WWE Network Review: WWE Talking Smack for 2-13-21

With Elimination Chamber one week away, we start Talking Smack with hosts Kayla Braxton and Paul Heyman discussing the recently announced Elimination Chamber match. At the PPV, Universal Champion Roman Reigns will defend his championship against the winner of the Chamber match that same night. The competitors for the match are Jey Uso, Cesaro, Daniel Bryan, Sami Zayn, King Corbin, and Kevin Owens. Kayla asks Paul to share his thoughts about Jey Uso being in the match which the special counsel simply answered “no”. Kayla tries to get a response from Heyman by bringing up the possibility of Jey winning and then throwing the match. Scratching his chin, Heyman asks if she meant “like the outcome was predetermined” before mentioning the “Fingerpoke of Doom”. Heyman asks his co-host if she would like to talk about anyone else when she mentions Kevin Owens. Heyman laughs, saying he would rather talk about Jey Uso.

Aneil’s Take: I like Kayla throwing out the scenario of Jey Uso throwing away the championship match if he were to win the chamber match. What made me laugh was Heyman’s response of “like the outcome was predetermined” and mentioning the Fingerpoke of Doom. It will be interesting to see what the outcome of this match is. Honestly, this should have been the match to determine who will face Roman at Wrestlemania but it most likely will not happen with the rumors of Edge facing Reign for the Universal Championship. One competitor I did wish was in this match was Shinsuke Nakamura. With Reigns screwing him over in the gauntlet match, he should be in the match.

With tension amongst the hosts, Kayla decides to introduce their first guest, Sami Zayn. Zayn calls over his documentary crew and then gripes about Heyman and Kayla not wanting to talk about him. He mentions earning his way into the Elimination Chamber match, which Kayla congratulates him before Heyman cuts her off. “Shoot from the hip”, Heyman claims he wanted to talk about Zayn but blamed Kayla for shooting down his idea during the production meeting. Telling Kayla not to take it personally, Zayn calls her a “corporate shill” which he believes was fine because many people make it in this industry that way. However, for the former Intercontinental Champion, he is rebelling against that and believes the odds are stacked against him. Kayla questions if the powers that be are really against Zayn since he made it into the Elimination Chamber. Zayn says while people think he is delusional because of his conspiracy theories, he has video footage that supports his claims of being undermined. Kayla says while Zayn was after the Intercontinental Champion, he now has a shot at the Universal Championship and mentions that he has never faced Reigns in singles competition. She wonders if Zayn is biting off more than he can chew with the chamber match and having to face the champion that same night. Zayn says he respects Roman for changing his ways after recognizing himself as the golden goose and playing the company rather than the company playing him. Zayn adds that he cannot take away Roman as one of the very best and believes the outcome of their match on any given night can go either way. However, for Zayn, this is a step closer to the Universal Championship than he has had in a while. Kayla wishes good luck to Zayn who questions her sincerity before leaving. Heyman says he would like to say three things. The first being that Zayn claims the company wants to keep him away from someone like Roman Reigns when Heyman says there is no one like Roman Reigns. The second is agreeing there is a conspiracy against Zayn because Heyman himself conspired against him as the executive producer of Raw and called him a “prick”. The third was the golden goose comment which Heyman says Roman Reigns is the golden goose because he controls things here.

Aneil’s Take: While Zayn most likely will not win the Elimination Chamber match, I do like him being put in a position to have an opportunity at the Universal Championship. If he does not win the match, he can continue his conspiracy gimmick of WWE holding him down. An interesting point that Zayn and Reigns have never had a singles match against each other. Also, kind of eyebrow-raising was the Golden Goose comment by Zayn to speak about Reigns. The one thing that made me laugh was Heyman calling Zayn a prick and possibly admitting to conspiring against him.

The next guest is the Smackdown Women’s Champion, Sasha Banks. They jump right into it, citing Bianca Belair not naming her opponent but noticing Sasha pushing for the match. Sasha says she would love it if Bianca chose to face her at Wrestlemania, adding that she is the best in the WWE. For her, while Bianca is upcoming and great but she is not the best and has a long way to go. Kayla says both women are impactful superstars and stating that if they face each other, it would be the first time two African American superstars appear in the main event championship match at Wrestlemania. Kayla asks Sasha about her feelings on this potential matchup, which had the champion becomes emotional. For her, to main event Wrestlemania is something she has to do, and is ready to create more magic. They speak about Nia Jax and Shayna appearing on Smackdown, which Sasha says they showed up on her show which she is the leader of. Sasha lists her accolades and says she will send the Women’s Tag Team champions back to Raw. Kayla brings up Sasha Being being the honorary starter for the Daytona 500 which the champion acknowledges she does not know anything about but is excited about the opportunity. The Talking Smack also mentions Sasha being a guest on the Broken Skull session with Stone Cold which airs on after Elimination Chamber. Rushing Kayla, Heyman tells Sasha that he is a great admirer of her talent and success. He says Sasha knows that paranoid is a part of being a champion since everyone wants to be her. However, for him, Heyman believes Belair is the most formidable challenger to her championship whom he calls a true threat to Sasha’s title reign. Heyman says he has only heard respect and admiration from Sasha Banks for her competitor which he says has come up through the ranks as fast as she did. For Sasha, the good thing is Bianca is too righteous and would never resort to jumping her from behind. However, if Belair challenges Banks, Heyman asks if the champion will bring old Sasha Banks, the one who would use every advantage possible. Heyman says if she does not bring the ruthless Sasha, the outcome is not clear as her other matches because Belair is that good. Sasha answers that Bianca needs to choose her to find out before leaving. Heyman says unless Sasha brings back the ruthless version for herself, it will be hard for her at Wrestlemania.

Aneil’s Take: I love Heyman trying to bring out the ruthless version of Sasha Banks and putting over Bianca as a dangerous threat to her title reign. I think this friendly, nice guy version of Sasha Banks who is respectable to her opponent is not her true character. We all know the true Sasha Banks is someone who will do whatever it takes to win the match which I agree she has to bring out at Wrestlemania. Heyman does a great job of speaking about Bianca as someone who is on pace with Sasha. There will be a point where the friendly between the two will evaporate. Also, check out Sasha Banks this Sunday for the Daytona 500!

The last guest on Talking Smack is one of the competitors in the Smackdown Elimination Chamber match, Cesaro. Heyman and Cesaro shake hands before the special counsel tells his guest he has been waiting to say something to him. However, Cesaro tells Heyman he has been wanting to ask his former manager something too. Cesaro says it has been a question on his mind since sitting down and asks Heyman if he had seen his tag team partner Daniel Bryan because if not, he has a surprise. Daniel Bryan appears on the set, smacking Heyman on the back. Heyman braces his head on his hand, as Daniel Bryan says it will be exciting if he or Cesaro wins the Elimination Chamber since they can face Roman Reigns. Bryan explains that he has infinite respect for Heyman, but wonders why does everyone the counsel works with does as little as possible. Bryan believes it was Heyman’s masterplan to have Roman Reigns wrestle after the Elimination Chamber which is known for its brutality. Bryan questions when was the last time Reigns wrestled on Smackdown and wonders if the champion is on a broad contract. Bryan asks Cesaro if he wants to be on a broad contract which the Swiss Superstars answered “no” because he loves to wrestle. Bryan mocks that he realizes Heyman forgot what it is like to work with someone who likes to wrestle. Bryan says Heyman’s life would change if he worked with someone like himself or Cesaro, before remembering Cesaro did work with Heyman. Heyman says his strategy is to work less, get paid more. Bryan says Heyman does not earn money but instead positions himself in a strategic position to make money. Bryan asks Heyman if he knows how many opportunities Cesaro has had which Bryan believes they can count on one hand. Bryan then asks Heyman if he knew how many years Cesaro has wrestled more matches than anyone which Bryan says was five. Bryan says he and Cesaro are not concerned about the Elimination Chamber. He talks about Owens, Corbin or Zayn might not have the stamina but says he and Cesaro can go “all night long”. Heyman asks a question of his own, wondering what would happen if it came down between Cesaro and Bryan. Cesaro says he thinks he will win. Bryan says he sees what Heyman is trying to do, saying he would be absolutely honored if it came down to him and Cesaro. Bryan adds that if he loses, he loses but if he wins, Roman is in trouble. Bryan concludes that he has had tons of opportunities, but Cesaro has not had the same opportunity before walking off.

Cesaro looks to Heyman, asking if they want to get personal. Cesaro says he could not think of anyone else to stand across at the end of Elimination Chamber than Daniel Bryan. He has a lot of respect for Daniel and if he wins or when he wins, they will beat Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship. Of all people, Heyman knows that Cesaro not only can but will beat Roman Reigns. He accuses Heyman of playing games between him and Bryan because his biggest fear is either of them being the last two in the Elimination Chamber as no matter the outcome, it will not be well for him and his client. Cesaro says he cannot remember his last championship opportunity and is still going because he believes hard work pays. Pointing to the camera, he says he believes because of those who have believed in him. He says he has worked his way up to the WWE and loved every moment of it. He says your word and action matter, no matter what everyone says about you. Adding to it, Cesaro believes that is why he will be Universal Champion when given the chance and everyone knows it. He says he appreciates everyone in the Cesaro section and loves wrestling as love always succeeds. He calls himself the next Universal Champion before leaving as Heyman looks into the camera smirking.

Aneil’s Take: It feels like the narrative for Cesaro is similar to Kofi Kingston two years ago. They are playing up the story that Cesaro has not had an opportunity even though he has been on the roster for so long. It would be nice to see Cesaro win the Elimination Chamber and have a championship match. The last time I can remember him challenging for the championship was back in 2014 in the Elimination Chamber match. The only thing that kind of made me a bit confused was his promo at the end of Talking Smack where he was trying to come off motivating but seemed to struggle to get his message out clearly.

Final thoughts, another good Talking Smack, although I think the Sasha Banks interview should have closed. Once again, Heyman does a fantastic job of advancing storylines and creating new narratives. And once again, I will say this, WWE NEEDS TO USE TALKING SMACK CLIPS ON THEIR SHOW.