Vince Russon Interview

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Vince Russon Interview

Post by Adam D on Thu 18 Dec 2014, 1:24 pm

Our friends over at the TNA Talk podcast (fellow affiliates of tnasylum.com) recently interviewed Vince Russo.

Below is the transcript and link to the interview.

Enjoy!

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Vince Russo and if anyone knows me or listens to the podcast on a regular basis, you will know that I am in agreement with most of the things that Vince thinks about the wrestling business – especially when it comes to TV. Make sure you check out what Vince is doing over on his website www.pyroandballyhoo.com

Here’s most of what we discussed on the interview:

Do you still have anything to offer the wrestling business?

RUSSO: I think I still have something to offer a wrestling company. With pyro and ballyhoo dot com I have to keep up with the product and have to watch the product every week and based on my experience, there’s just a lot of flaws in what I see in both companies, TNA and WWE, and there’s no question that I know I could be successful but the idea of working for one of those companies and knowing everything that goes with it, you can’t go in there and just do your job – it’s just not that easy.

You wind up compromising and giving in a lot and not doing what you really feel needs to be done.

If I ever went back to a wrestling company, which I can’t see happening, I definitely wouldn’t go back knowing I would have to compromise, which would be the case at both WWE and TNA which would be a waste of everyone’s time and money.

Do TNA have the people at the company that can make their product unique and different?

RUSSO: I don’t believe so, but I could be wrong. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, I’m going to watch TNA when they start again and I hope they do what they need to do.

On Lucha Underground being refreshingly different and an example of how wrestling can be presented differently:

RUSSO: The show is completely different and I wanted to get the executive producer, Chris DeJoseph on my show to applaud him for putting out a product that is totally different from the same old same old. At the end of the day, some of the stuff will work and some won’t, but the fact that they are at least trying something different is so refreshing, and I’ll get behind a wrestling company like that every single day of the week. I’m just sick and tired of seeing the exact same wrestling formula since 1980 that we’ve seen over and over again and, like you said, (in terms of the current product), you’re not gonna call somebody after the show and tell them they need to see it.

Is there any reason why wrestling TV could not move to an episodic format with seasons instead of a continuous weekly format with no breaks?

RUSSO: No, I don’t. I think TNA with moving to Destination America would have carte blanche and could basically tell the network that this is the best bet we have to be successful and at least presenting the idea. WWE is a little different with USA network, but there’s absolutely no reason in the world to not try that model, but it’s risk taking and you have to take chance and if they’re not willing to do that, then there’s a good chance that the product is going to be the same.

Was moving to an episodic, seasonal format ever suggested in your time at WWE or TNA?

RUSSO: Never. And the problem on top of that is that, especially in TNA, I don’t think Dixie Carter understands what a writer goes through having to write a show 52 weeks of the year. There’s nothing in place to give a writer a break. Every five years I needed to take a break and it’s ridiculous that at this point in time with the model being what it has been for so long, there isn’t a system in place to give the writer a much needed break.

On criticism he has faced over the years:

RUSSO: I have always said that when I was in the wrestling business, I was just a regular guy doing his job and trying to do the best job I could for all three companies I worked for. I always made an effort to make the show different. I didn’t like repeating things so I liked to try new and crazy things. If I didn’t do that, I would have had the same product that you see today. That’s why the attitude era was different and my time at WCW was different. In my time at TNA, we had the largest audience because I made an effort to do things differently. At the end of the day the wrestling purists are not going to like that or agree with that because they like their safe four star, fake wrestling matches.

Because they don’t like the entertainment aspect of it, Vince Russo is going to get buried, but all that mattered was how many people tuned in to watch the show. My job was to bring in as many people as I could and when you look at my track record, that’s exactly what I did. Four years ago, TNA was over 2 million people a week, right after that 10.10.10 Bound For Glory show. In four years, they have lost a million viewers because they are putting out the same stale, safe product over and over again, just like the WWE and no one cares anymore and people continue to turn it off.

In terms of the WWE, as long as they continue to get pretty constant ratings, I guess they won’t think there’s a problem with their product

RUSSO: If it wasn’t for my website, there is no way in the world I would be watching Raw on a weekly basis. I do it for my job, and watching that show is the worst part of my week.

Could people in charge of creative at either WWE or TNA produce a similar TV product that we get with such excellent shows as True Detective. A compelling, intriguing show with some great writing. There are no real rules with wrestling TV, so surely this could be achieved.

RUSSO: Yes, you can do anything in wrestling. there are no rule, and like True Detective, they are both television shows, so it is fair to make that comparison. The sign of a good show is when the show is over, for the next hour you are still thinking about that show. With wrestling, you watch it and you can’t wait for the show to end. As opposed to a good TV show or a good wrestling show, that even when it’s over, it’s still with you and you’re still asking yourself questions about the show.

If there was such a thing, I think TNA are the definition of a schizophrenic wrestling company. They seem very impatient, especially when trying to implement new ideas.

RUSSO: With any company, everything starts and ends at the top. If my website goes out of business or makes a million dollars, all that is because of me. It’s my company. I make the decisions. I think a lot of what you see on TNA over the years are all tendencies of Dixie Carter. She’s a great woman with a big heart but everything you’ve described about the is her personality. You can blame whoever you want to blame, but it all begins and stops at the top.

So, does she have a ‘Vince McMahon’ final say on things?

RUSSO: She does it a different way. Dixie obviously isn’t going to put the fear of God into you like McMahon can, but she does it a different way. When she wants something; rather than just come out and say ‘this is what I want now’, she’ll just hint at it and hint at it, instead of asking someone directly. Ratings take time and doesn’t happen overnight. When you don’t have the patience to let it develop and you keep changing direction, it’s never going to work. In my opinion, it’s been that way at TNA for 10 years.

Maybe Dixie isn’t the right person for the job? And if she’s not, then who is?

RUSSO: Yeah, but that’s not going to happen because it’s her company. She’s going to be the one in charge. And it will carry her personality and tendencies. My website and podcasts are a reflection on me. TNA is a reflection of her and I will be surprised if things change.

Surely, the whole ‘option C’ in the X-Division devalued the X-Division title, and how did no one see that?

RUSSO: They did see it because I told them. When they did that this past year when I was consulting, and they wanted me to write this promo for Austin Aries, and I was like ‘how do you write this promo for Aries without burying the X-Division?’ The guy is trading in his X-Division title for a shot at the heavyweight title, so you’re telling everyone the X-Division title is not important.

I remember when Samoa Joe won the X-Division title and he was all excited and happy and I said to them: ‘this was a guy is a former world heavyweight champion, so why would he be excited about winning the X-title when you have built the X-title to have a lesser profile than the heavyweight title’

That just made no sense to me.

On whether he has or would ever consider any other TV writing, wrestling or otherwise:

RUSSO: The thing that would be intriguing to me is something with the WWE network. They haven’t got the subscribers they would have hoped for and they need some different types of programming. something like that would be the one thing I might be interested in. Wrestling related shows that were not typical wrestling shows, but going back to the format of an Impact or Raw wouldn’t work.

Do TNA see themselves a really big, global wrestling company and brand?

RUSSO: They want to think they are super big. There’s no question of that at all. They can try to paint the picture that they’re this big global company, but when you’ve got a guy like Bob Ryder running three different departments in the company, then something’s wrong. They like to think they’re this big global conglomerate company, number two wrestling company, but when you look at them through a microscope, you can see they’re anything but that.

On sting coming in to the WWE at Survivor Series and it feeling like a big moment, and why can’t TNA achieve these things that feel big. Is it just the fact they don’t get the crowd sizes, so nothing really feels that special?

RUSSO: Don’t forget that having these big moments costs a big amount of money. Bringing in talent like that to have a big impact has big price tag and TNA are not going to be able to do that. Their biggest moment was probably the announcement of Kurt Angle. I just don’t think TNA has the resources to be able to things like on the level of the WWE.

Do you think if we some of what TNA produce in front of big WWE sized crowds, it might make a difference to how it feels and comes across to the viewer?

RUSSO: I’m sure it it would, but it’s money.

Do wrestlers need to do more to get themselves over when given the opportunity and not just rely completely on how they are booked?

RUSSO: Oh, there’s no question about that. When you have television time, that’s your time to promote your brand and you need to do everything you can in that time to get yourself over. And some people do a betterr job of that than others.

On TNA never really having a superstar or someone who felt like they could become a superstar

RUSSO: In the WWE, a lot of that was down to Jim Ross bringing the talent in. He has to know what the Rock and Austin were capable of and that they had the ‘it’ factor. When I worked for TNA, and it’s less of a problem now, but there were probably 30% of the talent that I felt shouldn’t have been on the roster. No matter how much time you invested in them, they just didn’t have it. It was the complete opposite at the WWE. With everybody that Jim Ross put on the WWE roster, if someone wasn’t over, then it was my fault. A lot of the time at TNA, people not only got hired without having the ‘it’ factor, but sometimes they were five or six years and they were never going to have it and a lot of that is talent relations.

There is a reason why a lot of the guys who leave TNA are not hired by the WWE.

Do TNA have enough wrestlers with good enough acting skills to pull of some more intriguing and compelling TV?

RUSSO: I think they do have enough wrestlers that are good enough actors to pull it off. I think they listen to the internet too much. The loud voice on the internet is ‘we want wrestling’ but the casual viewer wants to be entertained. It’s only the hardcore, internet wrestling community that wants wants wrestling and unfortunately they have a huge influence on TNA . Way too much of an influence.

Do TNA really pay attention to what fans on the internet say?

RUSSO: No question about it. TNA decide to go down that road when they do have the talent that can entertain and cut promos and tell a good story. But because they listen to the internet, they like to put a lot of wrestling on that show.

On John Gaburick saying that the fans did not like long drawn out storylines and want more wrestling and the New York shows from the Manhattan Center that had loads of wrestling on them.

RUSSO: Look at what happened to those shows – they tanked. The ratings tanked. The audience went under a million people. The minute Gaburick said ‘the people have told us they want more wrestling’, the first thing I said was ‘what people? No, the Internet told you they wanted more wrestling’ Now you’re going to go and play to that NY crowd and every single causal fan out there that wants to be entertained is going to turn the show off and that’s exactly what happened.

Don’t forget to check out Vince’s site at www.pyroandballyhoo.com

http://talktnapodcast.com/tna-news/talk-tna-vince-russo-interview-talks-tna-dixie-carter-john-gaburick-lucha-underground-the-nyc-shows-what-needs-to-change-and-lots-more/

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Re: Vince Russon Interview

Post by Samo on Thu 18 Dec 2014, 3:46 pm

I think Russo could have something to give to the WWE. His reputation was heavily damaged by his time in WCW, but while in WWE he came up with some really good stuff, as long as he had Vince to reign him in when he got a bit too crazy.

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Re: Vince Russon Interview

Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Thu 18 Dec 2014, 5:38 pm

I don't think they need to add him to the mix considering the exploding TVs and small children Wyatt has used to win matches, Russo would think that was tame

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Re: Vince Russon Interview

Post by crippledtart on Thu 18 Dec 2014, 8:36 pm

Russo is possibly the most stupid man ever to have a job in the wrestling business. This interview makes that more obvious than most, presumably because he was interviewed by somebody who is also stupid.

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Re: Vince Russon Interview

Post by Adam D on Thu 18 Dec 2014, 10:07 pm

I think he talked a lot of sense.

But that won't shock anyone.

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Re: Vince Russon Interview

Post by crippledtart on Thu 18 Dec 2014, 10:40 pm

It's bizarre that anybody thinks there is an audience out there that wants to see technical wrestling with vanilla wrestlers who have no personality.

It's also bizarre that anybody thinks there are wrestling fans who do not want to be entertained.

I have never witnessed anybody complaining about wrestling having storylines, personality and promos. It's a completely false choice to think that you have to have either lots of wrestling or lots of 'entertainment'. Besides, is wrestling not entertainment?

And what could be more 'fake' than shoot angles which break the fourth wall and literally tell the audience that what they are watching is fake?

Only a stupid person like Russo would possess such a lack of understanding of the wrestling business.

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Re: Vince Russon Interview

Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Thu 18 Dec 2014, 10:46 pm

Or Adam

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Re: Vince Russon Interview

Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Thu 18 Dec 2014, 10:51 pm

Basically, Vince wants to write an episodic drama. And he'd be happy to do away with the matches.

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Re: Vince Russon Interview

Post by Samo on Thu 18 Dec 2014, 11:00 pm

Different strokes for different folks. Some people prefer a story driven match to a purely technical one. I dont see any reason why you cant have both, but if I had to pick I'd choose a good story with two no so good wrestlers to a technical masterpiece between two guys who are boring characters.

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Re: Vince Russon Interview

Post by Crimey on Fri 19 Dec 2014, 6:18 pm

Vince Russo is probably the most deluded man in wrestling and that's saying something because wrestling is full of deluded people.

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Re: Vince Russon Interview

Post by Kay Fabe on Fri 19 Dec 2014, 6:51 pm

Laugh  That was quite the Autistict putdown there Crimey

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Re: Vince Russon Interview

Post by Crimey on Fri 19 Dec 2014, 6:54 pm

Kay Fabe wrote:Laugh  That was quite the Autistict putdown there Crimey

Not even going to argue

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