Sunday, July 16, 2017

On The Air (for now): Talking Smack (2016)

These days, WWE is all about getting viewers over to their online network after Smackdown & Monday Night Raw, as well as "pay-per-view" events. WWE Network is also home to 205 Live, NXT, and various special events, such as the forthcoming Mae Young Classic.

To that end, as part of last year's Brand Extension 2.0, WWE launched a pair of weekly talk shows. Raw Talk now airs Mondays. On Tuesdays, well, until last week, there was Talking Smack, Smackdown's post-show, which instantly became a fan favorite after GM Daniel Bryan and current Intercontinental champ Michael "The Miz" Mizanin, both also on Total Divas, engaged in a verbal sparring match for the ages when Bryan called Miz out for his character's cowardice. Backstage reporter Renee Young hosts, with Bryan and Commissioner Shane McMahon alternating as co-host (color analyst John Layfield has also sat in), but the object of the show is to let the talent let their hair down. There is no script. This is, in effect, SportsCenter for wrestling fans.

Unfortunately, after the July 11 broadcast, CEO/Chairman Vince McMahon decided to be Donnie Downer and terminated Talking Smack as a weekly entity. The next episode airs following next week's Battleground show, but online observers believe it's a matter of time before Vince McMahon, who will be 72 next month, pulls the plug altogether.

That begs to ask. Just why does he have a problem with a show that steps away from the script and lets the wrestlers be themselves? Hey, I've tried psycho-analyzing Chairman Wackjob for the last 15 years from a safe distance, and concluded that you simply can't reason with a man who has played an insane person in front of the cameras for most of that period. The fact that the elder McMahon has again demonstrated his ignorance of his audience earns him another set of Weasel ears, by the way.

It's just a matter of time before Raw Talk similarly is phased out, just because. Just sayin'.

For right now, scope this sample clip as Shane chats up John Cena.

I've got one question for Vince. Jealous much?

No rating. I don't have WWE Network, and the above sample isn't enough for me to give a fair rating.

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