AEW producer Pat Buck has reflected on his time working in WWE and how production errors would make him lose sleep.
The world of live entertainment is fraught with things that can go wrong, especially when those things are being broadcast to a worldwide audience. Add to that a boss like Vince McMahon who seemingly invented rules on a whim and you have the recipe for a stressful workplace.
Speaking to Sam Roberts former WWE producer Pat Buck – who currently works backstage for AEW – shared a story from his time in the company where a slight production error caused him to lose sleep and says the atmosphere in AEW is much more relaxed:
There’s things that I carry over to AEW where I’m like… I’m not gonna use the word “traumatized” but I’m like, I can never have that happen. For example, in the ThunderDome, you would never — and most of the time, you should avoid this too — you shouldn’t have a manager on the hard cam side of the ring. You’re just getting the back of their head. The ThunderDome, that was an extreme no-no.
I remember one time in particular, maybe it was [Baron] Corbin versus Buddy Murphy and The Mysterios were involved. I remember when we had Dom, before Dom was Dom, and Aalyah and Rey’s wife. I don’t think his wife was out there but Rey was out there, Aalyah was out there and so was Dom and we wanted to have Aalyah involved in a spot and you know, Baron Corbin does the tribute to Bossman type thing.
He slides out from the post, wraps around, goes back in the ring into one of his moves. So we did a thing where he slides out and Aalyah’s kind of just standing there and the creative that night was get all of the Mysterios involved to kind of rattle Corbin. Like, Dom’s involved, Rey’s involved and they’re rattling him and I think Buddy defeats him.
So, Corbin slides out and here is Aalyah in his face, just kind of standing there but the spot was near hard cam. Like by that post and they can’t get her face and you would have thought I lit the ring on fire and did something atrocious and I went — on something so minute, you still know she’s there, you’re still getting the Corbin going, ‘Hey! What are you doing?’ But we didn’t get her face and then we continued. That’s all it was…I didn’t sleep that night because of how, ‘Pat, you messed up. You can’t let that happen again. What the heck?’
So when I come to AEW now and I’m like, I get these moments like, ‘Tell the manager don’t go there’ and they’re like, ‘Yo, chill. It’s fine. It’s fine. We still know there’s a manager there…’ And it’s not a right or wrong. It’s just kind of embedded. I can never say belts ever again. It’s always title, it’s always championship. But I do love that about AEW. I don’t have to panic about those things.
What was the WWE ThunderDome?
The mere mention of the WWE ThunderDome will no doubt send a shiver down the spine of wrestling fans around the world as it became the company’s home during the pandemic. With live events shut down, WWE built the ThunderDome in a variety of locations as monitors took the place of live fans in arenas with them instead shown watching from home.
The ThunderDome was a novel idea when companies had to come up with innovative strategies to cope. But it’s no coincidence that WWE added the word “Together” to its strapline when crowds came back as they had been sorely missed.