Randy Orton Discusses How Terrible WWE Creative Was Under Vince McMahon

By Joe Burgett
May 9, 2024
Triple H & Randy Orton

We all know that WWE Creative was pretty insane under Vince McMahon. It seemed that Vince often had no idea what he wanted to do from week to week. This led to numerous issues when it came to long-term storytelling. Yet it also would cause several issues with things like consistency, making many assume that Vince felt WWE fans were just stupid. He would do things that would constantly cause problems with not just one story, but multiple stories at the same time.

While WWE Creative was not always as insane as it had been before Vince was pushed out, it was never perfect. People love to glorify the Attitude Era like it was the best period in pro wrestling. However, WWE’s Attitude Era was filled with absolute nonsense. Sure, there were a lot of interesting or cool moments that took place. There are even wonderful matches that took place during this era.

However, one thing was clear. Vince had no idea what he was going to do creativity most weeks, which allowed the wrestlers to have a more fun and creative involvement in the product. Things were crazy, however, from week to week. A lot of WWE RAW episodes would have mostly “throw it at the wall” creative. As in, Vince and co pretty much just threw an idea at the wall to see if it worked out.

If it didn’t, they’d avoid doing it for a while. If it did, great. Yet this led to constant problems creatively even then. That is why very few people can recall full episodes from that time or recall as many storylines as they’d like to claim. Vince kept this same booking philosophy into the 2000s and the product suffered for it.


Randy Orton

A lot of WWE Creative changes have taken place since Triple H took over WWE Content fully. The Chief Creative Officer of WWE has implemented changes that want fans to invest in not just full episodes of shows, but each storyline too. The reason is that he enjoys the long-term story concept. He wants fans to view WWE’s product like they would any other television show. Therefore, stories for everything they do must be planned out.

That was not the case under Vince’s booking at all. In fact, WWE Legend Randy Orton discussed this recently when speaking to the Adam’s Apple YouTube Channel. He would claim:

“With Nick Khan, Triple H, and Bruce Prichard, so many things have changed from a creative standpoint. They’re thinking months and months and months in advance. Before, we were kind of flying by the seat of our pants. Creative was changed minutes before we went live each week. I don’t mean sometimes. I mean, each week creative was changed. It’d be 05:00 p.m.

You’d be on the East Coast going live in two or 3 hours, and you wouldn’t know what you were doing, you know, and that’s a very stressful environment, and you’re not going to have the best product in the world if you’re doing it like that every week. So just purely from a creative standpoint, you’re able to let it marinate and think about, okay, how am I gonna do this? Or how can I make this better? Or maybe there are tweaks, but you don’t do it ten minutes before you go live.”

Randy isn’t wrong here. There are reports of Vince changing plans a few minutes before shows would go live, and even while shows are going on. Sometimes, these shifts in ideology can be a good thing. Other times, it can make things a lot worse. Either way, Vince struggled to be happy with creative decisions and would change them repeatedly. This is why most superstars would have no clue if they were going to win their match, keep their championship, etc.


Vince McMahon and Trish Stratus

We’re pretty sure that, by now, most have heard about the Vince McMahon allegations. A woman by the name of Janel Grant filed a lawsuit that claimed Vince sexually assaulted her and even conducted sexual trafficking using her. Her claims, while horrible, are nothing new. Most people knew about other allegations made in the past already. We also knew Vince’s character on television often was written, by Vince himself, to work with women. He’d often have a “relationship” with them.

Some of this was sexualized, with women throwing themselves at Vince. Again, he’d write or put these things in the shows. Vince has openly admitted to cheating on his wife, Linda McMahon, in the past. When doing so, he claimed he didn’t any longer but it was pretty obvious that he was. While fans had assumptions for years, Ms. Grant’s allegations opened up more issues behind the scenes. It also referenced several problems women faced at WWE’s Corporate Office.

Due to how Vince treated women, he clearly did not care about them as athletes or wrestlers. Triple H, however, did care about this side of things. He felt that making women’s matches better would only be useful for WWE. It also would result in the women having more respect. Triple H is the father of three daughters and is married to an incredibly accomplished businesswoman, Stephanie McMahon.

It makes a lot of sense that he’d want to see the women of WWE respected more.

He has been right in that move, as WWE has been able to capitalize on their female WWE Superstars. They make as much or even more money on them as they do with the men these days. This has even been reflected in the contracts they get, which are lightyears better than they used to be.


Cody Rhodes - WWE RAW

Fans will tell you that they love the creative moves WWE has gone with. One thing Triple H understands that Vince never did is that partnerships with other promotions can still be useful today. Vince did have this mindset in the 1990s and early 2000s, as he worked with ECW & Paul Heyman a bit. This mindset by Triple H has led to partnerships with several independent promotions, even with TNA Wrestling.

Triple H has also pushed for more of a global approach to shows. This could be why WWE is going international with several of their Premium Live Events or PLEs this year. As of this writing, they just got back from France and will be headed to Scotland, Saudi Arabia, & Germany soon.

Yet these are just business decisions that helped WWE’s creative slightly. What really changed for WWE and its fans was Triple H’s approach to WWE Creative being treated just like comic books, television, or movies. Hunter and his team will meet up and discuss ideas for content and where stories will lead. They’ll do this anywhere between 2 to 6 months from when we will see them.

While WWE has long had this mindset for WrestleMania build-ups, it was not something done with most storylines or PLEs. That shift in creative direction has made last-minute changes incredibly rare. It has resulted in a less stressful environment backstage, and happiness with the talent is at an all-time high.

It’s interesting how one man can change culture like this. However, it’s not that surprising when you think about it.

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