You can look, but you can’t touch!
WWE Backstage welcomes two 2020 Hall of Fame inductees, Nikki & Brie Bella! What will the Bella Twins have to say about the great news?
Renee Young introduces the panel!
Booker T is always here for your “champagne wishes, caviar dreams,” and some custom Jordans. “These ain’t no Vans!” What’s wrong with Vans? They shut the company down because no one buys them anymore. Renee defends Vans on behalf of her custom David Bowie Vans. Well that’s David Bowie. But moving on, we have Mark Henry again, and Captain Charisma is back! Christian the Backstage Buddha, that is. Make that his lower third.
But just days from WWE Super Showdown, things reached a boiling point as the Road to WrestleMania rolls on. And once again, Backstage has…
Just the Highlights!
From SmackDown: The Symphony of Destruction sequel was even more destructive than the first! The Bella Twins were announced for the 2020 Hall of Fame class! Naomi beats Carmella to be part of a historic match for WWE Super Showdown! And Goldberg didn’t play The Fiend’s games and gave him a SPEAR! But will things go as smoothly in Saudi Arabia?
From Raw: The Beast, BRRROCK! LESNARRR! Was back on the air and Paul Heyman gave one last ultimatum to Ricochet and Drew McIntyre, that Lesnar would make “minced meat” out of both of them. A brawl broke loose as the Raw Women’s Championship Contender’s Elimination Chamber contract was signed! Seth Rollins was able to #BurnItDown and stomp it out on Montez Ford! And disciples come from all walks of life, and that includes referees! The Viper benefits from the Monday Night Messiah’s message having reached the “heart” of one young such official, and it pissed Kevin Owens off! Kevin made the referee pay, but when will Rollins have to face the consequences?
The panel discusses this week in WWE.
Raw masterfully mixed two big stories together, and Kevin got stuck in the middle. Is Christian glad to see a fellow Canadian stick up for Edge? He is, because this will help enhance both stories. Kevin’s motivations were logical and great, and it is also relatable. Randy Orton “on cruise control” is still better than 99% of the roster. But then a motivated Orton is even greater. Renee looks forward to Beth Phoenix showing up on Raw next week. Henry adds that the Canadian connection was great, too. Booker says that’s what you’re supposed to do. And he also likes Kevin and Orton in their roles.
All wrestlers get to a point where they go, “Why couldn’t I have figured this out 10 years ago?!” And there is where Orton is now. Orton cutting a promo is like having coffee in the morning with hazelnut creamer, “it’s tasting real good.” Orton is painting the best picture, is Shakespearean on the mic, everyone can learn from this. Christian notes Orton is in full control.
Renee wants to talk what’s up with the “Winnipeg Screw Job” and the crooked ref. Henry says it’s a bit disappointing, but it does work as a layer to the Rollins story. Kevin’s character figured out “there was a snake in the grass,” even before Rollins did. Booker notes that it really does keep the memory of the Montreal Screw Job alive, because it’s all Canadian! Christian says Canada is Screw Job Country.
Moving to SmackDown’s side of things, Naomi is once again a contender for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Bayley did her best to change that but WWE Super Showdown sets up Bayley VS Naomi. For one, it is great to see a women’s title match in Riyadh, and Henry says Naomi getting the spotlight is great. Naomi is doing everything she can to bring prominence back to the Women’s Division. Naomi’s match with Bayley showed that she belongs, and Henry is sure Naomi will be in the title scene to stay. Booker notes that it’s Black History Month, “all the brothers on the card should win the titles.” But Naomi is definitely worthy. Her time off did wonders for her. Booker knows she’ll be a great champion, she just needs time to get there, to up her game. He says she’ll win.
Christian says Naomi is one of his favorites, her time is coming again, but maybe not at Super Showdown. We’re so close to WrestleMania, let Bayley carry that title in, and then let the title change happen there. Booker wants buzz! The buzz faded from Bayley, so put it on Naomi! Henry says the fans are all behind Naomi, but Christian says that could build even higher towards Mania. Henry doesn’t understand why it always has to be about Mania. Make it right now! Christian argues slow burn but Henry says Naomi’s on fire now.
WWE Backstage spots a tweet from TSN Sports.
“Drake’s got something to say,” with the hush emoji. He’s Drake Two Belts with his WWE World Championship and throwback Hulkamania world championship belt replicas! Will the Toronto Raptors retain their own NBA championship this season?
WWE Backstage look back on the Bella Twins’ journey.
It was 2008 when both Bellas debuted, as they pulled off some classic Twin Magic when one Bella went under the ring, and two came back out! Nikki and Brie would each be WWE Diva’s Champion in their careers, with Nikki setting the record for longest reign at 301 days in her second reign. Nikki would also main event the WWE’s first-ever all women’s PPV, Evolution, in 2018 against Ronda Rousey. And of course, the Bellas led the charge in reality TV with Total Divas, and then their own spin-off in Total Bellas. Both shows got mainstream exposure onto WWE and women’s wrestling, and allowed the Bellas to blaze a trail into other ventures, such as fashion, wine and podcasts. And with WrestleMania season reaching the peak, the Bellas add one more achievement to the inspiring list: Hall of Fame inductions!
The Bellas are Backstage!
Nikki and Brie already sit with Renee and are both proud of their baby bumps. How did it feel to get the call about going into the HOF? So many things. The day they got the call, Brie thought Nikki did or said something to get them in trouble. Even Nikki had to think back just in case. But they called Vince McMahon back and were shocked to hear the news! And then they were overwhelmed with gratitude. Having worked hard for so long, and then for the man who gave them their opportunities to call personally and be so nice, it is still surreal. Even seeing that video package, it’s still hard to believe they did all that.
Renee asks that with everything they did inside the ring and outside the ring, what moments stand out? Brie says the Divas Search in 2006, where they were actually rejected at first, is crazy to think about. Footage plays for everyone to reminisce on, and the Bellas can’t believe they were so young and used to dress like that. Being denied there but working hard to get another chance was a major part of their lives.
Nikki says that using “Twin Magic” and then having Total Divas help show they’re still individuals, which then translated to the ring, “Fearless Nikki” and “Brie Mode” and their reigns and big matches, so many moments make the list. The Bella VS Bella feud was hard, Renee even felt that one. Nikki promised Brie at the time that a lot of the emotions might be aimed towards Brie, but it was about a lot of other things, too.
Renee notes how the Bellas were even part of Florida Championship Wrestling, FCW, and then ended up being a big part of the Women’s (R)Evolution in WWE. The locker room changed a lot. When the Bellas started and it was still the Diva’s Era, the women were always fighting for more time, but it was selfish fighting. Each woman wanted time for themselves. But as time went on, it was about the women all fighting for “the match,” to bring everyone up together. The women all realized that it was a fight as a group. NXT call-ups came in with the same vision, and it all made them a strong “force” to be reckoned with.
Renee brings it back to when Charlotte Flair and Paige were last on WWE Backstage. They had their own comments about how the Bellas were already great wrestlers during the Diva’s Era. But when they were against women that wanted to wrestle, that helped the Bellas elevate even more. Charlotte praised Nikki growing as a wrestler, and she got to have a great match with Ronda Rousey. It is women working together to help the entire Division. The Bellas appreciate all that. And for their perspective, “It makes you better. Mentally, physically, because you’re working with women that are so athletic.”
It’s like the Super Bowl, teams working to become THE champion, and you’re playing the other great team of the league. It’s the best versus the best, and that is what we all got. Nikki got to face some of the best women in wrestling today, and she raised her game to match and created magic. It is magical when you work together, and both parties make each other better. Renee notes the preparation for her match with Ronda. How hard was that for Nikki? Nikki knew it was Ronda Rousey, an icon in women’s fight sports. Fearless Nikki wasn’t enough, she had to be more aggressive. They only trained for 20 minutes but Nikki literally felt the difference in Ronda’s strength compared to others. Nikki went in feeling she had to be Goliath for Ronda’s David to conquer.
Brie adds that growing up in soccer, teamwork makes magic. The Bella Twins worked as a great duo, the give and take. And again relating to the locker room mentality changing to be about the matches, not the individual stars, it is as Paige said about the entire division coming together. Renee says the Bellas were such great locker room leaders, they all miss Nikki and Brie.
But with all the accomplishments, like Total Divas, Total Bellas, Bella Radici wine, little Birdie and the new babies on the way, they have created a Bella Empire! What’s next? They have their podcast and YouTube channels, and they have another wine line coming down the pipeline. Brie and Nikki having retired from the ring, they have all these entrepreneurial ventures now, and with a purpose. Renee commends them on busting their butts, and knows the Bellas will stick around to discuss even more.
WWE Backstage presents another edition of: Wrestling with Your Feelings, with Rachel Bonnetta!
The Street Profits are set for a Super Showdown, but they’re hesitant to go in. Once you knock on the door, you- Rachel can hear them through the door! Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins go inside and take a seat. There are no alcoholic beverages allowed, she’ll have to take it away. Ford makes a move and Rachel says he needs to not lash out like that. She allows his drink one time, if he leaves it with her administrator, Susanne. Susanne’s a nice lady, she makes great banana bread.
Rachel wants to discuss Ford calling himself, “King Tez.” Why is he so full of himself? Is this therapy or a roast? The WWE Roast of Montez Ford. How does Dawkins deal with this? Dawkins won’t let her burn Montez. Rachel wants them to have a session a week for the next year. The next year!? Yes, and they will work on “this” every week. Ford blames Dawkins’ emotions but Dawkins blames Ford’s energy. Do not bring that cup into her office again. Unless he’s willing to share. Rachel wants a sip? Well they’ve got all year now. Laters! Susanne! Where the banana bread at, fam?
The panel discusses.
When is Booker T stopping in for therapy? Not until Rachel changes that sweater, she’s been wearing that since the first one. Renee says Rachel is professional, it’ll be fine. But the Super Showdown is coming, so let’s talk how to…
Pay It Off!
The panel previously discussed the Street Profits needing to get down ‘n’ dirty. How should they walk away from Super Showdown? Booker says Rollins & Murphy have been performing at a very, very high level, while the Street Profits are still coming up. The Profits will be tag team champions one day, just not Thursday. They still need time to grow, be ready for that title scene pressure. Drew McIntyre will tell them all about that. Christian agrees that the Profits are entertaining on the mic, almost like Edge and Christian. The connection with the audience in that way is good, but there also needs to be the connection with the audience in the ring, and that takes time to figure out. Those singles matches were really good, but the Profits will have their time.
Henry says that Christian and Booker were legitimate tag team wrestlers in their time, and that is where the Profits are. They are the tag team, while Rollins and Murphy came together as individuals. That isn’t a tag team in Henry’s eyes. Christian notes that it’s because they’re the top faction on Raw right now, and only just won the titles. Rollins is the established star for sure, giving validation to this reign. The Profits haven’t had the time to be there yet. Christian as a tag team guy, he and Edge still didn’t win titles right away, it took some time. Booker concurs. Renee says the match will be great either way, but now moves the conversation to SmackDown’s “unstoppable force” and “immovable object.” Renee of course means Goldberg and The Fiend having an encounter to close the show!
Goldberg didn’t flinch when The Fiend appeared, and SPEARED him down instead! Henry starts off by saying that as great as it would be for Goldberg to be Universal Champion again, The Fiend still has too much steam and value right now. The Fiend will go forward, even with Goldberg going at him. Christian says again that he’s a fan of Bray Wyatt as a generational talent. Goldbeg is iconic, so The Fiend beating him will do so much more to enhance The Fiend. Booker says The Fiend won this title at the last Saudi Arabia show while Goldberg had a different kind of moment at that same show. But now, for both of them to collide in the return trip, “it’s going down.” There is a moment to be had, but in whose favor?
Renee brings things to Ricochet challenging for the WWE World Championship against Brock Lesnar, and last night he proved he can beat a big man. Ricochet took on Luke Gallows and hit a HUGE Shooting Star to do it! But how does this go then? Booker says Ricochet looks GOODT and a rocket will be strapped on him, someday. Super Showdown is going to be Ricochet going down in flames against Brock Lesnar. But how bad is Lesnar going to make it for him? Lesnar will put Ricochet through pain! Henry says Ricochet is going to Suplex City, and there’s nothing anyone can do it. Christian knows Lensar is one of the best, and has had some of his best matches with smaller guys. Ricochet ups his stock just by having this match, but nope, it’s not going Ricochet’s way.
The WWE wishes a Happy Birthday to Ric Flair!
The Rolex wearing, kiss-stealing, wheeling dealing, jet flying son-of-a-gun, “the greatest of them all” turns 71! And to celebrate, Flair went to watch Pelicans VS Lakers, and cut a very complimentary promo for LeBron James as “the greatest athlete in the world today!” WOO~!
The Bellas join Henry and Renee, as they all know the Nature Boy very well. Henry starts with his best PG Flair story. Henry’s first time meeting Flair was after a show, and they’re at the hotel and he sees Flair in full Ric Flair mode. Flair is stylin’, profilin’, buying drinks, #Naitchin’. And then Henry walks over and Flair climbs up on the bar to dance and throw off his jacket and asking some lady to get up and dance with him. She does, and Henry was just in awe. And that’s how Sexual Chocolate was born.
Brie has many great memories, but her favorite was just before she retired. Flair invited her and others out to dinner, and he could tell she was conflicted. Brie knew women’s wrestling was getting to a great place but she wanted to start a family with husband Daniel Bryan. Flair told her that the greatest match in life is being a parent. Brie understood, and those words stick with her to this day. Nikki’s memory will stay PG, too, and it was her and Charlotte for the Diva’s Championship. The fatherly advice Flair gave Nikki was so touching, because he cried proud tears for them both. Renee says her first interview with him in Virginia, “Virginia’s for lovers!” The fans went nuts! Just feeling that Ric Flair energy is next level. Another happy birthday to Ric Flair, and wishes for many more!
WWE congratulates Tyson Fury on his big win!
February 22nd, Fury VS Wilder, HHH was there backstage with Fury as Fury was pumping himself up for the fight. As posted by BT Sport WWE’s Twitter channel, Fury jokes that if he has to, he’ll Choke Slam Deontay Wilder down. The Gypsy King had his throne, The Bronze Bomber had his crown, but in the end, the WBC Heavyweight Champion would be the undefeated Fury! The Rock was there to congratulate Fury and the family in person.
Booker T sits with Christian. If Fury were to come back, how would they book him? Fury VS Baron Corbin for the one true king of fight sports. Booker notes Corbin is just as tall, just as strong, and was a Golden Gloves winner in boxing once, so that would be a great match-up. Christian likes that pick, but wants Fury VS Booker for choosing Wilder. But seriously, it should be Fury and Strowman together again, with Elias on the side, against a faction like Rollins, Murphy & AOP, and then when the King, the Monster and the Drifter win, they can sing a cover of American Pie. Booker admits choosing wrong, and congratulates Fury on becoming the new WBC Heavyweight Champion.
It’s the WWE Backstage Main Event!
Ron Simmons, The Rock, Booker T, Mark Henry, Kofi Kingston. Just some of the names in a lineage of Black world champions in WWE. Black History Month is almost over, so Henry and Booker discuss their own journeys in this business. “Book, here we are.” Two men who made it to this level. They loved the journey, but there were others, like Ernie Ladd, who told Henry that he did great, and the company was doing great things with African American talent. Just don’t mess it up for everyone after him. Booker says Henry the Olympic caliber athlete had that going for him, but Booker was “just a kid from South Park.” Booker was sneaking to the other side of town, acting like a wrestler.
Booker remembers Ox Baker telling him, “Kid, can I talk to you?” He saw Booker’s talent, but told him there’d be a lot of obstacles. Booker didn’t need to be told those obstacles, and Baker told him to find ways over, under and around those obstacles. “But with your talent, I think you can do it.” Ox set Booker straight, as did Tiger Conway. “You gotta know how to be a champion in the ring, as well as out of the ring, all the time.” Henry also remembers meeting Conway. You are to make it known to the promoter that you’re going to be on time all the time, that you are reliable. Because when the promoter knows that, they’ll put you in the segments and moments that matter, the moments that make you better.
Henry says he was fortunate enough to be in the Nation of Domination. He had Ron Simmons and The Godfather, these veterans, who taught Henry, D’Lo Brown and The Rock things. Because of those teachings and blessings, those three rose up to be their own individual star stronger than before NOD. Booker notes having his brother, Stevie Ray, watching his back. Winning the world championship was never a thought in Booker’s mind, even as Stevie was telling Booker he was “prolific.” Booker wasn’t even sure what that word meant, but Stevie kept talking him up. Someone else told Booker that he’d be a future world champion, and Booker still didn’t think about it. Booker just wanted to be the best guy in the locker room, to be the best role model for young Black kids watching wrestling. And in the end, that led him to the world championship.
Henry knows that blessings and support systems are great. He’s done his best to be a support system in the WWE Performance Center and NXT. WWE Backstage puts up a great picture of all the young and developing African American talent, both in and out of the ring, at NXT currently. Keith Lee, The Street Profits, Bianca Belair, Mia Yim, even “Wrestle & Flow” Josiah Williams, have all come and gone through the developmental system. Such a system wasn’t even a thing during the days Booker T and Mark Henry were coming up. In fact, there was only a handful of Black wrestlers in WWE or WCW at the time, for maybe eight total. Now, the future looks bright, with Bianca leading the way.
Booker wants Henry to pat himself on the back for that. They surely inspired this generation to do it, and that is thanks to exposure. Exposure on screen, exposure backstage with the ability to go talk and share and mentor. If you’re willing to work hard, come in early and go home late, be reliable, Henry will vouch for you. Booker says that your word is your rep. If you can’t live up to that, you can’t be here. Booker’s Reality of Wrestling gives half a chance to so many, because once you get your foot in the door, it’s on you to carry it the rest of the way. That is all Booker wanted when he started, to show how good he could possibly be.
Henry says they could go on and on all night, the past grooming them for the future. But they thank Fox, WWE and WWE Backstage for this opportunity.
WWE Backstage has a Bella Flashback!
It was June 17, 2019 when Nikki and Brie showed off their soccer skills and their wrestling moves to Fox Soccer Tonight.
But now, in the present, Nikki and Brie team up with Henry and Christian, respectively, for a super showdown of their own. It is the diaper change challenge! Henry and Christian will work to change the baby doll’s diaper, clothe it, and chugging a bottle. AKA this is an audition for babysitting duties. Christian promises to make this “Brie-zee for sheezee.” Henry says that was lame, which is why Christian’s not in the Hall of Fame. But on your marks, get set, GO! Diaper stage is pretty neck and neck. Christian gets a lead into the dressing, but Henry catches up fast. Christian gets ahead with the shirt but Henry is still hot on his heels. Be gentler, it’s a baby!
Christian already makes it to chugging! Chug, chug, chug! And breathe. Henry just gets to the bottle stage, and takes off the bottle top!? Is that allowed?! Well Christian does it, too, so it’s even. Henry chugs fastest! The World’s Strongest Babysitter wins! Henry “feeds” the baby, and the moms-to-be each get a gift basket. WWE Backstage shirts and Ric Flair dolls, among other things. Congratulations to the Bella Twins on both the HOF induction and the babies on the way!
A really fun episode again this week. I think WWE Backstage has really found its stride, as well as the sweet spot of how much to talk about kayfabe and how much to do shoot. Clearly the Bellas were just as surprised to be chosen for the 2020 class as we fans were, but after Charlotte Flair and Paige made it known that the Bellas were as much a part of the squash that sparked #GiveDivasAChance and the WWE Women’s (R)Evolution, I would hope some fans are lightening up on them. And all the stories of Ric Flair and of the journeys Henry and Booker took were great segments, too. If anything, that is the real charm of Backstage: the real stories and memories we fans get to hear on television, from the real people that lived them.
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.
Mitchell’s Raw Talk Report! (1/18/21)
Raw Talk is PHENOMENAL!
It’s an Awesome, Phenomenal, GIGANTIC Raw Talk!
After issuing another Money in the Bank ultimatum, The Miz and John Morrison will join Raw Talk to explain how they managed to get GILLBERG to return!
Is it #CharTruth or #TheTruthSarahm hosting?
It’s Charly Caruso and R-Truth back together! Charly welcomes us back to the show and tells Truth he was right, she was busy with “Thanksgiving” with her mom. But after enduring things in 2020, we should really give thanks whenever we can in 2021. Truth agrees and asks if she had potato salad. She had potato salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, and a turkey pot pie from catering. So good! But enough about food, as much as they could go on and on about it, Charly says we should talk about what happened at the end of Raw. Would we expect anything less from Alexa Bliss, though? Something is going on in that mind and body because of The Fiend, but it’s hard to put a finger on it.
We got more questions than answers tonight, but that look in Alexa’s eyes said a lot. Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, she beat Asuka! Truth says she’s hollow inside, like she has no soul! And then the whole thing with the lights and Alexa changing back, then the possession! The Fiend spoke through her! But didn’t he get burned up? So did we all. Truth doesn’t want to answer what’s going on with Alexa but Charly is thinking it could be his spirit. Truth says this is some paranormal activity here. So moving on, let’s get to our first guests, the Greatest Tag Team of the 21st Century, or as Charly calls them, two men who are AAAAWESOME!
The Miz and Morrison join Raw Talk!
Truth fist bumps Morrison ‘n’ Miz, Awesome Truth rides again. Miz wants to get to the question. Truth asks what it was like being with The Doors. No, he’s not Jim Morrison. But that’s old question. Charly wants to ask about The Dirt Sheet. Miz says it was a train wreck but Morrison argues it was great. Morrison wrote it so of course he defends it. Charly is more interested in the guests. How did they book that? Morrison asks if they understand the concept of “misdirection.” That’s what pro-wrestling is all about. You expect one thing, then BAM! It’s something else! That’s why the moonwalk is so great. You think he’s going forward but he goes back.
Miz just wanted to make sure McIntyre and Goldberg understood that he could cash in at any time. Miz is even in the Rumble match! He could win the match, and then have a shot at the title at Mania anyway! Charly replays the footage of Gillberg coming out to the Goldberg entrance, and Miz says Morrison has an actor friend who could be McIntyre. Miz said the guy looks nothing like McIntyre, and Morrison said that’s the point! But then the fake asked for another take because he somehow forgot they were on live television! Well he doesn’t do live events, he didn’t know.
Charly asks if they at least thought the parts were played well. We all saw it, what does she think? Charly is not entering her own opinion, she’s just the host. Well the impersonator thought it was great, and he was high-fiving everyone backstage. Miz just wants to remind everyone he is Mr. MITB and could cash-in. It was Morrison who wanted Gillberg to come back! The wig kept falling off! Hey, the message was sent! Case closed! Miz asks if Charly has anything else. Charly says The Dirt Sheet was definitely bigger than ever with that McIntyre. Morrison says that’s the Jersey version of McIntyre.
Miz says they should’ve gone to Cleveland and gotten Drew Carey. But apparently the budget means nothing to Morrison. These sunglasses ain’t cheap. Nice pocket square. Truth makes a “sharp” joke and Miz doesn’t get what’s going on here. They’re bonding! They used to be a tag team. Yes, Miz and Truth used to be a tag team. Call it a remix. Then who would Truth choose? Miz or Morrison? Truth doesn’t do drama or peer pressure. Morrison says they’d be Black Magic & The White Shadow. Miz makes this “Breaking news.” Truth asks if Gillberg is available. He’s not an option. Truth would choose both. How diplomatic. Morrison would take Morrison over Truth, too. He just likes himself that much.
Charly just wants to point out that the message was sent to those we were expecting to see tonight, i.e. McIntyre and Goldberg. Morrison is confident they were watching and the message was received. Then there could be a new champion at the Royal Rumble because of Mr. MITB. What are the odds? Can they tell us anything? Miz has had the opportunity to get the contract back. When he lost it because of a certain someone, Morrison, but… No no no, Morrison cashed it in for him but Miz lost it. But it’s a good thing Morrison did cash it in because now Miz has it back. Miz says he has the only real opportunity for the world title. He doesn’t get a lot of those anymore, but here it is.
“At Royal Rumble, I know Goldberg and Drew McIntyre are going to tear each other apart. These are two big, muscular, brawling type of men and they are going to go at each other.” And Miz will be there to jump on it. Truth says he’ll be like a vulture! CACAW~! No, that’s a hawk. Close enough. Charly asks how Morrison will book the next episode, it might not sit well with Miz. Looking for a scoop? No scoop for you! Well, as always, this was an awesome time, Miz ‘n’ Morrison head out for the Queen of Spades to step in!
Shayna Baszler joins Raw Talk!
Charly feels Truth always has the better questions for Shayna so she’ll let him ask Shayna something first. Truth asks the Queen of Spades, “Are you better at Uno, Tonk, or Go Fish?” Can we not? Shayna has a long drive. Well Uno’s a long game, especially if the Draw 4 shows up. Shayna asks who in the back keeps scheduling her for this. Charly apologizes, she hoped he was going to come up with a slightly more intelligent question than that. As in, something along the line of sauces at least. Did she try the salmon today?
Charly brings up her interview on Raw, in regards to her match with Mandy Rose and the tension with Nia Jax. Has anything changed since earlier tonight? They made it clear they want the tag titles back but where are we with that? Shayna says she proved that it doesn’t matter what’s going on with her and Nia, she can take care of things on her own. No idea why people have forgotten that. The alliance with Nia was of convenience. They didn’t get along but they were dominant champions. It was never a thing that they need to get along, they get it done in the ring.
Charly surmises it as, it’s about coexistence for the common goal, but no commonality anywhere else? When was that an issue? We all saw that they haven’t gotten along, but Shayna still won. Say what you want about that, but do Charlotte and Asuka get along? They’re both too busy with the creepy Alexa stuff and the creepy Ric Flair stuff. Emotional stuff. Say what you want about Nia and Shayna, but at least they were always focused. Charlotte and Asuka have lost focus. That’s true, but amidst all of the tension, the challenge was issued. Have they heard anything back? Nothing yet, but the distractions are obvious. “When the prey is looking somewhere else, the predator can sneak up behind them.” That’s why Nia and Shayna are able to work together where they need to.
So then, there’s two ways to look at it. As partners against the tag champions, they will be united enough, as they have been. But then, the Women’s Rumble, hopefully we see Shayna and Nia in there together. Are they allies or foes? That’s a completely different issue. Nia is experienced enough to know how a Rumble works. Shayna was a finalist. Shayna tied a record for eliminations, she knows how Rumbles work. It won’t be a surprise. So what, “Oh let’s do the thing people do where they team up and eliminate people and high-five and then oh no~!”
Well it is a valid strategy. But it always happens! Someone turns on someone else. Shayna and Nia are separating Rumble and their tag team match. Charly has a lot of hypothetical scenarios, but no time for that tonight. Shayna says things go one way: they walk out of the PPV as tag team champions, and Shayna is winning the Women’s Rumble match. The relationship will remain unchanged. Then thank you for your time, and Shayna hopes it is a long time before she’s back here again. But she’s one of their best guests… Well, the last guest is PHENOMENAL!
AJ Styles and Omos join Raw Talk!
Styles really likes his music. Isn’t it the best theme in the WWE today? Truth says it’s alright. Styles asks what Omos thinks of his theme song, and Omos says it’s great. Truth wants to ask Omos about having Styles as his assistant. It’s phenomenal. Nice! Styles realizes Truth has it backwards. This is him trying to put a wedge between them. Don’t listen to him. Styles says this needs to stop. Charly, any questions? She just wants a grasp on his mindset after his match with Ricochet, where Ricochet was hoping to prove himself worthy of the Royal Rumble match. He did not win, Styles is obviously in, so what’s his mindset now?
Well Styles’ mindset is on the Rumble and to win it. Wouldn’t it be great? From his debut in 2016, his documentary just came out, Omos says it’s the best one ever, go watch it on the WWE Network. It’s phenomenal, even! Was Omos there? No! Sigh… Truth, you’re just wrong, wrong, wrong. Did you not see what he did to Ricochet with that great Styles Clash? Yeah but Omos looks awesome, too! Styles asks Omos if it irritates him when people get the name wrong. Of course! It’s “Aw-moss.” Like awmos done? Don’t play around, Truth. Truth is keeping the peace! Charly will get things back on track. Truth excuses himself to Omos.
Charly brings up that it will be five years in the WWE. What are Styles’ expectations, outside of winning, for the Rumble? Any number in mind? Well everyone wants to go 30th, because there will be all the others. Truth says the Phenomenal One should go first to prove it. And then Omos goes out! Well maybe Omos goes out there, too. Will he be in the Rumble match? We’ll see. Now that’s an unstoppable combo. But either way, there’s a plan. It’s a secret because it’s their plan. Can’t it be our plan? Nope. Charly wants Truth to get in the Rumble. Truth says he has other engagements, such as making sure “baby” WWE 24/7 Championship is safe. Charly thanks Styles and Omos for their time, and will see us again next Raw Talk!
A very good Raw Talk, with really good energy. But of course, Miz ‘n’ Morrison are great talkers, Shayna knows her character and Styles is also great on the mic. I like that Miz and Morrison continue to argue about how The Dirt Sheet went, but I wish they’d given a name to the man who played fake McIntyre. Well we’ll probably never see him again but even so, it’d prove he was the “actor friend” to Morrison. Morrison should know the name of the guy who is supposedly a friend that he could ask to be fake McIntyre. Shayna being so done with Raw Talk is always a great part of her character, and she helped give some good details on how she and Nia are handling this.
Styles and Omos have good chemistry for how this story is going, and them daring Truth to join the Rumble was fitting. Omos really should get in a match at some point, but maybe start with a 24/7 Championship moment with Truth in the ring and build from there.
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DING DONG, HELLO~! Talking Smack!
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Chairshot Radio: NFL Playoffs, UFC 257 McGregor vs Poirier 
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