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.”

For the main event angles, top talents like Daniel Bryan get the opportunity to put their own personal touch to the mix. While he’d normally share his opinions with road agents assigned to his matches, working with main event talent like Triple H eliminates a step in the process.

“When I’m working with Triple H, it’s easy,” Bryan admits. “I just tell Triple H what I think. He’s very smart as far as what works. If he’s bringing you something, it’s usually a pretty good idea.”
“He’s got years of experience working with these top-level, high-level storylines. My brain doesn’t work like that. I was on the independent scene so long; I think in terms of matches. ‘Oh, this would be a great concept for a match, or this would be a great story within the context of a match.’ … And sometimes we might not necessarily agree, and we’d go and talk to Vince.”
Once the talent has been able to personalize their story, the creative has one last chance to perfect the finished project. Nothing is finished until it hits the air on the USA Network in front of an average of two-and-a-half to three million viewers a week.

“The last call is Vince,” Triple H said. “He gets all these suggestions and ideas, and he weighs in on them. It’s a collaborative effort, but there’s one general. And that guy makes the last call. There’s never an open-ended debate between four people about what should happen on the shows. … At some point, it gets to Vince, and Vince goes, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do.’ And that’s what we go do.”

Dark Secrets of WWE - Long-time WWE referee, Charles Robinson
Long-time WWE referee, Charles Robinson

1.What is the role of the referee in wrestling?

The referees of a match carry the most underrated role. Without a ref assisting a match, things certainly wouldn’t go down as smoothly. One area referees help within is the match’s pace and what goes into the match.
When wrestlers are separated during the match or down on the ground, a referee will communicate to the other what action comes next. Sometimes one wrestler will communicate something to the other wrestler through the referee.
Periodically, fans may see the referees talking to the wrestlers. This may be after a wrestler dishes out a low blow or just doesn’t follow the rules of the ring. While it may look as though the ref is issuing a stern reminder of the rules, frequently, this is an opportunity to tell the wrestlers what moves to perform next or to end a match early if they are going long.
Opponents rehearse beforehand to produce an entertaining match for the audience, as well as to avoid injuring one other. Some moves are even choreographed as they go. However, particularly in longer matches, wrestlers can’t recognize a fully choreographed routine that will cause the fans wanting more. When the ref is in the precise position, they will aid by communicating to them what moves to perform that will inspire WWE fans to rise to their feet.

When dangerous bumps occur, referees will subtly check if the opponents are okay. Next time you watch a dangerous move take place in or outside of the ring, observe how the referee will grab the hand of the wrestler who is down. If the superstar squeezes the ref’s hand, it is a way of letting them know they are okay. Things like this may not be that obvious because the camera crew does a great job of offsetting this by changing angles or focusing in on the other opponent.
Vince allows the officials the right to end a match barring a severe injury at their discretion. Periodically, information is relayed by the back from the stage manager who has Vince in their ear. This info is then passed onto the ref who decides what to do next.
We’ve witnessed countless examples of this. For example, during a match against the Vaudevillians at WWE’s 2016 Payback pay-per-view, Enzo Amore sustained a head injury during the match. Knowing he was out cold after checking, the referee immediately threw up the “X” sign calling for the bell and ended the match. The company has taken great steps in ensuring extreme caution when it comes to an injury of a superstar, particularly if it relates to a concussion.
As well, long before the show begins and long after, referees play a huge role in setting up and breaking down the ring.

2.What role does the WWE stage manager have?

It’s quite remarkable how much it takes to put on a WWE program every week. WWE hires many employees to make sure each telecast runs smoothly. Those employed include Tom Stewart, the camera operator, Nicholas Daw, the ring manager, Jet Prickett, the stage manager and AJ Patterson who is responsible for the lighting.

3.How are finishes of wrestling matches determined?

The outcomes are predetermined, but the real flow of the match is typically committed up to the wrestlers’ discretion. Specific high spots performed will more often than not be worked out between the wrestlers ahead of time, but the significant moves leading up to big moments in the match remains primarily a matter of in-ring improvisation.

Dark Secrets of WWE - Vince McMahon interview with Bob Costas
Vince McMahon, pictured here from the infamous heated interview he had with Bob Costas in 2001

While many fans suspected it, many of this wasn’t known until 1989. Vince McMahon, chairman and CEO of WWE, pulled back the curtain in 1989 when he admitted wrestling wasn’t a truly competitive sport to keep from paying taxes in certain states. So, winners and losers are determined before the competitors even hit the ring and punches are pulled and kicks aren’t necessarily as vicious as they’re portrayed. But many of the moves are still high-impact and there’s a tremendous amount of athleticism that’s required to succeed in what’s now called “sports entertainment.”

 4.why do so many still love it?

For as long as we have been fans of professional wrestling, we have been asked the same question repeatedly. “Why do you watch wrestling? You know it’s fake, right?” “Of course, we know it’s fake, but does that make it any less entertaining?” Absolutely not.
Wrestling is entertainment at it’s very best. It has all aspects of almost every other entertainment medium. Action, drama, humor, infidelity, love stories, betrayal, overcoming adversity, facing tough obstacles, pain, both mental and physical, joy, happiness, and family issues are just some of the aspects of pro wrestling that make it entertaining.
To anyone who says the WWE is “fake”, our response has always been, what shows do you watch that are “real”? Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Friends, and The Simpsons are some of the most successful shows of all time. Are they real? No. Are they entertaining? Yes.
There is nothing like professional wrestling. The storylines are (mostly) written to perfection and the wrestlers tell a beautiful story inside the ring. Next time you’re watching wrestling and the hairs on your arms rise and an overwhelming emotion takes over, that truly special moment occurred as a result of an idea spawned either in a writer’s room, a board room, or a conversation between two adversaries in the back.

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