The backstage producers in WWE are some of the most important people in terms of what we see on screen. However, very few fans even know about various producer roles. Producers have various jobs in WWE. Most of them are former wrestlers that help put together the matches for the wrestlers. The producers talk out what each wrestler should try to get across in protecting their characters, telling a story and setting up future plans. All of the matches have a producer assigned to work as a middle man between the talent and the writing team.
Other producers have other roles such as timing the show or helping decipher which camera angles would best be suited for each story. The respected wrestlers hired for the producer roles had long careers and a wealth of knowledge due to said experience. We'll take a look at just how detailed the behind the scenes life is in WWE. Producers clearly don’t want fans knowing about these things considering how intricate they are in getting the story over. Fans being aware of them could make life tougher for them. These are fifteen backstage secrets that the producers of WWE wouldn’t want us to know about.
15 Wrestlers Often Don't Know What's Going On Until Last Minute
The hectic atmosphere in WWE is one of the most surprising things about the company. Considering they're among the biggest sports and entertainment brands in the world, you would assume everything is planned out well in advance to make work days as easy as possible. Instead, wrestlers often have to wait until the day of a show to find out what their plans are.
Most PPV matches don’t have the wrestlers informed of a result until close to the event. The popularity of internet websites getting spoilers to matches and storylines caused WWE to see their biggest secrets revealed. This has led to the company waiting until late in the game to inform wrestlers. Seth Rollins didn’t know he was cashing in his MITB title shot to win the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 31 until the day of the show. All of this makes life tougher for the producers in trying to get their job done.
14 Backstage Segments Are Almost Never Live
The backstage segments we see on any WWE show are an important aspect. There are usually a handful of segments showcasing promos, interactions and sometimes brawls to break apart all of the in-ring action. WWE presents them as live, but the vast majority of these segments are taped long before it airs. Known as pre-tapes, WWE tries to ensure that the backstage content is as perfect as possible.
The biggest variable for matches is that anything can go wrong at any given moment and the performer has to adapt. WWE has the chance to prevent this by doing multiple takes of a backstage segment until it is exactly what they want from it. This is the main reason a lot of interviews take place backstage rather than the old days when Mean Gene Okerlund or Vince McMahon would talk to the talent in the ring.
13 Referees Often Instruct Wrestlers On Their Celebrations
Referees have a tough job not only during the match but before and after. Following most matches, the camera will show the winning wrestler celebrating from different angles inside of the ring. The referee of the match typically leaves after raising his or her hand. Fans with good seats at live shows have been able to figure out the secret of the official hiding ringside to instruct the winner on what to do.
There’s a time cue of how long the talent is supposed to pose in the ring smiling at their victory. The referee is outside of the ring telling them which side to look at and what to do. A wrestler has to follow the direction of the official until the word is sent from backstage that it is time to stop posing. It's wild to realize something so small is planned out this much.
12 Vince Yells At Commentators All Show
The production of the commentary on the show is helped by many people backstage but Vince McMahon is the main person. McMahon has a history of being overly vocal and often disrupting the flow of the commentary team. All commentators will have Vince yell different things at each of the broadcasters when he feels they're slacking at delivering something.
Mick Foley, Tazz and a few other former WWE commentators have discussed in detail how hectic it is trying to call the action on the show with someone cursing them out. NXT is apparently produced differently with Triple H giving his broadcasters more freedom with minimal producing, he's only needed when getting across certain information. The main roster commentators have among the toughest jobs in WWE given how McMahon produces them with a loud voice and short trigger.
11 Fake Crowd Reaction
One of the biggest secrets WWE has tried to keep under wraps for decades now is their trick of editing crowd reactions. Fans have become more unpredictable than ever in recent years, but it has always been a tough task for WWE to control. The company has used audio tricks of producing fake audio of crowd reaction into various shows through the years.
Goldberg used to be well known for the fake chants being piped in for his WCW run and WWE followed suit. During the early days of fans rebelling against the push of Roman Reigns, WWE would edit fake cheers into his segments every now and then. There have been numerous examples of this. It appears WWE is now trying to prevent that and wants to play up the “anything can happen” atmosphere of the live crowd reactions.
10 Everyone Hates The Fan Zoom-In Angles
A bizarre concept WWE has adopted in terms of their production in recent times is the desire to zoom into the reaction of the fans at the live shows following the ending to big matches. It peaked when fans were in complete shock at Brock Lesnar defeating The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX to end the streak. Since then, WWE has gone all in with these random shots zooming in on one specific fan reacting.
Some of these shots are embarrassing as they show the lone fan supporting a failing face receiving apathy from the rest. Others are just done for the shock and awe of a moment. Viewers at home generally despise this tactic given how forced it comes off. Wrestlers have stated it is a dumb idea in multiple interviews. Everyone hates it aside from the people making the decisions.
9 Weapons Are Sometimes Gimmicked To Break
The use of weapons in WWE provides some of the most exciting spots in hardcore matches. Ladders and tables are typically referred to as the two most popular weapons. Most fans love witnessing a table break or a ladder snapping in half when a wrestler falls on it. These are often done with the weight of a wrestler being enough to break the item, but there are cases when WWE will try to control it.
WWE did “gimmick” tables and ladders to break by ensuring it was faulty in the spot the wrestler would hit before the show. Sheamus destroying Sin Cara at Money in the Bank 2011 is one of the most memorable times it happened with a visible mark being spotted where it breaks. Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks could have used this when their tables didn’t break at Hell in a Cell 2017.
8 Each Wrestler Has Individual Writers
The Superstars of WWE will have writers assigned to them along with producers. It becomes a team effort of all these minds working together to put together matches and storylines. The writers write the entire show with Vince McMahon, Triple H and other important minds giving the final say. However, writers will have closer relationships with individual wrestlers as they grow closer in putting together the character.
Chris Jericho has revealed on numerous occasions that former wrestler and current writer Jimmy Jacobs was his personal writer during his recent WWE run. The minds of Jacobs, Jericho and Kevin Owens created all of the content we watched during the memorable feud. Hell, former writer Brian Gewirtz now has a great job with The Rock’s entertainment company due to them growing close in WWE.
7 Most Promos Are Completely Scripted
The art of the promo is arguably the most important thing a wrestler must perfect to become a top star. Most of the talent can pull off incredible athletic performances in the squared circle. The skill of being able to talk in a way that sells fans on your appeal is the difference maker in the long run. Unfortunately, the days of wrestlers having freedom to express that side of their characters are gone.
Unless you're someone WWE strongly trusts on the microphone, all promos are completely scripted well ahead of the show. You can see some of the differences shown in the John Cena versus Roman Reigns promo battles. Cena is ready to respond to anything and always has a slick comeback. That’s because he has been given freedom for years. Reigns looked like a mess when forgetting his lines and it exposed him.
6 Segments Are Heavily Timed
WWE tries to present a product where anything can happen and it always feels organic. The desired result is fans believing a match can start or stop at any time. Wrestlers don’t have the similar mindset as they know before they hit the ring how much time they'll have. This makes complete sense for televised shows but it even extends to the live events as well.
Each segment has a time cue they're supposed to hit and could get punished for going over time. One match going too long could destroy a lot of plans. There are a few occasions of wrestlers going over their time with freedom. The Undertaker and CM Punk having a classic at WrestleMania 29 caused an eight person tag match to get bumped. One exception of a segment having no time limit was Daniel Bryan’s retirement speech as Vince McMahon wanted him to take his time and give us a real moment.
5 A Producer Has More Control Of Match Than Talent
We credit and blame the wrestlers for what we see go down in a wrestling match. However, they aren’t always in charge of what's going down. Their athleticism is really the only thing they have full control of. Producers are assigned to tell the wrestlers what they can and can’t do in a match. The wrestlers will pitch their ideas to the producer but it is up to the producer to figure out what is best.
At the end of the day, producers are the ones that tell the wrestlers what to do. Vince McMahon employs them to get across what the booking dictates for the wrestlers in the match and how they tell the story. Many wrestlers have to stop doing certain moves when playing a different kind of character. Producers are the ones passing this down on behalf of what McMahon would want.
4 Almost Every Live Event Of A Tour Is The Same
Live events are one of the most important facets of WWE’s business. Fans will always want to check out Raw, SmackDown or a PPV. The biggest factor in improving business and creating strong attachments from fans are the live events we don’t see on television. Raw and SmackDown rosters each usually have three shows per weekend leading up to their weekly television show.
Considering each city will only get a show once every few months at best, the producers will usually plan the same show each night of a specific tour. Unless the producer wants to change something that isn’t working or adapt to a specific city’s interest, every live event during a month time frame will have the same matches and same outcomes every single time.
3 Taped Shows Often Feature Post-Produced Commentary
Another interesting fact about the production of the WWE commentary teams is how they put together shows that are taped. NXT, the Mae Young Classic and other taped content for the WWE Network feature commentators being live at the shows and calling the action while it happens. Despite the fact that they record live commentary, the broadcasters will go to WWE Studios to continue working on it.
WWE wants to have every aspect of the show as perfect as possible when they have time to edit things. Jim Ross and Lita reportedly had to spend a full week working on re-recording commentary for the show after calling all the live action. You can hear the different levels of audio from Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness and Percy Watson when going back and forth between their live commentary and post-produced commentary.
2 Referee Must Treat Matches As Real If Someone Messes Up
One rule WWE has adopted in terms of the presentation of their product over the past few years is establishing the credibility of the referee. The referees used to be viewed as jokes that would miss all the cheating and loopholes to add to the story. WWE wanted the realism portrayed of the referee having control. Referees are now told to work the match as if it was a shoot.
If the planned winning wrestler fails to raise his or her hand in time for a three count, the referee is to count it and change the finish. Referees are also told to DQ a wrestler that crosses the line of putting their hands on him. Kevin Owens versus A.J. Styles recently had the wrong finish when Styles didn’t kick out of a pin in time. The referee counted it as part of his job to keep the realism. Producers definitely don’t want it known when an official’s job ruins their planned finish.
1 Most WWE Producers Were Never Top Stars
The current core of WWE producers is of former wrestlers that experienced different levels of success. However, a shocking fact is that most of them were truly never top level WWE stars. Arn Anderson, D-Von Dudley and Finlay are probably the biggest names of active WWE producers. None of them ever won the World Title.
A few names that never even wrestled for WWE like Adam Peace, Sara Amato and Sarah Stock also have roles as producers. It just goes to show that some of the most brilliants mind wrestling never worked for WWE or never received the opportunity to move up the ladder when in WWE. The company and the producers wouldn’t want it known that no former top stars are currently in the roles that basically dictate what the talent does to find success.