Per reports from PWTorch, F4Wonline and Casiello's own twitter, WWE have recently hired Tom Casiello, long-time writer of "The Young and the Restless" and various other soaps, including "Days of Our Lives" and "As the World Turns" to be a member of the WWE creative team. This is notable for a few reasons. While they have hired Hollywood writers before, most were not well known or critically acclaimed (Casiello won two emmys for his work on "As the World Turns in 2001 and 2002). Secondly, it shows that WWE really are taking the claim that they are a "Male-Action Soap Opera"- as opposed to just a Pro-Wrestling shows- very seriously.
It's hard to be optimistic about Casello's chances for success here, frankly. As I noted last year being a WWE writer ain't all it's cracked up to: long hours, pettiness, politicking, constant backstabbing, tiptoeing around an often-volatile and scary Vince McMahon- and that's on a good day. On a bad day, attempted murder is not entirely out-of-the-question: Former writer Court Bauer once claimed that Vince had challenged him to an impromptu drag-race and, when Bauer managed to catch up with Vince's car, the billionaire CEO attempted to drive him off the road. A frightened Bauer then slowed down. "Vince likes to win" Bauer ominously confirms. Hey, there is a good reason they went through fifty writers in five years, in the period from 2003-2008. And the huge turnover still exists today. But relax: they were all either fired or left, none were (to the best of my knowledge) murdered by Vince while drag-racing.
In fact, rather than being aided by his better-than-average writing pedigree, Casiello may be even further sabotaged by his credible resume. Larry Mollin, who was head writer for the original series of teen show Beverly Hills 90210 in the nineties during its highest rated seasons, was also recruited by the company in April 2005 after management decided they needed more established writers. Despite the initial criticism of WWE for hiring yet another writer with no experience in wrestling, Mollin told Bryan Alvarez in an interview earlier this year for F4Wonline that he had been a fan, his kids watched it, and mentioned that he had even pitched a movie to Vince for Hulk Hogan in eighties.
To say Mollin got a tough time of it would be an understatement. In a now famous story (for people who follow this type of thing) Dave Lagana would complain that Mollin had, because of his advancing years, been forced, at night, to drive everywhere to prove he could handle the schedule. Mollin confirmed this to Alvarez and also told one wacky story about being in the middle of a meeting with Vince, Stephanie and several others and quickly being escorted out of the room by Stephanie (or "She Who Must Be Obeyed" as Mollin's jokingly referred to her) and then being scolded for nodding, because "Vince does not like nodding." Mollins also mentioned writers can't yawn either. Indeed, numerous other writers have attested to the idiocracies of Vince "Howard Hughes" McMahon, which include an intense dislike of sneezing, spitting or any sort of germ-related behaviour in general. And if you dare smoke around him? Heck, you'll likely be thrown in a box marked "Hollywood" and sent back to L.A.
Mollin, only half-joking, referred to WWE as a "Cult", because: "They beat you up, they tear you down, and then they hug you." He also noted he was irritated by constant phone calls from management about minor things in the middle of the night. Needless to say, he only lasted a few months, and many noticed the contradiction of WWE eagerly bringing in Hollywood writers and then driving them out. Mollin would note that, as he looked back on his time there, that he, and two other writers who also worked in Hollywood, had been "brought in to fail."
And if you're not from Hollywood and do come in with some knowledge of wrestling? Well, it's not much better. Court Bauer (who had been a name on the indies like MLW long before he got to WWE) noted in an interview with F4Wonline that he had faced a lot of problems too. He told one story about being in a a meeting with Stephanie, some road agents and the rest of writers, and how he casually thrown out words like "colour" and "blading", not thinking anything of it. Stephanie then demanded a private meeting with Court in her office and warned him about "acting like a mark" and told him, as a writer, he was an "outsider" and couldn't use those words. She then made him go around and apologise to all the established names there (including Pat Patterson and Ted DiBiase Sr) for using wrestling talk and coming off "like a mark." Bauer also noted that, despite writing most of the Ric Flair Retirement storyline in 2008, as a lowly writer he was never allowed to directly talk to Flair about it or ask him for any input. He was also banned from talking to Bobby Lashley and MVP when he was writing storylines for them. After head Smackdown writer Michael Hayes gleefully informed Court that he had gotten him sent home from Wrestlemania week over a minor booking disagreement the two had had, he then decided it was time to leave the company. Not surprisingly, Bauer referred to WWE as a "toxic, grossly dysfunctional, messed-up environment" and said that leaving was "like getting out of prison". Bauer also said he didn't think the company could creatively fourish under these circumstances because it was too difficult for good ideas to be heard, or for most writers to make it through the huge amount of politics that went on.
It seems doubtful that Casiello knows any of this, though. Indeed, his recent tweets are brimming with unbridled optimism:
I am beyond ecstatic. It's a whole new world, that I never envisioned for myself, but makes sense: the best of soaps & comic books combined.
4:54 PM Apr 16th via TweetDeck .
Folks, I'll spill. Going to the WWE. A TREMENDOUS opportunity,where I get to write,travel, produce, direct & work in LIVE TV. SOOO excited!
4:51 PM Apr 16th via TweetDeck