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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.


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Mitchell’s Talking Smack Report! (1/23/21)

DING DONG, HELLO~! Talking Smack!

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WWE 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?


My Thoughts:

What a great episode! Heyman was great throughout the whole episode, but he’s great all the time really. Him trying to interject the Roman story into everything was great. Bayley had a good segment, and it fits her Heel persona that she takes a 360 on the obstacle course because she lost. Bayley VS Bianca really should happen on the go-home next week to get them both going into the Rumble. Cesaro made a good point, New Year’s Resolutions are a bit silly when you should be trying harder every day. And I really like that, though not fully Face, Cesaro is calling out Roman here on behalf of Nakamura. I still think Cesaro would be great as a Face, so we’ll have to wait and see.

And then the last segment was awesome stuff. Sami getting NO theme music, ranting on with Heyman on his side mostly, and then the surprise appearances from Apollo and Kevin to plug their stories, all of it was done perfectly. Apollo even somewhat defying Heyman was great. Whether he goes Heel or not, an aggressive Apollo is definitely a good move for him.


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Mitchell’s Raw Talk Report! (1/18/21)

Raw Talk is PHENOMENAL!

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WWE Raw Talk

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!


My Thoughts:

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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