Talk N’ Shop A Mania returns to pay-per-view on Friday night for its sequel. Delivering new content and promising surprises that were not part of the original production in August, the show remains true to its over-the-top presentation of pro wrestling.
Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson and Rocky Romero are the Talk ‘N’ Shop executive producers, and they have once again put together a show unlike any other.
“We thought the first one was funny,” says Anderson, who is currently starring with Gallows in Impact Wrestling and reprises his role of Chad 2 Badd in Talk N’ Shop A Mania 2. “When we found out a lot of other people did too, we said, ‘Now they’re in trouble, because we’re going to take our humor to a whole new level.’”
The show was filmed in two locations over a three-day span in September. Shooting scenes in Los Angeles and Atlanta provided an opportunity to cast an even wider net with the roster, as well as present two different visions for the project. Gallows was absent for a significant chunk of the filming in Atlanta. He was forced to miss much of the time on set, which took place in his backyard, because of an undisclosed role in an upcoming television series.
“There was a day of Talk N’ Shop shooting when I was on set sitting in my trailer for this upcoming TV show,” Gallows says. “I went to the shoot at six in the morning, and I’m a glass-half-full guy, so I thought maybe I’d be back home by early afternoon. It was like a wrestling match where there were hope spots all throughout the day, and I kept thinking that we’d finish early, but we kept getting pushed later and later.
“I got off the set after 11 hours, then drove to my house, which was filled with professional wrestlers from the past three decades. I changed into Sex Ferguson, ran out in the yard, then filmed a piece of cinematic history with a ‘Ball for a Ball’ match against Chad 2 Badd. It was tough to miss so much of it, but I really trust my partners.”
The “Ball for a Ball” match is the type of work unique to this pay-per-view. Gallows and Anderson are confident they can bring out wrestling’s eccentricities to give viewers a much-needed laugh, and there is a unique balance to a show that, at first glance, appears to favor style over substance.
There is levity provided by Romero, the New Japan star who ran the Los Angeles taping and has a highly anticipated match as Chico El Luchador against Chavo Guerrero. There are also moments with a deeper meaning, though, such as a reclamation story featuring Mark Jindrak.
“This is our chance to create something different, alternative, and powerful,” Romero says. “Talk N’ Shop A Mania is the redemption story of the Good Brothers, and they have shown they are capable of so much more than they were allowed to do in WWE. That’s what we do in Talk N’ Shop A Mania 2 with Mark Jindrak.”
Jindrak is a former WWE talent who was originally slated to be part of Evolution, a faction that first debuted in 2003. Featuring Triple H, Ric Flair, Batista and Randy Orton, the group dominated WWE storylines and would have forever changed Jindrak’s career in WWE had he not been removed before Evolution’s on-air introduction.
“Jindrak was supposed to be part of Evolution, which would have been an incredible opportunity, but he wasn’t,” Romero says. “I thought WWE didn’t tell the whole story about Jindrak when they did their recent [Ruthless Aggression] documentary. They didn’t tell the whole story, and purposely left out Mark’s success after WWE.
“The truth is that Mark became a massive star in Mexico. That’s a big part of his career, but WWE didn’t tell that part. Having his story as part of Talk N’ Shop A Mania is important for us to tell. We gave him a redemption story in our universe.”
Another key component of a Talk N’ Shop show is the familiar, if not aged, faces from the stars of pro wrestling’s past. Those appearing on Talk N’ Shop A Mania 2 include Scott Steiner, (The Hurricane) Shane Helms, Tommy Dreamer, and the Powers of Pain, as well as newer stars in Ethan Page and Taya Valkyrie. There will also be returns from Rory Fox, (Nature Boy) Paul Lee and Freight Train.
“There will be a lot of the same talents from our first show, and we’re introducing new characters and giving them a spotlight,” Romero says. “It felt like the first show came easy, and this was more of a challenge because we wanted to make sure it stayed special. We really attempted to be different with the product but remain similar to the first one. This is more of a film, but it still has all the elements of professional wrestling.”
The entire project originally spun out of the Talk N’ Shop podcast hosted by Gallows, Anderson and Romero. When WWE wanted to relaunch the show under its new podcast banner, Gallows and Anderson ultimately refused, unwilling to bring it back without Romero. Working together on this project marked an opportunity for the well-traveled wrestling veterans to get back on the road together.
“When the pandemic hit, I didn’t know what to do,” Anderson says. “I’d been on the road with Gallows for the past four years in WWE, and then there was the time in Japan, too. And I’ve known Rocky for so long, living with him in Japan. We’re always there to pick each other up when we need it. It was great to work with them on this. We believe in this project, and we turned it up even more than last time. We hope this is great, and we’ll see what happens with part three.”
Talk N’ Shop A Mania is a field unto itself in pro wrestling. Designed for a mature audience, this is a unique presentation of wrestling, highlighting its peculiarities in a forum where the talent refuse to take themselves too seriously.
“We have some cool stuff in store for people,” Gallows says. “I’m nervous and I’m excited to see if people are laughing at all the parts we thought were so funny. Other than Rocky-Chavo, which is great, I’m really proud of the ‘Ball for a Ball’ match. We try to rip each other’s balls off. If you like that, you’re going to have a whole hell of a lot of fun with the Good Brothers on pay-per-view.”