AEW Producer, Arn Anderson, has spoken out about his belief that the World Wrestling Federation sent Vince Russo to sabotage their company in 1999.
Following the dismissal of Eric Bischoff as Executive Vice President of World Championship Wrestling by Turner Sports Chief, Harvey Schiller, Vince Russo was brought into the fold to oversee creative thanks to his part in WWF’s Attitude Era.
Widely regarded as one of the worst minds in professional wrestling, the decision to hand the keys of the kingdom over Vince Russo was just one of the factors that would see WCW sell their trademark, logo and video tape library to World Wrestling Entertainment in 2001 following several absurd creative directions. Admittedly, Scott Steiner’s entrance with a tiger was entertaining.
Now, Arn Anderson has taken to his ARN Podcast to talk about being in the locker room when Vince Russo arrived and how he still believes, nearly twenty years later, that the man in question was ruse by World Wrestling Federation to hammer the final nail in coffin lid that was already pretty snug:
“A lot of people thought that. Believe it or not, they sure did. I guess it was probably because the fact that – if you’re in that chair, and this is just me. I’m not qualified to be in that chair and be responsible for a show and company that big. But to me, no matter what a talent had to say about my running of the company or disagreeing with the way I was going or the way I was using talent, I would’ve figured out a way to patch the holes and make it work.
One thing I can do is recognize talent and talent that can make a contribution, or I can go out and watch a talent three weeks in a row and tell you if he’s getting over. I’m able to spot that. With all those guys going home, and then you send Russo home – this thing is about to crack open. I think most of the thoughts and conversations that he was sent down to sabotage the company was because of his style of writing. Huge buckets of blood getting dumped from the ceiling on guys and just the wacky characters that he used. These weird names – General Rection and all that stuff. Having him sent down by Vince to kill the company, that was a little far-fetched, but there were very real conversations that it was a possibility.”
Though there is zero concrete evidence to support Anderson’s notion, the fact remains that should he be correct then it was a job well done by Vince McMahon. Though not a direct cause of WCW’s decline – it was well on the way before Russo arrived – there’s no doubt that his ideas helped ratings to dive even further.
Arn Anderson currently serves as AEW Producer and on-screen mentor to Cody Rhodes.
Credit for the interview: The ARN Podcast
h/t for the transcription: Hooked On Wrestling