IYH Interview: Vince Russo
By Hunter Shull
Former WWF, WCW, and TNA writer, and author of “Vince Russo: Forgiven”, Vince Russo joins Jack and The OIB on In Your Head. The first caller, Buck, asks Vince whether 2 Cold Scorpio had enough talent to be a world champion. Vince says that as far as talent goes, 2 Cold could’ve definitely been champion, but at the time was battling a lot of personal problems, so it wouldn’t have been for Scorpio himself or for the company to put the world title on him. Jack then asks if there was anybody else who could’ve been on top but wasn’t. Vince always felt that way about Booker T., and was very happy when Booker won the WCW Title because he definitely earned it.
The next caller thanks Vince for making WCW watchable in late 1999. Vince says that it was really unfortunate that he and Ed Ferarra didn’t get a chance to fulfill their plans for the company. Vince is positive that if they had been given the entire three years in their contracts, WCW would still be around today. Vince knew with in 2 weeks of his going to WCW that it wouldn’t work out because of the political backstabbing atmosphere. Vince never played politics, he just wanted to do the best job possible. Vince was very happy with the product he and Ferarra turned out during that 3 month period.
Vince definitely feels that part of what’s missing in wrestling today is that not everybody has a character. When Russo worked in the WWF, all Vince McMahon cared about was the top 3 or 4 guys, and it was up to Russo and Ferarra to make sure that everybody else had something to do. According to Russo it is the writer’s job to give everyone a vehicle to get themselves over, because if they have made it to the WWE, they are good enough to be there. Russo is sad to see so many talented midcarders who don’t get the opportunity, and puts the blame for this on the writers, saying that if they can’t come up with something for everybody, maybe they shouldn’t be writing.
When Russo heard that Wade Keller was hosting the Ultimate Insiders DVD, he was happy because it gave Russo the chance to tell Keller what his problems with the wrestling newsletters were over the years. Russo never had anything personally against Keller or Dave Meltzer, but didn’t agree with them printing their opinions as facts, without going directly to the actual source for the truth, or at least for the other side of the story.
A caller asks about the night Owen Hart died and whether the stunt was originally part of the show. Vince confirms that it was not written in the original show.
Russo believes that he could still write for wrestling today without compromising his religious beliefs. He feels that the problem with wrestling today is that the writing is “atrocious”, and written for 12 year olds. According to Russo, wrestling is basically the story of “good vs. evil”, and what makes people watch are intelligent characters and storylines. It has nothing to do with naked women or anything like that.
Vince goes over his rise to power in the WWF. It was not an overnight process. He started out as a freelance writer for WWF magazine. Then he was promoted to editor, and began editing Raw magazine went it was introduced. Russo then started writing promos for wrestlers for local house show commercials. After that, he began writing promos for certain wrestlers, including Goldust and Shawn Michaels during his first title reign. Bill Watts cut through the red tape and allowed Russo to sit in on the booking meeting.
Speaking of Bill Watts, Vince believes that Watts is a very smart man whom a lot of people are afraid of because he rules with an iron fist and is a true “cowboy”. Watts only lasted for a couple of weeks in the WWF because in wrestling, it has nothing to do with what a person brings to the table, it has more to do with the people who are afraid of that person and will lie, cheat, and steal to bring that person down.
Vince doesn’t miss wrestling now because he is doing the Ring of Glory shows, which are the greatest shows he has ever done. None of the negative aspects of the wrestling business are present in Ring of Glory. To learn more about Ring of Glory, check out http://www.ringofglory.com
Russo’s favorite people to work with in the WWF were Mick Foley and The Rock. They were very easy to work with, smart, creative, and just “got it”.
Russo was always very flexible when wrestlers didn’t want to go along with his ideas, and never made anyone do anything that they didn’t want to do. If the wrestler doesn’t want to do it, it won’t work, says Vince. That’s why the Goldberg heel turn in 2000 didn’t work out.
When asked about the Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior DVD, Russo feels it’s unfair because the WWE has the ability to tell their side of the story, but the Warrior doesn’t. Russo always thought Warrior was a great guy who was smarter than a lot of people, and people held that against him. “Why attack anybody,” Vince says, “Just let it go.”
Vince thanks all of the fans who supported him over the years, and says that all he was ever trying to do was to entertain the fans.