Exclusive: “Russo’s Road Stories” Vol. 3: Let’s Get Arquette Out of the Way

Vince Russo

russo's road storiesIn going back and doing my research for this article, it truly is hard to believe that next April is going to be the 15th anniversary of David Arquette winning the WCW World Title. If anyone would have told me on April 26, 2000, that we would still be talking about what was just another day on the job for me, I would have told them they were nuts. Reason being – at that time it was no big deal.

Sometimes I think it’s hard for people to understand what it’s like to have the job of writing 116 shows per year, while always being hell-bent on trying to make each of them different, or special, in their own way. Back at that time in WCW, I had been a wrestling fan for the good part of over 25 years, and had just about seen every angle done at least three times. My goal, “when I had the book”, so to speak, was to keep things new and fresh, and never try to repeat anything twice. I used to agonize over that on a weekly basis. I hope some of you reading this can appreciate what I’m saying coming off of the latest lackluster episode of RAW.

On this particular day, what was going to be unique about this show was that a Hollywood actor – who was an AVID wrestling fan – was going to take part in a tag team match for the WCW World Title. At that time, David Arquette had recently starred in the film Ready to Rumble that also featured many WCW wrestlers. In an effort to help promote the movie, David had agreed to be part of the show. What few people realize is that the boys loved Arquette. He was a huge wrestling fan and respected what we did more than any other celebrity that I had ever worked with. He was just so stoked about working with us, that he made it clear he was up to doing absolutely anything – even taking bumps, something that many celebrities are very hesitant to do.

The show for that TV taping had already been written and well put to bed before we arrived at the building. In general, that’s the way I worked. I always tried to write the show with a sense of urgency because I realized that the sooner I completed it on paper, the more time I had to tinker or fine-tune it. 

On that particular episode of Thunder, the plan was to have Jeff Jarrett defend his WCW World Title in a tag team match with Eric Bischoff as his partner. Their opponents were to be Diamond Dallas Page and David Arquette. I can clearly remember when writing the show earlier that week that there was never even a question of who was going to go over. The heels were going to win the match, and Double J would retain his title.

When I got to the building that day, I held my production meeting as I always did, and laid out the show in detail. What a production meeting is, for those who may not know, is the meeting that held before the show where you go over everything in detail to your agents, producers, director and key players on your television production team. It is their opportunity to ask questions as it pertains to their duties on that particular show. Prior to the arrival of Ed Ferrara and myself in October 1999, WCW didn’t hold such meetings. Everything was done on the fly – not only up to the show, but DURING it as well! I didn’t work that way. I always wanted to be as through as possible with each episode of television.

After laying out the show, the meeting broke, and everybody starting going about their business. As I was gathering my notes, I was approached by announcer Tony Schiavone. Let me say this – I thought the world of Tony, and still do, not only for being one of the greatest announcers of our time, but also because he was just such a down-to -earth, regular guy. There was no ego with Tony – it just wasn’t his nature.

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