YMMV / Vince Russo

  • Acceptable Targets: Russo is one of the most hated men in wrestling, and people love taking potshots at him. Which is only to be expected, when you make two major wrestling promotions into Acceptable Targets by virtue of your own booking.
  • Badass Decay:
    • The worst example is arguably "Dr. Death" Steve Williams. Doc was one of the greatest athletes to ever step foot into a wrestling ring, and legitimately one of the toughest. A two-sport All American in high school and college, if he had focused on either one of them he probably would have been able to rise to the elite level. He was an Olympic caliber wrestler and an NFL caliber football player. He'd had a long successful run through the territories, NWA/WCW, and Japan. He was brought in to WWE to be a challenger for then-champion "Stone Cold" Steve Austin which would have been a smark dream match, two tough guys from the south in an all-out brawl. Then came the Brawl For All, a shoot boxing/wrestling hybrid conceived by Russo with the idea that Doc would run through it based on his reputation. Jim Cornette pointed out all the pitfalls, chief amongst them that anything can happen in a shoot fight, including Doc losing. He pointed out guys were going to get hurt and it would foster resentment in the locker room. Lo and behold, Doc lost to Bart Gunn, killing any chance he had of a match with Austin. He left the WWF and returned to Japan shortly thereafter.
    Jim Cornette: When it was over I congratulated him on costing the company five million in pay-per-view revenue because all he did was get Doc injured and blow what would have been a big money match with Austin.
    • Careers that Russo badly damaged include but aren't limited to Marc Mero, Mike Awesome, Goldberg, Dan Severn, Samoa Joe and the entire TNA Knockouts division. In general, he hurt everyone with his booking, like making the WCW World Heavyweight title absolutely worthless.
      Jim Cornette: I watched Thunder the other night, because I happened to be stuck in a hotel room, and I saw Lance Storm stumbling around like a drunk man. When you make that guy uncoordinated, you can do it to anybody.
    • Also, it seems like he takes a lot of credit for Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness phase. While popular, Taker himself never was a fan of it since the Ministry bordered on Satanism, and because he got downgraded to a lackey for Shane and Vince McMahon.
    • The NWA decided it was better off holding world title defenses in banquet halls and concert theaters than keeping the champions in front of larger crowds in larger buildings on nationally broadcast television if Russo had a hand in their fate. The newly-created TNA replacement world title belt was immediately vacated as soon as it was won, and Abyss (one of the most worst-booked world heavyweight champions up to that point) made an unannounced return to the silence of fan apathy. He wouldn't regain his monster credibility for another nine years.
  • Broken Base: The shifting opinions on Russo happen more often than Big Show's heel turns. He's seen either as a hack who never contributed anything good to wrestling, a not-bad writer who struggled when given complete control, or, rarely, an ahead-of-his-time visionary.
  • Continuity Lock-Out: Russo's storylines are built around an assumption of knowledge of obscure pieces of wrestling trivia, which gives—frankly, too much—credit to the fans. One episode of Nitro in particular had Bischoff taunting Sid Vicious. "What's the matter Sid, can't find your scissors?" Those in the know would recognize this as a reference to a real-life altercation Sid once had with Arn Anderson, in which Sid stabbed Arn with a pair of scissors. But most of the people watching that show had never heard of the incident. Eric thought they didn't hear it the first time, so he said it again, also to no reaction.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy:
    • Russo doesn't believe in heels or faces. The problem with this potentially intriguing idea is his characters tend to be wildly inconsistent in their behavior, rather than morally complex. They also stopped having good feuds between distinct characters, and instead had faction vs. faction, with wrestlers as characterless cannon fodder. There were hardly any clean matches, and zero blowoffs for feuds. No one had an individual storyline which was separate from the big complicated one (which itself was trying desperately to come off as "part-shoot").
      Eric Bischoff: Right now I would describe WCW as various shades of gray. The stories are hard to follow; the characters are all kind of the same. It just feels dark, gloomy and foggy to me. It doesn’t feel like there’s energy in it.
    • 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.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: He has a fair share of detractors in Canada (where he is hated for burying Bret Hart), Mexico (where he is hated for burying and unmasking wrestlers) and Japan (where he is hated for burying No Limit and his racist remarks), but Russo does have his friends and defenders in the business. TNA's popularity in the UK means that, when he's not working for TNA, it's about the only place that will still hire him as part of creative.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Though by no means the only times, the "Fire Russo" chants are most associated with the garbage wrestling "Last Rites Match" between Sting and Abyss and the electrified steel cage with Team 3D against LAX due to his and Dixie Carter's moving the blame to Dutch Mantel. This was mostly just amusing until the injury and medical bill scandals of TNA came out, of which both Mantel and Russo were repeatedly sourced as key parts of.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In an interview in 1999, he said "You will never ever, ever, ever, ever see the Japanese wrestler or the Mexican wrestler over in American mainstream wrestling". Vinnie, there are some people who want a word with you...
  • Memetic Mutation
    • *Thinks about swerves*
    • [X] on a pole
    • "LOL listen bro I lov da IWC. You guys are da best an I mean dat, tanks fo da support I got da best fans inda world, I sweah tah gawd."
    • "SPAULDINGS to the WALL, bro!"
    • From the podcast: "Bro, Bro, Bro, I gotta ask you bro", and "Bro? Take us into your frame a' mind."
      • Also from the podcast: "Jabrone."
    • In the meantime, you can check out the Vince Russo Swerve Generator.
  • Misblamed:
    • A tragic example: Some people, like Jim Cornette and Roddy Piper, blamed Vince Russo for the death of Owen Hart. While Russo came up with the harnessing spot, no one could have foreseen 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 (Steve Austin even mentioned comforting him and reminding him it wasn't his fault during the Raw is Owen tribute show). But it was an accident that, again, no one could have foreseen.
    • A more lighthearted example: He wasn't responsible for angles like Katie Vick or Mae Young giving birth to a hand, as he'd left the WWE by the time these angles hit the screen. He also wasn't responsible for the Claire Lynch angle during the AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian feud, considered the "Katie Vick" of TNA — that happened later in the year, after Russo left the company.
    • Flair actually came out in defense of Russo regarding the death of WCW. People also forget that Vince Russo is usually not the only person involved in writing or booking.
    • The "on a pole" match isn't a Russo creation. Starrcade '85 had a "Mexican Death Match" which was essentially a "Sombrero on a Pole Match". Leather Jacket on a Pole (SuperBrawl 2000) was promoted as a "skins match". The commentators tried to build up the leather jacket as being a huge deal in biker culture. Almost like when US commentators try to explain the importance of luchador masks, but worse. Russo wasn't the booker at this time, and even if he was, a wrestler blowing his spot is not the fault of the booker's.
    • Big T (Ahmed Johnson) and Booker T feuding over the rights to the letter "T". WrestleCrap wrote an induction of the angle while making fun of Russo in the process, since it's supposedly right up his alley. However, in The Death of WCW, the same author (RD Reynolds) points out that it was Kevin Sullivan who booked that angle.
    • The Impact Zone chant of "FIRE RUSSO!". Which is why, one suspects, he was not eager to tell people he was on staff. Any poorly-received promo or misstep would be laid at his feet and the potential audience might be less inclined to watch.
    • Whilst the angle is his doing, Russo isn't to blame for the Immortal angle. In a ReAction interview in 2015, Russo said he knew this storyline would bomb, and was just being pressured by Hulk Hogan and Bischoff to rehash the nWo. When Vince Russo is getting cold feet? Chances are you shouldn't do it.
  • Moment of Awesome: After seeing Jeff Jarrett lay down to give Hulk Hogan the victory at Bash at the Beach 2000, fans were understandably upset and confused. This led to one of the rare times they would cheer for Russo, as he explained precisely what happened and made his own frustration abundantly clear in the process.
  • Never Live It Down: If he hadn't given himself the belt so soon after Arquette's reviled run, it might have just been forgotten the way Mr. McMahon winning the WWF Championship is... which was also a Russo angle.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: While defending the David Arquette title reign, he argued that since people are still talking about the angle (and Russo himself) nearly a decade later, it was a success and a "money-maker".
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • There's a rumor that he was WWE's man inside, allowing them to pick up the company dirt cheap.
      Arn Anderson: [speaking in 2007] I believe to this day that Vince was smart enough to send Russo down to that locker room and finish us off. He came in at big money and left scorched earth. Read into that what you will.
    • His reputation is such that, in response to the (very real) infidelities between Kurt Angle's wife and Jeff Jarrett, many observers claimed that it was all an angle devised by Russo and refused to believe it was real.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: His entrance theme was clearly an instrumental version of Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" with a note tweaked here and there.
  • Tear Jerker: His video talking about the death of his friend Chyna. Right from the beginning you can tell he's absolutely heart broken and in tears.
    • As mentioned in Misblamed, Russo blamed himself for the death of Owen Hart, and he's not the only one, even though there was no way he could really be responsible for what was ultimately a tragic freak accident. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin even had to comfort him by reassuring him it wasn't his fault.