WWE Network Review: WWE Raw Talk for 2/8/21

Another week of Raw Talk begins with host Charly Caruso and 24/7 champion R-Truth, collectively known as ‘Char-Truth’. Truth talked about playing in a celebrity flag football game during the Super Bowl weekend where he lost his 24/7 Championship to teammate Doug Flutie only to regain his “baby” moments later. They then discuss Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning the Super Bowl which Charly reminded that she predicted. Focused back on wrestling, we see a clip of the main event on Raw where WWE champion Drew McIntyre faced Randy Orton in a non-title match. The match ended in a disqualification after Sheamus nails a Glasgow kick on Orton before getting hit with a Claymore from McIntyre. Charly believes Sheamus was trying to get back at McIntyre for being slighted at getting a one-on-one championship match. She mentions Drew having to defend his WWE Championship in the Elimination Chamber against five former WWE champions. Those five challengers are Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles, Sheamus, Randy Orton, and The Miz. When asked whom does she think will win the Elimination Chamber match, Charly answered McIntyre.

Aneil’s Take: It surprises me that no one has taken the 24/7 Championship from Truth while on Raw Talk. While McIntyre vs Orton has become redundant, it was good to see creative go a slightly different direction using Sheamus to create the DQ instead of having Alexa Bliss appear again.

The first guest is the winner of the Women’s Royal Rumble, Bianca Belair. Charly begins by asking Bianca about her feelings on the past week. Bianca says it has been wild and while she is a grown woman, since winning the Rumble, she feels like a five-year-old in excitement. Truth jokes that she is like a kid in a candy store before Charly asks her about deciding on whom to face at Wrestlemania which Bianca says the relationship is complicated and is still trying to figure out and weigh what is on the table. Charly questions on what does she weigh in the decision which Belair answers she will first wait for Asuka vs Lacey, adding she has plenty of time to make her decision. Charly asks if Belair has a preference on who wins in the Raw Women’s Championship between Asuka and Lacey Evans. Bianca reveals it does not matter to her because she will enter Wrestlemania as the challenger and come out as champion. Charly believes Sasha and Bianca would put on a show at Wrestlemania. Bianca suggests she should put up a poll on Twitter for people to vote on whom she should choose to face at Wrestlemania. The interview ends with both hosts thanking Bianca for joining them.

Aneil’s Take: The interview felt short and similar to her segment on Talking Smack. They tried to get intel on her Wrestlemania decision but Bianca kept it coy. I like Bianca showing she understands how big of a decision this is in her young career and not wanting to make an impulse choice. I agree with Charly that Sasha vs Bianca would be the ideal match which I think should close out one of the nights at Wrestlemania.

The next guest is “The Archer of Infamy” Damian Priest. He greets both hosts before Charly about his feelings over the last week. Priest says it has been a couple of crazy weeks, naming his Royal Rumble debut as one of the highlights. He adds that his inner child enjoyed sharing the ring against guys like Kane. Charly brings up his two victories on Raw and asked him how it felt to be with Bad Bunny. Priest says it was wild especially being actual friends with the Latin rapper. Truth asks Priest if he was hanging with Bugs Bunny but the former NXT North American champion clarifies there are two of them. Priest adds that it has been awesome to share the spotlight with Bad Bunny who is a lifelong WWE fan. Charly suggests that Bad Bunny might be his tag team partner down the road which Priest says you never know. Speaking about Bad Bunny, Priest praises him for being talented in a business that he believes the Latin rapper had no business being successful in. Charly brings up his feud with Miz & Morrison which Priest says he understands since some guys might not be happy with the new guys getting some spotlight. Truth calls Damian “DP” when Charly says she likes “DP” and it has a nice ring to it. Priest says he gets where Miz is coming from but he is not the guy to be pushed around. Charly says it has been a great week for Priest debuting at the Royal Rumble which the latest Raw superstars reveals was his favorite event growing up. For him, it was surreal to participate in the Royal Rumble match since he attended the event as a fan many times before.

Aneil’s Take: I thought this was a good interview with Priest. It gave us a little insight about himself, in addition to his friendship with Bad Bunny. I think Priest has upside for his size and ability to work as a babyface. He does kind of remind me of “The Lone Wolf” version of Baron Corbin in terms of appearance. One small thing that made me laugh which some might not find funny was when Charly said she liked “DP”. While it was taken out of context, I think it did make Truth & Priest laugh a little.

The final guest is the leader of Retribution, Mustafa Ali with members T-Bar and Mace. Mace hovers over Truth as Ali mockingly says there are no problems on the show. Charly asks Ali about his feelings when he says he wants to talk about a lot of things on this show. The first thing Ali brings up was being notified about his Raw Talk appearance a few minutes ago from a fan’s tweet. He was upset that not a single producer or writer had the courtesy to tell him about being scheduled as a guest on Raw Talk. However, being the professional he is, he let it go. The second thing was the change in mood with the staff members on set who were smiling when Bianca and Priest were on the show but now panicking since he is on. He points out a giant red button that can be used to censor him and questions why the producers were not crowding it when the two previous guests were on. Ali spoke about being questioned on why he has not won a WWE championship thus far when they could not even pronounce his name correctly for four years. Mustafa points out Truth calling him Mufasa which the 24/7 champion jokes that he saw him and Scar have a fight. Ali tells Truth it’s not funny and brings up him talking about overcoming injustices and racial discrimination only to call him “Mufasa”.

Ali expressed his displeasure about Retribution’s lack of opportunities especially with their “identities being erased, their abilities are being handcuffed and their passion has been drowned by this place” as he looks around Thunderdome. Ali voiced his hate for this is a “glorious” company praising people who are “corporate puppets” filled with catchphrases, t-shirt, action figures which he called “a giant pile of crap”. Charly asks Ali if maybe he feels before the Retribution leader interjects that maybe he is bitter and angry. Ali tells them he has this thing call talent and passion but does not fit in with what the demographic wants. He stated that he does not fit in with the key demographic which is the everyday viewer who needs to relate to someone named Mustafa Ali. Ali believes that person does not exist so he is fighting a battle he cannot win but will continue because he is a warrior, as too, his other members. Ali tells them to go ahead and boo him and cheer for The New Day since they do inspiring things before mocking their signature hand clapping. He adds that no one is going to twerk until Truth does. Truth’s dancing brings him to another point that he thinks is wrong with WWE. Ali says while someone drops the truth which he called a “foreign language” for some, he calls out Truth for thinking it is time to make jokes. To prove his point, Ali asks Truth to make another joke when the 24/7 champion dances again. Charly believes Ali has channeled his negative energy towards The New Day and wonders if the Retribution leader should take his focus off them. Ali questions why should he do that before bringing up John Cena and The New Day as examples of “corporate puppets.” To him, they are puppets who want people to buy t-shirts and wonder why would any parent want their child to buy Booty-O cereal. Truth tells Ali he should not be talking about The New Day or his childhood hero. Ali asks Truth if he would defend a guy like Mace whom he is not even allowed to mention. Truth says Mace cannot even talk and that Ali is talking for him. Ali says he speaks the truth because he is the truth. However, Truth believes Ali is crying about why he is not getting this and that.

Charly asks Ali if he should make some allies as Truth adds that he should man up. Ali turns his attention to the camera, wanting to speak the truth, calls The New Day his “dear friends” and someone who would understand his struggles. Ali describes The New Day as a group who knocked down the door to opportunity but quickly shut the door behind them. However, when he knocks on the door, New Day hears him, but no one is home. Instead, Ali claims he and his Retribution brothers and sister will build their own home which will welcome all. It will be a home that will not deny entry to anyone because they know how it feels to be left out in the cold. They know how it feels to be left to die which is a hill Ali is willing to die on. Charly asks if they are building their own home, will they continue to knock on the New Day’s door. Truth makes another joke on what kind of mortgage he has; which Ali lets out a frustrating laugh. Ali focusing back to the camera to address The New Day, Ali congratulates them on their victory. He knows Kofi hears his message and wants the former WWE champion to “say it with his chest” but knows he does not have one with a smirk. Ali says he knows The New Day likes to act like clowns which Retribution can do but won’t because no one in this industry has been through what he has been through. He promises that everyone will understand his and Retribution’s pain because of how they look or what their names are. Ali ends by signing off for Raw Talk as the music plays. He tells everyone to be happy as he does The New Day signature clap and chanting “New Day Sucks.”

Aneil’s Take: What an absolutely magnificent promo by my doppelganger, Mustafa Ali. While this was most likely a worked shoot, Ali did such a great job making valid points and arguments. The first one for me was him talking about producers hovering over the red button while he spoke even though they did not for the two guests before him. It makes him appear like an unpredictable person who is not afraid to say what he has to say. I also thought it was pretty gutsy for him to name John Cena as a “corporate puppet” and called out WWE for being a company that only cares about catchphrases. It was interesting to hear him make points about not fitting a key demographic and The New Day kicking down the door of opportunity but close it shut behind them. His promo sounded similar to another Chicago superstar who felt held down by the system. Honestly, I have been a huge Mustafa Ali for many years and it has been great to see him get more air time. I think many believed it was a career killer for him to join Retribution, however, he has been appearing on Raw weekly and is really trying to make this work. Hopefully, all of this will help lead to a Kofi Kingston vs Mustafa Ali match at Wrestlemania.

As for final thoughts, the Mustafa Ali segment stole the show. If you have not had a chance to watch it, please do, it is great. The only thing that I hate is this segment most likely won’t be aired on Raw since they do not use Raw Talk content which is a shame. So much good information comes from this show. The Bianca decision-making continues and it was good to see Damian Priest get some mic time.