Hack-Man Pro-Wrestling Interview Page

Last updated 16 February 2007

Vince Russo

from TNAwrestling

Part 1 - check back to TNAwrestling.com on Tuesday afternoon for Part 2!

It was the spring of 1994 when Vince Russo was hired by the World Wrestling Federation as the new editor of WWF Magazine. He certainly went on to a legendary writing career, and not just on the pages of that publication. Russo is, of course, one of the most famous - or infamous, depending on your point of view - writers in pro wrestling history. His out-of-control writing led to bizarre storylines, flooded with scantily-clad women, raunchy language and more.

It also led to ratings. Big-time ratings. The WWF enjoyed Russo's creative genius for years. So too did now-defunct World Championship Wrestling (WCW).

Russo, the one-time magazine editor, had become one of the most powerful figures in pro wrestling. And also one of its most-hated.

Russo joined Total Nonstop Wrestling on Day One in Nashville in the summer of 2002, but his run with TNA only lasted about two years.

Well, welcome back to The Russo Era, Round Two .but boy is this one different.

Russo, three years ago this past October, became a born-again Christian. His personal life changed dramatically and so too has his outlook on pro wrestling. Russo has not cursed in over three years and he cringes nowadays when he hears some of the wrestling language - the same language he once wrote.

Russo has not watched much pro wrestling over the past two years, yet TNA nonetheless called him this fall, "and kind of caught me by surprise," Russo said. TNA wanted Russo back aboard their ship.

"TNA management called me on a Friday about coming back and I really didn't know if it was what I was supposed to do. I needed a couple of days to think about it, to pray about it, to figure out if it was what I was suppose to do," Russo said. "That Sunday, at church in Atlanta, I got a sign, that's when I realized I was supposed to go back." He was back in the TNA family the following Tuesday.

Since his return to TNA, Russo has been besieged with interview requests from every wrestling outlet, from radio shows to Internet programs to newsletters. He also has been inundated with interview requests from the mainstream media, curious about the return of a behind-the-scenes wrestling icon. This is Russo's first interview since his return to TNA Wrestling, an exclusive, no-holds-barred talk about life past, present and future.

In this two-part Russo interview, he will talk about why he's returning, how he's changed, lies, misconceptions, Dixie Carter, Kurt Angle, The Undertaker and Bill Goldberg, among other subjects.

Question:Why come back?

Vince Russo: That's a very good question. When I walked away two years ago, it was a time when I needed to walk away. Things just happened now and things just seemed to fall into place. It just seemed like the right time. I'm a firm believer that, things happen for a reason. And I feel the opportunity to return presented itself for a reason, and I wanted to investigate that reason and find out on my own why I was supposed to return to TNA.

Question:Did you have any hesitation about returning, or did you immediately want to return?

Vince Russo: It was not immediate at all. In fact, there was a lot of hesitation because I didn't really know if it was what I was supposed to do.

Question:Why did you hesitate about returning?

Vince Russo: About three years ago, I became a Christian and at that time, I was still in the wrestling business. There are a lot of pitfalls concerning the wrestling business; things that I would change if I could. Being a Christian, those pitfalls magnified about 1,000 times over. That's why I walked away two years ago, because I just couldn't do it anymore. And, that was my struggle with returning - I knew I was coming back to the same business; the same pitfalls. That's why returning was not an easy decision to make. But, what helped me make the decision (to return) was that I came to the realization that the picture was much bigger than the day to day. And that helped make the decision much, much easier.

Question:That said, in acknowledging the pitfalls that can go with pro wrestling, with your life nowadays, how will you balance the two?

Vince Russo: You have to keep your eye on the big picture and you have to rise above any pitfalls that might come your way. The wrestling business does have downsides, as does any business. If you get caught up in the "day-to-day" it's a no-win situation. I have to stay focused on the bigger picture and the light at the end of the tunnel and just know that the picture is much, much greater. That's how you have to stay focused. I want to see what's on the other side for TNA. I want to be there - I want to be a part of that.

Question:How is Vince Russo 2006 different from Vince Russo of 2004 or dare I even say, Vince Russo 2000 - circa WCW?

Vince Russo: I'm so much different. When I started with WWE and WCW, I was a man on a mission. It was all about the ratings, all about writing the best show I possibly could. It was tunnel-vision because it really was a personal challenge to me. Today, at 45, it's not about that. My goals today are much, much different from what they were 10 years ago. My goals today are to make the wrestling industry a better place and to really give the boys in the business a better working environment, to give them an opportunity, to give them a chance. I care a lot about people today, much more than I did 10 years ago. You certainly could say that, 10 years ago, it was me first and everyone else second. It's not that way today because it's not about the personal goals and the personal challenges. It really isn't. Instead, it's about trying to make a difference in an industry that I've been a fan of since I was a little kid. I really want to make a positive difference in the wrestling industry. That's what drives me today. I think that's what drives TNA as well.

Question:What are you goals for the next year?

Vince Russo: First and foremost, I want to give as many people as I can the opportunity. Create opportunities for them on the show. I really want to help make dreams come true for the talent. I want to do the same for TNA as well. They have worked so hard, and come so far, I just want to give them the best product possible within my talents.

Question:How much different of a TV writer are you today from your stint in WCW?

Vince Russo: A lot different. There's a lot of stuff that I see today that really, really, really bothers me - and sometimes I cannot even believe it because I was the originator of a lot of that stuff.

Question:Such as?

Vince Russo: It really, really bothers me to see girls in the business looked at as nothing but T&A. Even though I had a lot to do with T&A in the mid- and late-1990s, I never really looked at women that way; I really didn't, because they have/had a dream, just like the guys. It's almost pre-historic to be looking at women in 2006 the way we did years ago. There are a lot of really talented women out there. I want them to be given the chance to show what they can do in the ring, how they've trained to be wrestlers. I think it's very, very important that women have very strong characters. I think it's important that they have characters that other women and young girls can look up to. I'm tired of all wrestling women representing nothing but T&A. That was the caveman era, and I think it really needs to change.

Question:So, is it safe to say then that, at least for the time being, we will not see a Bra & Panties Match in TNA?

Vince Russo: If you do, it won't be my idea. There are a lot of things that, for moral reasons and the values that I have, I would not do now in TNA.

Question:Fans and no doubt some wrestlers will no doubt sit at home and read this; they will question you because, let's face it, five years ago, that's what Vince Russo was all about - the women, the swearing, the violence, the blood, guts and gore, etc. Do you agree with that and, what do you say to those who question whether in fact you're telling the truth?

Vince Russo: Absolutely I agree with that. There's no question about it. Heck, I was responsible for hanging The Undertaker on a crucifix; that was my idea. But you have to realize, when I became a Christian three years ago, it changed everything in my life. Absolutely everything. That includes how I am around my family, around the boys, my goals in life, my values, my beliefs, my reasonings. If people don't believe it, or believe me, they just have to speak with anyone who has crossed my path over the past three years because those people will tell you that I'm not the same guy I once was. Becoming a Christian was a life-change. I know I've changed. I no longer am the same Vince Russo who I was in the mid- and late-1990s - and I wouldn't want to be that guy again.

Question:No disrespect is meant with this next question because this is a stiff one. There are pro athletes who, it seems, almost hide behind religion, meaning, they use it as a crutch. They sin or do illegal things, then boast how they are great Christians or whatever religion it happens to be. What do you say to those who question whether you truly have changed personally because of religion, or you are still the old Vince Russo?

Vince Russo: This is three years for me; this isn't just three months. People often say to me, 'Well, Vince Russo found God.' Well, I can tell you, Vince Russo didn't find anything because Vince Russo wasn't looking for God, for religion or anything like that. But it found me. God came and found me, and He changed my life. He really helped me see the big picture, what really is important in life. I wrote the first draft of my book, "Forgiven", before I was saved, and it was not very nice. I talked about a lot of people and I dropped a bomb on a lot of people. It was no-holds-barred. The language was atrocious. Every other word in the book was a curse word. But then, after the book was written was when I experienced this life-change and because of the life-change, it just wasn't in my heart to write a book like that anymore. So, I literally re-wrote my whole book and made it a point to not talk badly about others, to not bury anyone. If I bury anyone in the book, it's me and I take responsibility for everything I've ever done in the past. Every wrestling book out there seems to have a two-fold purpose: the author getting themselves over and the author burying everyone else. But I did not want to do that.

Question:Let's switch and talk about TNA. What are your thoughts about Total Nonstop Action Wrestling?

Vince Russo: It has everything it needs to succeed; there's no question about it. That includes talent and dedication from Spike TV. All the pieces are in place. I think TNA is going to have every opportunity to make it. I think TNA is going to have every opportunity to challenge the WWE and make it competitive again. It's just a matter of TNA not being its own worst enemy. By that, I mean, not getting caught up in the wrestling business, not getting caught up in the day-to-day, or the politics or the gossip. TNA has to keep their eyes focused on the company's goals. We've taken leaps and bounds since day one back at the Nashville fairgrounds.

Question:The addition of Kurt Angle to the TNA roster and the move to prime-time (Thursdays, 9 p.m. ET/PT on Spike TV, starting Nov. 16). How big are those things?

Vince Russo: Huge. I think Kurt will be a locker-room leader, much like The Undertaker was at the WWF when I was there. The boys really respected The Undertaker, almost like a father figure, teaching them right from wrong and keeping them in-line, making sure they didn't go into business for themselves, that it was the company first. I think Kurt Angle, with his experience and what he's accomplished in this business, is going to have a great influence and a great impact on that locker room, which will really help the talent grow up in a hurry. And that's what they need because most of the guys are so young. That's why I really feel that Kurt will be just as valuable behind the scenes as he is on-camera - and that's huge unto itself. The move to prime time is the opportunity. Let's face it, 11 p.m. ET is when a lot of people go to bed, so that's a very difficult time to get people to watch the show. With a 9 p.m. ET/PT time-slot, it is now our job, our responsibility to keep those viewers who check us out. Every show needs to be the best possible show it can be. Check back on Tuesday afternoon for Part 2 of the interview - including Russo's thoughts on various TNA stars, appearing on-camera, Dixie Carter, Bill Goldberg and much more!

This interview originally appeared at http://www.tnawrestling.com/news/fullnews2.php?all=968

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