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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.
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    • "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.
  • Creative Differences:
    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?
    Eric Bischoff: I think that's being kind. I think it started to resemble backyard wrestling.
    • 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 McMahon and basically told him, Either he goes, or I go, because they kept getting in each others' 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.
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    • 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.
  • 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 ruined WCW, which caused WWF to win the Monday Night Wars, which lead to the creation of TNA and contributed to the decline of pro wrestling's popularity? "Beaver Cleavage." A particularly crude parody of Leave It to Beaver as played by Headbanger Mosh who, among other things, 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.
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    • 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, J.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.
    • 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 New Japan's 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 (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:
    • That podcast where he said he'll never 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 WWE 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!
  • Protection from Editors:
    • At the time, WCW was so low in the ratings that they were ready to try anything.
    • The only reason he landed a job in TNA was because of Jeff 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, which led to his rehiring in 2013-14.
  • 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 make 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 the occasional 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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