Pro Wrestler/Writer/Creative genius Jimmy Jacobs recently spoke on The Hannibal TV. He discussed writing for WWE, unscripted promos vs scripted, working for Impact Wrestling and more. You can watch the full video below and check out our highlights.
Jimmy Jacobs on scripted vs unscripted promos-
I think there’s this big misconception that if you let these WWE wrestlers just cut promos on their own, they would be great. And man, let me tell you buddy, when I got there, you know I’ve been around long enough and I thought like I knew, whatever. I guess for some reason I just assumed everyone knew what they were doing. And I got there and it was like oh nobody knows what they’re doing. Like all these guys, I don’t want to bury them all.
The ability to pick up a microphone and cut this amazing promo, it’s a slim ability. There’s a small group of guys, you know the guys I’ve worked with over the last handful of years that can pick up a microphone and talk and it’s good. You’re talking about like Kevin Owens, Austin Aries, Eli Drake, and John Cena, it’s a handful of people, John Moxley, guys like that.
But for the most part, let’s say your Seth Rollins and you’re staring Raw every week, segment 1, with a promo. It’s like a 15 min long promo, you start, HHH comes out, Stephanie comes out, Randy Orton comes out, what do you do? Just talk? Call them down to fight? You need some guidelines, at least that, you need some guidelines. And you do that this week and the next week and the next week. It’s good there to have someone help you out with that. I would love someone if I had to cut a 15 promo, every single week, it’s great to have someone there.
And the smart guys know that, John Cena knows that. John Cena will listen to anyone there, I mean ultimately he helps craft his own stuff, but he’ll listen to anybody cause he understands that.
So I think there’s this misconception that like ‘just let the guys talk and it’ll be great’. It’s like yea? Every single week? You let everybody say what they want to say, you know what 90% of people are gonna say? “Later tonight, I’m gonna kick your ass”. That’s what they’ll say, cause that’s what they fall back on, “I’m gonna kick your ass, I’m gonna kick your ass, etc..
So it’s in the balance, and I wish Vince gave some of the guys a little more leeway. It was hard, I think for the guys and detrimental to the product, to have these guys, not all of them, recite these things word for word or even close to word for word. Give some bullet points, have the writers there as resources to help them come up with words.
On how Impact Wrestling handles it differently-
That’s how it is at Impact right, I’ll go to whoever and say you’re cutting a promo on so and so tonight, just to let you know and I’ll leave. And hopefully by the time we’re gonna shoot this promo, they came up with something. Hopefully they have, not cause I’m lazy, cause I can never be a character better than that person can become. I can never be you, better than you be you, right. So if you can come up with your stuff and you know your character and it’s you got it, it’s like great. When that happens with people it’s awesome.
That happened to Taya Valkyrie recently. Taya this past year as a heel, it’s like she’s got her character. It happened with Matt Sydal a couple years ago when he was doing the guru thing. He got his character, I didn’t need to approach them almost, right. Sometimes they have it and sometimes they don’t. And I’m there to be like here’s how we craft it, maybe a little bit of this, little bit of this, and we craft it together and then you know the good thing is you don’t have to go running up the chain for a crazy billionaire to approve or not, so that’s nice. We get that sort of balance at Impact Wrestling.
Check out Jimmy Jacobs podcast, “Jimmy Jacobs Doesn’t Know”