Wrestling's Biggest Idiot...And It's Not the Ultimate Warrior
September 26, 2005 by Joe L. & Jason Simmons
*Special thanks to Jason "XtremeFalls43" Simmons for assistance on this article and the information he gave me. Without him, this article would've sucked ass. This is also my final article for the next couple of months due to time restrictions in my life. Thank you OWW for your support and wish you all a happy future.
"It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." -William Shakespeare
Had William Shakespeare lived through these troubling years of professional wrestling and saw the dying days of WCW, he might've called it an inspiration for his dark tragedies. No other organization has fallen so gracefully on purpose than WCW, a company that started its life as part of the Jim Crocket promotions before being killed off in 1987 and eventually becoming World Championship Wrestling. Throughout the thirteen years of its existence, WCW was run by incompetent liars, selfish backstabbers and egotistical employers that provided nothing but misery and depression to a roster of some of the most talent and over wrestlers in the world. While the company has had its ups and downs, its downs firmly dominated the organization's legacy and any success that occurred resulted in consequences that were unjustifiable. For every good factor, there was a disaster lurking around the corner. What's worse was that these disasters could've been avoided but instead were allowed for the sake of a stupid rating.
Last column, I ripped Hulk Hogan for his endless politics that disrupted WCW booking but Hogan could've at least booked something coherent as opposed to Vince Russo, the man that dropped the axe on WCW with his illogical storylines, horrible ideologies and nonsensical booking. That's right, if questioned on who was the main perpetrator that killed WCW for good, critics would point their fingers at Vince Russo, that guy that contributed to the Attitude Era in the WWF with assistance by the higher power. I think after what he did to WCW, it's easy to say that they're right.
Throughout the history of this great sport, no other booker has shown us so many ways on how to ruin WCW and put it out of business so easily than Vince Russo. Things were terrible under Ole Anderson in 1990 and Bill Watts and Dusty Rhodes' attempts to develop anything new and original blew up back in their faces. Kevin Sullivan’s treatment to youthful wrestlers was disgusting and deplorable while Kevin Nash was basically Kevin Nash. But none of these men could top the ineptitude and jaw-dropping stupidity of Russo. At least those men had some wrestling experience. Russo was nothing more than a mark, an ego-ridden, mentally retarded wrestling fan who wouldn't know a rest hold from a restroom. Only Russo could ruin wrestling with his self-destructive ego and atrocious storyline booking and still get away with it.
So when you're done reading this article, let this be a lesson to anyone who thinks that hiring a guy who claims to be the mastermind behind a successful era but ends up being a loser with the attention span of a five-year old is a good idea. Because it's not. Every wrestling company in the world should take a look of how much damage Russo did to WCW and do whatever it takes to not follow the exact same fate. But the most important advice: DO NOT SIGN VINCE RUSSO!! Vince Russo=BAD BUSINESS. Russo had already killed a company. I think that clearly rests the case.
Now begins the article:
In the aftermath of Eric Bischoff's release from the company, WCW was in a catastrophic mess with no one in charge, the booking becoming more inconsistent and wrestlers not knowing where they would go from there. Although it gave us some great matches, WCW's direction was nonexistent, with a lack of creative bookers or any writer smart enough to come up with a decent storyline.
Then came Vince Russo.
When Vince Russo was hired as a contributing booker, the reception was
mixed: while people have praised Russo’s surprisingly entertaining storylines, others felt that his storylines would detract the wrestling that made WCW enjoyable to the remaining fans they had. Vince Russo and Ed Ferrera proclaimed that they were going to save WCW and help give the right talent the respect that they deserve. Vince even went as far as saying that he would never put himself on television and that he created the Attitude Era. Despite some odd booking in 1999, Russo's angles in the WWF including Corporate Ministry helped garnered some of the highest Nielsen ratings in wrestling and it, at least, stored a little confidence who considered himself somewhat a true wrestling booker.
Stupid me, you wouldn't consider yourself a true wrestling booker if you didn't know how to book a wrestling show, which was what Vince Russo couldn't do. Here's a question to all you wrestling fans:
In one of the worst periods for WCW, what was Vince Russo’s first act in trying to redeem the morale in WCW?
a.) Remove Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Lex Luger of their creative control to give several wrestlers some spotlight
b.) Push the right gifted talent over the crippled, no-talent slugs
c.) Motivate Ric Flair and give him a respectful World title reign he rightfully deserves or
d.) Have Ed Ferrera ridicule their former boss Jim Ross by donning a gimmick called "Oklahoma".
If your answer is "D", then you have just joined the Vince Russo Fan Club.
Vince Russo’s first act was to humiliate RAW announcer Jim Ross with a copyright that no one sans Jim Ross got, by mocking JR's Bells Palsy disease. This was the first of many tasteless and mind-numbingly retarded booking moves that Russo would bring to WCW, which included a female wrestler named Madusa (a also known as Alundra Blayze in WWF) winning the WCW Cruiserweight title, a hoax of a title feud involving Goldberg, Sting, Sid Vicious and Hulk Hogan at Halloween Havoc 1999 (where Hogan laid down to Sting and Sting was squashed by Goldberg later that night, who had earlier brutalized Sid in a match that should've headlined Starrcade 99), Bret Hart's lackluster heel turn after finally becoming a sympathetic babyface and winning the World title in a horrendously booked title tournament, hundreds of run-ins that made no sense, burying Ric Flair in a desert, Goldberg punching a window that shattered his arm tendon, Tank Abbott's nonsensical main event push and unsurprisingly, Vince Russo booking himself on TV after saying he wouldn't do so. Politics once again reared their ugly head and the booking was messier and more convoluted than ever.
Most of the angles lacked consistency, depth and logic and it confused the hell out of a lot of fans while making wrestlers look like idiots. Normally, sports entertainment schlock would've upgraded the rating as the Rock "This Is Your Life" segment and the Corporate Ministry angles did in the WWF but without Vince McMahon's control or advice on situations, Russo went ahead on his own in creating THESE storylines that made absolutely no sense (like how could a no-DQ match end in a DQ?) and it cost WCW a lot of fans. To make matters worse, Russo recycled “original" angles that were developed in the WWF, all which came across as stale and uninvolving to the audience. Perfect examples were the screw job ending at the Bret Hart-Goldberg main event at Starrcade that was endlessly ripped off from the Montreal incident, where Goldberg played the role as Bret while Bret Hart played the role as Shawn Michaels.
But all that was nothing compared to the big boner that was the Piñata on the Pole matches.
Why was the Piñata on the Pole a black mark in WCW? Because prior to his entrance to WCW, Vince Russo declared that he was a true American, stating that he sheds no respect to any Mexican or Japanese wrestlers. I shit you all not, read this portion that I copied from thewrestlingfan.com or "Death of WCW"
“You will never ever, ever, ever, ever see the Japanese wrestlers or the Mexican wrestlers over in American mainstream wrestling. I'm an American. If I'm watching wrestling here in America, I don’t give a shit about a Japanese guy. I don’t give a shit about a Mexican guy. I’m from America, and that’s what I want to see.”
And people thought the JBL-Nazi incident was embarrassing? So keeping his word, Vince Russo booked four supremely gifted Mexican athletes including Juventud Guerrera in a piñata on a pole match where the winner had to climb to the pole and grab the piñata while the Japanese wrestlers were kept home.
Afterwards, a huge discrimination suit by Sonny Onno (I think) was filed on the already crippled WCW and WCW had to pay big bucks to save their asses.
WCW realized this was all getting out of hand, as proven by the ratings and buy rates of the shows. In a matter of two months, WCW televised ratings went from 3.8 and 3.10 to a lousy 2.8. The buy rates were even worse as they didn't even reach a half of million marks and the fan attendance dropped increasingly. The straw that broke the camel's back culminated in the planning of UFC fighter Tank Abbott becoming the next World Heavyweight Champion, so they simply fired Vince Russo and replaced him as Kevin Sullivan as a booker. But Sullivan has had a notoriety of keeping several wrestlers down and as a result, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko left WCW to go to the WWF. Not even Chris Benoit's first World title win was enough to convince the Wolverine to stay, stating the comparisons of the World title to tin.
If Vince Russo caused WCW to be on hot water, then the Radicalz' departure caused them to jump in the oven. WCW just lost four of the best workers in the world because of this stupidity so what does WCW do to redeem themselves?
a.) Establish Booker T, Billy Kidman or Rey Mysterio as legitimate main event threats
b.) Fire Kevin Sullivan and make Ric Flair the booker once again or
c.) Bring back Eric Bischoff...AND Vince Russo and side them together as co-bookers.
Given WCW's lack of logic and compensating wrestlers with their pure ignorance, then the answer would obviously be "C". Vince Russo was brought back with a pat of on the shoulders after just turning WCW into a laughing stock because of his public dislike for Mexicans. But that was nothing compared to what was to come later on.
"I am not bound to please thee with my answers."
In what will go down as one of the worst and most disgraceful promotional moves in wrestling history, Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo booked "Scream" actor David Arquette to become the WCW World Heavyweight Champion and boy, did the Internet clans have a field day with this one? Forget the fact that the WCW World title was won by a non-wrestler but when the title that was won by Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Harley Race and Ricky Steamboat was claimed by a C-list celebrity actor that had absolutely no experience in the wrestling business, the value and prestige of the championship was dead, removed and completely worthless. Promoting an unwatchable movie with an actor as a guest star for a wrestling promotion is one thing, having that actor win the most coveted championship in the organization's history crosses the line completely.
The title went further down the toilet by changing more times in one month than the European or Intercontinental title in one year combined. When Jeff Jarrett won the title from David Arquette, he immediately dropped the championship to Ric Flair, which in turn was vacated due to Flair's ear injury and was won by Kevin Nash, who then proceeded to give the title back to Flair, who following that event jobbed his last WCW title to Jeff Jarrett in a one month.
Let me say that again, ONE MONTH and the number of title changes that occurred. Jarrett beats Arquette. Flair beats Jarrett. Nash wins title by vacancy.
Nash gives the title back to Flair. Jarrett beats Flair. That's FIVE TITLE CHANGES IN ONE MONTH!!! The WCW title became expendable and it was never redeemed again. Even the WWF European title had better credibility than this.
And to shed even bigger room for more idiocy, Vince Russo booked a feud between young, youthful and athletic-oriented wrestlers called the New Blood to take on the old, crippled has-beens called the Millionaires' Club. On paper, this was a great concept but if you look at it from an intelligent perspective, this feud was a failure from a start because the young talents were booked as heels while the old, aging dinosaurs who booked themselves over the young wrestlers were pushed as faces, making this rivalry uninteresting and simply predictable. Instead of a fresh, old-school babyface Billy Kidman facing the cowardly heel Hulk Hogan, you had a boring Hulk Hogan squashing a bland heel Kidman in a tables match with Kidman basically putting himself through tables.
Another one of Vince Russo's other big boners was allowing wrestlers go out and conduct shoot interviews and catering to the smarks. The shoot interviews not only confused the audience but it exposed the business in its entity and made the company look like shit. Shoot segments that lacked logic turned off a lot of fans, specifically the Internet, who considered this a stupid idea and a blatant insult to the IWC. In a notorious incident, Goldberg sandbagged Kevin Nash's Jack-Knife power bomb in a three-way dance involving Scott Steiner, told Russo to "go f*ck himself" and just left. What the hell? What was that supposed to accomplish?
Vampiro took on a deteriorating Sting in a series of horrible gimmick matches that were as phoney as Vini Manilli. David Flair, Ric Flair and Vince Russo had a family feud that culminated in another dumb storyline involving Stacy Keibler's baby and eventually wind up in a cage match where Russo no-sold Flair's figure-four, had him shaved and was put in retirement for months. The feud was assed-backwards in every level. It did nothing for either factions, who were background characters to Russo since he insisted on putting himself on TV over and over again.
Russo attempted to create angles that were supposed to be somewhat of shoots and try to get the fans to believe it was all real but ended up looking silly as a result. Quite possibly the perfect example was the so-called "shoot" interview from the Bash at the Beach 2000 incident where Hogan pinned Jarrett, who laid down to him and then Russo came out to bury Hogan and declare a new World title match between Booker T and Jarrett. Granted, it got rid of Hogan and gave us Booker T as World Champion but Booker's title reign was a flop as he was treated like a lame duck champion who was a midcarder compared to wrestlers that didn't matter like Goldberg and Kevin Nash. Russo failed to deliver Booker as a legitimate main eventer and turned him into a joke of a champion, primarily because it was not the original plan.
The "shoot" interview was an actual work to try to form “another" unification match up till the point that Russo called Hogan a bald-headed son of a bitch, which is a huge no-no in wrestling. These shoot promos, along with the inept series of ideas by Vince Russo and the booking of over wrestlers, left the general feeling to many fans that WCW was a self-indulgent mess ready to fall off the cliff.
Speaking of jokes...
How do you take a talented wrestler and completely squash his career without the case of jobbing to every wrestler? Easy, you put a hundred terrible gimmicks on him and make that wrestler look like a stupid retard for choosing to work with the same company run by stupid retards. Such was the case with Mike Awesome, a guy who was then ECW World Champion and just happened to jump on WCW to assault Kevin Nash just to make an impact. Then after he lost the ECW title to a WWF wrestler, he went back to WCW and became the butt-joke of the Internet by chasing fat chicks, being a 70's guy wearing a mullet and attempt to kill careers despite the fact that he never goes over any wrestler clean. These gimmicks completely pummelled Awesome's reputation as a legitimate ass-kicker. Had it not been for his killer performance at One Night Stand, these character traits would've tarnish his image for good.
But Vince Russo wasn't through...he threw a stack of Joker cards by turning Goldberg into a heel, even though everyone knew that it would fail, and be crown the WCW Champion by humiliating Booker T. As predicted, the heel turn was a flop and Goldberg’s career dropped like a rock while the coveted gold melted into scrap metal and thrown in the garbage. By the end of 2000, Vince Russo was gone but the damage had been done. By the time Vince Russo was remotely removed from the booking committee, WCW had lost an astronomical amount of $62-$80 million due to the poor house shows (or lack of), buy rates, ratings and fan attendances, the interest in the product pummelled to a rate that hadn't been so bad and unenthusiastic since 1993 when WCW nearly went out of business with the lost of $20 million dollars and that year's Starrcade, headlined by Scott Steiner and Sid Vicious, drew a miserable 0.1 buyrate.
It's amazing how one man can screw up a company just like that.
Vince Russo was not only a terrible booker with the attention span of a five-year old but he was an egomaniac and brainless moron who failed to have many fans take him seriously and believe in the hundreds of lies that he spawn out of his diarrhea-filled mouth. His claims that NITRO was doing a better job achieving ratings than they were before was as laughable as Tara Reid's acting. His credibility as being considered a genius simply defied description especially coming from a guy that turned the ultra-talented Chavo Guerrero into a lousy backstage announcer and made a mockery out of Mexican lucha libre wrestlers by having them try to grab piñatas. It should also be note that this was the same man that created the notorious Terri Runnels miscarriage angle as well as the dumbass NWA Invasion in the WWF when Jim Cornette, along with a couple of NWA rejects, tried to get revenge in a storyline no one got. So, yeah, calling him a genius works wonders.
Russo's ego was evident when he overheard a WCW memo stating 10 questions not to ask Vince Russo.
One of those questions: How many young and hungry employees does it take to screw a company?
The other one: What does the second W in WCW stands for?
Russo lashed out at everyone saying that everything was fine in WCW while the WWF was in horrible shape. Yeah, sure. Losing $80 million dollars is equivalent to creating a fine, well-organized company. Russo went as far as cutting the third hour of NITRO into two, which was preposterous because NITRO's ratings would hit its peak at its third hour, not to mention the fact that the show would lose a lot of ad revenues during the process. Russo was removed from the creative by the end of 2000 but it was too late to save WCW as the dropping finances of the company led to being sold to Vince McMahon, who bought it for a measly $3-4 million from an organization that made 40-50 times its cost.
"Lord, what fools these mortals are!"
If there was any indication that Vince Russo had no business working in a wrestling industry, let alone be in charge of head booking a promotion, than there is your proof. From ruining the midcard division to making retarded promotional moves to giving a C-list celebrity actor the most coveted prize the company has had, Vince Russo's determination in creating things the way that he wants them was blown in pieces by ego, jealousy, ignorance, ineptitude and stupidity. Vince Russo firmly believed his ideas and his angles would lead WCW to greatness. But with an inept mind combined with his atrocious ego came disastrous results not just for the wrestlers he was booking, not just for the fans that he was screwing around but for the entire wrestling promotion.
So now WCW is proclaimed dead and basically forgotten thanks to stupid men like Vince Russo. We can only pray that lightning does not strike twice with the companies that exist today, consisting of bookers that we hope will not go through the great lengths of idiocy that Russo travelled in WCW. Vince Russo's destruction of a once alternative wrestling-based company is a great tragedy because wrestlers who worked with these idiots, these numnuts, these ignorant, self-centered bastards never got the chance to shine and when they did, they were completely buried due to jealousy and ego. After WCW faltered, while some of them are sitting at home with their multi-million dollar contracts like lazy fat idiots (**cough**Goldberg**cough**), others had to compete in B-style wrestling shows and Indy promotions to help make money for their family.
We can only thank stupid men like Vince Russo for crushing dreams, destroying careers and ruining what was considered the pure wrestling promotion of the entire industry. And we shall salute all the has-been jerks and prima donna cry-babies from WCW with a middle finger for turning one of the greatest companies in wrestling today into a huge landfill that no one would want to go near anymore.
God bless you all, for ruining wrestling.
by Joe L. [View Joe L's Column Index] and Jason Simmons [View Jason's Column Index]..
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