Vince Russo recently wrote an article on his entertainment website – pyroandballyhoo.com – discussing his take on who was responsible for the WWE Attitude Era, Monday Night Raw's incredible ratings during that period of time, booking issues with Jim Cornette, Vince McMahon capitalizing on Mike Tyson's boxing controversy and more.
Booking Raw w/ Vince McMahon & Jim Cornette
"It was me, Vince and James Cornette. It soon became obvious that while I was pulling Vince in one direction, Jim was pulling him in another. That led to many arguments over “philosophy” … Finally, after one of those meetings, I think it was the next day, I went up to Vince’s office and I told him that I didn’t think the current creative structure in place was going to work. I told Vince that too much time was being wasted, and for the good of the company, Vince had to pick a direction … The next week when I showed up at Vince’s house to write, there was no James Cornette."
Mike Tyson's Boxing Controversy
"In their heated rematch a year and a half later from their original bout, which Evander Holyfield had won, Iron Mike Tyson BIT the then Champ’s ears–-that’s right, not one, but BOTH–-spitting out a piece of the bloody cartilage the second time, causing referee Miles Lane to disqualify him. This was to be the most controversial, shocking, and unforgettable moment not only in boxing, but in the history of professional sports. A record 2 MILLION people had bought that fight on PPV, and every person on this planet was talking about the incident for days, weeks, months, and even years to come!!!"
Who Was Responsible for the Attitude Era?
"Vince’s genius came in SEEING opportunity first, and then SEIZING that opportunity. Mike Tyson, even though barred from boxing at the moment, was the hottest commodity out there. On top of that, Vince knew that TWO MILLION people had just purchased his last fight on PPP … So Vince went to work. What a freakin‘ genius. Who wasn’t going to slap down the fifty-bucks, not only to get to SEE Mike Tyson again, but to SEE what he was going to do fresh off his ear chewing and spitting? So we came up with the creative, and I suggested to Vince that we surprise the audience with a SWERVE in Mike Tyson joining DX, rather than him teaming with Steve Austin which seemed to be the obvious fit at the time … In the months leading up to WrestleMania 14, the RAW ratings were on average in the mid-3s. The week following Mike Tyson and WrestleMania, the rating hit a 4.4, and never saw the 3′s on a consistant basis again until around June of 2002 (when I “almost” went back there). And once, the audience came to the product–and got HOOKED on the product–the ratings hit marks that I don’t think Vince himself ever even imagined."