Former WWE Writer Dave Schilling Describes Pitching Stories Under Vince McMahon

With Vince McMahon back in creative, and rumors of backstage chaos following, many wrestling fans might wonder why writing for WWE can be so hectic. Former WWE writer Dave Schilling pulled back the curtain on the process of writing for WWE, and more specifically, Vince McMahon.


"Every week we would all submit a version of the show and that would have promo language and stuff like that ... there are written things but a lot of stuff just gets kinda said," Schilling explained on "In The Weeds" by "Fightful." "I wanted Elias to hit Roman Reigns with a guitar in a segment and someone said, 'You can't have Elias hit the world champion with a guitar.'"

Schilling pitched for Elias and Mickie James to do a parody of "A Star Is Born," while he also pitched destroying the Best In The World Trophy, which was nixed by Shane McMahon. But, Schilling only has proof in his memories. "None of that stuff is written down but it's things that I said."

As far as what works and what doesn't, Schilling says it comes down to an audience of one. "It's all about what Vince likes," he said. "And a lot of these broad caricatures are things that Vince likes. I can't speak to what happened after I left but I'm sure he thought that Apollo Crews doing that accent was going to get over." 


He said he focused on pitching ideas he believed in or felt would make good TV.

"The thing is there's a very structured system at WWE, probably still, where you're in the room, you're pitching ideas, the show gets put together and then it is presented to Vince McMahon or Triple H or whoever is in charge at the time," he said. "They're the ones who are the filter."

You're lucky if a talent really starts to like you

Dave Schilling said that the show is usually presented days before airing, but ultimately things change, noting that the "WWE Raw" after WrestleMania 35 was completely rewritten. He also explained that it's not just the head writer and Vince McMahon that writers have to cultivate a relationship with.


"[Wrestlers] always push back because they're very protective of their characters," Schilling explained.

"FTR really hated a promo I wrote for them the 'Raw' after WrestleMania. They thought I was making fun of them being from the south because I had them say 'y'all' or something." The former WWE writer said that notes like this happen all the time, and it's best to let them not take root. "Eventually they build trust with you." 

Schilling credits WWE writer Chris Dunn with The Street Profits' feud with The Viking Raiders during the pandemic, noting that it's an example of the wrestlers and the writer finding themselves on the same page. "You're lucky if a talent really starts to like you and trust the work that you do."


He also stated that The Miz and Sami Zayn are both very collaborative with the writers.