Former WWE, WCW and TNA writer Vince Russo recently appeared on Talk Is Jericho, where he discussed topics ranging from his departure from WWE, his career with WCW and more. Here are some highlights.
On why he left the WWE:
Russo: “The reason why I left the WWE was…Vince McMahon had just added SmackDown to our schedule, never spoke to us about it and, bro, to me and Ed, it was a big deal because we took great pride in writing RAW. Now, all of a sudden, you’re telling us to write another show and we don’t wanna water down our work. So we’re like, ‘My god, how are we gonna write another show to our standards?’ So I went into Vince’s office and I kinda had a heart-to-heart and I just said, ‘Vince, listen, I’m not seeing my wife at home, my wife is raising my family by herself.’ I wanted my wife to be able to move my family to her hometown. I said, ‘My wife is literally raising my three kids on her own.’ And bro, I’ll never forget, without blinking an eye, he looked me straight in the eye and said, “Vince, I don’t understand what the problem is. Why don’t you hire a nanny to watch your kids? I’m paying you enough.’
“Bro, I’m telling you, Chris, as soon as the words were out of his mouth, the game was over. He told me right then and there, ‘I don’t give a s— about you, I don’t give a s— about your family, this company is first.’ Game over.”
On why he thinks people hate him:
Russo: “When I was writing for the WWE, I didn’t have a single enemy, okay, nobody knew who I was. When I became an on-air character at WCW, bro, I know people hate New Yorkers. So the minute I became an on-air character, my whole idea was, bro, if you want to hate New Yorkers, I’m gonna give you a reason. I microscoped my personality a thousand times over. I became the New Yorker everybody wanted to hate. And Chris, I’ll be honest with you, I think people thought I was that guy.
“And I think it still carries to this day, bro, my emphasis was on entertainment and characters. I knew we had to draw the masses. Bro, my philosophy has always been, you’ve got the marks. The marks aren’t going anywhere. If wrestling is in the marquee, the marks are coming to the show. You gotta get the rest of the television viewers that don’t watch wrestling, wrestling isn’t cool, you get them through entertainment and characters, you have a little bit of everything on the show. So my shows were very, very entertainment-oriented. Bro, the marks hated that. And I really think it was a combination of those two things, that I became enemy number one.”
On the differences between today’s WWE product and how it was during the Attitude Era:
Russo: “We did a lot of things that worked. All those things are eliminated today and I can’t understand why. As soon as I set foot in Titan Tower…I was like, ‘Bro, these people are like in another world, they are out of touch with what’s happening out there.'”
On the irony about Val Venis’ character:
Russo: “Bro, the funny thing about the Val Venis character, Sean Morley, was…bro, Sean Morley was, all he wanted to talk about was politics. I know nothing about politics. So I’m sitting there saying, ‘Bro, I can’t write for you if you’e gonna be a political [guy.] I can’t help you. And, bro, he’s going on about politics and I’m like, ‘What are we gonna do with him?’ And, bro, I just kept looking at him and the thought was, ‘Bro, he just looks like a sleazy porn star.’ But, bro, that was one of the rare cases where Val Venis was nothing like him, but oh my god, bro, did he convince you he was that character or what.”
The full episode is available here: