I’m sad to report that Talking Smack has seen better days, fellow scripted fight fans.
Perhaps because talent now has to hit the road for house shows right after SmackDown wraps, they’ve also done away with the traditional studio show set, replacing it with a podium somewhere in a remote location - probably Stamford or Orlando. Worse yet, not only is Paul Heyman no longer there setting up future Roman Reigns angles, but it appears the Pat McAfee era was a short one. Last Friday we got Matt Camp & Peter Rosenberg.
At least Kayla Braxton is still part of the team. And Braxton was part of the best bit from the most recent Talking Smack, featuring one of my favorite angles currently playing out on the blue brand.
Sticking with the “sad” theme, it was Kayla’s interview with Baron Corbin that stood out. Corbin is killing it as a man who’s broken - emotionally and financially - by the loss of his King of the Ring crown.
This may be his best work yet. In a nice bit of backstory we don’t often get from WWE, Corbin explains why being crown-less has busted him. He’s pathetic, but every time you’re tempted to actually feel sorry for him, he slips in a humblebrag about the level of luxury he became accustomed to thanks to his royal paychecks. He even subtly takes a cheap heat dig at the site of last week’s SmackDown:
“Seriously, today is Friday, and I woke up in Cleveland, and you go, ‘How much worse can it get?’ Then I go to breakfast and I can’t afford a couple eggs.”
That leads Baron to bang a can on the sidewalk... and stain his undoubtedly expensive dress shirt in the process.
I don’t know what the end game is here, or how or if it will translate into a traditional pro wrestling feud. Everyman Kevin Owens has been Corbin’s foil in most of his segments on SmackDown, and if all we get is stunners until the poor little formerly rich boy stops feeling sorry for himself, that works for me.
As long as Baron keeps being this entertaining as a down-on-his-luck jerk, I’m here for it.
Probably won’t be around for many more Camp/Rosenberg episodes of Talking Smack, though. Thank goodness they release the good stuff on YouTube.