A former WWE writer reflects on his time with the company, including a first-hand account of Vince McMahon ripping a script in half.
Being a writer in WWE is a job that can be somewhat of a revolving door. Joining together television creation, character storytelling, and the occasional trash TV storyline, writing for WWE is a job that requires a great deal of flexibility and patience.
Matt Mazany was a WWE writer in the latter half of the last decade. Now, he is speaking about his experience, the good and bad parts, in a new appearance on Reconcile the Aisle on Radio Misfits.
Matt recalls a time where Vince McMahon actually ripped a script in half at 11 a.m. on the day of a Monday Night Raw and talks about how he tried to change the culture of WWE in a small way while he was there.
“Oh, that was a weird, fun, wild, miserable, cool, crazy, intense time in my life. It was great. It was a great experience. I'm happy I did it. It was like a very childhood dreamy type thing. But, boy, the reality of that place is very wild. There's a lot of stories about it. They're all like half true. It was fun, man. It's cool,” says Matt. “You're there to kind of control the show, because it's three hours of television on Monday, it's two hours of television on Friday, it's an hour of television on Wednesday. So you're producing — then there are other specials like pay per views. So at any point, you're doing like seven to 10 hours of television. So you just have to write the script for the long-term storylines that go from month to month, the short-term storylines that go from the beginning of the show to the end of this show. But the one thing is when they go to the ring, that's the wrestlers, that's their performances, they have some producers there to help work with the camera team. But it's a whole, it's a huge, huge enterprise. You just need a lot of people to keep everything in order. Otherwise, you know, those shows go to chaos, because it's also live. It's a live show.
"We've had scripts there and you know, Vince McMahon is kind of famously an interesting guy. We had 8 pm, the show goes on live on television, a three-hour show, and I've seen him on the 11 o'clock production meeting, just rip the script in half and go like, ‘Oh, we got to start from scratch, guys, God,’ and you got to just start, you got to just go and you got to just figure out a new show and write it and put it together. So it's a wild time, but it's a lot of good. If there weren't good people there, it would just never get done. There's a lot of good people that get it all together.”
Speaking about the company culture, Matt would say that there were times where working for WWE caused some internal unrest within him, but ultimately, he felt that it was better that he was there to try to change the culture from the inside.
“That happens there, there is a culture there that is in some ways has gotten better, in some ways has ever changed. But there's a culture there that is kind of like bullying and that has happened there before. I personally haven't run into too much of it, some of it but not in a not in ways that other people have. So I can only speak to my experience. In the storylines, you kind of do have to run in that stuff. The one thing about storylines in wrestling is that there are, you know, a lot of archetypes and you're like, this person is bad. This person is good. Sometimes the reasons why somebody is bad or why somebody is good is maybe a little dated.”
He continued, “So those old school ideas of like what makes a bad guy bad is still kind of around so I mean there were some times in there where I had to go like you know ‘Hey, is the reason why they're making fun of you know this person is because they happen to be you know a large individual is or is it is because they're being bad?’ You kind of got to play those Moses motives there. I think at its core wrestling is — at its best wrestling is kind of reinforcing morality plays. So you want to make sure that the bad guys are bad for the right reasons that the good guys are good for the right reasons.”
“There was enough space where I could get the things that I wanted to do and didn't have to be on the things I didn't want to be on that way. There were other writers that were fine with writing if the storylines are that way. But I think it's worth speaking up about it. Because like, that's the only way cultures change in those places. I think that like, you kind of got to do it, and it's hard to do, because it's like, there was a time when I was there was when Charlottesville happened and there wasn't anything in the room that we were doing anything about that or anything like that. But it was just the fact that I knew Vince McMahon had given like 6 million bucks, personal money, to Donald Trump at the time. All these things tied together. I said, ‘Should I even be working for this company?’ Do I feel good about working for this company? I talked to my partner at the time about it. She told me that it was like, ‘Yes, it's bad that you're with that company, but it's probably better that you're in the company so you can influence the way certain things went.’
“I did my best to watch out for fat-shaming in the room, because like, that's something that in the wrestling culture, Vince grows up with like, guys have incredible bodies, right? Like, they're all in incredible shape. But every once in a while you'll get an athlete that just happens to be kind of like portly, but they're still incredible athletes. But then one of the gimmicks they get like, Oh, he's eating a sandwich all the time or something like that. So I could make influences in there trying to push things a certain way. But it's hard because nobody likes to be the squeaky wheel. Nobody likes to stand out in that way. But I tried to do that. There was a story somebody told me after the fact, where somebody was saying some stuff, they shouldn’t have said about whatever, and I and I jumped in it just started ripping them for it. Then they told that story. I was like, ‘I forgot that I did that.’ But I was glad I did. I was like, okay, good. I'm glad I stood up at certain points and said the right things.”
These days, Matt Mazany continues his involvement in the wrestling industry with his Get It Again podcast, taking an exclusive look at WCW Thunder with former Raw and NXT writer Stephen Loh. You can view the podcast here.
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