Vince Russo has recently revealed the biggest regret he has from his professional wrestling career, saying he did not “push the envelope enough” during his heyday.
Appearing on a recent episode of ‘Insight’ with Christ Van Vliet, the former WWF, WCW and TNA creative writer recalled moments from his long and, at times, controversial career. Known as a key player during WWF’s ‘Attitude Era’, Russo is credited for his contributions in such stables as D-Generation X and legendary feuds such as Kane vs The Undertaker, as well as the legendary Steve Austin vs Mr McMahon storyline.
Russo is also responsible for more controversial angles, such as Terri Runnels’ miscarriage, The Undertaker crucifying Steve Austin on television, and the infamous ‘Brawl For All’ tournament. When recalling his career, Russo admits there is one thing above all others he regrets most:
“I don’t think I pushed the envelope enough. The only thing I would tell you now that I regret, but there’s a good reason for it. When I was in my heyday of the attitude era, I was not a Christian man. When I look back now on The Undertaker and what was a cross. But we were calling it a “symbol.” I would not have done that now after I became a Christian. That I wouldn’t have done, but I mean outside of that. But people point their finger at me for stupid things. I think in my career I’ve booked 3 pole matches, so I think I get the pole thing all the time. Then of course I get the David Arquette thing all the time, then of course I get the putting the belt on myself.
“But people point their finger at me for stupid things. I think in my career I’ve booked three pole matches, so I think I get the pole thing all the time. Then of course I get the David Arquette thing all the time, then of course I get the putting the belt on myself.”
Vince Russo was initially hired by WWF in 1992 as a writer for ‘WWF Magazine’. He would go on to become Editor of the publication before joining the company’s Creative Team in 1996. Russo would become lead writer during the height of WWF’s popularity in the 1990’s.
Vince Russo is often criticised by fans and media alike for his over the top, “swerve” style of wiring and booking. However, Russo claims that with addition of Smackdown essentially doubling his workload, the writer was forced to come up with continuous creative storylines for more than 100 shows a year:
“Unless you’re a writer, you don’t know what the F you’re talking about. Because bro when you’ve got 2 shows a week, and a PPV every month, bro, do the math. That’s 116 shows [a year]. You’re writing 116 shows a year. When you have incidents that happen that weren’t supposed to happen, David Arquette was not supposed to win the world title. Vince Russo was not supposed to get speared through a cage, when you create those moments, what it does is it opens up the creative envelope. Now you can go down all these avenues that weren’t open before.
Like I said, when you are writing 116 television shows, you can’t keep repeating the same thing over and over again. So, when David Arquette wins the title. ‘Holy crap, a Hollywood actor!’ This wasn’t supposed to happen, what are they gonna do? That can now create the next three months of TV for you. People don’t understand that, bro, unless you’re writing the 166 shows, there’s only so much you can do. You’ve got to open up that creative envelope.”
An increasing work load would lead to building frustration with the company. In 1999, Russo would leave WWF for rival promotion, WCW. During his tenure with Word Championship Wrestling, the writer would be involved in several controversial angles. This included Hollywood David Arquette capturing the World Heavyweight Championship, Russo himself capturing the gold, and Bash at the Beach 2000, in which Jeff Jarrett would lay down in the middle of the ring to allow Hulk Hogan to cover the Champion with his foot for the victory.
Vince Russo would leave WCWin October 2000, with the company closing down shortly after. Although Russo wasn’t there at the end, former WCW Senior Vice President Eric Bischoff believes Russo’s time there played a major factor in the companies demise, as recalled on an episode of ’83 Weeks’:
“Bringing in Vince Russo was probably the nail in the coffin. It made things – as bad as they were before I left in 1999, Russo made them worse. No-one would’ve thought [that] possible but Russo figured out a way to do it.”
Vince Russo would go on to write for TNA and, most recently, Aro Lucha. Russo ran a short lived Christian promotion ‘Ring of Glory’ in late 2005, producing two shows for the company. Although Vince Russo has become one of the most controversial figures in the history of professional wrestling, he is also remembered as a key figure during the ‘Monday Night Wars’.
Credit for Interview: Insight with Chris Van Vliet
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