MLW owner and CEO Court Bauer stopped by Busted Open Radio to talk about MLW’s upcoming Battle Riot event and their new agreement to air on Vice. He also took the time to talk about his stint as a member of WWE creative, where he worked for several years.
“So there’s some weird things,” Bauer said. “First of all, going into WWE, I didn’t have a writing background. I kind did a stumble, bumble booking thing until Terry Funk helped me along, and then Gary Hart really helped me. Terry put me in contact with Gary, probably because he didn’t have the patience with me. Going to WWE, a lot of the people there had a writing background. There’s some real life long fans that love the business, very few had any experience in it.
“And then you had kind of like the sounding boards, which were guys like Ted Dibiase in my time, Dusty Rhodes, Michael Hayes, Bruce Prichard. People who had been in the business at a different level. Paul Heyman was kind of in and out. So it was a unique dynamic. I remember one time we’re sitting there and we’re thinking about this angle and these two guys we wanted to do something with. Dusty was like ‘man we need to get some heat.’ And a writer goes ‘what’s heat?’ And Dusty, he was so great at like selling something, he kind of went back and looked like he was going to fall out of his chair. And then Ted Dibiase was just smiling and shaking his head looking down. But the concept of heat wasn’t something that a lot of the guys understood and new.”
Bauer, who’s MLW was rumored to be working with WWE recently, recalled it took time but he eventually realized that the only purpose for WWE creative is to suggest things for an audience of one; WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. He also stated that any idea, even if approved by Vince, gets so muddled by so many different channels that by the end it’s almost unrecognizable.
“At the end of the day it took me some time to understand the creative team,” Bauer said. “You are ultimately just a suggester to an audience of one and then the family surrounding him, which kind of amplifies and cheerleads that dynamic. Some people struggle with it, some people fight it, some people try to work around that. It’s a real weird experience. Vince taught us a lot, taught me a lot, but at the same time you do realize it’s like ‘is your obligation to the fan? Is the obligation to your boss, your chairman?’ And the answer is it’s both and you try to navigate those borders to the best of your ability so you give your fans the best product. You try to check off the boxes that the boss wants you to check off. And even if you can successfully do that, then there’s an agent meeting. Then the head writer writes the script. And then you go to the production stuff and by the time it actually airs, it has mutated so much from whatever the original intent was, it’s like ‘I don’t know what the idea was.’
“And then there’s stuff you don’t know about like ‘yeah you can’t push that guy.’ And we have no idea what’s happened. We don’t know if there’s a contract issue, we don’t know if that guy has heat for some random reason. We’re just told ‘he’s on the do not disturb list.’ But it’s always kicked back, ‘oh, creative has nothing for you.’ No, creative has something for someone. It may not be the best idea, it might be a horrible idea and you wish they didn’t have something for you. But that was an excuse built out of talent relations to pass the heat, especially when firing someone. Instead of saying ‘hey man, you’re a pain in my ass or we can’t do payroll with you on it at the moment.’ Whatever the issue is. But creative having nothing for you, imagine if you said that to Vince. What would Vince say? ‘Okay, is the wrestler gone or you gone? Cause it’s your obligation to have creative.’ Do you think Vince is just going to shrug that off and say ‘yeah yeah. Okay that’s understandable. Why would you have creative for you guy? I’m only paying you to do that.’ That never made sense to me.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open Radio and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription