SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)…
WWE NETWORK REVIEW: TALKING SMACK
SEPTEMBER 5: , 2020
REVIEW BY NICK MORGAN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Hosts: Kayla Braxton and Xavier Woods
This week’s guests: Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro, Alexa Bliss, and Jay Uso
– Kayla welcomed everyone to Talking Smack in the Thunderdome and pretended to introduce he co-host, “The…….”, but she laughed and said no, no, it’s Xavier Woods! Woods was wearing a very nice (and rather ostentatious) royal blue tuxedo-like jacket. Kayla introduced Woods by running down his several online ventures (Twitch; Up, Up, Down, Down; etc.) and his record six Smackdown and two Raw tag team championships. Woods reciprocated by telling Kayla that she is great at what she does and that Miz was just mean to her and that she should keep going with her Instagram and make that money.
– After the mutual admiration society, that actually seemed somewhat sincere, Kayla announced that they had updates on the two big injury angles from the night: Sasha Banks and Big E. All Kayla said was that they had been taken to “local medical facilities” and they were being evaluated. Really, that’s the big update. Okay, whatever. Oh, Pet Peeve time: Why can’t they just say “hospital.” I know there is some reason, but it is just dumb.
– After the “update,” Kayla asked Xavier how he felt about Big E’s injury and the fact that Sheamus attacked him the way he did. Of course, Xavier was upset about his best friend getting hurt and said that Sheamus is disgusting for doing the attack. Kayla also asked about Big E’s singles run and how Xavier felt about it, and as you would expect, Xavier was completely supportive and excited for his friend.
Click Here: United Kingdom Rugby Jersey
– Once they were done with this, Kayla introduced their first guests: Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro, the Smackdown Tag Team Champions. Cesaro did most of the talking for the pair as you would expect, but there seemed to be a fun connection between Cesaro, and Xavier bred from all the tag team matches the two had been involved in. Cesaro brought up Big E’s single run and said he understands the frustration that Big E has felt and seemed to throw some shade at WWE for not moving himself in the singles arena. Cesaro said he does and is willing to do whatever it takes but for some reason (read corporate decisions, i.e. Vince) it just hasn’t happened. It is interesting that on all three of the Talking Smacks since its return, shots have been taken at the decisions about who and how championship runs and title shots are allocated. Hmmmm, worth keeping out eye on.
The remainder of the interview was pretty bland. One interesting note is that while Nakamura’s spoken English is not great, he definitely seems to understand it well as his facial gestures during the interview conveyed a lot. I would love to see an interview with Nakamura where they had a translator so Nakamura could really express his feelings and the insights he very obviously has.
– Next up was Alexa Bliss. Interestingly, she sat rather far away from the hosts (could have been a camera angle thing, but I don’t think so, I think this is part of the Alexa/Fiend angle. Alexa came out in full pigtails and made a point out the dreads, which are multiplying. They briefly spoke about Nikki and the mug incident and Alexa pawned it off and said that is what happens with friends, there are ups and downs and things will be fine.
– Xavier then brought up The Fiend and how he knows what it is like to be drawn into something like that (remember back to when New Day was confronting the Bray Wyatt Clan and Xavier was being seduced by Cult Leader Bray). Alexa began twirling one of her dreads and seemed to zone out and then came back and acted as if she had just arrived and said it had been so long since she had seen Xavier and how good it was to see him and then quickly said it was time to go and got up and left.
– Kayla and Xavier talked about how weird that was and Xavier said that when he was going down the rabbit hole the only thing that saved him were his friends, Big E and Kofi. Xavier stressed that it could be up to Nikki Cross to save Alexa and that only time will tell. The whole segment was a pretty good mover for the whole Alexa, Fiend, Nikki angle. Definitely interested to see where this ultimately ends up.
– Next up was Jay Uso. Uso came out all hopped up and excited and sprayed Kayla and Xavier with silly string. It was a bit silly (pun intended), but a fun moment. Kayla and Xavier asked several questions about how exciting it was that he was going to be fighting for the championship and Uso gave all the standard answers. The most engaging thing about the interview was that Uso recounted several stories about how he and his bother Jimmy would fight in the front yard and big cousin Roman was also there.
– Jay Uso did a great job of building up the family angle of this fight, but also built up how he was not going to lay down for his cousin. He was going to take it to him and go for the title. Jay Uso also said how he was going to always keep an eye on Paul Heyman, but that he loves Heyman, that Heyman goes way back with Uso’s family, but bottom line it is “about me right now.” In perhaps the funniest bit of the night, Jay says he loves his cousin, but right now if they have a barbecue, he won’t give Roman a plate, he won’t give Roman no chicken. Xavier broke out laughing and the moment just seemed genuine.
– I have always liked the Uso brothers whether they were heels or faces, and I think it is great that Jay is getting this shot. I also think WWE was dumb not to keep Jay Uso on the show during this COVID-era, even if not in a tag team with this brother Jimmy. He is full of energy both in the ring and on the mic and he just adds so much to the programming. Are you listening WWE? Don’t just get rid of Jay Uso once he loses to Roman, give him a run at the Intercontinental Championship. Keep him on the air!
– Before going off the air, Kayla had a producer (in a mask!) bring out a birthday cake for Xavier and both she and Jay Uso “sung” bastardized versions of Happy Birthday. Kayla even mentioned that because of copyright they couldn’t sing the song. Are you kidding me, WWE, you guys get 100’s of millions of dollars from the networks and you can’t spring a few bucks to pay for the rights to use the song? Apparently, according to Wikipedia, Warner Music collects royalties for the song. I guess WWE doesn’t want to give any money to AEW’s television partner. To quote my grandmother, “Oy Vey!”
FINAL THOUGHTS: Okay, this show is getting better. Xavier Woods and his energy and joy are infectious, and he brings the best out of Kayla who seems to just fit in well (she stopped yelling as much). Where the Miz, in his heel persona, granted, tried to make everything about him, Xavier added to the guests, sharing the spotlight, not trying to hog it. I am going to stop gushing about Xavier now, but he makes this show better.
The guests this week were a good group, with Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro, being personable and fun, but not really advancing any major angles, while Alexa Bliss in her brief appearance was only about advancing the angle with The Fiend and bringing attention to the fact that she had more dreadlocks. Jay Uso was great, full of energy and excitement about finally getting a shot, while also showing that, while Roman Reigns may have turned heel, he was still family as far as Jay was concerned. His appearance helped get me excited about the match and add some stakes to what I can only assume will be a win for Reigns in pretty convincing fashion.
At only 24 minutes, Talking Smack is a great quick watch and, if you are a Xavier fan, it is a must watch, especially with a strand of pink silly string hanging off the back of his hair for the entire Jay Uso segment.
See you all next week. Until then, take care and stay safe.
CATCH UP… 8/29 WWE TALKING SMACK REPORT: Reigns-Heyman discussion, Big E passionately says he knows what he is doing with his persona, Riddle talks Corbin, Sami rants