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WWE NETWORK REVIEW: TALKING SMACK
FEBRUARY 6, 2021
BY NICK MORGAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Hosts: Kayla Braxton and Paul Heyman
This week’s guests: Bianca Belair, Big E, and Adam Pearce
– Kayla welcomed us to the show with the WWE mating call, “officially on the road to WrestleMania!” and touted upcoming guests, Bianca Belair and Big E. She then turned to Paul Heyman and asked him if he had a chance to talk to Roman Reigns about Edge and Kevin Owens coming out and attacking Roman at the end of the show. Paul pushed back as normal, noting that his conversations with the Head of the Table are privileged and that Kayla didn’t have the wherewithal to impose on that privilege and question him about his conversations with Reigns. He started to tell Kayla how she should be doing her job as a journalist, but instead turned into the camera and proceeded to rant.
– The rant centered around why everyone is concentrating on Roman Reigns while wondering why Edge is going to Raw and NXT in an effort to play mind games on Roman because they wouldn’t work. Heyman said the winner of the Royal Rumble is guaranteed the main event at WrestleMania and that main event has to include the number one wrestler in the WWE, Roman Reigns. He then turned his wrath onto Kevin Owens, who he said, deprived the viewers of hearing Edge’s acceptance of the match versus Roman and then laid down the law. Heyman said that Kevin Owens is out of the title picture with no more shots on the horizon. He then declared that Edge’s only choice is to face Roman, otherwise, WWE is falsely advertising that the winner of the Royal Rumble main events WrestleMania. If Edge doesn’t want that then fine, he can go off and have a secondary match, or be a special attraction or “whatever his shtick may be.”
– Paul turned back to Kayla and Kayla noted that Adam Pearce will be on later and could maybe clear things up.
Morgan’s Analysis: Paul’s whole rant was great as usual and filled with Heyman alliterations and everything that makes him the master promo. However, with more than two months to go to WrestleMania, including two more PPV events, I’m a bit worried that we may be getting another Kevin Owens match. Owens and Reigns have great matches, but what can they do after a Last Man Standing match? Fight to the death? I don’t know, but I’m concerned that we are going to be subjected to two months of Owens constantly running out at attacking Roman, which in my opinion will get boring fast.
– Kayla introduced Big E, who came out in full Big E mode, causing Paul to cringe back a bit. Big E told him to relax and that nothing bad will happen. While Big E was in Big E mode, he was also serious in a way; laying out how he has the speed, power, grace, and athleticism to be the best. He showed off his belt with his new “Big E” side plates and thanked and credited the designer of them. During this, Paul actually leaned over and shook Big E’s hand and congratulated him on his victory over Apollo and Sami. He stated very clearly that he is “here to establish a legacy.”
– Of course, Kayla asked who Big E might face at WrestleMania, alluding to yet more matches versus Apollo Crews and/or Sami Zayn, but Big E pushed that aside and said when he hears all the chatter he just “closes the door” and lets the “kids” do their talking. He said he doesn’t listen to outside noise. Kayla noted that Paul had counseled Big E and Paul credited Big E for listening noting that Big E as a great champion, turned back Apollo Crews. Paul then added the, “but” you knew was coming. Heyman said that Big E may be at WrestleMania and may have a great match, but he won’t be the main event. He said what Big E should do is use the Intercontinental Championship as a stepping stone, so that next year Big E could be featured in the main event of WrestleMania versus Roman Reigns.
– Paul continued and said that Big E will be a great champion, but he will not main event WrestleMania this year and that that should piss Big E off.
Morgan’s Analysis: This was great as it allowed Big E to get serious and explain that it doesn’t piss him off because everything he is going to do over the next year is going to be something special.
– He ended by telling Paul that he will see Paul and “his boy” Roman next year at WrestleMania (if Roman is still there that is). With that, Big E left the set without any grandstanding or silliness.
Morgan’s Analysis: This was perfect for both Big E and Paul. Most importantly it upped Big E’s credibility.
– After Big E left, Paul got on his high horse and started doing his standard stuff about Roman, but then switched it up and said the worst thing about Big E (as he held up Big E’s microphone) is “that he always forgets to take his mic with him.”
– From there, Kayla introduced Bianca Belair. They played the standard clip package of her Rumble victory and her celebration. When we returned to the set, Bianca had joined them all smiles and while full of energy, she was not being over the top and delivered a good but standard, “I’m so happy” promo. When Kayla asked about her WrestleMania opponent, Bianca still demurred in answering. Kayla threw it to Paul, who congratulated Bianca and told her she was executing the perfect strategy (regarding her WrestleMania opponent). He said Belair should know that because Edge was copying her, but then said, “let’s not talk about that schmuck.”
– Paul continued to speak with Bianca and build her up and do what he does so well, especially on this show. He used his abilities to cut a promo “for” the wrestler, which is great for those wrestlers, like Bianca, who have not reached the level of delivering a great promo. Bianca emoted with her face and body language during Paul’s talk and it worked perfectly. The camera focused on Bianca with Paul’s voice coming from off camera and just made her a star. Paul even busted out his “it’s not a prediction, it’s a spoiler” line when he stated that she would win the championship at WrestleMania.
Morgan’s Analysis: I know that this was a planned segment, but Paul came across so sincere and almost fatherly in his attitude toward Bianca and when he said it would be an honor to see her win. You really believed he meant it, and in my opinion, I think he really did. This was just so good and launched Bianca on her way up the card, without having her cut a promo that would have sounded trite. When she gets more experience, I have no doubt she will be able to handle the promo duties herself, but for now, let Paul handle it. Just great stuff.
– Next up was Adam Pearce. Pearce came out seeming very disgruntled and after ignoring him for a bit, Paul turned to Pearce, notified him that neither Roman nor Jey Uso were “here” and that Kayla doesn’t like him. Heyman continued and then said that Pearce had the floor. Pearce came back at him, saying that he had nothing to say to Paul and that in fact the floor was Paul’s. At this, Paul started in on him, stating that if Pearce wasn’t fired by Monday or Tuesday, then he and Roman would have the pleasure of watching him get fired next Friday.
– He continued that under Pearce’s watch Edge was pulling the strings and making everyone wait, putting Pearce on the road to the unemployment line. Heyman said that WWE moves forward constantly. He said there was the Bruno Sammartino era and then it was over. There was the Hulk Hogan era and then it was over. There was the Rock, Steve Austin, DX, and the attitude era than the WWE moved forward. He said from there it was the John Cena era (maybe instead the Brock Lesnar era, but never mind that). Vince McMahon took over from his father and now the WWE is a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate, but the WWE will always move on. He said under Pearce’s watch, we are waiting for Edge to make a decision.
– Paul continued on in this vein and then Paul dropped Vince’s name, “I am not saying I have spoken to Vince McMahon, but I am not saying I didn’t.” Paul then laid it down for Pearce and said that this Monday on Raw, Pearce better be ready to announce a main event for Drew McIntyre at the Elimination Chamber PPV and if he doesn’t, he will be headed to the unemployment line. Paul continued for a bit, then dropped a note that Sonya Deville has a crush on Paul and that she is primed and ready to take over Pearce’s job on Smackdown and make all the decisions.
– Paul ended by saying, “either make a Raw main event for Elimination Chamber this Monday or pack your bags and go.” He wiped his hands and the show ended.
Morgan’s Analysis: While both Paul and Pearce (with his facial expressions) were good here and enjoyable to watch, I have no idea what this was all about. It started with talking about Edge’s decision about WrestleMania and then totally switched to focus on Elimination Chamber without really explaining what that would mean. I will put this out there, do you think it’s possible that Paul said Elimination Chamber by mistake instead of WrestleMania and then just went with it for the rest of the segment? Call me confused. The segment also obviously set up some potential tension between Pearce and Sonya. Now, for the past year, Pearce has been the “authority figure” without really being a wrestling character on the show. He wasn’t heel or face, he was the adjudicator sitting above it all and that is what the authority figure should be. They seem to be going down the road of having authority figures (Pearce and Sonya) who have angles and participate in the silliness. Please stop WWE, pull back before it’s too late.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The show went 28 minutes tonight and was a good show, but they really did mess up with the final segment with Adam Pearce. Paul interacting with Big E and Bianca Belair was just great and allowed him to put both of them over. The Pearce segment had me scratching my head and thus made it hard to enjoy the art of both Paul and Pearce. The show is a good watch and Paul was on top of his game for the first two segments. I will also say, while Kayla did not have a ton to do this week, she and Paul continue to build their chemistry and it’s fun to watch her react to him.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S WWE TALKING SMACK REPORT: 1/30 WWE TALKING SMACK REPORT: Daniel Bryan on a mission and A.J. Styles ready to take on Roman Reigns