Former WWE writer Jimmy Jacobs recently did an interview with Wrestling Observer Live. Here are a few highlights:
What it’s like to write for Vince:
“The Vince factor is a huge part of writing RAW and SmackDown. Even if you took Vince out of the equation, it’s an extremely difficult task to come up with new ideas, concepts and new matches for 3 hours each week. But yeah, it’s difficult writing for Vince. The prevailing goal is “Is Vince going to like this?” So, [you’re writing things going] “Will Vince gonna yell about this?” It’s hard to know what he wants because things will change, and he’ll want changes. He’s certainly a unique character and some people like to blame Vince for all the bad stuff, I don’t know if that’s true or not. Certainly, I’ll give the devil his due: if you blame him for the bad stuff then you have to blame him for the good stuff.”
The difference between two and three hour shows:
“I work on IMPACT now and just finished up a creative meeting an hour ago, and it’s difficult to write a two hour show. However, a three hour show is significantly harder. When you ask yourself, “Why did they do this?” The reason is that we have to do something, we have three hours to fill. So, you wind up giving some matches away. It’s a lot. You are given a blank sheet of paper, you have a roster, and you’re tasked with coming up with 16 segments. So, you’re thinking “What matches haven’t been done? What stories haven’t been told?” Over the past 20 years, nearly everything has been done. When I was growing up there would be one hour of Superstars. It was all job matches, and then the main event would be Koko B. Ware versus Rick “The Model” Martel, and that had enough value to be a main event. But in the world of supply and demand, a three hour show is too much supply and not enough demand. There’s no scarcity of marquee matches. They just had their lowest ratings of all time with a TLC match starring their biggest babyface in Seth Rollins, the Intercontinental Champion, against one of the mainly featured heels. And nobody watched it! So, it makes you wonder, what can you do? Even if you pulled out all the stops, what ammo do you have left in your gun that you haven’t done already. It’s difficult.”
If there are too many writers in WWE:
“No, absolutely not. 25 writers is not too many. Do you feel like sometimes there are too many cooks in the kitchen the day of RAW when you’re making changes at the eleventh hour? Sure, you’ll feel like “Why didn’t you say something about this three days ago?” But there’s so much detail…and it’s way heavier to produce.
Doing one segment there is a very time consuming thing, and you’re responsible for everything during that segment. If something goes wrong it is on your head. The writers aren’t the shot callers, they’re the idea givers. There aren’t too many guys up top with the final say.”
Thanks to WrestleZone.com for the quotes.