Former WWE writer Jimmy Jacobs was interviewed by Bryan Alvarez on Wrestling Observer Live, where among other things, he talked about the WWE writing process, Vince McMahon and more.
How big the writing team for WWE is:
”It’s roughly about 25 people. My first day in the job, I was in the room for about an hour until I realized that, hey man, these people are really smart. They’re very talented in their own ways. The way it’s split up, there are two teams. There is the home team, which stays in Stamford, Connecticut, and work in the office all week, and the road team that goes to RAW, SmackDown, and produces the TV on the road. The road team is also in the office a day or two during the week.”
How the writing process is during the show:
”So, let’s say it was a Roman Reigns-John Cena promo, now somebody will have written (be it me or someone else) a version of what that could be like, and then I take that promo and based off any notes that Vince would have, I’d go to the talent.
John knows what he wants, and he has a lot of freedom since Vince trusts him. I ask them what they want to do, and maybe they want something completely different…but we would sit down and crack something out. We’d come up with a new version of the promo, I’d take it to Vince, and he would either give the okay or give us a few changes. Then I go back to talent, and then make sure the guys know what production they need.”
What the weekly schedule is for the writers:
”It’s a seven day a week job. So, while the road team is at RAW, the home team is back at Stamford, and they’re helping out with rewrites on Monday & Tuesday, but by Wednesday the home team will have an idea of what they want to pitch to Vince. They’ll have a meeting with Vince and then he’ll give us feedback. Sometimes he’ll want to change a lot, sometimes it’s a little.
Then on Thursday, the lead writers are putting together the pieces of what RAW is going to look at. Then Friday to Saturday we are putting pen to paper, and writing the promos. By Saturday evening, all the writers will send in the promos, and then by Sunday the lead writers will put it all together into a proper script. They’ll send that to Vince, and then by Monday then there’s the production meeting for RAW by 1pm.
We go through the plan, and then all the writers and agents will give their feedback. Based off those suggestions, Vince will make changes, and then as a writer on the road, I’ll implement those changes. We compile those changes and put it in a new version of the script. Then I tell talent what they’re doing.”
What it is like writing for Vince McMahon:
”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. ”
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h/t to Wrestlezone for the transcription.