Talking Smack has The Boss and “The Great Liberator!”
SmackDown has big plans for the Elimination Chamber, and despite his claims of conspiracy, Sami Zayn is part of them! What will he (and Paul Heyman) have to say about it?
Kayla Braxton welcomes us back to the show!
The Road to WrestleMania is heading to Elimination Chamber and SmackDown locked in a lot for that PPV! Thanks to Roman Reigns, we learned that he will be facing the winner of the Elimination Chamber match that same night! Kayla wants to talk that over with Paul Heyman, especially how one of those six is Jey Uso! What are Heyman’s thoughts that jey could end up facing Roman again? He doesn’t want to talk about that. But if Jey wins, he will be facing Roman for the title. Figured that out all on your own, Kayla? Well, will Jey just throw the match? Like a predetermined outcome? Finger Poke of Doom? Too soon? Too long ago? It must be so nice to be 19 years old and pretty so she can just be on TV. Let’s talk about something interesting.
So Heyman doesn’t want to discuss the chances of Jey winning? Asked and answered, move on. Then what about Kevin Owens being in the match? Heyman would rather talk about Jey over that. Then how about their first guest, another entrant in the Chamber match, the Great Liberator!
Sami Zayn joins Talking Smack!
And of course, he has his documentary crew. Sami finds it amazing that Kayla asks Heyman what to talk about, when they could talk about anything, forgetting the fact that they have Sami as a guest! They could talk about anyone and who do they want? Jey? Kevin? Sami is right here! Sami earned his way, “against the odds, against the corporate powers that be,” into the Chamber match! But Kayla was going to wait until Sami was on the show. Heyman stops Kayla here and needs to “shoot from the hip” with Sami. Sami says no one wants to talk about him, but Heyman did. Heyman says Kayla shouted down the idea in pre-production.
Sami is not surprised. He appreciates Heyman’s sentiment, but this isn’t personal or anything. Heyman finds himself playing to Sami’s crew rather than the WWE crew. Sami says this isn’t personal to Kayla, but she is a shill. But that’s how people thrive in the WWE, it’s how they have jobs here for years, decades even. That is what Sami is working against! Again, not personally attacking. Kayla asks if Sami really is still blaming the powers at be when he won here? Why the air quotes, Kayla? And why is she saying it “agaynst?” Is that making fun of Sami being Canadian? But the air quotes are obviously an insinuation that Sami is delusional and narcissistic.
But with these unbiased documentarians here, Sami has video footage beyond speculation here! It’s concrete, hard fact showing that there are constant efforts to undermine Sami and his championship reigns! Kayla needs to shift from that to the Chamber match and how Sami could win and face Roman that same night. And interesting to note, Sami and Roman have never faced off in singles competition. Sami’s faced a lot of talented superstars, but would he be biting off more than he could chew taking on Roman? Sami says he and Heyman agree on many things, but they will have different opinions on Sami VS Roman. That is fine.
Sami has a lot of respect for what Roman has become. This talk of “corporate poster boy,” that was Roman once upon a time. Roman knew where his bread was buttered. But then Roman realized WWE breaded their butter with Roman Reigns. Roman played the WWE instead of being played. Roman is carrying himself as he should be, and perhaps thanks to his Special Counsel. And despite his past as the poster boy, Sami can’t take away from the fact Roman is one of the very best. Sami isn’t going to sit here and talk about getting in the ring with the dominant champion that it’d be a walk in the park or something. Man to man, head to head, on any given night, it could go either way. But this is the closest Sami has gotten in a long, long, LONG time, because of the conspiracy against him.
Kayla isn’t sure how to respond, but knows Heyman probably shouldn’t respond. If it’s above his pay grade, then it must be Roman’s or Vince’s. Kayla congratulates Sami and Sami asks if she means that. She does. Heyman wishes Sami luck. Sami wants a quick zoom in on Kayla, then he leaves, holding onto the mic. Heyman wants to say that the WWE wants to keep Sami from stars like Roman, but there is no one like Roman. Roman is the number one box office attraction in the WWE. Sami is right, there is a conspiracy, and Heyman should know because when he was behind the scenes on Raw, he was against Sami because he doesn’t actually like him.
And third, well, there isn’t a third. Heyman could’ve just left it at that. Oh wait! The golden goose poster boy stuff. Roman was the golden goose, until he realized the goose controls the distribution of the eggs. So as Adam Pearce is learning, the WWE will learn the power really lies with the goose, Roman Reigns. Is Heyman ready to move on? Yes. Then Talking Smack welcomes the SmackDown Women’s Champion!
Sasha Banks joins Talking Smack!
The Legit Boss shows off the dance moves and she wants Heyman to try. Heyman has no hips, flat feet and is Jewish, he can’t dance. Unless it’s Hava Nagila. Sasha is back and Kayla jumps right into it: Bianca Belair. The EST has yet to name a WrestleMania opponent but Sasha feels it needs to be the two of them. Sasha would love it! Sasha wants that match because SHE is the best in the WWE. Bianca is up-and-coming, brand new, great. The strongest, the toughest, but not the best yet. Bianca has a long way to go, and Sasha will help her be the star she needs to be.
Then to put even more positive spin, they’re both impactful women, they’ve both made history, but here’s more history: If Bianca chooses Sasha, it will be the first time in the WWE that two African American females faced off in a main event title match at WrestleMania. It is Black History Month, so what does that factoid mean to Sasha? Sasha’s heart is beating. It would be another first time ever she is part of. Sasha has done everything she has wanted to do in the WWE. To main event Mania is still on the list. Sasha has been putting it out there, she is ready to create more magic. And whether it’s Sasha VS Bianca or Sasha & Bianca, that is magic. Especially when they were tossing out Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler!
Yes! Those two want to show up on SASHA’S show? She is the leader of SmackDown, the first-ever Women’s Tag Team Champion, and a two-time champion at that! So if those two want to show up on her show, she’ll send them back to Raw. That easy! Kayla also wants to list off other things, such as outside the ring. Tomorrow, 2/14, Sasha is the honorary starter for the 63rd Daytona 500! Sasha is so excited for that. Sasha doesn’t know NASCAR outside of VROOM VROOM, but she will love to wave the flag all around. And then Elimination Chamber is coming, and- Heyman, stop, Kayla wants to get the information out. Well fine, go ahead.
Kayla also says Sasha has a Broken Skull Sessions with Stone Cold, debuting right after the Elimination Chamber PPV on 2/21/21. “Give me an ‘Oh, Hell, Yeah~!'” And Sasha is in the Mandalorian, too. Heyman takes over now and says he is a great admirer of her talents and her success. Part of that comes from the fact that she came here and understood that being champion, “paranoid” is an accurate assessment going into Mania. Everyone on the roster wants to be her. Why shouldn’t they? She’s a champ, the main event, the one people have to come to for a chance to live her lifestyle.
Bianca is, from all accounts, including Heyman’s own assessment, “the most formidable challenger,” a true threat to the title reign. Now, Sasha is ruthless, and would say, “Anything that I have to do to turn back this challenge is fair game.” Bianca is trying to take history from Sasha. And seeing Sasha talk about Bianca, all he sees is respect and admiration for someone coming up as fast as she did. The good thing is, there is no paranoia. Bianca is too righteous. She won’t attack from behind.
But if Bianca chooses Sasha as the one she wants at WrestleMania, and they have to step into the ring together, then does Sasha think Sasha won’t jump Bianca from behind? Get every single advantage imaginable? Isn’t that who Bianca is expecting? Because if not, the outcome of Sasha VS Bianca, unlike Sasha’s other matches, is not 100% clear. Bianca is that good, and is that much like Sasha. Sasha says Bianca better choose her so we can find out. Sasha leaves the mic, takes her title, and Kayla says it was that simple. Heyman says that was a great answer. We have not seen Sasha this confident, but she’s never not been confident.
Heyman asks the production shmuck to take Sasha’s mic for her. Sasha doesn’t have to, she’s The Boss. Heyman still says that the old, ruthless Sasha is what is needed to beat the worthy challenger in Bianca. But wait, there’s a surprise third guest! It’s the Swiss Cyborg!
Cesaro joins Talking Smack!
Cesaro and Heyman shake hands, and Cesaro gets settled into his chair. Heyman is glad Cesaro is back because the last time he was on, they didn’t get to talk as much as Heyman would’ve liked. The last segment of Talking Smack has become Heyman laying it on the line for the guest, which Heyman also just did for Sasha. But Heyman wants to do the same for Cesaro. Cesaro says he’s been waiting to say something, too. There’s a question that’s been on Cesaro’s mind ever since he got here. He asks Kayla, as the host of the show, if it’s okay. She says it is, and is glad someone sees her as the host for once.
There’s a bit of tension from Heyman, and Heyman feels there’s something being set up. They can’t cut to commercials, this is on the Network. Cesaro asks Heyman if he’s seen Cesaro’s tag partner from tonight, Daniel Bryan, since SmackDown. If not, Cesaro has another surprise for him! Heyman’s “favorite,” Daniel Bryan, also joins Talking Smack~! Hard pats to Heyman’s back. Bryan says they could ask Otis to come back and use them hips. No, that’s fine. Bryan asks Heyman if he saw that great win for Bryan and Cesaro. They’re BOTH in the Elimination Chamber now! So exciting! And if one of them wins, they’ll be challenging Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship! So exciting!!
Bryan says he has infinite respect for Heyman. But is Heyman’s deal with all of his guys about getting them to do as little work as possible? Sure seems like it was the master plan to have Roman wrestle the winner of the Elimination Chamber match, when everyone knows that the Chamber is the most grueling match in the WWE. He’s going to face someone who goes through all of that, and only then is he willing to defend the title. When was the last time Roman wrestled on SmackDown TV? Christmas? Has he even wrestled this year besides Royal Rumble? Did Heyman get Roman the Brock Contract?! That’s amazing! That’s the deal! The jam!
Bryan asks Cesaro if he wants a Brock Contract. Cesaro isn’t sure, because he actually likes wrestling every week. Oh, of course! Duh! Heyman doesn’t know what it’s like to work with someone who loves wrestling! Imagine how different Heyman’s life would be if he worked with someone like a Cesaro or Bryan. Oh but wait, he kinda did with Cesaro. But what happened? What was wrong? Did Cesaro like wrestling too much? Is that why Heyman didn’t want anything to do with Cesaro? Heyman says his strategy has always been to work less, get paid more. That comes from being raised Jewish, and Bryan adds that’s also because he grew up with money.
Money is the end all be all, and you don’t have to earn it by being the best, just being in the right place at the right time and manipulate your way to opportunities. But what Bryan likes about Cesaro, who he’s known for over 15 years, is after being attacked by Seth Rollins, he still got up. Do you know how many opportunities Cesaro has gotten in the WWE? No… They could probably count it on one hand. And do you know how many years Cesaro has wrestled more matches than anyone else in the WWE? No. At least 5 years that Bryan’s been here.
So if Roman wants to defend his title against the winner of the Chamber, do you think Cesaro, who has wrestled 230 matches in one year, is worried about going through the Elimination Chamber to finally get a shot at a title he’s never gotten? Do you think Bryan is concerned about it, either? Now, Kevin Owens might not have the stamina, Baron Corbin might not have the stamina for that, and Sami Zayn DEFINITELY doesn’t have the stamina for that. But Cesaro and Bryan, “we can go all night, Paul.”
Well interesting that they say this. Heyman has a question for them. In the Elimination Chamber, what happens when it comes down to Bryan and Cesaro and only one can win? That man will move on to the opportunity of becoming Universal Champion, at the expense of Roman Reigns, and main events WrestleMania AS champion. What happens then when it comes down to Cesaro VS Bryan? We saw that a couple weeks ago: Cesaro wins. Bryan lets that go and tells Heyman he sees what’s going on here. Bryan has a steadfast belief in himself. But Bryan would be absolutely honored to have it come down to him and Cesaro, who he has known for 15 years, and who has more heart than anyone else in the WWE today, and fight like they’ve never fought before, just for a chance that Cesaro has never gotten once!
If Bryan loses, fine! If Bryan wins, then Roman’s in trouble!! Bryan’s gotten his chance to run his mouth, build himself up and say what he’ll do! Do you know how many times he’s gotten his chance? TONS! So if Bryan wins, we know what happens. But you know who hasn’t gotten that chance? Bryan leaves it to Cesaro to speak his piece. Bryan leaves, Cesaro looks to Heyman, and says, “You wanna get personal, Paul? Honestly, I couldn’t think of a better man to stand in the ring with me at the end of the Elimination Chamber than Daniel Bryan.” Cesaro has a lot of respect for Bryan. And if Bryan wins, or when Cesaro wins, they will beat Roman Reigns for that Universal Championship. And Heyman of all people should know that best.
Cesaro knows that Heyman knows Cesaro can and will beat Roman, and that is why Heyman was playing mind games. Heyman fears the possibility of them being the last two, because no matter what, it won’t go well for Heyman, or his Tribal Chief client Head of the Table whatever his nickname is. And do you know why? Cesaro can’t remember the last time he’s had a shot at a singles title, and he’s still going because he believes hard work pays off. Everyone watching that believes in him and has believed in him since he came to the US, since he came to the WWE, because he didn’t come to the WWE right away, no. He worked his way up the hard way, every single day, to be here. And Cesaro loved it because that is who he is!
Cesaro tells the world: If you are out there working hard, believing that what you’re doing is right, no matter what others says or believes. If you are doing it the right way, with the right motives in mind, that matters! Your work matters, your actions matter! Every single thing you do matters, no matter what anyone else says or thinks! What you believe in in your hear tis what matters! Believe in yourself and your success! That is why CESARO will be our WWE Universal Champion, given the chance. Heyman knows that, Cesaro knows that, Kayla knows that, the locker room knows that, the cameramen, Bryan and everyone at home in the #CesaroSection knows it!
Cesaro appreciates the fans and what they believe in, and that is why he fights every single day! And he LOVES it! Cesaro LOVES wrestling, and love always wins! “Cesaro, your next Universal Champion, out!” Cesaro mic drops and Heyman just stares into the camera. Is there a scheme already forming in Heyman’s mind?
Now this was a great episode of Talking Smack! I like that Heyman was refusing to talk about how Pearce got the better of him with putting Jey and Kevin in the match, and what that meant for the possible outcomes. Sami had a good segment, and while the documentary camera crew bit is getting annoying, Sami’s talk of Roman being the poster boy was really clever. If there was anyone a Heel could come off as a Face against (outside of Corbin), it is against this current Roman Reigns. Sami’s schtick could be seen as Face against just how powerful of a Heel the Tribal Chief is being.
Sasha has a fun segment, though it was mostly to plug things Sasha does. But Heyman’s part of that was the good part, because he implied Sasha might have to go back to Heel Sasha if she’s to defeat Bianca Belair. And that’d be pretty great, because Sasha does a great job as either Face or Heel, but she does her best stuff as Heel. And the last segment being Cesaro as a surprise, and then Bryan as an extra surprise, and just everything, was the best thing perhaps all week in the WWE! Bryan’s energy was great, and how he was getting on Heyman about the “Brock Contract” and all of that was hilarious.
Cesaro’s part was so strong, emotional, probably even genuine, and it really struck me. I really hope this is how WWE is showing us we are getting Cesaro VS Roman at the end of Elimination Chamber. Even if Cesaro doesn’t win, just the fact that he wins the Elimination Chamber match, then gets his shot, is so important! Even if Cesaro doesn’t win the title at Chamber, it means he’s finally in the top title scene, and he could easily get a YES Movement or KofiMania style swell from the fans who have been along for the ride and want to see him succeed. It may not be at WrestleMania 37 because of rumored plans already in motion, but SummerSlam 2021, WrestleMania 38, I would hope Cesaro is back to this spot and THAT is when he takes the belt!
Mitchell’s Raw Talk Report! (3/1/21)
Who wants to Talk With Elias?!
Ladies and gentlemen: Raw Talk.
After a wild Monday Night Raw, things are only speeding up towards Fastlane! What will Drew McIntyre have to say about his triumphant return?
Charly- Wait, Kayla Braxton welcomes us back!
Charly Caruso has taken time off this week but Talking Smack’s usual hostess is here! And she’ll leave it up to the WWE Universe to figure out a good nickname for her and R-Truth. Truth tries to figure out some for himself, though. Kay-Truth? R-Braxton? Maybe their names just don’t go together. But either way, Kayla is happy to be here with Truth and wants to talk the highlight of Monday Night Raw: The NEW WWE World Champion a long time coming, it is Bobby Lashley! Truth was a lumberjack and he was lost in the moment. There has been tension between Truth and Lashley but Truth was definitely proud of Lashley in that moment.
Truth confirms, because Lashley has clawed and scratched and finally got his due. Of course Truth got lost in the moment. Lashley did what he had to do and got it done! Miz kept us wondering all night, faking this and that, not that anyone bought it. But Miz tried to okie-doke, only to get got. Then Kayla wants to talk about that moment with Randy Orton and Alexa Bliss’ strange message. Orton choked and had more black gunk coming out of his mouth! Alexa is being creepy. Truth is creeped out, yes. Truth knows Alexa is weirder than him, that is some left field, over the fence, in the street stuff. Just look at it! What was it Orton spitting up!? And how often is Orton “shook” like that? Truth’s also known Orton a long time, and Orton doesn’t get shook, but he was here.
But moving on, their first guests are a duo that had mixed luck tonight on their way to a title defense, it’s the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions!
Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler join Raw Talk!
Truth is happy but the champs aren’t. And Shayna doesn’t even know who Kayla is! Nia asks if Kayla even goes here. Truth says they should be nice. They’ve been on The Bump, they know who she is! They’ll even be on The Bump again. Not by choice. Kayla says Nia should be in a good mood, she won tonight! Truth says that’s a compliment! But Kayla admits Shayna lost. But that all aside, they have their title defense on NXT against Raquel Gonzalez & Dakota Kai! The momentum must make Nia confident but Shayna might have doubt. Shayna asks if Kayla remembers the TWO YEAR reign Shayna had! Or what she did to Dakota! But a different day, a different Dakota. Not really!
Kayla admits Shayna’s one of the best in NXT, her name is synonymous with the brand. Does that make this match even more important? Is there any concerns? Nia says this isn’t comedy hour. Kayla is more the guest than they are! Nia doesn’t even really know her. But are they excited to dominate and wreck shop? Yes! They’re going to stomp respect into two girls who don’t have any! Nia and Shayna are the top of this division! Not just as tag champions, but they’re the TOP champions! They’ve spent enough time showing everyone, even on SmackDown, so they’ll do it again to the “NXT Universe.” Being dominant in NXT is like being Freshman JV. They’re VARSITY!
Kayla hopes so because they’re going to be embarrassed if things get turned around on them. Nia asks if they can get a replacement for the replacement host. Shayna feels like this must be Kayla’s “tryout.” And she’s failing! Truth is saying they need to show respect! Kayla is just pointing out that they went 50-50 on Raw tonight. Nia says the ones that should be respected are THEM, because THEY are the champions! Where is Truth’s title, huh!? Mr. Bugs Bunny has it! Shayna says there are 40 days left before they are the longest reigning Women’s Tag Champions ever! Did Kayla do the research to get her job here?
Kayla says that yes, they are the best champions of this division, but they might not be come WrestleMania. There is another title they’re both after and that is Asuka’s Raw Women’s Championship. Oh the same Asuka Shayna kicked to the curb? These two and Charlotte want a shot at the Raw Women’s Championship. So between these two, who deserves that opportunity more? Don’t try to drive a wedge in! Truth says Kayla’s not doing anything. Nia tells Truth to shut up! If anyone is getting the shot, it’s Nia. Shayna gets upset but Nia says Nia is on a streak. Shayna says she’s been doing so much more for the team! She’s why they have the titles! Nia is letting Kayla win here!
Truth says these two are making good points as pointiologists. That’s not a real word! Kayla says it is, Truth says it’s just obscure. Fist bump! Seriously? Shayna asks why they keep being forced to do this. Kayla wishes Nia and Shayna luck for NXT. Shayna and Nia don’t like Truth no more. They leave, but Truth says it was time for them to go anyway! So disrespectful. Truth will cheer Dakota & Raquel on now. But now, it’s time to #DriftAway!
Elias & Jaxson Ryker join Raw Talk!
Elias is happy that his chair isn’t sinking on him this time. Ryker is happy to have a chair at all this time. Truth wants an autograph because he follows Elias. Truth bought the album, too! From a friend, though. But Universal Truth is legit, because it’s about Truth! Well, sure it is. Hidden lyrics, maybe. Kayla wants to bring up the “outlandish” proposal from Elias to Bad Bunny for a musical collaboration. What’s so outlandish about it? Universal Truth was at the top of the charts on iTunes! But Bad Bunny is multi-platinum. So is she saying Bunny is above Elias? No, the numbers are! Universal Truth is up there, but Bunny is way, WAY up there! And the fact Truth is willing to say that even though Bunny still has the 24/7 Championship, that’s some truth. Wait, does that ruin Kayla’s argument?
Elias says he’ll get Truth his autograph real quick. Truth asks which is Elias’ favorite song on the album. Elias’ favorite song of his own album? Yes. Well it has to be Amen, which is now his entrance song. Ryker’s favorite is Changes, because that’s what Elias is about. Elias tried to offer something to Bugs- No, wait, Bad Bunny. Sorry. But Elias says a real music star in the WWE, and then Bad Bunny comes in and shoves Elias aside! Elisa is a generous man, but Bunny goes and rejects “the offer of a lifetime.” Wouldn’t Truth take that offer? Elias says he would. But Priest is speaking for Bunny, there’s the match, it’s all aggravating for Elias.
Kayla says Elias and Ryker were trying to cheat. Ryker wasn’t cheating, he was just keeping Priest from using the ropebreak for too long. Anything else is coincidence. But while Ryker admires and is inspired by Elias, why is he inspired? Elias gives Ryker a different way of seeing life! It just speaks to something. it electrifies Ryker and shows that there are better things in this world. IS there a better way to say that? The Universal Truth touches souls. Truth says he wanted a carrot after for some reason. Carrots are good, though. And Kayla admits Elias is a good musician.
But what is the ultimate goal? Change more lives with more music! Elias has Ryker now, they are unstoppable with their track record. They run track? Sometimes. But Bad Bunny saw Elias beat up Priest, was probably impressed, and if he still wants to take Elias up on the offer, Elias is fine with that. Bunny has Truth’s title, but Elias will take that, too, if he has to. Kayla keeps Truth calm from hearing that. And on that note, no pun intended, nice to see them. Elias and Ryker head out, and now the final guest of the night is here! It’s the Scottish Warrior!
Drew McIntyre joins Raw Talk!
Truth is pumped to see McIntyre but was hoping to see the sword. Kayla says she’s interviewed McIntyre many times, and it pains her to say that for the first time in awhile, he’s not champion. Is it weird to not hear that title in front of his name? Yes, and while it might be odd for him, a man who wears only a kilt and no shirt most of the time, he feels naked without the world title. Note to cameramen, don’t shoot below the waist. There’s some skin showing. But being without the title is weird. McIntyre spent a year as champion. He was hoping to return to WrestleMania as champion, Miz and Lashley messed that up, but McIntyre vows to make is his way back.
Kayla brings up tonight’s match with Sheamus, but also the fact Lashley is the NEW world champion. McIntyre says he would’ve bet on Lashley, of course. Lashley has worked hard, is an animal in the gym and in the ring. They’ve faced off, so McIntyre knows Lashley has earned this moment. And now, the match of Lashley VS McIntyre is going to be big for Raw, especially if it’s at WrestleMania. It is a lot of pressure to be a champion. Miz must’ve felt it every night this week. You surround yourself with friends, those friends might get jealous and want what you want. Sheamus did it to McIntyre, the Hurt Business might do it to Lashley. Consider that free advice.
Kayla wants Truth to see if he has any advice for McIntyre. Truth had a title that is very near and dear and he doesn’t hold it right now. McIntyre had the WWE World Championship in the same regard. What can McIntyre do to get through these times without it? “It’s your baby, man. You gotta remember the good times, but you also got to get your baby back.” McIntyre knows that. Having the baby by your heart is what you want. But Truth getting the title from Bugsy means getting past Priest. McIntyre needs to get past Lashley. But McIntyre is a fighter! Look what he and Shamus did tonight!
McIntyre admits, they beat the hell out of each other. He has a bruise, it looks like the Scottish flag! McIntyre knows he went to war with Sheamus, but that is what this is about! You go to war, put it all on the line, and the best man wins. McIntyre was the better tonight, but he knows this is how Lashley fights. Maybe Sheamus will let his grudge go. They hadn’t faced each other in a significant singles match since FCW. It didn’t have to go this way but it did. Sheamus turned on McIntyre but the match was awesome and hopefully the fans loved it. Now it’s on to Lashley. Maybe we’ll again call McIntyre the WWE Champion.
Kayla wishes him all the luck. McIntyre says things just got real interesting on the Road to WrestleMania! McIntyre heads out, Kayla thanks Truth for letting her cohost, and it’s onward to Fastlane! See you again next week!
A pretty good episode here, with the surprise substitute of Kayla adding just a little different touch to the show. Shayna and Nia being hard on her for being the substitute was a good touch, and Kayla trying to bring up their 50-50 math was good stuff. The Raw Women’s Championship story will definitely bring back that dysfunction from when Nia and Shayna first started teaming together, and though it surely won’t cost them the titles on NXT, it could be what costs them against Naomi and Lana. Elias and Ryker had a good segment, though only so much was really said. McIntyre had a good segment, and it does seem he’s moving on from Sheamus to go right at Lashley, but I’m thinking someone steps up to get the title shot instead.
News From Cook’s Corner 3.1.21: No Big Show
Steve Cook brings the birthday shout outs and a nice variety of different wrestling topics! Check it out!
Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! My name is Steve Cook, and I’m somewhat decent at remembering birthdays of people close to me thanks to social media notifications, but ages are another matter. A day ago, I would have wished Larry Csonka a happy 67th birthday. Not that he would have been 67 years old, it’s just a gimmick I do with people that are older than me. Assign them an age much older than they actually are. Greg DeMarco has been on the receiving end of this before.
It’s good times, loved by all. (Actually, Larry hated it and I’m pretty sure Greg does too.)
With the way things have been in the world over the past year, there’s a good chance that if you’re reading this, you’ve lost somebody you cared about over the past year. Wrestling has seen a nearly non-stop parade of death, including the loss of the man who played Jocephus & The Question Mark last week. His passing touched a number of his brothers & sisters in the wrestling business, who posted about how great he was as a person.
All we can do is hang together and help each other through our periods of grief. We all go through it, and it’s definitely been way too much of a thing over the past year.
You can still donate to help out Larry’s family!
It’s tempting to wonder what Larry would think about the things going on now. I won’t pretend to know how he’d react to most of 2021, but I can safely assume that he would be excited as I am about Tully Blanchard having a match on television this week, and also wondering why a bigger deal isn’t being made of it. He probably would have written the best column about Tully Blanchard since 1999.
The best way I can think of to celebrate Larry’s birthday? Ramble through some wrestling news a day after it! Makes sense, right?
AEW Signs Paul Wight
This one came as quite the surprise when it broke on Wednesday. Paul Wight, the wrestler formerly known as The Big Show (or The Giant if you’re more of a WCW fan), has decided to take his wrestling and announcing talents to All Elite Wrestling. Wight had worked for WWE for most of the past twenty-two years, with the exception of February 2007-08. He hadn’t done much with the company over the past several years, appearing for brief periods of time in the ring. WWE did help produce The Big Show Show, a sitcom that lasted one season on Netflix.
It seems like this comes down to Wight wanting to do more, and WWE not really having anything for him to do. Since his sitcom was ended, he only made a handful of appearances on WWE television, with his last appearance consisting of Randy Orton berating him for not being able to wrestle anymore. Wight will apparently be doing some wrestling in AEW, which will be interesting on a number of levels since there isn’t a bevy of talent there that’s anywhere near his size. I mean, there is Shaq, and that’s been a dream match for some for years, but there’s no telling whether or not Shaq will be back after his tag match this week. He’ll also be announcing alongside Tony Schiavone on AEW’s new YouTube show titled AEW Dark: Elevation.
AEW has made it a priority to keep increasing their online presence, as we saw on Sunday night when they aired some of their Women’s Championship Eliminator matches on Bleacher Report’s website. Including Riho vs. Thunder Rosa, which made some pretty angry when it was announced as they would have preferred to see the match on Dynamite. While I get that they need matches like that to draw eyeballs to new platforms, it will raise some eyebrows from those that see things like this as demotions. They aren’t meant as demotions, as having Wight on this new show further indicates.
I don’t see this changing the momentum of the wrestling wars, but I think its nice for older talent to have viable options other than a WWE Legends contract.
WWE: Still Big In India
People like to make a big deal of how many viewers these wrestling shows have. One thing we often forget: Americans aren’t the only people that watch television! Sure, on average we probably watch more programming via various devices than anybody else. However, there’s a great big world out there of people watching wrestling that we often don’t keep track of!
Fortunately, we have people like Lucha Libre Online to keep track of places like India for us. Here’s what they told us!
4 million people watch Raw every week, while 3 million watch SmackDown and 1 million watch NXT. Which makes me wonder if Raw viewers are forced to choose between SmackDown & NXT. Are they in the same time slot?
People are making a big deal about how this means more people in India are watching WWE than in the US. I mean…India has a few more people, right? I’m guessing their share of the overall audience is lower than it is here.
All I know for sure is that all this proves that India doesn’t need Jinder Mahal pushed on top to remain interested in WWE.
NWA Pulls Videos From YouTube
I have to admit that I was concerned when WrestlingInc & other websites drew my attention to the fact that the NWA had pulled their videos from YouTube. Not really the best timing on that either, as I’m sure there were fans of Jocephus & Question Mark looking for something to watch after his tragic death last week. It’s easy to see why people thought the worst.
As we know, the NWA has virtually ceased production since the pandemic started. A good amount of their wrestling talent has moved on to other opportunities. If David Lagana has been replaced behind the scenes, we haven’t heard who it is. Heck, the women’s division has pretty much become part of AEW. We’ve been waiting to hear some kind of NWA news for awhile now, either good or bad.
We’ve finally got something new coming from the NWA. Dave Meltzer reported that they’ll be holding TV tapings from March 21-24. No word on where the tapings will be taking place, if fans will be allowed, or who will be involved. As we’ve noticed, a good number of NWA wrestlers have moved on to other places. Hopefully the NWA will be able to fill those slots with new, compelling characters that can give fans the same level of enjoyment they got out of Powerrr.
I’m always in favor of more wrestling produced for the people.
Marty Scrull Returns to New Japan
Our friends at Fightful got the inside scoop from the NJPW Strong tapings back in January and found out that Marty Scrull appeared on the show. He did an angle with Rocky Romero that will presumably air at some point. Scrull has not been seen or heard from in any major way since parting ways with Ring of Honor.
I remember reading before that New Japan might be the most likely landing spot for Scrull, since apparently sleeping or doing other things with underage females is less frowned upon over there. And there is a bit of a difference between having someone work for you as a wrestler or in a management position. Scrull was management in ROH, and keeping him around would have been unneeded publicity.
That’s what all of these Speaking Out defendants are going to be dealing with in their attempts to return to pro wrestling. The ones that haven’t yet will try eventually, it’s just a matter of timing and business. Companies will bring in these people if they find them valuable. New Japan finds value in Marty Scrull, who has enough friends there to help him out.
The question, as I’ve stated before, is if fans feel strongly enough about Scrull and his failings to hold it against the people that employ him. If they do, and they don’t watch NJPW Strong, Scrull won’t be around for too long. If fans don’t care, then promotions don’t need to, and Scrull will be twirling his umbrella back into the wrestling world.
As for my opinion? I’m really the wrong person to ask, as Marty Scrull wasn’t a draw for me before all his business came out. I’m not inclined to watch his stuff, but I already wasn’t. What matters is how the people that did fawn over Scrull in the past take to him now.
Klein vs. ROH
Its been a minute or two since we’ve talked much about the former Women of Honor Champion. It wasn’t too long before the pandemic when all of this drama went public with Kelly’s allegations about her treatment in Ring of Honor, Kelly getting divorced after her former husband (BJ Whitmer) accused her of being unfaithful with the man assisting her in making allegations (Joey Mercury), and ROH eventually stripping her of their championship and not renewing her contract.
Things died down on this front over the past year, largely due to the global pandemic thing. Klein isn’t going away though, as she filed a lawsuit against Ring of Honor & Sinclair Broadcasting, naming Greg Gilliland, Delirious & Jay Lethal as defendants. Klein’s issues with ROH came to a head when she suffered a concussion during a match and there was no protocol or staff on hand to address her problem. There were other issues, including pay, which apparently ROH’s female roster members get considerably less of than the males.
ROH has never really had much interest in pushing women’s wrestling. That’s just a fact. The Women of Honor re-boot in 2018 seemed to be a step in that direction, but the company quickly lost interest in featuring the competitors. Since the debut of the ROH bubble, the only woman regularly appearing on television has been the studio host, Quinn McKay. McKay has an angle going with Mandy Leon & Angelina Love, but that hasn’t been touched on at all on television and has been confined to an Internet show where they did one confrontation and that was it. Leon & Love appear in the opening video, but that’s the only place they’ve appeared on television in months. Vita Von Starr appears with The Righteous on occasion & Maria Kanellis-Bennett recently made her on-screen return to commentate on a match.
So, no, it doesn’t surprise me that ROH had/has no interest in paying women equally to men.
There’s a lot going on within the lawsuit, including harassment claims directed towards Lethal. The main thing to keep an eye on here for wrestling purposes? Klein is claiming that she was an employee, not an independent contractor, and the State of Maryland has a strong policy to ensure that workers are not misclassified. So we’re saying there’s a chance this issue might actually be addressed in a court of law after how many years. Stay tuned.
That’s all we have time for this week! Thanks for reading, and keep your stick on the ice.
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