Cheap pop for Asuka’s official Instagram page for that cold open meme. If you want more Instagram fun, go follow us at wrestletalk.official, where we post loads of exclusive announcements and videos. And, sometimes, build feuds with people when we’re not supposed to, sorry Vince.
Vince McMahon Angry With Randy Orton
Sunday night’s NXT TakeOver: In Your House was a tremendously enjoyable show, not just putting on the brand’s usual card of excellent in-ring matches – like Johnny Gargano vs Keith Lee, Tomasso Ciampa vs Karion Kross, and Io Shirai pinning Rhea Ripley for her first ever NXT Women’s title (because THE OMNIFLAIR jobs for nobody) – but also because of the nostalgic easter egg references to the 90s with mock ICOPRO adverts, William Regal doing his best Lord Alfred Hayes, and how Gargano actually lives in the In Your House set.
But while it might have been a very good show, according to one top main roster star, it wasn’t THE GREATEST SHOW Backlash.
Randy Orton tweeted the day after: ““Heard #WWENXT #TakeoverInYourHouse was great! Slappin my leg for you guys. Sincerely #legslap”
Making #legslap the new …dive – Randy’s latest way of ridiculing the modern ‘indie’ style, which he’s condemned before for being too full of multiple dives to the outside and slapping your leg with your hand to make superkicks sound more impactful, at the expense of in-ring psychology and selling.
This angered NXT locker-room leader Tommaso Ciampa, who replied saying he plays his daughter Randy Orton matches to help her get to sleep, signing off with “Sincerely #AnEntireLockerRoomWhoBustedTheirAsses” instead of #80% headlocks.
Orton shot back at Ciampa, tweeting: “Looks like I hurt the feelings of the self appointed lockeroom leader of a wrestling school. Let me know what time #legslap class starts so I can take my game to the next level.”
And even called out a fan who tweeted “I heard Backlash will be terrible”, quote replying: “Yeah? Who said? It’s a week from now ya f***** mark #greatestwrestlingmatchever”
Weirdly, even Randy’s wife got involved, asking her husband about Ciampa: “Isn’t that the same guy who took credit for all those ‘great matches’ that he DIDNT put together?” Which I’m still not sure what she’s trying to say. Is Randy’s wife putting together Ciampa’s matches?
But because the WWE locker room is actually a sauna made of gasoline-soaked wood with faulty electrical equipment lying around, Ciampa and Orton’s heat has caught fire in a big way, drawing the Eye of Sauron that is WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.
Bryan Alvarez is reporting on Wrestling Observer Live that there are no plans for Ciampa vs Orton in WWE, and them building a match without backstage sign-off has annoyed McMahon. One of Vince’s biggest rules is that wrestlers aren’t allowed to publicly build matches that WWE don’t have any plans for. This is why Vince famously flipped out at Brock Lesnar and Steve Austin for them teasing a match on the Stone Cold Podcast back in 2015. And also why Seth Rollins was banned from mentioning CM Punk’s name during their online feud back in November.
I know what you’re thinking: but WWE don’t put on matches they advertise literally all the time. It even happened on Monday’s Raw with Asuka vs Charlotte not being for the title. Well here’s Alvarez to explain:
“Vince hates it when guys or women or whatever do something that teases a match that he’s not gonna do, but if he starts booking something that doesn’t pay off it’s totally fine. There’s a different set of rules.”
And that’s not the only glimpse into Vince’s mind we’ve had this week…
On the latest episode of Arn Anderson’s podcast with Conrad Thompson, the former longtime WWE producer – who now works for AEW – spoke about Vince’s daily routine, and how he never really comes into contact with real life.
“He functions in his own bubble. It probably goes something like this. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, you can judge when I’m done. He has a gym in his house. He gets up very early in the morning. He gets his workout. He has the limo pick him up and take him to the airport. He walks up the steps to the private plane. Flys to the town. Gets in another limo. Goes straight to the building. Walks straight into his office. From his office he goes straight to the meeting room where he will spend most of the afternoon. He will go straight to gorilla when it’s time. When the show is over. Straight to another limo. Straight to the private plane to the next town. Straight to the hotel that they are staying at, company hotel. Then at 3 or 4 in the morning, he will go to the gym again. Repeat. That’s pretty much the day in the life of Vince McMahon.”
You can download the ARN Podcast wherever you get your podcasts from. Just make sure to also subscribe to the WrestleTalk and QuizzleMania ones!
But interestingly, that wasn’t the only backstage WWE detail Arn let slip…
Sami Zayn backstage heat
Sami Zayn has been rumoured to rub people the wrong way in the locker room ever since he came to WWE, with some wrestlers growing frustrated with his close attention to detail for matches. And Arn, in his previous role as an agent in the company – the person responsible for making sure matches went to time and fit within the overall show style – found himself frequently having to reprimand him.
“Sami is a little too headstrong. Sami believes in himself but he also believes in his ideas. Maybe it’s because I clashed with Sami. Sami and I clashed quite a few times over what he perceived to be small things, but I always believed the small things are the big things…
“I just don’t think Sami is going to be patient enough or creative enough to be able to come up with a story that is completely different from the one you’ve been talking about all day.”
How dare he want to do the idea he’s been working on all week and not the last minute changes the day of the show!
There is also reportedly backstage heat on Sami for his refusal to work WWE tapings during the pandemic, despite being the Intercontinental champion – which has seen him be stripped of the title and a tournament set up to crown someone else in his place.
With so many giant egos vying for position at the top of the card, wrestling heat and backstage beef is an almost inevitable part of the industry. Which is why we’ve literally written the book on it. Because before we get on with the rest of the episode, like Charlotte shooting on her WWE overexposure – here’s a message from our sponsors… us!
Please go over and check that out, as it’s our first ever book like this, and your support helps us out more than you can know. And if you do buy a copy, please leave a review on Amazon too!
Maybe in a couple of years time, we’ll have to do a Volume 2 all on Charlotte Flair vs the WWE fanbase.
Charlotte Shoots on WWE.
Following her winning January’s Royal Rumble – reportedly getting that spot over Shayna Baslzer because she hadn’t won enough things recently – and her also winning the NXT Championship at WrestleMania – which she lost at Sunday’s Takeover, somehow not putting over anyone, kind of making her two-month NXT run both pointless and undermining of everyone there – Dave Meltzer is now reporting Flair will be Asuka’s first Raw Women’s Championship feud following Nia Jax at Sunday’s Backlash.
Charlotte also beat Asuka on this Monday’s Raw, further frustrating fans who feel she’s being overexposed, just like WWE have done with their previous ‘top babyfaces’ John Cena and Roman Reigns. And now Charlotte has commented on these complaints on the Maria Menounos podcast, saying it’s mainly because she’s so good, she’s always around.
“The issue is, a lot of what has helped me in my career is, I’m consistent. Maybe I’ll never be as high, or as low, but I’m able to stay in the game always. I never give people a chance or an opportunity to miss me, so either the audience takes me for granted or they don’t.
“I think that adds to the ‘she’s a Flair, she’s shoved down our throat.’ It’s so hard for people to see past ‘Charlotte’s always in the picture,’ but this isn’t HER storyline. She’s a tool in the story they’re trying to build.”
Joke… is too easy there…
“My last name. And I’m always in the title picture. But if you look at my last 6 title reigns, it was just, they weren’t for me. So that’s the misconception, because I’m always in people’s face.”
Since her first NXT Championship win on May 29th 2014 six years ago, Charlotte has won that title a second time in 2020, the Divas Championship once. The Raw title 4 times. And the SmackDown belt 5 times – making 12 top title reigns, or roughly one every six months. She also has a Royal Rumble match win too.
What do you think of Charlotte being overpushed in WWE? Let me know in the comments because I’ll be replying to people FROM OUTTA THE ‘THIS IS GONNA BE GOOD WOOOO’ MEME!
But Paige has disagreed with the direction of another part of the women’s division.
On last Friday’s episode of SmackDown, current SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley and Sasha Banks won the Women’s Tag Team titles from Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross. While the decision has been praised by some – including me – adding another layer to the long Banks and Bayley story, others weren’t quite so happy. PAIGE HERE
On last night’s episode of WWE Backstage, Paige criticized not only WWE’s treatment of the titles, but the decision to put them onto Banks and Bayley:
“I feel like the tag team championships haven’t been utilized to their full potential, considering everyone that’s had them. I don’t think they’ve been used right, they’ve kind of been thrown under the rug. They’re not being taken very seriously.”
“Now we have a tag team division and we could utilize so many of the tag teams we have, even down in NXT or up in RAW and SmackDown. Bayley and Sasha — they’re good, they’re solid, we all love them, but let’s try and build some other people.”
Other people like Charlotte Flair! It’s the only women’s belts she hasn’t won!
Find out what Luke, Laurie and I think is going to happen in our Backlash Predictions by clicking the video on the right! And set your reminder for QuizzleMania XI tonight by pressing the video beneath that – where you’ll see Chris Van Vliet and GrandPooBear compete against the champion Luke. And Chopper is also there. And go to WrestleTalkBooks.com to get your copy of the Wrestling Heat Book! I’ve been Oli Davis, and that was wrestling.