Inside WWE: An Exclusive Look at How a Pro Wrestling Story Comes to Life:

At the conclusion of WrestleMania 30 in April, confetti flew as fireworks exploded inside the Superdome in New Orleans. More than 75,000 people, including at least one person from each of the 50 states and thousands more from 37 nations around the world, yelled in unison with Daniel Bryan, the unusual centre of attention who was inexplicably, almost absurdly, the new world champion.

In what was effectively a prolonged morality play, announcer Michael Cole shrieked, his voice cracking, and all sense of neutrality gone. “The unthinkable wish has come true.”

Daniel Bryan’s ascension to the top and eventual victory is one of the most epic stories in WWE history, spanning more than eight months. And it was one that was saved from oblivion by accident, circumstance, and, most importantly, the fans.

WWE gave Bleacher Report unprecedented access inside its traditionally closed world, demonstrating how a tale like this gets from the writers’ room to the boardroom and finally onto the ring.

The Methodology:

For much of wrestling’s history, the action in the ring was called on the fly, with talent selecting how the battle would progress based on crowd reaction and their own intuition about what would work. Interviews were conducted in the same manner.

WWE is a whole different beast today. Agents backstage, former wrestlers with a penchant for in-ring storytelling, help to design much of a broadcast wrestling encounter. Similarly, the interviews, which were originally spontaneous rants, are now meticulously prepared by a staff on the fourth floor of WWE’s headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut.

It’s a career that demands both a lot of inventiveness and a quick ability to embrace change. After Raw closes Monday night and SmackDown tapes Tuesday night, a new week begins on Wednesday, with many meetings to flesh out ideas for the coming week. In a large conference room with a long strong table, the rough ideas are eventually submitted to the lead writing team and senior brass, including WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon.

The script is sent to the talent and the road team of agents and experts on Monday, after days of development. Top talent like Daniel Bryan gets an opportunity to add their voices to the mix for major event angles. Working with heavyweights like Triple H eliminates a stage in the process, which he would ordinarily share with a road agent assigned to his fights.

Many WWE fans believe that cult sensations like Bryan, and their growing popularity, go under the company’s radar—that fan favourites are either invisible to people in power, or worse, politically unpopular, unable to overcome imagined pushback from top-level decision-makers. However, our exclusive interviews revealed a different reality. Despite fan criticisms, WWE was keeping a careful eye on Bryan’s rise and waiting for the right moment to strike.

Our fans have a strong voice.” “They have an impact on our decision-making and storytelling,” Stephanie McMahon, Vince’s daughter and WWE Chief Brand Officer, remarked. “When our supporters rallied around Daniel Bryan at the start, that was a huge sign to us that he was an A-plus player, not just in our thoughts, but in our fans’ minds.”

“He was a tremendous in-ring entertainer.” Anyone could see it. We just knew he was the appropriate candidate when our supporters started connecting with him on an even more emotional level—and then when we started sharing the tale the way they got behind him.”

The Game:

Then there was the problem of execution. Bryan felt most at ease at this location. The pressure was now unquestionably on Triple H’s huge shoulders.

The two men had never fought before. While this isn’t often a problem for two seasoned pros, they approach a match with quite different perspectives. Bryan is nonstop motion, move after move, a never-ending assault on the senses.

Triple H is a minimalist at this point in his career. He has the ability to play long and often complex matches with only a few moves. It was an experiment that, if nothing else, was guaranteed to be intriguing.

Not doing too much suited two aims for Triple H. While it was crucial to protect Bryan for a second match, he also wanted to convey the point that sometimes, cliche or not, less is more. That was his mark on the game, and it made everything that happened in the first 25 minutes relevant.

The two found a happy medium that resulted in a great match, with the two styles merging perfectly in a match that somehow embodied both men’s mentality.

Bryan’s hand was raised in the end, as it had to be. But, as had been the case throughout the novel, his triumph was ephemeral. Stephanie slapped Bryan hard in the face.

Though it had to hurt, it was only a prelude to what was to come. Bryan’s already wounded shoulder was pummelling with a steel chair by Triple H. Bryan would enter the main event as a definite underdog, as he had been all along, a limp, trembling heap on the ground.

Crowning the Champion

The story ended eight months later with good triumphing over evil. Is there any other way it might have ended?

Bryan eventually forced Batista to submit. There were no buts this time, no evil management staff ready to take it all away. It was for real this time.

Stephanie remarked, “It was all really well-crafted, and it was an extraordinary story that took us on a wild ride.” “We’re incredibly proud of Daniel and the tale we were able to tell.”

it felt more like a conclusion than a beginning in some ways. Even back then, the Daniel Bryan era seemed implausible. Despite the mixed reception he received from fans at live events, every metric pointed to Cena as the actual face of WWE.

That, however, was boardroom thinking. That was a concern for the following day. It felt like something extraordinary in the moment, as the fireworks exploded and confetti rained down. It was, after all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous post Digitial Comic Giant Webtoon Heads to Print Publishing With Webtoon Unscrolled:
Next post Pro Wrestling: How It Has Survived Over 100 Years: