WWE TALKING SMACK REPORT
FEBRUARY 12, 2017
AIRED ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY CRAIG ELBE, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Talking Smack begins before we can catch our breath where we are greeted by Renee Young, introducing herself and Daniel Bryan. Renee says that the stage is set for the WrestleMania main event with Randy Orton versus new WWE Champion Bray Wyatt. Bryan refutes that statement by telling Renee that there are seven weeks till WrestleMania and anything can happen! As Renee begs for inside information. Bryan goes on to hint of a potential WWE Title match on Tuesday without divulging more. He channels his inner Vince by stating he is the General Manager and he can change his mind on a whim. He further hints of something to anticipate, that what he and Shane have in store for Tuesday’s Smackdown can change, even a half hour before the show starts, furthering his admiration for the Vince way with about 1,000 pounds of sarcasm. This is why Bryan is so missed when Shane moonlights for him.
After planting more eagerness in us all about how much can change before going into WrestleMania, they begin discussing the result of the Elimination Chamber match that saw Bray Wyatt win the WWE World Title. Renee elaborates she thought it would be A.J. Styles walking out as champion. Bryan chimes in about A.J. Styles and John Cena but gets cut off by whoever is yelling at him “so much in my ears” he calls it but laughs it off as per usual for him. Renee recaps John Cena’s appearance last week on the show about how he feels he and Styles are on another level compared to the rest of their opponents. Bryan quotes Cena again, saying the luck of the draw would be huge as tonight would show that he and Styles had to start the match, putting them both at less favor to win, while Wyatt had luck on his side by entering the match halfway through. Renee brings up that Wyatt and Orton were discussing a potential championship match between the two that ended with them agreeing to reunite after going their separate ways for that match. She calls that concept crazy, but Bryan indicates he can relate while also understanding Renee’s perspective. Bryan takes out his bothersome earpiece, and he’s off his leash.
First Guests: Alexa Bliss and Mickie James
We see the two ladies who suffered losses tonight enter with despondence that would make only their mothers cry, especially Alexa Bliss, while the veteran Mickie James tries to put on a better front. Renee goes right in with their unfortunate results of the evening. She delicately starts with Alexa about her title loss to Naomi. Bliss blows it off as a small aberration in her career and will thrive in the chase as that’s her champion’s pedigree. Renee then gets curious about how Naomi got the upper hand in their match, causing Bliss to launch into excuses of Arizona’s energy sapping sun along with a lack of sleep that yielded no quality in the lack of quantity. She didn’t feel like herself and is looking forward to the rematch to amend the loss.
Bryan asks Mickie how she’s is feeling, prompting Mickie to react defensively as to why they had to be on the show after their collective day in the dumps. She even goes so far to suggest that exploiting their losses by having them appear makes for better TV, having trouble saying the words “we lost” along the way, which Renee didn’t let go.
Mickie then makes good TV by claiming, perhaps, she took Becky Lynch a tad lightly but won’t make excuses, because she’s a heel of course. Bryan insinuates that James didn’t realize how good Lynch was, to which James rebuts and says she studied Lynch and wouldn’t foolishly compete without knowledge of her foe. Bryan goes back to Bliss, asking her if Naomi impressed her more than she expected. Alexa downplayed the idea but did say she was mildly surprised but still doesn’t consider Naomi champion, encouraging her to enjoy the title for now. Bryan says Naomi could plausibly be champion by WrestleMania, which Bliss disagrees with and hands her rematch card to Bryan as he tries to pass it to Renee to no avail.
Bryan then finds his next fresh batch of sarcasm to tell Bliss that when she feels more like herself after better sleep, food, and hydration, etc. to text (?) him know and her rematch will be set two weeks from then. Bliss reacts less than favorably with Bryan’s news by telling him to stop making the same excuses for her that she made for herself, or something like that. Renee asks Mickie if she feels Becky Lynch deserves more credit from her after their match. James argues the notion, putting Lynch over nicely while stumbling a bit but correcting Renee that Lynch never gave James the credit her credentials deserve for paving the easy way for the women wrestlers today. James goes on about how the rest of the current generation is selfish and doesn’t give her the respect she’s earned, except Bliss of course, with her and Renee agreeing on how respectful Alexa is to Bryan’s silence.
James recounts when Bliss called her and sang her praises enough to put on that hideous La Luchadora outfit (my words there). Renee asks what’s next for them. James and Bliss both state their resolve to make things right again, followed by Renee wondering aloud if it’s possible Naomi is champion at WrestleMania, with Bliss saying Naomi would be champion at WrestleMania over her dead body! Now it’s gone too far folks! Bryan speaks up by telling them that Smackdown is unique because he makes decisions and changes them whenever he deems it necessary. James and Bliss are thanked for their participation by Renee, but not before James and Bliss slightly but with batted eyelashes intimidate Bryan into making sure he will grant Bliss her rematch. James and Bliss exit the desk following the exchange and great Bliss sneer.
Renee goes on to accuse Bryan of something he’s never done-trying to make things awkward. The true evidence is by his facial response, but verbally claiming nothing is ever awkward to him as he knows what’s going on, citing an instance if Renee walking past James Ellsworth in the hallway.
Renee regains focus to transition to the Randy Orton victory over Luke Harper, raving about how great the match was. Bryan credits for Harper being at his best to bring out the best of Orton, recalling a time when William Regal described the former Brodie Lee as magic. He details how difficult an opponent Harper is, especially when he first wrestled him. Bryan continues by claiming we are witnessing the best version of Randy Orton, and whoever he faces at WrestleMania is in for trouble. He goes out on a limb by saying the Randy Orton of tonight will be the winner of a match between tonight’s version of Bray Wyatt, should that match occur at WrestleMania.
Bryan and Renee go into the Dolph Ziggler vs. Apollo Crews & Kalisto handicap match that saw Crews and Kalisto win. They lament the side Ziggler has shown of late, but Bryan chooses to put his focus on the health and well being of Crews, with agreement from Renee. They go on about how Crews has finally found a way to shine, making the ankle injury by way of steel chair at the foot of Ziggler calamitous being so close to WrestleMania.
Second Guests: American Alpha
Next to the show are Jason Jordan and Chad Gable. Bryan asks Jordan how he’s feeling after their big win in the tag team turmoil, with Jordan replying as a great babyface does, saying he’s beat up but leaving with the titles makes it better. Renee congratulates them while Bryan wonders aloud if they should be deemed the kings of the Tag Team Turmoil match. They get a chuckle out of that tiny batch of Daniel sarcasm while acknowledging tonight was their second victory in that style of match. Gable states that tonight’s match was more grueling than the first, with Renee following up by asking what the most difficult part they dealt with. They agree that the attack the Usos gave them after eliminating them was a surprise, with Gable finding his best shovel on short notice saying he expected the Usos to take their loss like men, promising retribution that includes but won’t be limited to a real limp to walk with.
Bryan then starts putting over The Ascension and how they’ve been overlooked and underperformed for a long time but have been looking more impressive since last Tuesday’s Smackdown. Gable and Jordan cite momentum and confidence and how The Ascension have found it and are now a dangerous threat, giving them props for being the most physical team they have on the roster they have to worry about. Gable shared a moment in the match where he got picked up by one of them and didn’t know what was happening. A chuckle is born from Jordan not remembering that moment as he was busy. Renee talks about the WrestleMania pressure and target the carry as champions. Jordan says they love it and are ready for it, shining a light on how they have been essentially ready, willing, and (G)able to take on whatever comes at them. I had to say it for them, they dropped the ball on the easy lay up.
Bryan then asks if they have a dream WrestleMania scenario as this would be the first WrestleMania for them both. Gable boldly wishes and predicts for a tag team championship match to garner the magnitude to headline WrestleMania. In his aw shucks moment, Jordan claims his words were stolen by Gable, right out of his mouth. Bryan thanks them for being on the show and gives them praise for beating the adversity they had and for their performance in victory. Renee also thanks them for being on the show while basking in a tag team on the same page.
Renee continues to speak highly of American Alpha while Bryan agrees, then talks about how the Usos have developed a mean streak. Renee brings up the shared elevated confidence between the Usos and American Alpha along with Usos’ mean streak. Bryan goes on about the unknown toll that champions endure by always facing top competition, being on the road 250 days a year defending the titles and that the any team could catch lightning in a bottle if American Alpha has an off night.
Renee then starts the discussion on the issues between Natalya and Nikki Bella, with how personal it has gotten since Survivor Series without being able to be confined to a ring. She asks Bryan about his position with Nikki being his sister in law, noting this has to be tough for him. Bryan recalls last week’s episode where John Cena described it as having to compartmentalize your life. While Renee is having a hard time fathoming that idea of those situations, Bryan gives her a relatable example of if she had to interview Dean Ambrose in a similar fashion. Renee seems to agree, though her tone indicated she would find difficulty if Ambrose was getting abused like Nikki is.
Bryan sees the Nikki and Natalya grudge as great for the fans but not the ladies themselves. Renee concurs by saying it’s both physically and mentally taxing for them. Bryan says he sees a different Natalya than he’s ever seen in all the years he has known her, as recently as six months ago, especially by the look in her eyes. Bryan brings up Nikki’s comeback from recent neck surgery being a factor of concern, followed by Renee talking about the jealousy Natalya seems to have with all the attention Nikki has been getting with the reality shows, red carpets, and being John Cena’s girlfriend. On top of that is the betrayal of friendship, which Bryan alludes to as another level of why there is so much bad blood between Natalya and Nikki. He adds that words spoken in confidence from Nikki to Natalya are possibly now be used against Nikki for an edge. Renee is lost for words as Bryan goes on to say he adopts the GM perspective of trying to keep the feud from getting too heated for the sake of the Superstars (wrestlers). At times he wants to protect Nikki from Natalya’s accusations but it’s something to talk to Shane about as well.
They change subjects to welcome the next guest.
Third Guest: Naomi
With her new title belt and prideful smile, Naomi makes her way to the desk. Renee is aglow as she welcomes Naomi to the show, of course being out-glowed by the new Smackdown Women’s Champion. It’s kind of her specialty. Bryan teases her about the Alexa Bliss plates still remaining on the belt, but assures her that will be changing very soon with extra lights preferred. She explains her euphoria as being amazing, on cloud 9, happy, overwhelmed from all the love from everybody after having her longtime dream fulfilled. I wonder how her heel husband feels that she won some gold and he came up empty? I’m guessing she won’t have to cook a meal for a while at the very least.
Renee asks how it feels about being so close to leaving WrestleMania in her hometown as champion. Naomi replies with how hurtful it was at WrestleMania 29 having her match cut from the show, Bryan adding minutes before the match was to happen as Naomi prompts him to recall as the same thing happened to him two years prior. She recalls her sadness from that moment at WrestleMania 29 but is now able to rectify that four years later. Renee then talks about how moving it was for her to receive the reaction Naomi got. Naomi says she was crying for 20 minutes afterward as a result of it all. Bryan elaborates that he has been hearing from the fans (not the “Universe,” haha!) about how Naomi deserves a chance at the championship, as Smackdown is a land of opportunity. She credits that groundswell as her motivation throughout her chase for the title.
Bryan asks her if she’s nervous of the seven weeks before WrestleMania and a potential Alexa Bliss rematch between now and then. Naomi emphatically says to bring it on, with a similar reaction from Bryan, saying that is the right attitude. She says it took her eight years to get the title and it’ll be a hell of a foe to take it from her, giving small props to the tiny yet fiery Bliss.
Bryan then asks Naomi how she slept last night. She says she had a busy brain and that it took her a while to get to sleep, and then was dumbfounded to hear Bliss made that excuse while Renee and Bryan detailed the rest of Bliss’ “reasons.” Naomi told Bryan she’ll fund Bliss’ sleep therapy and even feed her, and for Bryan to make sure she gets everything she needs in preparation for the rematch to prove she’s better than Bliss and it was not just her lucky day. Renee tells Naomi how happy she is for her, and Bryan tells Naomi he hopes she can get in her best cardio shape to dance down the WrestleMania ramp, catching Renee off guard at first with his comment. . Bryan thanks Naomi and congratulates her on her performance. Naomi then thanks the fans and promises to make us all proud.
Renee thanks us for watching and signs off.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S RECAP: 2/7 WWE Talking Smack Review: Nikki Bella and Natalya fight on set, Corbin and Cena talks about Elimination Chamber