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WWE NETWORK REVIEW: TALKING SMACK
SEPTEMBER 12, 2020
REVIEW BY NICK MORGAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Hosts: Kayla Braxton, Xavier Woods
This week’s guests: A.J. Styles (w/Joseph Parks), Nikki Cross, The Miz & John Morrison, Paul Heyman
– Kayla Braxton welcomed everyone to Talking Smack with somewhat of a new look for herself, with her hair up and glasses. A very good look for her. Xavier Woods was wearing a blue jacket over an up, up, down, down shirt which he pushed, so I guess his Twitch channel is ok with WWE. Hmmmm
-Kayla then asked Xavier about “his brother,” Big E and Xavier gave the pretty standard WWE response: He’s tough, he’s doing okay, and is on the mend, and everyone should send your shout outs to him. More engagement for WWE from social media.
– Kayla started to recap the end of Smackdown and the interaction between Roman Reigns and Jay Uso, stating that she was not a fan of the way Roman pulled his arm away from his cousin right at the end. Xavier made the point that even though they are family, they are battling for the big prize and that is what is on their minds.
– Transitioning from that, A.J. Styles came out with Joseph Park, who was in full funny face mode and even had a tablet that he set up on the table. A.J. acted like he was going to compliment Kayla’s outfit and look (which was very pretty) but ended up saying so looked smart. Park interjected a few comments and he and A.J. went back and forth a bit, before Kayla brought them back to the Intercontinental championship. A.J. went off on Sami Zayn’s interference in the night’s match and how Sami has no claim on the championship.
– Xavier asked A.J. and Park how they are going to account for Sami, and Park went on a short explanation about how the “numbers” show that they know how to handle Sami. A.J. continued to complain about Jeff Hardy’s knee brace and how the ref should have done something and that he is the rightful champion.
– Xavier and Kayla continued to bring up issues to A.J. and he acted like the standard heel, holding to the fact that he was wronged and that he would ultimately prevail and handle both Hardy and Zayn.
– Next up was Nikki Cross who was in full excitement mode and ran around hugging and high-fiving both Kayla and Xavier. She went on a short rant saying that it was going to be the Fall, the Autumn, and the Halloween of Nikki Cross she then added Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. What? But perfectly Nikki.
-She called Bayley a troll and that she was going to be the Smackdown Women’s champion. Nikki went off on the Thunderdome and then starting singing Tina Turner, “We Don’t Need Another Hero…”
– The conversation turned serious as they started talking about Alexa Bliss. She was clearly upset and after watching the tape of Alexa hitting the Sister Abigail, said that Alexa is her best friend and that the Fiend has infected Alexa and it is Nikki’s job and responsibility to save her.
– Next Xavier asked Nikki if the Bayley-Sasha Banks breakup could be advantageous for her in Nikki’s battle against Bayley. Nikki stated that while Sasha was constantly in Bayley’s corner and did cause a distraction, what ever is happening between the two of them will not impact her as she is just going to beat down Bayley and take her championship.
– At this point, why or why, did this happen? Miz and Morrison interrupted entering and singing their stupid song. Causing Nikki to get pissed off and stormed off, noting for some reason that she left some “butt sweat” on the stool. Miz used some Xavier’s notes to wipe of the stool and sat down and proceeded to aggrandize himself about how everything he touches is great and that since he stood in for Xavier for a couple of weeks, he was the cause of Talking Smack’s success.
– The whole purpose of this stupid interruption was so that Miz could announce that because of him (yeah, right) Mandy Rose was now moving to USA Network (get in those plugs) and will now be on Raw on Monday nights. Miz gave a whole explanation that this was because Otis needs to concentrate on being the Money in the Bank briefcase holder and that Mandy was a distraction for him. This whole angle is playing off Miz and Morrison’s obsession with stealing the contract and their dislike and distain for Otis. This was cringe inducing and went on way too long.
– Xavier and Kayla finally brushed the two idiots off the set and introduced their next guest: Paul Heyman. Paul sat down very calmly and was in full Heyman mode, sitting smugly at the table. As Kayla began to ask a question, Paul held up his finger for a pause and pulled out his phone. He appeared to read and respond to a text and then gestured for Kayla to continue.
– She asked Paul where he thought Roman’s head was at leading into this fight with his cousin and Paul just kind of looked at her with an exasperated expression and didn’t respond. Xavier noted that it seemed a bit strange that someone who usually has so much to say had not uttered a word yet. Kayla brought up the possibility of Jay Uso winning at Clash of Champions and, if that happened, would Paul consider “advocating” for him as well (hmmm… planting seeds here… I don’t think so).
– Paul continued to remain silent, so Xavier jumped in and started a question about Paul’s past relationship to Roman’s family at which time Paul interrupted Xavier and finally began to speak. Paul began to tell a story about his father who was a personal injury attorney and a judge with big ears. The story ended up going nowhere as both Kayla and Xavier interrupted and tried to bring the question back to Roman versus Jay and how their familial relationship might impact the match.
– Paul kept stalling, and Xavier and Kayla kept asking the question several different ways, and as they started getting the wrap up signal, Paul kept yelling “ask me the question,” but then not answering it. I don’t know, this whole thing just seemed like the writers decided to go to lunch and forgot to finish the script, or that Paul went completely rogue and was just playing with Xavier and Kayla who genuinely were trying to conduct the interview and had no idea what was going on.
– Regardless, I did not think it worked very well, and was just frustrating as a viewer, that absolutely nothing was advanced, except that Paul Heyman is a bit of a jerk, which we already knew.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The show took a real step back this week. I still like the relationship between Kayla and Xavier and can see it developing as we go along. Unfortunately, the segments this week were pretty weak. On the positive side, Nikki Cross was a great watch. He infectious joy and upbeat attitude really comes through on television and WWE should continue to do what it can to push her forward. I felt she handled the situation of having two storylines currently going (upcoming Bayley match and the Alexa/Fiend situation) really well and pushed both stories forward. Great Job!
As for the rest, fair to bad. A.J. and Joseph Park were fine, but I wanted more interaction between the two of them and A.J. seemed to fall into his “bombastic heel” persona and just did a bunch of shouting. Again, more interplay between him and Parks would have been so much better.
Miz and Morrison were terrible, irritating, and redundant. We have seen Miz’s “I am so great” shtick so much that it has become a character of itself and carries no weight anymore. And their big announcement (if true) ruins a potentially big moment on Raw when she shows up on Monday night. And their comedy feud with Otis has already been beaten into the dust and to continue to promote it here is a waste.
As for Paul Heyman’s appearance, this was a real bait and switch. They advertised on Smackdown that Paul would be on Talking Smack and he did no talking! This was just stupid, and while it might make Paul look like an evil mastermind, we already know this and his blowing off of Kayla and Xavier dismissed them and for the last five minutes of the show we are just left sitting there, waiting for something that never showed up. Anticipation may be a good thing, but only if you get what you’re anticipating.
The show is only 25 minutes so go ahead and watch, but you can definitely skip everything after Nikki’s appearance, unless you like watch a rock that looked like Paul Heyman or are a fan of the Miz’s antics.
See you all next week. Until then, take care and stay safe.
CATCH UP… 9/5 WWE TALKING SMACK: Kayla joined by Xavier Woods, Alexa zones out as she twirls her expanding dreds, Jey talks about Heyman and facing Reigns, Cesaro talks about relating to Big E’s frustrations