Contrary to reports, Talking Smack was not canceled due to a lack of viewers.
The WWE Network show, popular among fans for its organic nature, was canceled by Vince McMahon.
McMahon, whose appearances at weekly WWE television shows is becoming increasingly irregular, was at TVs this past week. Sources close to the situation reported that McMahon was unhappy with the show and strongly believed it did not serve the company’s best interests.
The cancelation, which was announced this past Friday, upset both talent and viewers.
Despite infrequent recent appearances at SmackDown, McMahon remains the singular voice of his company. He remains looped in on every key detail from Paul “Triple H” Levesque, Stephanie McMahon and Kevin Dunn on Raw, as well as “Road Dogg” Brian James and Michael Hayes on SmackDown. Vince McMahon is by no means detached from his product, yet Sports Illustrated was informed that the 70-year-old is just not as physically present as he once was.
Talking Smack generated headlines through its open, unscripted forum, including seminal moments for The Miz and greatly enhanced the recent heel turn for The Uso’s.
WWE offered the following statement on Friday, stating, “We continuously review WWE Network’s programming line-up based on a variety of factors, including viewership and subscriber research. Talking Smack and Raw Talk will air following pay-per-view events, and Tuesday will continue to feature 205 Live.”
The unscripted nature of the show ultimately played a role in its removal. Despite plans for occasional Talking Smack shows after SmackDown-specific pay-per-views, the long-term plan, per McMahon, is to eradicate the program.
Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.