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TALKING SMACK REVIEW
MAY 23, 2017
AIRED ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY CRAIG ELBE (@CraigElbe), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Duration: 25 minutes
The New Day Debut and Big E Makes Everything Weird, Naomi Continues Her Glow and Tells More of Her Story; Plus Jinder’s Punjabi Celebration, Next Week’s Women’s Fatal Five-Way, and Money in the Bank Build
For this edition of Talking Smack Renee Young was joined by the busy matchmaker of the evening, Shane McMahon. Right out of Backlash and into setting up Money in the Bank had Renee a tad flustered but Shane said that’s what happens around there. Renee ran down the list of the six men competing in the Money in the Bank ladder match that Shane announced earlier on Smackdown. Shane said the same thing when he announced the match on Segment 1 (Oooo he’s using insider terms!) that the Money in the Bank match is one of his favorites. He spewed all the usual rhetoric of how the match is unpredictable and winning the briefcase means the person can cash it in at any time, blah blah blah. Renee noted Dolph Ziggler is the only winner of that match in this year’s rendition, but what if Kevin Owens wins the briefcase? He already has the US Title but wants the WWE Championship, and could he do this is the land of opportunity? (Ugh. I swear Shane rubs off on her when he’s on the show.) Shane then ran down the obvious and done-to-death scenario of the briefcase holder, being fresh and rested, cashing in on a tired champion after a match. (More blah and ugh) Shane has no early prediction despite Renee badgering him for one. He simply can’t call it yet. He detailed the three separate rivalries present in the six men he booked in the Money in the Bank match. Renee added the tag team match was a dream match that the crowd reacted to favorably when he made it official for the main event during the show opening segment. He didn’t call it Segment 1 again.
As Renee was talking about Money in the Bank being four weeks away but will probably go by fast, they were greeted by their singing surprise first guests.
First Guests: The New Day
Booty-O’s, and microphones, in hand, the New Day made their way to the desk, complete with their entrance music played lightly enough to hear in the background but not stifling the sounds of happy hugs and greetings from hosts and guests. All five put a foot on the desk to compare footwear, and only Renee and Big E were sans sneakers. Big E mentioned a lot of people on the internet want to see feet. Okay then. Shane sat next to Renee so all three New Day-ers could sit next to each other.
Renee welcomed the New Day to Smackdown and Shane guessed a Frank Stallone song as what they were performing A capella. Kofi in particular was amazed at Shane’s guess but the song title went unnamed unless I didn’t hear it over too many people talking at once. But, Shane said all they needed was an oil drum with a fire to warm up around and the New Day could be Smackdown’s jukebox. (The oil drum fire must be a hint of the video for the song or what it’s known for but I’m not sure. Moving on.) Shane and Renee wondered whose mug was whose after he moved spots. Renee kindly said the fuller one was Shane’s but it’s clean anyways even if it was hers. Maybe she got an early peek at the new Being the Elite video?
Xavier asked who were the five hottest tag teams of all time. Kofi stole one from Booker and said New Day five times in a row. Big E mentioned how JBL was talking up some nonsense of The Usos as the greatest tag team of the last half decade, Xavier offering an annoying laugh as the soundtrack to Big E’s statement. Big E said JBL has been saying some crazy stuff and going off at the mouth lately. Kofi added JBL says whatever he wants. Renee innocently said it’s the beauty of live TV. (How about on the highly edited and produced most recent Bring it to the Table when JBL said some terrible things about Sami Zayn?) Xavier on the other hand thought it was from when Tyler Breeze threw his old lady dress at JBL during his match at Backlash.
Big E opened a box of Booty-O’s and said it’s real cereal and for people to buy some because they still have bills! (Guess their downsides aren’t very good and not being on TV hurt their merch sales) Renee asked where they’ve been all this time. Big E performed a marriage ceremony for a young couple, then told Renee he wished he married her. Before it got weird he made sure she knew he meant he wished he had officiated her ceremony, but wasn’t opposed to marrying her! She laughed hard then asked how matrimony-hungry wrestling fans found him. Big E said it was emails set up through his Twitter account, then took exception to Renee asking if it was real and told her not to question his authority! Xavier and Kofi were proud of him bringing souls together in his off time.
Big E reenacted an “exorcism” he performed on Kofi’s ankle to rid the demons from it. Shane warned Big E to be aware of his own strength as he almost tipped Kofi out of his chair! On his down time, Xavier kept busy working on Austin Creed’s UpUpDownDown YouTube channel and also worked with Rocket League. He also had a baby who hiccups and cries all day. It’s intense but Xavier said the power of positivity brings it to him but can’t be taught, he just teaches his child the life. Kofi has two kids, a 1-year-old and a 4-year-old, and got to see his baby walk for the first time (oddly enough while he couldn’t walk!) Kofi added he did their birthday parties and got to have his other kid do some rock climbing indoors, real life stuff! He had an amazing and productive time off. Shane added, with the power of positivity. Big E must have felt left out by saying he doesn’t have kids, but then plead not to be rushed and hoped nobody hits him up either!
Shane was happy to have the New Day on Smackdown and asked if they are ready for some in-ring action. All three replied of course! Xavier added they’ve been on the red side for a while and heard guys on the blue side have been doing BIG! and wanted to check it out for themselves! (More Superstar Shake-Up inconsistencies) Renee asked them their thoughts so far. Big E mentioned Breezango has a lot of momentum, Xavier added they’ve been the best thing on his TV during his off time (Not video games? Oh wait, that’s Austin; this is Xavier talking right now.) Shane recalled the Fashion Files from earlier that night. Renee said it was almost the end of those funny segments. Shane thought the takeover of his office was an improvement and joked with Renee he doesn’t have her kind of pull to have a nice set like she does for Talking Smack. She must not agree with Shane and said it doesn’t take long to put the set together. Renee asked if Shane kept the water guns, he said he managed to keep one of them.
While Renee was asking them about the Usos, Shane noticed a hungry Big E snacking on his microphone. Big E tried to save grace by saying he lets Shane live his life his way without judgement and to do the same for him. Big E continued gnawing at his microphone, defiantly defending how he lives outside the lane of convention, outside the box, prolonging the awkward visuals while getting nowhere until Xavier heard the word box and plugged Booty-O’s, available at FYE.com. Renee noticed the side of the box has dance lessons in the style of Big E. The awkwardness was transferred to Shane for his in-chair attempt to dance like Big E, his eyes focused on the instructions on the box. Big E took back his creepy factor and revealed the whole point of the dance and instructions was to encourage women to follow suit with the hip gyration, though some men and boys have done it. Shane took that as a segue for Renee to give her version of the dance. She got her “dance face” on and stayed in her chair while doing the dance, sadly for me and the others who were anticipating it. She tried to mimic Big E’s goofy face but couldn’t commit to it. Big E said it’s like tapping your head and rubbing your belly. Shane then did that and prove he is at least somewhat coordinated with that far easier to watch example that didn’t include dancing in his chair.
Renee was happy to see them on Smackdown and bring the party vibe she saw them have on Raw. They all said they’re happy to be on Team Blue, which didn’t add up with their red sweat suits. Xavier added he’s looking for new talent for his show and invited Shane and Renee for future appearances. Renee asked who they have their eyes on in the tag team division. They said their eyes are everywhere and on everybody, including Shane and Renee! Big E said the Usos are dominant, Breezango is surging, and American Alpha have become sleepers. Kofi added they want to be the best tag team and wanted to be on Smackdown where the competition was top notch (despite twice losing to a top-notch team in the Revival on Raw and not exacting revenge on them for injuring his ankle) Big E noted the paring of A.J. Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura was awesome, eliciting whoops of agreement from his teammates. Renee thanked them for being on the show, but Shane said he didn’t hear what Renee said she heard about needing to move on from the New Day. She decided to let them stay as long as they wanted. Xavier said they’ve gotta go anyways and get their male rompers. Renee got curious and lifted Big E’s shirt to reveal nary a romper. Big E gave her the eye while she got brief grief from the others. They gave the Booty O’s to Renee and Shane and rompered off to their quiet entrance music.
Shane and Renee looked over the cereal flavors as Renee had to stop eating it because she heard herself chewing! But, she’ll keep the cereal as she thinks it’s good.
They decided to keep Shane seated to her right for a more advantageous, single camera angle. Discussion continued on the tag team division and how happy they are to not see the Fashion files go away. The Usos retained their tag titles tonight and looked fantastic as usual.
Renee and Shane thought the Punjabi celebration for Jinder Mahal came off great and huge. Footage of the celebration was shown, Shane said it was another part of the world and they’re bringing culture to WWE, and that’s what Jinder is trying to show. Renee loved it and thinks more of that as much as possible would be great. Jinder promised to be on the show but clearly had a bigger celebration in mind. Shane said Jinder, no matter if you like him or not, has done everything he said he would do. He deserves props for having the confidence and determination to do what he set out to do. Renee said he’s taken advantage of the land of opportunity and took the ball and ran with it. Shane heard the little voices in the truck and obediently moved back to his regular spot at the desk.
Shane and Renee noted how shocked the crowd was when Jinder won the title at Backlash. Renee said it was like when Undertaker’s streak was broken at WrestleMania. Shane said it was a good shock, and Randy Orton has already invoked his rematch clause for Money in the Bank, which will happen in his hometown of St. Louis. There, Orton has the hometown advantage (unless you have Vince’s brain). Renee asked if Jinder got lucky and noted Shane’s hesitation to answer. He said Jinder didn’t get lucky. Beating Orton is difficult and rare, and it was surprising. Renee thought another surprise was the Singh Brother that was rag-dolled through the announce table was still able to walk afterwards!
The women’s fatal five-way match next week is another opportunity to be had in the land of them. The match will determine the no. 1 contender to the next guest’s title.
Second Guest: Naomi
Naomi declared the champ is here as she sat down. She said she feels great and (almost forgot her tagline) is feeling the glow. She doesn’t care who she’ll have to defend her title against after next week’s fatal five-way match. She has unfinished business with Charlotte, Carmella for beating her twice, and Natalya for claiming to be the best without the title. Naomi has a lot to prove to the five women, her fans, and herself. She knows what it’s like to have that title taken from her and isn’t in the mood for it nor will she let it happen. Winning the title was one thing, but keeping it is another and will be more difficult. Naomi has prepared physically and mentally, and is ready for whoever wins that match. Renee liked that attitude!
Shane asked Naomi the details of her preparation. She stays in the ring as practice makes perfect, stays in the gym, eats clean, and gets plenty rest despite the challenging WWE schedule and champion responsibilities. Renee noted that Naomi’s Instagram account shows her constantly in the gym. She’s impressed with her body and wanted to know her training regimen. Naomi eats in moderation and was blessed with good genetics but started looking at the Booty-O’s cereal and hasn’t gotten hers yet. (That’s not much of a training regimen)
Asked about Carmella’s threat in a one on one match, Naomi said she doesn’t underestimate anybody. (Then what’s with your garbage flurry of kicks that won’t hurt a fly!) Carmela Has James Ellsworth on the outside, she likes to call him Ellsworthless, and would need to watch her back for and keep her guard up. (Guess he’s not so worthless then)
Footage was shown of the closing moments in the women’s tag team match that saw Ellsworth try to interfere on Carmella’s behalf, only to have Naomi shut him down and Becky Lynch tap Carmella out. Renee said Becky is sort of flying under the radar and asked Naomi if she is keeping an eye on her. Naomi knows what it’s like to be under the radar and pushed to the side, it happened to her at the beginning of the women’s revolution despite her longer tenure. She realized she was missing the necessary confidence, and that’s what feeling the glow is all about. Since then, she feels she’s been unstoppable. Shane added when she jumped over to Team Blue. Naomi remembered and agreed.
Renee said this is the best she’s ever seen her, in a special kind of pocket, and wondered what gave her that push to find her glow. Naomi said it was from being at the bottom and having no choice but to glow and grow! That’s part of the reason she wants to give Becky an opportunity when that time comes. She believes she’s champion for a reason. When she first won the title, she got “you deserve it” cheers and chants from the live crowd. She will never forget that and still gets teary-eyed in remembrance of it. She wants to prove those people right that chanted for her and have continued to believe in her.
Shane asked how Naomi her back story of how she got in the business. Naomi said it was crazy, because she thought she was going to be a professional dancer her whole life. She stared dancing at the age of 8, and thought she would live in New York and go to Julliard Dance School or The Ailey School (another dance college) and had all these dreams of being a dancer. Shane said she can sure dance, Renee lamented how dumb she looked doing the Booty-O’s dance earlier! Naomi kindly said she could never look dumb.
She didn’t grow up watching wrestling and saw her first wrestling show as an adult. At that show, she felt this crazy feeling that she should be wrestling. She quit her job as an Orlando Magic dancer and went on the hunt to become a professional wrestler and hasn’t looked back. Since coming to WWE, she’s put her heart, blood, sweat, and tears into it. Renee wondered if it was a scary transition for her. Naomi said she was horrified, calling her mom crying about not knowing if it would work out. She didn’t know how difficult it would be or what she was doing. But, passion, love, and motivation combined with enjoying the physicality aspect kept her in it. That’s why she is where she’s at today.
Renee asked about Naomi’s support system to help navigate this tough lifestyle. Naomi said she is very family oriented with a wonderful husband plus two step children that think she’s the coolest step-mother, even more so with the title belt! She also credits her fanbase for all the love and support they give her, plus their feedback and advice are added motivation.
Renee said next week will see who the no. 1 contender will be. She thanked Naomi for being on the show and congratulated her on her success. Naomi left with a box of Booty-O’s!
Renee said Naomi’s opponent a Money in the Bank will be in a dangerous spot and she’s just killing it right now!
Renee took the bigger box of Booty-O’s and signed off.
This was a different way for the New Day to debut on Smackdown, but I’m not certain yet if this was the best approach. They didn’t bring their ice cream cart or mention ice cream bars at all so I guess we’re left in suspense. Kofi didn’t give any details of when he will be or if he’s cleared to compete, but that’s the beauty of a three-person team! Xavier didn’t bring Francesca either so maybe they will incorporate different visual aids for Smackdown? And yes, Big E made certain we can never take him seriously in any other role besides the one he’s currently in with everything he said and did. I highly doubt him gnawing at his microphone was scripted, but I hope it was.
Naomi came across too scripted, just like when she wrestles. I don’t have much more to add to her. Just meh for me but I can see why people like her. She has a cool entrance and is very athletic, but when you take all that away she doesn’t have it where it matters most. No real charisma or wrestling IQ.
Shane wasn’t as bad as usual but Renee goes into robot mode more when he’s on the show. Please bring Daniel Bryan back!
Since Peter Rosenberg was given a shot, they should have Sam Roberts on the post Money in the Bank Talking Smack. He would probably do much better, he’s wittier than Rosenberg. Too bad he’s got a whole career to concern himself with instead.
I like that Jinder Mahal not appearing despite him promising so was explained. I would have much preferred it on the post-Backlash edition instead, but then Vince would have to remember more than two minutes ago think ahead at the same time.
This was a middle if the road show, at best despite the New Day having a lot of time. There wasn’t any real flow that demonstrates the chemistry they normally exude on TV, meaning they also rely too much on scripts. Somewhere in the middle would have done the show and viewers a better service. And what’s with their entrance music on this show?? Totally unnecessary and unwarranted.
Also of note, the New Day didn’t have the earpieces that totally irritated me Sunday night on the post Backlash Talking Smack. Naomi may have but her hair hid it if so. The lack of earpieces need to stay that way as I will happily suffer through people finding their own voices on their own feet, unless of course cue cards are implemented.
NOW CHECK OUT THE POST-BACKLASH TALKING SMACK REPORT: Owens takes over and closes the show for Renee and Rosenberg, Tye says he knows “the right people,” Sami celebrates