Former WWE behind-the-scenes personality Kevin Kelly was recently interviewed by Andy Malnoske of WrestlingInc.com. Working for the company from 1996-2003, Kelly was present for the majority of the Attitude Era and discussed key moments during his tenure.
Kelly began hosting a weekly WWE webcast called Byte This. The show featured interviews with superstars that were meant to give fans a behind-the-scenes look at their favorite wrestlers. Kelly explained that the show was the company's first source of original content for the advent of the internet, and he enjoyed having creative freedom even though he would land in hot water at times.
"It was just WWF.com in its infancy, transitioning away from what was the AOL site, that's how far back this goes," Kelly said. "We were just looking for content, so we thought of a long-form interview show, sort of cutting-edge, kind of breaking down the fourth wall, let's give people a behind-the-scenes look without being too much, and we had a lot of freedom. [We were] free to create, free to go and do whatever. We had a lot of great moments, we got in some trouble... In that era it was, 'Don't ask for permission, only ask for forgiveness.' We had to ask for forgiveness a lot with Byte This."
Kelly said he relished his time working in the Attitude Era. It was a time where everyone in the company was driven by competition brought on by WCW, so everyone was working toward the common goal of winning the Monday Night Wars. He said that competition created some of the best wrestling we've ever seen.
"It was just a great collaborative atmosphere with a lot of really creative folks. Whereas today now WWE is much more corporate and structured, but there it was sort of, 'Catch as, catch, can.' We all had the ability to contribute and be a part of something that was new, edgy, groundbreaking, from the folks in the TV studio in Stanford, to the creative team, to Vince McMahon himself," Kelly said. "It was all hands on deck and there were no bad ideas. We were going to war because WCW was trying to put WWF out of business and we knew that we had to fight and do everything that we could to save the company because that was all of our jobs. That's how we went to work every day, let's be as creative as we possibly can, let's have as much fun as we can, and the proof just wound up being the hottest time in professional wrestling up until now."
Kelly was also asked about tonight's RAW 25th Anniversary episode, which takes place from two locations in New York City: the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the Manhattan Center's Grand Ballroom. He expressed an admiration for what the WWE has been able to do with RAW and said no other show has been as influential as the WWE's flagship program.
"I used to live in Pennsylvania and they used to have events in Bushkill right there, down the street from me," he said. "Through the Attitude Era, and RAW Is War, everything that they've done, so many moments; when you look at the television landscape, I can't think of too many other shows, other than The Simpsons, that has had an impact on American society quite like RAW has had over the last quarter-century."