The idea that WWE tightly scripts their talents (as opposed to allowing more room for improvisation) is one that's criticized by many wrestling fans. However, Paul Heyman posits that it's absolutely necessary that WWE does this.
While Heyman himself is afforded a fair amount of freedom on the mic, he feels WWE's need to control is paramount in this day and age. As he explained on The Sports Media Podcast with Richard Deitsch, there's a lot on the line for WWE.
"Vince McMahon owns a content creation conglomerate that now has on the table, and in application, three separate billion-dollar deals, and I'm sure he's working on more," Heyman begins. "There is a billion-dollar deal for Fox television for SmackDown. There is a billion-dollar deal with NBCU for Monday Night Raw and there is now a billion-dollar deal with Peacock for the domestic streaming rights to WWE Network. When you have such deals, you have to protect those deals from someone else screwing them up.
“So, if Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. X goes out to the ring and on live television or a livestream says something that is egregiously wrong and it gets through, or it's said in front of all these witnesses and it causes a major scandal, and cancel culture or not, deservedly gets WWE thrown off of Fox or NBCU or Peacock and blows a billion-dollar deal, who is to blame besides Vince McMahon for not saying, ‘I want to know what this person is going to say before they say it?’"
"We don't leave ourselves open to someone screwing multi-generation lifetimes of work to get to where we are. Therefore, if someone walks out to the ring, Vince McMahon has the right to know exactly what that person is going to say. Otherwise, he is jeopardizing the shareholders' right to a return on their investment, hoping and counting on the Chairman to maintain control in a creative environment which can always go wrong."
Heyman mentioned other forms of sport, adding, "Look at the trouble the NBA is having with the controversies that are arising out of the social views of some of their top stars. Whether their top stars are right or wrong, the NBA is suffering the backlash of what some people and what some top stars are feeling in their hearts. Look at the trouble the NFL has had in dealing with the social ramifications, political viewpoints, and social viewpoints of some of their teams' top players and even some of their teams' secondary players. Whether they're right or wrong is not what I'm discussing. What I am discussing is, there are ramifications of all things that are said and done, and WWE, as a scripted performance that allows some improv, but tries to keep control of that environment.”
(Credit to Fightful for transcription)