By John Moore
WWE Talking Smack
Aired May 9, 2017 on the WWE Network
-This week on WWE’s Talking Smack, Renee Young was joined by John JBL Layfield. JBL referenced how Renee used to be one of the hosts of the JBL and Cole YouTube show. They then commented on each other’s hair and started making toupee jokes.
-JBL said he has always loved London. He talked about how William Regal hooked him up with a tour of Buckingham Palace. JBL talked about an “old wrestling promoter” being a security guard back in the day, which allowed JBL to serve beer in the Queen of England’s bar. Renee said no one had cooler stories than JBL and talked about how they used to travel on the road together. Renee said last time they went to England together they made an awful rap video.
-Renee said the main event of Smackdown was fantastic and it was interesting to see Jinder Mahal get one up on Randy Orton and she wondered if that was a sign of things to come. JBL said it’s totally possible that Jinder can pull out a win at Backlash. JBL talked about Jinder trying to get on a roll and how he has an opportunity in front of him. JBL said it wasn’t a series; it was just one match where anything can happen. Renee talked about how Jinder is focused due to him knowing that this might be his one and only opportunity to seize the moment because he’s been here for a while.
-JBL talked about how Vince McMahon talks about grabbing the brass ring and how Jinder has done just that by getting his body into shape. Renee said she can’t wrap her head around the way Jinder’s body looks.
-Renee referenced Sami Zayn’s backstage skit and dubbed him a “neurotic maniac”. JBL said people, including himself, get on Sami’s case about overthinking things. JBL said Sami is doing something that he is accustomed to doing backstage and as a character it is starting to work on camera. JBL said this character was fabulous.
-Renee wanted JBL’s prediction on the Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles United States Championship match. JBL commented on Kevin Owens being the “face of America” and how he never knew the face of America would speak French. JBL then asked Renee if she spoke French due to her being Canadian. Renee spoke a bit in French and said she doesn’t speak as well as Kevin does.
-They moved on to talking about Breezango’s Fashion Files. JBL said he was given a ticket for wearing a kilt in Scotland even though he has McGregor heritage. JBL then said Rob Roy was his ancestor. JBL said Breeze and Fandango were two of the funniest guys he’s ever seen.
-Renee then cut to the Usos’s being interviewed in regards to their warning to Breezango. Jimmy said they were just trying to say that they weren’t afraid of rent-a-cops. Jey said Jimmy should probably respect their name a bit more and dubbed them crossing guards. Jimmy said he was going to get real now and acknowledge that Breezango do have some momentum by beating The Ascension. Jimmy said the titles are going on the line and bringing them back to where they belong which is as the Uso’s home. Jimmy said that was for next week and right now they heard the night scene in England be crackin’ so they’re about to be rollin’ in to see what the night clubs be all about. Jey said naw, and they were just going home.
-Renee wondered why the Usos weren’t going to check out the night life in England? JBL said that Breezango looks like the cast from Police Academy. JBL said the Usos delivered one of the best promos he’s ever seen and the place was electric for them. JBL said their talent level was off the chart. JBL then referenced how the Usos came into the company and were placed in undercard/pre-show matches. JBL said no one knew them at first but then they caught the crowd with their talent. Renee said just seeing the Usos backstage, they come off as cool people.
-JBL said he sees Breezango as Tag Team Champions one day but right now The Usos are at a whole different level.
-Renee transitioned to talking about Charlotte Flair’s adjustment to the Smackdown locker room. JBL compared it to moving from territory to territory back in the day and said in moving locker rooms you have to introduce yourself to a completely new audience. JBL said Charlotte had a comfort zone on Raw and how there might be a phase of her getting back to that zone on Smackdown.
-Renee talked about Naomi being in a zone. JBL commented on Naomi’s glow and entrance on how it wakes up the crowd. Renee called Namoi the best and it was cool to see her at WrestleMania going down the long ramp.
-JBL called the kid that kicked Mojo Rawley a little brat. Renee said you can’t just kick people because of how rude it is. Renee said even though there is a size difference, little kids shouldn’t just kick people. JBL said it isn’t nice, even if it’s Mojo. Renee called Mojo an easy target for that.
-They cut to the backstage interview lady interviewing Mojo about bringing the Andre the Giant Memorial trophy to the UK all the way from the States. Mojo said he brings the trophy everywhere. He said he prepares and trains with it. Mojo said it represents everything for him and the biggest triumph of his life. Mojo said more importantly than that, the trophy represents taking what people perceive as your weakness and turn it to your strength. Mojo talked about Andre being different and taking what makes him different to make him special. Mojo said he’s loud and out there that draws haters and doubter, but he doesn’t let those people shape and mold who he is.
-Mojo said this trophy is a constant reminder that being you pays off in the end. Mojo said that when you believe in yourself, stay the course, and keep grinding on, eventually you’ll get what you want. Mojo said the trophy was more important than the WrestleMania win, it’s a constant reminder not to let anybody change him. Mojo said as long as the trophy’s with him, he feels invincible.
John’s Thoughts: Hot damn, Mojo! That’s the Mojo Rawley I enjoy, the Mojo we see regularly on Talking Smack and have seen on WWE Breaking Ground. I really hope WWE finds a way to present this version of Mojo out to the public, just like they did a bit with Titus O’Neil a few years ago, because he can be a positive role model for children. WWE should also take Mojo’s advice and not mold him to be Rob Gronk-Rawley by having him be defined by the Pro Bowl Tight End. This Mojo is awesome and I’m looking forward to seeing more of this version of him, but of course WWE probably sees ESPN and TMZ mentions by pimping him out as Gronk’s shadow clone.
-Renee and JBL commented on how tough it must be to carry that trophy everywhere. JBL referenced Owen carrying around two Slammys and British Bulldog carrying around an actual dog. JBL said the dog thing was just a rib back in the day on Davey Boy. JBL said there is something awesome about Mojo and how he’s somebody you want to have around. JBL said Mojo is just a good dude with an infectious personality.
John’s Thoughts: Be a star, JBL!
-Renee talked about meeting Mojo for the first time in NXT and how he’s jumping around all over the place. Renee said that’s not a character, that’s who Mojo is. JBL talked about how Houdini died because Houdini let random people punch him in the stomach and how the kid kicking Mojo could have been worse than just a laugh.
-JBL also wanted to stress that he wasn’t advising that Mojo punch the kid back and how he doesn’t want to say anything “more controversial”. JBL said that he’s good at controversy and how lead writer Ryan Ward gave him the green light to say anything he wants on this show. JBL said that anything includes mentioning Ryan Ward on television.
-Renee then moved on to talking about Shinsuke Nakamura and Dolph Ziggler. Renee said Dolph always walks around with a chip on his shoulder. Renee wanted to know JBL’s thoughts on what Ziggler is trying to expose out of Nakamura. JBL said Ziggler wants to expose the Showoff within himself to people again. JBL commented on Nakamura’s ability to electrify a crowd and how Ziggler feels he can do the same as a Kent State hall of famer. JBL said not to count Ziggler out as a two time world champion and how Chicago is the perfect setting for this. JBL said Ziggler should relish this as a heel because Chicago is going to boo him out of the building.
-Dolph Ziggler was the next guest and was interviewed off set. Dolph revealed that the interviewer was Dasher Fuentes! Dolph said he was Dolph Ziggler, not Dolph. Dolph said he’s earned the respect for people to address him by his proper name. Dolph said he’s earned the respect of the Universe and locker room who don’t show it. Dolph said he got here because of what he’s done in this business. Dolph said he did this for himself, no relatives paved the way for him, no one held his hand to the boss’s office, and everything he’s done is because he’s as good as he is.
-Dolph said it was not about catchphrases, t-shirts, or telling someone something just to be fun. Dolph said he’s here to win and he does lose his way sometimes by forgetting how damn good he is at this. Dolph said he just has to readjust. Dolph said Nakamura has not had one match on Smackdown Live and not one match that he’s ever seen. Dolph said if anybody was going to figure out Nakamura, it was Dolph Ziggler. Dolph said he was going to introduce Nakamura to the WWE Universe and Dolph’s foot. Dolph said he was showing Nakamura and the world what he always knows, how good Dolph is and it’s just too bad for Nakamura.
-Renee Young hyped Dolph Ziggler vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for Backlash. JBL recapped that Nakamura was the youngest ever IWGP Champion and a former NXT Champion. JBL said Dolph should cherish this moment and how beating Nakamura might get people in the crowd crying. Renee closed out the show…
John’s Thoughts: It was a bit odd with Dasha handling the interviews on the show from a separate time and place, but I commend WWE for not letting the digression from the usual format cause a digression from the traditional formula of letting the wrestlers speak from the heart. As JBL referenced, I’m assuming lead writer Ryan Ward is advising the wrestlers to go into this show and say whatever the hell they want. While we got nothing new from the Usos, they continue to define themselves as cool and organic as opposed to being bland and generic which is what they were before the brand split. Mojo and Dolph really got to show better versions of themselves than their national television counterparts. Dolph was good on Smackdown this week but he got even better when talking in a calm confident voice with Dasha.
As for the on-set discussion between Renee and JBL, it was good. I understand having Shane McMahon on last week so Kevin Owens could have someone to antagonize, but JBL offers more energy and insight to make up for the temporary hiatus of Daniel Bryan, who’s out being a future-father at the moment. JBL also seems to be having a bit of awkward fun with the Mauro Ranallo controversy on his multiple shows. Overall, a solid show and as of right now I prefer JBL over Shane, but Shane could work every once in a while just to be the straightforward commissioner.