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Old 02-25-2013, 02:18 PM   #71 (permalink)
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Old 02-25-2013, 02:26 PM   #72 (permalink)
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Default Re: Existential Crisis and Wrestling

tl;dr
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Old 02-25-2013, 02:56 PM   #73 (permalink)
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Default Re: Existential Crisis and Wrestling

Yeah, blarg's post is pretty much spot on.

Russo had some great ideas, but once he joined WCW he just multiplied the Attitude Era by a thousand, tried to show that he could beat the WWF at their own game by just rehashing old concepts he brought up there, but it was mostly just cluttered garbage.

I have to admit though, I'd welcome him back now just for shits and giggles.
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:02 PM   #74 (permalink)
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Default Re: Existential Crisis and Wrestling

Epic post WashingtonD and yes, I agree, blarg_ is one of that posters who has a great wrestling knowledge. A great poster

And I also agree with WashingtonD that the filtering thing is just a lie and a myth. Vince McMahon is a big egomaniac, he would never admit that at the time when WCW kicked his ass that he was desperate, frustrated, done and helpless against the Turner & Bischoff, that he almost lost the Monday Night Wars and that his company was almost dead if there was not somebody else who helped him.
Of course he claims that the Attitude Era was his vision and his idea. Also, another example that Russo was solely responsible for the AE (before he started to work with Ferrara) is the style, the characters, the storylines and the nature of the product in WCW and TNA when he was head writer.
Take a random episode of Nitro, Thunder or Impact and replace them with Attitude Era characters and you had exactly the same shows



The fans can like more the style of WWE before and after Russo or even WCW and TNA shows when Russo was not there but this random Nitro episode proves that it was all Russo and Ferrara during the Attitude Era years, the time when WWE did 7.0 and 8.0 ratings.
When Russo and Ferrara left that cool, edgy feeling left with them proving that McMahon wasn't responsible at all but this late nineties feeling was felt in WCW and TNA when Russo and Ferrara arrived proving that they were solely responsible for the success in WWE
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:22 PM   #75 (permalink)
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Default Re: Existential Crisis and Wrestling

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Russo and Ferrara arrived proving that they were solely responsible for the success in WWE


WHAT
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:53 PM   #76 (permalink)
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Default Re: Existential Crisis and Wrestling

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WHAT
who of course would be nothing in WWE without Russo.
Listen



It looks like Russo filtered McMahon's idea on this one
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:55 PM   #77 (permalink)
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Default Re: Existential Crisis and Wrestling

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Originally Posted by blarg_ View Post
No prob.

If by "blink and you'll miss it" you mean often incoherent drivel aimed at the ADD-impaired audience, i'd be inclined to agree. What Vince Russo tried to do was capitalise on the 'Shock Television" trend in America at the time. It worked brilliantly, but that doesn't necessarily make it great writing.
Shock TV meant just that, shocking, pushing the envelope. Tits, blood etc. That's neglecting to mention the fact the way Russo structures his TV shows, which is what I find most compelling about his style. You could find tits and blood and shock TV in WCW and ECW too, but I think what Russo brought that was unique to wrestling was the very fast paced, television style that defined the "Attitude Era" as it was. Not just the generic promo, skit, match, promo, skit, match formula - like wrestling was in the past and is today.

He structured the show so it was, like I said, blink and you miss it, and that is where his genius is. He made every single angle on the show compelling, so you had to watch every minute of Raw. Promos blended into matches, which blended into backstage skits. Main eventers interacted with mid-carders and vice versa, giving a sense of realism - creating a universe. Rather than the cartoonish style stuff we found pre-Russo, and today in the PG era.

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It's not just a line Cornette came up with, Vince Russo himself admitted to this in shoot interviews. He basically ran his stuff by McMahon and McMahon would make subtle changes Russo called "nuances" Russo himself called this McMahon's genius to basically take his ideas and make them better. As for Vince not successfully filtering his shitty television years later, i'd probably credit this to Vince hiring a bunch of Monkey writers that had conflicting ideas in the storyline's direction. I'm sure that gave even McMahon himself vertigo. This, and the fact that he wasn't pressured into fighting a Mammoth like WCW breathing down his neck every week
That's not what Cornette meant by "filtering", which is where the term goes back to. He meant that Russo would throw out a bunch of ideas, which Mcmahon always rejected. Perhaps that was true around the 1996 period, when the writing team consisted of both Cornette and Russo together, but from all accounts, when it was just Russo and Ferrara, they wrote the entire show themselves., Then, yes, Mcmahon added his "nuances" as Russo put it, but that didn't mean Vince is the genius creative filter that is needed to stop Russo's supposedly shitty ideas. It means he added the finishing touches, just like he does now and just like he has always done. Does that mean Russo needs Mcmahon? No, definitely not. The major difference between Raw and Nitro, outside of backstage politics and such, was the production standards, which is what gave WWE the edge towards the end of the MNW's, even when Russo was writing some good stuff in WCW 99. Also, the fact Russo had got the ball rolling in WWE, where they were unstoppable.

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Yeah it was Russo's idea to go in that direction, but he didn't make McMahon do anything, the ratings did. McMahon basically took a leap of faith and went the ECW route.
Yeah, the ratings did, because Russo wrote the cool and edgy shows that got those ratings. ECW didn't influence Russo in any way either, as he has stated many times before. WCW was a much bigger influence on him.

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People that solely put the blame on Russo for killing WCW are idiots. Vince Russo wasn't in charge of management and the in & outs of the company, if the heads at Ted turner are stupid enough to allow two writers to come in and kill their company then they're to blame. No, Kevin Nash and Bill Busch did just as much to sour that ordeal, let alone the fact that Eric screwed up his only two genius creative ideas (Goldberg and the NWO) with shitty booking decisions. By the time AOL pulled the plug, there was nothing left of that shithole. Despite all this, Russo's writing at the time wasn't exactly what i'd call compelling television, more like stupid breaking the fourth wall trash that didn't make any sense. Everyone involved contributed to making that place a giant mess.
I think WCW was fucked up from a business standpoint, more so than a ratings/TV standpoint. A year before the company shut, and for the 3-4 months Russo and Ferrara were the sole writers of the show, they had the ratings up around the 3.0 mark, which is even better than WWE averages today.

Online wrestling journalists have always been biased and pointed to moments like hiring Russo, or Bischoff booking Goldberg/Hogan without any serious build, as moments that brought down the company.. but that simply isn't true. You don't pop a big rating and just ride it out from there, or get a low rating and never recover. These things take time - years. Austin was still doing 2.0's at the start, even when he was hot. It took a long time to build him.

And I've said it before on here, but the only way Russo helped destroy WCW was by being the main guy who got WWE dominating the MNW's. Not to say Mcmahon, Austin, Rock and even JR in talent relations didn't all play a part. But if it wasn't for his ballsy move, WWE would have still been presenting shit like The Goon and "Who" and cartoony characters like the shades wearing superhero Bret Hart, which would have of course sent them plummeting.

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I don't think it was very exciting at all. It had potential to be, but the storylines turned to dog shit faster than a side kick to Bret Hart's head.
That's your POV, and that's fine, because everyone likes what they like, but I think the ratings WWE gained under Russo proved that wrestling is at its most succesful when it has the Russo/Attitude style. He just didn't have enough time or belief from those higher up to implement his philosophies in WCW.

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Difference between WCW and WWF was the management. Vince couldn't afford to let Russo's shitty ideas fly, and he didn't . Aside from the strong infrastructure, the Shock Television at the time was needed for WWF to differentiate themselves, and they had the talent to do it. By the time Russo got to WCW, that shit was wearing thin and he tried to beat WWF at their own game by outshocking them at a time when the WWF moved on from this and were on to bigger and better endeavors (excluding the XFL). Total overkill.
I dealt with the filter thing above already, so I won't mention that again, and I'll just re-iterate that Russo never had anywhere near enough time to try and make WCW a success.. What I will say: He managed to pull the ratings up a couple of points in the short period that he and Ferrara were the sole writers of Nitro, which you could say is a small measure of success. He never actually "failed" as a writer in WCW.. that is just a perception the IWC has because of biased books like The Death of WCW and bitter bastards like Jim Cornette who have a grudge with the guy (he got fired twice in favour of Russo). Yeah, the run as part of the writing committee/new blood era with Bischoff and everyone else did flop in the ratings, but like I mentioned before, that was because WCW was in a transitional phase, having to replace main event talent with young up and comers like I mentioned - all the while, WWE was riding off all the young talent hitting their peak that Russo had built into main eventers during his run.


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Look, I have great respect for Booker T, but in no time did I ever buy him as a legit potential main event draw at that point. Seemed like Russo was backed into a corner and threw spaghetti at the wall until something stuck. It just so happened that Russo loved working with the young guys to his credit (not that he had much leverage with the veterans since most of them hated his guts and thought of him as a complete hack). As for him having a few decent storyline ideas. Sure, but would you drink out of the Punch Bowl if someone came in and took a massive dump in the middle of it?
My point about Booker T and guys like Jarrett and Steiner being pushed as main eventers, was because WCW had to do that out of necessity, but I still think they did a decent job of making them main event stars. They just didn't have the time that WWE were afforded to build stars out of Rock, Austin etc. The talent was there, just not the time.

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That's because McMahon was a fully fleshed out character at that point, perhaps the greatest heel in history, it was a shocking twist and he relinquished it right after. Russo on the other hand was just a writer that didn't really turn any heads during his stint as a heel, and i'm sure most people in the audience struggled to figure out who this Roody Poo was and why the hell he was taking up tv time every week. I don't know if he had any go away heat, but i'm almost certain that he was getting alot of discombobulated heat. What DID get the "go away" heat from me was the Brawl 4 All concept that was basically rendered pointless once Dr Death injured himself
I wouldn't say people were confused about who he was at all, I disagree 100 percent. He had been built up as the Powers That Be for months, which gave him enough backstory, and when he arrived he was cutting some of the best promos in pro wrestling. The casual people weren't confused about John Laurinaitis in WWE a year ago, and he had even less build up/background and 10 x less promo skills than Russo had. And he got some pretty good heat in his run.. but yeah, nowhere near the mega heat that Russo was getting. Even people who hate his writing style can't deny he was a good heel personality.

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Adding a bit of realism to your show is great, but you need to remember that this is the Pro Wrestling business. People watch it to be entertained, not to be constantly reminded that the product is fake and how cool the writers are to break kayfabe. Less is more, not words that Russo seems to live by
I agree to some extent, as it is a hard line to tread and definitely experimental. But when it is done right, it can be awesome, and I find it much more satisfying than the current WWE schtick ("I'm better/ No, I'm better" style crap). If it's done shittily - see CM Punk/Triple H worked shoot wars in 2011 - then it's nauseatingly bad. To be fair, I'll also admit that Russo getting Buff Bagwell to do his worked shoots was pretty crap, but I would blame that on Buff not knowing how to pull that kind of promo off correctly. Also Russo for entrusting him with that kind of material. But I think some of the worked shoot stuff with Tank Abbott was great and they made him look like a dangerous motherfucker with it. I liked the stuff with Goldberg and Russo too, and the promo on Hogan at bash at the beach was off the chain.

edit: Was just watching some shoots on Youtube, and found yet another 2 wrestlers who big up Russo for his writing: http://youtu.be/nMuUfK2j1AE?t=6m49s . Thought it was topical

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Old 02-25-2013, 06:05 PM   #78 (permalink)
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Default Re: Existential Crisis and Wrestling

Wow, i'm not sure how long this will last, hopefully not all night since I have work tomorrow and Russo talk would have to take a backseat. I will say this right off the bat, I admire your passion about this guy. Not being a smartass about it ether, you've been presenting sound and fair arguments so far and i'm always up for this type of stimulating chit chat.


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Originally Posted by WashingtonD View Post
Shock TV meant just that, shocking, pushing the envelope. Tits, blood etc. That's neglecting to mention the fact the way Russo structures his TV shows, which is what I find most compelling about his style. You could find tits and blood and shock TV in WCW and ECW too, but I think what Russo brought that was unique to wrestling was the very fast paced, television style that defined the "Attitude Era" as it was. Not just the generic promo, skit, match, promo, skit, match formula - like wrestling was in the past and is today.
Structuring a television show was a given, writers are supposed to create compelling intermingling storyarcs. Vince did this well, but in my opinion Chris fleshed it out better. Russo built upon the foundation of his main characters, the core of what made Austin and DX work was their exuberant personalities, Russo had a knack for writing promos for certain wrestlers but for the main guys it was mostly off the cuff. he brought crash tv to the WWE, he did it well but lets not confuse Apples and Oranges.

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He structured the show so it was, like I said, blink and you miss it, and that is where his genius is. He made every single angle on the show compelling, so you had to watch every minute of Raw. Promos blended into matches, which blended into backstage skits. Main eventers interacted with mid-carders and vice versa, giving a sense of realism - creating a universe. Rather than the cartoonish style stuff we found pre-Russo, and today in the PG era.
Well, that's a matter of opinion. Personally, I was bored half to death with half of what was going on in the midcard, with only the McMahon/Austin Rock, Mankind developements I really enjoyed, with 2/3rd of those truly becoming compelling in the second half of 1998. Hell, even Russo's vision for Undertaker's Dark Overlord shtick didn't do all that much for me. Main Eventers mingling with Mid Carders? Saw much more of this circa 2000-2001, most of what I remember from Russo's stint is midcarters being thrown into stables WITH a main event talent with little rhyme or reason, or he'd concoct storylines like Val Venis gets his dick chopped off or Marc Mero becoming Sable's bitch. That's not to say that it was all bad, if I remember correctly, the Hollies storyline started during the end of Russo's run and that's an example of something I enjoyed.

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That's not what Cornette meant by "filtering", which is where the term goes back to. He meant that Russo would throw out a bunch of ideas, which Mcmahon always rejected. Perhaps that was true around the 1996 period, when the writing team consisted of both Cornette and Russo together, but from all accounts, when it was just Russo and Ferrara, they wrote the entire show themselves., Then, yes, Mcmahon added his "nuances" as Russo put it, but that didn't mean Vince is the genius creative filter that is needed to stop Russo's supposedly shitty ideas. It means he added the finishing touches, just like he does now and just like he has always done. Does that mean Russo needs Mcmahon? No, definitely not. The major difference between Raw and Nitro, outside of backstage politics and such, was the production standards, which is what gave WWE the edge towards the end of the MNW's, even when Russo was writing some good stuff in WCW 99. Also, the fact Russo had got the ball rolling in WWE, where they were unstoppable.
That's Cornette's word against Russo's, I see you're taking Russo at his word on shoot interviews which if fine, but McMahon rejecting a bunch of Russo's ideas isn't entirely a myth unless proven otherwise. McMahon had his own ship to run, he was wearing many hats, so he had to let some shit slide. lol If he rewrote everything Russo did then he might as well have fired him and took his spot.

I disagree with the production standards being the reason why WWF edged out WCW. Compelling characters, an extremely compelling storyline , brand recognition and WCW's stupidity gave WWF the edge in the end. The were more or less on equal foot in terms of production, but more care was put into WWF's due to Vince being hands on and basically eating/sleeping/shitting wrestling. WWF's promo packages smoked WCW's especially.

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Yeah, the ratings did, because Russo wrote the cool and edgy shows that got those ratings. ECW didn't influence Russo in any way either, as he has stated many times before. WCW was a much bigger influence on him.
I wasn't talking about the ratings once they increased, i'm talking about when they were at an all time low. That's what prompted the change. I didn't say that ECW influenced Russo, but they took that route in the products becoming increasingly similar.

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I think WCW was fucked up from a business standpoint, more so than a ratings/TV standpoint. A year before the company shut, and for the 3-4 months Russo and Ferrara were the sole writers of the show, they had the ratings up around the 3.0 mark, which is even better than WWE averages today.
Well, that's Russo kinda spinning it there. 3.0 during the Wrestling Boom period is nothing to sneeze at. What he failed to mention is that there were times during his stint that the ratings stagnated and dipped. 3.0 to me makes up Wrestling's core audience that usually remain faithful even when the product sucks. WCW was in horrible shape right before Russo got there. Jumping from the fire back into the frying pan is hardly an accomplishement. He had the talent to make a significant turnaround but he fucked the dog on this one. Yes, i'm aware of Russo's claim that the inmates were running the Asylum, but he still could've worked around that. A matter of opinion, but I found WCW unwatchable at that point, and I don't entire blame Russo for this.

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Online wrestling journalists have always been biased and pointed to moments like hiring Russo, or Bischoff booking Goldberg/Hogan without any serious build, as moments that brought down the company.. but that simply isn't true. You don't pop a big rating and just ride it out from there, or get a low rating and never recover. These things take time - years. Austin was still doing 2.0's at the start, even when he was hot. It took a long time to build him.
I don't put much stock into wrestling Journalists, and i've mentioned from the start that the company was in dire straits before Russo got there. I don't think he's the sole culprit for the demise of WCW, but I don't think he helped them much ether.

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And I've said it before on here, but the only way Russo helped destroy WCW was by being the main guy who got WWE dominating the MNW's. Not to say Mcmahon, Austin, Rock and even JR in talent relations didn't all play a part. But if it wasn't for his ballsy move, WWE would have still been presenting shit like The Goon and "Who" and cartoony characters like the shades wearing superhero Bret Hart, which would have of course sent them plummeting.
That's assumption really. Yes, Russo played a pivotal role in WWE's success, I never argued that. My main argument was that I thought the writing wasn't all that from a creative standpoint, but I know that it was successful in aiding the company. I don't think McMahon would've been stupid enough to remain in his archaic mindset regardless of Russo's influence. His life was at stake, it's in these moments that you put your own artistic integrity aside for the sake of the company. McMahon surrounded himself with smart people, but they weren't assigned to their strengths, instead they didn't want to take chances. This I agree with you wholeheartedly, Russo was probably the hippest guy under Vince, he brought that Gen-X flamboyance that the corporate suits were sorely lacking. Props on that



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That's your POV, and that's fine, because everyone likes what they like, but I think the ratings WWE gained under Russo proved that wrestling is at its most succesful when it has the Russo/Attitude style. He just didn't have enough time or belief from those higher up to implement his philosophies in WCW.
WWE's ratings peaked under Russo, but they were better sustained under Chris. Again, not arguing Russo's success story at all. As for the time given in WCW, please, they had ample amounts of time to make it watchable or give hints that they were going in the right direction. Maybe the fourth wall stuff did it for you, so I guess that's a subjective success. heh



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I dealt with the filter thing above already, so I won't mention that again, and I'll just re-iterate that Russo never had anywhere near enough time to try and make WCW a success.. What I will say: He managed to pull the ratings up a couple of points in the short period that he and Ferrara were the sole writers of Nitro, which you could say is a small measure of success. He never actually "failed" as a writer in WCW.. that is just a perception the IWC has because of biased books like The Death of WCW and bitter bastards like Jim Cornette who have a grudge with the guy (he got fired twice in favour of Russo). Yeah, the run as part of the writing committee/new blood era with Bischoff and everyone else did flop in the ratings, but like I mentioned before, that was because WCW was in a transitional phase, having to replace main event talent with young up and comers like I mentioned - all the while, WWE was riding off all the young talent hitting their peak that Russo had built into main eventers during his run.
I can't say for sure what could've been, but the product being presented at the time told the entire story for me. Did Russo focus on the young talent? Sure, but i've explained that already. He was forward thinking on that, but he failed to capitalise on the talent he had at that point.

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My point about Booker T and guys like Jarrett and Steiner being pushed as main eventers, was because WCW had to do that out of necessity, but I still think they did a decent job of making them main event stars. They just didn't have the time that WWE were afforded to build stars out of Rock, Austin etc. The talent was there, just not the time.
I'll agree with that. Though I still didn't feel a natural progression toward something big. Infact, I remember the Millionaires Club storyline being incredibly ass backwards. Tha't's just one example since it was a major storyline at that point.



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I wouldn't say people were confused about who he was at all, I disagree 100 percent. He had been built up as the Powers That Be for months, which gave him enough backstory, and when he arrived he was cutting some of the best promos in pro wrestling. The casual people weren't confused about John Laurinaitis in WWE a year ago, and he had even less build up/background and 10 x less promo skills than Russo had. And he got some pretty good heat in his run.. but yeah, nowhere near the mega heat that Russo was getting. Even people who hate his writing style can't deny he was a good heel personality.
How do you know that people weren't confused over who Johnny Ace was? As for Russo, he was billed as the power that be, but my point is that most people didn't have a fucking clue why he was in that position. I wouldn't say he was a horrible on air character, but he was no McMahon in terms of, well everything really. This argument was within the context of why people didnt complain about McMahon winning the belt but did with Russo. That's why.

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I agree to some extent, as it is a hard line to tread and definitely experimental. But when it is done right, it can be awesome, and I find it much more satisfying than the current WWE schtick ("I'm better/ No, I'm better" style crap). If it's done shittily - see CM Punk/Triple H worked shoot wars in 2011 - then it's nauseatingly bad. To be fair, I'll also admit that Russo getting Buff Bagwell to do his worked shoots was pretty crap, but I would blame that on Buff not knowing how to pull that kind of promo off correctly. Also Russo for entrusting him with that kind of material. But I think some of the worked shoot stuff with Tank Abbott was great and they made him look like a dangerous motherfucker with it. I liked the stuff with Goldberg and Russo too, and the promo on Hogan at bash at the beach was off the chain.
I won't say that Russo was incapable of good to great concept nuggets and ideas. I think he's both underrated and overrated depending on who you talk to. He was a good writer, a successful writer, but this argument came when called Chris better. It's my opinion and I stand by it. Russo hasn't really wow'ed me since 1997 and his involvement in the McMahon/Austin saga.


La fin.
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:22 PM   #79 (permalink)
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Default Re: Existential Crisis and Wrestling

That's cool, and it's nice to have this debate with someone on here who knows what they're talking about for a change, rather than someone rehashing tired points. I won't reply back, because I would just be repeating previous points and then you repeating points and so on and I want to cook some food before Raw starts. Repped anyway.
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:27 PM   #80 (permalink)
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Default Re: Existential Crisis and Wrestling

It's all very subjective on points based on personal preference. No one is wrong or right.

Appreciate it. Very few people manage to lure me into long drawn out wrestling discussions on here these days. You managed to do that so you're cool in my book

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