Fox, the new home of SmackDown, is reportedly keen on aligning the blue brand with its existing sports-oriented programming—which, mercifully, may manifest as the retirement of seven-second dance breaks and pancake-themed segments.
In order to put this new direction over, the network has reportedly orchestrated Daniel Cormier’s commentary tryout with WWE. Management rated his work on UFC broadcasts, and believes he is well-equipped to add a hitherto unheard dimension to the product.
Maura Ranallo was brought in for that express purpose—though not under network pressure, admittedly—and in short order, he suffered the same fate as everybody else: he was screamed at through the headset by Vince McMahon for adding a hitherto unheard dimension to the product. McMahon always reverts to type. Most new dawns—Daniel Bryan’s push, the rise of NXT, single-brand PPVs—become false dawns in the end.
Quite how bringing in an MMA specialist to provide insights on pro wrestling works is anybody’s guess—New Japan has in recent years attempted this with Josh Barnett, who pitched hissy fits when confronted with any action that did not remotely resemble the UFWi—but Cormier is a big fan of the product, and is very, very enthusiastic, if nothing else, which should provide much-needed respite from the usual, robotic tone.
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