Ahead of Saturday’s Survivor Series premium live event, WWE Chief Creative Officer Paul “Triple H” Levesque has been doing press this week. That included a talk with Sports Illustrated’s Justin Barrasso about his approach to his role leading the writing team and making booking decisions for Raw, SmackDown & main roster PLEs.
Barrasso praises Haitch for “integrated multiple storylines into this Saturday’s WarGames matches” and making sure that talent who aren’t in a title picture or even on the PLE card have creative direction. The Game chalked that up to his own experience as a performer:
“I started at zero and saw all the various stages of it. I’ve worked in front of basically no people, and I’ve worked the biggest shows in the world. I understand the process–the successes and the failures. Even when you get an opportunity to move up the card, then you’re moved back down and you’re not sure if you’re going to get that opportunity again–I’ve been there.”
Triple H also talked about what he learned from his father-in-law, the man who booked almost everything we saw on WWE television for almost fifty years — Vince McMahon:
“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.”
Not sure McMahon always booked what the fans wanted to see, but that’s well-covered ground. Back to his son-in-law, though...
Even though he’s been credited with making sure WWE creative has been logical and incorporated history & continuity, The Game says it’s the audience’s emotions he’s most focused on:
“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.”
Trips also made a statement that a lot of people would argue hasn’t always been true in the past. And he credits the current generation of talent for ensuring its true now:
“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.”
We hear a lot about the differences between modern wrestlers and those from the “good old days”, and it often makes it seem like the fact today’s talent grew up as pro wrestling fans is a negative. Hearing Haitch frame it is a positive is nice to hear, and further explains why so many young wrestlers respect and trust him.
Whatever he’s focused on or whoever’s influencing that, you won’t find many WWE fans who don’t consider the booking improved under Triple H’s leadership. We’ll see how he does with his second Survivor Series this weekend.