The second episode of Smackdown Live in the post-brand split era is officially in the books, and while it still has its issues, it definitely felt like a step in the right direction in separating itself from Raw. One new element Team Blue is trying to stand out from its red-cloaked brother is a live post-show on WWE Network called Talking Smack, hosted by Renee Young.
On the first episode last night, Young brought Smackdown GM Daniel Bryan on to talk about the show, and specifically the feud between John Cena and AJ Styles, arguably the two biggest names on Tuesday nights. The pair squared off in a war of words during which Cena questioned Styles’ loyalty to WWE, saying that Styles is “only here to be a really good wrestler, and you’ve already proven that if it doesn’t work out for you, you’ll pick up shop and work someplace else. There is no place else for me.”
When Young asked Bryan for his thoughts on the duo, the four-time WWE Heavyweight Champion didn’t hesitate to go in on his kinda-sorta brother-in-law.
“I was actually taken aback and borderline offended by John Cena saying, ‘Hey, if this doesn’t work out for you, you’ll go somewhere else to wrestle.’ And he would say, ‘I only wanna wrestle in WWE.’
It offends me because, hey, guess what? I’ve been fired from WWE twice. Sometimes when you get fired, you have to go wrestle somewhere else. John’s saying essentially if he were to get fired he wouldn’t go wrestle anywhere else because he only loves wrestling in WWE.
AJ and I are kind of cut from the same cloth in the sense of like, hey, he had to fight for a long time just to get the opportunity to be here. If he gets fired, he has a family to provide for, so are you saying don’t go work somewhere else? Go work in a garage or something? No. This is what we do. This is what we love to do. I get what John’s saying—he loves WWE. […] To me, it’s incredible, his love and his passion for this. But that doesn’t mean you should knock things like AJ about, you know, ‘Oh, if you lose this, you’ll go somewhere else.’ Of course he will.”
Considering this is the man who once told Cena to his face, “I think you are a parody of wrestling,” it’s clear Bryan definitely spoke from the heart here, and that sort of unscripted, emotional yet still logical response is just the thing to help Smackdown pull away from its competition.