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Old 09 Nov 2002, 10:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I just read this article at Wrestling.net.au and it's awesome, it's a bout the day at RAW this past monday, from start to finish. This is about as close as most people will ever get to being Backstage at an event. MUST READ.

--

It's a little past noon on Monday when World Wrestling Entertainment chairman Vince McMahon strides into a room in the FleetCenter to map out the night's ''WWE Raw'' show airing live at 9 p.m. on cable network TNN. Seated behind four rows of tables are several dozen writers, announcers, producers, and former wrestlers, including - most conspicuously - the huge, lantern-jawed ex-champ Sergeant Slaughter, who is still reverentially addressed as ''Sarge.''


Thumbing through the third draft of a script, McMahon previews the 11 segments in that night's show, making tweaks and suggestions. A scene in which female wrestler Victoria is slated to hit announcer Jerry Lawler in the crotch should not be played as ''comedic,'' he warns. Although the script calls for a shot of budding star Batista's ''massive tattooed back,'' McMahon instructs the staff to ''make sure he does the turnaround so I see his face.'' And the big logistical hurdle is making the segue between the main event that ends the ''Raw'' show and an extra 10-man tag-team match being filmed for a TV special to air later. Properly positioning the wrestlers in the ring for the added match while keeping the attention of the crowd will be challenging, he admits.

''We do a two-hour movie every Monday night,'' McMahon says, sitting in a makeshift office after the meeting, chomping on a PowerBar and sucking down coffee. ''Tonight it's live ... and you're flying without a net.''

As the animating force behind the WWE, McMahon not only presides over a strange entertainment hybrid of sports, sex, scandal, soap opera, and Halloween, he manages an international empire that includes more than 300 events a year, many of which are televised on his flagship shows, ''WWE Raw'' and ''WWE Smackdown!'' The company distributes videos, operates a music label, and publishes books and magazines. However, not all is well in the WWE kingdom. Boffo attractions such as The Rock, who has been making movies, and Steve Austin, who split with McMahon, are out of action. Some observers say recent ''Raw'' story lines - including a mock gay wedding and a strange necrophilia angle - have seemed strained, if not desperate. And the ratings of ''Raw'' are down about 40 percent from a few years ago. (Even so, it is TNN's highest-rated program, and Broadcasting & Cable magazine recently labeled it one of cable TV's ''old faithfuls.'')

For 12 hours on Monday, a Globe reporter was granted access to the inner workings of ''WWE Raw'' as part of a new push to invite up-close press scrutiny. McMahon says the company wants ''to allow the media to look at us as we are, not as we are perceived from the outside.'' Given his business instincts, it seems fair to assume he sees this as a marketing opportunity.

McMahon says he is busy ''creating new stories,'' and Monday's show is all about reigniting the feud between popular ''babyface'' (good guy) Shawn Michaels and ''heel'' (bad guy) WWE champ Triple H.

Michaels was badly and brutally injured by Triple H at the end of a pay-per-view match in August, and the rehabbing victim is preparing to exact his revenge - most likely at another pay-per-view match, for which home viewers will plunk down between $30 and $40 a pop. Michaels is written into several segments of Monday's show, ominously stalking Triple H in the corridors of the FleetCenter.

''Tonight, we're teasing [Shawn] all the way through,'' says McMahon about the main plot. ''By the end of the night, you're dying for Shawn to come out.''

By midafternoon, WWE vice president of operations Steve Taylor is in the middle of a seemingly endless day. A former newspaper photographer, Taylor runs herd on a production crew of 130 people and a nomadic caravan of 17 trucks and six buses. Around 7 a.m., his boys began turning the FleetCenter into a wrestling venue, complete with ring, cameras, lights, and noisy pyrotechnic displays. After the show ends, just before midnight, they'll tear down all the equipment and head out in the wee hours of the morning to Manchester, N.H., where they'll immediately start reassembling the setting for the next day's ''Smackdown!'' taping.

''The TV shows are a lot more complex,'' says Taylor. But Monday's event ''is a fairly straightforward production'' that doesn't feature anything as exotic as a pudding match or steel-cage battle.

With six hours before airtime, the wrestlers - or ''talent,'' as they are called - slowly, casually get into character. Thirty-year wrestling veteran and legend Ric Flair, who now primarily functions as Triple H's manager, admits he hasn't seen the script and isn't clear whether he'll actually be involved in what, in wrestling lingo, is called ''physicality.'' ''Unfortunately,'' he adds, with a touch of ring baloney, ''I get into it too often.''

The popular Booker T flew in from Houston on Monday morning, will be in Boston for about 24 hours, and seems a bit worn down by the grind. He too is a little uncertain about what the night has in store for him. ''I think I'm in a tag match,'' he says. ''A lot of the time I like doing things on the fly. That way you can find out exactly how [the fans] want you to go: What kind of flavor? Are we going to start off hot or cold?''

Female champ and glamour girl Trish Stratus has to finish some photo shoots and a CNN interview before she sits down with her ''agent'' (i.e., handler and instructor) to map out her match. While she is slated to wrestle Ivory, the real story line involves her feud with the mercurial Victoria. ''I think people right now are intrigued by my relationship with Victoria,'' she says. ''She definitely has it out for me.''

Around 5 p.m. McMahon convenes a smaller meeting with his daughter Stephanie, who's a company executive; executive producer Kevin Dunn; and several of the show's writers, all of whom appear to be in their 20s. They are on script No. 4. For the first match, Dunn insists that the heels - two men known as ''Three Minute Warning'' - enter the ring first. McMahon homes in on the Michaels/Triple H angle. ''Who's writing this?'' he asks about a sketch in which the champion worries about his rival's intentions. ''Triple H has to really sell this in terms of being paranoid. Otherwise it's not going to work.

''I try to be as involved as I can, but at the same time I try to delegate,'' McMahon says. Still, it is clear that he passes judgment on matters big and small. A half-hour to airtime, Stephanie asks him to view a risque segment (a number of the backstage bits are filmed before the show) in which Victoria rips off the clothing of another WWE ''diva'' named Terri in the locker room, leaving her rolling around in a thong. ''Is she wearing underwear?'' McMahon asks with concern. Assured that she is, he pauses for a moment. ''I'm all right with it,'' he says with finality.

At 9 o'clock, amid an explosion of pyrotechnics and the wild cheers of the predominantly young - and crazed - audience, ''Raw'' goes on the air. Stratus handles Ivory but gets involved in a nasty postmatch brawl with - you guessed it - Victoria. Even dressed in his street clothes, Flair manages to engage in some extracurricular brawling during the main event. Booker T gets serious airtime and wrestles on the winning main event tag team. As for Michaels, the show ends with his charging into the ring to launch a disabling superkick at Triple H, setting up a confrontation likely to be played out at the sold-out pay-per-view event at Madison Square Garden Nov. 17. Ka-ching.

At 11:30 p.m., McMahon and his agents and writers conduct a postmortem on the show, reviewing the action segment by segment. After a long day, the atmosphere is relaxed, but the critique is candid. The evaluations of the wrestlers are officially off the record. Suffice it to say that some of the ''talent'' are lauded while others have their performances dissected in an unflattering fashion. Dunn voices concern that the show ran three minutes too long. And for his part, McMahon concludes that the pace of ''Raw'' was slowed by the taped pieces that advance the story lines between the actual matches.

''Almost every single one of them was way too long,'' he says. ''Too much backstage.''
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Old 09 Nov 2002, 11:21 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default That article has been on the

the front board for about a week or so now.If this person wrote this...Who is his source I get the impression its being story written,almost one of writters handed it over to someone to print on the net.
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Old 09 Nov 2002, 12:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I don't believe anyone ever said HHH ran the show....We know it's Vinnie Mac.... What I believe people were saying was.... HHH was influencing Stephanie.... who in turn writes the script.... You can say HHH has paid his dues or whatever... But the fact is....He won the Royal Rumble...The title at Wrestlemania... Has headlined for a very-good while....And was handed the RAW title....Yes I know it was in the script....Because Stephanie writes it....
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Old 09 Nov 2002, 07:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I am with Blu did a writer turn this over to you for the net or are you a writer?
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Old 09 Nov 2002, 10:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default This thing is all over the internet

where ever you look. Sounds like a plant
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Old 10 Nov 2002, 12:34 AM   #6 (permalink)
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did anyone read the first sentence that i wrote on this topis.

"i just read this article at Wrestling.net.au"

i never once said it was mine, i thought it was a good article and thought some others might like to see it.
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