With an entertaining maiden voyage, is it now safe to officially consider WWE Backstage the confirmed spiritual successor to the much-missed Talking Smack? And if it's too early for that, is it at least okay to celebrate the fact it's actually been good?
In a rare case of careful preparation from WWE, the pilot/soft-launch editions of the new FS1 SmackDown sister show were enjoyable in spite of typical company constraints. There was discussion of storylines that felt dated or dumb, but the panel brought them to life with the sort of spark painfully absent during Raw's third hour. Crossover moments with sports stars cutting promos were harmless palette cleansers rather than whatever the f*ck Tyson Fury and Cain Velasquez were doing at Crown Jewel. Booker T took no prisoners as he took down Seth Rollins' WWE Title tenure.
Ever-effusive and in the role that suits her more so than any other in the company, Renee Young made for a perfect host on both editions thanks to her effortless crowd control alongside Booker, Christian and Paige.
Her professionalism and malleability was again evident in the first show proper, not least considering the blockbuster news buried within...
We Need To Talk About Kevin (Nash).
Michael can be found in articles or on podcasts extolling the virtues of New Generation WWF, New Japan Pro Wrestling or the new WWE angle they definitely definitely won’t ruin this time.