It’s no secret that Vince Russo is regarded as one of the worst wrestling figures in history. Some like to blame him for the death of World Championship Wrestling and poke fun at his sometimes questionable booking of Total Non-Stop Action.
But, those same people are seemingly forgetting that Russo was part of the Attitude Era and a reason for the rise of the Rock, Steve Austin, Mankind and others. Hell, when he was in WCW he gave younger guys a platform to work.
Does the bad outweigh the good for Russo? Sure. Once he left Vince McMahon he never had someone to edit his ideas and thus they were thrown together or often didn’t make sense. I’m sitting here trying to think of good ideas he has had outside of the WWE, but I can’t come up with much of anything.
As I sit here and think of Russo’s time in WCW, was there any long lasting angle that made its mark? The New Blood angle lasted all of two months, and the countless “shoot” angles aren’t worth discussing. Maybe Russo trying to turn Goldberg into a heel for a month is the most memorable thing.
One thing Russo was good at in WCW was being able to get himself major heat. From April 10th to October 2000 Russo was easily the number one heel in the company and went over top babyface guys like Ric Flair and Booker T. I take back that Goldberg comment, the most memorable thing about Russo in WCW has to be when he booked himself as the WCW World Heavyweight Champion.
Russo has stated countless times that he believes wrestling fans tune in for the stories and not for the matches, which really doesn’t make much sense to me. That doesn’t explain what pay per views are all about. Don’t we pay an ever increasing amount for a three hour broadcast for wrestling matches? Sure, pro wrestling needs its stories and everything, but I personally tune in for the wrestling.
I don’t tune into a wrestling show to see people talk for two or three hours. I tune into the show to see guys jumping off the top rope and hitting powerbombs and other big moves.
The other day I was searching the internet and was on The History of WWE website, which is great. As I was looking through television results for the year 2005 and oddly enough a lot of the time the main events for those shows would be 15+ minutes long.
The more action, the better.
Now, Russo may think that we tune into for the storylines and maybe at the peak of his time writing that played a role. I’m talking about the rise of the Rock, Steve Austin/McMahon and the Ministry stuff. But as you can tell those guys are all megastars, something he hadn’t work with in a long time.
When he went to WCW and later on TNA, the star power wasn’t exactly there for him.
Is Russo a person to blame for the failure of WCW? No. You can’t possibly put that on Russo. WCW had long been sunk by the time Russo got there. So, please, don’t say Russo killed WCW. Hell, he didn’t even really help kill the promotion that was already dead in the water.
Where does Russo rank in terms of writers? Well, he had a good run with the WWF, obviously. That was from 1996 to 1999, roughly? Maybe it was 1997. So, you have about two to three years of memorable stuff. Considering he was writing up to just a few years ago, let’s say he has been writing wrestling for ten years. Three years has been good. That’s about 30% of his career. Yeah, Russo as a writer just doesn’t work.
Am I Russo fan? I’m indifferent towards the guy. I could sit down and watch WCW 2000 with no problem. Sure, I’d be sitting there laughing and confused as to what was going on, but I could do it. In my opinion, Russo should have written for a sitcom or something Hollywood. When you think wrestling fans don’t want to watch wrestling matches, something isn’t right.
What are you opinions or memories of Vince Russo? Leave them below!
Thanks for reading.
— Bob Colling