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Vince McMahon is returning to WWE Raw this coming Monday, and today on the PWTorch Livecast a former WWE Creative Team member Chris DeJoseph explains what it's like behind the scenes when Vince McMahon decides to appear on TV after an absence.
"I think there were numerous times where that could be brought up in totally different ways," DeJoseph, also known on air as Big Dick Johnson, says. "Sometimes it could be a request from the writing team. For the most part Vince didn't like to be on TV if he didn't have to be. I'm just using my own judgment here; I think this might have something to do with - usually it's like the McMahon Million Dollar Mania, or now the three hour Raws - I'm wondering if it's some kind of play to make some kind crazy announcement to get ratings."
Did the writing team usually collaborate with him or did he just say "this is what I'm doing"?
DeJoseph says: "There were lots of time where it was, 'We have this idea, we'd like to do it.' And he would be, like, 'Okay, that's great.' There were other times, for instance the Million Dollar thing, where he came to us with the idea and [that meant] we were doing it. (laughs)"
So what was the plan five years ago when Vince McMahon's limousine exploded, apparently with him inside of it, dying a fiery death - a storyline dropped abruptly after the real-life death of Chris Benoit and his family via murder-suicide.
"I think we were excited about it," says DeJoseph. "It was kind of a directive from the network in a way to try to create a huge story arc of - I think at the time everybody was into Whodunit? Okay, we are given the task of coming up with a Whodunit? We sat around that room enough hours and days and finally came up with: We're going to blow up Vince. We had a pretty long-term storyline. I don't know if we have a complete, defined finish of who it was or why it was done. I think that was going to be an evolving process. We couldn't necessarily get an answer out of the boss. Sometimes that's a little difficult. Even if you did get a definitive answer it would probably change anyway."
Was the idea to sell the idea he would have died inside the explosion? "Yes, I think the idea was for Vince to just be missing and his body is burned beyond recognition, he is gone, something like that, I think.
The idea was to say he was actually dead."
And where would the storyline go from there? What was the point of it all? Says DeJoseph: "I think it was going to be a scramble for power in the company. That was really the idea behind it. Now that he was gone, everybody was fighting for power and everybody has different motives. What were some of those motives to get the power?"
That was one example of a storyline being dropped before it was resolved, but that was a special circumstance due to the awful Benoit family situation.
In general, though, did Vince care about storyline consistency? No, says DeJoseph.
"It would always be brought up. Logic would always be brought up, but sometimes it'd just be thrown right out the window. He'd sometimes say he couldn't even remember what happened three weeks ago, so how is the audience going to remember it? I think sometimes that was his thought…"
DeJoseph says the blame should be on Vince himself, and not the writing team, for the big gaps in logic, dropped storylines, and stream of aggravating contradictions. He says the writing team typically tries to fix any gaps in logic.
"I'm sure they're going to try or at least they've been pitching all week or they're going to try to explain something. I'm sure they have something in mind to explain it logically. If they don't that'll be interesting, too."
The attitude is Vince doesn't think it's ultimately important to business or the bottom line. "It's a big promotional thing that's going to get eyeballs on this TV show and I think that's what he thinks [matters]," DeJoseph says.
Does it chip away at fans investing in the product? "Yeah, it sucks. [Fans have to be thinking,] 'Why should I invest my time and everything into this storyline when they're just going to sh-- on it without explanation.' I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that maybe they will on Monday. I don't know what they're going to do on Monday."
DeJoseph says the writing team cares even when Vince doesn't. "At least when I was there, and I'm sure it's still the same way, we would try to present every logical thing. We'd say we need to explain that, and whether it was ignored or we were told 'No, we f---in' don't,' that's the way it was."
If not for Vince, the writers such as Michael Hayes, Ed Koskie, and Brian Gewirtz would try to make sense of their ideas, but with Vince "you're constantly dealing with switching and changing things," says DeJoseph.
"Sometimes it's even hard for yourself to keep up on everything. I think they would try for sure. I'm sure when they knew that Vince was coming back, it was probably one of the first things that came up - how in the hell are we going to explain why he's back. And then it was probably, like, 'Don't f---in' worry about it.' And they go, 'Okay.' I think the writing team wants what most fans want because, for the most part, they're all fans."
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