Rewatching AE RAW for first time since I was a kid - Wrestling Forum: WWE, AEW, New Japan, Indy Wrestling, Women of Wrestling Forums

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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-08-2019, 10:09 AM Thread Starter
 
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Rewatching AE RAW for first time since I was a kid

From December 97 and at the moment I'm in March 98, just before Wrestlemania. I've just watched the March 2nd episode with Tyson joining DX and Undertaker returning, that might be the best episode of wrestling I've ever seen.

Anyone who says that Vince Russo is a bad wrestling TV writer must be insane. I'm sorry but come on now, this is such a better TV show than it is today it isn't even comparable.

Every single character has a story.

Everyone is getting a reaction from the stories.

Every single commercial break has a hook.

Each show ends with a cliffhanger or a reason to watch next week.

You never know whats going to happen next.

Characters are developing and everyone has a direction.

The flow of the show is brilliant.

The matches have fun finishes that extend the storyline and don't go on to long.

And the funny thing is that it hasn't even reached its peak yet. It's already better than anything I've seen in the last 10 years in WWE and it's not even 1999 yet. Why do people forget or ignore how good Russo was at his job in WWF? Forget WCW for a moment, forget David Arquette, 4 pole matches etc. Just look at the 150ish TV shows he wrote for WWF and tell me it isn't great TV.

I don't think there is another entertainment industry on the planet that would treat it's most successful writer so polarising. It's great TV guys.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-08-2019, 10:11 AM
 
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I can’t argue with you
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-08-2019, 10:17 AM
 
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Re: Rewatching AE RAW for first time since I was a kid

Russo was good at the time because he had a lot of entertaining ideas, but there were people who kept him in check. He never was a good booker. Once he was given unlimited creative freedom in WCW we saw him living up to his potential. Judy Bagwell on a Forklift match was his magnum opus.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-08-2019, 10:18 AM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Mgene15 View Post
I can’t argue with you
It's hard too! I don't understand why people think he's a bad writer. McMahon wouldn't have paid him to be head writer for 3 years and they wouldn't have succeeded so well if he wasn't.

And before people come back with The Rock, Stone cold etc being the reason it was great. Yes that's true, they were amazing performer's. But the reason Game of Thrones is so great isnt just because the actors were excellent, the writing had to be compelling enough for the actors to hook you. Same with a wrestling TV show.

WWE really needs someone from outside the bubble like Russo was to reinvent them. As much as I enjoy his work, it's not like Russo is a writing genius or anything, so Im not sure why none of their 40 writers cant do things like hooks and characters. There must be someone out there that will write this TV show like a TV show and not a wrestling show.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-08-2019, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by TMWTLAITW View Post
Russo was good at the time because he had a lot of entertaining ideas, but there were people who kept him in check. He never was a good booker. Once he was given unlimited creative freedom in WCW we saw him living up to his potential. Judy Bagwell on a Forklift match was his magnum opus.
The thing is I love those kind of stupid matches. I love the forklift , I love the green card on a pole match and I even love the Al Snow and Bossman dog murder angle. To me the more silly it is, the better. I can see why people don't like that sort of thing though. People still talk about those matches decades later though , so he did something right!
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-08-2019, 10:20 AM
 
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Shouldn't this go in the history of wrestling

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-08-2019, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by TMWTLAITW View Post
Russo was good at the time because he had a lot of entertaining ideas, but there were people who kept him in check. He never was a good booker. Once he was given unlimited creative freedom in WCW we saw him living up to his potential. Judy Bagwell on a Forklift match was his magnum opus.
Producers and higher ups keeping writers in check is nothing new though. Like I said, ignore WCW, judge him on his WWF work. If you have 10 ideas a week and 4 are good enough for primetime TV I'd say that's a good success rate. He must've had more good ideas than bad ideas for McMahon to have paid him a salary for 3 years as head writer.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-08-2019, 10:34 AM
 
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Re: Rewatching AE RAW for first time since I was a kid

Don't forget it was the talent that made it work as well, Al Snow to me is still such underrated hidden gem of the Attitude Era
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-08-2019, 10:55 AM
 
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It’s insane.

The 150 episodes he wrote should speak for themselves, but the dirtsheets speak louder.

The guys he replaced despised him for his success, so they buried him mercilessly via working the dirtsheets. The myths have been enshrined in wrestling fandom narrative.

He’s factually the greatest writer in wrestling history.

IMO only uncritical dirtsheet consumers could possibly arrive at such a negative conclusion regarding Russo.

It’s a shame, really.

Last edited by IronMan8; 11-08-2019 at 10:57 AM.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-08-2019, 11:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by rkolegend123 View Post
Don't forget it was the talent that made it work as well, Al Snow to me is still such underrated hidden gem of the Attitude Era
Talent vs Creative?

McMahon’s writing framework today would be unlikely to accentuate Al Snow’s best traits, rather he would shoehorn him into a basic character box.

It seems to me that Russo was the guy who really knew how to collaborate with the workers, understand them as people, and write within a framework that allowed them to “turn it up to 11”.

My theory is extracting talent from D-grade actors requires exceptional EQ, something McMahon has always dismissed in favour of oversimplified, unidimensional character traits.

Wrestlers work and learn an exceptional trade, but by large they’re not overly exceptionally gifted people like in far more competitive industries like acting. I mean that in the best way possible. The process of developing their character is a lost art that has been replaced by simplified formulas designed to be suitable for any high school kid to memorise and act out.

Russo came from a totally different perspective to those in the bubble, and it shows in the end product.

Last edited by IronMan8; 11-08-2019 at 11:24 AM.
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