Feature: Steve Anderson on Russo’s Possible Bad Rap


Hereâ<80><99>s a question to spur discussion on our forums and in my email box.

Is Vince Russo getting a bad rap from wrestling fans?

I am not being facetious and that is not a rhetorical question. Frankly, if it were rhetorical, the column would end here.

Vince Russo continues to be a lightning rod for controversy, regardless of his high or low profile approach. Whether he puts himself out as a character on television or stays behind the scenes, the vitriol against him goes on and on and on. Yet, powerful and influential people in the wrestling business keep him employed in positions of creative power.

Why? Has he buffaloed that many people? Is his staying power based on a form of subtle hypnosis or mind tricks?

Thatâ<80><99>s it!

Vince Russo is a Jedi Master.

Todayâ<80><99>s wrestling business is divided into two factions. Those who ascended to power through the business and those who achieved great success in other industries prior to their entry into the wrestling business. High-profile executives have decided to hang their shingle in wrestling promotions, bringing talents and strengths honed elsewhere.

With that dynamic, it is easy to understand how Vince Russo slipped in and built his fiefdom. But it doesnâ<80><99>t explain how he has secured and maintained his positions of power. His run, albeit off and on, for the past ten years is practically unprecedented. Creative heads and bookers come and go. Not Russo.

So why do so many fans, journalists and editorialists speak about Russo with such bile and venom?

He rose to power in WWE during the Attitude era. While he was credited in part for the fedâ<80><99>s success during the late nineties, that accolade was always qualified with the argument that Vince McMahon was his filter and editor.

WCW scooped him up in late 1999 with promises of a new direction. His behind-the-scenes role became an on-screen heel character. Thatâ<80><99>s where things started to go wrong for Russo in the eyes of wrestling fans. He was taking up valuable face time and even booked himself to win the WCW title.

The rumblings became an outcry and Russo was soon out, not once, but twice.

Fast forward a few years. Russo landed in TNA and is currently on another reign as their creative lynchpin. Recent rumors reveal that the powers-that-be in TNA recently gave him a vote of confidence. In other words, the Vince Russo era will continue for the foreseeable future.

Whether the fans like it or not.

Is there more to Russo than meets the eye? Maybe. The wrestling business is cutthroat and has chewed up and spit out more creative individuals than any other industry. Russo remains. Russo survives. Russo flourishes.

Iâ<80><99>ll admit to not being a huge fan of Russoâ<80><99>s style, but you canâ<80><99>t deny the staying power. As far as his booking, it is not perfect by any means. But how many poor storylines, aborted angles and ridiculous gimmicks have the creative element in WWE cranked out over the years? How many non-finish matches and stunted pushes have we witnessed on Raw, Smackdown and ECW?

Part of the biz, kids. Some things work. Some things donâ<80><99>t. Some things come together perfectly. Some things donâ<80><99>t make sense. Some things are continued. Some things are forgotten.

Dare I assert that it is time to ease up on Russo? After all, he has taken himself completely off television. He is no longer a sole voice. He is working with a team composed of people with their fair share of good and bad ideas.

Clearly, he is in the business for the long haul. He has come up with both creative magic and crap-tacular ideas, as many have before him. That will continue.

Maybe its time to ease up. Let the bad raps cease. Let Russo be Russo.

But I still like the Jedi Master theory.

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