The WWE SmackDown Live weekly aftershow Talking Smack has been canceled, PWInsider reported on Friday. This was a surprising decision that has sparked an outcry among fans on social media, so what exactly happened here? Why is the WWE getting rid of Talking Smack?
Talking Smack was evidently canceled primarily due to low ratings. In a statement to PWInsider, WWE said that they frequently reassess their lineup based on a variety of factors “including viewership and subscriber research.”
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer gave a simple answer on Friday when asked why the show was canceled: there just weren’t enough people watching.
The WWE has been taking a number of cost cutting measures in recent weeks, such as not using pyrotechnics during wrestler entrances. The Wrestling Observer reported that the pyros have not been used recently specifically to save money. However, CBS Sports reports that cost is not believed to be the reason Talking Smack was canceled.
Talking Smack is not going away entirely, though. Rather, the WWE says that the show will continue airing after SmackDown Live pay-per-views, similar to the way that Raw Talk currently airs just after Raw pay-per-views but not after the weekly episodes of Raw. This means that at most there will be one episode of Talking Smack every month.
When it became apparent that Talking Smack was being canceled due to low ratings, a lot of fans questioned why 205 Live was being kept around. Back in April, it was reported that 205 Live ratings are very low to the point that it is being beaten by pre-taped NXT episodes. But specific numbers are not available, nor is any information about Talking Smack‘s ratings. Either way, 205 Live is a show that’s pretty vital to the development of the cruiserweight division, whereas Talking Smack is something that arguably is not as vital.
Still, Talking Smack has been a place where a lot of WWE superstars have experienced substantial character development, with some moments from that show surpassing the actual promos delivered on SmackDown Live. Famously, The Miz knocked all of his Talking Smack appearances out of the park, and a clip of Miz ranting against Daniel Bryan racked up 2.1 million views on YouTube. It would not be surprising to see The Miz’s character claim in the coming days that Talking Smack died because he left.
When Talking Smack first started, it aired immediately after SmackDown Live, but the WWE later changed their schedule so that 205 Live aired in between them. It’s unclear what affect this may have had on ratings, but some fans have said that they stopped watching Talking Smack when it moved from 10:00 to 11:00.
“WWE killed this show on it’s own,” Reddit user FringeAuthority said this afternoon. “They did everything they could to see it fail. To move it after 205 Live was the first mistake, then Miz stopped appearing.”
There was also the fact that Daniel Bryan was off of Talking Smack for a long time due to the birth of his child, and the WWE was never able to find a suitable guest host. WWE personalities like Shane McMahon and John Bradshaw Layfield filled in for Bryan, but they were hardly ideal substitutes and did not have nearly as much chemistry with Renee Young as Daniel Bryan did.
Weirdly, Talking Smack host Renee Young said this afternoon that she found out about the cancelation of the show by looking at her Twitter feed.
The next episode of Talking Smack will air on Sunday, July 23rd after the Battleground pay-per-view, but there will no longer be any episodes following SmackDown Live.