By John Moore
WWE Talking Smack
Aired January 25, 2017 on WWE Network
-Renee Young and Shane McMahon check in from the Talking Smack set. Renee Young wondered if Shane was in the running for being a permanent co-host of Talking Smack. Shane shot that down and said he was filling in because Daniel Bryan “has baby on the brain” right now. Renee gave Brie credit for looking good with a baby bump.
-Renee and Shane talked about what they saw on Raw this past Monday. Shane joked about how he doesn’t watch Raw, but he did get his updates from WWE.com. He talked about how he saw clips from Brock, Goldberg, Braun Strowman, and Undertaker from Raw as well as a few of Smackdown’s guys like The Wyatts. Renee wanted to know Shane’s relationship with Stephanie. Shane said they don’t talk much. Renee brought up how she saw her complementary tweets towards him on his birthday. Renee also said to think up an answer for her Royal Rumble prediction question for later on.
-Mickie James was the first guest on this week’s episode. Shane pointed out how Mickie made an impact (I’m sure no pun was intended). Renee informed Mickie of the Talking Smack rules in how you can say whatever you want. Shane jumped in with a question of his own. Shane wanted to know Renee’s thoughts on being in the ring with Mickie. Renee said she has watched Mickie as a fan and it was a bit intimidating. Mickie went into heel mode saying that she’s glad at least one woman on Smackdown remembers what she did in the past.
-Mickie said the history of the Women’s division in WWE has been forgotten. She said as she sat at home it was a continuous slap in the face reminded of the Women’s revolution. Mickie said this revolution started way before any of these ladies. Mickie said these ladies aren’t the revolution but in fact a product of a revolution.
-Renee wanted to know a bit more as to what Mickie thought when she was watching the show at home as the new generation of women got to get established on WWE Television. Mickie said it was bittersweet. She said at first she was pretty excited for the girls getting recognition for what they deserve but after a while it gets shoved down your throat. Mickie said it was sad to see the things her generation did mean nothing in today’s generation. Mickie said it was disgusting and she was sick and tired of it.
-Mickie said she sees a lot of herself in Alexa Bliss. Mickie said it takes ruthlessness to be successful in this business and Alexa used that to contact Mickie to help. Renee wanted to know what brought Mickie back to WWE after a seven year layoff. Mickie said she never not wanted to be a part of WWE because of a childhood dream. Mickie said it was humbling to go away and get some good life experiences.
-Shane called for the production crew to bring up highlights from Mickie’s segment earlier on. It showed Mickie getting beat up until Alexa Bliss came in with the forearm. Mickie talked about being the master of head games. That was actually some clunky commentary over the segment. Shane talked about liking what Mickie did and Renee agreed.
John’s Thoughts: Shane usually does a good job leading the guests in a simple and effective way, but that analysis really needed the energy and wit of Daniel Bryan. I’m also not a huge fan of the babyface Renee and Shane actually encouraging the cowardly heel actions of Mickie James.
– Nikki Bella, Naomi, and Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, and Natalya in a trios match was hyped for the Royal Rumble.
John’s Thoughts: The only thing that would have made the booking of a Trios Tag Team Match fun would be if Teddy Long ran on the set to book it. It’s a shame that Smackdown gets what is essentially a throwaway divas buffer match. I hope the women in that match actually make the most of their time, which I’m sure is totally possible because of several great workers in the match.
-After Mickie left, Shane commented on how the women on Smackdown have confidence and poise. Renee said the Smackdown’s women division started off as pretty calm but now many feuds are bubbling up.
-Mojo Rawley was the next guest who was in calm and humble mode again, which is awesome! Mojo said it was a surreal feeling to be in the Royal Rumble. Mojo said your circumstances dictate your actions. He said Zack Ryder’s injury sparked a change in him and he’s been working hard to this moment. Shane commented on the qualifier. Mojo said one of the hard points of that match was facing many tag teams while his partner was taken away from him due to injury. Renee said that nine Royal Rumble winners in the past won in their first rumble so that might work in Mojo’s favor. Shane said Mojo should bring the Mojo to the match.
-Mojo thanked his friends for supporting him though this. He talked about texting his father a screenshot of the Smackdown graphic saying that he entered the Royal Rumble. Mojo said this was a big moment for him to connect with his father who he hasn’t seen for over a year because his father has been overseas doing business. Mojo talked about how the Royal Rumble was a huge family event for his family every year and that’s what dreams are made of.
-Mojo said one of the biggest moments of his life was making his father proud by playing for the Green Bay Packers. Mojo said if he wins the Rumble, it will surpass that moment. Renee wanted to know if Mojo has a particular target in the rumble. Mojo dodged the question by saying that’s how mistakes and accidents happen. Mojo also talked about the size of the guys in the match and how the ring might not contain their mass to wrap up his appearance.
John’s Thoughts: Damn! Borderline crackhead hype Mojo always annoyed the hell out of me and I’m sure a lot of other wrestling fans, but humble Mojo is actually an awesome babyface. I hope WWE allows this Mojo to shine a bit on the main show because this one can actually connect with a lot of people.
-Renee advertised the Royal Rumble kickoff show featuring Jerry Lawler and Shawn Michaels. They also showed the graphic on the current advertised Rumble entrants. Shane copped out of Renee’s question that she set up earlier and said that the Rumble is going to come to the numbers drawn. Shane said the later entrants have a better chance to win especially with the huge talent in the match. Renee asked Shane what number he wanted. Shane shut Renee down again and said he wasn’t going to be in the rumble.
-AJ Styles was the next guest. Styles said he felt great as the champ. Styles said he couldn’t stop thinking about Cena comparing him to every other guy he’s faced in the past. They cut to the clip of Styles having to take it from Cena, saying that Styles is only the champ because Cena let’s him hold it. It was the promo from Smackdown with Cena ended it by saying the name of his album singles.
-Shane said that he thinks AJ is phenomenal, but in the ring he saw AJ in a different light. Shane wondered what was going through AJ’s head at that moment. Styles said he listened what Cena had to say and what stuck was Cena saying Styles was like everyone else. Styles said not everyone has beaten Cena multiple times in a row. Styles blamed Cena for being a good actor and his Hollywood was showing.
-Styles said Cena is scared that he can’t beat Styles. Styles said Cena is just playing up his big-shot status. Styles also said that Cena wouldn’t have made it in the indies because Cena can’t hang with guys like Styles. Styles said he can do any fighting style but Cena doesn’t have that talent.
-Renee transitioned to the Today Show’s “guy from Atlanta” comment. Styles said that was very insulting. Styles said they should do their research because it was obvious they don’t know anything about WWE. Shane pointed out how Styles was also from Gainesville, Georgia not Atlanta. Styles agreed with that and pointed out how the NFL’s Falcons team also plays in Gainesville, not Atlanta.
-Styles said Cena didn’t deserve a shot for not being around. Style said Cena only got a shot because Shane likes ratings. He said everyone was against him. Styles complained about being in the background with Rich Swann on the promotional material. Shane said it was Stephanie’s fault since she made the poster. Styles said that was true since every Raw guy was in front with Cena, but not the guy with the original WWE Championship.
-Shane credited Styles for seizing the opportunity the most in the land of opportunity. Styles said he was going to leave WWE Champion and simply walked off set. The show ended with Shane and Renee recapping the Styles interview and hyping the Rumble.
John’s Thoughts: A couple of segments on this episode missed Daniel Bryan’s quick wit but Shane is good at taking the simple approach of pushing the guests to their topics. Shane also performed the miracle of dragging out the calm and mellow Mojo Rawley. The Styles segment wasn’t his best, but it was still good at getting over AJ’s frustration.