While it’s hardly the only issue with modern WWE TV, many fans complain that modern promos lack creative input from the wrestlers themselves, which can often leave you with robotic segments, lacking in emotion.
There are of course a handful of wrestlers who are so trusted by Vince McMahon that they are given creative freedom, as long as they stick to the point. One of those people is Paul Heyman, but despite this, Heyman believes Vince is right for wanting full control over what his wrestlers say.
Speaking to the Sports Media podcast, he said:
“As for other performers, that, again, is something without a perfect answer. Vince McMahon owns a content creation conglomerate that now has on the table and in application, three separate billion-dollar deals, and I’m sure he’s working on more. Knowing Vince, he is probably trying to envision the first trillion-dollar content output deal. There is a billion-dollar deal for Fox television for SmackDown. There is a billion-dollar deal with NBCU for Monday Night Raw and there is now a billion-dollar deal with Peacock for the domestic streaming rights to WWE Network. When you have such deals, you have to protect those deals from someone else screwing them up.”
“So, if Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. X goes out to the ring and on live television or a livestream says something that is egregiously wrong and it gets through or it said in front of all these witnesses and it causes a major scandal, and cancel culture or not, deservedly gets WWE thrown off of fox or NBCU or Peacock and blows a billion-dollar deal, who is to blame besides Vince McMahon for not saying, ‘I want to know what this person is going to say before they say it?’ Peaky Blinders is not streamed live no. It’s filmed. You know what these characters are going to say. Better Call Saul is not streamed live. It’s not a Broadway play that then goes live to the universe where someone can say something so controversial, whether it is QAnon or a left-wing conspiracy, it doesn’t matter. We don’t leave ourselves open to someone screwing multi-generation lifetimes of work to get to where we are.
“Therefore, if someone walks out to the ring, Vince McMahon has the right to know exactly what that person is going to say. Otherwise, he is jeopardizing the shareholders’ right to a return on their investment hoping and counting on the chairman to maintain control in a creative environment which can always go wrong. Look at the trouble the NBA is having with the controversies that are arising out of the social views of some of their top stars. Whether their top stars are right or wrong, the NBA is suffering the backlash of what some people and what some top stars are feeling in their hearts. Look at the trouble the NFL has had in dealing with the social ramifications, political viewpoints, and social viewpoints I’ve some of their teams’ top players and even some of their teams’ secondary players, whether they’re right or wrong is not what I’m discussing. What I am discussing is, there are ramifications of all things that are said and done, and WWE, as a scripted performance that allows some improv, tries to keep control of that environment.”
He also discussed his own freedom in being allowed to say what he wants on screen, and praised his colleagues for being able to tolerate him on air.
“I dare suggest it’s more the case now than ever before especially on Talking Smack. We put a lot of effort into that show. Kudos to the performers, by the way, who raise their game on that show and trust me enough to open up when they’re in that chair sitting next to me and props to Kayla Braxton for simply surviving me, let alone tolerating me.”
Thanks to Fightful for the transcription.