Creative Control, my foot

Discussion in 'The Wrestling Archives' started by Mustang Sally, Apr 29, 2015.

  1. Mustang Sally

    Mustang Sally Sells seashells by the seashore

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    We toss around the term Creative Control so freely that I sometimes stop to wonder exactly what it means.

    Does it entail a major player having complete control of everything his character says, does and is asked to do? Does it actually mean "veto power".....meaning he doesn't have to do what management wants him to do? Can a performer with CC propose as well as dispose......meaning he can give WWE management his view of how characters other than himself should play their parts...... or are his suggestions pertinent only to himself?

    If the latter is true, what kind of say does management have when the CC guy suggests something that has a major effect on his opponent's career?

    No, I'm not going to start a "Montreal Screwjob" thread, but if Mick Foley's version of Montreal was the truth and Bret Hart was saying he would agree to lose the title to Foley or Steve Austin.....but not Shawn Michaels .....is that a CC request that should hold water? Isn't it a slippery slope to travel when a performer's Creative Control controls the immediate future direction of the company......and still is in effect after he's gone, for gosh sakes?

    It would be interesting to read a contract that provides for Creative Control.....if for no other reason than to learn how all-encompassing it truly is.

    Has anyone ever seen one?
     
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  2. Max Headroom

    Max Headroom The Master of Disaster

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    I agree, it would be quite interesting to be able to read a contract in which creative control is involved, however I feel none of us here would be able to gain legitimate access to one (as far as I know). I do feel that there are different levels of creative control. For instance, a John Cena or Steve Austin would probably have close-to-full on creative control over their characters, whereas people lower have SOME say, but not quite as much. The bottom-of-the card people probably have none, and the best they can do is suggest things.

    To elaborate on what I just said, keep note that I said "creative control over their characters", as that's a big part. I feel as if having creative control has to do with only yourself. For instance, John Cena could say "hey I wanna do this with my character" or "there is no way I'm doing that", and he would probably get his way in that, considering it has to do with himself, and he's a big player. If what he wants to do happens to effect someone lower on that card, that may just be tough for them, but I can't see him being able to say "do this with this guy" or "don't do that with him", as that's a bit much.

    For the guys whom aren't #1, but are still generally well-received or a long-time veteran, I'd say they have *some* creative control. They probably can't just flat out say "I'm going to do this", but they likely have the ability to deny doing something they really don't want to do, depending on how important said thing/angle is.

    For the lower-card guys, the best they can probably do is go "hey, this could be a good idea", and hope it sticks. They could also refuse to do something, too, but would probably risk being put behind someone else whom is more willing to try things. Given they're so low on the card/aren't a main attraction (or co-main, which would be my middle tier), they aren't yet in a position to call any shots, only in a position to suggest one.

    That's the best logic I can come up with. I could be totally wrong, and again, it would be nice to see an actual contract or two which has creative control discussed in it, but I just can't see one being obtainable unless you work with the company or are close to someone that has said ability.
     
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  3. FlairFan2003

    FlairFan2003 Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    Creative Control, which is practically non existant today, typically meant a star had input into their storylines and had final say on match decisions. We know that Ric Flair had something similar in 1990 when he was booked to lose the World Title to Sting after a long feud and build up and WCW tried to change course on the fly when Sting was injured (Flair arguing they should let him keep the title until Sting came back in a few months, then give STing the big set up/title win he was promised top fulfill the storyline rather than hotshot Lex Luger or someone else into the title unexpectantly - he was also stripped of this power shortly afterwards but he got his way in the meantime).

    It was believed Brett Hart had a similar stipulation in his last WWE deal, but he didn't have final say over matches - he had considerable input into storyline and finishes that other talent may not have had but he didn't have the last word, that is about as much power as Vince has let anyone have talent wise. Even Steve Austin didn't have final say over match finishes (which is why Vince let him walk and refused to use him on air, burying him in the process, when he refused to put over Lesnar).

    Hulk Hogan actually did have final say over match finishes and considerable input into both his own storylines as well as ancillary storylines involving characters involved with him in WCW, that's much more than Hart or Austin ever had. Vince has never given that kind of authority to anyone and given all the angst it created in WCW probably never will.

    Typically anymore in WWE it is not something specifically detailed on talent deals, the way financial breakdowns for live event bonuses, PPV matches, merchandise sales, etc are. It's more or less understood that certain "Top Tier" veterans have more input into their own storylines and match finishes than most other talent but Vince has final say. Guys like Cena, HHH, Taker, and probably Randy Orton have that kind of pull but it's unlikely anyone else has. Back in the 2000s you would have included HBK & Flair into that category, and maybe for a bit Kurt Angle before he left. Anymore it's more an "un written rule" related to your stature than a WWE Contract Stipulation, largely to avoid the issues of WCW Hogan or Hart's WWE departure.

    Obviously special attraction guys like 2000s Hogan or The Rock today have considerable say because simply put they don't have to appear, therefore they are pitched an idea for a storyline and match, including a finish, and are given the chance to adjust, negotiate, etc changes they want, then locked into an agreement to appear.
     
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  4. Messiah

    Messiah WWE Champion

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    Every talent has input on their stoylines if they want to, nothing is stopping them from going to Vince or HHH to give them ideas, if they like it they'll do it. None of the guys today has any initiative. They have to have promos written for them because not every guy can speak without following a script.. It's a professional environment, they can't allow them to do whatever the hell they want.
     
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  5. Mustang Sally

    Mustang Sally Sells seashells by the seashore

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    That's incredible, when you think about it.....and goes a long way toward explaining a lot of what was written in "The Death of WCW." This book said a lot that went wrong was due to Hogan's power behind the scenes; yet I wondered how this could be so if he wasn't working as a booker.

    Actually, having Creative Control is even easier on a person than being the booker, right? While the booker has to (presumably) carefully plan events in great detail, the guy with CC can just "play devil's advocate" and potshot only the aspects he's interested in. But that Hogan could also have major input into the direction of matches he wasn't even involved in points, imo, to the stupidity of those in WCW that gave him that power.

    Can't let the inmates run the asylum.
     
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  6. Jeff Deliverer of Mail

    Jeff Deliverer of Mail Money for nothin, chicks for free
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    WCW Hogan using his backstage politics and creative control have been covered here...but what about WCW Kevin Nash ? Some say he was even worse than his on-off pal Hulk Hogan. Hell, Nash was even a booker at one point and booked himself ending Goldberg's streak...ugh !
     
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  7. Kodo Sawaki

    Kodo Sawaki Championship Contender

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    Well, as I understand its just some level of control of your character. Meaning that if they want you to do something with your character or for example to repackage you to something you dont like you would have a saying in that decision and you could implement some of your ideas into character and that you can, for example, be permitted to just go out and say what you want(in some degree of boundaries) just as CM Punk did in summer of 2011. As far as booking goes, dont think anyone would have that power to overtake booking just because he has creative control of character. With backstage politics yeah, but just because creative control, no.

    From what I heard and read Hogan had what you said(almost total control) in WCW and Bret Hart had it explicitly in contract. After "Montreal Screwjob" Vince didnt allow anyone else to have it in that way, though guys like Cena and HHH would normally mostly get what they want more then some other guys. Which is just how world works(more power= more influence), not just because they have in the contract that they can overturn booking decision in their favor.

    Oh, and as far as the question go, no, you shouldnt have that much power. WWE is bussiness like any other, if they say that you would lose to a guy A you cant just say "Oh, but I want to lose from guy B". You should have some saying in it(after all, no wrestler should be "Yes man, monkey see, monkey do"), but in that level no. In bussiness when Boss says something you listen and do it. Its that simple.
     
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  8. jpickens

    jpickens Pre-Show Stalwart

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    The only thing a wrestler should is control over character in other words if your character is a peir 6 brawler or pure technition that you've had success with and they want to change it then you should be able to object other than that you don't like it you're free to go.
     
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  9. DualShock

    DualShock A Vince Russo Guy

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    That's interesting because months after the screwjob Steve Austin had it "his way" numerous times when he was unhappy working with guys like Jeff Jarrett, Owen Hart or Billy Gunn.
    I think under certain circumstances some wrestlers don't even need to have creative control, being the right guy at the right time can give you freedom like you have CC.
    For Steve Austin it wasn't even necessary to have CC because it would be sucide for WWE in 1998 to piss off the hottest superstar in the company while having WCW as a strong opponent with Goldberg on the rise. In 2002 with new stars in the company WWE was able to let Stone Cold walk away without fearing the consequences they would in 1998.
    Same goes with John Cena for the last 10 years, he doesn't need to have CC but him being the only great full timer in the company is enough to let him have his way and WWE would always choose Cena over some guys like Kofi Kingston, Luke Harper or Cesaro if they had to make a choice.
    Maybe Hulk Hogan had creative control in the 80s but him being the big draw back then was enough to have him go over guys like Mr. Perfect, Earthquake or King Kong Bundy even if he never had creative control.
    btw I will not take the examples like the Montreal Screwjob, Bash at the Beach 2000 or the CM Punk promo and go off topic but these are IMO 3 of the greatest worked shoots (tbh the Punk one was not so great because it was too obvious) but the reason for most cases where people blame superstars for using CC to go over is their overness, not their shameless use of creative control.
    A smart promoter will always take Hulk Hogan over King Kong Bundy, Steve Austin over Jeff Jarrett, Sting over Barry Windham or John Cena over Alex Riley. Fans blame these wrestlers and use the word "creative control" too often when it's actually their overness that made them go over some guys in this business because it's a smart business decision
     
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  10. enviousdominous

    enviousdominous Behold my diction

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    Do you remember Van Hammer? If you do, you probably have a memory of something really stupid that he did. He wasn't a very bright guy. He would eventually become a part of "Misfits in Action" and assume the role of "Private Hammer". This gimmick upset him, because a private is a mere E-2 in the Army. He wanted to be fake higher ranking, because it's all real to him.

    My point is; these guys take everything about their career damn seriously, especially the role they play in our imaginations.

    Having contractual creative control is, as you already know, a guarantee that you won't have to accept anything you're asked to do unless you can be coerced. If someone has that kind of power as an entertainer, they're a thousand times better than me if they can only ever use that power in purely virtuous ways.

    The majority of fans only want what's shown to them on tv. Backstories involving the reasoning behind artistic direction are moot points at best when trying to criticize the value of the show. Those of us with higher standards for quality have to accept that at the end of the day they're just people in tights reenacting choreographed violence for our amusement; while the quality of the story they tell can amplify the publicity of the product, it's a requirement that these performers become over-obsessed with their alter-egos to a manic degree.
     
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  11. Mustang Sally

    Mustang Sally Sells seashells by the seashore

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    And therein lies the problem. Everything I've ever read about Hogan suggests he used CC only to benefit himself, not caring in the slightest about the company as a whole, despite his protestations to the contrary. But with his dominance over the pro wrestling scene back then, the company had to take pains to please him, so if anyone warranted Creative Control, he did.

    I still wonder why they gave the power to Bret Hart, and to what extent. Even as a great performer, did he really merit CC? I have no idea whether he was regarded as a guy who put over others.

    As to John Cena, all I'll say is this: I've never seen a performer who has put over as many people as he, yet been accused (on this forum) of never losing matches and never putting people over. He must have some degree of CC, given that he could probably say at any time "Do this my way or I'll retire."

    Ask anyone in the WWE front office if they want that.
     
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  12. MrHashasheen

    MrHashasheen Enjoying Wrestling

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    He had creative control in the last thirty days of his contract, a contract which was intended to run for twenty years. My assumption is that was put in to assauge Bret that even if the contract was cut short (as it was), then he wouldn't be unfairly treated by Vince on the way out. On Vince's end, he probably felt Bret had been a company guy long enough and had been reasonable enough as an employee (barring Shawn Michaels), that he could give him that with little trouble in the long run.
     
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  13. BestSportsEntertainer

    BestSportsEntertainer I Don't Need No User Title

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    Who has John Cena put over? How many matches has he lost clean?
     
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  14. rmp0012002

    rmp0012002 Championship Contender

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    I think Hogan was the only one really to have creative control contractually, and he abused it. Others like the Kliq just had Vince's ear and in the case of Bret and Shawn, they just didn't like each other. Mostly Vince allowed the wrestlers to control the situation when that should never happen. Herd did not have to balls to make Flair drop the belt as he was told so Flair won that one.
    Guys like Austin and Cena may have "creative input" but didn't have "creative control". Austin found out in the end that he didn't have control and walked out. Cena may give his opinion but the days of wrestlers telling promoters how things will go are over. The WWE's vast creative group is overboard for me but the wrestler does what the booker says.
     
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  15. FromGlasgow

    FromGlasgow Championship Contender

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    I imagine the bigger name the more creative control they have, Like if John Cena at the top decided in a one off moment that he didn't want to job to Kevin Owens or decided he wanted to work with someone like Adam Rose at the next PPV he probably has that abillity without too many repercusions but on the other hand if someone like Diego from Los Matadores didn't want to job to Titus O'Neil in a tag match for example or if he wanted to work with Dean Ambrose at next PPV I don't imagine he would quite have the same sway.
    At the end of the day though WWE is still a business and everyone probably has some limited creative control but only to an extent as they still have to sell tickets and PPV buys and can't just 100% work to please the talent.
     
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  16. Nick-Neuro

    Nick-Neuro New Member

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    While I understand what you are saying, I must respectfully disagree about any one person having that much power. In my opinion, CC should go to the right people, and if the right people are in place, them having CC not only benefits themselves, it also benefits us as wrestling fans. Again, in my opinion.
     
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  17. Slash-LN

    Slash-LN Rigistered Post Offender

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    I'm pretty sure creative control can protect a wrestler legally as well.

    That was the case with Kevin Nash a few years ago anyway. He didn't want to be in a 10 man gauntlet match and didn't want to be one of the early eliminations so he walked out of a TNA Impact taping.

    He had creative control which meant he had final say on everything that happened with him and I'm pretty sure he couldn't be fired for leaving if TNA didn't honor that.
     
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