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WWE NETWORK REVIEW: TALKING SMACK
DECEMBER 5, 2020
REVIEW BY NICK MORGAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Hosts: Kayla Braxton, Paul Heyman
This week’s guests: Carmela, The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan), Billie Kay cameo, Sami Zayn
– As Kayla welcomed us to Talking Smack and introduced the show and began introducing her co-host, Paul Heyman, I was totally wondering how this would go and how Paul would react after the rather uncomfortable encounter Kayla had with Roman Reigns in the ring on Smackdown on Friday. I was very surprised that when Paul interrupted her mid-sentence, Paul rather than berating her, he apologized to her The swerve here (as there is always one in WWE-land – nope not going to say universe) was that Paul did not apologize for Roman’s action but instead for Kevin Owens. This is great. It continues to carry forward the enhancement of the angle that Paul is doing on Talking Smack and just worked so well at throwing more heel heat on the Head of the Table, Roman Reigns.
– Not only was Paul great, but Kayla did a fabulous job with her facial expressions during Paul’s monologue. As to what Paul actually said, he even brought in the mothers. He said that Roman’s mother raised a gentleman while Kevin’s mother raised a savage. I was totally immersed on what Paul was saying and while I was smiling and even laughing a bit at the absurdity of it, Paul’s delivery also made me want to jump through the set and tell Paul he was absolutely nuts.
– Kayla continued to do a great job with this and then moved onto the first guest of the night: Carmela, of no not again. As Paul reached out to shake her hand, Carmela demurred and said, “no, no, I am untouchable”. For heavens sake, really! Carmela basically sat and preened and reveled in the fact that she was just able to walk into WWE and go right to the top. Kayla asked Paul what she thought of Carmela and as only Paul could do he said how deep down she is compassionate and that he admires that Carmela feels bad that the rest of WWE is not as innately talented as she is. I could not help but sense that Paul had his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, even if he was not supposed to and that he was supposed to be sincere.
– This was a weird segment because while basically it was all about Carmella acting all superior, she spent a lot of her time saying praising Sasha Banks’ talent, as well. This is such a strange build, and while I know Carmela is a heel, she is, in my opinion, not generating “good” heel heat, but more “get off my television heat”. If you can’t tell, I really hate this version of Carmela and I want the Princess of Staten Island back!
– Okay, luckily we move on to the next guest. The Riott Squat (Ruby RIott and Liv Morgan). Kayla started off the segment by pushing Liv’s WWE show, Liv Forever, on the network and Liv spent a few moments to say how appreciative she was for all the support. After Ruby sold the documentary as well, she and Liv announced that they were going over the Smackdown Tag Team Championship but before they could get into it, Billie Kay interrupted them and did her shtick with her head shot and resume and said she could help them with the Smackdown Tag Team Titles. Rather than accept this Ruby and Liv told Billie to go get a partner and that they would see her in the ring next week. Billie demurred and made a ton of excuses and thankfully left after Ruby and Liv insisted that they would fight next week. With that, Kayla thanked Ruby and Liv for coming and rather than getting anything further from them we were left with the squeaking memory of Billie’s voice. Thanks for that WWE.
– Next up was Sami Zayn, Yay!!!!! Sami immediately started dumping on Big E for not apologizing for hurting his hand (reinjuring his carpal and bruising his Falange) and as was the focus of the night, Paul apologized on behalf of Big E and WWE for the abuse that Sami suffered, all while holding Sami’s “injured” hand while Sami winced continuously. Just genius. Paul and Sami should work together more.
– Moving on from the silliness, Kayla introduced the serious subject of the passing of Pat Patterson and asked Sami his thoughts. Sami took the opportunity to totally thank Patterson for his support and that he truly though highly of him and will miss him both professionally and even more, personally. Sami summed it up by saying that Pat Patterson “knew how to live”. It was very touching and a good way to use the segment.
– Appropriately, with that, Kayla signed off while Sami and Paul started yakking at each other while Kayla, having lost total control said good night.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I am going to work backwards here. Having Sami end the show with his thoughts about Pat Patterson and how much he meant not only to the world of wrestling but to Sami on a personal level. It was delivered sincerely, and I was touched by it. They also managed to keep it light by having Sami and Paul yak at each other at the end, to end the show on a chuckle.
As for the Ruby and Liv segment, I wish it had stayed on target and talked about their team and their quest for the championship, rather than building a probably forgettable match next week with Billie Kay and her irritating voice. For the short time it was just them on the set, Ruby and Liv came across very well and had good chemistry, as I said, I wish I could have seen more of this.
The Carmela segment was totally skippable, as is her whole act these days, it basically was just an almost word for word recap of her on screen interview from Friday night and as that was bad, so too was this.
The opening segment between Paul and Kayla was exceptional and the WWE continues to use this show to add some spice to the Roman Reigns story. It is not essential to enjoy what is happening on the main show, but it is some extra content that you can enjoy. If you miss Paul doing his thing (as he did with Brock Lesner) then this is a must watch. As Paul is basically standing mute when with Roman, here he lets himself go and we get the verbal jousting that Paul is so good at. Watch and enjoy. It is that simple.
I also want to really commend Kayla here. Paul Heyman can be overwhelming, but Kayla is holding her own (with Paul’s aid and assistance, I am sure) and while she does not add a ton verbally, she is doing great work with her utterances of exasperation and her facial expressions and body language. As far as I am concerned, they can keep this pairing up for as long as this angle last. I just recommend that Talking Smack regularly interject Sami Zayn into the mix, because he just adds to the mix.
At 22 minutes, totally watchable, but if you have even less time, watch the beginning and then fast forward to the end and catch Sami and his thoughts on Pat Patterson.
Well, that is it for now, see you all next week. Until then, take care and stay safe.
CATCH UP… 11/28 WWE TALKING SMACK REVIEW: Standout promo from Owens riffing on Reigns’s catch phrase, Heyman reacts to tension between Roman and Uso plus KO involvement, Roode & Ziggler talk tag titles, Bianca talks Bayley