A former Vice President in WWE has given his take on the opportunities Talking Smack provided for the talent, and given an insight in to one of the show’s most famous confrontations.
Talking Smack launched in 2016, and was seemingly a chat show with far less boundaries than were regularly seen on the in-ring shows. It was hosted by Renee Paquette, known as Renee Young at the time, alongside Bryan Danielson during his time as Daniel Bryan.
In a discussion with Paquette on The Sessions podcast, former WWE Vice President of Global Television Production Mike Mansury gave his take on what the show meant when it started.
“It’s funny because when the Network launched, there was a need for content, as there is when any Network launches or when any Network is in existence. You need content. What could we do outside of the in-ring stuff that was going to appeal to the fans? A lot of that stuff fell over me. ‘We want to do this. We want to start doing these kick-off shows before a pay-per-view to sell. We’re gonna do these post-shows and pre-shows for Raw and SmackDown.’ We were making it up as we went.
To answer your question about what made it so special, and I don’t mean this in a disparaging way, I think what made it so special is that we made it up. Anything that was on Talking Smack or Raw Talk, but specifically Talking Smack because what made that so special, that show wouldn’t have been what it was if it weren’t for you and Bryan. It’s the devil in the details.
Bryan is in the midst of this tumultuous part of his life where wrestling was taken from him and he’s still involved in the business, but it’s not where he wants to be. He’s making the best of it, but also, we know Bryan, he was taking the piss out of things while we were doing Talking Smack.
Not that he was trying to bury anybody or not get anybody over, but he was having fun. You were finally in a position where you could work as a host and a presenter without any limitations. You got to be Renee. You got to have an opinion and do your part in storytelling.”
Mansury went on to talk about the episode where The Miz confronted Danielson, and the realism which the appearance held.
“Creatively, I knew where we were. Regardless of whether we had parameters or no parameters, it had been instilled in me to always do what was best for WWE, to do what was best for the business. For me, as a producer, one of the main functions that is paramount in my work is to make sure my talent looks the absolute best they can look. I don’t mean that just from aesthetics, I mean that from presentation to what they are saying, how they are going.
It’s a multi-faceted approach and we got to do some pretty cool things. We created moments. You always hear people talk about The Miz and Bryan interaction, the episode where Bryan got hot and walked off. What people forget was the setup we had done a week or two prior, Mike was left off the show. He is cutting this impassion promo to the camera and I remember going to, ‘Renee, take me off the air.’ I didn’t even tell Miz we were going to do this.
I said, “Renee, take me off the air. If Mike is talking about how he’s underutilized, abused by the system, let’s amplify it.’ You didn’t even wrap him up. You just did your sign off to the camera and we faded out. He’s still on his harangue about being misused and wanting to bring glory back to the Intercontinental Championship and being disrespected, and it was that next step needed to get him to come back and have that epic confrontation with Bryan.
You could argue that a lot of Mike’s frustrations at the time were legitimately coming out on the air, and he had every right to be. To be able to give him that outlet, look at what we did. We had started creating moments and enhancing characters on the show without any adult supervision.”
With thanks to Fightful for the transcription.