What is professional wrestling? Without a well-written story, it’s just two adults fighting each other in scanty clothing. With a great story, though, wrestling is nothing short of magnificent. It’s an art just like music, movies, or any other television show. Wrestlers are actors who have diverse personalities and play the part exceptionally well.
There is so much going on behind the scenes — much more than just a few moves, a finish, and a winner to each match. One of the first things people learn is that everything that plays out on camera in wrestling is predetermined, with storylines being composed like a play written for a broad audience.
Have you ever gone to the theaters in anticipation of a movie and been utterly disappointed because it was not written well? The same could be said for a wrestling match.
For the most part, trained professional wrestlers can call the action on the fly, with the talent calling what moves and scenarios will generate the best reaction from the crowd. Interviews are produced in a similar style.
Today, WWE is an entirely different animal. A televised wrestling match is now designed backstage with the help of agents and former wrestlers who have a knack for in-ring psychology. There is a team on the fourth floor of WWE Headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, that produce carefully written scripts for the talent.
“We have a whole department, a creative writing department. We have more than 20 writers at this particular time,” said WWE Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative Paul Levesque (aka legendary WWE superstar “Triple H”) in a 2015 interview with Bleacher Report. “They come from everywhere from soap operas to late-night television to movies to theater to former wrestlers. Storytelling is storytelling. Some of them are fans and have a wrestling background. Others don’t. They might be good at the relationship part, and somebody else must help them bring it back to the ring. … It’s a staggering job. The thing is it’s never-ending. It’s not just they write Monday Night Raw. They write about 10-15 hours on any given week of original content.”
“Being part of WWE creative is a job that requires both extensive creativity and graceful willingness to meet changes head-on. A brand-new week begins Wednesday after Monday Night Raw and SmackDown has aired, with several meetings to brainstorm ideas for the next week. The rocky ideas are presented to the lead writing team and senior brass, including WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon in a large conference room.”