Former Impact Wrestling creative writer Dave Lagana recently took part in the ‘Five Questions’ portion of this week’s Sports Illustrated Extra Mustard’s Week In Wrestling. You can read a few highlights below:
Dave Lagana explains the decision to leave TNA and work on a project outside of wrestling with Billy Corgan:
When I left TNA, Billy brought up a project when he traveled around America in an RV and he wrote music that is going to come out this May in an album he produced with Rick Rubin. We decided to follow up that project with “Thirty Days”, and do daily documentary pieces, sort of in the vein of a guy by the name of Gary Vaynerchuk. He has a daily vlog where he has a camera guy follow him around. Billy loved the concept, so we started at day zero in Chicago on the Mancow Show, and that one video we shot—where he said, “It’s looking good that the Smashing Pumpkins may get back together”—became the biggest story that the Pumpkins were reuniting. It was interesting to see, on day zero, how the media will take one line and twist it into what they want it to be for a better headline. That’s where the project started.
Lagana comments on the creative process behind the ‘Broken’ Hardys story:
It’s about learning what people do well, how they do it, and what the audience is hoping for. The Hardys storyline began in January when Matt Hardy turned heel, but he didn’t want to do a storyline with his brother. Every time they had done it, it had not been what they had hoped it would be. Those storylines are hard. Matt was “Big Money” Matt, and that was starting to gain traction, and then we did the “I Quit” match where Jeff put Matt through the table. We asked Matt, “What if something broke in you and you changed when Jeff breaks the table with you on it?” If you remember the early stages of “Broken” Matt, it was very dark, the accent was kind of weird, and the contract signing—that JB [Jeremy Borash] went to North Carolina to shoot—was one of those moments that became great. It was campy, but it was also disruptive. How many contract signings have you seen in WWE? I think they’ve probably had 1,000, and that’s no disrespect, but we asked ourselves how we could do a contract signing differently. The Hardys had a completely different contract signing. I remember the day after it aired, when the clip got shared on Twitter, and it started to gain traction. You got the normal “I hate TNA” response, then people dove deeper into this and found something special in this. Matt and Jeff and JB deserve all the credit for pivoting the storyline. After that moment, we saw something completely different and trusted the talent to do it.
Lagana responds to fans that are disappointed in the new creative direction of Impact Wrestling after he left the company:
Devote your time to something you like. If you devote your time to something that frustrates you or angers you, or makes you feels like you’re wasting your time, find something else. There are TV shows that drove me insane, and I just didn’t go back. I liked the first two years of Grey’s Anatomy, but after that, I was done with it. Sometimes wrestling fans hold onto a moment from three years ago and hopes it happens again, but I know it is a huge time commitment to be a wrestling fan. That’s the question talent and people working in the business need to ask themselves—are you giving people full value for the time they are investing? Every moment doesn’t have to be impactful, but it has to fulfill an audience. If you’re not feeling fulfilled, find something else.
I haven’t watched wrestling in thirty days. I took the time away from it to do something completely different. Will I start watching again? Sure, but I am very happy doing what I am doing now with Billy—creating compelling content in every genre of things we like. Billy likes music, he loves wrestling, he loves America—he loves what this country can stand for, does stand for, and we want to find compelling people and tell strong stories. That’s what we’re doing in music, wrestling, and reality.