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Trivia / Vince Russo

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  • Actor-Shared Background: Russo really did become a born-again Christian in real life.
  • Creator Backlash:
    • After he became a Christian, Russo stated that he regretted the angle in which "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was crucified on The Undertaker's symbol in 1998.
    • When asked once what angle he wished he wouldn't have done, Russo answered that he regretted the angle in which he had Ed Ferrara dress up as "Oklahoma", the Jim Ross impersonator, especially considering that Oklahoma also appeared to mock J.R.'s Bell's palsy.
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    • Vince has also regretted turning Goldberg heel once he went to WCW. At the time he felt like it was necessary, but since then has felt that he could've directed Goldberg into other directions.
    • In an interview for Dark Side of the Ring he claimed the WWE Brawl for All was a mistake and one he wouldn't repeat if he could do it again.
  • Creative Differences:
    • It seems like he takes a lot of credit for The Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness phase. While popular, Taker himself never was a fan of it because a) the Ministry bordered on Satanism, and b) he got downgraded to a lackey for Shane and Vince McMahon.
    • Eric Bischoff:
      Bill Apter: (WCW Magazine) Critics have said WCW has started to resemble a lower-quality version of the WWF. How do you avoid that perception?
      Bischoff: I think that's being kind. I think it started to resemble backyard wrestling.
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    • With Jim Cornette. They both had worked in WWE and TNA at around the same time. Cornette was old-school and Russo was the new kid in town, pushing the Attitude Era along. Russo went to Vince McMahon and basically told him, Either he goes, or I go, because they kept getting in each other's way. McMahon sided with Russo. Cornette also blames Russo for Owen Hart's death by putting him in the Blue Blazer gimmick. The feud runs so deep that he made amends with Eric Bischoff (someone else Cornette has a long-standing grudge against) mainly because, as Cornette said, if he hates Russo as much as Jim does, he can't be all bad.
    • Time Warner employee Matt Williams gave up on WCW after personally polling fans to prove they didn't like Russo's "more storyline, less wrestling" direction, only to be ignored. At the time, WCW were so low in the ratings that they were ready to try anything.
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    • Bash at the Beach 2000. After promising the crowd that Hulk Hogan would never darken WCW's door again (a promise he kept) and burying him as best he could, he booked Booker T vs. Jeff Jarrett in the main event.
    • The only reason he landed a job in TNA was because of Jarrett (against his father's protests). Jeff, to his credit, did a lot of vetting of his ideas alongside Dutch Mantell. Unfortunately, some of the weirder stuff filtered through because Russo proceeded to endear himself to Dixie Carter (then-president of TNA), which led to his rehiring in 2013-14.
  • Dear Negative Reader: Even Russo has tried to distance himself from the pole matches.
  • Executive Veto:
    • The straw that broke the camel's back as far as Russo's time in WWF went. Which caused him to jump ship to WCW, which arguably killed WCW, which caused WWF to win the Monday Night Wars, which led to the creation of TNA and contributed to the decline of pro wrestling's popularity. What was the name of that straw? "Beaver Cleavage", a particularly crude parody of Leave It to Beaver as played by Headbanger Mosh. Among other things, he implied that he committed incest with his mother. After two weeks and terrible fan reaction, Vince McMahon personally axed the character, which Russo loudly resented.
    • Russo was blocked by none other than Ted Turner himself from running an angle about how fat Nitro's women wrestlers were.
    • Just three months into Russo's tenure at WCW, Time-Warner accountant Bill Busch had had enough of his car crash TV and offered him a new creative "position" in a committee of non-entities. The final straw was apparently when Russo suggested putting the belt on serial felon Tank Abbott. Russo lost creative control to a booking committee consisting of Kevin Sullivan, James J. Dillon, and Mike Graham, all of whom promised a return to "real" wrestling. But Russo's replacements failed to deliver, and a month later he and Bischoff were flown back to Orlando to "reboot" Nitro.
    • The NWA decided they were better off holding world title defenses in banquet halls and concert theaters, rather than in front of larger crowds in larger buildings on nationally broadcast television, if Russo had a hand in their fate. The newly-minted TNA replacement world title belt was immediately vacated as soon as it was won, and Abyss (one of the worst-booked world heavyweight champs 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.
    • TNA: There was some speculation as to why his rehiring was kept a secret: The obvious one was that Wrestle-1's front office didn't trust Russo to use their talent wisely (not without merit). Keiji Mutoh also nearly pulled the plug on Bound for Glory in Japan in 2014 when he found out Russo was still involved with the company. TNA execs had to guarantee that Russo would have zero input in any aspect of the show, or he was calling it off. Dave Meltzer, on the other had, reported that Spike TV (who were renegotiating a TV deal for Impact! at the time) asked Dixie Carter not to rehire him. Spike has denied this, but the announcement that they wouldn't be renewing the deal came shortly after Russo's rehiring. John Gaburick (head of TNA creative) fired Russo days later, likely in a vain attempt to save the deal, and Russo himself later confirmed this. In addition, Spike has tried for a while now to not seem quite so misogynistic and brash. Russo is known to be exactly that: misogynistic and brash. (And they were already dealing with plenty of ECW alums who were the same.) So it wouldn't be surprising if they told Dixie not to put him anywhere near creative.
  • Follow the Leader: Russo was brought into WCW and later TNA to imprint the WWE product onto those companies, but he failed. Although he might have gained new fans by switching to an entertainment-based product, if you annoy enough people, you merely trade audiences to zero net effect.
  • Lying Creator: Several of Russo's claims have been disputed over the years.
    • Russo takes credit for a lot of ideas that were not his, or were debatably his. This is the same guy who once tried to claim credit for the Montreal Screwjob. Which further cemented how demonstrably crazy he was—Of all things to claim credit for...
      • Jim Cornette laughs at this, saying that he was the one who suggested double-crossing Bret Hart (by booking him with Ken Shamrock, who could have legitimately beaten Bret in a fight). Cornette then says he had to explain to Russo what a double-cross was. Triple H has claimed that he planted the seed saying, "If Bret won't do business, maybe we should do business for him." Jim Ross who was head of Talent Relations and on the creative team has said repeatedly that only McMahon, Shawn Michaels, referee Earl Hebner and maybe Pat Patterson and Gerald Briscoe knew anything about the finish beforehand. Ross himself wasn't even made aware of the plans, so he's "damn sure" Russo wasn't.
    • "They kind of fell into that nWo thing. I mean, they really did. You had two top stars from the WWE jump ship and go to their organization, then for the first time Hulk Hogan turns heel after 25 years or whatever it was. They fell into something." It's the typical response from WWE to anything in WCW that got fans interested and stopped them showing an interest in their competition. Oh, it was just happenstance, they lucked their way into that. Not surprising Russo would fall into that line of thinking.
    • Russo claims Hogan was in on the Bash at the Beach 2000 incident, wherein Hogan won the title from Jarrett in an obvious worked shoot, which made him look bad and ended with Hogan being "fired". Allegedly, Hogan was supposed to come back with his title, and challenge Booker T who won the title in that night's main event. Hogan later filed a defamation of character lawsuit and alleged that he wasn't in on the angle. Given that Hogan is as much of a revisionist historian as Russo, this is anyone's guess.
    • Russo claims to this day to be the primary architect of the Attitude Era. Most who know the real story say that Russo had some good ideas, but it was Vince McMahon filtering out most, but not all, of the bad ideas (cough Brawl for All cough) and refining them. Also, having two all time legendary performers come into their prime (Stone Cold and The Rock) probably helped. The fact that Russo was never again involved in a successful promotion seems to dispel this notion.
    • That podcast where he said he'll never try to book something he'd seen somewhere else. Then he admitted he'd put Owen Hart in a harness because the guys who did it for Sting (at WCW) were in the building.
    • In the first week of the "Second Monday Night War", Raw got a 3.6 rating. Impact got a 1.5, leading to Russo including the following in his blog: "The bottom line is, TNA WON—period."
    • As late as 2014, Vince Russo still complained about TNA becoming "just another wrestling show". This despite the fact much of the WEW roster—Klondyke (Sirelda), Alexis Laree, Valentina, Tracy Brooks, Angel Williams, Talia Madison, Simply Luscious, Lucy Furr, Shelly Martinez, Trenesha Biggers, Mickie Knuckles, ODB, Radiant Rain, Shantelle Taylor and more—came to work for TNA! The company which was already doing Russo's ideas was feeding him as much talent as ROH!
  • Running the Asylum:
    • Vince Russo only lost one match in his entire career, a TNA tag team match from 2002. He also went over 16-time champion Ric Flair 3 times in either singles or tag matches. After Sting joined WWE, David Arquette and Vince Russo are the only two WCW World Heavyweight Champions who have never competed at WrestleMania. Even today, fans are heartbroken when looking over WCW's title history, because it starts getting ri-damn-diculous when you reach the Russo booking era.
    • It's worth noting noting that Russo suffered post-concussion syndrome after getting speared by Goldberg, Scott Steiner, and others. Yes, wrestling's most colorful booker suffered brain damage on the job. And if it weren't for the football helmet he wore, Russo would be a vegetable today.
  • Trolling Creator:
    • AJ Styles is over? SWERVE! Have Sting bury him out of nowhere. Fans petition to promote a valet to full-time? SWERVE! Invite her into the ring, call her a strumpet, and summon your twin bodyguards to knock her senseless. Audiences becoming sick of the pole match? SWERVE! Increase the pole matches exponentially!
    • On booking himself to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. We think that he was taking the piss out of it:
      Because I'm a total mark and the first words I ever spoke when I came out of my mother's wound, was that one day, I was going to be the WCW Champion. And all through pre-school and kindergarden and grade school and high school, that dream never left me. My whole intention of getting in the wrestling business in the first place, was to become the WCW World Champion for three whole days. That's why I even started at the WWE. I knew I wasn't good enough to be the WWE Champion, but if I just could get some experience there, then MAYBE, just MAYBE, I could fulfill my destiny of being the WCW Champion. And it was only by the grace of GOD that my dreams were fulfilled and I was able to hold that WCW title high above my head and say, "I did it!" At that point in time, my life was complete.
    • While criticizing WWE for putting the Universal Championship belt on Kevin Owens, he claimed that David Arquette "was more over than Kevin Owens will ever be", since in his mind Owens doesn't look like a wrestler. His logic is circular and it's so easily rebuked (see: Dusty Rhodes) it's not even funny.
  • What Could Have Been: His plan for TNA was to offer pay-per-view porn wrestling, with more nudity and sex. Problem was, Women's Extreme Wrestling did the same thing two months before TNA even existed. XPW in 1999 was even closer to Russo's pitch. (Both XPW and WEW went under.) Meanwhile, while Russo was writing for TNA, Carmen Electra launched an "adult" wrestling show, and "Full Throttle Wrestling" premiered. They both went under too. In fact, one of the few "adult" promotions to have more staying power than "just another wrestling show" TNA, nearly thirty years of it at that point, was Steel Kittens Productions, and it was significantly more tasteful than what Russo got to do in TNA. (Unless you find polygamy, trashcan sex, molestation, forced prostitution, rape, crack whores and incest less offensive than occasional exposure via torn shirt, that is). History has already shown that shows that stay relatively tasteful and focus on wrestling outlast those that do not, and that "adult" wrestling has been around since before WCW and has never posed a challenge to WWE.

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