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WWE TALKING SMACK REPORT
JULY 17, 2021
REVIEW BY NICK MORGAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Hosts: Kayla Braxton and Paul Heyman
This week’s guests (more interviewees than guests): Bianca Belair, Finn Balor, and Jimmy & Jey Uso
– Talking Smack opened up showing the live crowd at Smackdown and my heart sunk as Kevin Patrick welcomed us to Talking Smack in a new studio and also introduced a new co-host, Matt Camp.
(Morgan’s Analysis: I don’t know what is happening and I totally hope this is not the new normal. However, I am worried, because the new set (or studio) had a very small desk and had both hosts standing up behind it.)
– Anyway, they recapped the Roman Reigns – Edge confrontation at the beginning of the show as well as briefly touching on the actual match, which the Usos and Roman won. At this point, Patrick teased that Kayla would be speaking with the Usos in a little while.
(Morgan’s Analysis: Okay, they are really revamping the way this show airs. We will have to see if this is the ultimate plan going forward.)
– Patrick and Camp recapped the rest of Smackdown, concentrating on the return of Finn Balor and Bianca Belair’s retention of her title against Carmella. Patrick also teased that Kayla would be speaking with Bianca Belair and they cut directly to Kayla backstage at the arena with Belair (who knows when this was filmed as there was not interplay between Kayla and the hosts before going to this segment.)
– As Kayla waxed enthusiastic about being back on the road in Houston, Belair stood with her belt over his shoulder with a smile on her face. Quick note here: When Bianca Belair is just present and not acting like a “WWE Superstar”, she comes across as a star. She has a great smile and looks the part of a star athlete. Belair responded to Kayla’s question about how she felt with what seemed a legitimate joy in performing in front of a live audience. Rather than being in this moment, the script called for, and Kayla played along by bringing up a tweet that Carmella had sent out, blaming her loss on so little time to prepare and “cheating” by Belair. Belair’s response was pretty good. She said she was a fighting champion and if Carmella wants to complain, so be it, and that she wants to run it back again next week.
– Of course, back in the studio, Patrick announces that the match was made, and said that Belair and Carmella would go at it again next Friday on Smackdown in a championship match.
(Morgan’s Analysis: Really, WWE, you have just come out of the pandemic Thunderdome era and the best you can do is keep giving us the same matches again, and again, and again? For me, this does not bode well for the future. WWE has learned nothing and will learn nothing, and we will continue to be subjected to this insane booking philosophy. One thought would be that Sasha Banks (if she doesn’t show up at Money in the Bank) will make an appearance after this match next week and stake a claim on the championship heading into Summerslam.)
– Patrick and Camp spoke about the return of Balor and teased that we would hear from him after the break, which featured a MITB promo (Lashley vs. Kingston). Back from the break, we got a video repeat of Finn’s return and his beatdown of Sami Zayn. Again, they threw to Kayla who was also backstage with Finn who responded to Kayla and said it was great to be back and then said that on his return to the “blue brand”, his plan is to win championships. Interestingly, Finn actually mentioned the word that shall not be spoken on WWE, “pandemic,” and then noted how grateful he is for the fans before finishing with, “buckle your seatbelts, we are going for a ride.”
– Back in the studio, Patrick and Camp basically recapped what Finn had just said (just dumb) before moving onto the next segment. This went on way to long, with both Patrick and Camp gushing over Finn and his “10-pack” and his potential to win it all. Really boring, they should have done a longer segment with Finn and Kayla, than show us these two goons. Patrick teased the Usos were next, and we went to break for another MITB promo.
– Before throwing to Kayla, Patrick touted the pre-show match between the Usos and the Mysterios, with Camp noting that the Usos have to win the match because to lose would be to let down Roman Reigns.
– Kayla was with the Usos in “their lounge”, let me say, Jay Uso continues to be the MVP, acting very much in emotional turmoil while Jimmy was just leaning back and very chill. In answer to Kayla’s question as to whether they felt that they had to win, Jimmy responded that they had won on Friday, but then built up the Mysterios, calling Rey the best luchador in history. At this point Jay chimed in, saying that they (the Mysterios) have to realize that they are stepping into the ring with the best Tag Team in the WWE. Jay continued that the Usos would do the family proud and that the blood line would be draped in gold, and they would be the seven-time champs. It is interesting to note that there was no apparent discord between the brothers and that they are both on board with the blood line all the way.
– Back in the studio, as it is apparent this new format thinks are a good idea, Patrick and Camp recapped what was just said, putting a WWE spin on it. Come on folks, let the viewers digest things a little bit before you tell them what to think.
– After this, Patrick and Camp switched over to the major angle of the show: Edge putting the chair bar in Roman’s mouth and getting him to tap and pushing hard that Edge has Roman’s number and could come out of MITB as the Universal Champion.
– With that they exclaimed how great it was to have fans back and then threw to a video recap of the action and the fans reaction at Smackdown on Friday.
FINAL THOUGHTS: A really quick 19 minutes this week, but a totally new format that I am very sad seems to no longer have room for Paul Heyman or for that matter Kayla Braxton, in a staring roll. She seems to have been shunted off into brief backstage interview segments (just like the ones on the main shows) that seem to have been pre-taped as there is actually no interaction between the in-studio hosts and Kayla. This new format, to put it bluntly, stinks. Patrick and Camp are terrible here, adding no insights and obviously, if not reading a teleprompter, are totally scripted. What made Talking Smack an enjoyable watch was the interplay of Kayla and her co-host (Paul Heyman and even Pat McAfee) with the wrestlers and while there was scripting there was also room for people’s personalities to break through the WWE fourth wall. I know I am repeating myself, but this was absolutely terrible. This was not an interviewer and a wrestler standing in front of a screen and cutting an impassioned promo. This was just bland WWE-speak, with no room to breathe. Perhaps the worst part of this, as I noted above, was that when we came back to the studio from the interview, we were immediately subjected to a recap and a structuring of what we were supposed to think and take away from the wrestler’s promo. This might be fine for a 12-year-old but for any kind of thinking adult, this was insulting and just ruined everything. This continues a trend for WWE. They program for kids and leave adults to do our best not to bang our heads against the wall. I really hope that they reconsider this format.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S TALKING SMACK REPORT: 7/10 WWE TALKING SMACK REPORT: Carmella talks her championship opportunity, Edge addresses MITB, more