The general consensus late Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning was that SmackDown Live delivered a far better product than its Monday Night RAW competition. To be fair, RAW was up against Monday Night Football and the Presidential Debate. The debate alone drew nearly 90 million viewers, so wrestling barely stood a chance going into the night.
SmackDown took advantage by producing memorable segments and matches, which was highlighted by a raging debate over which stood above the rest. Randy Orton searched for Bray Wyatt all night backstage, Dolph Ziggler decided to put his career on the line if The Miz granted him one more shot at the Intercontinental Championship, and AJ Styles defended his WWE World Championship against Dean Ambrose while John Cena looked on from his ringside chair at the announcer’s table.
But the entertainment didn’t end when SmackDown went off the air. The blue brand’s recap show on the WWE Network, Talking Smack, has garnered several headlines since the brand extension as well, and Tuesday night was no different. Heading into the most recent episode of Talking Smack, the most talked-about segment from the brief history of the show continued to be Daniel Bryan and The Miz shooting on each other’s wrestling abilities, and The Miz criticizing Bryan’s retirement. But Cena gave them a run for their money Tuesday night.
Last week, Dean Ambrose labeled Cena as a lazy part-timer, both on SmackDown and on Talking Smack. Cena was given the opportunity to respond, and in doing so on the post-show platform, his response was less scripted and came across as a shoot. Wrestling Inc recapped the segment, highlighting Cena’s response to Ambrose’s comment that John doesn’t dress with the other WWE superstars in the locker room.
“No, I don’t stand and dress where Dean Ambrose dresses, but this is where someone has twisted reality. Dean Ambrose said ‘John Cena and Dean Ambrose don’t like each other.’ No. Dean Ambrose doesn’t like John Cena. John Cena doesn’t care about Dean Ambrose. And if Dean Ambrose wants me to care about him at No Mercy, he’ll either need to step up or step aside.”
Cena and Ambrose, of course, are slated to challenge for the WWE World Championship along with AJ Styles in a triple threat main event at No Mercy. Ambrose has been alluding to what a lot of fans already know, which is that Cena is scheduled to go on hiatus from the WWE following the pay-per-view to film his reality series, and he would likely miss the remainder of 2016 because of it. But John is selling as hard as he can that he is pursuing history as a win would tie him with Ric Flair for the most World Championship reigns of all time at 16.
But Talking Smack was less about a title match and more about Cena laying into Ambrose for calling him lazy. Cena said that when SmackDown is over, Ambrose gets to go home and recover while Cena continues to go to work. When the interview was over, he was getting on a jet to fly to New York to promote the premiere season of Total Bellas.
Cena was clearly offended about how other people put him on a pedestal because he’s the top earner in the WWE. While that is true, Cena made sure people realized that Ambrose makes millions of dollars in the company too. John pointed out how bizarre it probably seemed to not book the face of the company on SmackDown‘s first brand-exclusive pay-per-view, but that the WWE deemed it more important for him to be in China to aid in global relations.
Cena knows that he’ll never headline a pay-per-view in Asia, but with his help, someone else might, including Dean Ambrose, and that people should recognize that Cena got that ball rolling for the superstars that follow him. Cena brought up The Shield and how he feels Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns are bonafide stars on RAW while Ambrose is still trying to figure things out.
It should definitely be noted that Renee Young, host of Talking Smack, is Dean Ambrose’s real-life girlfriend. She and Bryan basically just listened to Cena as he rambled passionately for nearly 10 minutes. It will be interesting to see if the SmackDown writers capitalize on that momentum for next week’s show which just so happens to be the No Mercy go-home show. To close out his portion of the show, Cena once again addressed Ambrose labeling him lazy.
“To me, that insult is just lazy. If he takes that same attitude at No Mercy, he’s going to be still trying to figure it out.”
Which shoot-style promo on Talking Smack will have a more lasting impact? Will the winner be the war of words between Daniel Bryan and The Miz or John Cena’s rant on Dean Ambrose? Let us know in the comment section below.
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