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POST-BACKLASH TALKING SMACK REVIEW
MAY 21, 2017
AIRED ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY CRAIG ELBE (@CraigElbe), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
This episode lasted 23 minutes.
Owens Takes Over and Closes the Show, Tye and Sami Are Look To Keep Their Momentum Towards Money in the Bank; Plus Jinder Wins the WWE Championship, Nakamura Beats Dolph In His Smackdown In-Ring Debut
Renee Young was joined by Peter Rosenberg and they were in mutual shock and brain explosion with just seeing Jinder Mahal capture the WWE Championship. The Chicago crowd was in stunned silence and reminded Rosenberg of when the Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak was broken. He was looking forward to Orton vs Jinder and is excited to be on Talking Smack to talk about it right after seeing it, adding you can’t hinder Jinder! Renee was still pumped up and agreed. Rosenberg said nobody would’ve thought this would happened, especially with Jinder’s 3MB past and the crowd’s reaction was in line with that. Renee said it’s the time of the Maharaja, Smackdown is the land of opportunity, and Jinder is a great representation of the philosophy. Rosenberg isn’t sure where Orton goes from here.
Speaking of people who had big nights, they welcomed their first guest.
First Guest: Sami Zayn
Nicely attired with a suit and tie, Sami’s raw reaction to Jinder winning the title was the land of opportunity rhetoric I’m sure was fed to him by his CLEARLY VISIBLE earpiece. Six weeks ago, the thought of Jinder Mahal as WWE Champion was abstract, but indicative of how quickly changes can occur. (Was he picking on Vince?) He added with his win over Baron Corbin he could propel him to a title shot and he could be champion in six weeks, six months, or a year!
During the pre-show, Sami was asked if he thought he had a chance to beat Corbin. Sami felt that question is odd to ask any wrestler, but his underdog persona makes it seem his chances at winning are insurmountable. On any given night anybody can be beat. Rosenberg didn’t think Sami would win with the size difference of him and Corbin, but now it’s a step in the right direction for him. Sami said it was his biggest moment since coming to Smackdown. He came to Smackdown with a fresh start mindset and forgot the past, just like he did coming to Raw from NXT. He agreed with Rosenberg on tonight as building momentum for him.
Renee pressed Sami further on what he means by Smackdown being a fresh start. He’s not sure how to put it, everything’s just different and he’s getting acclimated to it all while finding his place in the landscape. Renee recalled the many times she and Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon expressed their desires for Sami to be on Smackdown. Sami heard that chatter and was asking Mick Foley about that while they both were on Raw. There many predicaments on Raw where he had to prove himself for every little thing, most notably when he had to qualify for the Andre the Giant Battle Royal or would be fired if he lost the qualifying match.
Sami still has a chip on his shoulder and is grateful for all his fans, but knows most people didn’t think he’d win tonight. He was fine with that while Renee said she had his back. Speaking of it, Rosenberg asked Sami how his back is after the torment it endured from Corbin. Sami had the masseuse work on it after the match and it’s better but still not great.
After tonight, Sami is taking a one step at a time approach and is looking forward to Tuesday. Beyond that, Money in the Bank is only a month away and he’s one step away from winning it and cashing it in to be champion in six weeks, six months, or whenever. So, that’s where his sights are right now. Renee and Rosenberg congratulated and thanked Sami for being on the show while wishing him luck.
Keeping the spirit of having winners on the show, Renee welcomed the perfect 10 of a next guest.
Second Guest: Tye Dillinger
Tye and Rosenberg haven’t ever met but Tye insisted the pleasure was all his. Asked how he feels, Tye said he feels like a perfect 10 from that Chicago crowd and doesn’t ever get used to those reactions. He saw a slew of 10 signs up in the upper deck seating of the arena during his match. Rosenberg recalled talking to Mark Henry during WrestleMania week where Henry said Tye was the most special guy in NXT. Now, he’s on Smackdown just a month later. He added Tye had a tough road getting to Smackdown. Tye has been cut before and bounced back. Tye elaborated, that his first WWE opportunity was in 2006 and lasted three years because he was missing his mark. Four and a half years later he came back, thanks to knowing the right people and going through the right channels. He didn’t stop and knocked enough times and luckily someone eventually answered.
His gut feeling to stay the course, that he’s meant to do this kept him motivated through those four plus years. Despite sounding cliché, he didn’t want to live with regret and there was a voice in his head that told him to keep hanging on. Rosenberg drew a parallel with Tye and Jinder Mahal coming back to WWE in similar fashion and winning the WWE Championship. Tye thought the same thing when he saw Jinder win tonight, and though he was pulling for Orton, he found Jinder’s win incredible. Smackdown is all about opportunity.
Renee wondered about the trickle-down effect Jinder’s title win could mean for WWE, and specifically Smackdown. Tye wasn’t sure but knows Jinder is very driven. Rosenberg agreed and joked Jinder makes him want to run to the gym. Tye replied that’s why he’s wearing shirt on the show. Renee added that’s why she is too!
Tye said he’s got his eyes on the prize and is now through the honeymoon phase since coming to Smackdown six or seven weeks ago. Now he wants to be a champion and has some great momentum. He also brought up his thoughts and desires for the Money in the Bank briefcase. If a perfect 10 got that briefcase, Jinder Mahal would take notice and have no choice when he decides to cash in. Renee thanked Tye for being on the show and wished him luck and congratulated him on his win tonight.
Renee again brought up Jinder Mahal but speculated on the Singh Brothers. Last week’s Talking Smack saw her futile attempt to gain any perspective on them. Rosenberg said they ate a lot of table thanks to Randy Orton and will probably have to be in traction for two weeks. Renee said they took the brunt end of punishment from Orton but were Jinder’s saviors tonight. Rosenberg said they had to play dirty and didn’t hinder Jinder! Renee and Rosenberg watched some footage of Orton beating on the Singh Brothers, where he damn near broke one their necks on a table spot, then the double DDT on the ropes that gave Jinder the opening to hit Orton with his Cobra Slam for the pin. Rosenberg figured they should at least get Rolexes from Jinder for what they helped him accomplish tonight, maybe even a car.
Shinsuke Nakamura finally made his Smackdown in-ring debut tonight and beat Dolph Ziggler. Rosenberg, who did the pre-show, chose to stay on the arena floor and filmed Nakamura’s entrance for his Instagram account. He thought it was awesome and Nakamura delivered on his highly anticipated debut. He thought the pressure was on Nakamura more than Dolph, but added these big losses for Dolph the last couple years must be accumulating. Renee said the chip on his shoulder has gotten bigger, then was interrupted by the next guest.
Third Guest: Kevin Owens
Owens indicated he was told not to come out until Renee introduced him, but would rather just walk in and interrupt them. He patronizingly asked Rosenberg who he is, Rosenberg introduced himself and said he’s a fan of Owens. Owens ignored the compliment and begrudgingly asked Renee what they’re talking about. She asked Owens how he’s feeling after that grueling match he had with A.J. Styles. Owens said grueling is a good way to describe that match and he’s pretty beat up. But, what only matters is the United States of America Championship that he still has. While watching footage of his match, Owens relived his match with pride and reveled in what he put Styles through.
Renee asked Owens what was physically the worst part of the match. He asked her to repeat herself as he wasn’t listening. She repeated, and Owens replied the suplex on the apron almost broke his back. Rosenberg said it looked painful, but Owens quickly shushed him because he was talking. As the footage showed Styles getting counted out Owens said he was the better man who got the win and is still champion. Renee tried to interject, but Owens wondered what was with all the interruptions! She apologized, then Owens continued by saying there isn’t any doubt who the better man is between he and, mockingly stating his name like a teenaged fangirl, A.J. Styles.
Renee asked Owens if he wanted to loosen Styles’s foot from the cables in the table so he could bring him in the ring to win the match fair and square. Owens was dumbfounded with the question, saying he did win fair and square and isn’t sure what she’s implying. Rosenberg tried to add his two cents, but Owens shut him up again and said he doesn’t know Rosenberg, but they are doing this thing together, so it’s going to be the silence rule for him.
Owens said he won fair and square and it’s not his fault Styles is physically inferior to him, that a couple wires on a table wouldn’t have stopped him. Rosenberg tried to speak yet again but was rebuffed by Owens. Owens had Renee explain to Rosenberg his rules, Renee said it would be best just to listen to Owens. Rosenberg then asked Renee to ask Owens if he would have felt more satisfied if…. then Owens stopped him, asking him if he’s talking to him through Renee. Rosenberg pleaded Owens told him not to talk to him. Owens said he’s the new guy and doesn’t want to answer any of his questions. Owens doesn’t know him, respect him, and for Rosenberg to think he can speak to him or through somebody else to him when he’s the new face of America and the United Sates of America Champion, is very insulting. If he wants to stay working there, just sit there, stay quiet and Renee will say things. Rosenberg apologized and as you can guess, wasn’t met with an acceptance of his apology.
Renee asked Owens his thoughts on Jinder Mahal becoming the new WWE Champion and the top of the game on Smackdown. With a fist on his temple, Owens took a breath, removed his fist from his head, then reiterated his stance from two weeks ago. He declared being the United States of America Champion and the new face of America are very important to him. But now that’s not enough. Owens wants to be the face of WWE and have the WWE Championship. He’s man enough that, if he runs into Jinder in hall or something, he will look him in the eye and offer congratulations and tell him he did well. Then, Owens will tell Jinder he’ll take that title from him as soon as he can.
Renee asked Owens if was surprised by Jinder’s title win. Exasperated, Owens told Renee she works there but asked if she watches Smackdown. Owens was on commentary last week and was asked by either Byron Saxton or Tom Phillips, he can’t tell which is which when they’re talking unless he’s looking at them, who will win at Backlash between Orton and Jinder. Owens said Jinder will win, and told Renee if she was paying attention and being a good reporter, which he believes is her job, she would’ve already had her answer and wouldn’t have wasted his time asking him the question. She implored she must have not had the audio on for that match he was commentating, then Owens cut her off because of her stupid questions and told Rosenberg now it’s his chance. She threw down her pen, Owens noticed and told her not to throw her little pen. Renee said she just threw it down aggressively. Rosenberg respectfully asked, as Owens glared at him, that he believes A.J. Styles is the best in world and with a count-out win Owens necessarily……..then Owens got up, grabbed his title belt, but did not remove his earpiece, and walked with a pissed off face that indicated he didn’t want to hear any criticism.
Rosenberg took small solace in almost getting to ask his question. Renee began saying about no matter what show she does, then Owens returned, still with an earpiece, and glared at Rosenberg as he held his US title right up to his face. Rosenberg said he meant no disrespect and understands he’s the champion and respects the championship. Owens continued his glare, walked away, then came back just as Rosenberg was saying something about every show he’s on with Renee. Owens glared more at Rosenberg, took his notepad and ripped Rosenberg’s notes out, and on a blank page, wrote “KO is the best in WWE.” He made Rosenberg read it, then threw it down behind him. Owens grabbed his title and walked away again.
Renee said it’s the most hostile situation every time Owens comes on any show. Owens returned, grabbed the microphone, and said not only is he the best WWE Superstar of all time; not only is he the best man the company has ever seen; not only is he the best Untied States Champion of all time, he genuinely feels he’s better than Renee and Rosenberg at what they do. He said Rosenberg because he’s new and he’s not sure why he’s there, and Renee because she asks questions she should already know the answer to.
Renee tried to speak up but Owens said he’s going to close the show. He looked at the camera and said in his signature deliberate and steady volume voice, “Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Talking Smack, which is now known as the Kevin Owens Show. I am your, your, WWE United States of America Champion, the new face of America, and (looking right at Rosenberg) the absolute BEST this company has ever seen. Goodnight”
Overall, I feel the show flowed well, even through the end with Kevin Owens making things awkward for them. That’s thanks in part to radio pro Peter Rosenberg for knowing when to get in his talking points and questions. Renee and Rosenberg have good chemistry and are total and talented pros.
Sami Zayn comes across quite likeable and relatable in describing is Raw to Smackdown journey. His presentation may seem a little whacky and OCD, but it separates him from the rest while his fantastic ring work is a nice compliment. He may never be world title level as his total package would lead you to believe, but who knows how a person will be until they’re actually put there. Those top spots bring out the best and worst and people and there are a myriad of examples on both sides. Sami could be a very credible United States Champion and elevate that title with his ability to work with anyone and pull it off well. I’m looking forward to exactly that in the next chapter Sami and Baron Corbin and how much better Corbin will be in the ring after working this program with Sami.
Tye Dillinger tried to come across likeable and relatable, but he was sounded overly scripted here. Failing to mention working hard to improve his craft in his four-plus year absence from WWE wasn’t good either. The fact he said he just knew the right people and proper channels was another terrible look for everyone involved. Low point of the show for sure.
On the other end of that, Kevin Owens shined once again. From initially interrupting Rosenberg and Renee to then not liking being interrupted was gold. Then he showed JBL how to properly be a heel while picking on Rosenberg without eliciting bullying accusations. Owens was given a lot of time for a Talking Smack segment, but I can understand if people got a little frustrated with how long it was going on. I would argue Owens kept raising his level of performance each time he walked away and came back. Ending the show in that manner was satisfying.
Owens and Renee clearly admire and enjoy each other immensely. They play off each other very well to sell the idea there is legitimate mutual disdain. Or I’m wrong and they do dislike each other but are professional enough to not cross lines while making great television. Either way, we win!
I was surprised we didn’t get Jinder Mahal on the show as he promised Renee she’d be the first one to congratulate him after he won the title on the post Backlash Talking Smack. Maybe it was forgotten, to little surprise I’m sure, or we will be in for a treat on Tuesday night!
Regarding the Nakamura vs. Ziggler match, why didn’t either one appear on the show? One of them would have been more compelling than Tye Dillinger. Oh yeah, I forgot. He knows the right people.
Besides the obvious main event, no other match from the Backlash card was discussed. Not that I think any were worthy but they usually make some mention of matches that were deemed important enough to feature on a monthly special!
Besides Tye Dillinger, another low point were the earpieces all three guests wore. That kind of crap takes viewers out of an element of disbelief. Rosenberg and Renee had earpieces that doubled as a microphone to their mouth like headset. Every guest should have those to not allow our intelligence to be insulted. But to be honest, do Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens really need them? I mean, the whole point of the show is to get people comfortable talking. How are the earpieces supposed to help when they are still being treated like robots?
Am I the only one who noticed Peter Rosenberg was the only non-Canadian on the show? After a pay-per-view that saw an unlikely Canadian shockingly win the world title?