Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Snowden has a fantastic piece online titled, “Inside WWE: An Exclusive Look at How a Pro Wrestling Story Comes to Life.”
The article details the WWE creative process and examines the story of Daniel Bryan with firsthand quotes from Bryan himself, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
The article is detailed and well worth going out of your way to read. You can check it out at this link.
I’ve picked out some highlights that I wanted to include below.
Bryan on working with Triple H and cutting out the road agent (or producer as WWE calls them, who serve as a liaison between talent and the creative team):
“When I'm working with Triple H, it's easy," Bryan said. "I just tell Triple H what I think. He's very smart as far as what works. If he's bringing you something, it's usually a pretty good idea.
"He's got years of experience working with these top-level, high-level storylines. My brain doesn't work like that. I was on the independent scene so long, I think in terms of matches. 'Oh, this would be a great concept for a match or this would be a great story within the context of a match.' ... And sometimes we might not necessarily agree, and we'd go and talk to Vince.”
Triple H on the Raw script not finalized until it’s live and changing even then:
“We're tweaking that thing until it's out the door," Triple H said. "It's not done until it's live. And even then, it's living and changing. [John] Cena can go out for segment one, come back and say, 'I'm not feeling this for later.' And he's right.
"The hardcore fans cringe when we say this. But the reality of it is, the story is the magic...and the truth is, though all of our storylines have to end up back in the ring and the wrestling part has to deliver to the point fans say, 'That was awesome, what a payoff,' we're not boxing. ... It's about characters and their relationship. That's a storyline. We are more like the Rocky movie than we are like a sport. The storylines are what's important.”
Vince McMahon having the final say:
"The final call is Vince," Triple H said. "He gets all these suggestions and ideas, and he weighs in on them. It's a collaborative effort, but there's one general. And that guy makes the final call. There's never an open-ended debate between four people about what should happen on the shows. ... At some point it gets to Vince, and Vince goes, 'Here's what we're going to do.' And that's what we go do.”
Stephanie McMahon on the WWE audience getting behind Daniel Bryan
"Our fans do have a powerful voice. They do influence our decision-making and our storytelling," Vince's daughter and WWE Chief Brand Officer, Stephanie McMahon, said. "When our fans got behind Daniel Bryan in the beginning...that absolutely was a key indicator to us that Daniel Bryan was an A-plus player, not just in our minds, but in our fans' minds.
"He was absolutely a talented in-ring performer. That anyone could see. The fact that our fans were connecting with him on an even more emotional level—and then when we started telling the story the way they got behind him, we just knew that he was the right guy.”
Daniel Bryan continually getting beaten down on WWE programming:
"I thought, 'If I'm going to be beat up, I need to be really, really beat up.'" Bryan said. "I thought it was important to get what we call heavy heat on me in all of those segments. To get that sympathetic response.”
How last year’s Royal Rumble match changed everything for Bryan when the audience rejected Batista winning:
"I think the moment that really changed the tide for me was something I actually had nothing to do with. And that was the Royal Rumble match. It was not being in it, and the fans being really upset that I wasn't in it, that changed the course of my trajectory for WrestleMania," Bryan said. "To me, that was the moment. It's funny, and maybe fitting with my personality, that in my big moment I wasn't even there.”
The internal debate about doing Triple H vs. CM Punk or Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H at Wrestlemania 30, something we covered extensively at the time.
"Triple H was trying to make it me and him at WrestleMania," Bryan said. "It was originally on the schedule as him versus CM Punk, but Triple H thought that after the story we had over the summer, it would make so much more sense for us to continue that story.”
Stephanie McMahon on the story’s conclusion with Daniel Bryan winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 30:
"It was all very crafted, and it was an incredible story that took us on quite a ride," Stephanie said. "We're really proud of Daniel, and we're proud of the story we were able to tell.”
CLICK HERE to read the piece in its entirety on BleacherReport.com.