Wrestling, like any other sport with a large fanbase, garners A LOT of different opinions; Who is the greatest ever? Which match is the greatest? Which Era was the best? – 9 times out of 10, you will have a different answer to each of the above from each fan, but one opinion seems to be popular amongst most fans; a severe dislike for Vince Russo.
However, in my opinion, which is usually greeted with a groan (or a burst blood vessel) – Vince Russo is one of the most underappreciated figures in wrestling to date.
Now, before I receive dozens of hate mail, allow me to explain why I believe this to be true.
Starting off, I will say that I do enjoy some of the current product, if the storyline warrants a long match, such as Randy Orton and Edge at WrestleMania this year then I can get behind that.
Pitting wrestlers against each other in long bouts with no build is something that I find much more difficult to invest in.
The Russo Perspective
On to the subject at hand, I regularly listen to The Brand, which is Vince Russo’s Podcast which is not only entertaining but provides information and stories about his time in the wrestling industry.
He viewed wrestling writing as a job, and as a head writer, his role was to provide the best television content possible.
He thought that the show should be made similar to Jerry Springer, which was hugely popular in the 90s.
Evidently, this approach was a success to this day, no one has achieved higher television ratings in WWE than when Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara were writing the show. In WCW, regardless of your thoughts on the stories, he increased the viewers by one million.
Impact Wrestling achieved two million viewers while he was head writer.
(which is more than Dynamite and NXT bring in currently combined by the way)
The ‘popular’ opinion is that he ‘killed WCW’. The mere idea of this is absurd.
Russo was a writer for a company. He had no say in anything financially and did not negotiate contracts.
His job was to improve the ratings in a sinking ship, which he was able to achieve.
The damage was done behind the scenes and he did the best with what he had.
For people to say talent would receive lower income because of his booking makes no sense.
Talent earnings was not a decision directly made by Russo, although some may argue the contrary.
I will say it again, HE WAS THE WRITER OF THE SHOW, THAT’S IT.
Is the hate justified?
Despite his credentials and talent as a writer, people go out of their way to verbally bash Russo, Jim Cornette is a famous example of this as we are all aware, I am sure.
People such as Wade Keller and Bryan Alvarez also seem to attempt to bury Russo at every opportunity. It boils down to jealousy on their part.
Vince had the job which the likes of Keller and Alvarez would have loved to have.
It clearly aggravates them that Russo was more interested in the entertainment than the wrestling side.
It is a fact that he made wrestling more popular than ever and as mentioned before, this is unmatched.
He has stated that he would write the show with Ed and then present it to Vince McMahon. McMahon would then tweak things slightly to improve it, but the initial ideas would come from Russo.
I sometimes think he is disliked because things that he makes a lot of sense with everything he says and his reasoning behind storylines.
He has no desire to return to wrestling despite the claims of people saying that he is ‘desperate’ to get a job in a promotion.
Having spent fifteen plus years as a writer, that ship has well as truly sailed. The backstage politics and general backstabbing which he has experienced everywhere he worked is enough to put anyone off.
Vince has dedicated much of his life to the industry and created some of the most memorable moments in wrestling history.
When listening to what he has to say and the way he lives his life, he actually seems like a nicer guy than he is given credit for.
Russo has zero desire to work with WWE in any capacity.
He is also unbothered about induction into the Hall of Fame.
I’m sure he is aware that it would not happen anyway due to Triple H’s apparent dislike of the man.
Considering all he managed to achieve during his time writing for WWE. I feel like it would be something that he deserves.
In the back of everyone’s mind, I reckon they know it’s deserved too.
You can catch Vince’s Podcast and check out more from him here.