Vince Russo: BISCHOFF/HOGAN
It's Thursday morning, mountain time, as I sit here still trying to recoup from the series of events that led up to that monumental Monday.
As I sit here there is a staff meeting going on back at the TNA offices in Nashville that I am missing. Look, I'm going to be 49 in 17 days--I don't bounce back as quickly as I once did--both in mind and body. Right now, I can't mentally sit through a staff meeting--I'd much rather be sitting here in my office, listening to some Joe Cocker vinyl, and talking to you.
So, here I am--sorry Dixie, but I think I earned a pass on this one.
Before I write another word, I can't go any further without thanking all of you. A 1.5 is a tremendous, tremendous rating going head to head with "Raw", and nobody can take that away from us. Keller, Meltzer, all the other dirt sheet writers that some of you may know, can critique all they want--the bottom line is--TNA WON--PERIOD. However, the reason we won is because all of you came out. You came out and you watched TNA. Whether you were a channel changer, or not, you spent some time with us on Monday night and that's all we wanted. I can't thank you enough--I really can't. Without your support, Vince Russo does not do what I know I was born to do. Without your support--quite frankly--I don't know what I'd be doing.
We learned a lot, on Monday night as a company--a lot. We hit some home runs, but also struck out once, or twice--but that's OK. What really mattered is that we took risks. We gave you everything we had--and didn't play it safe. That's what Eric Bischoff and Russo/Ferrara both did back in the mid-to late 90's. Nothing was safe--NOTHING. The programming, whether it was WWF, or WCW was DANGEROUS. Never one time, no matter how hot we got--did Eric or I EVER rest on our laurels--NEVER. I can't tell you how long Vince has been resting on his . . . I honestly can't.
I sat in the production truck and I watched our show, side-by-side to Vince's Monday night. It was great to see Bret--I love the guy--always have. But as our show went on, and as I watched his, I just kept asking myself--"where's the effort"? Does Vince think that little of TNA that he felt that he could just produce "another show" on Monday night? I mean, you take away that first segment and that last segment, and you had a wrestling show that wasn't even mediocre at best. Again--going back to the 90's--that NEVER, would have happened if Eric, or I were in Vince's shoes--NEVER. Resting on your laurels is the worst mistake that anyone can ever make--no matter what type of business you are in.
I remember back in the mid 90's--before Eric and WCW started killing us--the mentality of the WWF was simply--"Whatever we put out there--good, or bad--the fans are not only going to eat it--THEY'RE GOING TO LIKE IT!!!!" That's what brought about the era of Freddy Joe Floyd, the Goon, TL Hooper, The Mastadon, and of course--fake Razor and fake Diesel. That was Vince's attitude because there WAS NO competition--that's where Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan came in--the rest was history.
Vince McMahon is at that same place again. There was no effort on Monday night--because in his mind--there is no competition. Man--how can you be a "genius" and not learn from mistakes of the past. Now, I know there are probably many of you out there saying, "Vinnie Ru--why do you want to wake a sleeping giant?"The truth--he may be sleeping--but I don't really think he's a giant any more--maybe 6'7", or 6' 8", but not a giant. The truth--I don't think the creative team over there has, or ever did have, the creativity and the spauldings that a younger Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff ever did. The truth--I'm almost a 49 year-old man right now--and they STILL don't have the passion that I do. Look at the WWE history there since Ed and I left--where are the great angles? Where are the "Bret screwed Bret", stories? Where are the ones where DX pull up to the enemy's camp driving a missle launcher, or the one where the Rock joined the corporation? WHERE ARE THEY? Now don't get me wrong, Triple H putting a midget on a skateboard and rolling him around backstage may be entertaining to some--but I have to say--it fails in comparision to Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Mr. McMahon.
Now, have guys gotten over themselves over there--yes they have--John Cena is a tremendous talent--Randy Orton may be the best I've ever seen--but where's the meat and potatoes--the stories. Now, you can say whatever you want about me--love me, or hate me, but you watch any TNA show and there are stories going on for everybody. Stories that build "character"--the same stories that built the D-Lo Browns, and the Mark Henrys, and the Kanes and the Val Venises. EFFORT goes into everything we do--EVERYTHING. Our challenge has been that we have so many young , inexperienced guys to get over at once--but that just takes time--we WILL get them over. But we're trying--we're trying for you the fans.
Which brings me to Monday night. On record here I will say that I have NEVER worked on a show any harder then that one you witnessed on Monday night. That show was being crafted for 6 weeks--every, single day of the week. We never stopped--NEVER. We tweaked, and tweaked, and tweaked until we couldn't even tweak anymore. We ran young Matt Conway, the junior creator of our staff--into the ground--he will never be the same again. Ed took time away from his elderly parents, who need him more then anything now--and I took time away from the thing I love most--my family. We didn't come up one, single day for air--not one. Eric called me on Christmas day--not to exchange pleasantries--but to work--and he did the same New Year's day. IT NEVER STOPPED!!!
And that's the point of this article. I'll be the first to say that Ed, Matt and I have been spending so much time in trying to help get the younger talent over--that we might have gotten ourselves in a rut. Even though we knew that it takes time due to our earlier history at the WWF--we were starting to feel like that gerbil that goes round and round in that wheel. That was until Eric Bischoff came along.
No, Eric and I did not like each other, yes, it is all documented in my new book. We were oil and water, we were just two different guys with two different mindsets and two different styles. At WCW we were BOTH put in positions that neither one of us wanted to be in. We were forced to work together--when we couldn't. Well--the truth is that Dixie Carter forced me to work with Eric Bischoff again. I didn't want to--but I had no choice. Dixie is the boss--I'm an employee--and I have to give the boss what she wants. I dreaded the day. I remember a few months back when I had to go meet Eric--with Dixie--the day following the Hulk Hogan press conference. It was the first time I would see him in ten years. Man--I swear to you--as the hours grew closer--I would much rather have had to go to the dentist and have him tear every tooth from my mouth--NO novacaine. To me--this was the meeting from hell.
So I flew to New York. Dixie put me up in some hotel that was so out of my league--that it made me feel even more out of my skin. Then came the monumental breakfast. I walked away thinking--"Has anything really changed here? 10 years--has anything changed?"
Then there was a phone call, or two, then Eric came in to Nashville to work with Ed, Matt and myself.
There's a lot in there to talk about--and I will at a later time--but let me get to the end of the story because I really don't have the time to write my third book right now.
The more, and more I worked with Eric--the more, and more he started to remind me of somebody. A guy that I worked very closely with some 10-15 years ago. A guy that was once so driven so determined and so MOTIVATED that he had me giving my life to him on a silver platter. He had me putting him . . . before my entire family. A guy--that oozed bravado--his favorite word. Eric reminded me so much of Vince McMahon 10 years ago that it was surreal.
But I'm not exactly talking about the "real" Vince, the egotistical maniac who loved no one more then himself--who treated everyone he worked with with the emotion of a cyborg--I'm talking about the Vince McMahon who had the passion to win at any cost. The Vince McMahon who didn't want to rest on his laurels. Eric made it clear to me by his actions--early one--that he wasn't there to take Dixie Carter's money--he was there to win. Love him, or hate him--he lit a fire under me. A fire that I really hadn't had for sometime. Eric provided HOPE--hope that TNA could be the #1 wrestling company in the world. And, when he talked about it--I believed it. I believed it because of his passion--the same passion that you witnessed Monday night--the same passion that "Raw" greatly lacked--the same passion that Vince McMahon lost a long, long, time ago.
And Hulk Hogan was no different. Again--put the personal feelings aside--that's not what this is about--this is about what those two guys--Eric and Hulk--came to do . . . AND THEY DID. They didn't just talk about it--THEY DID IT. Hulk sat in on production meetings, Hulk was a leader in the back--Hulk was the last to leave. You have to respect that regardless of what happened 10 years ago.
So on this night--Monday, January 4th, 2010, I publically give Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff the respect they deserved . . . and the respect they earned.
But remember--it's just the first page of what looks to be a very, interesting, third book for me.
And one more thing--c'mon, Vince--get back in the game--even if it's just for old times sake. Let's have some fun!!!
Source: Vinnie Russo's official Facebook