My week is never complete unless I expereince at least (1) episode of WWE programming. You may or may not know the feeling. Being a fan of the busines since watching Stone Cold refusing to tap out to Bret Hart at Wrestlemania, there is something so intriguing about the WWE.
It could be a number of different things that has people literally of all ages flocking to the next WWE event. The storylines, wrestlers, celebrities, venue…STOP! Hold the phone…
The WWE is world-renowned for its jaw-dropping productions. The venue, design, set-up, the list goes on…
So, what exactly goes into putting on a grand live event like Wrestlemania, Royal Rumble or Summerslam? If you are asking the same question – you stumbled upon the right article. There are (5) steps that happen behind-the-scenes that get you in front of your television or to your stadium seats to get yourself a dose of some solid WWE action. Here they are:
1. Getting all the equipment into the arena –
The people responsible for hauling all the equipment into the building need to be presented with a lifetime achievement award. What an ordeal for those involved. These people are arguably the most integral part of the show, without them, the wrestlers would merely walk out of a door way and wrestle on the concrete floor. Several lorry drivers make their way across the country during night and day to make sure the stage, ring, lighting rigs, control stations, monitors, television control equipment, cameras, and everything else is in the right place at the right time.
When the WWE is on the road heading to an event (RAW or SmackDown), they require no less than 12 lorries of the size pictured above to cart all of this all over the place. Here’s a secret you probably already knew: there’s more than one WWE ring. That’s because when the WWE is on the road during the week, they host shows in more than one city at a time. For example, during the WWE’s UK tour, shows were happening simultaneously in Newcastle and Dublin, Ireland at exactly the same time. The logistical planning that has be put into that sort of coordination is mind-blowing!
2. Gorilla Position –
While one team is dealing with getting the equipment into the stadium, Gorilla Position is assembled at the other end of the arena. Well, when i say Gorilla position, I mean the room built onto the back end of the stage which is out of sight from the audience. This is where Gorilla is housed. The staging area just behind the entrance curtain, where wrestlers wait before they come into view of the crowd. Named after legendary wrestler Gorilla Monsoon, who established the position’s importance and could often be found there. I hope that makes sense!
3. Assembling the ring –
The arena floor is now cleared and the ring is brought in. Well, the components that make up the ring are brought in. The ring, like everything else you see, needs to be built up from scratch.
First, the ring posts are put in place. This is where a referee comes into play. He is the one that uses his feet to measure out the distances between the posts before drawing circles on the floor, telling others where to put them. Each post weighs a few hundred pounds so takes a fair few men to haul them around the arena floor. Then, once they’re in place, pretty substantial steel bars connect them up and give us the regular 20×20 squared circle we are so used to seeing on T.V.
Now we have a square shape with nothing but air in the middle (this is alreally hard to picture, I know). Steel beams that fit into slots go across the width of the ring before nothing more than wooden planks (pictured) are laid on top of them, but going in the other direction (they would fall through if they were laid on in the same direction, duh).
There is no spring under a WWE ring. There used to be way, way back in the day, but not now. Those steel beams are set up in such a way that they flex slightly when a superstar takes a bump/fall. How can that not hurt time and time again? Rubber mats are placed on top of the ‘crossing’ steel bars for televised events only so the noise the ring makes is substantially reduced. Those devastating bumps must hurt more during non-televised shows, surely?
You really do gain a lot more respect for the toll our favorite superstars put their body through when you see a ring stripped down to its bare bones.
4. The Completed WWE Set –
All that work goes into the preparation stages of an event. Never mind all the fretting and anxiety that must happen after the first match begins. It’s a lot isn’t it? But when the ring crews, the designers and Vince McMahon (W.W.E CEO) himself stand back and look at their collective handy work, it must all seem worthwhile.
They always look amazing and are crucial to a show. Could you imagine a WWE event today without all the lights and flair, reverting back to the black and white days of the 1980s…
5. After the Show –
As I’ve sat down and contemplated all what these crew members go through 300+ days a year to bring us jaw-dropping entertainment on T.V. One word comes to mind – MOTIVATION
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You can tell that to put on a WWE event it takes a lot more than one person to make it all happen. That is why having reliable people around you to work with makes all the difference.
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