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Russo Hints at Qutting, Bashes Stern and McMahon
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Old 31 Mar 2004, 03:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Russo Hints at Qutting, Bashes Stern and McMahon

Posted on Tue, Mar. 30, 2004

Russo cleans up act, NWA/TNA


Miami Herald Writer

Vince Russo is viewed as one of the most controversial, influential and sometimes hated figures in sports entertainment.

The New Yorker brought crash TV to the forefront of the Monday night war during his stints in WWE and WCW. At the time Russo's ideology was creating edgy storylines which pushed the envelope.

During the summer of 2002, the outspoken mastermind joined the upstart NWA/TNA promotion in Nashville. He works behind the scenes as a creative consultant and in front of the camera backing many top stars including AJ Styles and Jeff Jarrett.

After taking a hiatus from the company in October, Russo returned to television as the director of authority. The new role gives Russo a chance to show fans his days of promoting Viagra on a pole matches were behind him as he had a new perspective on life.

''Not to get philosophical here or anything, but I think the world as a whole is going down, and it's going down in a hurry,'' said Russo, who began his career hosting a syndicated radio show called Vicious Vincent's World of Wrestling. ``I'm getting tired of seeing a lot of things on television and in the newspaper and throughout entertainment.

``To me it's just too much. I think we all need to take a long look at ourselves. We need to try to make this a better place for all of us. After mulling over that for four months I wanted to come back, but only if I could make a change for the positive and really make people take responsibility and think about their actions.

``So many things are happening with the Janet Jackson thing, and I was a huge [Howard] Stern fan at one point. It's because after a while when does it get to the point of being enough? To be honest I can't even watch Stern anymore. I've seen it. I get the act. It's one thing to be interviewing everybody, but to be doing it where you're just looking for the shocker. I got tired of it.''

Russo's focus is centered on developing younger talent like Chris Harris and delivering what fans want to see in order to make TNA a success.

''I think the challenge to me is the storylines,'' said Russo. ``I was guilty as anybody for the profanity and nudity -- probably the guiltiest. But now to me the challenge is the creative stories, the stories that make people think, real-life stories. Getting emotion in the show rather than just trying to shock people for the thrill of shocking them.

``It is two different things. I think that might be the problem WWE is having. It just seems that they're trying to do a lot of things for shock value because it's not easy to come up with good compelling stories. It's easy to shock people because you know what buttons to push. My challenge is to try to tap into the emotions of the audience, but doing it the right way.

``I think that's why [WWE's] ratings are where they're at, and why they haven't grown an audience. It's just the way society is today. Seen it, been there, done that. There's nothing they can do that they haven't done before. So that's why it really takes to just being different.''

One of the last times Russo watched the competition was when Eric Bischoff became general manager of RAW. The two formed the Russo-Bischoff era during WCW's final attempt to reinvent themselves and revive the dieing company.

''I haven't watched that show in well over a year,'' said Russo. ``But I recommended to Vince [McMahon] the last time I spoke with him that Eric be hired. I wasn't surprised. Eric is a talented guy. He's a great on-air talent.''

Although Russo rearranged his priorities, he remains steadfast on the way he interacts with his co-workers. It's a matter of staying afloat in an atmosphere surrounded by sharks.

''Wrestling is a dirty backstabbing business built on every man for himself,'' said Russo. ``I can sit here and tell you I've never lied to talent. They may think differently, but the fact is if I have any heat in this business it's because I was always honest with the talent.

``Sometimes what honesty is, is telling people what they don't want to hear. A lot of times it was my job to tell people what they didn't want to hear, but I'd rather be straight up with somebody than lie to them. As far as my attitude changing toward the talent, it really hasn't because I think I've always put talent on a pedestal and shot straight with talent.''

Regret-free, his rise from freelance writer and editor for WWE publications to his genius, leading the charge of the revolutionary attitude age of wrestling.

''I've done a lot of things creatively that I wouldn't do now,'' said Russo. ``But the bottom line is I can't change that. What I've done I've done, but I was also able to learn from those things and grow as a person. I was able to realize what direction I needed to point my life in. So if I didn't do those things I wouldn't be at the point I am right now.''

Through his years in the business Russo found there is no room for optimism and being blunt is the only way to go. This includes advice to those wanting to enter 'his' world.

''I don't think it's a wise choice to get into the wrestling business,'' said Russo, ``because first of all right now you only have two companies. I know if I was a young kid starting out -- no matter how much I loved wrestling -- I would try to take a more realistic approach because the fact is there aren't a lot of opportunities.

``A lot of times in wrestling it doesn't come down to how talented you are. It comes down to politics and being in the right place at the right time. I'm not afraid to tell young guys the chances are few and far between, and if I were you, I would be thinking about something else.''

Russo worked every facet of sports entertainment. He's reached the position ready to settle down and zero in on his personal life outside wrestling.

''I've got a son who is a junior in high school right now and a senior next year,'' said Russo who lives in Atlanta moving there when he worked for WCW. ``Once he graduates I think I am going to move out of Atlanta. At that point once he graduates high school I think that might be a good time for me to step away.

``There's a few things I've been really thinking about doing, but I'm kind of still in the thinking stages. I think there is a window when he goes off to college it might be time to set my focus 100 percent on family.''

Before that happens Russo continues his on-air authoritative role on TNA's Wednesday pay-per-views. He recently booked a fatal four way involving Abyss, AJ Styles, Raven and Ron Killings with Sting as the special enforcer on Wednesday, March 31. The winner will face Chris Harris for a future shot at Jarrett's heavyweight title in a steel cage.
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Old 31 Mar 2004, 03:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't get Russo sometimes. He wants to focus on his family once his son has graduates and goes to college. Shouldn't he focus on his family now while his son is at home. Aside from that not making sense. I don't have to many complaints over the last month of TNA, in fact it has been the best its been in some time. I'm not so sure if Russo has much to do with it but I wouldn't mind if he left the business right now, and took Dutch Mantel with him. Either way if things keep going the way that they are going on TNA, which is a turn around to me, then I wouldn't really mine seeing him here and there. But personally the last show kicked off and Russo's name came up like 3 times more then the actual wrestlers who would be prefomring that night. I think if Russo focused less on his chartecter and more on the charecters of the wrestlers then he would be A okay. Only time will tell, but from what he is saying we will be seeing him around for another year and a half at least......

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