Former WWE Head Writer Talks Meeting Vince For First Time, Almost Fighting Hayes, HHH, Stephanie
The first time I met him, he went up there and Stephanie (McMahon) sort of gave me the high-sign to sort of stand up, introduce myself, shake his hand and all that. I'm like, "Hey there, Vince. How you doin'? Thanks for having me aboard." Never even f--king made eye contact with me. He was like, "Yup. Nice. See ya. Goddamn it. Brian, where are we?" [laughs] Completely ignored me.
I don't think he knew I was there until I spoke up in an agent's meeting right after the Great American Bash. He was like, "Who's this guy and why is he in my room?"
WrestlingINC: Were you able to contribute right away? It seems like there are a lot of unspoken rules that you have to learn when you're a writer with WWE. You can't talk about doing anything physical, etc.
Greenfield: Oh, God. Man. Look, you guys write about careers literally being crippled by this. Shaking everyone's hand every night when you see them even when it's a successive four nights in a row. It felt so awkward because it's like, "Why am I meeting everyone the first time every time I'm meeting them?" I didn't know about the history of the hand shake and the sort of trust it gets and all of that. But there were all of these accoutrements of these sort of 19th century, carnival rules that -- especially coming out of entertainment -- I sort of recoiled against.
[Then] when it comes to, "Don't pitch Vince things for the first few months. Let him get used to you." I came pretty strong at them on the creative side from a pretty early point. I think that's one of the reasons I advanced kind of quickly. It was a sort of big confluence of events but I feel like I earned -- especially -- Stephanie's trust very quickly. So, I was actually backstage writing and producing backstage talent in backstage vignettes from my second week in the company on.
WrestlingINC: You became the head writer of the Smackdown! writing team pretty quickly.
Greenfield: Yeah. Just in a little bit less than a year. The flip-side of that is I got so frustrated with the process after I was promoted. I was only the head writer for 19 weeks. It was not a long run at the top before I gave my notice. [laughs]
WrestlingINC: So, what was the experience of being the head writer?
Greenfield: Abso-f--king-lutely miserable. [laughs]
WrestlingINC: That's pretty much all we hear from anyone in creative about their experiences.
Greenfield: Yeah. I had a lot more fun working with Court and Dusty (Rhodes) and our team, under Dave Lagana when I wasn't running the thing. Because there's no buffer between you and Vince at that point. At the end of the day, it's his money and he can do whatever he wants with the show. But, Court and others will tell you, I was literally in screaming fights with Vince every day we were back at the office. About half the time when we were at TVs.
My wife and I were on our honeymoon and I called and gave my notice the day we got back. That one, 10-day taste of freedom was, "Oh. This is what my life would be like if I wasn't fighting with a megalomaniacal billionaire every day."
WrestlingINC: At that time, we had heard you were leaving for projects you had started earlier in Hollywood.
Greenfield: You could sort of say that. That was sort of over-blown when a few of the dirt sheets wrote it. The reality is that I set up a project with a company called RHI Entertainment while I was at WWE. But, it was always clear that I could take outside projects provided WWE was my first priority. So, I was doing that project anyway and it's great that I had money coming in at the point when I quit WWE. But one thing didn't have anything to do with the other. It was about sanity and freedom. [laughs]