The Cancellation of Talking Smack is Symbolic Of WWE’s Micromanagement
Is the WWE's obsession with scripting promos and sanitising their superstars hurting their product?
You would think a global company headed by a billionaire would be smart. That’s not the case for WWE, unfortunately. They continue to astound me with just how stupid they can be. It’s insane. For all the flak WWE gives WCW about being run by a bunch of buffoons, the company is run by a bunch of morons. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say WWE was actively trying to make people hate their own product. The borderline cancellation of Talking Smack is a case in point.
Talking Smack was perhaps the last remnant of the Golden Age of Smackdown Live. People could learn to talk and develop characters. The Miz turned heads with his Talking Smack promo (you know the one). Alexa Bliss became one of the best talkers on the roster thanks to Talking Smack. Baron Corbin, Mojo Rawley, and so many others all got chances to shine. Carmella and the Usos became who they are because of Talking Smack. Now that’s pretty much gone. There will no longer be any weekly Talking Smack episodes. Instead, they’ll only do them after PPVs, like a poor man’s Raw Talk (which, in turn, was a poor man’s Talking Smack).
Renee Young didn’t even find out from the company that her show was cancelled! She had to find out through Twitter. That’s like being fired from your job and finding out through an ad in the newspaper. You would think that they would at least send an email or something, but no. I’m pretty sure some of the dirtsheets found out before her. It’s unbelievably incompetent.
There are reports that Talking Smack wasn’t being watched enough or whatever. You want to know why? Because they decided 205 Live was a cool name and that the Cruiserweights absolutely needed a live show. Okay, cool, give the Cruiserweights some air time. However, do not put them after a two hour show where everyone is tired. No one in the audience cares about 205 Live because they just saw John Cena defeat Rusev, Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Owens, Jinder Mahal, Erick Rowan, and Aiden English in a 7-on-1 Iron Man Handicap Elimination Match and they want to go home. WWE has to bribe the audiences to make them stay. Screw that. Now people have to wait an hour for Talking Smack, and no one wants to stay up any more. People
barely stay up for Raw.
It’s like WWE wanted to kill two birds with one stone. Give the Cruiserweights a death slot, and then when no one cares, they can say “well shucks, at least we tried.” 205 Live did not need to be a live show. Put it before Smackdown and broadcast it on a different day. NXT isn’t live, and people still love it. Heck, have the Cruiserweights go to Full Sail. They’ll be loved there. No one cares about the “live” part of 205 Live.
I’m not mad at 205 Live. I’m not. It’s just that WWE seemingly wants all of us to stop watching what we like. Talking Smack was one of the most enjoyable shows on the Network, and now it has been reduced to pretty much nothing.
Part of the fun was the laid back nature of it all. It was clearly less micromanaged than everything else, and everyone really seemed like they were having fun (with the exception of maybe Shane and JBL, who were just kinda stoic). People were clearly speaking off-the-cuff here. There was no strict script. The people weren’t puppets; they were actual characters. Apparently WWE doesn’t like that.
I remember an interview Wade Barrett gave in 2015, where he said he had to stop doing the Bad News shtick because people loved it too much. The people weren’t supposed to love him. They had to cheer for Roman Reigns or whoever. Barrett getting over wasn’t part of the plan, so they nixed it. This sort of mentality, to someone on the outside looking in, doesn’t seem to have gone away. WWE still wants people to follow the plan, even when the plan kind of sucks. They’re seemingly stripping away anything that makes anyone an individual.
The micromanagement, the sanitation, the uniformity, it needs to go. It needs to be dialed back. No one is special anymore. People don’t even get pyro anymore. Not everyone needed it or used it, but that’s what made it special. I can live without pyro and custom PPV sets, but if someone is going to tell me WWE needs to ditch anything and everything unnecessary, I’m going to laugh at them.
Talking Smack may not be necessary, but you know what sure is? Four LED ring posts and LED aprons. Why do we need those? Is WWE afraid someone who just tuned in might not know who they are or what they’re watching? It’s not like the commentary mentions “WWE” a billion times a night. It’s not like the wrestlers themselves say “this Sunday at ‘WWE presents: Face Punching’, only available on the WWE Network for
$9.99 and your first 30 days are free, so what are you waiting for, I will punch your face.” Priorities, WWE. Please.