Even in the post-Kayfabe, "Total Divas" era, much of what happens behind the scenes at World Wrestling Entertainment is still very much a mystery to the general populous. It's important for super fans to know that the "reality" of what we see is still very much controlled by the powers-that-be in Titan Tower. In 2007, a combination of tenacity, good timing and dumb luck landed this contributing author a job of which most could only dream. I had the nerve wracking pleasure of being interviewed (four times) and ultimately hired by Vince McMahon to be a creative writer for the SmackDown brand of the WWE.
For those who are unfamiliar, the creative team at WWE is completely integrated into the production of television and pay-per-view events. We were on the road 300 days of the year, right alongside the talent. We are in the arenas, the planes and the hotels. We see the good, the bad and the sometimes very ugly. While the average tenure as a creative team member isn't typically very long (Mine certainly wasn't), there is a lot to be learned about the inner workings of one of the craziest businesses in the world.
Be advised: This isn't a "dirt sheet" about "Who hated who" or "Who was using performance enhancing substances". Those are out there if that's your thing. This is a list of what I think are interesting facts that you pick up in a day in the life of a proverbial fly on WWE's grandiose wall.
10. It's Scripted...But Not As Much As You Think.
Everyone over the age of 10 knows that, in professional wrestling, the match results are pre-determined. Contrary to popular belief, the writers don't actually write the matches. That is done by "producers" or "road agents". They work with the talent to create the best match possible based on the story lines developed by the creative team.
The best laid plans, however, often fall to ruin. Whether it's an unexpected injury, a delayed flight, personal issues or just good old backstage politics, the scripted plan would sometimes have to be changed at the zero hour! In one instance, due to a travel conflict, we had to completely change a match, rewrite the script, distribute it, get the talent together with a producer, and come up with a full match less than 90 minutes before going on live TV. What makes the guys in the ring professional is that they were able to pull it off as though it were the plan all along.
Obviously not every match is a classic, but sometimes the wrestlers are asked to overcome some pretty serious hindrances and make it look natural like Butch Reed. It's for this reason that many lower and mid-card talent travel with the TV crew, even if they aren't scheduled to appear. You never know when you will get called in to take over a main event.