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WWE NETWORK REVIEW: TALKING SMACK
AUGUST 21, 2021
REVIEW BY NICK MORGAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Hosts: Kevin Patrick and Matt Camp with Kayla Braxton as the backstage interviewer
This week’s guests (more interviewees than guests): Alpha Academy (Chad Gable & Otis), Sonya Deville, and Finn Balor
– Please see my general comments on the recent editions of Talking Smack and Raw Talk regarding WWE’s ineffective new format for these shows and just insert them here as the in-studio hosts, Kevin Patrick and Matt Camp spouted your standard WWE-speak commentary about the show and recapped everything we had just seen.
– As I am writing this report after Summerslam (spoiler alert, skip this paragraph if you have not seen or heard anything about Summerslam yet) I do get to slam Talking Smack and WWE for falsely touting the match between Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks when they knew full well that Sasha would not be appearing. Very bad WWE. 93 demerits for false advertising and not being up front with your fan base.
– Anyway, we got a relatively fast toss to a backstage interview segment with Kayla Braxton and the Alpha Academy (Chad Gable and Otis). Kayla tried to talk with Otis, Chad interrupted and went into a rather meaningless monologue regarding education and training techniques. It was interesting that Chad claimed that the Alpha Academy was causing havoc all across the WWE when they have basically been locked in match after match versus the Street Profits, oh, WWE, I do admire you level of self-delusion. I also found it interesting that they put Alpha Academy in this spot considering they had absolutely no part in Summer Slam.
– After some more in studio mendacity hyping Summerslam and a break, we are back with Kayla “interviewing” Sonya Deville who surprisingly announced that Sasha…nope, just kidding, there was no mention of the switch up to the card and her and Kayla actually spent the bulk of the conversation on the Bianca Belair – Sasha Banks match. Wow, with my benefit of hindsight here, this was unbelievable gall of WWE to put this out there.
– Back in the studio, the two talking Bozos continued to spew their inanities and even they kept building up the Belair vs. Banks match. They even had the gall to promote the Bump and all the guests they would have on that show, rather than having them on this show leading into Summerslam. If you can’t tell by now, this show is really setting me off.
– Next up for the brief backstage promo is Finn Balor (another wrestler who will be no where near Summerslam, was not on Smackdown, and yet they feel a great “guest” for Summerslam “go home” Talking Smack.
– During the break, they had one of their segments where all the wrestlers do quick takes on who will win between Roman Reigns and John Cena. Unsurprisingly, it was pretty much split down the middle.
– After spouting off a bit about the Reigns vs. Cena match, Camp and Patrick threw it back to Kayla for a segment with Finn Balor. Kayla noted that Finn wasn’t smiling. After noting that he used to smile all the time to keep from being torn apart inside, Finn said that he wasn’t smiling anymore because he was sick and tired of the way he has been treated by Cena, the Usos and Roman, and he is coming for them, and they will be sorry that he is not smiling anymore. After a patented thoughtful look from Kayla, we go back to the studio for some more scripted excitement about Summer Slam and even another plug for The Bump TV show, Patrick and Camp signed off and we are out.
FINAL THOUGHTS: At 20 minutes tonight, this was pretty much the standard amount of pain, though the Finn Balor promo was actually quite good. The rest was just the standard stuff and mind-numbing pablum that this show has turned into. One note I want to make here is that we should all bow our heads here and have a moment of silence for Kayla Braxton. As the host of Talking Smack, first with Sami Zayn, then with Paul Heyman, and most recently Pat McAfee, Kayla had really grown in both credibility and talent and had become something serious within a world of hyperbole and incoherence. To see her reduced to her stand there and look serious “fake” reporter role is really a sad thing to see. I hope that they can figure things out and get this show back to its former format so Kayla can once again shine in the host chair.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S TALKING SMACK REPORT: 8/14 WWE TALKING SMACK REPORT: Owens talks Baron Corbin, Bianca Belair tells Banks “it’s personal,” more