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!
Greg DeMarco’s Three Stars Of The Night: WWE Raw (3/18/19)
Who delivered the biggest performances of the night on Raw?
Greg DeMarco brings the Three Stars of The Night back with the March 18 episode of WWE Raw from Chicago!
Raw was live from Chicago, on the Road To WrestleMania, and it seemed like the perfect night to revive the Three Stars! I mean, it’s a mega city for the company and a very important Raw. I figured the entire roster would step up in a huge way. I was wrong…
But we did get a packed WWE Raw, including Kurt Angle’s opponent being revealed as Baron Corbin, Beth Phoenix officially returning to the ring, and the heat being turned to 11 on Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins. Now, it’s Three Stars time…shall we?
The Third Star: Leo Rush
I know people find Lio Rush annoying, and it means he’s doing his job. In reality, he delivers in a big way on a weekly basis, making Bobby Lashley more relevant and usually putting in a great in-ring performance. This week was no different, especially when he was selling for Braun Strowman. Bobby Lashley also let it happen to Lio Rush, which is another way Lio delivered–letting Lashley’s character develop even further. Hate on Lio Rush if you must, but he continues to enhance Bobby Lashley’s entire act on a weekly basis.
The Second Star: Elias
Few people have a better grasp on their character than Elias (Alexa Bliss being one of them), and he’s gotten it to a point where it’s effortless. To me, that means we may see a big push coming for him after WrestleMania. In this segment he delivered a strong promo, interacted brilliantly with Alexa, got the desired reactions out of the crowd, and perfectly foreshadowed a WrestleMania interruption that very well might be John Cena. Count me in as walking with Elias.
Honorable Mention: Paul Heyman, Alexa Bliss, Ronda Rousey, and Sasha Banks
And now… a distinction usually reserved
for the top performer of the night …the first star!
The First Star: Seth Rollins
If there was any question who has taken up the mantle of leading WWE Raw, it should be answered now. Seth Rollins delivered in a big way on Raw. Last year he carried things as Intercontinental Champion, and I think he’s more than ready to be the Universal Champion. I look forward to seeing his run, with opponents like Drew McIntyre waiting in the wings after WrestleMania.
But can I put in for a Rollins vs. Batista program post-WrestleMania? Please? Nothing would make me happier than seeing Big Dave put Seth over before heading back to Hollywood.
In hockey, a game’s “Three Stars Of The Night” represent the top three performers of the night. For more clarification, I defer to this Pittsburgh Gazette explanation:
“The tradition dates to the 1936-37 season, when Imperial Oil became the principal sponsor of Hockey Night in Canada radio broadcasts and was seeking a way to promote one of its products, Three Star gasoline. The idea of doing so by selecting the top three performers in a particular game purportedly came from a Canadian advertising agency.
Many clubs do recognize the player with the most three-star selections with an award or trophy, usually in conjunction with a corporate sponsorship, at the end of the season (or sometimes, each month). All six Canadian franchises, for example, have an affiliation with a well-known brewery.
The NHL keeps track of its own Three Stars Of The Night selections, but that is done on a league-wide basis. The league employs a system that awards 30 points to a first star, 20 to a second star and 10 to a third – a running total can be found on the league’s website – but it does not present an award based on them.”
In hockey tradition, the first star represents the best of the three, but all three are considered to be receiving a high honor.
Greg DeMarco’s WWE NXT Star Ratings & Review (3/13/19 edition)
Two great matches, and three great storyline developments. That’s good TV!
Greg DeMarco takes you inside a blockbuster edition of WWE NXT as we have the semifinals of the Dusty Classic and more!
We have quite the edition of WWE NXT here, with three major matches and almost no filler! NXT sometimes finds themselves in a rush to get to Takeover, but in this case I’ll take it.
Dusty Rhodes Classic Semifinal Match: The Forgotten Sons (Wesley Blake & Steve Cutler, with Jaxson Ryker) vs. Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) – ***1/4
- Moustache Mountain have to be two of the most likable wrestlers on any WWE brand. You can legitimately imagine hanging out with them at a bar (where they will drink you under the table).
- This tournament is tailor made for The Forgotten Sons, who could be huge with a win. Granted, the same can be said for The Street Profits and Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner–all who lost in the opening round.
- Ryker putting Blake’s foot on the rope to break up a pinfall is so old school–I love it.
- Still wonder why this can’t be Blake & Murphy on the main roster.
- Led by some heel shenanigans, The Forgotten Sons win and head to the finals.
#1 Contender’s Match: Io Shirai vs. Bianca Belair – ***
- Side note: Shayna Baszler on commentary is fantastic. “One’s a nobody from Japan, and the other I’ve already beaten.”
- Shirai and Belair, along with Kairi Sane and Mia Yim, are revitalizing and basically reloading the NXT Women’s Division.
- Belair is a great example of a “fighter,” a WWE character who isn’t a face nor a heel, and it works. Shirai, of course, is a mega-babyface. I don’t need to tell you Baszler is a heel…and one of the best in the business.
- Great match was going before Baszler got involved, bringing Kairi Sane out as well. It all made sense, and I am fine with it.
Side Note: I kinda love Dominik Dijakovic trying to fight Keith Lee in a Performance Center ring. When you want to fight someone–when it’s become personal–it doesn’t matter where. Nice touch.
Dusty Rhodes Classic Semifinal Match: Black Flash (Aleister Black & Ricochet) vs. #DIY (NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano) – ****
- DIY wearing matching tights, and having a new Titan Tron video is such a great touch.
- Ciampa clutching Goldie while looking at Gargano, who “knows what he’s doing” is a level if deep subtlety that you just don’t see anymore. That’s Ole Anderson level shit.
- I do need to point out that this is typical for WWE tag teams, meeting the requirements of Patrick O’Dowd’s Vicious Cycle Of WWE Tag Team Booking.
- It wasn’t that long ago in WWE where this would have been the obvious TV main event two weeks before Takeover Phoenix.
- Ricochet looking at Aleister Black as to make sure it’s okay that he’s sitting next to him in the ring? Another great touch.
- Tommaso Ciampa applies the best chinlock in WWE today. Yes, this is a real thing. Randy Orton would be proud.
- Actually, Ciampa has stolen a good bit of his act from Randy Orton. Don’t @ me.
- Gargano gets hurt, and Ciampa has to go it alone. This, of course, is a throwback to Takeover: Chicago, when Ciampa got hurt…and we all know what happened there! (Ciampa turned on Gargano.) It’s coming.
- It took two finishers after a 2-on-1 advantage to pin the NXT Champion. That’s how it should be.
- Black Flash wins, and they’ll face The Forgotten Sons in the finals. If you know anything about WWE booking, you know this ends up. #SaveTagTeamWrestling
- The post-match developments with Gargano and Ciampa were nothing short of brilliant. I am not mad that Ciampa ended up hurt, at least in terms of the storyline. I’d give the show ending segment five stars, easy. A small detail is Ciampa tossing the NXT Championship–something he’s obsessed with–aside for it, showing that he has one obsession bigger than Goldie. Gargano’s smile when he stopped Ciampa’s turn–brilliant.
- The whole thing–brilliant.
I know we don’t get Gargano vs. Ciampa at Takeover: New York, and I am okay with that. They can revisit this down the road on the main roster. For now, I see it as a satisfying ending.