Life as a WWE employee is a mystery to most as the general public rarely get a glimpse into exactly what a day to day process is working with the biggest Wrestling company in the world. Slice Wrestling presents to you a exclusive article written by a former WWE employee which for their protection we will name “Mr.X”, enjoy!
I know you’ve been through it a million times. It’s a day you wait on every single year for god know’s how long, you can’t sleep the night before it and if the show was that you won’t be able to sleep after it either.
You wake up early in the morning, throw on your freshest WWE gear + accessories and you’re on your way out the door The excitement build’sas you inch closer and closer to the arena, constantly checking social mediato make sure that your favorites will be at the show and before you know it. You’refinally there.
Even if every superstar manages to slip by undetected, there is one thing the anxious fans will always be greeted by: the long line of WWE Rigs parked beside or within the confines of the Arena. They’re big, powerful & unlike a lot of other big companies, quite unique in nature.
I spent time on one of those rigs and I’ve been asked by the good brothers at slice wrestling to speak on what I can for you all. I will not say my name nor address to what capacity I worked for WWE and for how long. Let me start off by saying that I give not one care about whether you believe me or not. You won’t find any wild war stories or exclusive top secret backstage news here, only hard facts about what it means to be an employee of the “E”
JOINING THE FAMILY:I should kick-off (no pun intended) by noting that there are generally two typesof stagehands when it come’s to the E: 1) Local Crew, these guys are the local union types who fall under IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employee’s) and are paid pretty well and in most areas of the country, well disciplined & highly skilled. Their duties include some of the grunt work such as loading in road cases that contain cameras, audio equipment, wires, fire kits, lighting and more, as well as assisting the Road Crew in setting up the ring, stage, ramp, backstage are, etc. This also includes the load out (packing everything up and heading for the next town)
Which brings me to our next group: 2) The Road Crew, we are the regulars & experts when it comes to WWE production, I say that because there is really no other company like WWE in a production aspect, no other wrestling promotion or 3 letter sport moves the way the E does, that is not a diss but a statement of fact, they are in a league of their own. The road crew controls everything from pyro, to theme music, to the programming of entrance videos, lighting and much more, including the supervision of ring, stage, ramp and backstage area setup. Some, but not all of us, are contracted through Upstaging Inc. A theatrical production & transportation company who have held a longstanding relationship with WWE for over 20+ years no. Whereas those who are in more managerial positions such as Producer & Production assistant are brought in directly through WWE.
ROAD LIFE:Could you manage being away from home for days, and in some cases weeks at a time? I know our active duty & veterans could (Fly Navy!) but for many of you I assume that task would be difficult, and rightfully so. At 52 weeks a year one might be inclined to rethink joining a company with such a rigorous schedule But for most of my former co-workers, some of whom have been with the E for 11, 15 and even 20 years. It’s completely normalcy at this point.
While producing & production normally ride in tour buses, the grunts will normally travel in their rig if they’re a driver, and or their own vehicle if they’re not. Due to federal HOS (Hours of Service) laws, truckers are required to sleep after a certain number of hours on the road.
Thankfully these requirements rarely come in to play as most WWE tours are regional with breaks in between regions, meaning that a northeast tour (PA, NY, DE, NJ, etc) would end with a few days of rest before heading towards the mid-west (MN, WI, MO, OH, etc)
PERKS:As far as food goes, you’re pretty well fed. Catering is awesome and fair pay means being able to afford decent grub and lodging, although some hotels are paid for during certain events such as Wrestlemania, SummerSlam, and Royal Rumble, including most out of country tours, 401k’s and great medical insurance are also available,
RELATIONSHIP WITH TALENT:The bond shared between crew guys and talent is a special one based on mutual respect and understanding, We do what we can to assist and not bug them, while they respect and treat us as human beings, The jokes and pranks are plentiful, so whereas you goofing around may be frowned upon, it’s nothing to worry about as someone will eventually take notice of you and if they like you, well..let’s just say you better have some damn good situational awareness (cough..new day…cough)
Respecting the women and not fawning over them is obviously a huge deal. They’re all very kind, sweet & caring. Although who doesn’t have a bad day every now and again? we are very protective of them and are there to assist in whatever. whether they need to be mic’d up for an interview or need some luggage moved, it’s not a problem at all and they’re always quick to let you know how thankful they are.
IN CONCLUSION:WWE is a wonderful company, like anywhere else it has it’s flaws and requires massive change in certain area’s, but in other ways unlike anywhere else is so unique. You gain valuable experience while traveling all over the country and in some cases the world, making history with one of TV’s longest standing, multi-billion, corporate entity’s. The friendships forged will last a lifetime and if you play your cards right like me, a door while always be open for you should you ever decide to pursue other ventures, I hope you enjoy my insight and thanks for reading!