WWE Chief Creative Officer Paul “Triple H” Levesque recently spoke about his approach to being in charge of creative in WWE. Triple H is hardly a newcomer to wrestling and definitely not someone new to WWE fans. He has been in WWE since 1995. Since then he has climbed up the ranks to become world champion and his current titles of chief content officer and head of creative.
Before Vince McMahon retired Triple H was given NXT to build up and that is exactly what he did. When McMahon retired Triple H was given WWE to run. Fans noticed the changes in WWE and were in general very happy with WWE under Triple H’s control.
In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Triple H talked about some advice McMahon gave him and his mentality when it comes to creative. The WWE executive stated the following:
“Vince taught me years ago, you put yourself in the seats and you’ll never go wrong. You’ve always got to maintain that perspective. I started out as a fan. Book what people want to feel and see.”
Triple H Explains Two Key Components Of Great Wrestling
Wrestling is a very complicated form of entertainment. Half of it is about the physical aspect. Two competitors battling for a prize. The prize can range from a championship, revenge, bragging rights, and everything in between. It is a very important part of wrestling and what the Superstars do in the ring matters a lot.
However, the second part is perhaps more important. The wrestlers have to tell a compelling story. When McMahon said “put yourself in the seats and you’ll never go wrong,” what he was trying to say was to tell a compelling story.
Tell one you would be interested in seeing and the fans will want to see it too. Triple H talked about one of the keys to successful storytelling in wrestling is making the fans feel something. The executive continued:
“Writing this stuff is a feel. You can analyze stories and how they come together, but how does it make you feel? If you can make people feel those stories, they’re going to be invested in the product. That’s how we try to approach, find that ultimate emotional place for the talent and the characters and the stories they’re in.”
Make Them Feel Something
Wrestling has always been compared to a soap opera and a good soap hooks you in. It makes you care about the characters and in this case the wrestlers. When Cody Rhodes took on Roman Reigns to win the championship his father was never able to capture, it drew the fans in. Every near fall brought the fans to the edge of their seats. When Reigns kicked out fans booed and when Rhodes kicked out fans rejoiced. In the end, when Reigns’ hand was raised, it broke the fan’s hearts.
That is the storytelling and making the fans feel the story like Triple H wants. Getting the fans invested and then subverting their expectations. When Rhodes and Reigns face-off again, probably at WrestleMania, fans will get sucked in. That is the definition of good storytelling and successful creativity.
Triple H also talks about not taking WWE’s fanbase for granted and how this generation of wrestlers is different from previous ones. The former WWE Champion continued as follows:
“We don’t take our fan base for granted. And the way our talent operates is different from other generations. They want to go out there and put on the best possible show they can. A lot of these kids are already invested–they grew up wanting to do this. And if they didn’t, they fell in love with it by learning from people who grew up wanting to be in this business, and that’s how they learned the respect for it. To me, that’s what makes you successful. That connection with our fan base, that’s a big part of our core.”
Kayfabe Being Dead Brings In New Types Of Wrestlers
As AEW continues to grow it becomes more and more important to not take the fans for granted. If WWE starts putting out bad wrestling, fans will leave. Many fans have already left for AEW and it remains a possibility that more will leave.
With the age of kayfabe completely dead it creates new types of wrestlers. Children grow up and know from a very young age that wrestling is “fake.” It allows them to research what being a wrestler is and what it takes. They are also able to go to research wrestling schools and aren’t prevented from learning the “business.”
Triple H’s booking is vastly different from that of McMahon. He also pushes different Superstars from whom McMahon was pushing before Triple H fully took over, such as Austin Theory. Theory is not quite at the level and trajectory he was on before Triple H took over with the creative reins.
Besides the little hiccup where McMahon decided to unretire and get back into creative, what have you thought of Triple H’s WWE? Can you still see a big difference from McMahon’s WWE? Is there any area you feel like he is lacking? What do you think is Triple H’s biggest strength in creative? If you had to take certain aspects of McMahon’s booking and have Triple H use them, what would they be? Let us know your thoughts on The Illuminerdi’s social media.