TALKING POINTS FROM TALKING SMACK 2/7: Smackdown creating stars, Corbin shines, Cena puts over Nikki-Natalya, Ascension talk

By Tom Colohue, PWTorch Specialist

John Cena (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 is creating stars

When the brand split first happened and Smackdown viewers were left with the reality of Backlash happening only two weeks after Summerslam, two weeks was not enough time. The card was shallow, the build was nowhere close to adequate, and the only real “star” on that show was A.J. Styles.

However, Backlash was a pleasant surprise for a lot of people. The Miz and Dolph Ziggler were just beginning their ascendancy, Ambrose performed beyond his usual showing, and Baron Corbin, Bray Wyatt, and Alexa Bliss were just biding their time waiting to transform. This time around, even with six men in one match, two weeks was more than enough.

Smackdown is creating stars. All they needed was a little breathing room. Meanwhile, Fast Lane is definitely relying on Goldberg and Reigns to sell tickets.

2. History repeats

Nikki Bella has been pushed hard since her return. She gets beaten up a lot, sure, and almost every segment gets a John Cena and a wedding namedrop, but Nikki reliably wins matches more than any other woman on the roster. Keeping her away from Becky Lynch has been vital to this to keep the heat rising.

Getting attacked on Talking Smack though? Been there, done that. Carmella attacked Nikki on one of the earliest Talking Smack instalments. This looked more authentic, sure, but we need some positive progress for Nikki Bella soon. The big money women’s match for the Smackdown brand right now is Nikki Bella vs. Mickie James. Let’s get there quickly, shall we?

3. The tag team rebuild will not be fast

This time, The Ascension received some attention. Next week Breezango? There are a lot of teams in the Smackdown tag division – far too many for The Revival to ever come this way, unfortunately – but there are some very good teams waiting for their chance. A couple of minutes of Talking Smack wasn’t much, but coupled with the match on Smackdown it was more than four of the six teams have had in a long time.

With the Women’s Division now firmly established and main event stars emerging in all directions, expect some major TV time to be pumped into the tag teams. Right now though, with WrestleMania coming, it will mostly just be talking about it.

4. Corbin is best without the belt

Corbin enjoyed watching Nikki Bella get beat up. Great character work. Corbin is being built perfectly, with a lot of attention but not too much faith from the management. A little doubt from Daniel Bryan here, a strategic loss there. Yes, it might damage his steamroller image, but it ensures that we’re not seeing another Roman Reigns situation here.

Corbin is clearly a corporate favorite. The End of Days is one of the most protected finishers in the company, the chances are coming thick and fast, and he is one of the most featured performers on Talking Smack. Face or heel isn’t really relevant because he’s playing both sides so smoothly.

A Corbin with the belt may be the final intention but it is far too soon now and Corbin needs to eat his words a little more before he is truly established as a main eventer. If the company decided face or heel soon, Corbin would likely get exactly the response that they intend but right now he is perfectly undefined.

5. The return of humble Cena

John Cena apparently wasn’t aware of Nikki getting beat up. I don’t buy it. What else would he possibly have been doing? The first few minutes of Cena’s interview were used purely to put Nikki vs. Natalya over. Cena continues to put everybody over as much as possible. That guy really works for everybody.

Cena put Nikki over. He put the Elimination Chamber over and given that Raw has Hell in a Cell, the Chamber needs a bit more mystique and viciousness added to it. Cena then added the name of A.J. Styles to the list of people he put over. It’s about time. Since Summerslam, Cena has been nothing but disrespectful to Styles and this was some much needed humility added to his character before the elimination chamber.

That suggests a loss on the horizon.

NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S ARTICLE: TALKING POINTS FROM TALKING SMACK 1/31: Orton speaks without Bray, Alpha and a weak tag division, Naomi back in (neon) spotlight

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