SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
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.
Talking Points From Talking Smack
1. Shane is missing Bryan
And I mean this in a character manner. Daniel Bryan was a tough guy who stood up for the underdog, fought his corner, and never let anything go. He would leap on the slightest mistake, celebrate achievements with gusto, and never backed down without a fight.
The lack of enthusiasm without Bryan is well documented, but it’s not as often celebrated that Shane McMahon does not have the grapefruits of his old man. Almost with the ease of a seasoned, battle-hardened Politician, Shane refused to condemn the actions of one of his champions, while offering no punishment to Jinder Mahal for both the theft of the no. 1 title in the business or his interference at Payback.
Shane also has not guaranteed the use of Raw talents at any future pay-per-views in exchange for the Smackdown talents used in Payback. It’s hard to imagine Daniel Bryan letting that opportunity slip away.
2. Styles vs. Shane is still simmering in the background
There was a dreadful pause when A.J. Styles forgot which title he was competing for. It was tasty.
The way that Styles butted heats with Shane was a brief throwback to the Talking Smack episodes before WrestleMania. He ran through an interesting repertoire of self-aggrandising phrases without really breaking character, but his best comments were backhand blows at Shane McMahon. He talked about being there to get what he wants, making no mention of the infamous ‘land of opportunity’ until forced to.
Shane was asked who he wants to win and A.J. spoke like he still had a point to prove. Even scarier, A.J. spoke as the voice of the brand against Raw vs. Smackdown. There is a close link between the two of them now. If anyone is going to keep the McMahons honest, it’s A.J. Styles. This will be a huge win for Owens.
3. Time for heels
In the Smackdown Women’s Division you have three divided faces and three united heels. That is not what usually happens, but that makes this different and interesting. Right now Charlotte and Becky Lynch stand way above the rest of the roster. Naomi is obviously in the line up for a big push, but we have three people more than ready to shoot to the top. Natalya, Tamina, and Carmella are getting plenty of heat, plenty of airtime, and have plenty of talent to back it up.
Natalya, more than just a fitting leader for this group, has been the leader and veteran of the Smackdown Women’s Division for a while, even though Lynch is the people’s champion. These three heels dovetailed well in communication and there are many wins coming their way to really endorse their credentials and cement Charlotte as a face on Smackdown.
But not the top woman in the company. Charlotte could learn a thing or two from how natural her opponents were on Talking Smack. She could also learn something from the opening segment of Raw. It’s okay, though. Once this storyline is done, she has somebody else who will be coming for her.
4. The forgotten belt
Jinder Mahal got a couple of passing mentions. Styles did the job a bit to put him over. Was Randy Orton mentioned? If he was, then I certainly didn’t hear it.
What on Earth has happened to the biggest title in the business? Is Orton just that weak a champion or is the lack of top level talent on Smackdown the problem? Sure, once Styles and Jericho get into that title picture things will change, but beyond that who is actually available to compete? Owens will certainly be pushed up to that level, but he isn’t there yet. Cena will be back at some point too. In fact, that makes all four of Smackdown’s major draws babyfaces. Methinks Orton might be switching sides shortly.
5. Fear for the platform
Kevin Owens has a reputation for being loud, for talking a lot, and for being intense. He still does that in the ring, but when he steps away and puts himself in front of the Talking Smack cameras things are different. Owens slowed down. He spoke quietly and calmly. Shane and Renee both stepped back and just let the man talk. There was even an intimate moment when Owens and Shane turned to face each other and essentially eliminated Young from the conversation.
This is a subtle character change, but in the long term it speaks of a lack of confidence. He’s slow but still stuttering. He stumbles over words. He accidentally outs a wedding that nobody knows about. Owens’ intensity is such that he’s worried he’s going to do something wrong. Talking Smack might be the wrong audience for him.
Unfortunately, he’s in line for the biggest push on Smackdown this year. By the end of the year he’s the most likely WWE Champion. If there’s one person who you’d expect to thrive on a soapbox, it’s Kevin Owens. That is not the case. He’s calming down because there’s something that he wants to say that he knows he can’t.