Buff Bagwell Explains Why Vince Russo Can’t Be Solely Blamed For Killing WCW

Former WCW star Marcus “Buff” Bagwell recently appeared on an episode of The Snake Pit podcast with Jake Roberts, where he talked about a number of topics including how Vince Russo first tried to fix WCW.

Bagwell said, “It was just so above my pay scale, man. I mean you gotta realize, even though I was always out of my pay scale, I rode with guys in that pay scale. I mean, I was best friends with Sting and [Lex] Luger and all the top guys, but man, it just — it was just so much. Stinger at the time was having personal problems and having to fix that at home. And it was me and Luger were you know, we were doing our thing, which wasn’t really good but we were doing it. And it just — all the pieces were falling off, all the wheels were coming off. So no, I was never in this locker room seeing what happened. No, I don’t quite know what was going on.”

“But I just know that it was — the only story I could tell that makes sense and kind of ties it all together as the first day Vince Russo came into the company. And he had a talk with what he considered all of the A-talents. You know, 30-40 guys maybe was what I would consider. I would not choose to be one of the top guys, but they did. So Vince had a one-on-one topic conversation with me. And the conversation was very brief. He believed that the problem with WCW was the people who ran it always wanted to be on TV and be stars. Like Dusty [Rhodes] and his friends and his stars. When Flair ran it, his friends, his stars. And then and then here comes [Bill] Watts his friends, his stars. And then [Eric] Bischoff came, his friends, he was a star. And that’s what Russo’s story was that was the problem with WCW. So Russo, to me, and supposedly to everybody else once we talked, stated that he would never ever show his face on television with WCW. Now, I’m not sure if you watch WCW much, but that didn’t last long. That’s why it started with the Harris brothers talking — and you hear his voice, but they were doing all the actions. I don’t know the timeline, but it wasn’t long before he was the World Heavyweight Champion.”

On Vince Russo being blamed for killing WCW:

“I would say Vince Russo played a part in killing the company. But you can’t do that, there’s just way too many moving parts. But I can tell you that wasn’t a good thing. But a lot of little stuff too.”

On dealing with WCW booking towards the end:

“I have — a lot of things that happened in my career too at the time that didn’t make sense. And my mom was on the road with me and I had her to be like, ‘Look, be cool about this, Mark. Just ride this out. You’re making great money. Just do your thing.’ So, I had her as a mother helping me do the right thing. So I went to Cincinnati, Ohio one day. Showed up there and they had one of the Italian guys. Big Vito was — we go in the finish room. We’re one week away, or the Monday before the PPV, Judy Bagwell on a Pole Match. And we’re trying to build them up between me and Chris Kanyon. And we go the room with me and Big Vito, which is obviously just me getting a win over Big Vito going into the PPV match. I walk into the room, and I got explained to me by Johnny Ace that Big Vito is beating me. And I just had talked to my mom at lunch about, ‘Whatever they throw at me, I’m gonna say yes.’ So I said, ‘How do you want to beat me?’ Johnny Ace and Big Vito both are like, [gapes]. And they start trying to figure out how they’re going to beat me. ‘Oh, well. I mean!’ I can see the excitement in Big Vito’s face. ‘What? I can do that swinging neckbreaker DDT thing I do.’ I said, ‘Well’ — I got a cup of coffee in my hand. Calm as I can be, I said, I said ‘Man, I just had broke my neck a year or so ago. Is there something else we can do?’ ‘Oh, yeah, yeah. Anything you want!’”

“And I’m going along with everything, and then all of a sudden I realized something. I go, ‘Wait a second Johnny.’ I go, ‘Big Vito, do you have a match? on the PPV this Sunday?’ And I saw Johnny Ace, his face go [slack] like, ‘How did he figure it out?’ And I go — and of course, the coffee gets set down. And I go, ‘Johnny, I came in here to do the right thing. Please tell me you’re having to lose the Big Vito going into a PPV match that you were advertising. Judy Bagwell on a Pole match, tell me I’m wrong!’”

On talking to Russo about it:

“So I’m walking toward Vince Russo. The whole way Johnny Ace is behind me going, ‘Buff, I wouldn’t do this, man. They don’t care. They’ll fire you, they’ve already told me they don’t care. I’m just telling ya, let it go.’ Well, I got to Russo, and I can’t remember what went down, but it was heated. But he explained it, unlike Johnny did. He said ‘Bagwell, Kanyon is going to be a cameraman. And blah, blah, blah.’ And I said, ‘Johnny, why didn’t you tell me that?’ And he tried to put the heat on me, saying, ‘Well, you didn’t give me time.’ I said, ‘We had a quarter of a mile walk to get here! You could have told me.’ So long story short, all the heat is on me because Johnny didn’t say anything. And I go out and Chris Kanyon does something with a camera, and Big Vito beats me. It makes sense all of a sudden, so we do it. But stuff like that was just — you just heard one story from one wrestler. So if that many stories happened in that part down the list with Buff Bagwell, what’s happening up here? I don’t know, but a lot was going on.”

You can check out the complete podcast in the video below.

(H/T to 411Mania.com for transcribing the above quotes)