On the latest episode of The Taz Show, Taz went into detail regarding what happens when a wrestler's push stops, along with when his push halted and how his change in wardrobe played a factor in this.
"It's kind of a slow, gradual thing that happens behind the scenes, and there are little signs that you could tell," said Taz. "And that's the thing I think most people don't talk about that maybe have experienced this like yours truly because I have experienced this."
Taz initally received a push when he debuted at the 2000 Royal Rumble by ending the undefeated streak of Kurt Angle, but it started to fade quickly. He also received another push when he returned from tearing his bicep causing Rikishi his match in the cage against Val Venis, but it did not last long either. Taz also changed his look, going from the singlet to a cut off shirt and pants.
"During that comeback push, that's when I came back changing the stuff I was wearing. I was wearing like a cut-off short sleeve, like a Dickies shirt and like longer pants. That was me changing my look," said Taz. "I wanted kind of a makeover, because obviously my ECW feel and look, Vince McMahon I guess maybe didn't like it, because he wasn't pushing me, so I tried something different."
Taz stated that most wrestlers backstage have no idea why they start to get depushed. Sometimes, it is not about wrestlers doing something wrong, but something that rubs Vince McMahon the wrong way or something he did not like. Instead of Vince getting angry, he just decides that the push is not working anymore and stops it.
During the peak time of his WWE career, Taz stated that his merchandise sales were second behind The Rock. Although The Rock received a monstrous push, Taz did not, despite backstage discussions that he was going to receive a major main-event run. Taz also reiterated the German suplex that was mistimed during his match with Kurt Angle, which he still feels was the pivotal moment in derailing his in-ring WWE push. Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco sat down with Taz after the Royal Rumble, and told him that he has to ease up on his style. According to Taz, this was only "day two on the payroll."
When a wrestler gets depushed, Taz revealed that producers and other backstage personnel start acting differently towards him or her. Despite always being professional and nice, producers become less talkative and reduce small talk around the coffee pot. He also stated that there were things that he heard as an announcer in a production meeting that he could not share with his colleagues regarding a change in direction in their push.
Coming back from his Royal Rumble match, Taz stated that it was like crickets in the Gorilla Position, and there were many people who were passive when he went backstage. This is when he knew that his push was en route to ending.
Regarding a current talent who is experiencing this depush route, Taz feels that the person is Sasha Banks. Along with hearing that she can be a little rude dealing with fans in public (which he feels that she has the right to do that since wrestlers should have a private life), Taz shared that WWE does not like this since they expect everyone to be friendly to fans. However, Taz does not necessarily feel that her demeanor outside the ring is the single cause of her getting depushed.
"Someone like a Sasha Banks can get lost in the shuffle," said Taz. "And she's not the only one. I mean there's so many talent, that's not me saying anything negative about Sasha's abilities, has nothing to do with her abilities, it just has to do with she's been there several years now on the main roster, and it's like they're like, 'How do we set the table [and] the story op for when [Shayna] Baszler comes in? She's the NXT champ, but what are we gonna do when she comes up?'"
Ronda Rousey, Shayna Baszler, Asuka, IIconics, Ember Moon, Riott Squad, and Absolution are all names that Taz stated WWE is prioritizing in front of Sasha Banks due to the company trying to invest stock in each of these names. As a result, Sasha Banks gets lost in the shuffle, and unfortunately, there is not much she can do about that.
If any of these quotes are used, please be sure to credit The Taz Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: The Taz Show