WWE Backstage looks back on a powerful part of WWE History!
The Attitude was gone, but the Aggression was still to come! Join the panel as they dive deeper into the Ruthless Aggression Era and what it meant for many wrestlers today.
Renee Young welcomes us Backstage!
After learning about the Ruthless Aggression Era, we of course have back Booker T and Mark Henry, who were big parts of that time in WWE History! And joining them and Renee is Ember Moon with her newly dyed hair! Booker and Henry remember hearing Vince make his Ruthless Aggression speech, and looking back, “it was like the Wild Wild West.” You fought to get your champagne wishes and caviar dreams. Booker was hungry because he hadn’t reached the top of his career, so he was kicking down doors to get there. Henry remembers hearing about the brass ring and “If you want it, go get it.” There were “main guys” that took up TV time, but it was great to be the young guy taking the ball and running with it. Backstage will talk all about this era later in the show, but even bigger is a dive into The Undertaker: The Last Ride. Plus, the Swiss Cyborg, the King of Swing, Cesaro will be Backstage! But before all that, and in case you missed it, here’s…
Just the Highlights!
On SmackDown: The Queen was challenged by the most dominant SmackDown Women’s Champion ever to throw down. Charlotte accepted that challenge, but also challenged Sasha Banks to think for herself: Is she happy just being a lackey? The WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament began, and Daniel Bryan advanced with the hopes of finally taking that title back. The Monster Among Men and Mr. Money in the Bank put the hurt on Miz and Morrison, but Otis only teased cashing in on Braun. Will the Dozer decide he has what it takes to derail the Strowman Express?
On Raw: Edge accused Randy Orton of not loving pro-wrestling as much as him, and then accepted the challenge for a Backlash rematch. Austin Theory was kicked out of Zelina Vega’s stable, but was picked up by the Monday Night Messiah. The King of the Ring came to visit and he got a Claymore fit for a king! But Bobby Lashley is aiming for Drew McIntyre, will it take all of his might to dethrone him?
The panel discusses!
McIntyre still has a target on his back. But why did it take so long for Lashley to return to the world title scene? 13 years as MVP has been saying. Booker says when he left the WWE, he was in the prime of his career, but was hoping someone would take his place. He was hoping Bobby Lashley would be that someone, strap the rocket on and go to the moon. But then Lashley left the WWE, too, to try MMA. Lashley did very well with a 15-2 record, but then he went back to wrestling. Lashley is back in the WWE, he maybe dropped the ball because time away is the real worst enemy. Lashley thought he’d be back sooner and to the top level sooner, but he has MVP with him now. That’s a great combination and Booker is going to love seeing what we get out of them.
Ember thought that Lashley’s return was the perfect timing for him to be on top. As much as Ember hates MVP being on TV, she loves that MVP is speaking the truth! Lashley has been stuck with Lana in this weird marriage story, but Lashley is a big man. Lashley doesn’t need her, she needs him, and Lana realizes that. Lana knows Lashley is the meal ticket, but Lashley is finally detaching and going to MVP for support. This is essential for Lashley to become the next champion. As for Henry, a lot of this is Lashley not wanting to get on. In reality, Lashley is too nice a guy. Sometimes, you’ve got to be a grown man and stand up. You need to go to the ring and leave everyone else down to become champion. Lashley hasn’t really done that, so this is that opportunity. MVP has enough edge to sharpen Lashley, and Lashley has been lacking that aggression to just take over. You need ambition. You can’t just get by on looks and being liked. Lashley needs to go out there and take this.
Is ditching Lana necessary? YES! Booker, Henry and Ember all agree here. Booker brings up the old saying, “Women weaken the knees.” Or is it legs? Either way. Ember says that it depends. Booker and Sharmell were a power couple enhancing each other. Lana does nothing for Lashley as a character, so that is why there must be the detachment. Lashley is a former multi-time champion in the WWE, but we forget that because of Lana. Renee agrees, we’ve forgotten Lashley is the most badass man in the locker room. The match with Lashley obliterating R-Truth is showing us the old Lashley again. Booker says Lashley is in the perfect place to prove he’s at that right level. Lashley is in that spot to make us go, “Wow!” Renee agrees, and says this is about having a chip on your shoulder, as well as coming along at the right time. Henry says everyone wants to see Lashley unleash. No scripted Lashley, or even a smooth, confident Lashley. Henry wants to see Lashley with some desperation, some hunger and edge. Backstage is rooting for Lashley!
Renee transitions by saying maybe the TikTok kids can do something with the Double Caterpillar. Otis and Braun worked together to hit Morrison with the double elbows and got the win, but even Braun admits his caterpillar was ugly. But it was still better than Miz’s kip up! Braun also says he liked working with Otis, but Otis better not try him or he’ll just #GetTheseHands. Renee asks Henry about being a big man break dancer, and Henry says Strowman’s worm was the worst worm in the history of worms. Booker defends Strowman but Henry is holding his nose because it still stinks. Renee says Strowman can move better than that, and Henry wants to see that pop, lock ‘n’ drop it. Henry is sure he can do it better. Booker says Strowman was doing a wave. Booker’s one to talk, taking the back spin and calling it a Spinarooni. Booker invented the Spinarooni! Just like Michael Jackson invented the moonwalk! Henry says Jackson didn’t invent it, he just had the platform to use it. Henry has proof and will send it to Booker! Dance moves aside, a superstar with some of the best in-ring moves will be Backstage after the break!
Cesaro is Backstage!
“This is a man who takes his Uno very seriously.” The Swiss Cyborg and avid gamer joins Renee and Ember. What’s that background he has? Cesaro is home in Switzerland with this background, it’s Mount Pilatus just outside of Lucerne. How many times has he been up and down that mountain? A bunch of times. When he was a kid, they’d go up the mountain for soccer practice. Cesaro is pretty sure that with travel restricted, people are looking at images of places online to feed that need. People always try and tell him, “That’s not how it really looks!” but Cesaro can assure you, that is how it looks.
Renee says Cesaro is considered one of the best performers, but what does that reputation mean to him? A lot. It sounds better when Renee says it than him saying it, because then he isn’t conceited. But that is the biggest compliment you can get. He’s just trying to consistently have great matches and consistently the best he can be in the ring. Someone by the last name of Cena, first name “Big John,” once told him that you are only as good as your last match. Cesaro took that to heart and he treats ever match as that. Ember agrees, so many of Cesaro’s matches are contenders for Best of the Something. Whenever Ember hears the music or sees the titantron going green, she hurries over to watch him. She and Renee do the gun arms like Cesaro does. But what does Cesaro do to consistently bring out the best in his opponent and in himself? Because Ember just remembers him being amazing all the time.
Cesaro says that he always pictures each match as a blank canvas. He never wants to do exactly the same thing every time, he wants to surprise the fans. If you switch on to the WWE and Cesaro is on, he doesn’t want anyone to change the channel. He doesn’t want people to think he’s predictable with a “Five Moves of Doom” sequence. Cesaro wants and tries to do one new thing every time, like a feat of strength or something. So to quote The Miz, which is a sign the world is ending, Cesaro wants to truly be THE Most Must-See Superstar, because every time you see him, you can’t help but watch him. Renee says there’s always spontaneity. She would be on commentary, and there would always be a weird exchange. That’s the beauty of it! The more matches you have, such as at live events, the more you can try out. Cesaro loves house shows where he can do that. It’s fine if you don’t know everything you want to do, because spontaneity can create magical moments. The more chances for that in a match, the more fun the match will be.
Renee brings things to how Cesaro had a short time in NXT during the early days. Cesaro has even gone back, such as with NXT UK. How has Cesaro enjoyed seeing the brand grow? Well when it started, it was about giving people a chance to learn how it is on TV. And now it’s WWE’s third brand! Cesaro feels that last year’s Survivor Series was an amazing time. It was finally Raw VS SmackDown VS NXT, and you saw interactions you never imagined before. To Cesaro, that on any TV show or movie you watch, it’s about the interactions of the good guys, bad guys and characters in general. NXT has had so many great moments, and it is truly must-see for Cesaro because Cesaro just has to watch everything he can! Ember adds on that Cesaro going to NXT UK was awesome for TakeOver! Cesaro agrees, he was given that opportunity and jumped on it. Just like in prime NXT, doing five shows a week: three house shows, Raw, and SmackDown.
And so Cesaro was just sitting at home and thought, “I want to go to NXT.” He loves wrestling, and wrestling more is how you learn and improve. NXT is a proving ground, the fans latch on, and then you become great on- Well, is it even really the “main roster” anymore? NXT is on par with Raw and SmackDown now. But back then, fans could feel a sense of pride having watched someone on NXT first. It’s similar to when fans knew the “indie guys” before they went to WWE, but now it’s NXT. There is the emotional investment. NXT UK was the best kept secret, but it and 205 Live have so much going on now, the secret’s out. The camaraderie in the locker room, the pride in the performers, everyone is watching everyone else just like the fans. NXT UK’s pride and joy in their own production, Cesaro just loved being part of it. It is great that Europe has that now. When Cesaro started, that wasn’t there. And surely you’ve noticed by now, Cesaro has long-winded answers. That’s fine by Renee.
But going back to the gaming, Renee shares a punishment video clip. The Manly Man music video that Cesaro had to post on his Instagram. Renee feels like that wasn’t even a parody, that was all just him. Cesaro says it was more of an homage at the original Man’s Man video. The real punishment was singing the song, and he did not do it justice. But yes, that’s pretty much him. Then Renee wants Cesaro to give us some great dad jokes. Well, since she’s putting him on the spot. Cesaro says he was attacked by six dwarfs. Yes, just six. Not happy. Badum tsh. Ember says that’s awful! But those are just the kind of jokes he likes. Cesaro likes jokes about the eyes. The cornea the better. Badum tsh. What was that luggage one? Oh right! The thing is, we all travel in the WWE. Cesaro has a check bag, he had to have a heart to heart with it. He apologized for not being able to use it these days. He probably shouldn’t have, because now he has emotional baggage. Badum tsh! Great moves and goofy jokes, Cesaro really can do it all.
Backstage looks at The Undertaker: The Last Ride.
Taker himself watches the WrestleMania match with Roman Reigns. Taker feels that last look Roman gave the ring was disappointment, but Michelle McCool thinks that’s just his feelings about it. But Taker still wanted to redeem himself. “So here we are.”
The panel discusses.
Mark Henry faced Taker in a WrestleMania match of their own. Is Henry surprised Taker is allowing this look behind the scenes on who he is? Yes. One of the most private guys Henry ever met in any business or sport, and seeing this last line of defense go down, this is ushering in a new world. Renee agrees, the vulnerability is chilling but also very exciting to watch. Seeing Taker after that match with Roman, the regrets attached to it, does Booker ever have similar feelings? Is there a match Booker would redo if he could? Yes, of course. Booker says that everyone as professionals all feel this way. There are always moments you want to do over.
Booker’s would be Judgement Day against Kurt Angle, the payoff to the story of Angle stalking and obsessing over Sharmell. Booker and Angle wanted to have the Steamboat VS Savage moment with that. Kurt Angle is one of those wrestlers where you need to work up to his levels. Booker felt good but then Angle showed him this move called the spladle. Booker wasn’t sure what that was, but turns out it was a traditional wrestling move. They put it on in the match, and the referee counted three! But they still had about 15 minutes left in the match! Oh no! Angle looked at the ref, Booker looked at the ref, and they both wanted to kill the ref. But Booker had to celebrate but it was all awkward. That was their last match against each other, so that was that.
Did Henry have a match he’d want to do over? Nope, he’s good. Never had a bad match. Okay, in seriousness, Henry and Big Show, their first match together, they don’t know what happened. They knew what was supposed to happen, but it came off like two junior high kids trying to kiss for the first time. That’s quite the analogy. Henry remembers this match being a house show leading up to a show. They just stared at each other for minutes with silence. They talked about it and agreed, that could not happen ever again. Stern Show and stern Henry are scary men.
But what about Ember? She’s thinking back at her five year career, and could say she should’ve defeated Asuka’s streak, or at least hope she would’ve. Maybe she and Bayley could’ve done more. But the more and more she sits back and thinks, she just thinks on her injury. She realizes she might have a career ender, so she might not have a chance to redeem herself. She gets a bit emotional as she thinks about the things she might not get to do. It’s hard to think on both past and future. Ember knows Booker jokes, “They’re DONE!” Booker assures her, she’s not done. She’s got a lot left! Don’t quit! Don’t get emotional, suck it up! Ember’s too great to think about stopping. Henry’s been there, too. Ember says she keeps pushing forward because this is what she loves. This is what she has wanted for so long. So she can’t really look back, she has to look forward. Ember thanks the others for their support, because there’s so much more she wants to do. She will prove to everyone that she’s worth redeeming those regrets, it’ll just take time. Renee agrees, we’re all itching to see Ember back.
Backstage talks the WWE Intercontinental Championship Tournament!
Sami Zayn was stripped of the title, and both Daniel Bryan and Elias are already through to the next round. What does everyone think of the Intercontinental Championship’s standings with the WWE today? Should the new champion, Daniel Bryan or otherwise, return this title to its roots of being “The Wrestler’s Title”? Ember absolutely agrees with that. For the past few months, the belt was remodeled, Shinsuke Nakamura had it, but we never got to see how pretty that title looks. You went from Nakamura to Braun to Sami to nowhere. So this is the opportunity to elevate the title again. It needs to be held up, silver platter and brass ring, but also time to get back to our roots. Make wrestling important again! Who does Henry see bringing that prestige back? The cream of the crop is the one who said it all. Daniel Bryan should win because he deserves it. But again, AJ Styles is in this, and he’s just as seasoned and decorated. It would be magic to see those two wrestle for that title. Not fight, but wrestle. Think of the epic proportions Bryan and Styles could bring!
Renee agrees. She looks forward to how this tournament will unfold. She was there ringside to see it and then interview Bryan after. Even without fans being there, you can feel that something special was going on. That’s the side of Bryan we all love. Who does Booker think should be champion? There are a lot of guys who finally get a chance. Personally, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus aren’t Booker’s thing. But seeing precision tacticians like HBK, Bret Hart, that’s what made Booker want to wrestle. But Booker knows Styles can go out there, and his boy, #D-Bry, can go out there. This will open up the market for guys like Aleister Black, who have yet to really get that chance to perform on that level. The doors are wide open! Ember adds that Nakamura is still here. Booker is looking past the bracket! Whoever wins, they will defend the title, and that allows guys like Aleister to show how good they really are. Aleister hasn’t had the best match-ups to perform to the level he can perform.
Then what else must happen to make this title prestigious again? Ember says stories. Henry says boom, there it is. Booker doesn’t want to toot his own horn but he kinda does. When he was WCW TV Champion, he vowed to defend every week. Booker lived up to his word. When he won the World Heavyweight Championship, he vowed to defend that title on TV and at house shows, and that meant something to the fans. Stories aren’t even needed if you want wrestlers to “shine like new money.” Henry sees that, but says a person like Sheamus or Nakamura, they don’t get opportunities because all they do is fight. If all you can do is fight, punching, kicking, throwing, the people can’t identify with you. You might even get hurt and put on the shelf. So wrestle, learn some things, and then beat him. That is pro-wrestling.
Ember adds on, she wants a Best of 7 again! Someone needs to struggle to get to the champion and then it makes the fans feel something. The talents are putting their bodies on the line, even with no crowd, but it needs to mean something. It needs to be for that title. Give the broken bones and bruises and scratches purpose. Renee likes that. That is what will make this title important again. It’s what we need, it’s what we want. Henry wants to give Renee a shout out, too, for how she handled the interview. She did something that Henry doesn’t see often. An interviewer gave the ring and the mic to the person in the ring when he got emotional. Renee let Bryan get that moment, and so Henry applauds that. Renee says she’s been side-by-side with Bryan, she knows when those moments are happening. Speaking of moments, the Ruthless Aggression was full of them, and the panel will discuss their favorites after the break.
For the first time, the WWE split itself into brands! Paul Heyman knew Raw VS SmackDown removed the complacency backstage, because you had Raw stars wanting to do better than SmackDown stars, and SmackDown stars wanting to do better than Raw stars. There was hunger and competition!
Booker and Henry stick around with Renee to talk about those early days. Booker was there when the brands split, but were they really that hungry to outdo each other? What Booker remembers about the initial brand split was that it was real. When everyone is fighting for position on Raw, it gets real tight, it gets real frustrating. So when Booker went to SmackDown because of a trade, that made him a bit hot. But then The Rock came up with “Layeth The Smack Down!” and that turned into a show, Booker knew he had something there! He took it to the next level with nothing holding him back. Booker says that everyone on the roster had one common goal: Beat the hell out of Monday Night Raw! And that resulted in some of the best shows they ever had. But who were those other people? Booker was just talking about “the boys” pulling together. Booker teaches his students how the locker room rallied together and were like a crew on a ship all rowing together. It was beautiful, because not only was Booker excelling, everyone was coming up! That was the difference between the shows.
Does that mentality still exist now that it’s Raw, SmackDown and NXT? Henry says there is that rivalry. One of the things that helped start that, other than the original brand split, was Henry coming out of OVW. In OVW, there was John Cena, Randy Orton, Dave Batista, and even Mark Henry, Brock Lesnar, The Big Show, and CM Punk! That’s the franchise right there. That would give you an attitude, because you would show up for TV, and your name wouldn’t be on the sheet! It was Taker, HBK, Hart, et cetera! There was no room for them. It was the attitude of wanting a chance. And then things changed, and they got those shots that if they missed, they were done. People were fighting for their jobs. Renee understands that pressure situation.
The Man is now The Mom!
Becky Lynch gives up the Raw Women’s Championship to take on the challenge of motherhood. The panel knows Baby Becky Rollins is on the way, what an exciting time. But gender reveals are so polarizing. Here are some ideas from the panel of how to reveal the gender! Booker says Rollins needs to take a guitar SMASH from Elias. Powder comes out of the guitar! Henry says they need to call in Stone Cold, have some colored Steveweisers splash the answer. Ember says there needs to be a tank and DX uses the pyro to give the reveal! Renee says Asuka should use colored mist! But it’s still up to The Man and Her Man, so we hope to hear from them on this, and wish them all the blessings as they prepare for parenthood.
A really fun episode with just a bit of real talk on the Ruthless Aggression Era. I’m surprised they couldn’t arrange another special guest for that, but Henry and Booker were definitely big parts of that era. I did not realize until now that the spladle finish to Booker VS Angle back then was a referee botch. I’m surprised no one told the ref about the spladle spot just in case. Anyway, another real talk moment was Ember getting emotional about her own career. During those early days, Ember was definitely in a tough spot with Asuka being in NXT at the same time. Nothing against Ember, but Asuka wasn’t going to be beaten by anyone short of herself in NXT. And while there are those upset that Charlotte was given that honor, at least she ended Asuka’s streak at WrestleMania, the only place a streak like that should end. But I know Ember has a good chance of returning, and she will get a chance on any of the brands to finally get a title.
Cesaro was a great guest, and whether those are dad tier jokes or not, Cesaro’s pretty funny. If he was given half a chance as a Face, he could become champion in a snap. And with all the talk of getting the Intercontinental Championship back to its workhorse, best-wrestler status, Cesaro definitely has a chance of being one of the best choices. I still remember the great handicap match between Bryan, Cesaro and Jack Swagger/Jake Hager, with the interactions of Bryan and Cesaro being the stronger parts of that match. If Bryan and Cesaro were given a chance to put on a title match, I know they could recreate that magic, or even something greater. Giving Bryan a platform like that would be a way for WWE to keep him, and by extension a way to keep Nakamura and others. Too bad it took something like this pandemic to get World Wrestling Entertainment thinking about wrestling being important again.
Mitchell’s Talking Smack Report! (2/27/21)
YES! YES! YES! Talking Smack!
Will Talking Smack say YES and #EmbraceTheVision?
The newEST episode might be the biggEST yet, as Bianca Belair, Daniel Bryan and SETH ROLLINS are all on Talking Smack!
Kayla Braxton welcomes us back to the show!
We had an electrifying Elimination Chamber and we’re on the way to Fastlane on the Road to WrestleMania! And Paul Heyman looks fresh, looks snazzy! Is that new? Has he not looked snazzy before? Was he old and tired then? Kayla likes to think her fashion sense has rubbed off on him. Heyman is “bad at bougie.” Kayla finally got her eyes checked and finally saw how good he looks. And no, they will not be going on a date. He will be calling HR about the harassments. Well new topic before we get way off the rails, Kayla says the Elimination Chamber PPV was great, and Roman Reigns retained his title. Kayla lets the crew know to keep going because she will be.
But Friday Night SmackDown saw that once again, things didn’t go Daniel Bryan’s way. There’s the WrestleMania sign, and the main event is supposed to be Roman VS Edge because Edge chose Roman, but Bryan still wants to be Universal Champion before then. Is there a bit of Heyman and Roman that is nervous? Heyman crumples up papers and throws it away. Heyman wants us to kiss his kosher tukus. Roman sweats no man as he is the “end all, be all,” and is THE WrestleMania main event! That main event will be against Edge. Bryan can wish and hope and dream and fantasize about a match against Roman Reigns, “and it ain’t gonna happen.”
And why is that? Because Roman is locked in against Edge! All Bryan is trying to do is “upset the apple cart.” That won’t happen against the Reignsing, Defending, Undisputed, Uncontroverted main event and Universal Champion, Roman Reigns. Bryan will be joining us later on, but first, a guest Heyman is very happy to see, it is the Savior of SmackDown!
Seth Rollins joins Talking Smack!
Heyman says the pleasure is all his, and this is an honor, as well. Rollins is a little sore, maybe dizzy, from being in Cesaro’s swing. How is he feeling? Rollins had to find his stomach. It got to the seventh row. Rollins also recompressed his spine, and he feels much better sitting here. An unfortunate series of events tonight, but sometimes you have to take it on the chin and move on. It’s great, it really is, it’s all great. But then they replay the footage of the insane amount of rotations, and Kayla notes that Cesaro basically rejected Rollins’ offer. Rollins wants us to remember that he didn’t invite Cesaro out there, that’s fake news.
Cesaro interrupted Rollins tonight after turning on Rollins last week. Cesaro even patronized Rollins, then he’s rude this week. Rollins wanted to offer his help to get Cesaro to the next level, everything Rollins touches turns to gold, and that’s all Rollins was trying to do. But then, did Rollins perhaps spoke too soon about Cesaro not having killer instinct? That swing looked pretty killer to Kayla. Rollins is just here, sitting at this table, having a conversation with them. It’s not how many times you get knocked down but how many times you get back up! Where’s Cesaro’s killer instinct? Nowhere! Without Rollins’ help, Cesaro may find it, he may not. Slim chances, really, but that’s just Rollins’ opinion.
Heyman says Kayla is being too critical. And in this case, the phrase would be, “It’s not how many times you get swung around, it’s whether you get back up.” Rollins is up, yes. Heyman admits that his Tribal Chief, Roman Reigns, has seen the media that Rollins has done recently. It is all quite impressive. Rollins was on The Bump! Roman and Heyman missed that one. Partially Kayla, partially #FakeNews. But Roman is quite flattering of Rollins, which makes the Special Counsel a little concerned. Not because Cesaro is more of a man or more of a competitor, “but because he is on such a tear right now.”
To Heyman, Cesaro has finally found what he hasn’t been able to before, and now he’s in a zone he’s never found before. That zone, combined with his superhuman strength, makes Cesaro one of the more dangerous superstars in the WWE today. Now Rollins is a visionary, that even Heyman is inspired by. Rollins took time off rightfully so, but Heyman is inspired by Rollins’ vision for the future. The only concern is that Cesaro will disrupt that vision. Rollins says that is fair, because everything Heyman said about Cesaro is true. What Rollins was saying about Cesaro was true. But as a Special Counsel, Heyman surely understands that “sometimes things go the easy way.” People just understand, get along, life is good.
Other times, that’s not how people come to an understanding. Cesaro wants to take the hard road. Rollins isn’t sure where that’ll lead them, but he vows Cesaro will learn that the things Heyman said about Rollins are true, too. Rollins tried to talk to Cesaro, Cesaro made this difficult, but it will all be okay. “We” will be just fine. Heyman thanks Rollins for gracing them with his presence. Rollins appreciates them having him. So until then, no more fake news, Kayla.
As Rollins leaves, Heyman turns to Kayla and says that when he came onto set today, mostly that he’s not a morning person, but his back has been killing him. All he did was shake Rollins’ hand, and he felt better! He’s not saying he was healed, but something is very special about Rollins. Kayla sighs, and says Heyman is just a bandwagoner. But moving on to one of their favorites, she is the woman that lasted the longEST in the Women’s Royal Rumble and won it all, and is now the challenger to the SmackDown Women’s Championship, it’s the E S T!
Bianca Belair joins Talking Smack!
Kayla wants Bianca to bop Heyman with her ponytail. But then Bianca wants to show off the boots and she hops up on the table! She celebrates choosing Sasha banks, and she asks if she should hop back down. History is being made, the decision was made, and now it will be The Boss VS The EST! What made her choose Sasha over Asuka? Well, Bianca hops back down, and she says Asuka is great, The Empress of All Day, Everyday, but something felt right about choosing Sasha. WrestleMania is already big, but how to make it bigger? The first two African American women headlining, that’s how! That’s magical!
Kayla knows Bianca got emotional before over this moment, but doesn’t she have to pinch herself? We’re just a little over a month from WrestleMania, has that settled in yet? Bianca says winning the Women’s Rumble was one thing, but to be facing Sasha Banks in WrestleMania, the decision made it real. She was shaking from excitement! Her mom was texting and talking Bianca up, and Bianca is so excited for what this means. No matter what happens, history is made, probably one of the biggEST moments in Bianca’s young career, and it’s against Sasha Banks.
Kayla says Bianca has made serious waves, but you can’t take anything away from Sasha. So how does Bianca plan to show the world that she is equal to The Boss? Bianca took some weeks before making a decision because of how big it is. And Sasha, ever since Bianca walked into the Performance Center, was on Bianca’s mind. Sasha is one of the NXT Four Horsewomen, there are records and barriers she’s broken.
Now Bianca isn’t jealous, because all of that is inspiring. Sasha says she’s the best, but Bianca is the EST, so she has to prove that by facing the best! Bianca is happy but she isn’t content. She wants to be THE SmackDown Women’s Champion. Sasha is great, but the new kid on the block is going to prove herself on the GrandEST Stage of Them All! Kayla loves to see it! Heyman tells Bianca she’s earned every bit of this. Bianca shoves off the boots one last time before heading out.
Heyman say she agrees with Kayla, and he has said everything he can say to Bianca as a challenger. That’s why he didn’t say much tonight, or this afternoon, morning, or tomorrow, or next week, or any time, other than Bianca faces one of, if not the greatest, SmackDown Women’s Champions ever in Sasha Banks. Heyman has spoken to Bianca as a challenger, and looks forward to talking to her as a champion next time. Kayla agrees there 100%. But YES, we have one last guest, and Heyman wants to get out of here now, but Heyman’s said things about this man, it is THE GOAT!
Daniel Bryan joins Talking Smack!
Back again! Bryan says Heyman didn’t want him here because Bryan is going to bring up that 80’s mullet braid that Heyman had and how he’d swing it like Bianca did. It was amazing, it has to be somewhere online. Heyman used to wear a thong and asked for singles, but… No one ever did. That’s the saddest ever. That’s why Heyman went into this industry. But Kayla notes that things haven’t gone Bryan’s way the last week, so how does he feel about that? Bryan wants to talk more Elimination Chamber than SmackDown, actually. Well congrats on that win in the Chamber! Third time ever! Can’t win a Rumble, but he can win that. But at the end of Sunday, Bryan didn’t feel like a winner.
Bryan has worked really hard in his career, and always puts his best foot forward. Over the last year, Bryan’s done his best to take a step back, and push others forward. The WWE has amazing talent! When Bryan was last here, he was talking about Cesaro and how great Cesaro is, and people saw that! People know how great SmackDown’s roster is! Bryan goes through the Elimination Chamber, he has his win, and then Roman capitalizes on him. Bryan’s done this before, he can do it again. But then he gets beat “really, really quick.” Bryan is okay with losing. He’s lost a lot of matches, too.
But then Bryan gets out of the ring, Edge spears Roman, and Edge points to the Mania sign. Bryan loves Edge, but that was when Bryan felt like “an absolute failure.” Two guys in the main event of WrestleMania, only wrestled a total of three matches this year. Bryan went in there, fought with all his heart against five other men who were fighting with their whole heart. Even guys Bryan doesn’t really like, from Jey Uso to Kevin Owens and Baron Corbin. But Bryan felt like a failure because for the last 12 months, Bryan put himself on the back burner for these other guys, and then he failed. “Then came the deepest realization of them all. And it’s that I failed myself.”
The WWE did this personality profile years ago, testing the top stars about things, and after Bryan did his, the lady told him, “This is incredible. You are in the bottom one percentile for ambition. This is the lowest ambition score I’ve ever seen!” How is that possible when he’s so successful? It’s because Bryan loves what he does. In that moment at Chamber, Bryan realized that he’s more ambitious than he knew. And the fact that it’s Roman and Edge, and not Bryan in there, who in the last 8 days wrestled more than those men combined in 2021! Do you understand?! Bryan tries to wrestle on every Friday Night SmackDown, and if there were live shows, Bryan would wrestle on those, too! Bryan will fight anyone!
On Sunday, Bryan sat on the ground while two men who wrestled only THREE matches get to main event Mania!! Bryan failed Bryan. So how does it feel to win the Chamber? Not good at all. Kayla offers Heyman time to respond. Heyman smirks, and says, “I’m gonna make your day.” Heyman has the opportunity of a lifetime for Bryan. The Special Counsel has been authorized by Roman Reigns to make Bryan this following offer: If Bryan wants a Universal Championship match against Roman Reigns BEFORE Edge and WrestleMania, aka at Fastlane, then next week on SmackDown, Bryan is offered a rematch with Jey Uso. And if Bryan wins that rematch, it’ll be Roman VS Bryan for the Universal Championship at Fastlane.
But if Bryan loses, then Bryan must ACKNOWLEDGE Roman. Bryan will say Roman is THE Tribal Chief, THE Head of the Table, THE end all, be all and the best of the very best WRESTLERS on this planet! The Reignsing, Defending, Undisputed, Uncontroverted Universal Heavyweight Champion and THE main event of WrestleMania. Bryan accepts this offer. And if Bryan loses, then he swears, promises, that he will say all that and even shake Roman’s hand. Bryan will call Roman the Tribal Chief and the best he’s ever been in the ring with. But Bryan has a condition of his own: to make sure we get a proper result this time, make the match a STEEL CAGE MATCH. What does Heyman say?
Kayla loves that, that sounds awesome! What does Heyman? Bryan makes it a chant, “Steel Cage Match! Steel Cage Match!” Bryan will break the table if he has to! Oh no, Heyman is freezing up! Is Roman a coward?! Don’t say that on Talking Smack! Heyman blabbers that he can’t authorize the extra stipulations! But it’s just an itty bitty steel cage! That’s not itty bitty! It’s HUGE! “STEEL CAGE MATCH!” Kayla calls Heyman a chicken, bawk bawk! Wait, did a text come in? Bryan thinks Roman is a chicken~! But that text was FROM Roman, and the Steel Cage Match stipulation is on! Bryan smiles and tells Heyman that’s all he wanted to hear.
But Bryan has a message for Roman. Tell Roman, “I am no longer putting myself on the back burner. I am no longer putting other people first. I am going out to take what’s mine, and that’s the reign that I’ve had before CM Punk, and that’s the best damn wrestler in the world!” You heard it here first, folks! Bryan VS Jey, STEEL CAGE MATCH! If Bryan wins, he gets that Fastlane match for the Universal Champion! Heyman seethes as Kayla says bye and see you next week!
What a great episode for Talking Smack! Rollins was great, though he sure seems to be driving the point that he’s satirically portraying a certain side of the political spectrum. #FakeNews being used is a bit of a giveaway, but he and Cesaro are going to have a great match, and I like that Heyman of course ties in that Roman sees great things in his old frenemy. Maybe one day we get the Tribal Chief and Savior of SmackDown interacting directly. Bianca showing off the boots, jumping on the table, that was a lot of fun. She still said quite a bit of what she’s said before, but Bianca VS Sasha is still going to be a really good match.
Bryan had the best segment this week, he had passion in pointing out how he is the workhorse, Roman has (for story reasons) shifted to part-time, and Edge (though he was hurt for most of 2020) is basically the same. Setting up the Steel Cage Match here was great stuff, too, and I figured we were getting a rematch of Bryan VS Jey anyway. Upping the ante is great, but I would think at this point, that means Bryan wins the cage match and we see what happens at Fastlane. At the same time, Roman could easily interfere with a cage match because turns out, the cage doesn’t stop anyone from anything. We’ll have to wait and see, but I would hope Bryan overcomes the odds at least one more time.
Mitchell’s Raw Talk Report! (2/22/21)
Raw Talk will be PHENOMENAL, Bro!
Raw Talk has the Phenomenal, Ravishing Glow, Bro!
After the wins they got on Monday Night Raw, AJ Styles, Naomi & Lana, and even the NEW WWE United States Champion, are here for Raw Talk!
#CharTruth welcomes us back to the show!
Charly Caruso and R-Truth are still missing the WWE 24/7 Championship, but that’s what it is. There’s this empty space here on the table and Truth feels all off. He feels he can’t even focus on tonight’s business. Charly was hoping Truth had a trick up his sleeve but he just spoke to Bad Bunny and Damian Priest. Well DP is always with Bunny so he can’t do anything. It’s complicated. Of course. Truth vows to get his baby back, but Charly says overthinking can mess you up. Truth has to swoop in, but not too fast. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Okay but which is it he needs to do? Because he could go safe late or work earlier. What? Well, whatever.
But moving past the 24/7 title, let’s transition to the WWE World Championship! The Miz cashed in at Elimination Chamber, he is the new champion, but now he has a big battle on his hands. Bobby Lashley took down Braun Strowman and is going right after Miz next week! Charly felt Miz would cash in during the PPV kickoff show, but she didn’t think it’d go that way. And now, a little over 24 hours later, Miz feels the hurt. Truth says Lashley beat down Braun! Wait, everything has changed from then to now? Charly says this is mind blowing! So much can happen in the WWE even overnight. Truth says this just keeps reminding him of the missing 24/7 title.
Charly breaks it down: The Miz is world champion after cashing in the MITB contract. But he might just be champion for now, because Lashley is coming. Miz owed Lashley a debt, Lashley is going after the gold. Truth says Miz better be ready. Charly asks if Truth was looking forward to a Triple Threat. That would’ve been good. It’d be scary for Miz because it’s Lashley AND Strowman. People would get hurt there. But it’ll just be Miz VS Lashley for the title. Miz did say that he doesn’t want to be a transitional champion. What’s that mean? Well, sometimes you see a champion who holds a title a long time, while others simply pave the way for another champion. Oh, okay. Truth says he’s a transparent champion. Not the same…
Charly says if Miz is predicting his future, if things go his way, he will be a champion for a long time, but Lashley will give him a run for his money. But from the world champion to the United States Champion, and Charly makes sure Truth is okay talking about titles without his, it’s THE BRO!
Matt Riddle joins Raw Talk!
Truth is excited for Riddle and Charly congratulates the Original Bro for having the hat, the shirt and now the gold! Riddle tells CharTruth that last night was amazing, breath taking even! Keith Lee didn’t get to be part of things but John Morrison won his way in. That was a wrinkle in things, a new obstacle to overcome, but thankfully there was another person to pin because Riddle has to admit, he wouldn’t have been able to pin Bobby Lashley. “That guy is a beast!” Didn’t you see Lashley tear up McIntyre after their Triple Threat? And then tonight, destroys the Monster Among Men! Riddle’s been in the ring with Braun, that guy is no joke, so that says a lot for Lashley.
Charly asks what it feels like for Riddle to have overcome a behemoth? Riddle is all about beating behemoths, taking on big challenges. Riddle mentioned Air Bud, the dog that just wanted to play ball. Riddle is just the Bro that wanted to be US Champion! And now that he has “Travito,” lil’ Travis the eagle, it’s all good. Charly likes that name. Truth says #LilT-Fly! Tweet tweet! Riddle has his mascot, his belt, he’ll have that by his side every waking moment. Last night’s Knieval gear, he’ll get a dirt bike, take a jump after WWE’s The Bump, all sorts of stuff. This is his golden ticket!
How does it feel winning his first singles title in WWE? Personally, he started thinking it wasn’t going to happen. It was staggering, all those defeats. He beats Style in his debut but loses in the title match. The same for Lashley over and over. Riddle felt like Air Bud, being told, “No.” Even Keith Lee, a best bro, was saying Riddle couldn’t do it. But Riddle didn’t stop, and now you see it in his eyes! He is a champion! Riddle says the man doesn’t make the belt, the belt makes the man! Riddle took Lashley’s belt, and he beat the guy to beat! Truth is fired up for Riddle, and Riddle says that yeah, Truth doesn’t have his gold, but it’s just a matter of time! 24/7, 365! Truth is THE 24/7 man! BOOM!
Charly says #CharTruth is good but can they get an official Bro nickname? Riddle is feeling on the spot. He takes a day or so. Well Truth will give Riddle some time, then. Riddle doesn’t want to make something lackluster. Truth, we don’t need any lacklusterisms. Charly says the feat was remarkable, and Riddle says he has great feet. Riddle has the hardware, but does he feel after everything, his early momentum that stagnated, is the door open for him? Yes, especially after winning again tonight against a great opponent in Morrison. Beating Morrison clean with the Bro Derek, this is the start of a beautiful thing. Things are gonna change for Riddle. He’s winning gold, he might even get an investor for his Bro ideas! #Brogurt, #Bronuts, etc. MVP was a little meh on it, but the Hurt Business does know business. But Lashley is a savage, so…
Charly says Riddle is pretty savage. A savage stallion! He needs some pedicures and stuff, but he has been kicking butt. Charly says Riddle can go get that treatment, and wishes him and “Lil’ T” luck. And she never realized there was an eagle there. But now, it’s time to #FeeltheGlow!
Naomi and Lana join Raw Talk!
The #RavishingGlow are contenders for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships and are building momentum while they wait for the match. There is great energy now! Lana isn’t crying tears, she’s smiling ear to ear! Naomi helped dry those tears by teaching her to believe in herself! But let’s talk about their title shot. They’re excited, dreams are coming true! To start this year, Lana set goals to become champions by the end of the year, and they are going to do that! They have a contender’s spot! Vision boards FTW! Every time, when Lana is on Raw Talk, they talk about manifesting dreams. Lana had a shot before, got hurt, but she’s back again for another shot!
Charly sees these two being an awesome championship team. They are unlike the other teams, not to take away from those other teams, but these two have a unique set of skills and a great look. Naomi says you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Drinking? No, basketball! Naomi & Lana are a unique duo, a new duo, but not new to WWE. They need to believe in themselves or no one else will. They have confidence in themselves, and once Lana believes in the Ravishing Glow, tuning out the negativity, this deep friendship is going to propel them. So was this something under the table? Oh wait sorry to bring up tables, Lana.
Charly asks Lana if having a former champion in Naomi by her said help lift her up? Of course! Lana feels lucky to have a tag partner like Naomi. Lana has passion but she also has doubt. Nia, Shayna, they’re great but they are bullies. Naomi’s a two-time champion so she knows what to do. Charly knows Lana has been through a lot with Nia and Shayna, and Lana says she’s afraid, but she’ll run at her fears to face them head on. Naomi says there’s nothing to fear because Nia and Shayna are still human. “They bleed just like us! They get hurt just like us!” That means they can be beaten. They’ll slay the dragons! Exactly! Naomi says they aren’t losing teeth here!
Charly says Lana & Naomi can bring the heat, but just look at what Shayna & Nia did against Asuka and Charlotte. Truth asks if Lana’s gonna bring the glow, and she says she will. How does that work with the electric company? Leaving lights on wastes energy. No, it’s LED’s, Truth. Charly asks where they get inspiration for their gear? Naomi loves neon lights and futuristic things, and Lana is just ravishing. But Lana does say she gets fashion shows and comic books but what about Naomi? Naomi says it’s like Coachella, DJ light shows, that stuff. They can all go to a festival and dress up together one of these days! Charly can’t wait to see what their futures look like, and whenever the title match is, Lana and Naomi are going to train and be ready for anything!
And lastly, from positive energy to a phenomenal winner, it’s the Phenomenal One!
AJ Styles and Omos join Raw Talk!
Truth and Styles have known each other a long time and Truth doesn’t like Styles’ attitude. Styles says Truth is hugging too much. No, those were daps. No, they were hugs. Truth still can’t get “Omos” right. But how is Styles feeling? He won against Ricochet tonight but lost at Elimination Chamber. Ricochet is good, though. Styles says he did what he could at the PPV, chips fell where they may, he isn’t champion. But he was still here tonight. Where’s McIntyre? Jeff Hardy was here, Sheamus was here, even Randy Orton and Kofi Kingston were here. But where was McIntyre? Truth says he was busy. Yeah, because he got hurt! Got his feelings hurt, too! That’s why he’s not champion!
Truth says that’s not cool. Is Styles lying, though> Well Truth wasn’t looking for anyone but maybe he was here. Charly says McIntyre probably has a valid reason. Styles asks if Truth, after losing his title- Oh, we’re going there, huh? Well, Truth is here on the show. Would Styles wanted to see McIntyre after he beat Styles? That’s not the point, Styles is just saying McIntyre isn’t here. Styles is here, got a win, because he’s man enough. But who won’t be here for a few weeks will be Ricochet! Styles and Omos got him! Truth says that was too much, too. Truth is baffled that Omos did it! Well Styles calls that the #JKCB, the Jackknife Choke Bomb! Styles enjoyed that!
Omos asks Truth if he has something more to say about that. Truth asks if Styles is putting money in Omos’ pocket. Omos gets upset but Truth says this is what was on the paper! Styles has Omos cool down and Truth says he does NOT want none with Omos. The questions aren’t needed. Bye, questions! Styles likes that better. Omos pats Truth on the shoulder and Charly asks Styles what he wants to say tonight. Styles made his presence known in a big way. Then asks what’s next for them? Charly asks them that. “Sky is the limit!” Who knows what’s next? There’s nothing these two can’t do! Truth believes they’re right there. Charly does, too.
Is Truth in pain? Well he feels uncomfortable. It’s all good, though, they’ll ask the right questions. Charly says they can just wait and see what is in store. Styles asks where Truth got those pants. Are they custom or homemade cuz of the kids and stuff? Charly says no hard feelings, especially not from Omos. Truth says he’s not giving the eye or anything. Charly thanks us for tuning in, and on behalf of Truth, signs off.
A pretty good Raw Talk, went by pretty quickly, and just kinda touched on everything we saw tonight without really setting anything forward for next time. Riddle giving Lashley his props was pretty good, it helps them transition away from Riddle and Lashley now that Lashley is going after the world title. Lana & Naomi were okay tonight but it was hard for them to have anything new from previous times when their match on Raw was mostly filler. It seems most likely that their match for the Women’s Tag titles waits until Fastlane, after Nia & Shayna have also dealt with Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez on NXT, 3/3/21.
Styles’ segment was good for bringing up McIntyre not being on Raw. While more McIntyre VS Styles would be great stuff, I hope McIntyre’s story stays to the title, going after Lashley or Miz after next week’s Raw. Styles and Omos, meanwhile, could go after Riddle’s US title, or just build momentum so that Styles can come back to the world title after Mania. Styles saying “Sky’s the limit” is basically summing up that they have all kinds of options, all of them phenomenal.
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