Talking Smack kicks off with hosts Kayla Braxton and Paul Heyman and their usual bantering. Kayla speaks about the news of WWE returning to live event touring starting on July 16th. Kayla tries to talk about Bayley but is interrupted by Heyman who describes their relationship as a married couple. When asked about the Rollins and Cesaro situation from Smackdown, Heyman answers “yak yak yak” after Kayla said that is what he does. Before going to break, it is announced that Shinsuke Nakamura and Intercontinental Champion Apollo Crews will be their guests.
The first guest is Shinsuke Nakamura who is still wearing King Corbin’s crown. Speaking about the crown, Shinsuke says he is the “King of Strong Style”. Shinsuke speaks in Japanese which Heyman says he understands. Heyman responds by saying that it will break the internet. Kayla asks Shinsuke about wearing the crown as they look back at his Instagram pictures. Kayla says it is great to start with a good cup of Joe in refer to one of Shinsuke’s posts which he drinking coffee. Heyman would interject, saying they do not talk about anyone who does not work in WWE and not to mention Joe or Charley or even herself. Heyman asks Shinsuke about the chances of King Nakamura versus The Tribal Chief. Nakamura responds in Japanese before asking Heyman if he would keep his promise. Heyman shakes Nakamura’s hand and says he will send his regards to the Tribal Chief. Shinsuke takes a bow before leaving the set. Heyman would go on to say Shinsuke was the most articulate and well-spoken guest and would use him as an example for promo class.
Aneil’s Take: The one thing that has bugged me for a while is Smackdown not following up Shinsuke feuding with Reigns after being screwed in the gauntlet match a few months ago. After being screwed in that gauntlet match, it should have resulted in a feud with Reigns. Also, while I did not know what Shinsuke spoke in Japanese, I would imagine it had something about a future title match against Reigns, especially after asking if Heyman would keep his promise. I would have liked it if they spoke about being paired with his new guitarist Boogs.
The next guest is the Intercontinental Champion Apollo Crews with Commander Azeez. Apollo says he is a bit tired after celebrating his victory. Kayla asks how satisfying was his victory especially with the odds stacked against him. Apollo says he beat everyone’s favorite superstars and always finds a way to get out on top. The Intercontinental Champion also mentions the live crowd returning which means they will be able to see their champion. Kayla would then question Apollo on Aleister Black interfering in his match and if it was planned. Apollo says he does not know what she is talking about and does not know Black. Kayla says she does not have much pride in winning the way he did. Heyman speaks to Apollo saying this thing about ignoring Aleister’s involvement is bullshit. Heyman says he is envious because he has been reaching out to Black for months but was ghosted. The special counsel says Apollo had Aleister in his back pocket but the champ does not know anything about it. Apollo says he blacked out before everything and then remembers hearing his music. Apollo says he likes Heyman to Azeez before leaving.
Aneil’s Take: I thought it was interesting to hear Kayla and Heyman continue to build on the theory that Apollo had something to do with Aleister Black’s return. I do not think that Apollo had anything to do with it, especially after Big E name-dropped Black last week, but it is an interesting narrative to push. Apollo has been a great job since turning heel and creating this Nigerian Prince character. Having Commander Azeez by his side has been a nice addition as well, which was shown in the fatal four way. With his feud against Big E seemingly over, I wonder who will be the next one to step up for the Intercontinental Championship? Will it be Kevin Owens or Sami Zayn? I think someone like Buddy Murphy would benefit hugely by feuding with Apollo.
Kayla reminds us that The Usos will team up again next week on Smackdown to face The Street Profit before going to their final guest, Paul Heyman. Kayla mentions Roman not being happy about Jey Uso teaming with his brother. Heyman says Jey Uso has been making history and Smackdown has been doing ratings in part by “Main Event” Jey Uso. Heyman says Jimmy will have to follow in line and acknowledge his Tribal Chief. He adds that Jimmy might be independent and rebellious but says to look at what happens to everyone who has stood up to Reigns. Heyman questions Kayla on what they call Wrestlemania which he answers “The Showcase of Immortals”. He says Reigns exploited Wrestlemania to showcase his immortality and called it “the most dominant pinfall in Wrestlemania history” after stacking Daniel Bryan and Edge. Heyman says he can “yak yak yak” all day long but it does not make him wrong. He points out Lashley getting pinned by Kingston which he saw on Twitter since he does not watch Raw because of how horrible it is. He only watches smackdown because of Roman Reigns and that The Tribal Chief will defend his title against anyone who will step up at Hell in a Cell before Talking Smack ends.
Aneil’s Take: Another promo by Heyman singing the praises of his Tribal Chief, The Universal Champion Roman Reigns. In one part, he mentions the dominant pinfall by Reigns at Wrestlemania which at first did not impress me. However, looking back at Wrestlemania history, Heyman does make a valid point in calling Reigns’ pin the most dominant in Wrestlemania history. I cannot recall a time when someone stacked their opponents, one being a Hall of Famer and the other being a future Hall of Famer. As for Jimmy Uso, I like the slow build of having Jimmy eventually joining his brother Jey with Roman. And as for Reigns’ challenger at Hell in a Cell, I think Shinsuke might be the next person to step up, especially after the Talking Smack interview he did earlier.
Final thoughts, I thought the intro was underwhelming for their par. While I do enjoy Heyman and Kayla’s banter, I did want to hear them talk about Bianca and Bayley or Cesaro and Rollins. Other than that, I thought it was a decent Talking Smack.