12/19 WWE TALKING SMACK REPORT: Heyman’s must-see segment with Kevin Owens, Sasha still missing her mojo, Booker compliments Carmella’s nails and make-up, Rock talks authenticity, plus Sami and Profits

By Nick Morgan, PWTorch contributor


DECEMBER 19, 2020

Hosts: Kayla Braxton, Paul Heyman, and special guest co-host Booker T

This week’s guests: Carmella, Clips of an Interview between Jay Glaser & The Rock, The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins), Sami Zayn, Sasha Banks (pre-recorded interview segment from Social Media), Bayley, and Kevin Owens

– This week Talking Smack initially aired on FS1 immediately following Smackdown on Friday night, before also hitting the WWE Network at its regular time.

– As Kayla welcomed us to Talking Smack, she was seated at the normal table with Booker T in the co-host chair, while Paul Heyman entered behind them, and while Paul got miked up Kayla and Booker did a quick sell of the Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns match emphasizing the angle that even though Owens got beaten down, he did not give up and is ready to fight. Interestingly, before Paul came to the table, Kayla ran down the night’s guest list while reading her prep sheet, and she said Sasha would be there and then as the graphic showed the upcoming guests and Carmella was front and center, quickly corrected herself and said Carmella would be on the show. This could have been an innocent slip of the tongue or based on how bad (my opinion) Sasha has been on the mic lately, they pulled a last-minute switch and didn’t correct Kayla’s prep sheet. We may never know, but it’s fun to think about.

– Paul finally got finished and joined them at the table. After a moment and after saying he wasn’t going to rant, Paul launched into a classic Paul rant reiterating his comments from Smackdown that Kevin is not a masochist, he martyr, willing to give everything for what he believes in. While building up Owens as a fighter and man on a mission, Paul said he fears Kevin Owens because of what he fears Kevin Owens will bring out in Roman Reigns. I have to say it here, this is great stuff. Paul said he fears Roman Reigns because Roman is a “dangerous man”, and then quoted FDR (our 32nd President) who said, “we have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” Paul chose to correct the former president and said we have Roman Reigns to fear.

– Paul finished up by saying to Kevin Owens that if he survives and he is in his hospital bed that Owens will have learned to fear Roman Reigns. They should have ended the show here, because anything else is no match for this great soliloquy by Paul Heyman.

– But this being WWE, Kayla bravely pushed forward and introduced Carmella. Carmella came out and did her “I am so great.” “look at me” shtick and dumped on Sasha Banks noting that she had bashed her with a champagne bottle for two weeks in a row. Kayla asked Booker and Paul if they had any advice for Carmella about the match and Booker took the opportunity to compliment both Sasha and Carmella on how they look good and have done nails and good make up. What?? Wow talk about going back in time to the bad old days. Booker then said that its known that he doesn’t particularly like Sasha but that her ring IQ is better than Carmella, at which point Carmella noted that Sasha has a terrible record defending the title while Carmella has done so against the likes of Charlotte Flair. Booker continued by saying that Sasha has done more on WWE than Carmella which led Carmella to tout all her achievements (winner of the first two Women’s Money in the Bank matches, her title defenses, her rumble wins, etc.) Carmella ended her segment by stating that she was going to win. and she was annoying as hell, which I guess is the point. Mission accomplished, but not a great watch.

– Next up: The Street Profits. But first a special pre-recorded interview by Jay Glazer of The Rock! It was a “Zoom” interview and seemed joined in progress with The Rock talking about how he asked Vince to give him a few minutes on the mic to turn himself into a heel. He recounted how he was a member of the Nation of Domination and Vince agreed to give him two minutes and it was a big deal. He said he went out there (they showed a clip of the promo) and just let it fly and the audience got that he was really letting it hang out there and that it was “real”. And he realized that night that there was “no going back from being authentic” and that was the birth of The Rock. So strange that they picked this clip from the interview. Rock was talking about “being authentic” and based on the recent scripting and performances on the WWE (Roman Reigns excepted) there is not a lot of authenticity left in the WWE product. I hope Vince was listening.

– With that they went back to the regular show and the Street Profits made their appearance at the desk. Kayla mentioned that the Street Profits are becoming a regular fixture on Talking Smack. Strange to point that out (couldn’t they have other guests?)

– Paul proceeded to laud the Street Profits and thank them for bringing the Tag Team Championship to the A Brand (Smackdown), oh my, I can’t believe he just called Raw the B brand. I hope Paul has an ironclad contract. The Street Profits basically sat there and let Paul do all the promo work, when they were just about to speak, Sami Zayn came out with his Sami Awards, and Paul just collapsed on the desk.

– While Sami was touting how he was the only two-time Sami Award winner and Kayla was just cracking up at the statuettes, which to be honest were pretty cut-rate. Sami continued ranting about how he should have won three Sami Awards and wanted to know how things got changed. Sami had everyone cracking up and just went on a tear and while Kayla tried to be somewhat serious, no one was taking him seriously. Sami is a genius. After a warning to Big E, that he was going to get him for stealing one of his Sami Awards, Sami left, and Kayla tried to restore order and introduced a recorded clip of Sasha Banks talking with Charlotte Wilder (who?) on Zoom cast entitled “The Year of Sasha Banks”

– In this interview, Sasha was basically “in character” as it recounted her 2020 and all the titles, she and she and Bayley won. The segment ended with Sasha saying that her next goal is to be the CEO of the WWE. This was just weird and continues the very confusing Sasha Banks character who they just can’t seem to find a road to go down in terms of face or heel. They have positioned her as a face, but she just comes off so unlikable and often heelish. It’s a shame really, because as a worker in the ring, Sasha is at the top.

– Coming out the Sasha piece, Kayla introduced a discussion of the Kevin Owens angle. They discussed and played on split screen all the beat downs that Kevin suffered on Smackdown. As they discussed the beatdowns, Booker really built up the “underdog” story by noting how Kevin Owens has had to struggle his whole life, while Reigns came from a place of privilege. Okay, I know this is wrestling and there are storylines and such, but this was a bit over the top and strained by ability to suspend my disbelief.

– After Booker finished, Paul picked things up and continued to build the match up and that Kevin Owens is a dangerous opponent, but that Roman will destroy him. Very quick and to the point, Paul both built up Kevin Owens while at the same time detailing how pointless his effort would be and how Roman would remain “The Head of the Table”.

– Kayla introduced Bayley, even using her “Ding Dong” tag line, please get rid of that Bayley, it’s stupid. Okay on with the segment, Bayley was imitating (mocking) Bianca Belair, and Kayla noted that Bianca lost to Bayley tonight and asked Bayley why she said that Belair was overrated. Bayley that she ever said that, in fact, she thinks that she has a ton of talent and potential, but she had never been in the ring with her (Bayley) and that she has a way to go. Kayla noted that Belair is not done with Bayley and that she does not give up and asked Booker his thoughts. Booker complimented Bayley after saying that he is not a huge fan of hers (what????), but that she is good and everything and Bianca Belair does have a way to go but would get there. Very strange comments.

– Quick note here, during this whole thing, Paul had his chin on his hands resting on the table and just stared at Bayley without blinking. When Kayla asked Paul what he was doing, he simply said he was admiring a great talent and that Bayley should be the Women’s champion. He also said that she was the best women’s talent on all of Smackdown and in addition Bayley should also be the host of Talking Smack, to which Kayla took some good-natured objection to.

– Kayla brought things back in line and asked Bayley why she calls herself the “role model” and what does that mean. Great question Kayla. While Bayley didn’t really answer the question, she did continue to build up her feud with Belair, by saying that as the longest reigning Women’s champion, if Belair ever want to even smell the title, she has to go through the best, her, Bayley.

– Bayley’s segment ended and they went to more clips of the beat down of Kevin Owens on Smackdown. After a video clip promoting the TLC match for the Raw championship between Drew McIntyre and A.J. Styles, they returned to the set with Kevin Owens already out, but instead of sitting in his assigned chair, Owens went and took Kayla’s chair next to Paul and addressed Paul directly.

– Kevin offered to shake Paul’s hand and Paul was very hesitant but finally shook his hand. Kevin then addressed Paul’s statements from earlier in the night about how Paul is afraid of what Kevin would bring out in Roman. Kevin said that is not what Paul fears, that Paul is afraid of what Kevin will do to win the championship. Kevin said he had a message for Roman, that come Sunday, Roman is in trouble, because while winning the title is important to him, beating Roman is even more important.

– Kevin continued that he knows Paul probably has something to say, but that he does not have the desire or patience to hear it and if Paul does say anything, he will knock Paul’s teeth down his throat. Paul looked appropriately intimidated and when offered he, Paul took Kevin’s hand.

– Then something very strange happened (a little too much I feel), while they were shaking hands, Kevin said he wanted Paul to stay quiet, but that after the match, after Kevin beats Roman, Paul should call Kevin and they can talk then. With that Kevin walked off and Kayla summed things up while the camera stayed isolated on Paul, all she said was “WOW!”.

– Paul didn’t say a thing as Kayla talked over a video promo for the match between Roman and Kevin at TLC.

– The final segment was a review of all the TLC matches, spending some extra time on the Randy Orton vs. The Fiend Firefly Inferno match and the Drew McIntyre vs A.J. Styles match with Booker predicting a victory for Drew. While Kayla and Booker were doing all these promos and predictions Kayla often went to Paul who just remained silent. At the very end while Kayla was saying goodbye, Paul stood up and said (apparently to Booker), “Thanks for all the help”, obviously referring to the way Kevin Owens intimidated Paul during their segment. And fade to black.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Wow, what to say here? As with these post-shows on FS1, this show went one hour. When watched on the WWE Network without the commercials it lasted a little over 44 minutes and while it probably could have been trimmed a bit (the pre-recorded Sasha interview was useless, and the Carmella segment was just the same thing we have seen again and again for the past three weeks) as a set up for the Smackdown components of TLC it was not unwatchable.

The best was Paul’s opening “rant” and Kevin’s show-ending mission statement. Both men delivered and if Vince was watching I hope he takes notice of what The Rock said in the short clip from his interview, “It is all about authenticity.” Vince, you have to give your people room to be themselves and speak in their own voice. You can coach, and provide talking points, but let them breath and breath life into their words!

Okay, I will get off my soap box. As for the rest, there was a lot of good stuff this week, especially The Rock segment, Sami Zayn at his self-aggrandizing best, and Bayley gave a solid “I am great!” heel promo. As for Carmella and the Street Profits – all I can say is ‘meh.” And Sasha needs to find her mojo again; she is not coming off well when she talks. There were also a couple of segments of Kayla and Booker talking about things and these were okay, but Booker just doesn’t do it for me, his style is just not to my taste, though I am sure he has fans, and they will enjoy him here. A bit of a long show but worth a watch.

Well, that is it for now, see you all next week. Until then, take care and stay safe.

CATCH UP… 12/12 WWE TALKING SMACK REPORT: Big E listens intently as Heyman cuts a promo for him, Profits joke about size of Ford’s big blue cup, Carmella rants about Sasha

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