wrestling / News

Vince Russo Speaks On WWE, McMahon, NWA: TNA, More

July 22, 2002 | Posted by Ashish

Vince Russo made a triumphant return to his former radio station. Few people know that Russo actually started in the business by hosting his own radio show called “Vicious Vince’s World of Wrestling” on the same station that Get in the Ring Radio is broadcasted from. Sir Adam and The Phantom were hoping to find out how Vince managed to leave WGBB, and get hired by the WWF. They found out, and allot more then just that. You can listen to GIR Radio every Sunday @ Noon 1240 AM WGBB in the NY/NJ/CT Area or archived that same day on http://www.getinthering.tv.

GIR is looking to leave it’s current station, please contact the host at [email protected] if you have any advise/info on getting on a better station in the NY market- or to be added to the world famous GIR Mailing list.

-Vince Russo joined the show and the first words he said was “How much does WGBB suck?” to which Sir Adam and The Phantom agree wholeheartedly. They inform Russo of their campaign to get on WNEW. Russo can’t believe that the station is smaller then when he hosted, “Vicious Vincent’s World of Wrestling” almost a decade ago. Vince says that to this day, the most fun he ever had in the wrestling business was hosting his show. Sir Adam asks if when Vince actually got involved with the WWF & WCW, did meeting the wrestlers and players he had been talking about on his show disappoint him. Vince agrees that he became jaded a little by the business, mostly by the politics of the business.. He goes on to say that “there is a really ugly side to the wrestling business that isn’t fun at all”.

-Phantom then asks about his last wrestling “match” when Bill Goldberg speared him through a cage and into a ringside barricade. Vince goes over the story why he started wrestling in the first place. He admits he had no business being in the wrestling ring, but felt tremendous pressure by WCW management to improve the ratings of Nitro. HE felt if no one else could do it, he might as well try to do it himself. He felt viewers would want to see him get hiss ass kicked by WCW fan favorites. In his first match, in a cage against Ric Flair, Vince suffered a concussion when Flair performed a simple Russian Leg Sweep, and Russo landed on his head. Because he had no training as a wrestler he didn’t know how to protect himself. From that point on, Russo kept getting in the ring, he kept getting hit in the head. Russo knew he was in bad shape, but kept wrestling to try and help WCW. Then, when he got to the Nassau Coliseum match against Bill Goldberg, he knew Goldberg was going to spear him through the cage. When they were rehearsing the match before the card, Russo made it a point to tell Goldberg not to let him hit the ringside barrier when they went through the cage. Russo told Goldberg “100 times” that he had a concussion and couldn’t take another blow to the head. Despite being warned, and despite promising Russo he would “place him right in the aisle”, Goldberg nailed him through the cage and Russo’s head hit the ringside barrier. After that blow, Russo knew he was in trouble, despite wearing a helmet. He had to sit home with “post concussion syndrome” for the last 6 months that WCW was in business. Talk turns to Bret Hart’s concussion’s and how Russo sympathizes with everything he’s been through, because Vince suffered a similar injury. He can’t believe that some people say “Bret’s milked the injury”. Russo says it’s a horrible thing to go through both physically and mentally, but he can now look at himself in the mirror and know he did everything humanly possible to make WCW work including putting his own body on the line.

-Russo doesn’t care what people say about him, he says when he was writing for the WWF there were 2 occasions when the ratings hit over a 7. Now the ratings are at 3.7. Vince then says “My record speaks for itself…somebody tell me what happened to all of those people? For some reason they stopped watching the product…Vince Russo was probably one of the best things that ever happened to this business.”

-Phantom asks about Vince’s recent, very short employment with the WWE. Russo says that he had been in talks with McMahon for 3-4 weeks prior to him coming to the WWE. After the initial talks, Russo was invited to McMahon’s house- and VKM wanted to make it official that Russo was back with the WWE. Then Russo was brought into a writing meeting, and he was surprised when he saw what the staff consisted of. “Michael Hayes, Paul Heyman, and four kids that had to be between 25 and 28 years old.” After leaving the meeting, Russo knew there was “no way in the world that this thing would work out…I felt there were layers upon layers of people to go through to get my ideas accepted.” The day after the meeting, Russo got a call from VKM, who agreed that it wouldn’t work and said they would bring him on as a “consultant”. Russo was then sent a contract but before he would sign he wanted to look as his other options. Jeff Jarrett has always been a good friend of Russo’s and NWA/TNA gave Vince a shot at being “hands on”.

-Russo says that he had rarely liked working with veterans, because they thought they knew more than the writers. He always enjoyed working with up-and-comers, and that’s what he saw in the NWA TNA locker room, guys who were hungry to succeed. Vince loved to create main eventers, tweaking characters, walking workers step by step through promos. Russo goes on to say that the WWE made him a better money offer than NWA TNA, but Russo couldn’t accept it because he knew he wouldn’t be happy.

-A caller brings up Vince’s old radio sidekick “Matrat”, to which Russo says he got a job in the WWE five years ago, and he’s still working there to this day.

-Russo doesn’t think it matters who the WWE brings in, they (the writing staff) need to figure out how to carry out a storyline. Vince is of the mindset that it doesn’t

matter what talent you have, you need to keep the storylines compelling, and the staff the WWE has in place now just hasn’t yet proven that they can do that. “Sometimes it seems that all they care about is, what are we going to dress Goldust up in this week?”. In his opinion he feels that the big difference in WWE and NWA TNA is that WWE is “writing cookie-cutter 1980’s wrestling, wrestling 101, the fans sitting there watching the show know every single thing that’s going to happen…I am trying to make NWA TNA as reality-based as possible, doing the little things that make you believe it.” Vince doesn’t want to insult the audience, and when he was critiquing the WWE programming for the two weeks he was a “consultant” he felt insulted on numerous occasions. Russo wants to revolutionize the wrestling business, and bring it to 2002- “we’ve thrown the wrestling handbook out the window”.

-Talk turns to Booker T, and why the WWE isn’t pushing him as “the next big thing” because of fan response. Russo sees it as the WWE having a plan through Summerslam, going back to the old school whether the fans like it or not we’re going through with it. .

-Vince Russo is impressed with Jerry Lynn and can’t believe that he isn’t a superstar. Russo feels that he must have pissed someone off, because “this guy is unbelievable…he’s 37 years old, how can this guy be in the business for 14 years and not be a major player?”

-Russo believes that one of McMahon’s problems now is that he may not be able to objectively critique his daughter. Russo explains that that’s understandable-it’s human nature. When it comes to a family member it’s just difficult to judge. Russo felt that in the current storyline fans may not have been ready to see Stephanie again this soon. “After spending some time with Vince, I feel he’s a bit confused, at this point I don’t think he’s sure what the audience wants. Russo felt that the Vince McMahon he worked for 5 years ago, is a totally different man now.”

-Russo began writing a book when he was laid up at home. He was bored running his own business, a CD Warehouse in Atlanta. He still plans on releasing the book, he sees it as a 3 volume series- the first Volume being his WWF years.

-Russo talks about being one of the few guys that never had his head imbedded up Vince McMahon’s ass. “When something is bad, he needs someone to tell him that it’s bad.”

-Russo believes that he gets such a bad rap by the newsletter writers, because he is doing what they have dreamed of doing since they started their sheets. Russo goes on to say that he’s sure when “Dave Keller” and Wade Meltzer” started in the business, their dreams weren’t “to write newsletters that 2,000 people are going to read”. Russo believes that they are living their dreams through Vince Russo- who in their opinion should have never been able to get into the position that he’s in

-Russo got into the WWF from WGBB, by writing to Linda McMahon and explaining who he was and what he could do. At this point he was broke, which the Phantom and Sir Adam can sympathize with. Based on the letter he wrote, Russo received a call from the WWF Magazine editor, who offered him a freelance gig writing for the mag. Russo got $150 for each article he wrote, and that was the way he got his foot in the door. Russo, believes that the reason he was able to rise to such heights from there was that at the time, Vince McMahon was surrounded by people who came up through the wrestling business. People, who never had a college education, he knew early on that he “was a hell of allot smarter than the people who were surrounding Vince McMahon”. Russo made it a point to say he doesn’t want to sound conceded, but that was the fact. He feels that the combination of that and the fact that he wasn’t afraid to tell VKM when something “sucked” were the two keys to his success.

-Russo says that he is in NWA TNA because he wants to make it work for Jeff Jarrett. Along with Owen Hart, and Mick Foley- Russo rates Jarrett as one of the “good guys”. He’s not going to let any past differences with Ed Ferrara get in the way of making TNA a successful project.

-Talk turn, or course, to the ’97 Montreal Screwjob. Russo says that there is a story in his book called “Welcome to Bizzaroland”- “That will knock your socks off, there is nobody that knows what truly happened … sometimes I read what people write about it and I crack up…I was there from the day it started to the day it ended…people don’t have a clue what “really” went on.”


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