[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/russodavid2.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:300:Vince Russo (right): Former [[http://www.wrestling-titles.com/wcw/wcw-h.html WCW World Heavyweight Champion]]. [[note]]What are they all looking at down there? '''The ratings.'''[[/note]] ]]

->''"Do you know how many copies of the book ''Literature/TheDeathOfWCW'' I've autographed [...] and when the people come up to me with the book, they're '''scared to death'''! And I'm like, 'are you kidding me, gimme the book, I'll sign it!'"''
-->-- '''Vince Russo''' being a good sport (2006).

''[[DramaticUnmask OH SHIT, IT'S VINCE RRRUUUUUUUSSSSOOOOOOOOO!]]''

'''Vince Russo''' aka "Vic Venom" and "Vinnie Ru" is a former head writer for the [[Wrestling/{{WWE}} WWF]], Wrestling/{{WCW}}, and Wrestling/{{TNA}}, and is one of the most controversial figures in ProfessionalWrestling history (and one of the few non-wrestlers in the business who generates such controversy). Essentially, he is to the wrestling industry what Creator/RobLiefeld is to the comics profession.

Russo's biggest success was when he (along with Wrestling/VinceMcMahon) was able to turn the [[Wrestling/{{WWE}} WWF]] around during the Wrestling/MondayNightWars with its [[Wrestling/AttitudeEra "Attitude" ]] [[DarkerAndEdgier branding]], resulting in the company's biggest period of success since the Wrestling/HulkHogan era, and a resurgence in popularity for the industry as a whole.

He would try to emulate this success when he, along with writing partner Ed Ferrara, jumped ship to Wrestling/{{WCW}} in 1999. However, without [=McMahon=]'s [[ExecutiveMeddling editing and input]], his storylines were...variable in their quality. And that's putting it kindly. Not only that, he failed to realize that the [=WCW=] audience had different expectations than the [[Wrestling/{{WWE}} WWF]] audience: instead of catering to them, he attempted to transform [=WCW=] into a poor man's [=WWF=], which alienated the existing fanbase and put off any new viewers (who just switched over to [=WWF=]). Although the biggest factor in WCW's death was probably AOL Time Warner executive Jamie Kellner (who made no bones that he hated wrestling) being in charge of their programing, Russo's booking during 1999 and 2000 didn't help.

Having been a ProfessionalWrestling fan for so long that he proclaims to have "[[TaughtByTelevision seen it all]]"[[note]]Or so he claimed; in truth Russo had never attended a wrestling match before being promoted to Cornette's partner at the WWF.[[/note]], Vince Russo's booking ethos is to try to shock and surprise the fans with something new. Unfortunately this usually amounts to something that doesn't make sense rather than something that is original, or something that the fans want to see. There is a reason why he is the [[TropeNamers Trope Namer]] for ShockingSwerve. Another issue is that he constantly tries to outsmart the [[SmartMark [=Smark=]]] fans: the problem here is that the Smarks -- due to ''being Smarks'' -- don't buy it, and regular fans are just confused by things like wrestlers "breaking character" or references to backstage incidents that only hardcore fans would know.

His infamy is such that when it was announced that he had been re-hired by WWE in 2002, the rest of the writing staff threatened a walk-out. His tenure at [=WWE=] ended a few days later, after a "big idea" he proposed bombed horribly (rumor has it that it would have been a restart of WWE's own failed WCW "Invasion" angle led by Eric Bischoff; as a point of interest, Bischoff was hired by [=WWE=] a month after Russo's dismissal) and he was demoted to an advisory role, one that he quit soon after.

After this, Russo came on board to Wrestling/{{TNA}}, and has been a regular booker (for the most part) since the company started business. Russo was a member of [=TNA=]'s booking committee. His reputation is such that, in response to a series of (very real) backstage incidents between Wrestling/JeffJarrett and Wrestling/KurtAngle over the latter's ex-wife, many observers claimed initially [[CryingWolf that it was all an angle devised by Russo and refused to believe it was real]]. In 2012, Dixie Carter announced that TNA and Russo had mutually parted ways and he was replaced by Bruce "Brother Love" Pritchard. However, it was already formally announced that Russo had left TNA in October 2011.

Ultimately, Russo's "creative" output will give an observer the idea that his writing is done from a play book (or trope book, if you prefer) the size of a religious pamphlet, and that he has relied on this limited source of potential ideas for the majority of his career within professional wrestling, [[FleetingDemographicRule rehashing the same concepts and ideas from multiple companies]] with multiple (and sometimes, the very same) characters.

He has his own webpage now, where he shares his thoughts on modern wrestling: http://www.pyroandballyhoo.com/

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!!'''Tropes and {{Signature Style}}s associated with Vince Russo:'''

* [[SmartMark All Viewers Are Smarks]] [[ViewersAreGeniuses And Thus Are Geniuses]]: Russo's belief when he was booking WCW.
** [[ViewersAreMorons Except that he believed they could be easily fooled and swerved]].
** It falls on both sides of the fence. Believing his audience was composed of people who "figured out" pro wrestling, all he has to do is monkey wrench their expectations and do something that leaves people saying "I don't think I've ever seen something like that before!" The problem is, maybe we HAVE SeenItAll and thus the only way to go beyond that is to effectively break the framework of the show we're watching, and that's something no one wants to see since...you know, we like to be ENTERTAINED by what we choose to watch on TV, even if it isn't entirely new or unique but simply effective.
* AscendedExtra: Was a writer for WWE Magazine under the pen name "Vic Venom", had his own segment on the show "Livewire", and even commentated on a handful of episodes of "Shotgun Saturday Night".
* ArchEnemy: Wrestling/JimCornette hates Russo so badly, he stopped eating his TrademarkFavoriteFood Wendy's triple cheeseburgers and went on a diet. Why? So he can live long enough to outlast Russo ''[[AndThereWasMuchRejoicing so he can piss on the man's grave]].''
* Wrestling/AttitudeEra: One of the architects, along with [[Wrestling/VinceMcMahon Vince [=McMahon=]]].
* AuthorAppeal: For some unknowable reason, Russo loves pole matches. Not only pole matches, but pole matches for the strangest things. A pet rat, a pinata, Viagra, Judy Bagwell (no, really; though this was on a forklift), and the keys to Wrestling/MickFoley's office are just a few of the things that have been at stake in those matches. One particularly strange storyline from towards the end of Russo's time with WWE revolved around [[Wrestling/BigBossman the Big Bossman]] kidnapping and ''cooking'' Wrestling/AlSnow's pet dog Pepper. This inevitably involved a "Pepper on a Pole" match. Yes.
** Russo explained that since he thinks no non-gimmick singles match can be better than any other non-gimmick singles match, matches need different objects on top of poles to make them not just like each other.
* AuthorAvatar: Especially throughout his run in WCW, and his 2002-2004 run in TNA.
* BeardOfEvil & PermaStubble
* CloudCuckooLander: Where to begin?
* DiscontinuityNod: When Wrestling/ReyMysterioJr won the 2006 Royal Rumble as the #2 entry, the WWE said it was the first time that someone won the Rumble as the #2 entry. This was a reference to the widely hated 1999 Royal Rumble where Vince [=McMahon=] [[ShockingSwerve won the Royal Rumble.]] The booker for the 1999 Rumble was Vince Russo.
* [[EveryoneHasStandards Even Russo Has Standards]]: Whilst the angle would appear to be his doing, Russo isn't actually to blame for the Immortal angle. In a [=ReAction=] interview a few weeks ago, even he said he didn't like this storyline, and was just being pressured by [[Wrestling/HulkHogan Hogan]] and Bischoff to keep going with it. When Vince Russo, ''the worst wrestling booker in existence'', doesn't like a crappy idea? Chances are you should not do it. [[FridgeBrilliance Unless him disliking convinced them it must be good...]]
* FakeDefector: A number of wrestlers interviewed in ''Literature/TheRiseAndFallOfWCW'' have claimed that, at the time, they suspected Russo was sent in undercover by [=McMahon=] to sabotage the company. He was so bad at his job, people thought he was trying to fail.
* FollowTheLeader: What Russo tried to do in WCW is to copy the WWF product into the company, but he failed. Despite becoming renowned for his unorthodox swerves, most of his angles are reheated versions of memorable WCW/WWE storylines.
* FunWithAcronyms: Does the WWF's '''T'''erri '''I'''nvitational '''T'''ournament, WCW's '''S'''askatchewan '''H'''ardcore '''I'''nternational '''T'''itle, or TNA's '''S'''ports '''E'''ntertainment '''X'''treme and '''V'''oodoo '''K'''in '''M'''afia[[note]][[Wrestling/VinceMcMahon Vince Kennedy [=McMahon=]]][[/note]] ring a bell to anyone?
** He's also credited with creating the name for TNA; he chose the acronym to help differentiate the company from WWE as a more adult-oriented product, since the company originally broadcast shows strictly on pay-per-view.
* GlobalIgnorance: The (in)famous {{worked shoot}} in which Russo addressed his critics. On the topic of Russo's push of all-American wrestlers, he responded, "You you want [[MaskedLuchador Lucha Libres]] (sic)? [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7HTAeHZsFM Go to Japan.]]"
* GimmickMatches: Russo doesn't believe that one regular match can be better than another. Therefore, he uses these with damn-near obsessive regularity, especially "[X] on a Pole" matches, as stated above. Sometimes he'll even make a match with two separate gimmick matches stacked on top of one another, and usually with ridiculous stipulations attached.
-->'''''{{Website/Wrestlecrap}}''''': ''After all, this was the man who would go on to create the [[OppositeDay Reverse Battle Royal]] and would probably have invented the [[GravityScrew Upside-Down Battle Royal]] if he had figured out how to cram cameras and lighting rigs under the ring.''
* GreyAndGrayMorality: Russo believes that wrestling should be like this - that all characters should be shades of gray with no purely heroic faces or purely villainous heels. The problem with this potentially intriguing idea is that he's really not any good at it, and the characters he crafts tend to just seem wildly inconsistent in their behavior rather than morally complex.
* HeManWomanHater: His heel persona, evidently taking notes from fellow heel AndyKaufman.
* HeelFaceRevolvingDoor: A trademark of his booking. It was so bad in TNA that not even Wrestling/JeffHardy had been immune to turning eventually, and by the time he did he hadn't played heel for almost a ''decade''.
* IRejectYourReality: Let's see...
** He still insists the Wrestling/MontrealScrewjob was a work, he defends giving himself the WCW World Championship, he defends giving David Arquette the World Championship, he insists that no American wrestling fan wants to see non-American wrestlers, and he ''doesn't believe in {{Face}} and {{Heel}}''.
** He defends the David Arquette title reign by arguing that since people are still talking about the angle nearly a decade later, it was a success and a "money-maker". Because no-one ever talks about or makes movies about bad things that have happened in history...
** He more recently defended his love of pole matches by proclaiming that it's impossible for any one non-gimmick singles match to be better than any other non-gimmick singles match.
* IconicItem: Although Russo lacks a gimmick, he's never without his trademark NY sports team paraphernalia.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: One of Russo's (few) strengths is his ability to manage a large number of parallel angles and involve everybody in the roster in some facet of the ongoing story. If Russo's writing the show, everybody will have ''something'' to do, even if it's comical or makes no sense. (Unless they're Japanese; see "Patriotic Fervor" below.)
* MindScrew: If you're lucky, you may see an explanation for one of Vince Russo's plot twists but don't count on it. He values stories that are confusing over stories that make sense.
* {{Misblamed}}[=/=]ScapegoatCreator: The Impact Zone chant of "[[PhraseCatcher Fire Russo!]]" at poorly-conceived matches or skits, regardless of whether Russo had a hand in it or not.
** The first time the chant was invoked (Turning Point 2006 during the Sting vs. Abyss Last Rites match, which featured a casket suspended from the ceiling which they called a Deathbed), Russo wasn't actually at fault. Dutch Mantell, later pegged as the guilty party, was most likely laughing during it. Or maybe not. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-8BEqC_EPs Dutch defends himself]].
** People also forget that Vince Russo is usually ''not'' the only person involved in writing or booking. In an interview regarding his disastrous decision to put the [[http://www.wrestling-titles.com/wcw/wcw-h.html WCW World Heavyweight Title]] on an actor[[note]]DAVID ARQUETTE![[/note]], Russo recalls that he proposed the idea (originally from an off-hand comment by Tony Schiavone) at a booking meeting filled with industry veterans and staff workers alike. Everyone involved not named Vince Russo recalls that the room erupting into laughter at Tony Schiavone's joke--and it was only afterwards that Russo decided that the joke was actually a great idea. [[YesMan They all enthusiastically agreed that it was a great idea]]. Arquette, however, hated the idea; as a wrestling fan, he thought the idea insulting.
** Russo himself claims that all the times the "Fire Russo" chant has been heard have been with segments he's not involved with. Of course at the same time he claims that all the negative things attributed to him during his stint in WCW is wrong, and he defended the "No contest in a steel cage match" fiasco.
** A tragic example: [[Wrestling/JimCornette Some]] [[Wrestling/RoddyPiper people]] blamed Vince Russo for the death of Wrestling/OwenHart. While Russo came up with the harnessing spot, no one could have forseen the tragedy that happened at the 1999 Over the Edge PPV. Hell, even Russo blames himself to this day for letting Owen do that spot. [[RuleofCautiousEditingJudgement But it was an accident and let's leave it at that.]]
** A more light hearted example: He wasn't responsible for angles like Katie Vick or Mae Young giving birth to a hand, as he had left the WWE by the time these angles hit the screen.
* NoFourthWall: ''Always. Be. Shooting.'' This is the ultimate tool in Russo's arsenal, as well as the perfect shield: When the smarks start complaining, and all else fails, tear the whole universe down. Russo deployed this tactic to justify some of his more radical decisions, such as placing the Championship Belt (or "[[FandomBerserkButton prop]]", as Russo emphasized it) on actor David Arquette. Thus, the ante keeps upping: WWE is no stranger to this type of controversy, inducting such luminaries as Drew Carey into the Hall of Fame, yet the company refused to drop the act even for a second.
* ParanoiaFuel: [[invoked]]Once you've been swerved a dozen times, it's hard to believe anything that comes out of Russo's mouth ever again. It doesn't help that he's been known to deliberately make himself seem more vapid or delusional [[ObfuscatingStupidity than he probably is]].
* PatrioticFervor: From the fountain pen of Vinnie Ru himself, ''Wrestling/{{WCW}} booker (1999)'':
-->''I'm going to tell you something right now that you will absolutely not agree with, but I've been a wrestling fan my whole life and I will live and die by this. It's hard enough, believe me, I write this shit, it is hard enough to get somebody over. You will never ever, ever, ever, ever see the Japanese wrestlers or the Mexican wrestlers over in American mainstream wrestling. I'm an American. If I'm watching wrestling here in America, I don't give a shit about a Japanese guy. I don't give a shit about a Mexican guy. I'm from America, and that's what I want to see.''
* PointyHairedBoss: Russo's career has often been compared with failing upward. He was revived as booker for the EV 2.0 promotion, having been instrumental (or so he claimed) in bolstering ratings during his stint at WCW. Paul Heyman was invited to join him at TNA, but one of his stipulations was, sensibly, the immediate removal of Russo, Hogan, Flair and their ilk before a repeat of the [=WCW=] debacle occurred. This proved impossible as Heyman had no clout to demand such a thing.
* PostModernism: Frequently attempts this by blurring the line between {{Kayfabe}} and reality, but rarely succeeds because ProfessionalWrestling is built on a foundation of SuspensionOfDisbelief.
** That, and he's just not that good at it. Other, smaller promotions, like Chikara, have experimented with post-modernism in wrestling with much more critical success.
* PowerStable: He was the BigBad in WCW for the Powers That Be and the New Blood.
** For [[FunWithAcronyms Sports Entertainment Xtreme]] in TNA.
* RealLifeWritesThePlot: [[invoked]] Even as far back as his early [=WWF=] days, Russo's hunger for behind-the-scenes drama was powerful and it reflected in his angles. This would prove a natural fit for ''Impact'' and its faux-{{reality TV}} gimmick. (In fairness, modern [=WWE=] also tends to do this with alarming regularity.)
* SexSells: Thanks to his FunWithAcronyms approach for naming his PowerStable in TNA, this was the name of their entrance theme.
* SmartMark: Is one, and his attempts to shock other Smarks into thinking wrestling was real never worked because Smarks are, well, ''Smarks''.
** HypocriticalHumor: As much as they hate the guy, go on any wrestling board with a Book Your Own Angle thread and you'll find a disturbing amount written by Smarks who seem to have the same booking sensibilities as Russo.
* TakeThat: After Russo left WWE, he's apparently been obsessed with bashing them every chance he gets, both in WCW and TNA. He still believes his talents were overlooked and wasted by both companies.
** And before that, he was doing the same thing to WCW when he was working for the WWF in 1997-1999.
* WorkedShoot: Especially during his time in WCW, even though few if anyone really ''believed'' that what they were seeing was supposed to have been "real."
** His public firing of Wrestling/HulkHogan at the 2000 edition of WCW's ''Bash at the Beach'' event is his [[Awesome/ProfessionalWrestling Crowning Moment of Awesome]], though it resulted in Hogan suing WCW. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed in 2002.
*** According to Eric Bischoff's book, Russo firing Hogan was a shoot. He'd gone into business for himself and screwed up what was to be a major angle in the process.
*** According to the ''Website/{{WrestleCrap}}'' book, it was a worked shoot turned real shoot. The whole thing was planned to get the belt on Wrestling/BookerT, but Russo's promo against Hogan was so much more vicious than they had agreed on - it concluded with Russo calling Hogan a "big bald son of a bitch" and [[BerserkButton Hogan is notoriously touchy about bald jokes]] - that Hogan filed a defamation of character lawsuit against Russo for it.
* WritersCannotDoMath
** Tell him you want longer wrestling segments and less of everything else and he'll tell you everything else is where the high rating come in. Yet when Nitro decided to cut back on wrestling segments to test this Raw slaughtered it by a 2.5 margin.
** The first week of the "Second Monday Night War", ''[[Wrestling/{{WWERaw}} Raw]]'' got a 3.6 rating. ''[[Wrestling/{{TNA}} TNA Impact]]'' got a 1.5, leading to Russo including the following in his blog:
-->"the bottom line is-- TNA WON-- period."
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