There are lots of ways to interpret this news, but before we get into (over)analyzing it, here’s the news itself: A special edition of Talking Smack will air following the Dec. 18 SmackDown, and it will feature an interview with Dwayne The Rock Johnson.
Because of a college football game, the blue show is being bumped to cable channel FS1 tonight. For a number of reasons, that means a drop in viewers and ratings. Adding a post-show that promises a segment with one of the biggest stars in the world is a good way to get as many folks as possible to follow you to your temporary broadcast spot - and maybe grab some who don’t usually watch wrestling on Friday nights.
One of the big draws for casual and hardcore wrestling fans would be that a mention might be made, or seeds could be planted, for a future Roman Reigns vs. The Rock match (which it’s rumored could be in discussion for 2022’s WrestleMania 38). Johnson’s talk with Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer will probably be pre-taped, but if he mentions his Universal champion cousin, Roman’s special counsel Paul Heyman will be there to react. Heyman is a regular Talking Smack co-host along with Kayla Braxton; the pair will be joined tonight by Booker T.
And I wouldn’t downplay it for anyone other than The Great One, but Sasha Banks is no slouch as a guest either. The SmackDown Women’s champ has proven to be a reliable ratings draw for WWE, and she’s had a pretty big day in the wider pop culture conversation, too. The Boss’ interview will be conducted by a Fox Sports staffer who doesn’t usually cover WWE (although Charlotte Wilder did learn to love wrestling when she worked with us her at SBNation), so it’s probably pre-taped as well. It’ll be interesting to see if her role on The Mandalorian is mentioned. Or maybe she’ll bring her podcast & social media feud with Booker into kayfabe?
Whether anything particularly noteworthy happens with Rock or Sasha, their presence makes for an enticing hook on a night when WWE and Fox need one.
Let us know what you make of it, and stick with us to find out what happens on FS1 tonight!