Viewers were given an unprecedented look at sports entertainment with E: 60 Pictures “WWE Behind the Curtain” on ESPN.
Cameras were given access to production meetings, backstage, in the ring and into the lives of the men and women who portray these larger-than-life characters. Featured in the documentary are superstars Adam Rose (Ray Leppan), Corey Graves (Matthew Polinsky) and Xavier Woods (Austin Watson). These men have come from various backgrounds, but share the same dream of making it in WWE. The starting point for each of their journey is at the company’s developmental brand NXT and the state-of-the-art Performance Center in Orlando.
It’s a provocative glimpse into a unique world and profession that would captivate fans and non-fans alike. Rose’s story is somewhat an eye-opener. You watch him interact with his son Maverick, who was born with a birth defect and eats through a feeding tube. Approaching his mid-30s, it becomes make it or break it for the South African father and husband as he transitions from the Leo Kruger persona to the party-starter Adam Rose.
Woods’ portion delves into how the charismatic athlete juggled pro wrestling and pursuing his PhD in educational psychology. After years on the independent scene, the emerging superstar was given the call up to the main roster. He is now a tag champion and member of the New Day.
The tattooed Graves was given the news his in-ring career came to an end due to his history with concussions. It’s hard not to feel for the dad and husband, especially getting an idea of the impact the medical setbacks are having on his family. Everything Graves worked for was to become a WWE superstar. However, life threw him a curve ball, and he embraced it by becoming an announcer.
Along with the features, interviews were conducted with decision-makers including WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon and Executive Vice President Paul Levesque. The production provides insight in what management looks for in its superstars from a creative perspective. Icons such as Hulk Hogan and The Rock also lent a few words on their respective careers.
Kudos to producer Ben Houser, reporter/writer Jeremy Schaap and everyone else involved for a quality piece of business. ESPN presented WWE with the same respect they do with other sports, where in the past many other similar productions look down on the business. I think members of the WWE Universe will perceive everyone featured differently, knowing how much they sacrificed to make their career aspirations reality.
For those who didn’t get enough WWE, E:60 also did this extra clip spotlighting Tyler Breeze (Mattias Clement):
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