When people think of the WWE, they usually think of guys like John Cena, Randy Orton, Triple H, Brock Lesnar, The Rock, Undertaker and of course, Vince McMahon. However, there’s another man within the company of whom is beloved by McMahon but is loathed by Triple H and the IWC, and that man is Kevin Dunn.
Dunn’s journey in the WWE began when his father, Dennis was the executive producer of Intermedia Productions, which produced and syndicated (W)WWF television from 1972 through 1983. Dennis Dunn was very close to Vince’s father, Vince McMahon, Sr. for many years and Vince Sr.’s loyalty to Dennis extends to his son, Vince Jr. One day as Dennis was driving home from a TV taping in Hamburg, Pennsylvania, his car caught on fire. In his car were several tapes as Dennis managed to save the tapes from his fiery car as losing these shows would have disrupted the promotion. It was then that Vince Jr. promised Dennis that he would take care of Kevin as Vince Jr. would give Kevin a job for life in the WWF (now WWE).
Kevin would began his career in 1984 as an associate producer which escalated to being named executive producer in 1993 which was the very same year that WWE’s flagship show, Monday Night RAW, debuted. In addition to his duties as executive producer, Kevin was also given unlimited backstage powers on which Superstar or Diva to push and which Superstar or Diva not to push.
Former WWE color commentator and creative team member Jim Cornette has this to say about Kevin in an issue of the now-defunct magazine PowerSlam:
Did you often clash with other members of WWF Management?
Constantly with some people, but not with others. Jim Ross and I have always got along. He’s helped me a lot: he’s taught me a lot about announcing and the wrestling business in general. Gerry Brisco, Jack Lanza: guys like that. Great. I love (working with them). But guys like Kevin Dunn, who’s the biggest enemy professional wrestling fans have, and the non-wrestling people who are taught from day one that WWE isn’t wrestling: it’s sports entertainment, and it’s got to be hokey or whatever. No.
It’s not really their fault because that’s what they’re taught by WWE. But, at the same time, they’re so obnoxious about it (laughs). Kevin Dunn hates wrestling! He refuses to allow you to call it professional wrestling while you’re in the room with him. He will argue with you about it! He makes a million dollars a year as the executive producer of a show that he doesn’t even like!
Dunn, WWE’s Executive Vice President of Television Production, dislikes what he does for a living?
No. He likes what he does; he just doesn’t like wrestling. WWE has succeeded in fulfilling the prophecy: they always said they weren’t wrestling. Now, they aren’t. But the problem is, they’ve killed the business for the rest of us who want to be.
When (the WWF/WWE) was wrestling, Kevin Dunn would fight and argue with you. He would say: “We’re not wrestling! No, we’re not!” Finally, he’s right: WWE is not. But it’s still frustrating when you’re trying to work for the success of a company, and people won’t even admit what they’re doing. Vince McMahon created sports entertainment as a way to fool the advertisers into thinking they weren’t buying time on good, old-fashioned wrestling. That’s it. There’s no such thing, really, as sports entertainment. Have you ever heard a fan say. “Did you see the sports entertainment last night?” Have you ever heard anyone say, “Did you get your sports entertainment tickets?” Have you ever heard anyone ask, “Have you ordered the sports entertainment pay-per-view?”
I don’t think so.
No! Don’t disrespect me when you hire me to be a part of your company and tell me that I don’t know what we’re doing.
At one time, the WWF/WWE was describing Raw as an “action adventure program.” They’re delusional! Kevin Dunn wants to win an Emmy one day for being a real TV guy. All the rest of them owe everything they have to wrestling, and the last thing they want to admit is they’re in wrestling! I’m proud of being in professional wrestling all these years and of what I accomplished in it. Instead of being a crummy flop at anything else in the real world, I was the best at what I did in this world. WWE would rather be crummy flops as football promoters, bodybuilding federation promoters or restaurant owners than admit they do wrestling.
So, to answer your question: Yes, I clashed constantly with some people because they would fight with me about the business we were working in. All I wanted was the respect from them that I knew what was going on.
All that conflict sounds like such a waste of time and effort – time and effort that could have been devoted to something constructive.
It was a constant waste of time. We would spend 30 minutes in production meetings, talking about ways Sable would wear a T-shirt. Who gives a darn? It was frustrating. Being around that atmosphere was the most frustrating period of my life. I’m not good at regular compromise. But their compromise was, “Say whatever you think Vince will like to hear”. Compromise in the WWF was: agree with Vince.
Like Vince. Jr., Kevin likes to push Superstars and Divas based on their looks instead of skill. Kevin loves main eventers such as John Cena, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Brock Lesnar and the Undertaker. He also loves, big, muscular men such as the Big Show, Batista, Kane and Roman Reigns as well as supermodel-type Divas such as Brie and Nikki Bella, Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres and Sable. On the other hand, Kevin is reportedly not a fan of such Superstars like Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro and Dean Ambrose despite these Superstars being very over with the IWC. Kevin is also a huge fan of comedy gimmicks such as Stardust and Santino Marella. Another former WWE Superstar that Kevin is not a fan of is John Morrison. Dunn reportedly told several WWE staff members when it came to picking contestants for Tough Enough that Morrison “does nothing for me” despite Morrison being a very acrobatic wrestler.
Don’t expect Kevin Dunn to get the ax anytime soon as he is considered untouchable by Vince McMahon, Jr. unless Triple H takes over the company once Vince McMahon, Jr. either steps down or passes away. But then again, don’t be surprised to see Kevin Dunn become CEO of the WWE when all is said and done.