WWE Producer, Shane Helms, has given his opinion on why WWE script promos for most of their on-screen talent.
While many devotees prefer a wrestler to be unshackled when it comes to both promos and what they’re allowed to do between the ropes, WWE have been partial to scripting their employee’s words in order that control is retained over what is uttered on their weekly shows.
Its true that taking the cuffs off of a talent can have beneficial effects. The Rock managed to get himself over without strict direction and the fans lapped up everything he did and said. The same was true for Stone Cold Steve Austin whose scathing words through his feud with Vince McMahon made him the apple of many an eye.
Now, the former Hurricane has sat down with Back Sports Page to discuss the control WWE have over their talent, his personal opinion about not allowing stars to be themselves and how important creative freedom is:
“I think it’s very important, but the flip side is that some wrestlers aren’t creative and they think they are, and therein lies your problem. You always hear this conversation about scripted promos, like there’s this, you know, really kind of like thought processes. Great. And the problem if he has it or not… everybody’s not good at doing promos. You guys have been to indie shows and you’ve seen some of these promos, Jesus Christ! That was terrible, you know? And even in WWE and a couple of live events, we will let the people down.
I just go into and cut a little promo and give them that free reign. And it was like, Jesus Christ! I was frightened, so not everybody’s good at it. And you got to experiment with these talents to figure out which ones are good, which ones can you give bullet points and they can go and make it their own and make it better because there are people that can do that, but not everyone can.”
Helms went on to mention that when scripts are summited to Vince McMahon, they’re required to have no blank spaces in them with the boss insisting he know exactly what the promo is going to be about before it reaches talent:
“And you know, when those scripts are turned in, when those writers turn in those scripts to Vince McMahon, they can’t have these big gaps of blank pages where a promo is supposed to be. Cause Vince is going to go, ‘What is this?’ He’s going to say, whatever he wants. Vince is going to go, ‘What are you talking about? What is the promo going to be about?’ You know? So, they kind of have to script something. They’ve got to write something on the paper, and then if the talent is good enough, they can make it their own. But generally, if the talent isn’t good enough, or they’re saying something random that doesn’t have anything to do with anything, or it might get the company in trouble [then it’s scripted].”
Of course, there are exceptions to rule. Though a NXT talent, Pat McAfee never has a script written for him because he believes that no one can tell him how to be himself. The same is almost true for WWE’s biggest stars, who receive more leeway than those underneath them about what they do and do not say.
Credit for the interview: Back Sport Page
h/t for the transcription: Wrestling Inc.