It’s the Backstage After WrestleMania Weekend!
WrestleMania brought us NEW WWE World, Universal and Women’s Tag Team Champions! Backstage will discuss those outcomes and so much more!
Renee Young returns with the Backstage panel!
She, Booker T, Paige and Christian are all here via video chat to discuss the wild week in the WWE! Also celebrate six years of Paige in the WWE! Today was the day she debuted and took the WWE Diva’s Championship! But from one historic moment to two others, the WWE Universe is still buzzing after seeing both the Boneyard Match and Firefly Fun House match at WrestleMania! The Undertaker left AJ Styles for dead on Night 1, and there is so much to talk about! Booker’s feelings on the concept and execution is a five star movie! That was Friday the 13th right there. Taker was awesome, Styles stepped up, and Mick Foley put it best: he wants to be in the second Boneyard Match! Booker, however, does not.
Paige says the Boneyard match was interesting. Does it suit anyone outside the Undertaker? Who knows. But it was enjoyable, theatrical, and even having the music was great. She agrees that Styles did a great job, but the question is: Is Styles alive in kayfabe? Christian says Styles is DONE, as Booker might say. But for a brand new match type that no one knew anything about, it was a blank canvas for Styles and Taker. It was cinematic and well done. This adds to the allure of Taker, and can be used when the timing and opponent are right.
Then on Night 2, it was the Firefly Fun House match that was also very cinematic in presentation. Paige has been a huge advocate for Bray Wyatt, so what was her reaction? We were on this “massive acid trip” together. Paige has known Bray since day one, and that creative masterpiece was definitely powered by him. Back in FCW’ promo class, Bray had the lots of creative ideas. This was beautiful, and John Cena was a good sport. Renee agrees, it takes two to tango. Booker’s thoughts are that, along with the Boneyard Match, it was a matter of when the “match” would start. The Firefly Fun House Match went across time and space with the Ruthless Aggression Era, the nWo, and so much more. Booker wants to rewatch it just so he can catch all the references. He’s still on the fence, but he’ll get back to us.
Christian says he had his own interpretation. He likes that they were on different nights, because they had to, but WrestleMania was the perfect platform for those matches. His interpretation of Bray taking Cena through his WWE career and saying, “Hey, look. Because of the way that you look, because of the way that you’re built physically, you had the potential to be the golden boy, the golden goose for the WWE.” Cena was the kind of guy the WWE would put on posters, in movies, in press situations. Cena got chance after chance to ensure he’d make it. But then a guy like Bray was given a chance, maybe didn’t hit it out of the park, and was just done. Bray holds that against Cena, and Christian says the match was the culmination of that feeling.
Then given these cinematic matches, what more can the WWE do to move away from being stuck in the Performance Center? World circumstances of course being what they are, Booker says that those can be “back by popular demand.” Booker says it could be like the Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich! Get one while they’re here! But what else can they do differently? Booker watched Raw last night, and he saw the new talent having moments they hadn’t had. Ricochet and Cedric Alexander as a team impresses Booker. Having new combinations and faces will spice things up.
Christian says cinematic matches can’t just be thrown out all over the place. Those need to be rare to keep them special or they lose all meaning. As for new things, try some Attitude Era moments where it interviews are just as superstars arrive. Maybe feature more areas within the WWE PC, just like the Orton VS Edge Last Man Standing match did. Maybe Becky uses her 18-wheeler to start smashing cars. Just something to mix it up.
But speaking of fresh and new… Coming up after the break, the fresh new WWE World Champion, DRRREW! MCINTYRRRE!
Drew McIntyre returns to WWE Backstage!
The Scottish Stud joins Renee and Christian and gives a little waves. How is he feeling after WrestleMania? He’s alright, for doing nonstop media since 1:15 AM on Sunday because of the UK. And then he just kept going and is loving it. After all, he’s talking about himself and the WWE and beating Brock Lesnar in five minutes. So how did it feel that exact moment when he was declared winner? It still doesn’t feel real. The look on his face says it all, if you watch it back. WrestleMania 36 had to be different from any other event he’d ever done. Under normal circumstances, 80 THOUSAND people would be screaming bell to bell and you get lost in that adrenaline. Christian understands how that feels. And it’s not until you’re alone in your hotel room much later that night that the real emotion comes out.
But with no crowd around, McIntyre let a glimpse of that show in those moments right after the bell. McIntyre saw the title being handed to him and it started to sink in. But then he snapped back and remembered to finish out the show. The camera came close and normally you’re not supposed to look into it, but he couldn’t help himself with that moment being so real. McIntyre says it here now, he thanks everyone that has always believed and still will believe in him. And thanks for choosing to watch and be part of WrestleMania, even with everything that’s going on in the world right now. McIntyre is sure something was edited out by now but he just wants us to know that was all real emotion that night. And he has the belt as proof!
Renee asks if he wears the belt around the house all day. McIntyre tries, but when he tries to be the boss and tell the wife to do something, she puts him back in his place. The McIntyre home hierarchy is the cats, the wife, then him. Christian asks what it means to be the first UK-born WWE Champion. It’s crazy, but it was among the goals McIntyre had when he first came to America. It’s “wild” that wrestlers like William Regal, Wade Barrett or the British Bulldog never got to have this title. As we know, McIntyre didn’t do it his first time around, either. He had to claw and scratch his way back, but now he’s on top after winning at WrestleMania against Lesnar. Add that to being the first-ever, that’s amazing and fitting of his story. Winning in front of 80 thousand would’ve actually seemed less fitting.
Renee says that given the circumstances, where was McIntyre when he watched it all? He was with his wife and cats, of course. He hates watching himself, but he loves watching WrestleMania. So they were on the couch, watching the first WrestleMania since 23, back in 2007. Then 24 was in Orlando, his first one while with FCW. He even helped take down the ring at the end of the night. He and Sheamus almost got hit by lighting equipment that fell from the ceiling, actually. But he’s been busy ever since, so it was great to just sit and watch that weekend. It definitely took his mind off of everything going on.
But again, he felt odd watching himself, except for that final pin and the win. To make it real for himself, he didn’t let himself have the belt until that night because nothing is real in the WWE until it happens on screen. He mostly wanted to make sure they didn’t change it on him. But the broadcast had it with him winning, he ran upstairs and grabbed the belt, and held onto it. Christian remembers feeling like that. The old World Heavyweight Championship sits out and you’re tempted to touch it. He never did, though, until he earned it.
Renee notes that about a decade ago, Vince McMahon had McIntyre debut as “The Chosen One.” How does it feel to actually be the top guy now? Well again, it’s wild. McMahon is like a sorcerer and he predicted the future. McMahon predicted the company public and the WWE Network becoming reality. And while McIntyre didn’t become the champion back then, he became champion now. The journey was worth it. If McIntyre became champion 10 years ago, he knows he would’ve bombed, sucked, etc. McIntyre knows now he needed the journey he went on. That journey molded McIntyre into both the man and the wrestler he is today, and there is nothing he isn’t ready for. He knows the world is going through difficult times, and he hopes to keep entertaining everyone on Raw now that he’s the flag bearer.
Christian notes on the “road less traveled” career, McIntyre was a guy that left the WWE. Christian relates how he also left and used that to find himself. McIntyre did that, came back and earned everything here. How has all that changed him? Well it changed McIntyre drastically, but especially in his life outside the ring. He has matured, in large part thanks to his wife. Inside the ring, McIntyre had to get away. There was no way he could transition from Three Man Band back to something serious, and he just needed that time to become this McIntyre. McIntyre had to apply all the lessons he learned, and is grateful that many other companies put their own faith in him. He was able to learn how to be the leader in those places, and was able to strengthen the other areas of his work.
McIntyre admits his Scottish accent can be hard for others to understand, so he perfected verbalizing and articulating. All the little things that add up to being a top guy came into place. Again, doing media, he’s been doing it nonstop since this weekend. He can’t put it into words, but he will say he is a passionate man. He’s just so excited that he’s “the bloody WWE Champion. What the hell?!” But yes, he did it! He is the very top of the mountain!
Renee notes that with the world being where it is right now, McIntyre is WWE Champion in a very unique time in history. What pressure does that put on him already? None really. It’s obviously different, such as filming on a closed set at the PC with very strict health guidelines. McIntyre had a locker room to himself, in fact. But as long as we can all push forward, stay safe and continue with original content to keep everyone entertained, he’s all for it. Everyone else wants to do that, and he is now captain of the ship. McIntyre is proud of the WWE for stepping up during this difficult time in the world.
Renee agrees with all that and is sure the WWE is in good hands with him as the new champion. Congratulations again, and everyone looks forward to McIntyre’s third time on Backstage. Hopefully it’ll be after things can return to normal. McIntyre loved having his moment, but he wants the fans to be able to return and join him in that. Christian adds that he is very proud of McIntyre. They’ve had long talks over the years, and McIntyre thanks Christian for all the help and support. And even Renee for her part interviewing 3MB. She does remember those days.
But there are many other new champions to talk about, when WWE Backstage returns!
WWE Backstage brings the full panel back for more!
Drew McIntyre wasn’t the only first-time world champion. Another big winner was BRAUN, who stepped up when Roman Reigns could not compete. How does the Monster Among Men make the most of this sudden opportunity? Booker says that for Strowman not originally in the match, you gotta seize the opportunity when opportunity knocks. Booker remembers that when he got his first title, it was because Rick Martel forgot his boots! The company decided to put the title on Booker and Booker was all for it. Booker was happy to be Television Champion, but he was also upset because he would’ve liked it to be for different reasons. But in the end, it doesn’t matter, because it means having “a chip in the game now.” He kept moving and dared others to take the title off him. Braun needs to do the same thing now.
Christian says Booker is right. You never know when opportunities will come along, so you take them when you can. When Edge retired, Christian had to step into his spot. You can’t overthink it, you just have to go with it. And Braun knows the WWE Universal Championship wasn’t his spot. If he had a chip on his shoulder before, now that chip’s bigger. Braun just has to prove to himself and everyone else that he was the right choice to put in there, and should have been champion from the start. Renee adds that’s probably a big chip given Braun’s a big man.
As for Paige, she says all of WrestleMania was rather nostalgic. She grew up in the WWE with a lot of these people. Braun is in fact the gentlest giant in the world. She remembers him being in promo class with Dusty Rhodes, wearing a diaper and bear ears. That proved to her that he’d be a star! Braun is fun, is brave to step out of comfort zones and put himself out there, which is what happened here. He was given his chance, took it and ran with it. Paige is very proud and happy for him, because he deserves it. Renee agrees, it is great to see that WrestleMania moment.
But moving on to another moment, it was the friendship broken apart until there was just one last man standing. That is of course, THE Last Man Standing match. “Good God.” Edge’s first match since WrestleMania 27 and it was brutal! Christian says the build was a master class in conveying emotion. Even with no crowd, the home audiences were hanging on every word of the promos. The match was what it needed to be: a kickass, hard-hitting, physical fight. Everyone at home surely cringed with every hit or drop. Oddly enough, Edge did not change his style with jumping off that platform to crash through a table. But the big takeaway is that Edge’s music hitting and him walking down the ramp was one of the greatest moments ever.
Paige says that was HER main event. She was super excited because both men are among the best storytellers in the business today. Those two together is magic. Paige really wished that there was a crowd, of course, but Edge and Orton still told such a beautiful story. It was incredible, she could never say anything bad about it. Booker says that Edge is back and put himself through hell just to get here. And again, of course we all would’ve liked different circumstances, especially Edge and Orton. But the fans still got a great taste of this feud, and there might even be a main course coming. Renee adds that the storytelling in the build was great, but the WWE 24 special about Edge was so good! Paige doesn’t want spoilers, so Renee suggests everyone go watch that. It just went so well leading into Night 2.
And now, moving from intense to eye-catching, it’s the SmackDown Tag Team Championship Ladder Match! Imagine doing a ladder match with no audience. Christian has been in a LOT of Ladder Matches, but never one with no one around. He did like to go to the arena the night before to get a feel for the ladders and the ring. When he climbed the ladder at that time, there was no one there. You feel the height, and it gets scary. That must’ve been how it was for John Morrison, Kofi Kingston and Jimmy Uso. Kudos to them for staying in the moment and creating something special.
Booker says that when he watched this, he actually turned the sound down. He watched the action alone, and the action alone had him going nuts. All three put everything on the line for the show and the fans. If there were fans live, those fans would not be able to contain themselves. That’s how good that match was. Christian is a ladder expert, especially with the high spots, so surely they’re in agreement.
Renee says it was also a friendly reminder that Morrison is a great return. Paige never had a ladder match, and certainly never one with no fans. Walking out, everyone wants to feed off the energy but there wasn’t any. So to be up top knowing you’ll fall, the adrenaline blocks out the worry because the crowd is so loud. But then it’s crickets, and you pause and think, “What now?” But those three didn’t let that get to them, it felt like there was still 80 thousand, and that made the match work.
George Kittle goes Backstage!
The San Francisco 49ers’ Tight End was watching WrestleMania 36 and doing a reaction stream for Night 2. Kevin’s WrestleMania Moment of jumping off the WrestleMania definitely got him to react. As did Morrison’s lucky win of the SmackDown Tag titles, and Otis dropping the Caterpillar on Ziggler. Oh, and getting the girl, too.
Kittle now talks with Renee and Booker and says it’s hard to pick a favorite match. But if he had to, it has to be the Boneyard Match. It was so unique, and The Undertaker can still wrestle for several decades if he does matches like that. Renee likes the way he thinks. Kittle’s expectations were nothing. He didn’t know what to expect from the Boneyard Match of the Firefly Fun House Match. Both were so different, but Taker throwing guys off the roof is just awesome. Renee brings it back to Kittle’s reaction stream, and asks his thoughts specifically on Rollins VS Owens. Seth Rollins is his favorite wrestler after meeting him a couple times at Rollins’ wrestling school in Iowa. The match was great, it covered a lot of ground, and KO jumping off the sign was just nuts. He would love to see more.
Booker saw Kittle is a big fan of Otis. How cool was it for Otis to get his revenge? Kittle loved it. Kittle loves seeing when a wrestler works hard and get the reward. That whole match was great, especially with Mandy Rose appearing to give Ziggler and Sonya some payback. Booker notes it is almost like Ms. Elizabeth. Yes, it was one of the best moments in Mania history. Renee agrees, it was a beautiful moment. Otis got everything he deserved and Ziggler can hit the bricks.
Renee moves things to Kittle’s NFL career. The Super Bowl didn’t go the way the 49ers wanted, but Kittle still got a great moment meeting The Rock. He only talked to The Rock for like 30 seconds, but his heart was racing. They were on stage together, The Rock gave him an introduction and then they bro-hugged. Kittle just couldn’t believe it, but he’ll always remember the slap on the bicep. Renee brings up Rob Gronkowski, a fellow TE, win the WWE 24/7 Championship. What are Kittle’s feelings on that? That was awesome, too, especially when you consider Gronk’s previous moment of helping Mojo Rawley in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. Gronk as a host was very entertaining.
Booker wants Kittle to be honest. How does he really feel? Kittle won’t let Booker stir it up. Kittle supports fellow Tight Ends, and Gronk letting his personality out on screen like that was great. Renee wants Booker to share his feelings. Are we having a Promo School pop quiz or something? Booker will go at Kittle. Kittle needs to get some dirt on him in this business. Kittle was being served up Gronk right there but he let it go. Booker wants Kittle to call out Gronk, and be like, “I cannot question your stats.” Gronk’s a three-time Super Bowl Champ, so you just can’t. BUT, Kittle is a first-team all-pro with the TE receiving record! Gronk, you step to Kittle and it’ll be just like Skittles! Break down and taste the rainbow, SUCKAAA! Kittle admits, Booker has him speechless.
Renee thanks Kittle for joining them on the show, and hopefully next time will be in person. Kittle thanks them for having him on, he loved it.
The panel returns to talk about the Women’s Division!
Rhea Ripley VS Charlotte Flair for the NXT Women’s Champion was an “absolute clinic.” Paige says she loved it all. Charlotte won but Rhea stepped up to the plate. No one expects NXT talent to be on the Grandest Stage of Them All like that, but Rhea killed it. But props to Charlotte for another five star instant classic. Charlotte is the Queen and Paige is happy she’s back on top. Mostly because it annoys a lot of people, but that just means Charlotte’s doing her job right. Renee says Rhea and Charlotte beat the hell out of each other.
Christian’s take is that from a wrestling perspective, it was the best wrestled match of the weekend. He liked the psychology of working the leg, it came into play. Fans are worried about Rhea, but Christian isn’t. Rhea is an NXT talent that got to be on WrestleMania! And she did amazing against Charlotte! Rhea is young, talented, and can go back and forth with Charlotte for years to come. The WWE is on the right track with Rhea.
Moving on from The Queen, the panel discusses The Man! Becky Lynch has been on a roll, but so has Shayna Baszler. Shayna had a huge part in the Survivor Series build, and got her 1v1 shot at Becky. Becky won the highly anticipated match but by the skin of her teeth. Today is the full year anniversary of Becky Lynch becoming Raw Women’s Champion! What does everyone think of that?
Booker knows the subject has been what Becky has to do, and he still says she just needs to continue living up to her nickname. She showed up and showed out again. Booker was on the fence in regards to Shayna, but she also stepped up and performed on that next level. Shayna has done big stuff and will do big stuff in the WWE, and he liked her promo after. “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” Shayna will have her thrill of victory on Raw soon enough, she just has to wait. Christian agrees with Booker, he wondered if Shayna was ready. But now Christian feels that no one is ready, until they get their shot. You don’t know what to do about that situation until you’re in it.
Christian notes Shayna definitely has something different among the Women’s Division. She has a Lesnar-like intimidation factor when she walks in a room. And he also notes that Shayna lost but she wasn’t beaten. It was a roll-up victory. Much like Lesnar comes back scarier after a defeat, Shayna will do that next. Renee moves things from WrestleMania Weekend to the Raw After Mania. After the break, Backstage discusses the return of a long-time favorite of theirs.
Next week, CM Punk is back!
The Voice of the Voiceless joins Backstage again, and he will be more than ready to discuss anything and everything WWE!
Raw After Mania was for returns!
Nia Jax gets a return win over Deonna Purrazzo and with a new move. It has been a full year, but after successful knee surgeries, the Irresistible Force is on Raw again! And she even borrowed one of Paige’s old moves. Paige is so excited. Nia having two knee surgeries but she’s back in just a year? That’s quick and really great. Nia texted Paige while at the PC, and she asked permission to use the ol’ RamPaige package DDT. Paige figured why not. It was bittersweet, though, because it means Paige isn’t going to be using it anymore. But at the same time, Paige got chills from seeing Nia use it. It was Paige’s own “passing the torch” moment there. Renee says it is great to see Nia’s hard work in recovering and returning pay off.
Booker says Paige and Renee said a lot to that already. Going through rehab, putting in the work, having that mindset and the worries, it’s a lot. But seeing Nia return, doing what she does “oh so well,” he loves it. A big weekend for the WWE Women’s Division, too. Bayley retained her SmackDown Women’s Championship, yet she goes and starts talking smack! Bayley’s post-Mania interview video plays now, in which she calls out Paige. “Bring her up on the titantron, go Skype her, go FaceTime her.” That’s how Paige communicates now, right? RIGHT?! “I don’t care what match she has for me! I thought you (the interviewer) were going to be in the match with me. Where’s Renee Young?” Bayley gives them all open invitations!
Renee says Bayley don’t want none. What is her problem, anyway? What did they ever do? Paige gets her part, because she originally announced that huge match. But at the same time, Bayley deserves unfair situations because of her bad attitude. Booker wants Renee to ask him what he thinks, and she does. He thinks Sasha Banks is a hell of a worker. BURN! But with that, Backstage wraps it up. Be sure to be back next week for even more words of wisdom.
This is a really good episode to follow a really good WrestleMania Weekend. It makes so much sense having Drew McIntyre on this episode given his huge win. Obviously everyone in the WWE feels the same way we do, but they also understand the situation the world is in. I also like that McIntyre wants that same Raw After Pandemic moment I’ve been wanting. That Raw needs to be the biggest celebration for both his title win and the world being able to function again. George Kittle on the show was good, too. I appreciate Booker trying to start up an NFL WWE crossover in nudging Kittle towards the 24/7 Championship. Gronk needs to be part of Raw next week for a showdown with Mojo, Truth and even Riddick Moss.
I like how Booker frames things for Braun. Braun wins as a substitute, but he needs to stand tall and show he was champion material all along. Hopefully WWE already has that in place with this Friday Night SmackDown that has apparently been taped from their “secret location.” However, why didn’t they talk about The Big Show? Big Show was as much a part of the Raw After Mania as anyone else. Though, maybe this means Big Show’s return is a weird one-off. Maybe CM Punk gets to talk about this and other stuff for his episode next week. In fact, I hope CM Punk gets to go in-depth on that Firefly Fun House. Backstage could make an entire episode of just that analysis.
Mitchell’s Raw Talk Report! (1/25/21)
Who wants to Talk With Elias?
It will be a golden Raw Talk before the Royal Rumble!
The Hurt Business put in work and the Queen is worried about usurpers, but they’re here for some Raw Talk ahead of this Pay-Per-View Sunday!
#CharTruth welcomes us back to the show!
Charly Caruso says we’re on our way to one of the biggest PPV’s of the year, the Royal Rumble! She cannot wait! But she also can’t wait for tonight’s episode of Raw Talk, with Truth, who is still WWE 24/7 Champion! Isn’t she also champion by association? They should center the belt. And not to rub it in or anything, it’s been a long night for everyone, but Truth had his shot to officially enter the Men’s Rumble and it didn’t work out! What happened? AJ Styles is phenomenal and he has Omos with him. Omos is big. A mountain of a man! Hugigantimongous. Mount Everest or Mount Kilimanjaro? Both. You gotta look up, and East to West. You can’t focus on Styles with Omos there, there and over there. Charly almost thought he was here, but Truth says you’d have seen Omos if he was here.
And then speaking of directions, there was an interesting misdirection with the main event, Lil’ Miss Bliss, The Fiend’s protégé, what even do we call her? Truth says they’re family. And then Orton with his sunburn face gave her an RKO! Hard to know how to react to that, other than that was the worst thing that could’ve happened. Or one of them, maybe. Orton wants revenge for what happened to him so he took back his pride, dignity, etc. Truth says Orton needs some Aloe Vera or something. But Truth getting that close to Orton might get him in Alexa’s sights, too. Truth can’t risk that, Charly needs him to be a cohost. Truth needs Truth to be here, so he’s going to just move on.
Moving on to an exciting match coming at the Royal Rumble, the WWE World Championship, Drew McIntyre VS Goldberg. We almost got a throw down between them but they went after Miz ‘n’ Morrison as they were egging everything on. That’s what they get, though! Spear AND Claymore! But that won’t stop them from going after each other on Sunday. Who you got? Charly will make a prediction. Just because of what he’s done in the WWE and that Charly has a lot of respect for him, she goes with McIntyre. Nothing taken away from Goldberg, but Charly’s voting McIntyre. Truth is with Gillberg. Well, alright then. And speaking of another big time champion with something going on at the Royal Rumble, it’s the Queen!
Charlotte Flair joins Raw Talk!
Charly says Charlotte looks amazing these days and Truth agrees. Super shredded, and very happy, but of course because she has the championship. Charlotte’s got Andrade at home to help her, after all. She hopes she got the roll of the R just right. But yes, a lot of things to be happy about. A live-in trainer, some championship gold, but also some problems… Just a little. Let’s talk about that after her mindset for tonight’s match with Shayna Baszler that didn’t even turn out that way. There was some involvement from Lacey Evans, the “problem” they were about to bring up. Charlotte was looking forward to facing Shayna, given the history with Shayna’s buddy, Ronda. Maybe they texted like, “Do you remember when Charlotte kicked your ass?” Whoa~!
But Charlotte says Shayna means business, so she knew to give her the best. But then there was Nia Jax and all that. The tag titles will be on the line against Nia and Shayna, how is Charlotte feeling about that? Charlotte has Asuka so there’s that. Truth knows Asuka is great, and Charlotte may sound cliché but she knows she doesn’t want anyone else with her as she goes into battle. Charly said it before and will say it again, Charlotte and Asuka are two of the greatest women in the WWE. But Nia and Shayna were very strong tonight. Charlotte says they were just mad tonight. Truth agrees with that. Charlotte has had the opportunity to be in the ring with the Irresistible Force, and it isn’t often she faces someone bigger than her, but they bring out the best in each other and expect nothing different.
But then Charlotte also wants to be in the Women’s Rumble, but there’s everything with Lacey and Ric Flair. Some family drama, Lacey attacked Charlotte in front of Ric, what is going on? Charlotte knows Ric thinks he’s being cute and funny, and for the last couple of years it’s just been hard. Everyone around Ric are Yes People, they just praise Naitch, and then they leave and it’s just Ric. Charlotte has only ever wanted to protect the Flair legacy. She would do anything to do that. So looking Ric in the face and pointing out how Lacey is sexy and all over him, she can get that. But Ric is going from legend to creepy old man and she will say it because she’s not the villain here. Charlotte doesn’t even have time for Lacey, who is just an opportunist. Are the intentions the title? Is it really about Ric?
Truth says how could it not be about Ric? He’s the Nature Boy! Charlotte knows Truth is a Carolina boy but slow down. Charlotte has done everything she can to show she’s here because of her work, not her name. But then those who will do anything to get to the top, that is Lacey. You hear about it while everyone else is doing things the right way, but you see that kind of girl everywhere at every level. It’s hard to be sure why Lacey is doing this to Ric and Charlotte, but she’s definitely doing it to get at Charlotte.
So Charlotte has her hands full with the tag title challenge, Lacey’s antics, and then the Women’s Rumble. Charlotte is sure people think she’s had a happy-go-lucky life as Ric’s daughter, but she’s used to obstacles in her path. People don’t see it, but the ones who have obstacles don’t talk about it. Charlotte will be prepared for everything coming her way. Truth loves it and Charlotte feels like she has a hype man. Charlotte says she has mac ‘n’ cheese to share with him. Is there pork chop in there? Truth only does light pork chop in the mac. But Charly thanks Charlotte for her time and wishes her luck. See you later, champion!
Elias & Jaxson Ryker join Raw Talk!
The Drifter and his follower are back and they talk BBQ after what we just got. What is his favorite? How do they mean? Regional, Carolina, Tennessee, etc. They vote for Carolina, which is Truth’s liking. Charly makes sure everyone knows the question wasn’t just because they were talking BBQ with Charlotte there. Charly was testing if they could come to an agreement given the miscommunication the last few weeks. Wow, Charly! They’re pals, but great journalism move. So then what is happening? There was discord but are things moving in the right direction?
Of course! They got on the same page, the communication problems are gone. They handled things on WWE Main Event on Hulu, but not like two weeks ago. The footage shows things, but Ryker & Elias took on Ricochet & Jeff Hardy on Main Event and took care of business! Hardy is a living legend, we all know that, and Ricochet is one of the most talented wrestlers in the world today! But Ryker is an intense animal that loves the Universal Truth, and Elias himself is a once in a lifetime performer. But those four on Main event shows how jam-packed Raw really is. Charly asks if Ryker sees Elias’ guidance as serving him well. Of course!
Wait, Elias is sinking in his chair. Truth says it’s cuz Elias is lying. Well it happened to Keith Lee but for a very different reason. Get us a montage of people sinking in the chairs. That’ll go viral. Elias says he wrote the Universal Truth cuz he speaks the truth and now he’s talking to Truth! Nice one! Okay, one last time to see if they can get on the same page. Who do they think wins the Royal Rumble? They say “WE are going to win the Royal Rumble.” Oh so if one wins, they both win. Yes, they are going to win. Simple as that. Watch this Sunday! Elias is declaring officially, so there you go. It is an official declarence. A declaration? Yes, that, too.
Well Charly will pass that along, though we don’t know the rules right now. Truth says it’s about opportunities but Ryker wants to take it. Ryker and Elias will write history at the Rumble when THEY win! 2021 will be historic! Well alright. Good to have them on the same page with the declarence, be ready for a Raw Talk BBQ. But now from BBQ to perhaps fine dining? The Hurt Business is here!
Bobby Lashley & MVP join Raw Talk!
MVP warns Truth, “Every word out your mouth tonight, measure very, very carefully. Because I am not here for it. And I give you my word, one, ONE, wrong thing out your mouth, and it’s on.” Like a pot of neck bone? Don’t play around, Truth. Charly seconds that because of what we saw the last few weeks. Bobby Lashley told us two weeks ago that he’s not playing around with Riddle’s bro-ness stupidity and Truth went and said something that angered MVP. MVP almost got Truth that night, and Charly is just happy that she wasn’t here for that. Things will not go that way this week, Charly won’t allow it. Oh, allow? Is that’s how this is? Y-Yes…? So if MVP slaps Truth, how will she stop him? Right, nevermind what she said, then.
Lashley tries to lighten the mood as he keeps MVP back and has a big smile. Riddle won tonight’s gauntlet match and has a rematch for the US Championship. Lashley’s feelings about Riddle, the one thing the Hurt Business wants to accomplish is to get rid of disrespect. Lashley beat Riddle before, Riddle is not a problem. But he was a problem for the rest of the team. No, the problem was inside the Hurt Business. There is some dysfunction, but they’ll sort that out. So why is it happening now? The VIP Lounge was meant to be a celebration as they have major titles, so why is it happening now? Lashley wants MVP to relax but MVP keeps glaring at Truth.
Truth tells MVP he’s missing out on interview time, they’re just asking questions. Lashley says when you get on top, sometimes things get tense. They’re all friends. MVP has been a great friend, as has Shelton Benjamin, and even Cedric Alexander is a friend. But they have titles, money, but that causes tensions to rise and things get out of hand. Truth says he was a friend and got put in the Nelson from the Simpsons. MVP says this is just a speed bump. It’s done, as is the line of questioning. What will Charly “allow” now? She just wants a feel for what’s going on. Individually and together, the Hurt Business is successful, but it is a bit worrying when things start to break down. You may want it to be a speed bump, you may want to rebound, but look at Conor McGregor!
Lashley says it’s been awhile since McGregor won. But the Hurt Business is fine. They’ll talk it out, it’ll be back in place. They can’t be crumbling if they still have the gold. Truth says he likes the THB necklace. MVP asks how much Truth likes it. He likes it a lot. Charly says not to push any more buttons. The show is done, MVP and Lashley head out, and #CharTruth says they appreciate their time. The Royal Rumble is coming, will that speed bump hit someone in the butt?
A pretty good Raw Talk, but I will say this. Elias and Ryker did a good job to plug WWE Main Event, and I like that they tried to put it over as proof that Raw is so stacked, they couldn’t fit their match with Ricochet and Jeff Hardy on the show so they put it on Hulu. That’s not true, I’m sure that match could’ve been fit on tonight’s Raw if things were a little different, but at least it’s happening somewhere. Charlotte had a good segment, nice little shoot on how she is with Andrade romantically, and for being able to play that confidence bordering on arrogance, she seems like a really nice person in her day to day life.
The Hurt Business had a really good segment to close, and I like that there is this ongoing story of tension with MVP and Truth. I really hope MVP gets the 24/7 Championship before the faction loses one of the other titles. And that shouldn’t be too hard, it’s the 24/7 Championship. He might even lose that title as the Raw Tag or US Championships are lost because Truth could just sneak in and roll him up. I just hope the Hurt Business lasts long enough to only break when they lose it all.
Mitchell’s Talking Smack Report! (1/23/21)
DING DONG, HELLO~! Talking Smack!
Talking Smack has a strong episode this week!
Cesaro, Bayley and Sami Zayn are all here to talk some smack on what went down! Will there be any sore losers among them? *cough* Bayley */cough*
Kayla Braxton welcomes us back to the show!
We’re just over a week away from the Royal Rumble, and Friday Night SmackDown had us on the edge of our seats! Kayla is here with cohost Paul Heyman, who has some explaining to do as he does his evil finger pyramid. Kayla knew right away Heyman had something planned, and he did, and instead of Adam Pearce VS Paul Heyman, we got Roman Reigns beating Pearce up. Roman did beat Pearce up, but Kevin Owens got back at Roman, too, and Kevin asked Heyman if he was watching. Were Heyman’s eyes open? Then yes, he was watching. “It was the perfect plan. Conspiracy theories abound and they’re all true.” They had Pearce locked in, Sonya was about to take over because Pearce was out the door. Heyman pulled the strings, he kept Kevin away all evening, but somehow Kevin screwed them. “Card subject to change.”
But Heyman isn’t done ranting! Wait until he finishes his point. Well he took a breath- Yes, he just took a breath! She made the mistake to jump right into any opening. Heyman continues to say that this is Kevin’s problem now: “The Royal Rumble, next Sunday, we’re not going to be pulling Card Subject to Change. Card will be delivered as advertised!” Which means KO is stepping into the ring with “an angry, infuriated WWE Universal Heavyweight Champion who understands that this match only ends when one man is left standing.” And it won’t be Kevin. That’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler! Three, two, one, now your turn, Kayla. Kayla appreciates that. Let’s lighten the mood, the host of DING DONG, HELLO~!
Bayley joins Talking Smack!
Heyman shakes Bayley’s hand and says he is a great admirer of her work. Bayley thanks him for that and appreciates Kayla’s slow clap. Heyman introduces himself and says if she wants to see something outside of her own brilliance, watch Roman Reigns get his hands on Kevin Owens in the Last Man Standing match to not only defend his title, but to put Kevin down with a beating that will earn a Parental Advisory Warning. Bayley likes that! They should get their people on that. Kayla has people? Yes. Now, to the “Ultimate Athletic Obstacle Course Challenge.” Bayley is flexing now, but Kayla points out that while it was Bayley’s idea, it didn’t go as planned.
Heyman says nothing goes as planned on SmackDown! And they had the best plan! The absolute best plan! But Kevin screwed it up! Kayla brings this back to Bayley’s plan in the obstacle course. Kayla gets Heyman relates to that here, but Bianca Belair, the EST, proved herself on Bayley’s course. She even embarrassed her. Bayley says to stop the replay, get to the end. Fast forward, guys, c’mon. Kayla brings up Bayley kinda cheated, and still lost. Bayley says it can’t be cheating if it’s under her rules. This is fair and square as her first-time-ever obstacle course challenge. Is no one listening? Is Bianca paying them to play the footage?
But it doesn’t matter, SmackDown doesn’t do obstacle courses between the longest reigning women’s champion and “some new chick.” Bayley doesn’t even want her weird chair anymore. Does Kayla want to be in the Royal Rumble? Bayley will gladly “welcome” her into that as the Role Model, the CAPTAIN of SmackDown! She’ll grab Kayla by her ear piece mic and throw her out, just like she will Bianca and every other woman in the match! Kayla doesn’t discount that, Bayley is an incredible competitor. But in the obstacle course- Heyman speaks up because he doesn’t like the use of “incredible,” it means “not credible,” but Bayley is definitely credible. She is a GREAT competitor, and Kayla is envious! #BayleyEnvy, make a shirt, put Kayla’s face on it.
Kayla asks if Bayley underestimated Bianca and therefore underestimating the other competitors in the Rumble. Bayley will say Bianca is a great athlete, we’ve seen what she’s capable of over the years. Bianca eliminated EIGHT superstars, but did she eliminate Rhea Ripley, a former NXT Women’s Champion who had her WrestleMania moment with Charlotte Flair? No, Bayley did! Quality over quantity! The lights, the stress, it’s all making Bayley sweat. Kayla thinks Bianca was making Bayley sweat. Maybe Bayley did the obstacle course and that’s why. Kayla does appreciate the challenge, it was entertaining, until the end when Bayley attacked Bianca. OH? Let’s check the ratings and see if it was entertaining.
Kayla thanks Bayley for her time, Bayley has a party to go to, Heyman says Kayla is condescending but he would never do that. He again shakes her hand and says Bayley is a generational talent. See you in the Rumble, Kayla. In the match! But speaking of the Rumble, our next guest is a superstar who vows to win the Men’s Rumble, the Swiss Cyborg!
Cesaro joins Talking Smack!
Cesaro likes the high chairs. He shakes hands with everyone and takes a seat. Standing tall, sitting tall, as he should after his victory. Cesaro beat Daniel Bryan last week, has a bit of a chip on his shoulder and turned down the rematch challenge. Why is that? Cesaro says he always has something to prove. He likes new challenges. He beat Bryan already, why do it again? And Bryan wasn’t even dressed anyway so he’d just be taking advantage. Kayla has known Cesaro for awhile, this feels like a new Cesaro. Is he showing a different side to the fans? No. Does he really seem that different? Kayla says there’s more intensity.
Well Cesaro says this is less new and more the old Cesaro. Cesaro went back to the basics, his strengths, and it’s paying off. So what is it about Bryan that “irks” him? Cesaro says it’s not the way we might think. They’ve known each other for about 15 years or more, they had a rivalry since they’ve met and it’s been very competitive. It came to the WWE, after having some of the toughest matches ever with Daniel Bryan. So yes, Bryan “irks” Cesaro because Cesaro needs to beat Bryan. Bryan brings out the best in Cesaro, and Cesaro does appreciate that, but it drives him.
Both men have been very vocal about winning the Men’s Rumble, but with 30 men total, will they be the final two? Cesaro is confident that they will. Anyone else that says differently, they should not be in this building, in that ring, and certainly not in Cesaro’s presence. Kayla says that Bryan having never won a Rumble, that is why this is so important to him. Bryan’s hunger could be greater than the others. Yes, it could be. But what a great New Year’s Resolution. Cesaro isn’t a fan of those, because you should want to be better every day. Not just once a year, but every day, be better today than you were yesterday, forever. Bryan’s hunger may be big, but it’s opinion.
That is what irks Cesaro. If Bryan wants to win that badly, then Cesaro wants to win even more. That is how this rivalry works, that is what is needed in the WWE. Use everything as motivation to get to that next level. Kayla agrees. Now say Cesaro does win the entire thing, which Kayla could see happening. Has Cesaro thought about who he will challenge at WrestleMania? The options are Roman and Kevin for the Universal Championship, or Drew McIntyre and Goldberg for the WWE World Championship. Cesaro said last week on commentary, he would challenge Roman Reigns on behalf of Shinsuke Nakamura. Now McIntyre mentioned Cesaro as a dream opponent and Cesaro would love that, too, but Cesaro is a man of his word.
Does Heyman have something to say on that? Heyman says Roman VS Cesaro is big box office. Heyman has sung Cesaro’s praises since he got into the WWE. Cesaro knows that respect and admiration, and is a very dangerous man. You don’t hear all this energy, he’s soft spoken and “means not to be anything else besides himself.” Cesaro is rightfully confident because he is uber talented, and is on a path to the top. There’s only one man who can stop him, and that is Roman Reigns, which is why that match could headline WrestleMania 37. Roman will put down Kevin, and Cesaro has a good chance of winning the Rumble, so we’ll wait and see.
Kayla thanks Cesaro for his time, and Cesaro tells Heyman to tell “Table Head” that he’s next. And finally, a man Kayla thought she’d never miss but definitely does lately, the “Great Liberator!”
Sami Zayn joins Talking Smack!
Sami notices he has no music. Kayla says he can try again but no, the moment has passed. “These are the little things I’m talking about.” Kayla says Heyman has a part in this but Sami says Heyman’s been in this business longer than Kayla’s been alive. Kayla can’t catch a break. Sami says Heyman is a lot of things, a lot of bad things, almost all of them true, but Heyman is not jealous of anyone. Sami says this is rather fitting that he’d get put on Talking Smack and then he gets disrespected. He brings up the conspiracy and brings in his film crew.
The documentary crew is here because Sami doesn’t recognize the cameramen and Sami’s been here 8 years. This is so the footage is true and unedited. Now, conspiracies. There is a long standing one against Sami, but it’s all the little things, the little acts of disrespect that add up. Everyone else gets music and a warm welcome, but Sami gets treated like a fool after being a cohost! Sami had his cuffs as a peaceful protest, the right to assembly. America loves their rights, right? This was Sami making a point, engaging in his right to do that. This was all to make management aware that he will not be silenced. But people act like he was in the wrong! Kayla does, doesn’t she?
Heyman voices his agreement. Sami says the thing is, but Heyman says it’s like a bad marriage. Sami was called an instigator, but he has the signs he brought to SmackDown. Let’s dissect these. #SAMI: Stand Against Moral Injustice. Those who don’t like this sign, why? Are they FOR moral injustice? Yes or no? But isn’t it hypocritical? Sami doesn’t like Apollo cheating but Sami was cheating a lot! Heyman has to tell Sami, he loves the sign, but he admits he kinda likes moral injustices. Sorry. Nothing against Sami, but still. Wait, Apollo Crews walks on set! Sami is glad to see him, though! Apollo wants to hear Sami in person. Keep going. Sami says this is perfect.
Sami brings up a sign that works for Apollo, “How Do You Sleep at Night?!” It works for Big E, too, who holds SAMI’s title! How does Apollo feel getting his title shot, cheating to win?! Apollo is okay with that?! That’s the difference between Sami and Apollo! Sami stands for something, he has a value system! Sami doesn’t want to upset Heyman but he wants Apollo to hear him. “How do you sleep, cutting these corners to get ahead?” Apollo acts like a nice guy with a million dollar smile, but then he’s okay with winning how he did? At best, Apollo should’ve given Sami a rematch and then we’d see who is the better man.
Heyman says Sami is upsetting Apollo but Sami says he doesn’t care. Apollo says Sami can talk, talk, talk, but eventually Apollo will get Sami in that ring. Well that’s a threat. Don’t make excuses, Kayla, it is a threat on her show! Heyman doesn’t like being in the middle of this, literally. Sami says he has to think about his camera crew’s safety. Apollo won’t intimidate Sami, but he is doing this for his documentarians. Apollo is going to be confrontational, he’s making Heyman uncomfortable, so Sami is going to leave. Not for Sami’s safety but his cameramen. Sami excuses himself, and Kayla says that’s fine, this is the end of the show anyway.
Heyman tells Apollo that Sami is just distracting him. It’s what Sami does. Is Apollo going to be distracted “by a prick” or be focused on the Intercontinental Championship? Apollo say she’s going to beat Sami’s ass, THEN go get the title. “Because I can.” Heyman is impressed. With that devious smile on Heyman’s face, Kayla goes to close the show, but then Kevin Owens shows up… Heyman and Kevin stare down, Heyman gives a nod, and Kevin leans over to tell Heyman, “You feel it.” Kevin then offers a handshake, and Heyman takes it. What did Kevin mean by that?
What a great episode! Heyman was great throughout the whole episode, but he’s great all the time really. Him trying to interject the Roman story into everything was great. Bayley had a good segment, and it fits her Heel persona that she takes a 360 on the obstacle course because she lost. Bayley VS Bianca really should happen on the go-home next week to get them both going into the Rumble. Cesaro made a good point, New Year’s Resolutions are a bit silly when you should be trying harder every day. And I really like that, though not fully Face, Cesaro is calling out Roman here on behalf of Nakamura. I still think Cesaro would be great as a Face, so we’ll have to wait and see.
And then the last segment was awesome stuff. Sami getting NO theme music, ranting on with Heyman on his side mostly, and then the surprise appearances from Apollo and Kevin to plug their stories, all of it was done perfectly. Apollo even somewhat defying Heyman was great. Whether he goes Heel or not, an aggressive Apollo is definitely a good move for him.
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