WWE has changed quite a bit since Mick Foley retired as a full-time wrestler, and one of the biggest ways they've changed is in the promo department. During the "Attitude Era," which is when Foley was at the peak of his popularity, WWE allowed its wrestlers to have more freedom when talking on the microphone, whereas now, every single word that comes out of a wrestlers' mouth on television is written for them in advance.
Now, there are some exceptions. Guys who are higher up on the food chain like John Cena and Chris Jericho can go out there and pretty much say whatever they want. But someone like Dolph Ziggler or Cesaro are forced to recite a script that's handed to them by WWE's creative team.
Most people, especially ex-wrestlers, think WWE's change from a free-flowing product to a more contrived product hasn't been beneficial to the company, and they point to the more contrived product as one of the biggest reasons why up-and-coming wrestlers are having a hard time connecting with the audience.
Mick Foley was a guest on Thursday's Wrestling Observer Radio with Bryan Alvarez and Dave Meltzer, and he had a lot to say about the current state of the wrestling promo when the subject was brought up.
Foley said that he's been dying to see a current WWE Diva like Natalya, who is one of the most criminally underutilized women in the company, cut a "pipe-bomb" promo similar to the one that CM Punk cut in the summer of 2011. But he also said that he understands that the current WWE system wouldn't allow her to do such a thing.
He then went on to use Daniel Bryan's retirement speech as an example of what WWE's current roster could be capable of promo-wise if they were given the freedom to do so. He also said that he thinks that Bryan's farewell speech would've been completely awful if someone on the creative team would've written for him.
Lastly, Foley said that the scripted promo has robbed the wrestlers of one of the most important attributes in the business, which is being able to think for themselves.
"(The scripted promo) relieves the wrestler of the need to think for themselves, and then it hurts the promos down the line. So if I had arrived in Memphis, and been told that there was no need to think about promos because somebody would write on for me, I wouldn't have been thinking about my promos. But because that wasn't the case, even though I wasn't given a chance to talk early on, I was constantly thinking about them."Foley, along with fellow WWE Hall of Famers like "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, has said for a long time now that WWE needs to stop with the over-scripting, and just let the characters be themselves. They've also said that the current WWE stars aren't learning how to recover after they "fall on their a**" a couple of times, which is something that you need to do to get better as a talker in the wrestling business.
Roman Reigns is a perfect example of a guy who is a victim of the system. If you've ever heard him in interviews outside of WWE, he's a pretty good talker. But the problem is, within WWE, he's not, and one of the main reasons is because they don't know what they want him to be. Some days they want him to be another John Cena, while other days they want him to be a calm, intimidating man of few words. But the most important thing is they're not letting him be himself, which is why he's having trouble connecting with the audience.
Several months ago, Mick Foley went on Twitter and he asked Vince McMahon to stop scripting Reigns' promos, saying that the WWE chairman needs to let Reigns be himself. So far that hasn't happened, and it doesn't look like it's going to happen any time soon.
[Featured image via WWE]