TALKING POINTS FROM TALKING SMACK 1/31: Orton speaks without Bray, Alpha and a weak tag division, Naomi back in (neon) spotlight

By Tom Colohue, PWTorch Specialist

Naomi WWE contract set to expire soon
Naomi (photo credit Wade Keller © PWTorch)


Talking Smack has quickly become must see TV. That is very high praise for a network special that promotes sitting down and talking over wrestling on a wrestling network. It’s smooth, easy viewing that appeals to those who want to know more about what really goes on without ever damaging the overall characters. Every episode gives us a few interesting things that it is definitely with knowing.

I’m Tom Colohue and this is Talking Points From Talking Smack.

Follow Tom Colohue on Facebook and @Colohue for updates.

Talking Points From Talking Smack

1. Smackdown dealt a good hand with the Elimination Chamber

When the brand split was first announced, the Elimination Chamber was the pay-per-view that I was most excited to see return and, with the way they’re booking this one, it isn’t hard to see why. The marquee match is of course the Chamber match itself featuring two bona fide top draw talents in John Cena and A.J. Styles, three men ready to step straight up to the top at a moments notice in Ambrose, Wyatt, and The Miz, and a fast-moving rookie in Baron Corbin.

And to be fair, Corbin is the only one I feel certain in saying will not be the winner. Ambrose, The Miz, and Bray Wyatt might all have taken different routes to the top, but all three could complete in top-level matches with Randy Orton. It’s an incredibly open and incredibly diverse stage. Expect springboard 450s to the outside, a standing elbow drop off the top of a pod, and the end of days in all directions.

2. Naomi has been waiting a long time

It was almost ironic that Naomi appeared in shot before being announced. This is Naomi all over. Since the brand split she has taken a back seat to every other woman on the card, even Eva Marie back when she was about. The early return of Nikki Bella and the return of Mickie James must have really poured salt into those wounds.

While two pins over Bliss almost guarantee that Naomi will be losing at Elimination Chamber, Naomi can hopefully make a good showing of herself. Bliss and Naomi lacked chemistry in their last singles match. Hopefully this has changed. One thing is certain, though: They’re really hyping her entrance as if it’s the fireflies.

3. The Tag division is weaker than ever

On paper, the Smackdown tag division should be a strong aspect. In reality, only the Usos are a legitimate threat for the tag titles of American Alpha. It’s a shame, really. Heath Slater and Rhyno are doing themselves no favours by staying together and though Breezango and the Vaudevillains are good character actors the less said about The Ascension, the better.

Expect the tag team turmoil to be a solid gauntlet that honestly doesn’t get anybody much more over. That said, all of the aforementioned teams need TV time and soon. They’ve long melted into obscurity and, for the Usos at least, they deserve better.

4. A night for the forgotten one

There was an even spread across the divisions on Talking Smack. One tag team, one woman, one main eventer. Not only that, but all three can claim to have been mistreated thus far. Naomi has been absent almost entirely. American Alpha waited a long time, vanished for a month and now they’re back and are desperately needed to carry their division. Since Summerslam Randy Orton has barely won a match, losing to Lesnar, Ambrose, Wyatt, American Alpha and essentially everyone else who needed to build momentum.

Tonight showed the benefit of biding time. Wrestling is a cyclical business and everyone on the show will now be granted a time in the spotlight to show what they can do. With Orton it’s a return to business as usual. Alpha and Naomi will have to sink or swim.

5. Wyatt takes a back seat

Randy Orton has dedicated himself to Bray Wyatt, and I mean this in non-kayfabe terms as well as kayfabe terms. Since Summerslam everything has been done to increase the prominence of Wyatt and Harper. It’s working wonderfully. Harper is more of a player now than he has ever been. Wyatt finally has some legitimacy. However, there was no Wyatt in this interview.

Sans Wyatt, this was also a different Orton. Wyatt might be the favourite in the Chamber to bring about a conclusion to the Randy Wyatt storyline, but this storyline could legitimately continue for a long time. A win over either Cena or Styles at WrestleMania not only gives the company a massive draw on the card, it also allows a slower breakdown between Orton and Wyatt, and could potentially result in a Money in the Bank briefcase for Luke Harper.

One thing is for certain; Orton deserves his big moment. He has put in a lot of work and this is his reward.

NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S ARTICLE: TALKING POINTS FROM TALKING SMACK 1/24: Evaluating Shane as host instead of Bryan, Mickie James explains, Mojo calms down, The Guy A.J.

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