Chris Jericho Reveals Exactly Why WWE Started Hiring Writers
Speaking on his Talk is Jericho podcast, AEW star Chris Jericho revealed that Vince McMahon chose to bring writers into WWE to compete with the iconic comedy TV show Friends.
During the show, Jericho explained how his legendary 1999 debut wasn't scripted in any way, with Y2J and The Rock not even rehearsing the interaction beforehand. In Jericho's own words:
"It’s funny because when I got to WWE, my famous first promo with The Rock when I interrupted him, there were no writers at that point. That was late 1999 and no rehearsals either. Rock, and I and (Vince) Russo went over in the back, but there was no going through it. As you know, a few years later, that became the norm, which is part of what my opinion of one of the issues there is everything is so overly scripted and overly processed."
On the back of this criticism of WWE's dependance on overly scripted promos, Jericho then went on to reveal exactly why WWE Chairman Vince McMahon initially decided to hire writers for his company in the first place. As it turns out, McMahon wanted SmackDown to be bigger than arguably the biggest comedy series of all time in Friends.
According to the former WWE World Champion:
"The reason why writers became a thing was when we started SmackDown, which was right after I got there, August ’99, Vince made it his motto that SmackDown was going to be bigger than ‘Friends’. We’re going to beat ‘Friends’ on Thursday, and his reasoning and idea and strategy was well ‘Friends’ has writers, then we need writers too."
As usual, McMahon was determined to squash any and all competition, and he obviously felt taking a leaf out of his rating rival's book would aid in this quest. However, few could've foreseen just how much the boss' need to overthrow Friends would effect the overall quality of his product in the years to come.