In the dynamic landscape of professional wrestling, the WWE's transition from its raw and edgy "Attitude Era" to a more family-centric, PG-rated product marked a significant change in portraying its characters and storylines.
Brian Gewirtz, who served as the head writer during these transformative years, has recently opened up about the challenges this shift posed for the creative team. During his recent conversation on "The Masked Man Show," Gewirtz unveiled the behind-the-scenes challenges that emerged during the PG transition.
"It was branded as the PG era, but in essence, it leaned more towards a G rating," Gewirtz candidly remarked. He further shared an instead telling anecdote involving WWE's chairman, Vince McMahon. "There was this instance where a line I'd penned said, 'I don't even give a damn.'
Vince objected, emphasizing our PG rating. I countered, arguing that this was precisely why the word 'damn' was suitable."
McMahon's 'Damn!' Double Standard
Gewirtz's contention about the usage of the word wasn't unfounded.
As he noted, Ron Simmons, a popular WWE superstar, had a catchphrase that solely consisted of "Damn!" Not to mention, this catchphrase was even emblazoned across his merchandise. Pointing this out to McMahon, Gewirtz received a rather bemusing response.
"McMahon just brushed it off, saying, 'Oh, that's different. That's his thing.' " This new era posed inherent limitations for a writer who had previously crafted lines for stalwarts like The Rock during the edgier times. Crafting engaging promos while walking the fine line of PG restrictions became a tightrope act.
However, Gewirtz highlighted the resilience and adaptability of WWE's creative brigade, stating that they managed to navigate these limitations effectively over time. Despite their grievances, McMahon's decision remained firm, pushing the creative team to rethink, rework, and reinvent their approach to storytelling.