One of the greatest injustices in wrestling history: The Vince Russo story - Wrestling Forum: WWE, AEW, New Japan, Indy Wrestling, Women of Wrestling Forums

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post #1 of 80 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
 
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One of the greatest injustices in wrestling history: The Vince Russo story

How did key figures successfully bury Russo's writing legacy? Why?

I've been intrigued by the Russo story for about 3 years now. The reasons for his burial are more intriguing than most storylines from the past 3 years IMO.

I'll keep it short. I'll preface it with a weakness of his that made it easier for him to get buried - he takes things personally and retaliates to criticism with concealed hurt emotions, which comes across as disingenuous rationality, which we're all susceptible to, but Russo is less emotionally regulated than average (he has ADHD). However, I know for a fact he's a sincere, genuine, and an all-around good human being and his character profile is consistent with the classic "flawed creative genius" prototype, which is why I feel quite strongly about the injustice of his story.

Anyway, here are my condensed reasons to explain the story of the Russo hit job performed over the past decade:


1. Power & Natural Selection of Ideas ---> The clash between two different creative frameworks and the biased unnatural selection of the less successful framework.

While the fundamentals of pro wrestling are the same for everyone (after all, Russo was a student of Pritchard, Cornette, Pat Patterson, McMahon, etc), Russo's writing framework is one thing, and everyone else is another thing. We don't need to define them, we just need to know that we're talking about two different frameworks for writing a TV show.

Like a battle of political philosophies, religious beliefs, economic theories, etc., ultimately the best idea eventually wins because the people/market indiscriminately selects it.

However, in the wrestling industry, the Cornettes and Pritchards of the mid-90's drove viewers away, until Russo's very different TV show framework doubled ratings and saved the WWE. If his way becomes accepted, this seriously undermines the power and influence of all these people.

Therefore, burying Russo helps a large group of wrestling people continue doing what they do to maintain power.

Remember, several of these figures have been re-hired on $500,000 contracts to write today's product. They are the best of the best at working wrestling fans.

I believe key figures have made a lot of power and money partly by working wrestling fans into thinking Russo is X, Y, and Z.



2. Vince McMahon's legacy.

Nobody talks about this.

Vince McMahon ate up all the wrestling territories with the ambition to emerge as the sole victor. His final war was against WCW in the Monday Night Wars. If WWE is around in 100 years, this will remain as a pivotal moment in history for the WWE and in turn for Vince McMahon's legacy. How did he do it?

The magic trio --> Russo & Ferraro writing, with McMahon having the final say.

Ferraro wrote the "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" movies and Russo was an out-of-the-box magazine writer / ex-video store owner.

McMahon is the same McMahon who has booked everything in the years before and after this period. All the boring, formulaic, illogical, same old wrestling bubble stuff.

Therefore, Vince McMahon's long-term legacy hinges on what this trio actually did.

If Russo & Ferrara get buried... ... ... ...do you see who looks more like a genius? Do you see why key people would be motivated to significantly elevate Vince McMahon to the world while burying Russo & Ferrara?

Which leads me to...

HOW DID THIS GROUP WORK EVERYONE?

3. Using dirtsheet writers to push their agenda.

These dirtsheet writers, or journalists if you prefer, only have limited number of ways to obtain enough information from the inside to sustain their living. Getting on the good side of some prominent insiders is necessary part of their job.

How do you get on the good side of a Jim Cornette? What would happen if you piss him off?

How do you get on the good side of a Bruce Pritchard? What would happen if you piss him off?

How do you get on the good side of a Vince Russo? What would happen if you piss him off?

In sum, the dirtsheet writers / journalists who literally write everything you and I read about the industry are by nature going to please certain groups at the expense of others. Russo is an easy target, he never helped the dirtsheet writers when he was in power, and they have nothing to lose by burying him now to help creative minds of a different writing framework maintain power and money in today's wrestling industry.

Truth with Consequences was a good podcast I'll direct you to if you have your doubts (plus Matt Koon's individual podcast).

It just feels so wrong that such an important contributor to the most pivotal period of success in WWE history can be so heavily buried and have his legacy propagandised. It just doesn't seem right. The numbers clearly spiked significantly after Russo & Ferrara started writing, then nosedived sharply after their stories finished up within 12 months of them leaving. To this day, that's the only period in history that felt significantly different to everything else they've done, and ratings suggest it's what the people want.

Are there many others who see this happening? Or if you disagree, can you still see how all these agendas are playing out for those involved?
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post #2 of 80 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 02:00 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IronMan8 View Post
How did key figures successfully bury Russo's writing legacy? Why?

I've been intrigued by the Russo story for about 3 years now. The reasons for his burial are more intriguing than most storylines from the past 3 years IMO.

I'll keep it short. I'll preface it with a weakness of his that made it easier for him to get buried - he takes things personally and retaliates to criticism with concealed hurt emotions, which comes across as disingenuous rationality, which we're all susceptible to, but Russo is less emotionally regulated than average (he has ADHD). However, I know for a fact he's a sincere, genuine, and an all-around good human being and his character profile is consistent with the classic "flawed creative genius" prototype, which is why I feel quite strongly about the injustice of his story.

Anyway, here are my condensed reasons to explain the story of the Russo hit job performed over the past decade:


1. Power & Natural Selection of Ideas ---> The clash between two different creative frameworks and the biased unnatural selection of the less successful framework.

While the fundamentals of pro wrestling are the same for everyone (after all, Russo was a student of Pritchard, Cornette, Pat Patterson, McMahon, etc), Russo's writing framework is one thing, and everyone else is another thing. We don't need to define them, we just need to know that we're talking about two different frameworks for writing a TV show.

Like a battle of political philosophies, religious beliefs, economic theories, etc., ultimately the best idea eventually wins because the people/market indiscriminately selects it.

However, in the wrestling industry, the Cornettes and Pritchards of the mid-90's drove viewers away, until Russo's very different TV show framework doubled ratings and saved the WWE. If his way becomes accepted, this seriously undermines the power and influence of all these people.

Therefore, burying Russo helps a large group of wrestling people continue doing what they do to maintain power.

Remember, several of these figures have been re-hired on $500,000 contracts to write today's product. They are the best of the best at working wrestling fans.

I believe key figures have made a lot of power and money partly by working wrestling fans into thinking Russo is X, Y, and Z.



2. Vince McMahon's legacy.

Nobody talks about this.

Vince McMahon ate up all the wrestling territories with the ambition to emerge as the sole victor. His final war was against WCW in the Monday Night Wars. If WWE is around in 100 years, this will remain as a pivotal moment in history for the WWE and in turn for Vince McMahon's legacy. How did he do it?

The magic trio --> Russo & Ferraro writing, with McMahon having the final say.

Ferraro wrote the "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" movies and Russo was an out-of-the-box magazine writer / ex-video store owner.

McMahon is the same McMahon who has booked everything in the years before and after this period. All the boring, formulaic, illogical, same old wrestling bubble stuff.

Therefore, Vince McMahon's long-term legacy hinges on what this trio actually did.

If Russo & Ferrara get buried... ... ... ...do you see who looks more like a genius? Do you see why key people would be motivated to significantly elevate Vince McMahon to the world while burying Russo & Ferrara?

Which leads me to...

HOW DID THIS GROUP WORK EVERYONE?

3. Using dirtsheet writers to push their agenda.

These dirtsheet writers, or journalists if you prefer, only have limited number of ways to obtain enough information from the inside to sustain their living. Getting on the good side of some prominent insiders is necessary part of their job.

How do you get on the good side of a Jim Cornette? What would happen if you piss him off?

How do you get on the good side of a Bruce Pritchard? What would happen if you piss him off?

How do you get on the good side of a Vince Russo? What would happen if you piss him off?

In sum, the dirtsheet writers / journalists who literally write everything you and I read about the industry are by nature going to please certain groups at the expense of others. Russo is an easy target, he never helped the dirtsheet writers when he was in power, and they have nothing to lose by burying him now to help creative minds of a different writing framework maintain power and money in today's wrestling industry.

Truth with Consequences was a good podcast I'll direct you to if you have your doubts (plus Matt Koon's individual podcast).

It just feels so wrong that such an important contributor to the most pivotal period of success in WWE history can be so heavily buried and have his legacy propagandised. It just doesn't seem right. The numbers clearly spiked significantly after Russo & Ferrara started writing, then nosedived sharply after their stories finished up within 12 months of them leaving. To this day, that's the only period in history that felt significantly different to everything else they've done, and ratings suggest it's what the people want.

Are there many others who see this happening? Or if you disagree, can you still see how all these agendas are playing out for those involved?
I sympathize with this viewpoint, having read both of Russo’s books. But what gives his critics ammunition is his performance in TNA and WCW, and that cannot be discounted. I think if Russo had retired in 1999 he would be looked at much differently today.
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post #3 of 80 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 02:40 AM
 
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Re: One of the greatest injustices in wrestling history: The Vince Russo story

i think Russo has an image problem and a lot of it is of his own making. He can come across as blusterous and opinionated and arrogant in interviews, because he has always had to justify his position.

It is interesting to hear talent talk about him though, The Rock and Dutch Mantell both speak very highly of him as a person and as a creative mind.

I would like him to do a podcast with Conrad, because he would give him both the platform and wouldn't allow him to be full of shit like he can be sometimes.


Hearing him talk about how he would book the current product? I would bring him back, because his ideas are certainly not worse than the crap we have to sit through
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post #4 of 80 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 03:10 AM
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Re: One of the greatest injustices in wrestling history: The Vince Russo story

If you look at the viewing numbers Russo was very good at maintaining the audience during that time period, of course you have to accept that he had the three biggest stars the industry had ever seen in Austin, The Rock and Vince McMahon. You might argue that Russo made Austin/The Rock/Vince through his writing, and if you did he had about the best two year run any headwriter has ever had.

If you look at the cause of the ratings increases during his tenure they are very easy to pinpoint.

Until the tail-end of 1997 RAW pulled in a 2 rating. The RAW after Bret Hart was screwed at Survivor Series marked the turning point, the buzz garnered an extra 1M viewers, November 10 1997 the ratings shot up from a 2 to a 3 and maintained from that episode onwards.

The next jump came on the RAW on April 6 1998, the first after WM14, where Mike Tyson featured and Austin was crowned, getting a 1M increase, and an almost 2M increase in viewers within that calender month.

The final jump came weeks prior to WM15 1999, adding almost a million more viewers and a 6.5 rating.

Russo maintained the viewers between highs, but wasn't responsible for any of the actual jumps as they were all Vince McMahon decisions.

Russo left in September 1999 but the TV ratings maintained without him, even increasing after he's gone, hitting a 7 rating for that year.

The ratings kept rising right up until Stephanie McMahon became headwriter, who rapidly took RAW down to a 5 and then a 4 rating just a few months later. A cycle WWE has never recovered from to this day.
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post #5 of 80 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 05:10 AM
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Re: One of the greatest injustices in wrestling history: The Vince Russo story

The simple fact is, he gives himself way too much credit for WWE's successes in the 90's. He was there. He may have contributed in some way, but to listen to him you'd think he single-handedly saved the company from the brink of failure. That kind of bombast just puts a target on your own back, especially in a business as cut-throat as this one. And, as someone else alluded to, looking at his performance since then, it's hard to seriously attribute all the positives of the era to him. Compound that with his ego and crappy attitude, I just find it much easier believing everybody else's countering opinions. He's arguably done more to hurt the business than to help it -- and that's why he gets buried.

Send lawyers, guns and money.

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post #6 of 80 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 07:46 AM
 
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Re: One of the greatest injustices in wrestling history: The Vince Russo story

Quote:
Originally Posted by IronMan8 View Post
How did key figures successfully bury Russo's writing legacy? Why?
he buried himself, the proof is in the pudding

here's a better question: is there any proof that he has done anything except:

1. disrespecting the business without restraint or an apology,

2. grubbing for every penny he can scrape from gullible nostalgic idiots who don't question him

3. denying that anything with bad consequences was never his fault

4. and calling everyone who disagrees with him gay?
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post #7 of 80 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 07:54 AM
 
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Re: One of the greatest injustices in wrestling history: The Vince Russo story

Back when he signed with WCW most wrestling journos and fans were very optimistic about it due to his WWF stuff. There was overall positivity for the first month or two of his 2nd WCW run with the New Blood vs Millionaires Club stuff as well, I think people tend to forget that. I used to read Power Slam magazine a lot back then and I remember they said Slamboree 2000 was WCWs best PPV in ages when they reviewed it. They also praised Hogans repackage as the badass SCSA-lite type character. Once the NB vs MC stuff went south though (which granted, happened pretty fast) people soured on him quickly, intensely, and permanently.

To be fair to Russo, WCW was a sinking ship anyway. Nobody who got the book was able to stop it, and Russo was really the only one that attempted to do something different. He did a lot of stupid indefensible shit for sure but he also did stuff that you could kind of see the thinking process behind. He knew that "attitude", gimmick matches, fast paced unpredictable tv, swerves etc were in vogue at the time. But he couldnt make lightning strike twice. Things that would have gotten over in 98/99 WWF just didnt work out in 2000 WCW. Didnt help that they were going head to head with a WWF at its peak both creatively and commercially either.

Last edited by Lesnar Turtle; 05-18-2019 at 07:55 AM.
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post #8 of 80 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 07:55 AM
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Re: One of the greatest injustices in wrestling history: The Vince Russo story

Oh, who gives a shit about Vince Russo in 2019.
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post #9 of 80 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 04:07 PM
 
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Re: One of the greatest injustices in wrestling history: The Vince Russo story

Regarding Vince Russo having a great group of main eventers to work with while he was in the WWF, it should be pointed out that, at the time, WCW's group of main eventers were just as good, if not better. Hogan, Nash, Hall, Sting, Goldberg, Luger, Bret, Bischoff as a character, DDP, an aging but still popular Flair, Ultimate Warrior for a short while, The Giant until early 99, and I think that's it. Yes, Russo had some of the best talent to work with, but so did WCW and after WM 14 Raw usually beat Nitro. I think Russo deserves credit for coming up with good ideas for how to use the characters he was working with.
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post #10 of 80 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 10:50 PM
 
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Re: One of the greatest injustices in wrestling history: The Vince Russo story

Vince Russo got exposed as a hack. That is his problem.

The nicest thing you can say about Russo is that the cultural zeitgeist of the dirty 90's supported the crudeness of things like South Park that helped some of the weaker elements of WWF television to be propped up. The star-power of Austin and Rock also contrasted with the lack of star power in the mid-card to really make it easy to identify who the big players really were. I don't think Russo understands any of this. He thinks, for example, that Val Venis was a genius gimmick and effective. When you look at the ratings, however, Venis was a big loser for the WWF and his '99 main event push fell very, very flat.

The booker of the WWF has always been Vince McMahon. The success of the WWF's resurgence in 1997/1998 can be laid at the feet of Steve Austin's star power and some brilliantly patient angles and storytelling, which we now know to not be Vince Russo's forte at all. You also had the ingredients of Jim Ross as a trustworthy conduit and critic for the WWF's angles and programs, as well as Pat Patterson as a genius finish man and consultant. When Russo left the WWF because his ideas were upsetting top players a lot more (Austin and JR were not fans), I think he genuinely believed that the details of his verbiage or whatever was the reason for the WWF's success. He conned WCW out of a lot of money and was ousted from power in three months. It was god-awful television, and for a guy who considers himself a writer, it was piss-poor storytelling. This would continue into his second run as WCW's head writer and into his TNA stints. The only time Vince Russo has ever worked was in the WWF, and we all know how Vince McMahon micromanages that. "Filter" isn't even the right word. Russo was like a representative of the Gen X slacker audience that Vinnie Mac wanted to capture, and Russo was probably more a "muse" than anything. The WWF did even better without him and everything else he's tried to actively assert autonomy over has failed.

Russo is one of my least favorite figures in wrestling, because he still isn't completely lampooned by people. There are people who legitimately think that things like the Terri Runnels miscarriage angle were good for business, and that angles, angles everywhere was a good way to structure your product. The Attitude era was always going to fail because Russo didn't understand the fundamentals of pro-wrestling. And he still doesn't.

He gets too much credit for the success he was around for and not enough criticism for the shit that it is known he was responsible for.

Last edited by The Wood; 05-18-2019 at 10:52 PM.
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