By John Moore
WWE Talking Smack
Aired January 10, 2017 on WWE Network
-Renee Young was joined by Shane McMahon, who was filling in for Daniel Bryan on Talking Smack this week. Shane joked about their past encounters on the show when Renee rushed Shane off the show. Their first topic of discussion was the WrestleMania announcement for New Orleans. Renee said her favorite WrestleMania experience was the WrestleMania in New Orleans. Shane assumed it was because of the local bars. Renee said she liked the French Quarter because of her knowing some French.
-Renee called Undertaker the “Greatest Superstar of All Time” and Undertaker being in the Royal Rumble makes her really happy. Shane talked about this year’s Rumble having a lot of star power. Renee wondered if Shane would put his name in the rumble and he humbly declined.
-Renee said she was also made happy due to Maryse slapping Miz in addition to Miz getting punished with a fine.
-Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss were the first guests on this week’s show and they took seats opposite of each other with Renee and Shane dividing them. Shane said there would be no luchas and no interference and that was the purpose of the steel cage. When asked about her thoughts on the situation, Alexa said she was a fighting champion but she was upset that she has to be paranoid about Lynch constantly being in Daniel Bryan’s ear about title rematches. Alexa said Becky was suffering from insanity. Becky said insanity was what was in Alexa’s head.
-Becky said the reason she’s getting a match is because Alexa tapped out to her. Alexa tried to dodge the subject and started to bring up La Luchadora as Becky’s goal. Alexa said she respected Becky for being the first Smackdown Women’s champion but she gave credit to herself for being the smartest. Alexa blame La Luchadora’s existence on Becky Lynch because Becky came up with her. Alexa said Becky was playing victim for her own concept backfiring on her. Becky came back by saying that Alexa Bliss was a copycat with Harley Quinn, La Luchadora, and Mean Girls the movie.
-Alexa complained about nobody sending her gifts or sentiment when her elbow was dislocated. Shane interrupted and said that Alexa has a lot to prepare for. Shane said when the cage closes there’s an eerie feeling and when you run the ropes you can hit your head on the cage. Shane told both women to be careful. Renee pointed out how very few women have been in this situation, in the cage.
-Becky said she was going to use this moment to prove she is the best female “Sports Entertainment” that this company has. Becky said nobody in the company has done what she has done with her obstacles. Alexa said she won the title by herself. Becky pointed the eye poke and Alexa’s cheating. Alexa said there’s no fair in fighting and she does what it takes to win. Becky said she will dislocate Alexa’s elbow over the top of the cage. Alexa said she is planning on ending 2017 as Smackdown Women’s Champion just like how she ended 2016.
-Lynch told Alexa to stay close to the title for this one week and even take it to the bathroom so she can get rid of the crap she is talking about. Becky said Alexa will give the title back to her next Tuesday. Alexa said Becky will have a week to come up with an excuse as to why she doesn’t have the title. Becky and Alexa walked off.
-The state of the Wyatt Family was the next topic on the show. Shane said Randy Orton being inserted into the group has made them champions. Shane gave some credit to American Alpha for bringing their A-Game and beating such a powerful force. Renee said you can’t deny the high amount of star power in Alpha.
-Mojo Rawley was the next guest. He was wearing a bedazzled green snapback cap. They talked about Mojo’s future as a singles star. Mojo said it was heartbreaking to see what happened to Zack Ryder after he did what he did in NXT to develop the Hype Bros. Mojo said it hurt even more having Zack blow his leg in front of Mojo’s hometown and giving his all to earn a title shot. Renee lightened the tone by saying it’s odd that Zack shaved his beard. Mojo said Zack’s doing great and even sneaking workouts in the gym. Mojo talked about helping Zack move into his new home.
-Shane talked about Mojo having to leave the NFL due to injury. Mojo said he tore his calf while playing for the Arizona Cardinals. Mojo said the doctors told him his career was over but due to hard work he recovered and continued to play. Mojo said he was afraid he would have to falll back on his MBA and have a career in Wall Street.
-Mojo talked about having several NFL free agent and Wall Street offers but WWE kinda came out of nowhere for him. Mojo talked about being close friends with the Gronkowski family. Mojo said star NFL tight end Rob Gronkowski’s dad was like a second dad to him. Mojo said Gronk’s father was actually college roommates with Mike Rotunda (a/k/a IRS). Mojo credited Gronk’s dad for putting a good word in with WWE and thus being the reason he’s in WWE.
-Shane brought things back to the storylines and wanted to know what the future holds for Mojo in singles competition. Mojo said it was all about him now and the fun and games were over. Mojo said the reason he was annoying Zack Ryder backstage throughout their tag team run was to fire him up in the ring. After a few more playful comments, Mojo left the set and left the hat for Shane.
John’s Thoughts: Wow! That was one of the few times where Mojo Rawley spoke on camera and I didn’t get annoyed. He knows his personality is annoying, but there is also another more endearing side to him. The soft spoken Mojo Rawley might have some potential as long as they don’t take all of the personality out of him. That said, I’m pretty sure when Rob Gronkowski’s NFL career is over, we’ll be seeing him and Mojo interact based of the way that they’ve been building this.
-Renee said a lot of people try to make a name off of John Cena and it didn’t happen tonight with Cena defeating Baron Corbin in a good match. Shane said Cena is here to re-prove himself. Shane said Corbin has done well but he had to go against the A-Lister John Cena tonight. Renee said more than just AJ, Cena is trying to send a message to the rest of the locker room.
-Renee spoke about not being able to wear the Mojo snapback due to her bun, and speak of the devil, Dolph Ziggler was the next guest on Talking Smack with his hair in a bun. Dolph Ziggler also wore a sport coat over an NWO t-shirt.
John’s Thoughts: So Dolph Ziggler has escaped the ’80s and finally entered the ’90s with his NWO shirt. Baby steps, I guess?
-Renee said Dolph was in some sort of mental “pocket” right now. Dolph said this has built up for years and it feels right doing what he did on Smackdown. Dolph said you can try and do hard, but that’s what everyone is doing. Dolph said you can just bide your time and hope someone is going to hand you a title or you can try to stand out and be the best. Dolph said there was frustration building in the last few years and what he has done wasn’t good for Dolph and anyone else.
-Shane said he was a fan of Dolph’s intensity, but the frustration is what showed up this week. Shane said this new attitude puts a target on Dolph’s back. Dolph said something’s been missing these past few years. Dolph said he must be here for a reason, and that’s because he’s good at this. Dolph said no matter how good of a match he has, he has to be better. Dolph said he lives for this show even more than his family and friends. Dolph said he thinks he is a level above everyone.
-Shane said the crowd reacted to Dolph for hitting Kalisto with a chair and questioned how it felt to get hatred from the crowd. Dolph said a reaction is everything. Dolph said swinging that chair on Kalisto and Apollo gave him a similar feeling to when he cashed in the Money In The Bank, like a rebirth of a person who can change the business.
-Renee wanted to know how much time Dolph has in the business and if this new attitude is for his last run. Dolph said he hit rock bottom when he put his career on the line. Dolph said he tried not to let his frustration creep up in his work, yet he loses every night including on Smackdown. Dolph said there must be another way to get noticed. Dolph said he was officially inserting himself in the Royal Rumble. Shane granted Dolph entry and the show ended with Renee’s outro…
John’s Thoughts: I feel like there are so many dynamics on the show with the different guest hosts. JBL was my least favorite with Miz and Bryan being the two best partners to Renee to host this show. Shane didn’t do much. In fact, he was just kinda there to speak softly with a few comments and direct the action, but that was actually pretty solid in that it allowed the guests to carry the conversation and direction for their characters. The Smackdown authority figures are so much better than Raw’s due to them just being background players. Dolph was okay, not great, at least not yet. There’s a bit of wait and see with him and I hope they find a way to make this heel turn work. I’m also afraid that it might fail but the one positive is that Dolph finally feels like he’s taking a new direction in his career. Let’s hope it turns out to be the right direction.