By John Moore
WWE Talking Smack
Aired May 16, 2017 on the WWE Network
-Renee Young checked in from the WWE Talking Smack set and she was joined by Shane McMahon who was filling in for Daniel Bryan this week. Renee pointed out how they not both have blue cups (not Shane’s usual red cup). Shane quickly congratulated Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella for the birth of their newborn daughter, Birdie Joe Danielson. Renee said they looked like a delicious family.
-Renee quickly moved on to talking about Backlash. Shane said he was ready to go. They then cut to a replay from a month ago with Jinder Mahal becoming number one contender.
-Jinder Mahal was the first guest of the show and he was joined by The Singh Brothers. Jinder talked about last month’s win and how it wasn’t a shock. Jinder said he was the crown jewel of Smackdown. Jinder said next week on Talking Smack he was offering Renee an interview where they can show the B-Roll footage of Jinder winning the WWE Championship at Backlash. Renee said the truth was no one expected Jinder would even be in this main event. Shane referenced Jinder talking about wanting people to pay attention to him before the battle royal win. Shane said Jinder has taken the ball and ran with it.
-Jinder said he came on Smackdown to make an impact and to become the WWE Champion. Jinder went back to complaining to Renee about saying it was a shocking moment. Renee said she didn’t mean to offend. Renee cut to more footage where Jinder ran off and stole the WWE Championship belt. Shane wondered if Jinder was trying to get into Randy’s head. Jinder said that might be what he was trying to do, but he feels Randy has lost his edge. Jinder said the man who used to be called the “legend killer” the maharaja walked away with the championship.
-Shane wanted to know what Jinder was trying to do. He brought up how Connor McGreggor took from the playbook of Floyd Mayweather’s playbook of getting into the heads of his opponents. Shane also wanted B-Roll footage of Jinder getting involved in the House of Horrors match. Renee pointed out that Jinder wasn’t supposed to be on that Raw show. Jinder said that footage was another example of how the Maharaja was taking advantage of Randy’s lack of focus.
-Shane called what Jinder did, “a physical statement” and talked about Jinder beating Orton last week clean. Jinder repeated talking about Randy’s lack of focus. Renee gave Jinder credit for beating AJ Styles. Jinder said going through Sami Zayn, Randy Orton, and AJ Styles proves that he has been unstoppable since arriving on Smackdown. The Singh Brothers nodded in approval. Jinder said Sunday was going to be the crowning of Jinder Mahal and the beginning of the era of maharaja. Shane said you can’t count out Orton because it only takes one RKO. Shane said Randy was more seasoned.
-Jinder said he’s not afraid of the RKO since Randy hasn’t done it to him for weeks. Renee pointed out that it’s mostly due to Jinder’s attacks being sneak attacks. Shane said everyone was interested in seeing this. Shane said he wishes Jinder luck.
-Renee wanted to know Jinder’s relationship with the Singh Brothers. Jinder said now was not the time and all questions should be directed at him. Renee asked if the Singh Brothers were going to be a part of Sunday’s match. Jinder said that’s up to Jinder. Jinder said his brothers have his back and will be there to make sure Randy Orton isn’t doing anything he shouldn’t be doing. Renee wished Jinder luck on his way out of the interview.
-Renee then cut to a sponsorship plug. This week’s Talking Smack was sponsored by the Rocket League PS4 game.
-Shane said he was impressed by Jinder being articulate, calm, deliberate, and backing it up. Renee wondered if this might not be the perfect for Randy Orton since Randy has been on the losing end in the past few weeks. Shane said Jinder’s folly might be his overconfidence. Renee wanted to know Shane’s thoughts due to him having similar overconfidence before his matches. Shane said Jinder has to believe his own hype. Shane if he does Jinder can be dangerous. Renee talked about Jinder being constantly offended at Renee calling his wins shocking.
-Erick Rowan walked onto the Talking Smack set and he had a brown burlap sack with him. Erick Rowan slammed his sack on the table and Renee had a facial reaction that showed she hoped it wasn’t a dead body in that bag. Erick said he wants to show her something he made. Something that makes him smile. He took out a sheep mask with clown painting patterns. Rowan said it makes him laugh. Erick Rowan put on the clown sheep mask.
-Rowan pulled a balloon out of nowhere and handed it to Renee. Renee thanked Rowan for this. Rowan quickly popped it to shock Renee. Rowan then did his creepy laugh with his mask on. Renee wasn’t pleased.
-Renee moved on to the interview portion and asked Rowan about his relationship with his former Wyatt Family members. Rowan focused on the word “family”. Rowan said he likes to count sheep. He counted sheep while pulling out random sheep masks from his sack. Rowan said it helps you sleep. Rowan said sheep was like family, but Luke Harper decided to leave THE FAMILY. Rowan yelled asking Shane if he knew what it was like when someone leaves the family. Renee stood up in fear. Shane told Rowan to calm down. Rowan apologized to Renee and Shane and said Renee can sit back down.
-Rowan said when someone leaves the family, they leave Rowan. Rowan said a lot of people have left him in his life and when he sees Luke fighting with his family it upsets him. Rowan said he was trying to calm down and last week he taught Luke a lesson. Rowan said the punishment doesn’t deserve the crime. Rowan said he thinks “Lucas” needs a harsher punishment. Rowan brought up Backlash and wondered if Shane could grant him a match with Harper. Rowan said it’s what he and his friends (the sheep masks) want. Shane said he was happy to grant Erick Rowan a match this Sunday against Luke Harper.
-Rowan was happy. Rowan said he has something that soothes him and calms him, something he made. Rowan took a cracked mask that had a tuft of blonde hair on it. Rowan looked a bit confused at the blonde hair and put the tuft on Renee who sold being freaked out. Shane tried to end the interview, but Rowan yelled “no” and took a seat on Renee’s seat. Renee wanted to walk away but was hooked up via microphone. As Renee tried to escape, Rowan put on a gas mask version of his sheep mask. Shane assumed this was the calming mask that allowed him to breathe. Shane attempted to rush Rowan off the set now that Rowan got what he came for. Rowan comically packed up and politely handed Shane the microphone. Shane defended Renee as Rowan waved goodbye to them both.
-A production crew guy ran in to hook Renee back up to the audio after that Rowan episode.
-They started to talk about the tag team division. Renee brought up “The Fashion Files” and said that Breezango also looked strong in the ring. Shane agreed. Shane said their match against the Usos will be a showcase match of the PPV. Renee said she couldn’t focus due to the Erick Rowan thing.
-Renee moved on to talking about Kevin Owens mocking Chris Jericho in the opening segment and wondered if Owens is focused on his match against AJ Styles. Shane said Owens seems off, but it’s more a cover for his focus. Shane said Owens was getting in people’s heads and backing it up. Shane said from personal in-ring experience, he can attest to AJ being tough.
-Renee and Shane moved on to talking about Shinsuke Nakamura. Shane said he enjoyed what Dolph had to say about Nakamura and hot he got a laugh of the “footage not found” part. Renee said you could find plenty of footage on NXT. Shane said he doesn’t agree with Dolph, but Dolph at least got to show people his own accomplishments. Shane then talked about Shinsuke Nakamura being a star in Japan.
-Shane was cut off with Charlotte, Naomi, and Becky Lynch walking on set.
John’s Thoughts: Didn’t WWE learn that these women trios feuds don’t work? Remember Team PCB? This is just team PCB just with the P (Paige) turned into an N (Naomi).
-Renee cut to footage from the Naomi vs. Charlotte match where “the Welcoming Committee” interrupted. Naomi and Charlotte talked about wanting that match but having to get through the committee first. Becky called her team a championship caliber team. Becky said they have to be on a united front.
-Renee talked about the tease of Becky joining the Welcoming Committee. Becky said she was a trickster and knew exactly what she was doing. Becky called all three of the committee members snakes in the thistle because they all attacked her from behind. Charlotte continued to act disingenuous as Becky and Naomi tried to keep them together.
-Becky joked about James Ellsworth looking like a combination between ET and a thumb. Shane was curious if any of the girls bit on Ellsworth’s ego. Renee wanted to know who the three thought was the biggest threat from the Welcoming Committee. Charlotte brought up Natalya’s championship experience. Becky brought up Tamina’s strength.
-Shane asked Charlotte if it was a challenge going up against Tamina’s raw power after dominating most of her opponents as far as raw strength (speaking of Raw, Shane probably should have factored Nia Jax into this equation). Charlotte said she felt the power and can’t take Tamina lightly. She then went into talking about being United with Becky and Naomi. Shane and Renee closed out the interview.
-Renee and Shane questioned whether Charlotte was being genuine. Renee handled the outro of the show with one last hype for Backlash.
John’s Thoughts: It seems like before Daniel Bryan gets back we’re going into alternating between Shane McMahon and JBL as co-hosts. It allows JBL and Shane not to work extra hours every single week so it benefits all parties involved. Jinder Mahal wasn’t terrible on Talking Smack this week, but he was very basic and seemed to get lost at a point in his interview. He didn’t have a mission statement and instead chose to linger on berating Renee for her “shocking” line, which told me that he didn’t know how to promote his upcoming match. I don’t put it 100 percent on him though as I feel Shane wasn’t the best moderator to get it out of him. I really hope they don’t give up on Jinder before Daniel Bryan gets back on the show because I really want to see what DB can get out of him in the same way he got Alexa Bliss and Baron Corbin out of their shells.
While I can see it being divisive for some, I loved the Erick Rowan portion of the show and Renee Young deserves some credit for playing the horror movie victim. This was the Rowan we see on Twitter and YouTube, the creepypasta/Texas Chainsaw Massacre Rowan. Rowan is hammy in the way he plays horror, but I like that he keeps it simple. I want to see what Luke Harper can do from a personality standpoint, but I’m not quite sure he has found that out yet. Thumbs up to Rowan though and thumbs up to Renee for acting like there might have been a dead body in the sack.