Still today, so many of us have such an interest with what really goes on behind the scenes during a WWE event. Oh, what we would do to just be able to sit and watch the mayhem that ensues during a live event. Thanks to the WWE Network, we are now able to get a sneak peak with various shows such as Breaking Ground, which give us a better understanding. Still, even with these shows, much of the content is filtered, leaving wrestling fans with so many questions of what goes on behind the curtain.
In this article we will take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions by wrestling fans pertaining to what goes on behind the scenes. Questions will vary from; what are Shane’s current backstage responsibilities? To something as simple as what the talent eats before a show. We will pull down the curtain in this article and address so many curiosities that we all have about the business we love and hate at times. So, let’s begin. Here are 15 of the most frequently asked question by WWE fans regarding what goes on behind the scenes. Enjoy!
15) Does Shane Help Out Backstage Creatively?
For the time being, Shane does not have any kind of creative control. He’s currently being used strictly as a talent. Will this change? Perhaps. But for now, Shane does not take part in any way shape or form creatively. Hunter and Stephanie are at the gorilla position, along with Vince during the shows, while Shane is backstage away from that area mingling with the other talent. According to Bret Hart, who was a guest recently, claimed that he felt some tension and animosity between Shane, Triple H and Stephanie. Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen, but it certainly makes for great television. As of now, Shane is set to stay for a while due to his massive popularity among the WWE universe since returning.
14) Do Wrestlers Rehearse A Match Before?
Generally, no; wrestlers do not rehearse a match before it happens. The younger wrestlers however, do go over some spots and what the match will be like. The veteran wrestlers basically wing it. All they really discuss is the finish and that’s really it, everything else you see is improvised in the ring. This type of unscripted match is great for young Superstars, especially as a learning tool. Normally, the veteran calls the entire match in the ring while the younger wrestler just listens to what he is being told. This tactic is seen is a great learning mechanism for the younger stars who will one day call a match on their own. Shawn Michaels was notorious for this tactic. He wouldn’t discuss the match and really improvise the entire thing live. Even against wrestlers like Ric Flair, Shawn would call the entire match. The Nature Boy admitted Shawn carried him during his final match with the company. So to sum up, most matches are done on the spot.
13) At What Time Does The Talent Arrive To A Show?
During live television, the company has a very strict policy which entails the superstars to show up several hours before the show. The talent usually shows up 4-6 hours before the actual event goes live. This is done for a variety of reasons; the company uses this time to go over matches, shoot promos, and hold general and one on one talent meetings. During this time, it is important for wrestlers to keep their bodies warm and move as much as they possibly can (this is why you typically see wrestlers all over the place backstage stretching). It’s a sin heading into a match cold, as this can cause an injury to not only the wrestler, but to his or her opponent as well, due to stiffness in the ring. Keeping your body warm during the long wait is absolutely vital.
12) Are Wrestlers Fed?
This question may sound silly, but it is actually quite legitimate. While on the road, wrestlers are in fact responsible for their own ground travel and food expenses. However, on the day of a show, the company does have a catering service at the event. You can snack on anything from oatmeal to pasta to chicken. Most wrestlers like to get a meal in several hours before the show, giving them the proper amount of time to digest before hitting the ring. Carbohydrates are key to consume for WWE Superstars, as this provides them with the energy they need during a grueling matchup. Anything from pasta to fruit to rice to potatoes are staples in a wrestler’s pre-match diet.
11) How Do You Know How Long Your Match Is?
Before the show starts, Billy Kidman, who is in charge of slot times, tells the wrestlers generally how much time they have. Usually once the show goes live this is subject to change due to certain segments running too long (like promos do most of the time). At the gorilla position, Kidman relays the information of how long the talent has. To remind the superstars during the match, the stage manager is told in his headset when it is time to end the match. This info is later passed on to the official who tells the wrestlers to wrap it up. This factor is more evident to the public eye when at the actual show. When watching it on TV, this is less apparent due to some great camera work.
10) How Much Creative Input Does A Wrestler Have?
A wrestler actually does have some input on what goes into his character. Before they can use a new character trait however, the info must be approved by Vince. This is easier said than done, as you can imagine. Take Cody Rhodes for example, who was with the company for over a decade. Cody requested to get rid of his Stardust gimmick and go back to his old persona as Cody Rhodes, in an attempt to rejuvenate his career. After months and months of requesting a change, Cody finally had it and decided to leave the company. This goes to show that doing what you want isn’t very easy. Your input must be approved by creative and then passed by the big boss Vince McMahon. In Cody’s case, his attempts were denied.
9) Can You Turn Down A Match?
In this WWE, turning down a match is pretty much impossible unless you’re part of a select group of individuals, such as The Rock or Triple H. Professionalism is at an all time high in the company today, which means personal problems with another superstar must be put aside. This wasn’t always the case, however. Back in the 90s, it seemed like a norm to not want to work with someone. The Kliq were the master manipulators at doing this, and they generally turned down storylines so they could work with one another and keep the money in their circle. Thankfully, there was no need for a wrestler’s union and this changed once Kliq members Kevin Nash and Scott Hall left the company. As the years went by, the company became more and more professional internally. Today, the company’s standing is at an all time high.
8) Is It True That Older Wrestlers Get Preferential Treatment?
Hate to say it, but yes, the company does show preferential treatment to older wrestlers. This is especially obvious when looking at how much wrestlers make; inactive wrestlers like Mark Henry and Kane, are making absurd amounts of money in comparison to the foot soldiers on the roster like Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Since the beginning, Vince has shared a massive bond with wrestlers that are loyal and have been with the company for so long. This is why superstars like Big Show and Mark Henry are still compensated so well to this day. Vince feels indebted to talent that sticks by him for so many years. So yes, veteran talent is treated better across the board.
7) What Is The Creative Process Like Backstage?
This is probably the most glaring difference in today’s product. Back in the 90s, Vince McMahon along with Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco, would write the script of the show the very day of the event. Today, instead, the company hires a team of writers that attend the shows. Each writer is given a specific guideline by Vince, and they will then attempt to create a storyline out of Vince’s recommendations. Some writers work on a specific storyline, while others work on a superstar in particular (like the Colons with their new montages or Darren Young in his campaign to “make Darrren Young great again”). Fans have been very critical of the writing over the past years, as has the boss Vince McMahon. With a brand split coming up, you can expect some much better storylines due to a smaller roster. The writers will be able to focus on less superstars and finally be able to work longer storylines, lasting more than four weeks.
6) What Are The Talent Meetings About?
The company has two types of meetings. The first type is a general meeting to all the talent. This is usually used to motivate the superstars to up their performances. These meetings are usually held weeks before a big PPV like WrestleMania. The other meeting is a one on one with the head of Talent Relations, Mark Carrano. Discussions in this meeting vary from character development to in-ring improvements to outside of the company work. Carrano also takes care of contract extensions for the company.
5) How Does The Editing Work?
Editing is a huge part of the wrestling business, especially at the WWE level. Production is at an all time high in the company, as no other wrestling organization comes close to the production value the WWE releases week after week, with over five in-ring wrestling shows per week. As you can imagine, live television is much more difficult to handle, and the camera work must be on point at all times. When it comes to taped shows, the company does have the luxury to edit matches. This is why the mood is much lighter at a SmackDown taping, which will no longer be the case once the show goes live. Not only does the company edit taped shows, it also adds sound to matches. On superstars and the Main Event in particular, noise is pumped into the matches to make it louder than it actually is. During live TV however, the company does not have this luxury. Although, they can turn down the noise which they have done in the past specifically towards certain chants.
4) Why Does The Company Always Use The Same Set?
Contrary to what many fans believe, the set design was not kept the same as a cost cutting measure. It was done more so for convenience in terms of transporting and building the set every week. The design is HD quality, and the company loves it because it is spectacle to look at live and on TV. In addition, as we just discussed, the set is very easy to build and transport from show to show, on Monday and Tuesday. It’ll be interesting to see if the company finally launches a new set design for the upcoming draft and the launch of The New Era. As a fan, I certainly hope so.
3) Is The Backstage Morale Easier During Non-Televised Events?
Yes, the morale is a lot better when the show is not live and on the air. The atmosphere backstage is like a circus during live television, especially during WWE PPVs. Vince is still said to be very vocal backstage with the talent, which does create a lot of tension. During non-televised events, Vince is normally back at the Stamford offices which creates a more relaxed environment behind the curtains.
2) Is Hunter The Current Number 2?
As of right now, Hunter is regarded as Vince’s predecessor backstage. Although the company does have employees that are very high up in the company, the likes of Kevin Dunn have a lot of power. With this being said, Dunn is probably not Vince’s number two. McMahon had been pleading with Hunter to make the corporate jump for years prior. Triple H can now be found at the gorilla position, alongside Vince during RAW and PPVs. He was also given control of NXT, and many backstage feel like this was a platform for Hunter to showcase his talents on a smaller scale. Many believe this will eventually lead up to the main product once Vince finally steps down.
1) What Does Vince Do Backstage?
At one point, it seemed like Vince was finally taking a step back lessening his responsibilities. Well, this couldn’t be further from the truth, as Vince is still working like a mad man 24/7, it seems. Backstage, Vince has so many roles which include working the gorilla position, managing Stephanie and Hunter, critiquing talent following a match, talking to the commentators during a live show, communicating with members in the production truck, discussing creative ideas, optimizing the WWE’s popularity on social media and foreseeing all major decisions. As you can tell, the boss is still very much in charge.