Feature: Steve Anderson on the Bane That is Creative Control


Creative control.

Whoâ<80><99>s the genius who came up with that as a line item in a wrestlerâ<80><99>s contract? Eric Bischoff? Vince McMahon? Creative control is a salve to soothe the ego of egotistical wrestlers. It is what is wrong with the business.

Kevin Nash recently spoke out about his creative control clause. His involves physicality. Anything that would put him at risk of being injured is fodder for veto by him. I can see the reason behind it, but not as a written clause in a contract. He was injury-prone when he was younger. Now, as the years advance, he would be putting himself at even greater risk. Putting a wrestler in their late forties or fifties in a gimmick match with weapons and extreme bumps is foolhardy and dangerous.

They canâ<80><99>t all be Terry Funk.

With that disclaimer duly noted, I have always loathed the creative control contractual clause. Hulk Hogan was likely the first wrestler to have it. Could he demand it? Damn right, he could. From the eighties to the early part of this decade, he has been a major star who could call his own shots. But it doesnâ<80><99>t make it right to give him creative control printed in ink.

Hogan and other â<80><9c>creative controllersâ<80> are stars, but in the end, they are wrestlers like the rest of those who donâ<80><99>t enjoy as much notoriety. They are subject to the whims of a booker or booking committee. They should be dutiful soldiers who should do what their told. They can debate a certain angle or change in character. They can try to negotiate.

But, in the end, they should shut up and do their jobâ<80>¦or, at times, the job.

100% creative control in a written contract is the bane of the wrestling business. Bookers book. Creative people create. Wrestlers wrestle. Everyone has his or her job. Sure, thereâ<80><99>s overlap and sometimes wrestlers book themselves, their buddies, and their sworn enemies.

Creative control has screwed up angles. It makes messes out of finishes. A clean pin becomes a disqualification. A sensible ending of a match turns into chaos with run-ins aplenty. The behind-the-scenes machinations of a wrestler with complete creative control can make the television product hard to watch to the casual observer.

The Rock is making movies. Stone Cold is retired. The Hulkster is mired in divorce amongst other family problems. Few wrestlers can assert creative control and have it placed in a contract. As new stars work their way to the forefront, letâ<80><99>s do away with creative control. A wrestler, any wrestler, can take one for the company. If they are asked to do something that is not physically dangerous, they should do it. If for no other reason then the booker demanded it and its good for the company.

Wrestlers can become their gimmick. They can believe their publicity. The egos start to take fire. Creative control is the gasoline that ignites a raging inferno out of control. It does nothing to benefit the business. It undermines the hard work of wrestlers, creative staff and others.

Time to stop the creative control clause before it gets out of control.

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