Vince Russo Discusses The Release Of His New Book (“Rope Opera”), His Relationship With Hulk Hogan & Eric Bischoff Since January 4th, The Rumors Of TNA Going Head-To-Head With The WWE Beginning In March (And Why It Would Be A Mistake For RAW Or iMPACT To Go Three Hours), Why Stephanie McMahon Becoming The Head Of WWE’s Creative Team Might Have Hurt The WWE, & A Message To His Critics (Including Jim Cornette)
Here are some of the highlights of Vince’s exclusive interview, provided by The Mayhem’s official correspondent, Paterson From New Jersey:
Vince Russo was welcomed back to The Monday Night Mayhem Radio Network by The Big Mosh, Blade, & “The Chairman Of The Board” Todd Vincent for his first on-air/public comments since the beginning of the “Hulk Hogan/Eric Bischoff Era” in TNA Wrestling. The world has been buzzing about Russo’s new book (being released March 1st through ECW Press), entitled “Rope Opera: How WCW Killed Vince Russo.” Many fans & critics & fans alike over the years have referred to Russo as “the most hated man in professional wrestling,” and he finally had the opportunity to respond candidly to that moniker. “Man, the most hated man in professional wrestling? That’s pretty stiff don’t you think?”
“Rope Opera,” will indeed give a lot of insight into Russo & his time in WCW, and his fans (along with his critics) will see a side of him that very few have had the opportunity to see before. Mosh began by asking Vince about the process of putting the actual book together. “First & foremost the reason I wrote both books (“Forgiven” & “Rope Opera”), to be honest with you, is because I really do enjoy writing; that’s what I do, and it’s very difficult when you’re in the confines of writing a wrestling show 52 weeks a year & writing 12 Pay-Per-Views a year and being dedicated to that genre. I really wrote ‘Forgiven’ & ‘Rope Opera’ as an outlet to write outside an wrestling script. To me, to just take what’s inside, and put it down on the paper, and get it out there as real, as raw, as truthful as possible…that’s just a freeing experience for me.”
“The Chairman Of The Board” Todd Vincent brought up the controversial & infamous WCW Bash At The Beach PPV from the summer of 1999, which he referred to as Russo’s own “Montreal Screwjob.” Todd asked about the events afterward which Russo had the chance to describe in his book, which unveiled a great deal about what happened leading into that night & the aftermath of what ensued between himself & Hulk Hogan. “I don’t think we really have enough time in this show for me to go over everything, because it is a long story. But I could you this, before January 4th, me, Eric, & Hulk had to sit down and have a conversation. I had spoken with Eric on a few occasion before the 4th came (of January), and everything was smooth & going cool, but I knew I had to have the face-to-face with Hulk before January 4th, and it was something I wanted very, very much. It was ten years after the fact, so much was said, so much was reported, so much was spoken about. Bash At The Beach was the last time I ever saw or had any contact with Hulk besides lawyer depositions & things like that. When the three of us sat in room, I was able to get my side of the story, and they were to get their side of the story for the first time in ten years. What it came down to was that I thought we had agreed to do things one way, and they thought we had agreed to do things another way, and it was a major, major miscommunication.”
With the increase in TNA’s ratings since Hogan’s arrival, everyone is talking about iMPACT moving to Monday nights permanently and reports have even surfaced about TNA’s flagship program going head-to-head with the WWE beginning on March 1st & every week thereafter. With all the new talent arriving & with everything moving so smoothly as it has been since January 4th, is TNA ready for the jump to compete with the WWE’s Monday Night RAW, which has been rumored to move RAW to three hours if TNA goes three? “This is the first I’m hearing of the three hours, and I don’t think TNA has any claims on going to three hours. I think either show going three hours would be a mistake. Three hours a week…that is a lot of programming, and I know how difficult it is to come up with two hours, so I don’t think three hours would be a good idea. As far as being ready (referring to the Internet), I don’t know if it’s a obligation to create controversy & to dwell on negativity; all I know is for me to have the opportunity to go head-to-head against a former boss who I’m not very fond of and work with minds like Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Ric Flair, & Jeff Jarrett; to have that opportunity, I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity than that.”
In the new book, Russo mentions that he was considering a return to World Wrestling Entertainment in 2002 and even met with their Creative Team, but it never came to fruition. He also mentioned that putting Stephanie McMahon in charge of WWE’s Creative Team was the worst idea Vince McMahon ever made. Russo was asked to expound on that point of the book. “When Ed (Ferrera) & I were writing for Vince, Stephanie just started sitting in on creative, and my thought was that Vince just wanted Stephanie to learn every aspect of the company. I never thought in a million years that Vince envisioned Stephanie as head of creative, and the reason I say that is Stephanie is a great girl, but the meetings she sat in on…I never saw anything creative in her. She never threw out suggestions or ideas, I just never viewed her as creative. She was smart & intelligent, but smart & creative are two different things. So when I left, and Stephanie became head of creative, I was shocked, and I knew right off the bat that Vince had made a huge mistake, because I knew if this girl fails in that role, he cannot replace her. Good or bad, she was going to stay in that spot, and that is exactly what happened over the years. I think Stephanie was the wrong person for the job, and in the long run, that might have hurt Vince’s company.”
Vince Russo has been one of the most criticized individuals in professional wrestling history over the years, and some of the industry’s biggest names have been calling him out publicly, including TNA employee Jim Cornette. Russo wished to respond to his critics on The Mayhem airwaves, and if he’s at the point where he still gets upset with them, or just takes them for it what is. “I will always be that guy…It doesn’t matter if TNA can do a 7.0, an 8.0, or an 10.0…it wouldn’t matter. I would always get criticized way more than anyone else, and here’s the bottom line: I don’t take what I do as passionately as some people who watch the product, or even some of the people who is involved in the business. To me, what I do has always been my job. My job is to be a television writer and to achieve the highest rating that I can,…it’s that simple. That’s my job, and that’s what I try to do week in & week out from the first day I ever started in this business. The Jim Cornette’s & the critics are going to get hung up on whatever they’re gonna’ get hung up on, I go to work everyday to do my job, and I do the best job I possibly can, and that’s all I can do.”
Throughout all the criticism from the “armchair quarterbacks” during the years & his busy schedule now, Mosh asked Vince if he was happy right with his life right now, especially with Vince addressing some recent health issues as of late. “That’s a real good question. The rut you fall into in what I do having to write a show every week, and it’s year after year…it really gives you little time to enjoy anything. It’s a very stressful & taxing job, and that’s why if I don’t have the frame of mind that ‘this is a job & this is how I support my family,’ I would become just like some of the obsessed that are out there that criticize every single word that comes out of my mouth. And I don’t wanna’ be that guy. I wanna’ be able to enjoy life, and I wanna be able to do things out of wrestling. With me, the only way to stay sane is to go about this like this is job, and outside of this, I’ve got a family that loves me & a family that I love, and the time that is not spent working on a show will be devoted to them.”
As a final parting shot, Russo was asked about the next Pay Per View offering from TNA (Against All Odds) & what he would say to the person that has been a long-time TNA fan, but may be on the fence about the increase in TNA’s Pay-Per-Views (by an extra $5). “Of course we are going to continue the trend of surprises & expecting the unexpected, but I have to say this: Regardless of what anybody thinks what my personal feelings were towards Hulk Hogan or Eric Bischoff, regardless of people saying that I have to get along with them, because that’s what people are saying, which is obviously not the truth. As a wrestling fan, I am spending that extra five dollars to see what is going through the mind of a Hulk Hogan, what is going through the mind of an Eric Bischoff, & what dynamic can they bring to TNA. And if that’s not worth five dollars to you, I really think you’re missing the boat. With these guys comes a whole new perspective, a new way of thinking, new ideas, and you’re always going to see something new. And if that is not worth five dollars to the consumer, I really don’t know what is to be honest with you.”
More is contained in this exclusive interview with TNA’s Vince Russo, including his candid thoughts & comments why he believes his on-screen character from WCW merged with himself (and why he feels he receives a bad rap as a result of it), the main differences in TNA since Hulk Hogan & Bischoff arrival into the company, what the loss of Shane McMahon means to World Wrestling Entertainment, & much more! For more on the release of “Rope Opera,” check out Vince’s official Facebook page (located at http://www.Facebook.com/VinceRusso). Listen to Vince’s return appearance on The Mayhem to find out how you can score yourself an exclusive copy of the book prior to its release! Don’t forget to tune into TNA iMPACT this Thursday night (beginning @ 9PM ET/8PM CT on Spike TV), and call your local cable or satellite provider for TNA’s Against All Odds, February 14th live on Pay-Per-View.
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