SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
RAW TALK REPORT
JANUARY 4, 2021
AIRED ON WWE NETWORK
REVIEW BY NICK MORGAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Hosts: Charly Caruso, R-Truth
This week’s guests: Charlotte Flair (w/ Ric Flair – until Charlotte kicked him off the show), Mustafa Ali (w/T-Bar, Mace, Slapjack, & Reckoning), and Shayna Baszler
– Charly introduced the show, wished everyone a happy New Year, started to sell the Legends edition of Raw, and then introduced co-host R-Truth. Of course, mentioning their stupid little name game, “CharTruth” once again, ugh! Charly and Truth went into full scale sell the Raw Legends show and with clips of the Drew McIntyre vs. Keith Lee match heavily sold the arrival of Goldberg and his challenge to Drew.
– They quickly transitioned to Truth’s 24/7 title and celebrated his 46th reign as the champion while showing how the Bogey Man helped Truth roll up Garza to get back the title.
– With that, Charlotte came out accompanied by her father, Ric Flair, and they continued the angle from Raw, that Charlotte was not happy with her dad, and forced him to leave the set. They discussed what was going on between her and Ric and she expressed her frustration that Ric Flair seems to always get involved with her on the show. I will note that while Charlotte has been doing well on Raw Talk, when she seemed to be less scripted, tonight with this whole Ric Flair angle she seemed to be more scripted and it came across in her speaking and reactions. The angle seems to be that Charlotte is tired as always being referred to as Ric Flair’s daughter and she wants to be more credited as herself. Charlotte was also careful to say that she loves her dad and thinks he is great, but she wants the focus more on her and her success as a woman in a male dominated business.
– With a brief mention of Charlotte’s entry into the Royal Rumble, the show moved on to Mustafa Ali of Retribution. Who immediately started heeling on Charly sarcastically complimenting her on at least getting his name right finally. Ali, then went off on how WWE could dedicate the whole show to a bunch of old has bins and gave no time to him or other lower on the card wrestlers (mentioning Drew Gulak, Akira Tozawa) just so they could get Hogan on to say “brother” again for the 17 millionth time (imitating Hogan’s voice and cadence). When Charly pushed back, “but didn’t you hear the cheers”, Ali sold out WWE by saying “oh year, the cheers that they pump in”. I hope that was scripted Ali, otherwise we may not see you for a while.
– Charly tried to push back on Ali’s comments about WWE giving three hours to old guys who could barely walk, by saying that they gave their bodies to this business, to which Ali quickly countered, Yes, they carved the path, but when are we going to get a chance to walk down that path. At this point, Ali took over the show saying that this is no longer Raw Talk, it is Retribution Talk and he introduced all the members of Retribution. Ali then said there was another member of Retribution named Ricochet. Ali then cut a promo aimed at Ricochet basically saying that WWE needs to be changed and it can not be changed alone and because of that Ricochet needs to join with Retribution and together they can and will change WWE. He then thanked Charly and Truth (actually quite respectfully) and left the set.
– After a couple of moments of trying to regroup, Charly and Truth got ready for their next guest, Shayna Baszler, who came out, sat down and glowered at Charly. Charly finally asked Shayna how she was doing to which Shayna answered, “I am so tired of this”. Of course, Truth went all R-Truth and asked about horses (Mr. Ed, Silver) at which Shayna exasperatedly exclaimed “It’s the horsewomen, not horses.” This is why I do not like Truth on this show, why interject stupid comedy in a segment with Shayna, just stupid.
– Charly brought things back around to the growing feud between Shayna and Mandy Rose, alluding to Shayna’s beat down of Rose on Raw. Shayna shot back that what do you expect, this is about the best women athletes on the planet, what else did you think I would do. Shayna then looked right into the camera and delivered her promo. “You all have forgotten what I am about. Was this personal? No…this was a message to any single person who has anything to do with anything that goes on in this company. Do you understand me? Everyone here has been lying to you (pointing into the camera at us at home), and lying to themselves, pretending that they can live the life that I lived for 20 years…none of these broads can hold a candle to me and it’s time that you remember that!”
– This was a great restatement of Shayna’s mission and seems to definitely move her away from Nia Jax and that whole angle and makes her dangerous again (ok, because this is WWE, they did have her lose by roll up to Dana Brooke on Raw). And because this is WWE rather than just ending it there, Charly has to come back (with a good bit of snark) with “Okay, let’s talk about who can hold a candle to you”, and references last year’s Royal Rumble and then fact that she lost the Rumble to Charlotte.
– They then had Shayna go into a whole bit basically reiterating or restating what she had just said, but in a much more obscure way, totally undercutting the previous promo. She finished up by saying she hopes Charlotte dreams of winning the Royal Rumble because the higher you dream that so much sweeter it will be when those dreams get crushed. Charly asked the obvious question about whether this means that Shayna will be declaring for the Royal Rumble and Shayna’s response was “I am the Queen of Spades, and a good poker player never shows their hand.”
– Charly took them off the air by saying that she hopes Shayna does enter because she wants to see how she has improved since last year and she wouldn’t want to be the woman that stands in her way.
While short at 21 minutes, the show was not a slog, but it was not great either. Very much in the middle. The Charlotte segment was just kind of there and was weird with Ric Flair coming out and then being dismissed. Charlotte was fine, but I again, urge WWE to continue to spread he wings and rely less on scripted speeches and more on talking like a real human being.
Ali was very intense and is usually a good promo, unfortunately he is trying to lift a dead brontosaurus (Retribution angle) and it is just a waste of his talent and quite frankly the talent of all of them (not sure about Dio Maddin but will give him the benefit of the doubt).
If Shayna had just dropped the mic and left after her into the camera promo, I would be dancing a jig at the return of the ass-kicking Baszler and I am still very happy that they do seem to be heading back in that direction with her. However, by dragging the segment out and doing the way to obvious tease about the Royal Rumble, I am not ready to throw all caution to the wind and welcome her back just yet.
I am also hoping that Truth’s allusion to the Horsewomen may mean that Shayna’s henchwomen (Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke) might be on the road to Raw, not as main eventers, but in the backup role they handled very well on NXT. Just a thought.
Bottom line – watch if you want not a tragedy if you miss this one.
Well, that is it for now, see you all next week. Until then, take care and stay safe.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S REPORT: 12/28 WWE RAW TALK: Xavier and Kofi share memories of Jon Huber, Caruso talks about rose angle with Garza as Orton and Bliss fire angle plays, Asuka’s New Year’s resolutions