, get to the end. Fast forward, guys, c’mon. Kayla brings up Bayley kinda cheated, and still lost. Bayley says it can’t be cheating if it’s under her rules. This is fair and square as her first-time-ever obstacle course challenge. Is no one listening? Is Bianca paying them to play the footage?
But it doesn’t matter, SmackDown doesn’t do obstacle courses between the longest reigning women’s champion and “some new chick.” Bayley doesn’t even want her weird chair anymore. Does Kayla want to be in the Royal Rumble? Bayley will gladly “welcome” her into that as the Role Model, the CAPTAIN of SmackDown! She’ll grab Kayla by her ear piece mic and throw her out, just like she will Bianca and every other woman in the match! Kayla doesn’t discount that, Bayley is an incredible competitor. But in the obstacle course- Heyman speaks up because he doesn’t like the use of “incredible,” it means “not credible,” but Bayley is definitely credible. She is a GREAT competitor, and Kayla is envious! #BayleyEnvy, make a shirt, put Kayla’s face on it.
Kayla asks if Bayley underestimated Bianca and therefore underestimating the other competitors in the Rumble. Bayley will say Bianca is a great athlete, we’ve seen what she’s capable of over the years. Bianca eliminated EIGHT superstars, but did she eliminate Rhea Ripley, a former NXT Women’s Champion who had her WrestleMania moment with Charlotte Flair? No, Bayley did! Quality over quantity! The lights, the stress, it’s all making Bayley sweat. Kayla thinks Bianca was making Bayley sweat. Maybe Bayley did the obstacle course and that’s why. Kayla does appreciate the challenge, it was entertaining, until the end when Bayley attacked Bianca. OH? Let’s check the ratings and see if it was entertaining.
Kayla thanks Bayley for her time, Bayley has a party to go to, Heyman says Kayla is condescending but he would never do that. He again shakes her hand and says Bayley is a generational talent. See you in the Rumble, Kayla. In the match! But speaking of the Rumble, our next guest is a superstar who vows to win the Men’s Rumble, the Swiss Cyborg!
Cesaro joins Talking Smack!
Cesaro likes the high chairs. He shakes hands with everyone and takes a seat. Standing tall, sitting tall, as he should after his victory. Cesaro beat Daniel Bryan last week, has a bit of a chip on his shoulder and turned down the rematch challenge. Why is that? Cesaro says he always has something to prove. He likes new challenges. He beat Bryan already, why do it again? And Bryan wasn’t even dressed anyway so he’d just be taking advantage. Kayla has known Cesaro for awhile, this feels like a new Cesaro. Is he showing a different side to the fans? No. Does he really seem that different? Kayla says there’s more intensity.
Well Cesaro says this is less new and more the old Cesaro. Cesaro went back to the basics, his strengths, and it’s paying off. So what is it about Bryan that “irks” him? Cesaro says it’s not the way we might think. They’ve known each other for about 15 years or more, they had a rivalry since they’ve met and it’s been very competitive. It came to the WWE, after having some of the toughest matches ever with Daniel Bryan. So yes, Bryan “irks” Cesaro because Cesaro needs to beat Bryan. Bryan brings out the best in Cesaro, and Cesaro does appreciate that, but it drives him.
Both men have been very vocal about winning the Men’s Rumble, but with 30 men total, will they be the final two? Cesaro is confident that they will. Anyone else that says differently, they should not be in this building, in that ring, and certainly not in Cesaro’s presence. Kayla says that Bryan having never won a Rumble, that is why this is so important to him. Bryan’s hunger could be greater than the others. Yes, it could be. But what a great New Year’s Resolution. Cesaro isn’t a fan of those, because you should want to be better every day. Not just once a year, but every day, be better today than you were yesterday, forever. Bryan’s hunger may be big, but it’s opinion.
That is what irks Cesaro. If Bryan wants to win that badly, then Cesaro wants to win even more. That is how this rivalry works, that is what is needed in the WWE. Use everything as motivation to get to that next level. Kayla agrees. Now say Cesaro does win the entire thing, which Kayla could see happening. Has Cesaro thought about who he will challenge at WrestleMania? The options are Roman and Kevin for the Universal Championship, or Drew McIntyre and Goldberg for the WWE World Championship. Cesaro said last week on commentary, he would challenge Roman Reigns on behalf of Shinsuke Nakamura. Now McIntyre mentioned Cesaro as a dream opponent and Cesaro would love that, too, but Cesaro is a man of his word.
Does Heyman have something to say on that? Heyman says Roman VS Cesaro is big box office. Heyman has sung Cesaro’s praises since he got into the WWE. Cesaro knows that respect and admiration, and is a very dangerous man. You don’t hear all this energy, he’s soft spoken and “means not to be anything else besides himself.” Cesaro is rightfully confident because he is uber talented, and is on a path to the top. There’s only one man who can stop him, and that is Roman Reigns, which is why that match could headline WrestleMania 37. Roman will put down Kevin, and Cesaro has a good chance of winning the Rumble, so we’ll wait and see.
Kayla thanks Cesaro for his time, and Cesaro tells Heyman to tell “Table Head” that he’s next. And finally, a man Kayla thought she’d never miss but definitely does lately, the “Great Liberator!”
Sami Zayn joins Talking Smack!
Sami notices he has no music. Kayla says he can try again but no, the moment has passed. “These are the little things I’m talking about.” Kayla says Heyman has a part in this but Sami says Heyman’s been in this business longer than Kayla’s been alive. Kayla can’t catch a break. Sami says Heyman is a lot of things, a lot of bad things, almost all of them true, but Heyman is not jealous of anyone. Sami says this is rather fitting that he’d get put on Talking Smack and then he gets disrespected. He brings up the conspiracy and brings in his film crew.
The documentary crew is here because Sami doesn’t recognize the cameramen and Sami’s been here 8 years. This is so the footage is true and unedited. Now, conspiracies. There is a long standing one against Sami, but it’s all the little things, the little acts of disrespect that add up. Everyone else gets music and a warm welcome, but Sami gets treated like a fool after being a cohost! Sami had his cuffs as a peaceful protest, the right to assembly. America loves their rights, right? This was Sami making a point, engaging in his right to do that. This was all to make management aware that he will not be silenced. But people act like he was in the wrong! Kayla does, doesn’t she?
Heyman voices his agreement. Sami says the thing is, but Heyman says it’s like a bad marriage. Sami was called an instigator, but he has the signs he brought to SmackDown. Let’s dissect these. #SAMI: Stand Against Moral Injustice. Those who don’t like this sign, why? Are they FOR moral injustice? Yes or no? But isn’t it hypocritical? Sami doesn’t like Apollo cheating but Sami was cheating a lot! Heyman has to tell Sami, he loves the sign, but he admits he kinda likes moral injustices. Sorry. Nothing against Sami, but still. Wait, Apollo Crews walks on set! Sami is glad to see him, though! Apollo wants to hear Sami in person. Keep going. Sami says this is perfect.
Sami brings up a sign that works for Apollo, “How Do You Sleep at Night?!” It works for Big E, too, who holds SAMI’s title! How does Apollo feel getting his title shot, cheating to win?! Apollo is okay with that?! That’s the difference between Sami and Apollo! Sami stands for something, he has a value system! Sami doesn’t want to upset Heyman but he wants Apollo to hear him. “How do you sleep, cutting these corners to get ahead?” Apollo acts like a nice guy with a million dollar smile, but then he’s okay with winning how he did? At best, Apollo should’ve given Sami a rematch and then we’d see who is the better man.
Heyman says Sami is upsetting Apollo but Sami says he doesn’t care. Apollo says Sami can talk, talk, talk, but eventually Apollo will get Sami in that ring. Well that’s a threat. Don’t make excuses, Kayla, it is a threat on her show! Heyman doesn’t like being in the middle of this, literally. Sami says he has to think about his camera crew’s safety. Apollo won’t intimidate Sami, but he is doing this for his documentarians. Apollo is going to be confrontational, he’s making Heyman uncomfortable, so Sami is going to leave. Not for Sami’s safety but his cameramen. Sami excuses himself, and Kayla says that’s fine, this is the end of the show anyway.
Heyman tells Apollo that Sami is just distracting him. It’s what Sami does. Is Apollo going to be distracted “by a prick” or be focused on the Intercontinental Championship? Apollo say she’s going to beat Sami’s ass, THEN go get the title. “Because I can.” Heyman is impressed. With that devious smile on Heyman’s face, Kayla goes to close the show, but then Kevin Owens shows up… Heyman and Kevin stare down, Heyman gives a nod, and Kevin leans over to tell Heyman, “You feel it.” Kevin then offers a handshake, and Heyman takes it. What did Kevin mean by that?
What a great episode! Heyman was great throughout the whole episode, but he’s great all the time really. Him trying to interject the Roman story into everything was great. Bayley had a good segment, and it fits her Heel persona that she takes a 360 on the obstacle course because she lost. Bayley VS Bianca really should happen on the go-home next week to get them both going into the Rumble. Cesaro made a good point, New Year’s Resolutions are a bit silly when you should be trying harder every day. And I really like that, though not fully Face, Cesaro is calling out Roman here on behalf of Nakamura. I still think Cesaro would be great as a Face, so we’ll have to wait and see.
And then the last segment was awesome stuff. Sami getting NO theme music, ranting on with Heyman on his side mostly, and then the surprise appearances from Apollo and Kevin to plug their stories, all of it was done perfectly. Apollo even somewhat defying Heyman was great. Whether he goes Heel or not, an aggressive Apollo is definitely a good move for him.
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