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Mitchell’s WWE Backstage Report! (3/3/20)

Jeff Hardy goes Backstage!

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WWE Backstage 2020

Standing on the rooftops! Everybody scream your heart~ out~!

WWE Backstage has the onscreen return of Jeff Hardy! What will the Charismatic Enigma have to say about what Randy Orton did to his brother?

Renee Young introduces the panel!

She, Booker T and Mark Henry are once again joined by Paige in Fox Sports Studios. Happy birthday to Booker! Big Daddy Latty is the big 55 and he’s still GOODT. But what a whirlwind week for WWE as we approach WrestleMania 36! Just five days away from Elimination Chamber and tensions are running high. In case you missed it, here’s…

Just the Highlights!

For Super Showdown: The Phenomenal One thought he’d be the Tuwaiq Mountain Champion, but the PHENOM made sure he wasn’t! Ricochet went to Suplex City and was quickly conquered by the reigning, defending, undisputed WWE Heavyweight Champion of the World, BRRROCK, LESNARRR! But your NEW WWE Universal Champion is GOLD~BERG after he gave The Fiend FOUR Spears and a Jackhammer!

For SmackDown: Naomi may not be SmackDown Women’s Champion but she did get the pin on Bayley in a tag team payback match! And while Bray Wyatt was last, Roman Reigns says he’s NEXT! The Monster Among Men won’t just face one man but THREE in his defense of the WWE Intercontinental Championship on Sunday! And while John Cena wanted to take a step back from WrestleMania, The Fiend forces his hand. Who walks out of Tamba still intact?

For Raw: The Street Profits are up and they’re the NEW Raw Tag Team Champions! Paul Heyman talked big talk for Brock Lesnar, but Drew McIntyre made Lesnar eat those words, and his boot! The Queen of Spades made the Pirate Princess take a nap, but The Man boldly proclaims the title isn’t going anywhere. The Viper explained #WhyOrtonWhy and it didn’t sit well with Beth Phoenix. She slapped Randy but he gave her an RKO!

The panel discusses this week in WWE.

Two major WrestleMania matches have been put in place thanks to SmackDown. Goldberg VS Roman and Cena VS The Fiend, what does Booker T think? Booker says that the internet was ablaze! Just like Stone Cold, The Rock and HHH, Goldberg is one of those guys that promoters want to use for as long as possible because they print money! Booker says Goldberg was the perfect person to take the title off Bray Wyatt, so he’s all for it. And Renee says this gives us somewhere to go in Goldberg VS Roman. Boston’s reaction was perfect. Mark Henry says Cena going out there was the most exciting thing the past 12 months. Booker talks over and Henry jokes that this birthday might be his last.

But as Henry was saying, he would love to see more things like this. The fans were fired up for a good three minutes when he got out there. Paige says that the best thing about Cena is his ring psychology. Fans duel and chant but then they all end up on Cena’s side by the end. Booker adds that Cena is also money. Fans get to a point where they miss a guy like Cena so his return is huge. Renee says they weren’t sure if Cena was actually saying he’s done. He didn’t come out in a salmon pink blazer, nod to Henry, but now we’ve got a Mania match. “Nothing says a lie like a pink jacket.”

Bringing things around to Super Showdown and the internet outrage, The Undertaker taking out AJ Styles with one Choke Slam really riled some fans up. What does the panel think about the Dead Man’s dominant return?

Paige says Styles was the one who turned his back on Taker and left himself open. Henry, Booker and Renee agree, Styles has been around too long to fall for that one. But at the same time, that’s getting caught up in the moment, going back to being a fan. Styles gets to regroup, though, and goes into Mania against Taker. This will be the biggest moment for Styles. And the story already is great, with Styles feeling tough beating up on a beat-up Aleister Black and sending a message to Taker. Styles is getting a big rub going into Mania against Taker. Henry notes that Aleister isn’t a nobody, he’s a former NXT Champion and a rising star in the business.

And of course, the panel must discuss Beth Phoenix returning to Raw and Orton confronting her. What a moment! Just getting right to it, Paige is so emotional. She hasn’t been that into it in a long time. She wants to see Orton VS Edge or whoever as the main event so badly! Paige could relate to all those stories, from Edge’s neck to Orton’s struggles. Beth sells the RKO masterfully and it sells Paige on the story. Renee says it isn’t often Orton is vulnerable on camera like that. It adds so much to the story, it really is the main event. If Henry had the pen, he’d make it the main event, too. Henry never tweeted during a show until this, complimenting it as Shakespearean. That was not scripted, it was real and passionate.

Booker adds that Orton was being Orton. That was something new even from Orton. You never put your hands on a woman, but Booker’s mama always said, “if you big enough to pass a lick, you big enough to take one.” Paige’s parents and Henry’s parents must’ve read from the same book. That’s just old school. Who needs enemies when you have friends like Orton?

 

WWE Backstage welcomes Jeff Hardy!

The Charismatic Enigma is finally back on TV! Jeff is happy to bring back his juke dance! Renee says it’s one of the best entrances ever. Jeff joins Renee in the ring and takes a seat. He’s been gone nine months, what is his health status? Jeff’s officially cleared, and has been waiting backstage on SmackDown for the right creative spot. What is that anticipation like? Jeff has so many ideas of new, fresh ideas. This will be the 2020 Jeff, but waiting is definitely stressful. Jeff’s ring rust is still rusty but you gotta get conditioned and get back to that ring shape. It’s like a bicycle, he’s ready to feel it again.

Nine months is a lot. What has the time off done for him? Jeff’s knee surgery was a blessing in disguise because his father was in bad shape of his own. Jeff walked with his dad, and long story short, Papa Hardy has been home with them since September, so the last 5 months of Jeff’s recovery. But on October 3rd, Jeff got in trouble, and on the 4th, he want to inpatient rehab for the first time in his life. Jeff has worked to better himself, and he’ll feel so good to be back in front of the WWE Universe. There is something left for him to do, but he isn’t sure what it is yet.

Renee agrees, there is always more you can do in the WWE. But she also loves that he had that time off for his family and himself. Jeff’s daughters are 9 and 4, growing up so fast, and one big project was the motocross track. Jeff fixed it up and can watch everyone else ride around.

More news with the Hardys is that Matt’s WWE contract has expired. Does Jeff know anything about that? Jeff admits he hasn’t talked to Matt so he has no idea what Matt’s plans are. But the Hardy Boys have been wrestling for a long time, so even if they end up in different worlds, it is still great to know the Hardys can each do their own thing.

How does that feel, to be gone for so long and now Matt (probably) won’t be there? It’s also been awhile since there was such a huge spotlight on Jeff alone. Jeff notes that growing up, he was the “invincible” one while Matt was needing surgery, but now things have flipped a bit. Matt’s been great in his health but it will still be amazing. They are blessed to still be going in 2020 after the careers they’ve had.

The style they worked and the level they were at, people joke about “rubber bones” and all that, but how important is it to adapt? Jeff seeing the face paint again makes him go “Wow.” He doesn’t always have time to paint on a canvas so he just uses his own face. String’s face paint was a big inspiration, of course. There’s a lot left in Jeff and he looks forward to it.

Has he been keeping his eyes on the WWE product? What does he like about it? Jeff admits that the Street Profits winning made him “mark out” because of how Seth Rollins sold it and just the moment of it all. Brock Lesnar is still intimidating and intense, and so Jeff is just excited to get back out there.

What’s it like for Jeff to see superstars follow in his path of the high-flying daredevil style? Jeff hasn’t had people come to him about it, but seeing Ricochet, Mustafa Ali and others being influenced by him is surreal. Jeff takes it one day at a time, and he doesn’t worry about the past. Wait he’s drifting from the question. But the influence is clear, and even Bayley was a big Hardy Boys fan. Has Jeff been able to talk with some of the younger stars? Yeah, but Matt’s been better at advice and ring psychology. Jeff compliments those who do great work, but feels he doesn’t need to butter people up when they know they’re good.

Lastly, who is the one person Jeff wants that one more match with? Probably him and Roman Reigns. That would be a big moment for both of them. It’d be cool, important and exciting for a Mania moment with him. Jeff will stick around, is he going to get that dream match?

Paige and Booker joke that Big Daddy Latty wants to take Jeff on one last time. But also, the two WWE Hall of Famers right here want to know: who’s joining them next? We find out, after the break!

 

WWE Backstage presents the next 2020 HOF Inductee!

A hard road to the top but when the WWE needed a top bad guy, he answered the call. JOHN BRADSHAW LAYFIELD is entering the Hall of Fame! He debuted for the WWF as Justin “Hawk” Bradshaw, then eventually became a world tag team champion as just “Bradshaw,” alongside Ron “Farooq” Simmons in the Acolytes. They then shifted the team name to the Acolytes Protection Agency, or APA.

In 2003, JBL published “Have More Money Now,” a book on financial management. The book’s success brought JBL to major channels like Fox News and Fox Business Network. In the ring, JBL’s financial success was parlayed into perhaps one of the most successful Heel runs of all time as “JBL” became the wealthy and arrogant Heel we all know and love to hate. He would become WWE Champion and hold it for 280 days, “the longest reigning champion in SmackDown Television history!” JBL would become a Grand Slam Champion and claim many times he was a “Wrestling God.”

But even after retiring from in-ring competition, JBL would continue on as a hit color commentator and Network special host. And now, to add to that list of accolades, JBL is going into the HOF.

JBL is also Backstage!

John Bradshaw Layfield struts and shows off the Texas two-step. He’s still got it! JBL goes over the top rope and shakes hands with the panel before sitting down. Henry notes we now have a King, a queen, and a Wrestling God. This is a triple Texas panel right here. There is a lot of history between the three here. Renee asks how that HOF call went. JBL says it was a private matter between him and Mr. Vince McMahon who have become good friends. But it is definitely a dream come true. JBL remembers watching wrestling growing up, and he watched the Von Erichs. The life JBL has led, reality is greater than the dreams!

Renee says it is so great for JBL to be in the HOF, but what is the moment JBL feels defines JBL? For his career, that would have to be the feud of JBL VS Eddie Guerrero. For his life, that would have to be meeting Ron Simmons and become friends with him. Best man at JBL’s wedding and Ron gave a great toast, “Til death do us part.” Teaming with Farooq was a great time, but so was having that rivalry with the late, great Eddie. The Staples Center, the bull-rope match, the world title, the JBL character was fading and everyone was wondering what to do. But Eddie had the idea that, while back home in El Paso to honor the passing of father Gory Guerrero, for JBL to cause Eddie’s mother to have a heart attack.

The crowd was so quiet, state troopers had to keep JBL safe because of angry fans, and when people saw it on TV, that heat was off the charts. They sold out the Staples Center, and Eddie kept feeding JBL lines to turn up the heat! He was the one that told JBL to say, “My ancestors came to America on a boat, not an inner tube!” JBL said Eddie was going to get him killed, but Eddie said it would be fine. That heat was unreal! All thanks to Eddie Guerrero. If it wasn’t for Eddie, JBL would not be in the Hall of Fame.

Henry notes that JBL was “unapologetically a Heel.” JBL says it’s even worse online. But does he ever regret not showing the fans some love? “Absolutely not.” Because when people go to Broadway, people don’t want to know “The Phantom of the Opera is actually a waiter at Del Frisco.” They want to believe that the villain is that awful. JBL wouldn’t allow WWE to sell merchandise because he didn’t want fans cheering for him. If a Heel has a fan section, they have failed. When a Heel gets over like a Face, that’s actually a Heel failing at being a Heel. JBL remembers Curt Hennig VS Hillbilly Jim, a fan shouts, “Hillbilly, you suck! Curt Hennig, you’re the best!” Mr. Perfect’s response was in fact perfect: He spits his gum out and flicks it at said fan. The fan then shouted, “Curt, you suck!”

“The art of being a Heel is being something that is unredeemable, because if there’s not a bad guy, then there’s not a good guy.” The worse bad guy you can be, the better you make the good guy look. Renee says there’s actually a message from one of JBL’s other great rivals.

“Hey, John, it’s John.” Cena that is. Remember the young whippersnapper he put over for the strap? Cena thanks JBL for everything he has ever done for Cena. Cena has great respect for all those who did, and there is no Cena without JBL. It is so great that JBL is in the HOF, and maybe they can relive those memories together. Cena is so very thankful, and JBL has absolutely earned this moment. JBL hearing that from Cena, he remembers Vader on his way out. Vader told JBL that he asked for JBL as his last PPV opponent. Vader wanted JBL to get that rub by beating “the old Vader.” That was the most respectful thing someone in this business can do for another, and so JBL passed that on by doing that for Cena.

JBL says that when Cena first showed up, he fit in right away because he’s a good guy. No one can actually say anything bad about Cena. Haters hate but Cena’s a great guy. Cena deserved to beat someone, and that is why he and JBL had such an amazing match. JBL won’t take any credit for the rest of what Cena did, but Booker and Henry joke about taking credit for their parts. But we all know that there’s a huge difference in an 8 minute match and a 25 minute one. The psychology alone needs to be different, it needs to be an emotional roller coaster. JBL was one of the first opponents Cena did that with. No one could’ve guessed Cena would get to where he is now, but JBL still knew Cena was going to carry the WWE forward.

Renee notes JBL being one of the best bad guys ever, but he is also a good guy in real life. JBL’s charity work for at-risk children has been a great passion for the last decade or so. He works with Memphis City Rugby as well as Washington DC Youth Rugby. 100% graduation rate in a city with 50% drop-out rates. These kids are going to trade schools, college or the military. JBL goes around the world to help kids who didn’t get the same opportunities as others just because of the randomness of life. JBL puts it on Twitter not as self-promotion but to get the message out there. Once again, a congratulations to a classic villain and a real-life hero.

 

WWE Backstage looks back on John Cena VS Kevin Owens!

It all started with John Cena’s WWE United States Open Challenge streak, and Monday Night Raw on May 18, 2015. Another open challenge was issued, and the Prizefighter came out. The then NXT Champion took it to the WWE United States Champion with a Pop-Up Powerbomb, a stomp on the US title belt, and KO saying “You Can’t See Me.”

Kevin speaks on that moment himself, saying it was “so striking” in how sudden it was. He’d just started in NXT and then he shows up on Raw to go toe-to-toe with Cena. This would lead us to a match at that year’s Elimination Chamber PPV on May 31. Kevin was still NXT Champion and as Cena’s music came on and the fans fired up, Kevin was ready to prove why he deserves to be in the WWE. Kevin pulled out move after move, and even stole some of Cena’s moves. Fans who didn’t know KO before this started to get on his side, and then Kevin WINS! Cena fans were shocked to say the least, but Kevin was vindicated.

“I’m the man who started a fight with John Cena, and I’m also the man who finished a fight with John Cena.” That moment is still huge, but it was the perfect way for Kevin to start his WWE career.

Renee and Paige discuss Kevin Owens.

The Glampire has a similar path to the WWE, with being a champion in NXT then making a main roster debut. Paige getting the nod to take on AJ Lee, everyone knows that story, especially if you watched Fighting with My Family. But Paige teases JBL for being the NXT General Manger who insisted she be stripped of her NXT Women’s Championship after she won the WWE Diva’s title. But that big win was even bigger given how NXT wasn’t nearly as powerful as it is now. She and Kevin were each flag bearers for that little brand and wanted to show what NXT was about. Winning was just the cherry on top.

 

WWE Backstage looks back on John Cena VS Kevin Owens!

It all started with John Cena’s WWE United States Open Challenge streak, and Monday Night Raw on May 18, 2015. Another open challenge was issued, and the Prizefighter came out. The then NXT Champion took it to the WWE United States Champion with a Pop-Up Powerbomb, a stomp on the US title belt, and KO saying “You Can’t See Me.”

Kevin speaks on that moment himself, saying it was “so striking” in how sudden it was. He’d just started in NXT and then he shows up on Raw to go toe-to-toe with Cena. This would lead us to a match at that year’s Elimination Chamber PPV on May 31. Kevin was still NXT Champion and as Cena’s music came on and the fans fired up, Kevin was ready to prove why he deserves to be in the WWE. Kevin pulled out move after move, and even stole some of Cena’s moves. Fans who didn’t know KO before this started to get on his side, and then Kevin WINS! Cena fans were shocked to say the least, but Kevin was vindicated.

“I’m the man who started a fight with John Cena, and I’m also the man who finished a fight with John Cena.” That moment is still huge, but it was the perfect way for Kevin to start his WWE career.

Renee and Paige discuss Kevin Owens.

The Glampire has a similar path to the WWE, with being a champion in NXT then making a main roster debut. Paige getting the nod to take on AJ Lee, everyone knows that story, especially if you watched Fighting with My Family. But Paige teases JBL for being the NXT General Manger who insisted she be stripped of her NXT Women’s Championship after she won the WWE Diva’s title. But that big win was even bigger given how NXT wasn’t nearly as powerful as it is now. She and Kevin were each flag bearers for that little brand and wanted to show what NXT was about. Winning was just the cherry on top.

Booker and the boys discuss Elimination Chamber.

With the PPV coming back around this Sunday, four men who have been in their own Chamber matches discuss that grueling match. Booker coming from WCW, he wasn’t used to big, big gimmick matches. But he was in the original Elimination Chamber match, it was a big experiment, and he felt like a crash test dummy. The chains, the grates, “miles” of steel, falling down on the steel was painful. Booker got claustrophobic being in the pod, too! Henry, too! Finally, something in common.

Henry says he still feels his first Chamber match. That double suplex to the outside, his back was just hurting like never before. They’re not lying about how the Chamber is unforgiving. You come out different than going in. JBL prayed his pod gets stuck so he wouldn’t have to compete. He remembers a fan trolling, “JBL, you fatass! What’re you doing in Elimination Chamber?” “I don’t know! I don’t want to be here.” Booker says the Chamber is better for smaller guys like Jeff. JBL says big guys like him, Booker and Henry, “We’re like the Hindenburg.”

Jeff loved it, though. He was hoping his particular Chamber experience would’ve been DELETED but oh well. His one big idea was to go up the center of that ceiling. He didn’t risk it, though. JBL figures if Jeff says it’s impossible, then it really is impossible. Booker says Chamber matches are truly rough. Jeff is a special type of guy to be alright after that match, but Booker says he does not like it at all. Many have made careers but also left pieces of themselves in that match. Henry says there is nothing like the Chamber. We’ve all seen Steel Cage matches, and even WarGames or Hell in a Cell. But the Elimination Chamber, everyone who goes through that, when you talk to them after, they never want another one of those. First timers only.

JBL remembers in his Chamber match, watching the late, great Umaga crawling on the grate while JBL was still in the pod. Umaga’s feet were hurting, since of course he wrestled barefoot. If a guy as tough as Umaga is hurting, JBL didn’t want out of the pod. Jeff himself was tentative, so that told JBL even more so not to leave his pod. Booker says expect the unexpected. What can we expect from the 2020 edition of both the PPV and the Elimination Chamber match?

 

WWE Backstage relives a WrestleMania Moment.

WrestleMania 18, aka WrestleMania X8, Icon VS Icon! The Rock VS Hollywood Hulk Hogan! A generational battle that fans could not hate no matter how hard they tried! The Rock came out on top but Hogan showed him great respect. Will we see another immortal and electrifying moment this year?

Backstage relives some of Jeff Hardy’s greatest Mania Moments!

“Jeff Hardy getting extreme as extreme can be!” WrestleMania 2000, aka WrestleMania 16, Jeff Hardy’s SUPER SWANTON BOMB off the ladder through a table! The year after at Mania 17, a SUPER SWANTON BOMB off ANOTHER ladder, through another table! Of course, he also did get SPEARED out of the air by Edge in THE TLC match that defined the match. WrestleMania 23, Money in the Bank, the SUPER SEATED SENTON that crashed him and Edge through a ladder! WrestleMania 33 practically recreated that in the Raw Tag Team Championship Ladder Match as Jeff SUPER SWANTON BOMBED The Bar, Sheamus & Cesaro, through ladders! “Only at WrestleMania!”

Renee and Jeff discuss that highlight reel.

Jeff has plenty of other moments to choose from, but what sticks out the most? The return in 2017, he and Matt take the New Day’s place in the Raw Tag Team Ladder Match. Winning those titles was just the cherry on top of a hectic weekend. The night before, the Hardy Boys had another big tag team title ladder match at a big event against another great tag team (ROH World Tag Team Championship Ladder War with the Young Bucks at Supercard of Honor). Jeff alone went through three tables and took 20 Superkicks or something, but he and Matt were still good to go for Mania. A wild March with a lot of lies and secrets, for good reason. They did a lot of hiding and sneaking around until it was finally go time.

Renee talks that night itself and that massive reaction. Jeff says that getting to gorilla, seeing guys he hadn’t seen in so long and getting to embrace, it was all amazing. Jeff wants another Mania Moment or two, but what does he picture one being? He has to figure that out, but he knows there are moments for sure. Jeff remembers letting his girls in on the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships just before it was announced, and his girls are ready to be the Hardy Girls! Jeff is ready to train those two when the time comes.

 

JBL takes part in Social Media SmackDown!

“It’s the first time anybody’s ever talked trash about me on the internet. Ever!” Shocking, we know. But tonight’s trash talk comes from Nick Dzioba who says “JBL SUCKS. Hope he never announces anything again.” That’s the best he has? His mama must be one of JBL’s old “rizzats.” JBL is gonna call Mama Dzioba to go down to the basement to turn Nick’s wifi off, because if that’s the best he’s got, JBL will explain this to him: “The lion doesn’t care what the sheep thinks.” JBL will unblock Nick just to block Nick again! There’s your 15 seconds of fame! That was hot like lava! “Say hi to mama!” He’s still got it!

 


 

My Thoughts:

What a great episode! JBL is great and I am so happy for him that he’s in the HOF this year. JBL was definitely a perfect Heel, because as much as I appreciate his work in retrospect, I was definitely against him growing up and watching him work. It was also great for Cena to give that video message to him, and to hear that story about Vader VS JBL and then JBL VS Cena. The stories of Eddie Guerrero were great, too. I so clearly remember that line about the boat and the inner tube, and it is so amazing that Eddie fed him that line. Nick Dzioba got deservedly served because JBL does not suck, Nick’s just a mark.

Also having Jeff for his stories and updates was great for the episode. Jeff’s return is going to be great, wherever it is and whoever it is against. The conversation on the Chamber match was fun, and it really puts that match in perspective. And thinking about it, there are definitely only a few repeat competitors even in recent years. Maybe that’s half the reason we’re not getting a SmackDown Women’s Chamber, since Bayley and Sasha Banks were in one last year for the inaugural Women’s Tag Team Championships. Speaking of, I am also very hopeful we get the Hardy Girls in like 15 years and they can have those titles to follow in their dad’s and uncle’s footsteps.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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