By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Jimmy Jacobs on his time as a WWE creative team member: “I think there is this perception that the writers there don’t know anything about wrestling. I was in the writer’s room for about an hour before I realized that all these guys know all about wrestling. Not having experience in the ring doesn’t preclude you from having good ideas or understanding wrestling, which is a lesson I learned in WWE. Some of the smartest guys that I ever met in wrestling were the writers. There are guys that are there like Ryan Ward or Ed Koskey that are brilliant guys. Brian Gewirtz who works with The Rock now was there when I first got there. He was brilliant. He was super creative and really knows how to put a wrestling show together. That’s a particular skill. Being a pro wrestler is one skill. Being able to write wrestling television is a totally different skill. Most of the time when a wrestler is creative, they are creative for themselves and creative in the bubble. They are creative for their story and maybe they see it with one other person, but they don’t see it as a whole. When you put the TV show together, you have to see the whole. It’s like a Rubik’s cube. When you move one piece and the whole thing shifts.”
Jacobs on Vince McMahon changing the scripts: “Look, it’s Vince’s show and he’s allowed to do that. I want to preface what I say with that. There is no real judgment. If you want to have a different process, then you go start a wrestling company and you can have whatever process you want. It’s Vince’s show, he’s the boss, and he should be the boss probably. Somebody has to be the boss. Somebody at the end of the day has to make the decision. Even if you and I are writing a wrestling show right now, you and I aren’t going to agree on everything. The buck has to stop somewhere and that’s with Vince. A show will be written going into Monday Night Raw and the day of the show, it always changes on some level. It’s probably not the best process but it’s Vince’s process and he gets to do that. You learn not to get married to the ideas you have even if they are in the script because they will change. My mantra was, it’s not my show. So, I’m going to do it the way Vince wants it, but I’m going to do it to the very best of my ability given the box I can play in.”
Jacobs on Vince McMahon’s attitude when he is changing the scripts: “I don’t think anybody would accuse Vince of being very diplomatic. From my perception, and maybe it’s just my personal experience, but I would say Vince rules with fear. I would say that’s a mostly fair assessment. When I first came into the company, I wasn’t scared of Vince. When I first came in the company, I was thinking, why is everybody scared of Vince? After being there for two months, I was like, yeah, I get it. I learned quickly you are always one weird interaction with Vince from either getting fired or being in the doghouse. If you care about your job, you start to toe the line. You are only one weird interaction with Vince from him going, oh God, this guy doesn’t know anything or can you believe he wore a pink tie today? That’s how it is. He is a fickle, odd, eccentric billionaire. It’s his sandbox and he is letting you play in it and you learn that. I liked working for WWE. I didn’t like working for Vince. I don’t want to speak for other people but I think there are other people that would echo that sentiment.
“I was there about a month and a half. One of my friends on the writing team was supposed to go to Vince’s office. Vince had told him to change this and bring it back to him. My friend changed it. He went into Vince’s office without knocking because the guy worked in TV for years. When you are supposed to bring the script to somebody you just go. I never worked for a boss like that when we are doing something live that we have to be so formal. He went into Vince’s office to show him this change. Vince was like, what, you don’t knock? Vince wanted him fired. The manager of our team was able to save him from being fired but he was in the doghouse. Now he is a lead writer there. He is super talented and the best writer there. I mean pen to paper writer. Vince wanted to fire him for not knocking on his door. So what you learn there is, you are not judged on the content of your work, but you are judged by all these other weird things. I wanted to be judged on the content of my work and not how eccentric Vince thinks I am. That was my constant time there.
“I was not able to express myself because Vince doesn’t get me. He said I’m like the (Shinsuke) Nakamura of the writing team because he thinks I’m this weirdo. That was a lot of my time there, just trying to speak Vince’s language which is a big part of the job. I remember having an idea and expressing something during a production meeting one time. He looked at me and was staring at me. He doesn’t say anything to my idea. Then he whispers something to one of my bosses. I’m like what the hell was that? I don’t get a response? I was worried he was going to fire me. I didn’t know why. I didn’t know what for and then my boss came up to me and said, Vince thinks you dress a little gimmicky. I was wearing a black suit, a black collared shirt and a pink tie and it was breast cancer awareness month. So I was like, what should I take off…and he said yeah, take off the pink tie. I said no problem. It was things like that and that’s how Vince saw me. He saw me as the guy who was trying to get myself over.”
Other topics include Jacobs working as a writer and producer for Impact Wrestling, his five reigns as an ROH Tag Team Champion, plus she shares stories on Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens, EVOLVE, independent wrestling, and much more.
You can listen to other shows apart of the TMPT Empire including Shane Douglas’ Triple Threat Podcast, Taking You to School with Dr. Tom Prichard, Talking Tough with Rick Bassman, Taskmaster Talks with Kevin Sullivan and the University of Dutch with Dutch Mantell.