Vince Russo had an interview with Inside The Ropes in which he discussed his long career in wrestling, including his runs for WWF, WCW and TNA.
Here are highlights:
On how he got his start in WWF: “I was doing a wrestling radio show in Long Island, New York which I was Funding with my own money. I started running out of money. I wrote a letter to Linda McMahon, knowing if I wrote to Vince he probably wouldn’t answer it. I wrote a letter to Linda McMahon introducing myself, telling her what I was doing and saying I’d love an opportunity in the World Wrestling Federation at that time.”
On WWE being in the same rut as 1995: “Here we are, twenty years later almost and in my opinion the wrestling business is at the same exact spot. In my opinion at that time WWE was about ten years behind with what was going on in society at that time. I feel here we are in 2012, and I feel that the wrestling industry is at the same exact place, I think time has passed them by. They’ve become irrelevant. There’s nobody willing to make the changes that need to be made to bring the product up to speed.”
On what led to the Attitude Era: “I remember it was a Raw where it was being simulcasted they were shooting in the States and overseas. The rating came in the next day and it was rock bottom, it was maybe a 2.1, I mean it was really really bad. I went into work the next day and literally as soon as I sat down at my desk, Vince’s assistant called me that he wanted to see me. I went up to Vince’s office, he had all his key people in the room. He had the Raw magazine in his hand. I was worried, I was ready to be fired. He took that Raw magazine and slammed it down on the desk and said “this is what the show need to be” I was absolutely shocked. I thought it was going the other way. I had no dream that it was going to go that way.”
On why TNA struggles to create stars: “Because I think there’s a lack of patience. Ratings don’t happen overnight. Ratings happen when you commit to something and you stay the course. That’s why the attitude era worked. Vince stuck with it, we didn’t let the rating affect us on a weekly basis, we rode it out. Unfortunately, that was never the mindset at TNA. There was a lot of emphasis on the rating week to week, then creative is being directed to jump all over the place. It might take a year, but if you stay with it and believe in it, it’s going to work. It’s not going to work if every six weeks or two months you’re changing course and going in a different direction. I feel TNA have been guilty of that for a very long time.”
On why Russo, Bischoff and Hogan in TNA together didn’t work: “It’s simple, you can’t have these three strong personalities in opinions working together, you can’t. I worked very peacefully with Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff. In working together like that, everyone really trying hard to get along and wanting to get along, what each person is doing, is compromising your ideas and beliefs so everyone gets along. In my opinion its not a good was to business. There needs to be one boss, laying out the direction. If it’s working great, if it’s not, get rid of him and bring the next guy in. I’m a firm believer in that. In my opinion all these cooks in the kitchen, trying to get along, you end up with a product that’s very vanilla.”
On what he wanted to do in TNA and couldn’t: “To be me. Not compromise myself. The only time in my career that I was successful was in the WWF. Vince McMahon gave me the ball and he let me run with it. There were no committees. There was no 6 other peoples opinions. He trusted me, he gave me the ball. That was the only time in my career that I was allowed to work that way. I know what kind of environment I need to be put in to be successful. Committees in the wrestling business, do not work. Someone need to show me a committee in the last 15 years that worked. You need to have a head writer, let him bring in his crew, if they run with it and it’s a pass great, if they fail, get rid of them. Anything else is going to be vanilla and is going to be a so-so product which is what you’re seeing now in the wrestling business and not just in TNA.”
Quick Fire Thoughts:
Hulk Hogan – Legend. He is the guy.
Ric Flair – I think of wrestling
Sting – Out of those, I had the closest relationship with him, I think of gentleman.
Dixie Carter – Confused
Jim Cornette – Great wrestling mind
Vince McMahon – The creator