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
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
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
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.
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