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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Is Vince Russo GOOD for Wrestling???
February 17, 2007 by Pete Cruise


Editor's Note: The author of this column can be contacted via the OWW Forums, where this submission was first posted. Feedback can be posted automatically by clicking here - but remember you must sign up for the forums to post feedback on a column. Thanks you!


Born January 24th 1961, nobody would have ever guessed that Vince Russo would end up being one of the most influential wrestling minds of our generation. Having written for 3 wrestling promotions since 1996, Vince Russo has produced many unforgettable angles and storylines. However, Is Vince Russo creatively GOOD for wrestling?

His first job in WWF(E) was as a writer, then editor for the WWF Magazine. He wrote an insiders column for the magazine which hinted at possible heel turns and debuts of wrestlers. Vince McMahon promoted him to creative in 1996 where he paid immediate dividend's. The year 1996 gave us: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Rocky Maivia (The Rock), Farrooq vs. Ahmed Johnson, The Nation of Domination, and the return of Bret "The Hitman" Hart.

By the time Russo got used to writing for RAW, he started producing more "mature" angles and storyline such as: DeGeneration X, Mae Young giving birth to a hand, and others. By the end of 1997 he had epitomized the definition of "Crash TV". Crash TV essentially means, can't miss TV or non-stop action so to speak.

After a lengthy stint in WWF, Russo left for WCW. One storyline in particular had David Arquette winning the World Heavyweight Title, a moment wrestling fans won't soon forget. After several confusing & unappealing angles, the WCW ship sank and along with that Vince Russo's job.

From 2002 to present Mr.Russo has been spending the majority of his time in TNA. He has given us: strippers in cages, the X Division, and "SEX", an acronym for "Sports Entertainment Xtreme". The one thing he hasn't given TNA is ratings. While being on the creative team in TNA, iMPACT has yet to see a rating ABOVE 1.8. This could be attributed to the network, the timeslot, or the talent. However, one has to wonder if we are in a different age of wrestling. One that actually WANTS wrestling. With such a talent pool, and with Russo's resume, imagination tends to wonder if Russo is the problem.

Examining title changes while Vince Russo is part of a creative team really shows a lot. While in WCW, The World Heavyweight Title changed hands 22 times between October 5th 1999 and the final show. That is an average of a title switch every 3 weeks. Compare that to 34 title changes from early 1991 until late 1999.

Vince Russo puts the ENTERTAINMENT in Sports-Entertainment. In recent TNA iMPACT shows, the average match length before Russo was 5:25 seconds. Compare that to 2:30 with Russo as part of the creative team. With a roster that boasts the likes of: Samoa Joe, Kurt Angle, Sting, Low-Ki, AJ Styles and others. You would think that Russo would spend more time telling story's in the ring. Instead Russo has used the matches as backdrops for the storylines instead of storylines as backdrops for matches.

Vince Russo is an exciting writer. He has written some amazing storylines and angles. However, I think it has been proven that 2006 & 2007 are years for a new generation of wrestling fans. Fans that want wrestling. Not compelling storylines or Wrestlers/Owners talking for a half hour.

If he can realize that fans want more wrestling and less talking, then Vince Russo can be an asset to any wrestling promotion. If Russo continues to try and write crash TV and produce worthless segments, wrestling may never be the same again.

by Pete Cruise (Submit your feedback here)..




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