|By Raj Giri||July 23, 2012 | Comments|
So, that was something that I felt -- to me, people talk about pressure and everyone warned that this is a high pressure job. I was, like, "Dude, my money is not on the line. All I'm being told is to produce talent, create stars with Vince and Stephanie and the WWE machine, write to the best of my abilities and be a matchmaker/suggester and angle-suggester. To me, this is easy. it's like auto-pilot. I love it, I'm going to bring my A-game. But pressure? Nah. No. Not really."
So, people are warning me from day-one. I thought that the rest of the writers for the most part were very quiet and detached and not to outgoing. At the time, the only wrestler on the team was Michael Hayes. I think like a week a two after I got that, the "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase started. I worked a lot with Ted and to this day, we're close friends. He's a great guy. I'm talking about Ted DiBiase, Sr. of course. Along the way, we had a ton of wrestlers come in, trying to contribute to the writing team. Really, none of them stuck. Dusty Rhodes and Ted were there for a few years. Dusty was terrific to work with. Dusty was fun, especially after hours. Ted was terrific.
Michael [Hayes] was a challenge in a lot of ways. He has a lot of interesting ideas and doesn't like to hear your ideas. He has his other issues and demons and things that if you look online, you can find out. It is what it is. We had a lot of wrestlers go through there and a lot of them had an issue trying to contribute to that kind of process. The creative department is a toxic environment, very passive-aggressive environment. Dysfunctional. If you look at the ratings and just the business in general, you'll see a decline over the 12 year period since they started that department. There's never really been a real revamping of the division and there's nothing been done to address these issues. So, you can see these drops in everything… creative out-put, television content, character development… They go from a playbook of plays and pick out one and you've seen it a few dozen times beforehand.
It's a tough thing to deal with because you want to bring new concepts to the table and produce the best product. But, a lot of the times -- it's such a hyper-political division -- it becomes very tough to navigate those waters. I've seen masters of that try to navigate those waters and ultimately drown. Everyone remembers how it went for [Paul] Heyman at the end of his run there. The only way to really navigate those waters and have any varying degree of success is (based on) how you define success. Is it that you're getting a paycheck, just chugging along and toeing the company line? Or, is it trying to bring the best ideas, push them forward and if it doesn't work out, sometimes you might hang yourself because of that. And that happens. There's other people that can't take the travel. There's other people that can't deal with Vince. There's other people that are their own worst enemy when it comes to how they present things.
There's so much turnover for a multitude of reasons, but the creative division as a whole -- they don't really set anyone up for success. It's almost like they want to watch you fail. So, it's a very intriguing thing being in an environment like that and also try to contribute and create positive change. It's really tough. I saw a lot of guys that could have been really good contributors and could have helped the company. We could have seen really great stuff but you had so many people that just wanted to hold on to their position (and would) pretty much sabotage them and wouldn't give them a heads-up about something and ultimately they failed. It's unfortunate because there's a lot of successful people that went through there. A lot of wrestlers, a lot of wrestling fans. A lot of people that weren't wrestling fans but didn't necessarily have to be for their particular position within the creative team. They had been executive producers for top-rated network shows and ultimately they were shown the door.
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