Chris Jericho Explains Why WWE Assembled A Writing Team In 1999

Some don't understand why wrestling needs writers...

When one criticizes WWE's creative, much of their vitriol goes to the writing staff (or to Vince McMahon himself), even if they don't know who was specifically responsible for the content they're seeing.

WWE has had a staff of writers (many of whom come from non-wrestling backgrounds) for more than two decades, and fans and critics have often wondered why a writing staff is even necessary.

Former multi-time WWE World champion Chris Jericho explained on a recent Talk is Jericho with Major League Wrestling CEO (and former WWE creative staffer) Court Bauer that McMahon's motivation for hiring writers was part of his apparent belief that in 1999, SmackDown's competition on Thursday nights was NBC incumbent Friends. Thus, they needed writers to compete.

“The reason why writers became a thing was because when we started SmackDown in 1999, Vince made it his motto that SmackDown was going to be bigger than the show Friends," Jericho explained.

"Friends was at its peak or was still really huge. The bravado of Vince was we were going to beat Friends on Thursday and his reasoning and idea and strategy was if Friends had writers, then we need writers too. They suddenly went from no writers to 15 people in a room and not really knowing exactly who’s doing what and what is really happening or what is the story arc.”

(Credit to WrestlingNews.co for transcription)

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Justin Henry

Written by Justin Henry

In addition to writing lists and commentaries for Cultaholic, Justin is also a features writer and interviewer for Fighting Spirit Magazine, and is co-author of the WWE-related book Titan Screwed: Lost Smiles, Stunners, and Screwjobs.