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former wwe creative member talks about cena, batista, or tons rise...TITANGRAPH

TheBoyRo Members Posts: 13,647 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited March 2012 in Off The Turn Buckle
With experience of running his own company, Major League Wrestling, under his belt, Court Bauer joined the WWE creative team in 2005.

Bauer had the opportunity to witness this transitional time in WWE.

“The big program was building stars for tomorrow,” Bauer said. “You had Batista and Randy Orton ready to launch. You had John Cena, too. You had Triple H versus Batista. You had John Cena pushed into a real main event slot. You had all these guys in the mix. It was fascinating because they had done just a great job up to that point with the slow turn of Batista and how he was always a step ahead of Triple H, the subtlety of that.

“There were these simple things, not just these long archaic promos that you heard a million times in different variations. You had Batista quietly sitting in the locker room and Triple H scheming on the inside with Ric Flair. Then you had Batista there smirking, and they kept doing that. You knew that this guy was a step ahead, and you knew it was going to come to a head. Batista gave the thumbs down and off we went. It was a very interesting thing.”

Bauer worked closely with Vince McMahon and Stephanie McMahon, who suggested observing as the best way for him to start his position.

“So that what was what I did,” Bauer said. “I got to see how the process worked. From my point of view and what guys like [late wrestling manager and mentor] Gary Hart suggested was to observe the political dynamic of it and landscape. You had to observe the people of influence and those whose stock was ticking downward. It was to kind of know how the place works. Unlike any other wrestling culture in terms of an office setting, it’s a very hyper-political environment.

“So even if you are not a political person, which I am not or was, you wanted to have some semblance of an awareness of what that is. That was also something I was studying and observing. I came from a wrestling background; so it’s a very different point of view than a guy who worked in Hollywood who might have been a lifelong fan or for two years or not at all...Then you look at guys like Ted DiBiase and how they fit into the system or Michael Hayes or the other guys who came from the wrestling end of the company [to backstage positions].”

“Only two or three people were calm. Dusty Rhodes was another one because he is a guy who has seen virtually everything from the takeover with the Crockett’s company to ups and down of Turner in WCW to his own company. So he has weathered his own battles and storms. A lot of guys hadn’t and were overwhelmed thinking, ‘It’s WrestleMania season. This is crunch time.’

“You couldn’t give me enough. I had pitches ready for new talent that I wanted to suggest to Vince to drop on the flipside of WrestleMania because I knew that was always the flow of things. You wanted to insert new talent to create fresh match ups to change the tone of WrestleMania and build to a new season of product. That’s kind of how guys like Umaga debuted there after WrestleMania 22. My big thing was to present new talent and keep building stars.”

WrestleMania 21 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles saw Batista and Cena begin their path to superstardom. However, it was the place where the Money in the Bank concept was born. Bauer was not an architect of the idea, but he did watch how it evolved into an annual tradition for the big show.

“It served several purposes,” Bauer said. “Talent deserving were given an opportunity on a very limited time. This is a way to get your Shelton Benjamin in or your Hardy. You had guys who were definitely deserving of being showcased in a multitude of ways, from their aerial daredevil stuff to some of the giants doing their stuff to having a crazy different match and change up from the tone of deep invested feuds or big high stakes world title match.

“It was just a fun match and a bit of a train wreck, too. Once we realized we had something this interesting, it sort of became a thing where it was, ‘Are we going to do it next year? Yes. Are we going to expand it from six to eight guys to 10 guys? Yes.’ The logistics of who was in it and why played into it.

“You wanted a guy like Shelton Benjamin in there because he was a dynamic guy who can mix it up in the air and on the ground. He was very reliable. Then you had guys you wanted to keep out of those matches because you were going somewhere else on the flipside of WrestleMania. It was a great match to spread the seeds of a future world title match. You knew the winner was on the fast track, and we were pointing to this guy who is going to be in our designs for the summer. It was cool to see in April and beyond in WWE.”


  • TheBoyRo
    TheBoyRo Members Posts: 13,647 ✭✭✭✭✭
    A year later Bauer, was fully involved in the buildup for WrestleMania 22, where Rey Mysterio made it to the top of the WWE mountain. He says the decision to put the world championship on the masked superstar had its detractors.
    “Vince didn’t want him to win the Royal Rumble,” Bauer said. “That really came back to an 11th hour decision for him to win the Royal Rumble that year. Then he really wasn’t into doing the world title switch. Kurt Angle was lobbying for the title. Orton was pretty laid back about it because it was a three way that year. Vince didn’t think anyone would buy this little guy as world champion. He wasn’t credible. The crowd would just s--- on it. A collective group of us did believe in Rey. I did, another writer in Alex Greenfield did. Dusty Rhodes believed Randy Orton should win. He thought he should have the title as a guy you can build around. Everyone had their different reasons.

    “Ultimately, it came down to Pat Patterson being involved in a real committee with a vote. Ultimately Vince was going to make his decision, but I think Pat kind of tilted it in Rey’s favor because he had a track record for these things. We went with Rey winning the title, which was a great thing. He deserved it. Chicago was a great town for him to win it in. As the demo SmackDown would suggest, it would be great for the show, and it was for ratings. We had a huge Latino and child fan base. They both took off with Rey as champion.

    “Unfortunately, Vince wanted to prove to us that Rey wouldn’t be a legit champion and positioned him to job more than any world champion I can remember. It was very frustrating. We were handcuffed and butted heads over that decision, but once it was decided Rey would be champion, Vince also said when they were going to take the belt off him. He told us what day and stuck to that date. He reminded us weekly about that. It probably did Rey more harm as champion because Vince really wanted to prove to us it was a mistake.

    “I thought it was a pretty self destructive move, but he has to live with those results. It’s frustrating, but he is very stubborn. If you really bout with him, he will almost go out of his way to prove you wrong, even if you never buy into it. It sucked that Rey had to suffer because of it, but he is such a talented guy and his character is so endearing that I think he clearly was bigger than that booking and those mistakes.”
  • TheBoyRo
    TheBoyRo Members Posts: 13,647 ✭✭✭✭✭
    In his two-year stint with WWE, one contribution Bauer discusses fondly is his character development of the late Umaga.

    “I created the name. I created the persona. I created everything from the music intro to everything about it,” Bauer said. “Eddie Fatu, I was very close with. I broke into wrestling with his family, the Samoans. I knew him for a long time. It was great. I got to work with him in MLW. I was always backstage hanging with him at WWE events. He kind of got me in the mix early on with WWE. We were just great friends. He was coming back into the company, and I was able to pitch him in a very unique role.

    “It was a kind of a throwback to the old days of the monsters and larger-than-life heels. Something that Gary Hart instilled in me was building these monsters. WWF was a monster factory. You would throw these guys at Hulk Hogan or Bruno Sammartino. Undertaker is a perfect example of that. I was able to design this character from the ground up to being in a main event, which probably won’t’ be the case after this year, but at the time was the highest grossing PPV in WWE history with Vince McMahon and Donald Trump.”
    In a matter of months, Umaga proved dominant over legends and other top superstars. His meteoric rise led to a WrestleMania 23 showdown against another up-and-comer, Bobby Lashley.

    “It was a huge thing because I was also intricately involved with Bobby Lashley and getting him going,” Bauer said. “I was kind of handcuffed there because I wanted to give him an MMA presentation with warm ups and gear and actually come up with his own brand of stuff, but Stephanie thought it was too sporty for his character. I thought, ‘Then what is he supposed to be?’ But you pick your battles, and there are certain battles you don’t die on those hills over. At the same time you want to do the best for the talent. It was great to see two guys I was very invested in and had a lot of input on in that spot. To help them realize their dreams and do some great business for the company.”

    Making the showdown even bigger was if Umaga lost to Trump’s representative, Lashley, McMahon would get his head shaved. Bauer says Trump created a unique political dynamic.
  • TheBoyRo
    TheBoyRo Members Posts: 13,647 ✭✭✭✭✭
    “Nobody was really a part of the match in terms of incorporating ideas until we got what they laid out,” Bauer said. “It was a sensitive situation. They had a business arrangement — in WWE and outside WWE. You had two second generation millionaires. It was who had the most power, influence and wealth. It really came down to a situation where Trump wore this big winter coat. Vince was really 🤬 about that. So much in fact that on the flight home he was cutting an almost Mr. McMahon promo about this guy wearing his winter coat to try to show he was bigger than Vince and padding his shoulders.

    “He was so neurotic and insecure about this that it was fascinating to see this very confident guy losing his mind over Donald wearing a winter coat that happened to be bigger. I don’t think Donald really cared if he was bigger or not. He is not a bodybuilder obviously. Look at his hair. I don’t think was too conscientious about those things. I don’t’ think he was trying to outsize Vince, who is obsessed with his physique.

    “So it was fascinating to see that. It was sensitive at times. There was a time Donald offered us a ride in his jet, which was great because he had a much bigger jet actually. That 🤬 off Vince. It came down to this nouveau riche quandary between the two. It was a passive aggressive thing. That aside, you had [special referee] Stone Cold Steve Austin who was down for whatever. He was terrific and happy with his position on it. Bobby Lashley couldn’t believe he was in the position he was in.

    “To be at that point he was almost in over his head, even though he was a supporting player in that match. Umaga was also excited. He wanted to seize the moment. You couldn’t get another guy who wanted to seize the moment more than him. It came down to be a very easy thing to book. It came down to Vince and his facials to getting his head shaved. You probably don’t remember much from the match or the spots because the finish is what made everything else.”

    Surprisingly, McMahon devised the idea of losing his hair on the company’s biggest PPV stage of all.

    “We had been tried many times to do hair matches, but Vince really isn’t a fan of those matches,” Bauer said. “I don’t know why, but it isn’t in his belief system as a promoter or booker. So then this comes along where he said he was going to put his hair on the line. It was interesting that he would give the match to himself instead of another guy like Ric Flair or Hunter [Triple H] getting their head shaved over the years. That was his thing. He may have done the best job, better than maybe anyone in that role. I don’t even think Ric Flair could have sold that as Vince did. He was incredible that night.”
  • IceManKam
    IceManKam Hot bodies get Cold Shoulders Members Posts: 2,934 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Great read, I actually read through the entire thing.
  • Gnawledgeable
    Gnawledgeable Members Posts: 1,768 ✭✭✭
    When it's a titangraph about something interesting, I'll read it. We need more stories like this.
  • ocelot
    ocelot Members Posts: 10,019 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Damn Rey... Vince didnt believe...
  • dalyricalbandit
    dalyricalbandit Co-Owner Of AllhipHop.com, Super Moderator, Administrator, Moderator Members, Moderators Posts: 67,918 Regulator
    vince dont like them lil 🤬
  • BK Product
    BK Product Members Posts: 1,923 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Great Drop!!!
  • Mister B.
    Mister B. Still the Devil's #1 Advocate. Come on out that box! Members, Writer Posts: 16,172 ✭✭✭✭✭
    And now the MITB match is dead.
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