Greg DeMarco discusses Jimmy Jacobs and his recent comments about the WWE creative process in this edition of the Daily DeMarco!
Got some great feedback on the format for my NXT match ratings yesterday, which are greatly appreciated. I’ve never been a match ratings guy, so this is new territory for me. But it’s working out so far. Keep the comments coming, be it on the articles, or on Facebook, Twitter, or even Instagram.
I did get some interesting feedback on Dominik Dijakovic, as many don’t see it my way. Many see him as a generic big man now. He did the little things right, especially taking his time. Everything he did meant something, and that’s more important than a count of moves, highspots, or otherwise. Remember, the main function of NXT is still (for now) to prepare talent for the main roster, and Dijakovic is definitely headed in the right direction.
“Too Much Supply And Not Enough Demand”
Jimmy Jacobs recently did an interview with Bryan Alvarez on The Wrestling Observer Live where he detailed the WWE creative process from start to finish. To think that the WWE employs 25+ writers at any given time, and has a “home team” in Stamford and a team that goes on the road, is crazy. But it’s also necessary. You have to develop an idea (like 25 segments between Raw and Smackdown), script it, go through an approval and revision process that can have multiple iterations, then it has to be reviewed with the talent, revised and approved a few more times, and finally produced.
Don’t take my word for it, take it from Jimmy Jacobs himself, who sat at the table (warning, this is long, but it’s also mind blowing):
“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.”
The thought of it is exhausting, and it’s a never ending job. WWE writers are constantly working, rarely getting a break.
But Jimmy Jacobs most impactful point (no pun intended, I promise) was discussing a three-hour Raw:
“But in the world of supply and demand, a three hour show is too much supply and not enough demand.”
Writing three hours of Raw is a daunting proposition. But it’s also a necessary one, because that’s what USA Network wants. And last I checked,they’re writing the check! Soon that will be FOX, but that’s likely remaining a two hour show.
I don’t think weekly wrestling is meant to be consumed in a three-hour format. WCW Nitro had the cruiserweights available to them to balance out the product–in WWE the cruiserweights are on a totally different show.
anmy ideal world, WWE Raw and Smackdown would each be 90 minute long shows. You have an hour to build and promote, and a main event that occupies the final 30-minutes (2 segments). Obviously you can deviate from that formula to keep things fresh, but at least you’re not overexposing characters and giving your stories a chance to breathe. Then I’d pair that with brand specific pay-per-view events, so Raw and Smackdown are building over a longer stretch of time.
Recommended Reading: Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson headed back to New Japan?
Even two hours would be a good compromise for Raw, but I am not going to shout that from the rooftops. Three hours is what the network wants, WWE would be silly to turn away the money and the platform.
That format comes with challenges, as Jacobs detailed. Many internet fans claim to love NXT because of the talent and the action, but this past edition featured a mid-card tag team match, two squash matches, and a steel cage main event. Only a small portion of the talent was even exposed this week, keeping everyone fresh. The format and the rotational aspect of NXT is a much larger reason why the internet loves NXT, even if they don’t articulate it that way.
Here’s the frustrating part: I don’t have the answer. None of us do.
Jimmy Jacobs is right. Writing a wrestling show is hard. I’ve formatted live events on the independent level, and even that is hard. (It’s also quite rewarding). If a match runs long, it’s not a huge deal in that environment. It’s a show altering mistake when a match runs long on Raw or Smackdown. The stakes are much higher, and that’s why the staff is also much larger.
There is also the Vince McMahon effect. I’ve been told by true industry insiders (people working on the inside, not reporters) that Vince McMahon is at times the most challenging aspect of the WWE product. Listen to almost any Bruce Prichard podcast and you’ll hear that as well. While Raw and Smackdown viewers rank in the millions, the show is ultimately written for an audience of one.
And as much as you’ll disagree, it works. FOX and NBC Universal just gave WWE the biggest bag (of money) yet, further cementing television rights fees as the company’s top source of revenue.
The product will change, as it’s changed before. But each time it came down to one thing: Vince. When Vince McMahon wants the product to change, the product will change.
Good Reads On The Chairshot
- So much Lucha Libre goes down during the week, and Joe has it covered.
- Levin weighs in on Mustafa Ali, a topic I may write about tomorrow.
- Much like Cody Rhodes, The Young Bucks can’t stop talking about events they’re not working.
- Eric shares the options laying in front of Christopher Daniels.
I’ll get all sappy about how much the site is growing as we hit the end of the year, but know that this year has been amazing, and we are always looking for new folks to come on board. If you’re at all interested, go here and see what’s needed.
Until sappy time arrives, all that’s left to say is that this has been the 6th edition of the Daily DeMarco, and here’s to many more!
Daily DeMarco: NXT & NXT UK Takeover: Blackpool Ratings & Review
Greg DeMarco is here with his match ratings for the UK’s first Takeover, WWE NXT UK Takeover: Blackpool!
The WWE’s NXT UK brand presented their first ever Takeover on Saturday, from the place it all started, The Empress Ballroom in Blackpool. The
- Zack Gibson & James Drake defeated Mustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) in 23:43 to become the inaugural NXT UK Tag Team Champions – ****3/4
This match was fantastic. I can’t speak enough to it. It built to the third act, which delivered in a big way. All four men had their strengths highlighted, and their weaknesses used against them. Zack Gibson and Trent Seven did an amazing job directing traffic, and all four sold like champs in this match.
I noticed one thing that sets this match apart. The tag team offense came as a result of communication. It wasn’t automatic. This felt real, and is the type of thing that could reinvent tag team wrestling again for WWE. Kudos to everyone involved.
- Finn Balor pinned Jordan Devlin in 11:51 with the Coup De Grace – ***1/2
The rating here is for the entire story, including Travis Banks’ pre-match attack on Jordan Devlin that led him being helped to the back, and Finn Balor being introduced as “Plan B.”
Balor and Devlin put on a storytelling classic, with Balor taking the early advantage, and Devlin being at his cheating best to steal that advantage back. The match itself was “shorter” than you’d expect, but Balor is a former Universal Champion and is poised for a big 2019. Devlin still looked great in the loss, and this could be a thread in NXT UK over the next year.
By the way, Devlin’s Yanking Backdrop Driver is amazing.
- Eddie Dennis beat Dave Mastiff in a No Disqualification Match at 10:48 – **1/2
The shortest match on the card, and it only took a few minutes for the stairs to end up in the ring, a Kendo Stick to be wielded, and the mats to be removed from the floor. Maybe it’s the over-used stipulation, but I didn’t love it. It wasn’t offensive, but compared to other matches of this style we’ve seen over the past year, this one fell short.
- Toni Storm pinned Rhea Ripley to win the NXT UK Women’s Championship in 14:48 – ***
A good match, yes. But it was lacking in some areas, sloppy in others, and slow still in others. That showed in the crowd, too, as they were lowest for this match (unless people were kicking out of finishers). Even the applause seemed to be more polite than passionate.
They still popped huge for the finish, as Toni Storm is one of the most likable people around. Not in the business, but in the entire world. I also think the right person won, on this night, but Rhea Ripley (who was possibly champion due to injuries to others) has the potential to be a legendary WWE performer.
- Pete Dunne forced Joe Coffey to submit to retain the WWE United Kingdom Championship in 34:13 – ***1/2
Joe Coffey has always looked like an ultra-talented Jim Neidhart, but damn is he good. I kinda wish he won this match, because he would make one hell of a heel champion. Sadly, it’s Pete Dunne’s time in NXT UK.
This match was decidedly equal. Coffey looked like a star, and the two botches actually worked for this match. Dunne won via submission, which he’s done a few times recently. After the finish we saw the NXT UK debut of WALTER, and I half worry that he’ll be given the championship right away. Not that he won’t make a great champion, but I’d like to see more of a build.
Overall this was a great first Takeover outing for NXT UK. It wasn’t perfect, but it set the table for this great brand. I think it’s my favorite brand at the moment, and I can’t wait for what they do next.
Daily DeMarco: Could Finn Balor Win The Royal Rumble?
After campaigning for Aleister Black to win the 2019 WWE Royal Rumble, Greg DeMarco is now wondering out loud about Finn Balor and his chances in the big match.
After a day of backend issues for the site, I am excited to focus on bringing the written word to you, the readers! IT’s frustrating when the only thing that won’t work is the button to add a new article! We got it fixed, and have a great slate of content coming out.
So let’s focus on what’s good, and that’s
Could Finn Balor win the Royal Rumble?
We are just a few short weeks away from the 2019 Royal Rumble, where two people will punch their ticket to the theoretical main event of WrestleMania. Now I fully expect Charlotte Flair to win the Women’s Rumble, and stake her claim at a shot at Ronda Rousey at MetLife Stadium, possibly closing out the yearly spectacle. It’s what I believe will happen, it’s what I want to happen, and it’s what I think should happen.
So what about the Men’s Royal Rumble? As 2018 comes to a close, WWE hasn’t positioned any front runners to challenge for Daniel Bryan’s WWE Championship or Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship at WrestleMania 35. Without any obvious challengers, the Royal rumble match itself is wide open.
I previously suggested WWE should go with a surprise winner in Aleister Black. I stand by it, as the company would be provided 2.5 months to build Black as the challenger for either Daniel Bryan or Brock Lesnar, and a win would solidify him on the main roster for years to come. But if it’s not Black, then who?
There is a good list of potential Royal Rumble winners, many of whom I can go into further detail about in the coming weeks:
- Seth Rollins
- Drew McIntyre
- AJ Styles
Another candidate? Finn Balor.
And in my opinion, Finn Balor is the most intriguing option here. He was the first ever Universal Champion, which gives him a built in storyline against Brock Lesnar. For me, that raises the obvious question of if Finn Balor is credible against Brock Lesnar.
The answer is equally obvious: of course he is.
This has nothing to do with Finn being the first ever Universal Champion, as a champion like Brock Lesnar transcends wins and losses. Brock is a beast–a Beast Incarnate in fact. But Finn Balor has the equalizer: The Demon.
The Demon has never lost in WWE, but it’s also never faced a foe quite like Brock Lesnar. It wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility for Lesnar to get the first win over Finn Balor’s Demon, but I don’t think that happens. WWE loves creating history, and keeping The Demon undefeated can play into the history of Finn Balor.
If The Demon is to beat The Beast at WrestleMania, is it The Demon that wins the Royal Rumble? If I’m holding the book, the answer is yes. Imagine this… The Demon enters the Royal Rumble at #1, lasting all the way to the end. Maybe he enters the final two with John Cena, who is of course seeking one more championship reign to break his tie with Ric Flair. Balor overcomes the legend, building his own in the process.
But that does more than elevate Finn Balor. Going through nearly 60-minutes of a Royal Rumble would wear away most if not all of The Demon paint, nearly humanizing The Demon and creating a greater link between Finn and his alter ego. It also adds a new element to the power of the paint, and the power of the man himself.
As WWE looks to (at least claims to) usher in a new era, Finn Balor is a great option to lead the charge. He has everything you want–look, charisma, skill. He has the all-important “it factor,” which you can’t instill in someone. Either they have it, or they don’t.
The title of this article asks if Finn Balor can win the Royal Rumble. For me, it’s really between AJ Styles and Finn Balor as my pick for the Royal Rumble. Finn Balor presents the greatest upside, and gains the most. Thus, the answer to the question…is yes.