WWE Senior Producer Steve Conoscenti recently spoke with Andy Malnoske of Wrestling Inc. to discuss his latest projects with the WWE Network, specifically the upcoming Beth Phoenix documentary for the WWE Icons series. Conoscenti recently shot footage in Elmira, NY, the Glamazon’s hometown.
Speaking on the docu-series, Conoscenti says it’s important to film in specific cities that have strong connections to their interview subjects.
“We’re doing a series on WWE Network, called WWE Icons, it’s the story of them as people not just as a wrestler,” Conoscenti said. “So we’re here in Elmira to capture the essence of Beth Phoenix’s upbringing, she’s done so much in Elmira, she was an athlete in the school, she talks about how she loved growing up here. It was important for us to show instead of just say.”
Filming in those specific hometowns gives their documentaries a sense of grounded realism, Conoscenti mentions. He says that it’s easy to get lost in the lights, and wants to tell the stories of who these wrestlers are outside the ring.
“In our business, things aren’t always what they seem on TV,” Conoscenti said. “When someone talks about what they want to be when the grow up, it’s extremely important to see it so that you can connect more with it, someone sees something like that, Beth Phoenix came from here – she can do it and I can to.
“So I think what you’ll see is a lot of her home life, raising two kids amid a pandemic, her husband, Edge, made a comeback and then got hurt. Her juggling everything and then her time as a commentator on NXT. So we did a bunch at her house, the craziness of her daily life is. Even before WWE, we’ve got plenty of stuff on the independent days. [We] hear from her wrestling coaches, hearing from her coaches. It’s a lot of Beth that maybe you didn’t know of her other than her throwing people around in the ring.”
Aside from telling great stories, Conoscenti mentioned how necessary strong and consistent content is right now. While WWE produces over ten hours of weekly television, Conoscenti says it’s the on-demand, behind the curtain stories are what really helps spotlight individual superstars and build their connection with the audience.
“The demand for content is gigantic right now because of the pandemic,” Conoscenti said. “Things like to coming out to Elmira, hometowns of everyone else out there. We plan on bringing more of that, stories of the people…we work non-stop to find ways to connect to the people behind the character.”
WWE Icons is Conoscenti’s current project, but that doesn’t means there isn’t a lot more in store for the WWE Network.
“In terms of new series’ that are coming out there,” Conoscenti said. “The series like WWE 24, The Icon Series, Ruthless Aggression Season 2…that’s coming soon. So I think a lot more coming from the brands you already know and more brands will keep popping up.”
Beth Phoenix’s WWE Icons documentary is set to debut on the WWE Network this March.
Conoscenti’s full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.
Andy Malnoske contributed to this article.