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In our near 2 years of doing TII, we’ve brought you controversy, big stars, lots of goofy after shows, and nearly 100 interviews with your favorite wrestling superstars past, present, and future. In the spirit of what TII has been and what we are destined to still become, we bring you perhaps the most controversial figure in professional wrestling over the past 15 years. We bring you the man who was once Vince McMahon’s right hand man. We bring you the man that changed the game of professional wrestling as we know it. We bring you the “Powers that Be” and the power is Vince Russo.
In this hour long interview, Vince talks about just about anything and everything a fan could ever want to know. As a matter of fact, many of the questions were sent in by fans on our official forums at www.3swforums.com. Between the questions from you the fans mixed with those of James and Daniel, you truly get an interview that is a must hear.
— Vince Russo starts out by promoting his brand new site located at www.vincerussoforgiven.com. It is a Christian oriented web site.
— Vince found God “when I came to the end of myself and the end of my road.” Vince realized, at 42 years old, he couldn’t do it on his own anymore. Vince says he made more money than he ever imagined, had and still has a beautiful wife, two kids, but still felt as though something was missing and that something made him depressed and feel he couldn’t do it anymore. Vince feels God came and made him listen. He says it was not something he was pursuing but when God came calling, “I didn’t have much say in the matter.”
— Vince was a wrestling fan growing up. Vince immediately points out the first time he ever saw wrestling, he was immediately attracted to the entertainment aspect of it. “Nobody ever had to tell me wrestling was fake. For some reason, it was quite obvious to me.” He goes on to mention the Valiant Brothers being his favorites when he was a kid. He explains how they were entertainment oriented. Johnny Valiant, by the way, was on The Interactive Interview a year ago and you can still hear that interview by viewing the archives at www.theinteractiveinterview.com.
— Vince feels Live Wire was “ahead of its time.” As for his role on Livewire, he felt he was taking a risk because Vince McMahon was in the studio when that was recorded and Vince was shooting straight with the people in a time where they still had characters and everything was very kayfabe.
— Vic Venom, his name on Live Wire, was a spin off of a radio personality he played that was “Vicious” Vincent.
— “When I was writing for the WWF magazine, I hated the product,” said Russo. He goes on to mention characters he hated, not to be confused with the individuals, like TL Hopper, The Goon, Freddie Joe Floyd, Mantaur, and others. “It was almost like time was passing the WWF by. They were still in a period that society was way passed.”
— Vince started writing his own angles in the magazine to keep himself interested. From that stemmed the RAW magazine where Vince feels he was taking a real chance but was doing what he felt wrestling had to evolve to. Over time, Vince McMahon took notice of the different things Vince was doing and McMahon had Russo start writing with him “and the rest is history.”
— “They are and I’m not proud of those things today,” says Vince when asked by Daniel if he feels assumptions that he brought the T&A and colorful language to the product. Vince goes on to say he would not have done a lot of things he did at that time today. His views on things are 180 degrees different from the way they were then now that he is a Christian.
— “What’s difficult for wrestling fans to understand is wrestling is a business. Vince McMahon was my boss. My job was to get him the highest ratings that I possibly could. I knew what the people were into; I knew what the kids were into. I know what they were going to watch. Even though today I wouldn’t go that rout, back then I had a job to do and that job was to get the highest ratings possible and quite frankly, I was going to get those ratings by any means necessary.”
— “I regret that more than anything,” says Vince when asked about the crucifixion angle with the Undertaker and Steve Austin. “At that point, I didn’t understand the crucifixion. I didn’t know who Jesus Christ was. At that point, it meant nothing to me.” He then goes on to mention how he has studied the life of Jesus now and watched movies like the Passion and understands now. He once again says he regrets that angle more now than anything he ever wrote or ever did.
— “My favorite was the Rock heel turn at the Survivor Series,” said Vince when asked what his favorite angle was in his time with the WWF. He explains this is because it was 3 to 6 months in the making and when it happened, there was silence in the arena because nobody saw it coming.
— When asked about the Billionaire Ted skits, Vince says, “I thought those were ridiculous when they were happening. I didn’t like them then, I don’t like them now… I don’t want to use the word desperation…” Vince Russo didn’t have anything to do with the creation of those though he was in a few of the skits. He feels it was a personal attack at Ted Turner. “I just felt that was wrong.”
— “I honestly felt I had accomplished all I possibly could accomplish at the WWF,” said Russo when asked why he jumped to WCW in the fall of 1999. “In my professional opinion, we had gone as high as we were going to get.” Vince says he thrived on challenge and reaching the success they had reached, there no longer was a challenge. In WCW, he saw the opportunity to face the challenge and do it again.
— Vince says he knew there were politics at WCW but never knew they would be at the extreme level they were at. He admits Vince protected him from the politics in the WWF. “Vince made sure nobody really messed with me. When I went to WCW, I was on my own.” Vince feels there were a zillion people as soon as he got there that just “wanted my head.”
— The weekend of Souled Out 2000 when Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Shane Douglas, Perry Saturn, and Dean Malenko basically left the company was a rocky one. Vince admits calling his lawyer on Friday afternoon and telling him to do whatever he could to get him out of his deal with the company because he was miserable after only 3 months of being there. An hour later, Bill Bush, who was in charge at the time, called Vince in and asked him to be a part of a committee. Russo knew they were breaching his contract and since he wanted out anyway, this was a way for him to get out clean. He told Busch he wasn’t interested and he went home until further notice from the company.
— Vince mentions the last rating WCW Nitro did before he came on board, which was the show that had the 3 segment match with Chris Benoit against Bret Hart and a main event of Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair against Sting and Lex Luger, was a 2.6. When he left the first time, the last Nitro he wrote was a 3.5.
— “We didn’t get along,” said Vince Russo when asked how he got along with Eric Bischoff when they were brought back together. “Neither one of us trusted each other. It was just that simple. Eric, from a personal level, never did anything to me. I can’t say a bad thing about him. I can say, for whatever reason, probably because it is the wrestling business and you just have a tendency to become paranoid, I didn’t trust Eric.” Vince feels it wasn’t the best situation for neither him nor Eric and it turned out not working well for anybody.
— When asked about the situation with Hulk Hogan at Bash at the Beach 2000, Vince says, “I’m not comfortable really talking about it at all. What I will say is that entire incident was nothing more than an incident about money, an incident about greed, an incident about ego. It was nothing more than an incident about everything about the wrestling business that I hate. I have nothing bad at all to say about Hulk Hogan. I understand why it happened the way it did. But, it happened for all the wrong reasons. That’s basically all I can really say about it.”
— “I was around and they told me to go home because Hogan and his attorney wouldn’t come if I was there,” said Vince when asked if he was around when TNA was bringing Hogan in. “I’d work with Hulk Hogan tomorrow,” added Russo as he explained he has no hard feelings towards Hulk Hogan at all and feels bad that Hogan feels the way he does towards him.
— “Those are the wrestling purists and those are the people who sometimes forget wrestling is fake,” says Vince when asked about when he won the WCW Heavyweight championship. Vince explains again that he always viewed wrestling as entertainment. “I didn’t have a problem with it. I would do the same thing tomorrow. I thought it was a good story. I thought it was good entertainment. I don’t regret doing that for one second.”
— “They sold to WWF before my contract ran out,” says Vince when asked when he was officially done with WCW. He says his contracted was done in October of 2001.
— “The nWo angle would have been really, really good,” said Vince when asked about his favorite angle in WCW. He feels they had the players in place but losing key pieces to the puzzle like Bret Hart and Goldberg to injury really derailed the plans and now we will never know how it would have turned out.
— Vince would not have done anything differently in WCW. He admits some stories he has a problem with now that he’s a Christian but he regrets no stories including and especially David Arquette and himself being champion.
— Vince gives in depth detail of the David Arquette championship win. After a production meeting, Tony pulled Vince aside and proposed the idea of Arquette winning the WCW title. Vince liked the idea because it shocked him. He felt this would be good because it would get them mainstream publicity and he could win it from a non-wrestler. Vince then says this is the side of the story that everybody forgets to tell. He called everybody back in the room and he bounced the idea off of them. “Oh! Everybody in the room said what a great idea it would be and everybody in the room was behind it 100 percent including those that knock it today.” Vince says everybody agreed and they went with it. The next day they were on the cover of the entertainment section of the USA Today. Vince says they never would have gotten that spot if it had been a straight up wrestling match. In conjunction with that, the next week they had Courtney Cox, Kurt Russell, and Kevin Kasner cut promos for them with the WCW title free of charge. Vince feels it is unfortunate that so many people agreed to the angle yet later pointed the finger at him.
— “I walked into a completely different place. This was not the same place I had left about 2 and a half years ago,” said Vince when asked about his short stay in the WWF in 2002. He met with writers for 6 hours and when he left the room, he knew it wasn’t going to work. Vince McMahon called him the next morning and basically said the same thing — It was not going to work.
— “I did name TNA Total Nonstop Action because at that time, the show was originally going to be T&A,” said Vince. Vince says the original design for TNA was to be the adult oriented company since they were on pay per view. When asked if he feels the name fits now, Vince doesn’t think it does unless you actually want it to mean Total Nonstop Action. He then puts over the locker room.
— “I’ve never really spoken about this before. You know why? Because nobody’s ever really asked me. But, I can tell you… He brutalized me,” said Vince when asked about the incident where Jeff Jarrett beat him up on TNA. “That week, my entire body was black and blue. I never ever in my life took a beating like that — Not even close! ” He says thinks there was a lot of hostility in Jeff towards him and every bit of it came out that night in that beating.
— “The kind of relationship I have with Jeff is very honest. It’s brutally honest. Jeff doesn’t like a lot of the things I say to him, I don’t like a lot of the things he says to me. Jeff and I aren’t always on the same page. We have different mindsets, different feelings, different ideas. It’s been touch and go for 10 years. A lot of the SEX angle was real,” says Vince. He adds, “when push comes to shove and you get beyond the wrestling and when you get into our hearts as human beings, there is a love between Jeff and I that you don’t find in this business. I’m talking about a sincere love and a sincere friendship. It’s because of that love and friendship that we’ve been able to get through a very, very, very rocky road probably for the past 2 and a half years in TNA.” He sums it up by saying, “I love the guy.”
— Vince feels it is okay to use former WWE superstars as long as it is the right talent. He feels some guys can help and some guys can hurt. He feels every case must be looked at differently and see what each case will bring to the table.
— “My relationship isn’t rocky with TNA at all. I gave my notice. I’m done — The pay per view on November 7 is my last show.”
— Vince has written a book. His book is different from most, though. In his book, he takes a manuscript written two years ago and basically reviews himself from what he wrote a few years back today and how he has changed. He has a publisher willing to do it but he wants to make sure a publisher who will get it in Christian bookstores as well as regular bookstores picks up the book. But, getting the book in Christian bookstores is his major desire at the moment.
— We then roll into some word associations. These are not your average word associations. You have to download the show (it’s free) to hear them but in them is a public apology to Jim Ross, his thoughts on his former hatred for Todd Pettingale, the loss of Curt Hennig and Miss Elizabeth, how highly he views Sting, why he can’t wait to sit down with Ted DiBiase, his feelings on what Ric Flair said about him in his book, and his “unfinished business” with Vince McMahon!
— The show rolls along without Vince Russo as the Taboo Tuesday commercial airs which is immediately followed by James and Daniel’s favorable opinion of the pay per view. James states it is the most fun he has had viewing a WWE pay per view in quite some time. Daniel shares James’ opinion feeling it was a light hearted and energetic show.
— James then plays Motorhead’s “Born to Raise Hell” to close out the show as a tribute to his 7 pound newborn nephew Scott Murlatt Jr who was born on Monday evening.
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