SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE TALKING SMACK
MARCH 20, 2021
BY NICK MORGAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Hosts: Kayla Braxton and Paul Heyman
This week’s guests: Sasha Banks, Apollo Crews, and Paul Heyman
– Kayla opened the show with a huge proclamation that we are “only three weeks away from WrestleMania” and then went on to quickly recap the upcoming guests’ results from Smackdown and their upcoming matches and involvement at Fastlane. Kayla was a bit over the top in her excitement, but that is just Kayla. Paul sat mute watching Kayla. Kayla also continued the huge push WWE put on regarding seats for WrestleMania being available.
(Morgan’s Analysis: I wonder is ticket sales are a bit sluggish. We are, after all, still in the midst of the pandemic. Interesting.)
– As Paul looked agape, we went to the Back in Business WrestleMania promo. After, Sasha joined them at the table and the first thing out of her mouth was that weird laugh followed by her bragging about herself and her win over Nia Jax. Sasha then started on about how she will become a three-time tag team champion. Her tone was totally heelish (not confident), and she came off as a real jerk.
(Morgan’s Analysis: If this means a heel turn for Sasha, great. If WWE thinks this is a “cool” babyface, then they and Sasha are way off base.)
– Ultimately, Kayla moved on to WrestleMania and the championship match with Bianca Belair, discussing some of the discourse between Sasha and Bianca. Sasha said that they respect each other, but all is good and she will walk out of WrestleMania as two belt Banks. Kayla pressed the issues between Sasha and Bianca a bit more, but Sasha just did her “laugh” and walked off.
(Morgan’s Analysis: Sasha, Sasha, Sasha, where have you gone, I want “The Boss” back.)
– After a Covid-19 vaccine promo aired, we were back with Apollo Crews.
(Morgan’s Analysis:A note here. First they run a promo about everyone coming out and traveling to go to WrestleMania in person and then they run a vaccine promo. I am glad they did, but this is showing some real mixed messaging.)
– Apollo did not look happy and demanded a “proper” introduction (“the next Intercontinental Champion”). When Kayla wouldn’t do it, Paul stepped in and laid it on really thick for which Apollo thanked him. Kayla asked Apollo at what point he “discovered” this new Apollo. Of course, Apollo came back at her that this is not something he discovered and that the metamorphosis was not due to Big E beating him earlier in the year. Kayla pushed on about how Apollo and Big E had been friends and wanted to know what happened – was their jealousy or anger at Big E? Apollo said no, it is just all about winning and that there is nothing personal about it all.
(Morgan’s Analysis: Don’t like this. There should be personal issues and they should be leaned into by the performer. As the audience, we all know that this is personal, so validate our feelings.)
– At this point, as Kayla pushed on these issues, Apollo pushed back on Kayla as to where she was getting these questions and Paul stepped in (continuing Paul and Kayla’s running gag that Paul doesn’t think Kayla is a great reporter). Paul commended Apollo for his attitude and said that he has not lost, but has learned a lesson and that Paul thinks that is the right attitude. Heyman said that Fastlane was Apollo’s shot and if Apollo cannot walk out of Fastlane as the champion then it has all been for naught. Heyman said if he leaves Big E broken in the ring and walks into WrestleMania as the champion then this will be his year.
(Morgan’s Analysis: Paul is so good. In 45 seconds he totally summed up everything and set the stage. Too bad WWE does not do this on a regular basis.)
– They could have ended the segment with Apollo shaking Paul’s hand and thanking him for his advice, but they had Apollo give a “I am going to destroy you” speech. It was not bad, but they focused directly onto Apollo’s face and none of the rage and determination he was spouting showed in his eyes.
– We then got a filmed video promo of the Randy Orton/Alexa Bliss angle.
= Up next was Paul Heyman (what, what). This segment was basically an opportunity to get some vintage Paul rants and speeches and to promote several things.
Here is a list of topics Paul covered:
– The induction of Eric Bischoff into the Hall of Fame – After a very flowery praising of Bischoff, Paul did take the opportunity to blow his own horn noting that of the three most important people in the 90’s (Bischoff, McMahon and Heyman) only one was relative enough to still be on TV each and every week. Of course he was speaking of himself, Paul Heyman.
– Kayla asked for WrestleMania “spoilers.” Heyman said the main event of WrestleMania will change, but not in the way that everyone is thinking (Daniel Bryan beats Roman at Fastlane). He said Bryan will not beat Roman and that Roman does not think that Daniel is a real man. Paul continued that the WrestleMania main event will change because Roman will deliver such a beating to Daniel Bryan that Edge (at ringside as the special enforcer) will s##t his pants and will realize that Roman is to violent, aggressive and vicious for Edge to face him and someone else will have to step up after Edge backs down. He stated that WrestleMania is built around Roman Reigns and that Roman Reigns versus “blank” will be the main event and that is how it should be as Roman is the sun around which the WWE orbits and there is no other.
– Yet another classic Paul Heyman promo and without another word, we are out.
FINAL THOUGHTS: A bit long at 25 minutes tonight and somewhat more transparent in its function as a promotional tool than it is week to week, but Paul’s ending promo was great. Apollo did an acceptable job. I do not know what Sasha and those who are writing for her are doing, but they are slowly destroying this character. Her performance here was terrible as she seems to be straddling heel and babyface and is not pulling off the tweener vibe. I do not know who is at fault, whether it is the writers who do not seem to have a clue or Sasha herself who can’t seem to find her own voice in this environment. If you enjoy watching train wrecks go ahead and watch the show from start to finish, otherwise skip the Sasha segment, pick things up with Apollo, and then revel in the Heyman show at the end.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S TALKING SMACK REPORT: 3/13 WWE TALKING SMACK REPORT: Big E continues serious tone on Crews, Sami Zayn complains, Heyman brings up Christian, more