[[caption-width-right:300:Pictured: A one-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion.\\
What's he looking at?[[note]]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).

'''OH [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbeLpwdIsck SHIT,]] IT'S VINCE RUSSO!'''

Vince Russo is a former head writer for Wrestling/{{WWE}}, Wrestling/{{WCW}}, and Wrestling/{{TNA}}. He is also one of the few ''non''-[[ProfessionalWrestling wrestlers]] in the business who generates controversy: when it was announced that he had been re-hired by WWE in 2002, the writing staff threatened a walk-out. He is also a primary reason for why TNA was dropped from {{Creator/Spike}}, based purely on his reputation.

Russo is something of third rail in the industry, but you have to give credit where it's due--especially considering how people claim to love the Wrestling/AttitudeEra. 90% of what Russo has done in his time is laughed at; however, that leftover 10% sparked a huge shift and fueled the [=90s=] wrestling boom. When Russo and Wrestling/VinceMcMahon were running ''[[Wrestling/WWERaw Raw]]'', it pulled 7.3 million viewers.

There is also a tendency to blame Russo for WCW going under, but that iceberg hit long before he was called in. He tried to replicate his success on ''Raw'' with ''[[Wrestling/WCWMondayNitro Nitro]]'': get as many wrestlers over as possible, make it so fast-paced that it overloads the brain, and people will just '''have''' to see more. But without [=McMahon's=] editing and input, the results were...variable in quality. Also, ''Nitro''[='=]s audience had different expectations from ''Raw''[='=]s audience; instead of catering to them, he turned it into a [[ItsBeenDone poor man's]] ''Raw'', alienating the existing fans and new viewers (who just switched over to ''Raw''). [=McMahon=] and Russo are somehow bonded in whatever our core existence is.

Nowadays, he hosts his own podcast, ''The Brand'', where he shares his thoughts on modern wrestling. Vince himself has posted the highlights on his [=YouTube=] [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVX8-jwqPPM channel.]]
!!Tropes and {{Signature Style}}s associated with Vince Russo:

* AbortedArc:
** When Russo joined WCW, he came up with the New Blood angle, which was supposed to help new talent get over by beating the old talent. Wrestling/BillyKidman was part of the New Blood faction who set out to kill [[Wrestling/HulkHogan Hulkamania]]. Hogan cut a promo saying that [[Wrestling/BillyKidman Kidman]] couldn't draw fleas at a Flea market, and (according to the book) went as far as to hack the WCW homepage and redirect the "Match of the Night" votes to himself.\\\
Russo booked Kidman to pin Hogan (after Bischoff hit him with a chair), and again in a 2-on-1 handicap match. Hogan, of course, went on to beat Kidman in two straight PPV matches.
*** This angle failed for a few reasons:
###It was a company-wide feud, which is actually something which doesn't work too well, since everyone on the roster will be involved in something similar to everyone else.
###The crowd didn't take the New Blood seriously. They were viewed as rip-offs of the men they were trying to "replace" rather than people who were trying to make a name for themselves.
###There were people in the Millionaires' Club who were reluctant to job cleanly. Namely, these were Hogan (to Kidman) and {{Wrestling/Sting}} (to Vampiro).
** Near the end, we got the [[Wrestling/StacyKeibler Miss Hancock]] pregnancy angle, which went nowhere. Russo was the one who booked the kayfabe pregnancy, which put a quick end to her "marriage" to David Flair. Flair went on the warpath, challenging any wrestler he suspected of fathering the baby.\\\
According to rumor, Vince Russo had booked himself as the daddy[!]. This would have been followed by David's [[Wrestling/RicFlair father]] announcing that Hancock was the product of an affair he had some 20 years before, which would've made her and his son David half-siblings. But AOL-Time Warner pulled the plug before it could be revealed. The story was abandoned, and Hancock became Shawn Stasiak's valet for a brief feud with Wrestling/BamBamBigelow as the promotion died.
* AchievementsInIgnorance: Near the end of his tenure, he 'won' the WCW World Heavyweight Championship by [[{{Slapstick}} pratfalling]] his way to victory. It happened in a cage match vs. Wrestling/BookerT which was filmed in Russo's home of Long Island. This may have been due to him thinking he could recreate the magic of the Mr. [=McMahon=] character.
* AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs: Russo and David Flair were aligned at the time. They barged into Ric's mansion, did a tour of the house.... Even took one of his robes before Ric's wife and their other children arrived home and kicked him out!
* AlliterativeName: '''V'''ic '''V'''enom.
* AnswersToTheNameOfGod: He once drove out to the ring in a Popemobile.
* AscendedMeme:
** The infamous shoot in which Vince bellowed, "You want Lucha Libres [sic]? '''[[GlobalIgnorance GO TO JAPAN!]]'''" The term "Lucha Libres" would actually be taken up by the Rudos in Mexico.
** "'SWERVE!" and "FIRE RUSSO!", both of which he has acknowledged on ''Impact''.
*** And in his podcast. He even wore a "FIRE RUSSO" T-shirt.
** And for Website/{{Botchamania}} 300, he accepted their offer to do the introduction:
--->'''Russo:''' Well I'm gonna give ya "Botchamania" another day, I'm here to swerve ya. I'm gonna give you old reruns of ''Series/{{Roseanne}}'', how's that?
* BastardlySpeech. Russo finding God and confessing his past sins to the Impact Zone, claiming that he "sold his soul for ratings." (Russo really did become a born-again Christian in real life.)
* BodyguardBabes: Russo's stacked bodyguards. He deployed them against Wrestling/ScottHall in an October 1999 episode of ''Nitro''. Yes, they won.
* BrooklynRage: He's almost never without his trademark NY sports team paraphernalia.
* CatchPhrase:
** "I sweah to gawd!", a phrase he is more and more associated with on the internet.
** "Can I be honest witchu for a second...?"
** "[[VerbalTic Bro...]]"
* CreatorThumbprint:
** For some unknowable reason, Russo loves pole matches. He puts different objects on poles to make the matches distinct from each other. He doesn't just book pole matches for titles, but for the strangest things: a pet rat, a pinata, Viagra, Judy Bagwell (that was on a forklift, no pole was big enough for Mrs. Bagwell), and the keys to Wrestling/MickFoley's office are just a few of the things that have been at stake.
*** One particularly strange storyline from towards the end of Russo's time with the WWF revolved around [[Wrestling/BigBossman the Big Bossman]] kidnapping and ''cooking'' Wrestling/AlSnow's dog Pepper. This inevitably culminated in a "Pepper on a Pole" match, with the leftovers in a styrofoam container on top of a pole.
*** Interestingly enough, the "Pink Slip on a Pole" match between Mankind and Wrestling/TheRock was the only well-received match of the kind (not in kayfabe for obvious reasons) and it took place after Russo was shown the door.
* DemotedToExtra: A leading cause. For example, he had little use for the most decorated amateur athlete to come out of the United States, proven draw for Ultimate Fighting Championships and NWA World Heavyweight Champion Dan Severn. Wrestling/KenShamrock was right there, but rather than building towards a pay per view rematch Severn was instead put in a referee shirt.
* DiabolicalMastermind[=/=]WriterOnBoard:
** As the Dr. Claw-like booker of 1999 ''Nitro''. At first, they didn't show Russo or mention him by name (although months earlier, WWF's head writer jumping ship to its competition made [[OpenSecret a fair amount of noise]]), but you could tell it was him by his accent and peppering his speech with insider terms.
** For instance, Russo's hand would gesture furiously at his "midcawdahs" to go "book it!" His heel stable was even named "Creative Control".
** Russo -- a layperson -- suffered post-concussion syndrome as a result of his matches against the likes of Wrestling/{{Goldberg}} (who speared Russo through a cage wall in the aforementioned match), Wrestling/ScottSteiner, and others. Yes, wrestling's most colorful and unpredictable booker suffered brain damage on the job.
** After returning to WCW, Russo claimed that the misuse of cruiserweights was the biggest problem in WCW, without acknowledging that he had put the belt on Oklahoma during his first run as booker. Despite this, cruiserweight wrestlers talked about Russo as if he was on their side, though many of them did so for angles in companies where Russo had the book.
* DiscontinuityNod: When Wrestling/ReyMysterioJr won the 2006 Royal Rumble. WWE said it was the first time that someone won the Rumble as the #2 entry. This was a reference to the widely-hated '99 Royal Rumble where Vince [=McMahon=] won the Royal Rumble. The booker for that Rumble was Vince Russo.
* DramaticUnmask: During the November 2002 [[Wrestling/NationalWrestlingAlliance NWA-TNA]] pay-per-view, "Mr. Wrestling III" revealed himself to be Russo in disguise.
* EvilMentor: That goofy bit on ''Nitro'' where Russo tried to corrupt David Flair and become his "father figure". Ric accused him of living vicariously through David (or more accurately, his trust fund) because, as a "skinny kid from the Bronx", he didn't have what it takes Be The Man.
* FleetingDemographicRule: Ultimately, Russo's playbook (or trope book, if you prefer) is the size of a religious pamphlet, one he's relied for the entirety of his career in professional wrestling, rehashing the same concepts and ideas from multiple companies with multiple (and sometimes, the very same) characters.
## The New Blood copying the WWF's blood-falling-from-the-ceiling spot (which most fans recognized as being The Brood's gimmick).
## The Filthy Animals as [[Wrestling/DGenerationX DX]], using a hidden "[[Wrestling/BillyKidman Kid-cam]]" (G-TV) to catch the Nitro Girls in a compromising position.
## Wrestling/{{Madusa}} v. [[Characters/WCWFemaleTalent Spice]] as Wrestling/{{Chyna}} v. [[Wrestling/StacyCarter Miss Kitty]]. (And "Asya" in a similar role).
## Ed "Oklahoma" Ferrera as a BBQ sauce-shilling announcer. [[Wrestling/JimRoss Right down to the Bell's palsy!]] (This one did not go over well.)
## [[Characters/WWEAttitude Shawn Stasiak]] as [[Wrestling/CurtHennig Mr. Perfect]] (okay, so Perfect was late 80's-early 90's, but still let's be original).
## Referees "going on-strike".
** David Arquette wasn't the first time he booked a non-wrestler winning the world title on the B-Show. Shortly before he left the WWF, he booked Wrestling/VinceMcMahon winning the WWF Championship on ''[=SmackDown=]''. The reason why the former is remembered and bagged on far more than the latter is the execution: Vince won the title from Triple H (a heel) thanks to the aid of Steve Austin (a face), and had spent most of the match getting the crap beaten out of him. It helped that Vince was already associated with wrestling and had wrestled in several matches during the Attitude Era. The idea of him winning the title was not entirely inconceivable.\\\
Arquette was complete outsider who won the title in a tag team match, with the stipulation was that whoever got the pin was the champion. This is relevant because the man Arquette won the title from was Arquette's ''tag team partner'': Arquette passed out from exhaustion and "pinned" [[Wrestling/DiamondDallasPage DDP]] by [[OfCorpseHesAlive accident]]. That alone ensured that no one was going to forget that moment for a while. The fact that it was for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship meant it was going to be immortalized for all time.
* 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 Vincent Kennedy McMahon]])[[/note]] ring a bell to anyone?
** '''J'''ust '''O'''ver '''B'''roke. [[{{Jobber}} Best of luck, fellas.]]
** The "'''P'''retty '''M'''ean '''S'''isters". Wrestling/TerriRunnels HATED the pun and lobbied hard for [[http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/24th69/i_am_former_wwewcw_diva_terri/ McMachon and Russo to change it]], to no avail.
** He's also credited with 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.
* HeManWomanHater:
** Apparently he took notes from Andy Kaufman. Him and his writing partner, Ed Ferrera, who wrestled Madusa and others using the ring-name "Oklahoma".
** Wrestling/MissElizabeth returned from her sabbatical to appear with him on ''Nitro'' and ''Thunder''. Alhough Elizabeth insisted on a clause in her contract allowing her to decline working in the ring (she was then forty years old), Russo managed to book her into some brawls with the Nitro Girls (and later, for some ungodly reason, [[Wrestling/HulkHogan Hogan]] and Wrestling/LexLuger). Russo himself had a short-lived feud with Elizabeth's stable, Team Package, and fought her twice in May of 2000: once in a cage match, and again in a tables match. Both ended with Liz [[GroinKick kicking him in the nuts.]]
** Russo was blocked by Ted Turner himself from running an angle about how fat ''Nitro''[='s=] women wrestlers were.
* 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''.
* IAteWhat: Does it taste like... PEPPER? MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
* ItWillNeverCatchOn: From the fountain pen of Vinnie Ru himself, ''Wrestling/{{WCW}} booker (1999)'':
-->'''Vince Russo:''' 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.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: Russo was a terrible booker but was good at TV. He wanted every second to be interesting. So even if he had to work with jobbers, he tried to make the jobbers do interesting things. Val Venis, D'Lo Brown, APA, Al Snow, Edge, Christian, Gangrel, The Hardy Boyz, etc. Everyone had a storyline when he was writing. (Russo's podcast is pretty interesting in this vein.)
-->'''[[WebVideo/OSWReview Jay Hunter]]:''' Oddly enough, Russo is throwing Liz back into the Millionaries' bus with Luger in the drivers' seat. (What the hell was ''he'' doin' there?) "[[WrestlingDoesntPay All abooooooooooooard...]]"
** And unlike WWE logic dictates, people doing interesting stuff on TV week after week gets them over. (35 writers can't fit you into a 3-hour show?)
* TheMenInBlack: Creative Control, which was Russo's stable. [[Wrestling/CurtHennig Mister Perfect]] was a member! (Then again, so was Wrestling/{{Virgil}}...)
* NerdInEvilsHelmet:
** Babyfaces beware! The man knows his wrestling trivia, including your old ring names, past gimmicks, and any embarrassing angle you were ever involved in.
** Also, his entrance music? ''"[[Music/BlackSabbath Iron Man.]]"''
* NoFourthWall: Russo was the right person at the right moment, when the Hulkamanics from the [=80s=] began to see that wrestling is not real. [[Wrestling/JimCornette Cornette]] is on the other end of the spectrum, wishing every audience was like Louisville, Kentucky in the [=70s=]. It's basically the same argument, though: Russo's outlook was "it's all fake!", and Cornette's was "you've got to make the marks think it's all a shoot!" The thing to take from each of them is that they think wrestling is dead, and maybe for them, it is.
** Russo even had the commentators and wrestlers make mention of the "creative team", or the "two idiots in the back [[WhoWritesThisCrap writing this crap]]".
--->'''Vince Russo:''' I guess [[ThisIsThePartWhere dis is da paht where]] I'm supposed da play da chickenshit {{heel}}, right?
** The J.O.B. Squad. [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin They are jobbers... who job]].
** [[invoked]] The best example of Russo's influence on WCW could be seen with Jeff Jarrett weeks into his debut. Jarrett declared himself the "[[CreatorsPet Chosen One]]" and renamed his finisher "[[WagTheDirector The Stroke.]]"
** That famous three way with Nash, Steiner and Goldberg, where the entire build was them fighting about who was gonna go over.
** Buff Bagwell vs. Wrestling/LaParka, ''Nitro'', 1999. ([[http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1tz0f_buff-bagwell-vs-la-parka_sport#.UPxkc568fHo Seen here.]]) Bagwell, glancing at an invisible watch, stood there like a mannequin and [[NoSell refused to sell anything]], before finally signaling La Parka to hit him and lying down for the pin, complete with a {{shrug take}}[!]. After the bell rang, Bagwell cheerfully borrowed a headset to ask, "Russo, did I do a good ''job'' for you? Who else do you want to beat me?"
* PostModernism: He still defends giving himself the WCW World Heavyweight Championship belt, he defends giving Creator/DavidArquette the WCW World Heavyweight Championship belt, he insists that no American wrestling fan wants to see non-American wrestlers, and he ''doesn't believe in {{Face}} and {{Heel}}''.
** Believing his audience was composed of people who "figured out" pro wrestling, all he has to do is monkey wrench their expectations. Other, smaller promotions, like Chikara, have experimented with post-modernism in wrestling with much more critical success.
** Russo has defended himself from accusations that he just hates pro wrestling by insisting that he only hates "fake wrestling". So, by his own admission [[DistinctionWithoutADifference Vince Russo actually does hate pro wrestling?]]
** The Wrestling/KevinNash vs. Wrestling/ScottSteiner vs Wrestling/BillGoldberg match (''New Blood Rising 2000''). Russo promoted it as a "real fight" between these men. Not a Street Fight, nor some other no-disqualification match; an actual, 3-way brawl between wrestlers who hated each others' guts (in real life) and refused to job (i.e. willingly lose) to one another in the ring - so they would "just fight", instead. If this was a "real" fight ,then what about all the other matches on the card between supposed rivals (and for that matter, ''every other Pro Wrestling match ever'')? Were they all fake, then? Then came the match itself, which played out in standard pro-Wrestling style, with no spontaneity. The only wild card was Goldberg, who didn't come out at the start of the match and, when he did arrive, "refused to cooperate" with Nash, not letting Nash Powerbomb him. He then walked out on the match, causing the announcers to remark that he had "deviated from the script."\\\
So just to be clear, this was a real-life fight between three men who hated each other except it was actually a scripted wrestling match which became real when one of them deviated from the script and then became fake again when the other participants finished the match, but it was still more real than any of the countless other fake wrestling matches the company had staged. Apparently this idea was so ingenious he used it again ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cZtuwjdPJU the very next month.]]''
** Ironically, after 8 years of running TNA as President, Dixie Carter did not know what "kayfabe" was, and Vince had to be the one to explain it to her. (Eric Biscoff and Hogan were in a restaurant together and refused to speak to Dixie, in the sense that Eric and Dixie are on-screen foes.) When Vince Russo knows more about wrestling than you, you need to evaluate yourself. But besides that, Dixie was a massive wrestling fan when she was small, how could she not know what it is? (It was always real to her.)
* PowerStable: He was the BigBad in WCW for the Powers That Be and the New Blood. For [[FunWithAcronyms Sports Entertainment Xtreme]] in TNA.
* RandomEventsPlot: If you're lucky, you may get an explanation for one of Russo's patented swerves, but don't count on it.
** ''[[ARareSentence A wrestler wins the world title from 1 of 4 mystery boxes with the help of a midget dressed as Superman and, while celebrating, is attacked by Scott Steiner with a pole, and then Steiner chokes out the midget Superman, all in the space of 2 minutes!]]'' '''THIS MONDAY NITE ON NITRO''' (That actually happened.)
** A related issue is that jobbers need titles to get over, but they're not getting heat with the methods they use to obtain the belt. Heels cheat, yes, but they need to go over cleanly in big matches to gain credibility, something which rarely happens in Russo's world.
*** Just 3 months into Russo's tenure at WCW, Bill Busch (Time-Warner accountant ) had enough of his car crash TV and offered him a new creative "position" in a committee of non-entities, i.e., he went home and kept collecting checks. The final straw was when Russo suggested putting the belt on Tank Abbott. (But Russo's replacements failed to deliver, and a month later, he and Bischoff were flown back to Orlando to "reboot" ''Nitro''.)
* RedBaron: The Powers That Be, Vic Venom.
* SignatureStyle:
** There's a reason why he's {{Trope Namer|s}} for the ShockingSwerve.
** 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 a gimmick match. He has even defended the "No contest in a steel cage match" fiasco.
** Sometimes he'll even make a match with two separate gimmick matches stacked on top of one another, usually with ridiculous stipulations attached.
** [[RatingsStunt Ratings]]. Instead of doing it in a traditional way, with big matches or angles, he would always resort to title changes or a gimmick match every week. At first it was a winning formula: they had that big [[ContinuityReboot reboot]] angle in 2000, followed by a tournament to find out who would challenge Jarrett at ''[=SuperBrawl=]''. But his ideas got weirder as time went on, proving you can't really book "big TV" from week-to-week. If Russo limited himself to one big blowoff per month and one PPV a month, his legacy would be a lot better.
*** Tell him you want longer wrestling segments and less of everything else and he'll tell you everything else is what resulted in the high ratings. Yet when ''Nitro'' decided to cut back on wrestling segments to test this, ''RAW'' slaughtered it by a 2.5 margin.
** Russo believes that [[GreyAndGrayMorality all characters should be shades of gray]], with no purely-heroic faces or purely-villainous heels. The problem with this potentially intriguing idea is his characters tend to be wildly inconsistent in their behavior, rather than morally complex.
* RefugeInAudacity:
** In his book, Wrestling/BobHolly says that Russo wanted to rename his finisher the Hollycaust. He then says he wouldn't be surprised if Russo wanted him to use it on Kidman, Goldberg, Heyman, basically all the Jews in WWE. (Russo did not see a problem with this and thought it was a final solution to a ratings slump.)
** It was definitely called on-air by JR, and never again. It's also used in one of the ''Smackdown'' video game installments as his Falcon Arrow finisher. Then he changed his finish to the Alabama Slam full-time.
* UnexplainedRecovery: Had [[Wrestling/SidEudy Sid Vicious]] return to WCW seemingly healthy after being ran over by a monster truck by Wrestling/BretHart.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: Russo's belief when he was booking WCW...except that he believed they can be easily fooled and swerved.
* ViewersAreGoldfish:
** Russo's moves at an extremely fast clip, often cramming weeks' worth of swerves and feuds into a 3-hour block of television, with titles changing hands so fast you'd need a speed camera to count them all (23 title changes in 2000!). Almost nobody ever wins cleanly, with constant screw jobs and interferences.
** Russo's real-life friend, Jeff Jarrett, became a four-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion in the span of '''a month and a half'''. Ric Flair beats Jarrett (2nd reign) to win the title. One week later Russo strips Flair of the title and gives it back to Jarrett (3rd reign) on ''Nitro''. Nash beats Jarrett to win the title on ''Thunder'', the following Monday Nash hands the title to Flair who then turns around and loses it back to Jarrett (4th reign) the same night. The title changed hands five times in fourteen days.
* WalkAndTalk:
** His WCW promos are conspicuous in how often they involved Russo and his cronies in the back (Read: blank, white corridors). Walking and talking.
** Goldberg is... PACING!
* WorkedShoot:
** His public firing of Hogan at Daytona Beach (''Bash at the Beach 2000)''' is considered by most to be his crowning achievement. After promising the crowd that Hogan would never darken WCW's door again (a promise he kept) and burying him as best he could, he booked Booker T. vs. Jarrett as the main event! (It even resulted in Hogan suing WCW. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed in 2002.)
** According to Bischoff's book, Russo firing Hogan was a shoot. However, in the ''[=WrestleCrap=]'' book, it is claimed that Daytona was a worked shoot-turned-real shoot: Russo's shoot on Hogan was ''far'' more biting than they previously agreed on; it topped with Russo calling Hogan a "big, bald son of a bitch" - and Hulk is notoriously touchy about bald jokes.