In a recent interview on the Insight podcast, Russo spoke about the Kennel from Hell Match in 1999 between Al Snow and The Big Boss Man. Russo had envisioned a match featuring vicious attack dogs surrounding the ring, but the execution fell flat. The match was a result of the storyline built between Boss Man and Snow, where Boss Man fed Snow’s dog to him.
Russo explained that in his head, the dogs were supposed to be fierce police dogs. However, when he saw the actual dogs brought in for the match, they turned out to be tame and friendly pets. He admitted that he never considered the possibility that the dogs might not be trained attack dogs. He said on the podcast:
I think of the concept because The Boss Man — our story revolved around the little dog Pepper. Okay, so I thought of the concept but in my head, in my head they are attack dogs, you know, they’re police dogs. The teeth are out and saliva is coming out and they’re circling the ring, that’s the picture in my head.
He then recounted his first meeting with the dogs:
I walk over to look at the dogs and bro, the first dog licked my hand. And I’m like, bro, I never thought of what if they’re not attack dogs? What if they are pets? You know what I’m saying? Like that’s exactly what happened, bro; these were the lamest, laziest [dogs].
Russo took full responsibility for the match’s failure, acknowledging that he should have accounted for how the dogs would act or not act. He described the match as a disappointment and admitted that it “actually sucked.” This behind-the-scenes insight sheds light on the challenges of translating creative ideas into successful wrestling matches.
What Other Vince Russo Ideas Fell Short?
Vince Russo is credited with many of the great ideas that made the Attitude Era beloved by wrestling fans. However, not all of Russo’s ideas were hits. Russo is credited with the Brawl for All tournament which is considered by many fans to have been a disaster.
The Brawl for All was a legitimate shoot-fighting tournament that the WWE held in 1998 and it resulted in injuries for some competitors and marked the end of Dr. Death Steve Williams’ WWE push due to his loss to eventual winner Bart Gunn. Gunn’s “reward” for his victory was a legitimate boxing match against Eric Butterbean Esch, who held a 42-1-1 record when they fought at WrestleMania 15. Esch knocked Gunn out in just 34 seconds.
H/t to WrestlingInc.com