Vince Russo was the head of WWE Creative during their infamous, and perhaps most successful era in their history, Attitude Era. Despite that, he was also the man at the creative helm during the famous collapse of WCW. So, you really get a mixed bag with him.
Russo was one of the minds behind some of WWE’s most controversial and critical storylines before he decided to jump ship over to WCW in 1999 to help steady the sinking ship. Russo tried his best to bring WCW back above sea level, but despite his best efforts WCW still fell under the pressure of its biggest rival.
He later went on to have a stint in TNA before leaving the wrestling business all together. There have been many stories about Russo circulating for decades, some of which are forgettable and debatable, while others are thought to be true and much harder to forget.
The following is a list of 12 things that fans wish they had never found out about the creative genius, but sadly something’s are easier to forget than others.
12. Vince Cut Ties With His Best Friend For A Job With WWE
Vince released a book in 2005 entitled Forgiven: One Man's Journey From Self Glorification to Sanctification. In this book, he talks about his career in the spotlight like never before as well as the way he found his way in to the wrestling business.
It turns out Vince McMahon's steroid trial was the reason Russo had his first contact he with the WWE's chairman, and it was thanks to his friend John Arezzi that it managed to become such a media circus. Russo wanted to be a part of the wrestling business and he knew that he had to distance himself from John if he was ever going to make it.
So he did, he called WWF headquarters and attended the Steroid Symposium even though it cost him his friendship with John, but it was the reason he was first able to meet Vince McMahon.
11. He's A Dirt Sheet Writer?
Over the past few years Vince Russo has made a living out of writing about wrestling and WWE for various online outlets and dirt sheets.
Vince has made a name for himself writing for sharing some of the strangest facts and stories about himself in exchange for website hits.
How did Vince Russo go from being one of the most creative minds behind WWE to one who sells his stories to the highest bidder? Sadly this has become the reality for a man who was once considered one of wrestling’s most creative minds.
10 He Let the Future Slip Away
Russo seemed to be a big fan of booking older talent in his main event matches despite the fact that he had the future of the business at his fingertips.
Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio and Dean Malenko were all there ready to be used effectively but Russo preferred to revert back to the ones that he knew fans had already connected with which made it hard for any of the new talent to come through and find their place on his brand.
This is perhaps the same way that fans think Vince McMahon has booked both John Cena and Randy Orton over the past decade.
9 Russo Was Against Smackdown
Russo’s switch to WCW is still one of the most controversial things to happen in wrestling history and it is thought that the main reason behind this switch was that Russo was not happy when WWE introduced “Smackdown.”
This meant that Russo’s workload was almost doubled since he also had to help create ideas for this show as well as continuing the work he was already doing for WWE’s flag ship show.
It was also thought that his on-going issues with Vince McMahon played a part in the decision and it seems that WCW’s offer became a hard one to refuse.
8 Vince Left WWE to Write a Reality Show
It probably comes as no surprise that a creatively talented man would like to lend his efforts to writing actual screen TV rather than wrestling shows.
This is exactly what Vince decided to do after he left WWE, as he wrote a television pilot for a show that was called “Rope Opera" and pitched it to Fox.
When he pitched the idea to Vince McMahon, he wanted to change the story and own the rights to the script; Russo refused and left WWE a few months later. Fox never picked the show up because it was too reality based and wrestling wasn’t considered a big seller.
7 Vince Never Wanted to be a Writer
Despite what some people might have to say about Russo's WCW career - and even parts of his WWE years - there's no denying that he came up with some pretty ingenious stuff. That being said, he never actually wanted to be a creative writer.
Russo has stated that he only wanted to be the Head of Creative after he was offered the job, he would have been just as happy writing for the WWE Magazine, but instead he became a world known star and one of the most controversial and creative stars of WWE’s most famous era.
6 Flag Football on Raw?
Vince Russo recently revealed that he actually wanted to produce a game of flag football on an episode of Monday night Raw between The Nation of Domination and D-Generation X.
He apparently pitched the idea and had it accepted, but DX backed out at the last minute because of their lack of confidence when it came to the athleticism of some of their talent.
Would this have been a good idea to show instead of the wrestling show? Or is this another example of an idea that Russo should have kept to himself?
5 Booking David Arquette as Champion
WCW reached a point in the late 90s where it was actually competing with WWE as part of the Monday Night Wars. Before it seemed that it was dropping of the grid and in the end forfeited as a challenge.
During this run, Vince Russo actually booked an actor to be his WCW World Heavyweight Champion and the Championship managed to change hands after Eric Bischoff (who himself wasn’t a wrestler either) was pinned.
It was a way of gaining attention to help WCW gain more publicity by making it look like it was a realistic event. But failed completely and is still considered one of Vince's utmost failures as a creative writer.
4 Wanted to restart the WCW Invasion in 2002
When D-Generation X invaded Monday Nitro back in 1998 as part of the Monday Night Wars, it was one of the best creative decisions that had been made in a very long time and it helped WWE to gain a foothold in the ratings war.
When Russo was rehired by WWE in 2002, he pitched the idea of another invasion and wanted to use unsigned talents like Bret Hart, Mick Foley and Goldberg. The idea was shot down by the WWE board and Russo was demoted to a “consultant” with the company until he declined the position and joined TNA.
3 Booking Himself As Champion
It was considered to be a complete accident but whie Vince Russo was finishing up his tenure with WCW, he actually booked himself to become Champion.
Russo wasn’t really considered to be a wrestler, but he did make appearances as a wrestling personality and during participated in a Championship match between himself and Booker T. Goldberg managed to spear Vince through the cage which meant that he won the match because his feet touched the ground outside.
He did then surrender the Championship the following night on Nitro, which either meant that it was a genuine accident or that he'd quickly realized how bad of a decision he'd made.
2 Terrible Booking Decisions
Russo made some terrible booking decisions while at the helm of WCW. The company were competing with WWE in their epic Monday Night Wars series when he decided to book some of the most insane matches and wrestlers.
Buzzkill and David Flair were not great decisions from such a creative mind, it seems that he panicked and wanted to try everything he could to save the brand but in actual fact ended up being the reason that it failed. Russo could have booked better things like he had in his time at WWE but he didn't have Vince to filter his crazy ideas.
1 What Vince wanted to call TNA
It’s not completely common knowledge that Vince Russo actually invented TNA, but he pitched the idea for a pay-per-view show rather than a network show that he had entitled “Bitch Slap.”
He wanted it to be an adult-orientated show with adult content, language and nudity but instead it became the show it is today which was not part of Russo’s vision.
Russo also revealed that TNA actually stands for T*** and A** (in his mind) and Total Nonstop Action was thought up as a more PG response when asked what it was an acronym for. This also fitted in with his adult program brain child.
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