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WWE TALKING SMACK REVIEW
APRIL 25, 2017
AIRED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
BY CRAIG ELBE, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Renee Young, JBL
As Daniel Bryan awaits the birth of his child, Renee Young and JBL resumed their chemistry from the JBL & Renee Show for this week’s Talking Smack. JBL is now the permanent co-host. They lamented their cancelled show, but hope to resurrect it someday, then exchanged flattery over their new haircuts. JBL admitting his is a toupee. JBL said he is prepared to talk smack as he’s made a career out of it.
Renee introduced the new number 1 contenders to the Smackdown Tag Team Championships.
First Guests: Breezango
Dueling vocal police sirens were the first sounds we heard from the Fashion Police, their moods exquisite instead of the usual violation doling. JBL was worried his toupee would get him a ticket, Fandango assured no violation was made as it’s as real as the streets! Renee got a thumbs up from the team for her bangs. Tyler Breeze mistook JBL for Bryan, but argued they haven’t been on the show in years and Bryan could have changed. I hope he’s kidding on that timeline. Renee corrected Breeze, then JBL dressed Bryan down; saying he’s their farm animal who lives in Washington with hair all over who chases Bigfoot everywhere while wearing flannel. Fandango added Bryan’s consumption of sunflowers, signaling the death of the fun at Bryan’s expense.
Renee expertly pivoted to their Beat the Clock victory that earned them their title shot at Backlash against the Usos. Fandango called them Uggos, Breeze’s name for them is U-So-Uglies. Fandango said the violations they would have given to Renee and JBL will be saved for the Uggos.
Renee asked them what their training and film study strategy is for their match against the Usos. Fandango spoke of his aversion to all forms of time and how it helped them beat the clock tonight. JBL pondered their confidence level of winning the titles, Breezango acted like it’s a foregone conclusion. JBL said he’s called a lot of the Usos’ matches and they have been the best tag team the last number of years. Breeze said that is merely JBL’s opinion, but their opinion is they’re the best. Prodded for her opinion, Renee said she’s a fan and happy for them getting a deserved shot after rising through the ranks. JBL said they are weird, as they resemble some Love Boat characters. While he loves the Love Boat, JBL said he’s 50 years old and Breezango doesn’t look normal. The word weird and a Love Boat scene recollection sparked something in Fandango, as he proceeded to walk to JBL and remove his shirt. Renee was the lone cheerleader while JBL was the only uncomfortable one.
Renee wondered if Breezango can get serious for their title match against the formidable Usos. Breeze said they’re always serious, especially for title matches, and they want and need the championships. Fandango got serious, adding their funny facades aren’t to be mistaken and they won’t give everything away up front. JBL wondered if Breeze’s furry selfie stick was an Amazon purchase. Breeze said that, and everything else they’re wearing is custom made, not bought on Amazon like JBL’s toupee! JBL took exception to Breeze’s retort, saying he, not Byron Saxton or Tom Phillips, always thought Breezango was championship material.
Fandango said JBL called them weird, JBL elaborated that point by needling Fandango about wearing sunglasses indoors. Fandango claimed studio brightness. Renee pointed at Breeze for having 2 pairs of sunglasses to Breeze’s dismay and turned on her. Fandango then went against his word and gave JBL a violation ticket. Fandango flustered JBL out of finishing a story of a past situation in Scotland, badly enough that JBL promised contact Johnny Cochran and Judge Wapner, both deceased. JBL caught his mistake, then finished his Scotland story, where Fandango issued him a ticket for wearing a kilt.
Renee congratulated and thanked Breezango for being on the show. Breeze secured a future appearance after their title win, then the team proceeded to give claw-like fist bumps to the confused hosts, Breeze dissing Renee to continue his contempt for her finger pointing.
A sad ticket yielding JBL said he’s never gotten a ticket in Bermuda, where he resides, where the speed limit is 35 kilometers. Renee remained positive for his chances to fight the citation.
Renee brought up the Dolph Ziggler and Shinsuke Nakamura confrontation that opened Smackdown tonight. JBL said Nakamura was yearned upon by Raw and Smackdown before the Superstar Shake-Up and expressed his joy for having, what he called, one of the most innately charismatic wrestlers on Smackdown. While an incredible performer and the youngest IWGP Champion in history, JBL said Nakamura has lost some of his strong style. JBL had his start in Japan, making his statement informed and credible. JBL continued, comparing Nakamura to the Undertaker as a character and performer that can’t be conceived, that Nakamura could be one of the greatest ever in WWE. Renee agreed, and admitted being in the ring for Nakamura’s entrance then interviewing him for the first time was surreal.
Renee talked about Ziggler’s problem with Nakamura, saying he doesn’t like people in his spotlight. JBL thinks Ziggler is incorrect for having an overlooked complex as a former 2 time world champion, that Ziggler was and still is great. Renee thinks Ziggler’s complex comes from not being rocket-packed pushed but has succeeded virtually independently. JBL said WWE is a meritocracy and a guaranteed rocket pack recipe for Ziggler is to have a great match with Nakamura. Wonder what a victory would do then? Renee can’t wait for that match to happen!
JBL continued his ticket sorrow. Renee, keeping a straight face the whole time, asking for anybody’s assistance to rectify JBL’s situation.
Renee brought out their next guest, JBL guessing Jamie Noble incorrectly.
Second Guest: Becky Lynch
Becky claimed she’s brining a little sunshine with her as Renee complimented the subtle yellow hair color change to go along with her still mostly present red, Brother! (That was my Hogan reference, not Becky’s)
Becky said she’s not going to join, as she put it, the New Wench Order despite pressure to make a choice by newly united Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina earlier on Smackdown. She said they’re all snakes that have previously attacked her individually. JBL said maybe she is the problem and brought the attacks on herself. He expanded, as Stevie Wonder pointed out JBL’s tongue in his cheek, that if the whole world turns on you, maybe the whole world isn’t at fault. Renee said Becky was targeted as she was the first women drafted to Smackdown and the first Smackdown Women’s Champion. Becky said it probably is her fault; her fault she’s so good and is a perceived threat. Becky gave us a history lesson that everyone that’s attacked and wronged her got rewarded with top spots, title matches, television commercials, and had posters made of them. Still, Becky will maintain her integrity by not lowering herself to that level despite the reward precedent. She will be a survivor despite continued beatings for not aligning with the New Wench Order.
JBL asked, point blank, if Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon reward bad behavior. Becky went broader, saying almost every recent champion has engaged in shortcuts and went against convention somehow. She admitted breaking rules shows that a person has what it takes is some regard, but it’s being rewarded too much and that’s why it continues. JBL encouraged Becky to break the rules as he made a career out of it. He quoted Bobby Heenan, in the same company as Aristotle, and said if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying. Becky went John Cena, saying she wants to be a role model for the kids she sees at shows all over the world. JBL followed by giving an PSA for kids to cheat, admitting he paid kids in school to steal test results so he didn’t have to study and got straight A’s. Becky said she prefers to sleep at night as her Irish conscience doesn’t permit cheating.
Becky was enjoying the Charlotte Flair vs Naomi match and the multi-women interference was terrible. She didn’t join the fracas as it wasn’t her battle. Plus, when she was being attacked in similar fashion, she never expected help and learned more about herself as a result and has enough respect for the other women to fight their own battles.
Renee brought up Becky’s social media evidenced friendship with Charlotte, wondering her thoughts on Charlotte now on Smackdown. Becky said Charlotte is a great friend who she shares a great rivalry with. She said Charlotte is one of her favorite opponents but hasn’t defeated her in a fair fight, whether it was her dad or Dana Brooke backing her up. The prospects of a lone Charlotte remain interesting for Becky.
JBL said the best thing about friends is stabbing them in the back. Becky asked how he sleeps at night. Melatonin is JBL’s best course of procuring sleep, as well as adult beverages. That’s probably not the best combo there John. Becky said she’ll be sleeping on the fluffy cloud of her good conscience, Renee commended Becky’s high standards. JBL said Irish faces United States in a rugby game June 10th. JBL conceded defeat already when Becky said they’re going to win, as he knows the Irish are the better team. Becky sang an Irish fight song of some sort as she left the show on her own personal high note.
Renee shamed JBL for giving out lies as advice to kids. They argued the right and wrong way to have success, then JBL told another story of using a fellow student, this time to skip study hall in college. While she opposes JBL, Renee admitted he’s done well for himself.
The House of Horrors match between WWE Champion Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt remains confusing to Renee. JBL referenced the first boiler room brawl between Undertaker and Mankind and the Hollywood Backlot Brawl with Roddy Piper vs Goldust as examples of unpredictable, first time matches. Bray’s creativity should make this match one for the ages, according to JBL. Renee wondered how the match will get in the ring, as it will start in the House of Horrors. Earth to Renee, they’re going to pre-tape it! JBL recalled Randy Orton’s legacy and pedigree, adding he’s demented and the legend killer. Combined with Bray Wyatt’s similar proclivities, the match should steal the show.
Speaking of theft, Renee mentioned Jinder Mahal taking possession of Orton’s title. JBL admonished the theft, but said Jinder has a real opportunity to be elevated. In 2004 JBL got that chance due to departures and it worked out well.
Renee brought up Jinder’s dedication to training and diet, as he puts all that on his social media platforms for all to see. Despite the video evidence of stealing the title, JBL said Jinder has impressed him. He said Jinder is overall a great athlete and an intelligent man who wants to win the title for his home country of India. With a population of 1.3 billion people, India could be a great market for WWE. Now it’s confirmed!
Renee suggested to JBL he should take the footage of Jinder’s title theft with his ticket in an attempt make it right. JBL is still mad at Breezango for it.
With that, Renee brought on their final guest.
Third Guest: Sami Zayn
Sami was happy to see Renee again as JBL told him he resembled Shawn Thornton, the character John Wayne portrayed in the 1952 movie The Quiet Man. Sami said the only Shawn Thornton he’s aware of is the Boston Bruins enforcer. As JBL talked about the movie to jog their memories to no luck, Renee welcomed Sami to Smackdown Live and asked his thoughts. Sami said his fans were pleading him to go to the Land of Opportunity. Although he’s made a career of making the most of his seized opportunities, Smackdown is proving to be difficult and doesn’t feel one brand over the other makes a difference as both present stiff competition to overcome.
Emotional from coming close to being number 1 contender to the WWE Championship last week, Sami said success will be that much sweeter when he achieves it after being screwed over like he was last week. His reiterated his career has been predicated on making the most of his chances. While watching footage from Smackdown earlier tonight, Sami wasn’t surprised at Kevin Owens running away from a fight. He said Baron Corbin is in the same category and presents a challenge similar to Braun Strowman from his time spent on Raw. While Corbin admittedly doesn’t want friends, Sami said he’s known Corbin back since they shared time in NXT. Since then he’s achieved a level of success and has the same sort of thing Braun Stroman has, then Baron Corbin attacked Sami before he could finish his thought. Corbin forearmed Sami many times, each time yelling at him “you wanna talk about me!” Corbin looked at JBL, getting a simple “not my fight Baron” from JBL.
After he threw Sami across the desk, Corbin continued with the forearms telling Sami he’s nobody. Officials made their presence, Corbin quickly and stiffly threw the official to his left, then stepped toward the downed official. As he did, Corbin’s face wore a concerned look; like Nia Jax’s expression several weeks ago on Raw when she slammed Charlotte’s head in the mat. Corbin stopped the carnage, raising his hands while breathing deeply to sell his anger, perhaps at himself if he hurt the official. He walked off the set looking at the official he shoved instead of Sami as the show ended in silence with the camera finally focused on Sami the last few seconds.
When I saw JBL I was hoping for the best. What we got was decent, and his only reference to his recent heat was the tongue-in-cheek comment made in storyline context to Becky Lynch. This episode saw his ability to be vulnerable to take some joking, but wasn’t the butt of jokes. I think his pro-cheating stance and stabbing friends in the back talk was a diversion to cool him off from the bullying heat and focus on something that can be more easily attributed to a storyline/character of JBL. Over time, I hope the vulnerability continues as anything else in the other direction will look bad in the big picture, although the toupee gimmick was too much of a reach. But, JBL wouldn’t be heel if he didn’t look hypocritical as he criticized Jinder Mahal for stealing Randy Orton’s title belt. The only problem is that Jinder is also a heel, which is par for the course these days unfortunately.
I wonder if JBL would have gotten the co-host spot had Mauro Ranallo not publicly come to terms on his WWE release and/or not publicly deflected JBL as the perpetrator of his leaving. If so, we may have had a variety of guest hosts to see who would be best. I feel viewers got cheated out of that potential, but I don’t know what the plan was. Shane not being anywhere near the show was a blessing. Last week’s show was just under 15 minutes, perhaps to not expose Shane too much. This week the full length of the show was reinstated thanks to how well JBL and Renee gel together, as they referenced their previous work together on the JBL & Renee Show that unceremoniously ended in May of 2015.
Breezango was entertaining and showed why Talking Smack exists, for talents to show their personalities in another way to hopefully get over. I liked the wit and chemistry Tyler Breeze and Fandango have together and with JBL and Renee. If Fandango didn’t add the serious element of their appearance, I would have been less than favorable as I ended up on it. I mentioned how I hope Breeze was kidding about the years it’s been since their last Talking Smack appearance, but I think he was kidding from how he demonstrated his sense of humor after that. Overall, it was a good showing for them and I like they got their title match and hope their push is sustained as they get and stay over. I also hope their ring work and gimmick blend a little better but now they will get the chance.
Having Becky Lynch on the show was the best way for her to explain her lack of actions in the Charlotte and Naomi attack. It still leaves room for Charlotte to stay a heel longer so her face turn means more and has the best chance to be successful. Heels having disagreements can be done occasionally, and I think that’s what is going on with Becky’s apt title for Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina – the New Wench Order. I wonder if Vince will use the moniker, at least for a week.
I already referenced JBL’s championing of cheating and backstabbing friends, but he sure can speak darn well with his tongue firmly pressed in his cheek! I’m glad it was that way instead of over the top. I also hope it doesn’t get brought up again as it will take away from any segment with a deserving talent going forward. We shall see but they will earn some goodwill from me by showing restraint.
Sami Zayn didn’t get much to say before getting attacked by Baron Corbin to kick off that feud. What Sami said was perfectly fine and gave us something to crave while being placed in the underdog role against a larger opponent again. After Corbin threw the official down, then attacked Sami some more, he probably thought the cameras were solely and closely on Sami while he walked off the set as I doubt he would make his concern for the official that transparent. The communication should have been better or at least not had the camera on Corbin so long. Hell, it would have been better with or without the fallen official.
The non-guest segments were really nothing more than furthering what WWE wants us to think, but Renee must be so over with me that I don’t want to hurl every time she spits out WWE’s corporate buzzwords like I want to when anybody else does.
Overall, I think JBL is a great choice of a co-host. He and Renee have great chemistry and he’s a big wrestling fan and has other interests to pull from to make the show great. Plus, he’s different enough from Bryan in a way where Bryan doesn’t look like he’s getting buried or replaced.
Only time will tell how the situation plays out with the bullying controversy and JBL’s new role.
Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts, @CraigElbe on Twitter.