Don’t you dare be sour! Renee Young and the gang are on location in Miami! With both Roman Reigns and ya bois, the NEW~ DAY~!
Renee Young runs down the schedule!
WWE Backstage is live from the location of Super Bowl LIV, aka 51, with a jam-packed episode! The Big Dog whooped King Corbin’s ass all over Minute Maid Park and is now in Miami live! Plus, the New Day and a special Fox NFL Sunday friend. Then, a flashback to the original Halftime Heat! That and more, right now!
The Road to WrestleMania comes to Miami!
The in-studio audience could be turned down a bit as Renee gives an introduction, but that just means everyone is excited to be here! Renee welcomes us watching at home and introduces Booker T and Christian. The South Beach Peeps are here! Christian busts out some Will Smith but Renee hopes there’s no copyright strike. But the Royal Rumble Weekend helped kick off this Road to Mania, and Raw had plenty of aftermath to boot.
But first: Just the Highlights!
The Fiend and Daniel Bryan were strapped together and made each other suffer for it. But in the end, the nightmare continues as Bray Wyatt keeps the title. In “every woman for herself,” Otis Dozovic did his best to help his “sweet peach,” Mandy Rose, and Naomi did her best to survive. But in the end The Queen comes out on top! And as such, Becky Lynch managed to finally settle the score with Asuka while Bayley stole one from Lacey Evans, so Charlotte has a big decision on her hands. Then in “every man for himself,” The Beast dominated as Heyman promised, but not forever! Because while things got Rated R with Edge, it was Ricochet’s revenge and Drew McIntyre’s CLAYMORE that conquered the Conqueror.
As for Raw the next night, things went from Rated R to M for Mature as Randy Orton not only swerved Edge but DECIMATED him! Hearts were broken, but is Edge’s legacy shattered? As for the Men’s Rumble Winner, McIntyre had a much easier decision: he wants Brock Lesnar! And Lesnar wants him, too, as he got revenge with an F5!
The panel discusses the wild weekend.
Who would’ve thought Lesnar would lose the Rumble and Drew McIntyre would be gunning for him? Christian and Booker each claim they had that pick but Renee says it was hers all the way. But McIntyre’s journey, from being the Chosen One in his first run, to being fired from the WWE to coming back and is now THE one going after Brock Lesnar, it’s incredible and well-deserved. Booker said he should’ve been King Drew, but Rumble winner is great. Booker thought the Rumble was ending early but McIntyre came out to make history! McIntyre has his moment, and now a Mania main event! Christian says McIntyre is a true pro-wrestler, a student of the game. McIntyre’s journey to this point were investments and building equity. Christian encouraged McIntyre during a preshow to put on the best match they could, and that got everyone’s attention. The difference between that and the main event scene is just doing it every night. No one deserves this more than McIntyre.
Renee notes the switch in mindset. McIntyre would always talk notes about the matches he has, and now he’s in one with Lesnar. Lesnar’s entering at number one got mixed reactions, but he ended up so integral to the match’s story. Lesnar really could’ve run that gauntlet and many felt that would happen. But while people criticize the schedule, Lesnar puts in the work when he’s here. Things no one really notices, even, Lesnar is so good at that, and he made a lot of other guys into stars that night. Booker loved that we got multiple layers to Lesnar in one night, too. There was the mean Lesnar, the fun-loving Lesnar, and just overall it was entertaining. 2019 was a great year for Lesnar even with his part-time schedule, but his 2020 will be just as good. And to address the elephant in the room, Edge will be a topic, but in depth much later! Be patient, please!
But other than Edge, favorite moments of the Rumble: Booker says it was Lesnar going to a new level, and letting McIntyre have that moment off him; Christian agrees, that Claymore that eliminated Lesnar, that boosted McIntyre, but also the callback of Ricochet getting to low blow back as part of it. Renee likes that NXT’s Keith Lee got to have his brief moment with Lesnar, too. Just a reminder that the Limitless One is his own beast. Booker agrees, so many moments you could list, but that’s what WWE fans will remember for years.
Shifting to the Women’s Rumble and how Charlotte Flair is now headed for WrestleMania again, fans like the sound of that. Well, some. There’s dueling chants already. But who does everyone want to see her face? One fan shouts, “The Undertaker!” But Christian says we’ve gotten Charlotte VS Becky plenty, but maybe going against Bad Bayley would be something fresh. Booker seconds that, as Bayley needs her moment for Mania, too. Bayley was red hot fast but then cooled off just as fast. Christian adds that taking something that works and flipping it around with the turn, Bayley’s taking big steps and is champion for a reason. Renee asks about other highlights, and Booker pointed out Shayna Baszler coming in and wrecking. Don’t mess with Baszler, she makes you feel her fights. But Bianca Belair needs a shout-out for starting 2nd and lasting 37 minutes! She makes her own ring gear, by the way! That’s amazing!
Christian likes Bianca’s look, level of talent, and she’s still young. Sometimes you don’t need to win a match, and putting up a performance like that one, Bianca solidified herself as the future of WWE. And of course, Beth Phoenix powering through that bad cut on her head and just everything else. Booker knows she’s the Glamazon, but she’s also a Warrior Princess. Bloody and tired but she made it through. Sometimes a moment like that rattles you, but Christian was proud that she got more fired up. That is what a veteran does. But this is just the tip of the iceberg for Backstage in Miami, so don’t go anywhere!
The Big Dog runs the Yard!
A stellar Falls Count Anywhere match victory in the Astros’ stadium and still an impressive part to play in the Men’s Rumble, Roman Reigns is back in his home state and walks down the tiny football field to join the panel. Renee notes that Roman and Baron Corbin got to have a fun time at the NFL Super Bowl Opening Night event, where Roman and Corbin got to be interviewers rather than interviewees.
Corbin and Roman each start by asking the players that if their entire team roster was in a Royal Rumble of their own, who would win? Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs couldn’t be sure. But his teammate, Tyreek Hill says Patrick Mahomes would play it strategically, sitting back in a corner as everyone else battled it out. Kelce finally has an answer, and says it’d be Chris Jones. Ahkello Witherspoon of the San Francisco 49ers says George Kittle would take their respective Rumble. Other Chiefs, like Eric Fisher, says “Sherm,” Anthony Sherman, would win. Corbin goes to Sherman, and Sherman agrees, he’d win. Ben Niemann disagrees just on account of Sherm’s ego. Back to the 49ers, Marcell Harris feels it would also be “Stone Cold Kit” Kittle, as do Nick Bosa and Jimmy Garoppolo. Kittle agrees, and gets himself a quick selfie.
The question then shifts to: Who is first eliminated? Bosa says Garoppolo, and Bosa would do it himself. Kittle feels he’d go after Garoppolo, too. Ironic, since lineman are supposed to protect quarterbacks. When asking Sherm, Corbin asks who he’s at least targeting first. “Oh I’m getting rid of Pat, no question.” Quarterbacks are easy targets, but Stefen Wisniewski chooses their kickers. Dustin Colquitt is a target because he’s a bit older. When Corbin brings this news to the Chiefs’ Punter, he warns them all: “Beware the left leg.”
Corbin finishes up by telling all the NFL fans in attendance to get refunds on their tickets now, so they can go back home to San Fran or wherever, because the Chiefs are taking this home!
The panel reacts.
Renee teases that Roman might be trying to take her gig. He was just doing his best. And he’s had a lot of fun being here, because the Super Bowl parallels WrestleMania in how it takes over a city and brings so much energy. Renee brings the double duty Roman did. How was that return to the Rumble event given he missed it last year because of leukemia? It was a great story for Roman, and a blessing, to be here, healthy and doing great. You take your eye off the ball, but the little things add up and make the big picture. Being part of that event and that match, even with double duty, and help McIntyre have a moment, there is pride in sharing that night. McIntyre busted his ass, made it back here, and Roman was happy to give back.
Booker brings up what having not just double duty but having two full, 20+ minute performances is like. It is tough, because you get that first match going to loosen you up. But then, in Roman’s case, he waited all night and cooled off, stiffened up a bit, and he’s not getting any younger. It was still a great opportunity and responsibility, and legends like Booker and Christian know that giving back the investment the company’s put in him, that’s what makes it worth it. Christian does give him his credit for that work, because Rumbles last a long time one way or another. As far as Falls Count Anywhere goes, how awesome was it that it was a baseball stadium that they got to do that in? Roman says the environment can change everything, so the space and the atmosphere were different than a basketball or hockey arena. Things were different in a great way. Renee likes the porta-potty spot, especially. Luckily they found a clean one.
Sports entertainment being an escape, we do have to point out the tragic real life news. Kobe Bryant and daughter Gigi, along with half a dozen others, died in a helicopter trash the morning of that Sunday. What was the mood backstage when that news broke? It was heavy, to say the least. The world felt the loss, and Roman himself grew up a Lakers fan and just a Kobe fan. Many in his generation and younger certainly did, so it was just incredibly sad to hear that happened. Everyone took it upon themselves to use that moment to be grateful and appreciative of the lives they have, but then knew to put it aside long enough to do the show that was an escape for everyone else. It was a day full of emotions to be sure, and Roman sends his prayers on behalf of everyone here. Fans applaud that as they agree. Roman will stick around a bit longer as we continue to talk Rumble fallout!
You can’t have a football game without a halftime show!
While Super Bowl 51 will have Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, there was a concept back in 1999 for the WWE (then WWF) to do something special of their own for football’s biggest game of the year. It oddly was an Empty Arena Match for the inaugural Halftime Heat special, The Rock taking on Mick Foley as Mankind. It was Foley’s idea and he talked everyone else into it. With it being empty, that allowed the entire arena to become a safe environment for The Rock and Foley to just go wild! Popcorn, cotton candy and salsa were among the food based weaponry, and then Foley was put in pizza ovens and knocked down steps. But then it was a keg carrying forklift that “crushed” The Rock and allowed Foley to win! Go find that match on the WWE Network to watch it for yourself!
The panel discusses Halftime Heat ’99.
That was a great match and moment, and Christian notes how strange and difficult it is to wrestle in essentially complete silence. The crowd, like the one right here, can pump you up and go extraordinary. Two legends to do that says a lot about how great they are. Foley is unselfish with all the times he’s put his body on the line. Booker says it was historic because many have tried to recreate it in their own way. But shifting gears again…
What’s next for the Women’s Division?
Lacey Evans and Bayley have been going back and forth fiercely while Becky Lynch was finally ready for Asuka! Booker feels for Bayley, that win was the first step to something. Lacey’s bad to the bone for being a lady, but Bayley beating her sets things up for progress. Bayley’s mean streak needs to get meaner, she needs to do something crazy. Christian felt it was more impressive that Sasha Banks wasn’t around and Bayley did this alone. When you feel you can’t do no wrong, sky’s the limit.
And then for Becky, finally getting that win she felt she needed more than anything, is her groove back? Yes it’s “How Becky Got Her Groove Back.” The one obstacle in her career being Asuka, Becky won and wants to main event Mania two years in a row. Booker says Becky needed this more than Asuka, because Kabuki Warriors have plenty in store for themselves. Becky’s back on track for the Road to WrestleMania, but plenty more to speak on that.
Frank Caliendo is coming!
Doing his John Gruden right now but surely he’ll have all of Backstage laughing out loud. “Spider two, wide bananas. I love this stuff.”
Drivers, start your engines with the Celtic Warrior!
That’s because Sheamus gets to be the pace car guest driver for the Daytona 500!
WWE and NFL have a close relationship, and clearly an influence on each other.
Football greats like Lawrence Taylor and Rob Gronkowski made their impacts in pro-wrestling, but many more football players love pro-wrestling. Big Cat, Ernie Ladd’s combined career, The Fridge VS Andre the Giant during WrestleMania II’s battle royal, and once again, LT being in WrestleMania 11’s main event. Gronk got in on WM 33 to tackle Jinder Mahal and help his boy Mojo Rawley, while a select few make the full transition from gridiron to squared circle. Just look at Baron Corbin, Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar and Goldberg. Spears and pounces, anyone? Plus, you’ll find plenty of times when NFL players shout-out their favorite superstars. “The canvas may be different, but the artistry is the same.”
Frank Caliendo has the audience thunderous!
Again, really hard to hear Renee give the superstar caliber comedian his introduction, but the crowd reaction seems to say it all. Frank reps KC, “Let me tell you something, brother! Ooh yeah~!” He uses the power of the Hulkster and Macho Man to get the fans loud again. Sketch comedians usually look up to Saturday Night Live, but Caliendo was more about Saturday Night Main Event! Vince McMahon not knowing what was in Jake the Snake Roberts’ bag, c’mon. It’s a SNAKE, it’s Jake’s nickname!
Renee of course prepares us for Caliendo’s arsenal of impressions, such as the amazing Morgan Freeman. Caliendo goes into Freeman mode but he’s out of breath. “And that’s when ol’ Frank realized he had nothin’ left.” But to start, Morgan Freeman Caliendo rattles off old school names, like Junkyard Dog, Big John Stud, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Nothing? The fans were more fired up when he was just screaming. Caliendo lists of Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods. But saying their names summons them to the stage! The New Day is out and flinging flapjacks already! They boo his Morgan Freeman! “Cakes! Cakes!” The New Day loves the energy, but not Caliendo! That’s not at all Morgan Freeman! Woods actually says it is. Try Adam Sandler, though.
“Hey, Big E! Take a look at you! What happened to the rest of the alphabet? I think it’s in your chest!” Great Sandler, but now Kofi wants Caliendo to rip on Woods’ love for the Golden Girls, but as Gruden. “I tell you what, man, thank you for being a friend. Travel ’round the road and back again, your heart is pure, you’re a friend and a confidant.” Rue McClanahan, is that the actress or the character? Woods won’t let him besmirch Sophia, but Caliendo Gruden wouldn’t dare. Big E suggests getting on Kofi being a vegan, as Al Pacino. “Oh…! Yeah, that’s why I wear the green suit, first of all. Because I’m scared of meat. I’m steppin’ on pancakes here, guys.” But that’s what this is all, *clap*, ABOUT right now. But the best thing would be getting on BOOKER T! Where is he?!
Booker returns to the stage but wants them to slow down. They’re having way too much fun, but he wants in on it. Everyone knows Booker is King of Promo School! So hit Booker as Super Mario! “It’sa me, Mario!” No, try Barkley. “Aw thassa knucklehead. What happened with that suit?” There’s a table cloth missing, and it’s on Booker. Try De Niro now. “Ey, ey. I’m not sure if he shoulda said that, but it was funny. Yes it was, huh? Huh?” Booker getting annoyed now. He ain’t playing games, sucka. He is the FIVE-TIME (FIVE-TIME) champion, and the TWO-TIME (TWO-TIME) Hall of Famer! Caliendo hopes the New Day is backing him up right now. Booker headlocks Caliendo and brings him further backstage. Does Promo School have detention? Guess we’ll find out…
Edge’s return broke the internet!
Who expected the Rated R Return at the Royal Rumble? Certainly not anyone watching! Not in Houston, not at home, no one around the world!
It’s time for the Backstage Main Event!
And what else BUT Edge’s return! He proved you can never give up on your dreams. Christian plays it off for a moment, but it was definitely a great night. WWE is about creating moments, and one moment was Edge announcing his retirement in 2011 because of his neck injury. But his return, multiplied by how it was during the Royal Rumble match, it was unheard of! But as Edge said on Raw, those “What If” questions creep in, namely whether or not Edge could still do it, good neck aside. Talking after, Edge told Christian that he was so nervous. To put that in perspective, Christian always needed Edge to calm him down before matches, and Edge had nerves of steel. So that’s how big that night really was for everyone.
Roman himself got to be in the ring with Edge, that was a phenomenal dream moment. The things Edge went through, in and out of the ring, it’s all so inspiring. And just as Roman said about his story, Edge had his own version of that and so Roman was so excited to be blessed to have that moment. Christian adds that talking to him just before the return, Edge was already made up. Edge was excited to be in the ring with the new roster, such as Roman, and Seth Rollins, and AJ Styles, and Aleister Black. These dream match teases were all there, and sky’s the limit now. Renee really loved Edge and Styles staring down, and Booker was excited to call the match. The pandemonium! Time off can be an athlete’s worst enemy, but Edge coming back, leaving the business his way, big props!
Roman speaks to the locker room vibe that night, and it’s like Christian said. They’re all excited to be working together, everyone wanted their part of Edge. It was also just great to see him, and he was in great shape. Orton said it himself, “Damn you look good.” Christian knows Roman is a locker room leader, but Edge being back, what does that mean? “The more the merrier.” Keeping this culture and tradition, seeing a leader and legend like Edge coming in, “you can’t go wrong.” Renee and the fans are all excited, so who knows what’s next for Edge. But Booker has a surprise? Someone’s birthday? The boss’s birthday, but who do we mean? RICK ROSS in the front row! Happy birthday to Rozay!
George Kittle speaks on his love of the WWE and pro-wrestling.
What the 49ers Tight End loves is the personalities and the art of their characters in the spotlight. That translates well to football as the spotlight is on and the players need to be their absolute best no matter what.
Kittle’s favorite match is from the first WrestleMania he got to watch live, start to finish, and that would be WM 31 in Levi Stadium. Rollins cashing in was just a great moment period.
His favorite wrestling catchphrase is “Austin 3:16,” because it’s the best. But just as good was getting tweeted by THE ROCK. He could retire happy with The Rock and Stone Cold both following him! With just a few days left before the Super Bowl, will Kittle and the 49ers stun the Kansas City Chiefs?
Roman and The New Day help wrap up the show.
Kofi and Woods once again man the Big E cannon but The Big Dog pumps up his favorite team, the 49ers! He is congratulating the Chiefs on their great year, but it ends Sunday. The Bay Area’s three phase team has a different culture, this is their game! Offense, defense, special teams, they’ll hit Mahomes in the mouth and make him move around. They have speed on D, it’s going down! #BeLegendary, #QuestFor6, get a ring for the other hand! Kofi is a Patriots fan but Roman makes sure he knows that “America’s original team” is coming for their legacy. And with that, Big E is going deep in the end zone and we prepare for kickoff! Which team do you have for Super Bowl LIV?
This was a really fun episode. Obviously WWE being with Fox allows for tie-ins like with traditional sports, but as pointed out, WWE and NFL/football have been pretty intertwined for decades. It was pretty fun seeing those interviews about football Royal Rumbles and what not, and Roman gave a solid promo in favor of the 49ers. Surprised no one repped KC in return but time constraints and such I suppose. I loved the highlight on Halftime Heat ’99, and Caliendo was great as he always is. I suppose they left out talking about Orton brutalizing Edge just to keep the mood light, and also because we all know that wasn’t really how it looked on TV. Gotta preserve some parts of kayfabe, even on a show that pulls back the curtain.