WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon recently appeared on the Bill Simmons podcast to hype this weekend's WrestleMania 37 pay per view and name who she believes to be the company's current top stars. McMahon also revealed that former Raw women's champion Becky Lynch pitched a storyline inside the maternity ward while she was off having her baby. Highlights are below.
On who are the top stars currently in the company:
I think Roman’s certainly one of them, but you can’t discount our women as well. You’ve got Sasha Banks. Drew McIntyre is on his way as well. Bobby Lashley is starting to really come on the scene. It’s not just one person. It’s part of the diversification of everything of platforms, of content, of all the different ways you can interact and engage with various influencers and talent. One thing about WWE is that there’s someone for everyone. Relatability is so important in storytelling, to be able to see yourself in the story or to be able to put yourself in the story.
Says Becky Lynch pitched an idea to get attacked in the maternity ward:
Well, I think it’s kind of simultaneous. It’s reality. This is a physical business. It’s not like she could continue to compete because she’s pregnant, but of course, so incredibly happy for her. It’s funny, I kept talking to Becky all during her pregnancy, and then afterwards, she was actually pitching somebody jumping her in the maternity ward. [Maternity Ward match], that’s coming. The second part of the Women’s Evolution (McMahon laughs).
On the women's division rebounding after Becky Lynch's absence:
That’s the thing with any stars. When you’re building stars and you suddenly you lose them, it takes a little while to rebuild back up, but now that the women’s division is built back up and then they come back, now the stars are really going to rise.
How Sasha and Bayley carried WWE's women's division through the pandemic era:
I’ve always known that Sasha could be right at the top. She just has that IT Factor. just shines, but ultimately, it’s not my decision. Certainly very very excited for Sasha to have this moment. I think during the pandemic, I’ve actually heard fans credit Bayley and Sasha for really carrying us during the pandemic with their storyline, and I think they did. I’m so grateful to each of them for doing so.
How they keep their eye on the mental toll their talent takes:
It’s something that we constantly keep an eye on. Vince has this analogy, workhorses, and when you have workhouses, you have to be the one to pull them back because left to their own devices, they’ll run themselves into the ground. But also, these talent, they don’t want to lose their spot in the story, and once you finally get there and you’re a part of this big story, you never want to lose your spot. So it’s constantly a balance of trying to do what’s right for your performers, and also what they want and also trying to keep your storylines going and everything else. So whether it’s taking a number of live events off in between television, whether it’s writing someone out of the storyline — Sasha Banks took about four to six months off. She was in a really bad place mentally because it’s not just the physical toll. It’s the mental toll too. When you’re on the road, and you’re going so hard all the time. It’s really hard.
(H/T and transcribed by Wrestling Inc.)