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Who is the worst booker ever?


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#1 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 03:52 PM

I envision a rich discussion with many different candidates put forward. Since PWO is the home of challenging received opinion, I'm interested to see if there are any Russo defenders in the house. I certainly think you can make a strong case that he's not the worst ever.

#2 Loss

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 03:55 PM

No booker has done more damage to wrestling - both financially and aesthetically - than Vince Russo. To me, it's a no-brainer. He literally has zero redeeming qualities.

#3 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 04:06 PM

You say that but then I think, he has at least Austin vs. McMahon to his name. What does Ole Anderson have to put against that? The big defence for Ole is that "he had some good days in GCW", well Russo has to take some credit for 97-98, and his highs are probably higher than Ole's highs. What about Herb Adams? What about Verne?

#4 Victator

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 04:26 PM

and his highs are probably higher than Ole's highs.

Watch a 2000 Nitro and a 190 Saturday Night and get back to me.

Russo was one small person (and overrated at that) in the WWF's success in 98

What about Herb Adams?

Ran a unsuccessful promotion for a year. Russo took a salvageable WCW and killed it.

What about Verne?

You're shitting me.

#5 Johnny Guitar

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 04:31 PM

You say that but then I think, he has at least Austin vs. McMahon to his name. What does Ole Anderson have to put against that? The big defence for Ole is that "he had some good days in GCW", well Russo has to take some credit for 97-98, and his highs are probably higher than Ole's highs.

What about Herb Adams?

What about Verne?


How the hell is Verne the worst booker ever? It might have gone pear-shaped at the end, but he promoted a successful territory for decades.

Ole did an appalling job in WCW, but he did have success in GCW for years.

Russo had 2 good years, where he was a small part of a much bigger machine that consisted of people who were a hell of alot smarter and talented than he was.

Russo might have pitched some ideas but if anyone can take credit for Austin/McMahon. It's Austin and McMahon.

He was already the contender for the worse booker ever based on his WCW run alone. And if there was any doubt about that. TNA cememted that.

Even the hardcore nutter Russo fans gave up defending him.

#6 Loss

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 04:50 PM

I'm not going to defend Ole Anderson. But make a list of the top 20 problems with today's wrestling landscape, and if you look at where they originated, you can probably credit more than half of them to Russo. He has been so bad for wrestling, and in my view, the problems he has caused are so self-evident, that I don't think anyone else is in the ballpark. If you look at people in wrestling who have had power that have caused problems, there's plenty more blame to go around, and Russo isn't the sole instigator. But Vince Russo takes the prize as a booker. Herb Abrams ran a glorified indy fed and killed it through incompetence. But his incompetence didn't have an effect outside of his own failure.

#7 El-P

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 04:53 PM

Russo. Killed WCW. Made TNA unwatchable for a good while. Was a small part in WWF's success, and it would be good to remember that the product became ten times better when he left after a godawful 1999 (until the Invasion angle of course, which is the lowest of the low in term of booking). At least Ole's summer of boredom in 1990 had Dutch Mantell on WCW TV working competitive matches. Some hardcore Russo fan are still defending him though : cf Youshoot with Russo which is a total waste of time and a pile of the usual bullshit to the sound of a few marks clapping for every retarded statement the guy makes.

#8 cm funk

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 05:30 PM

WCW under Russo is probably my least favorite wrestling promotion ever. A lot of 1999 wasn't good, yet somehow it got even worse when he was brought in. Short matches with BS finishes all over the place, tons of 'colorful' characters and gimmicks to the point of oversaturation, work/shoot stuff and inside references that would make no logical sense, sophomoric humour aimed at the lowest of IQs, pointless digs and inside jokes directed at WWF that just made WCW look second rate, made himself and his booking the center of attention......I could go on and on. And that's not even getting started on TNA, which pretty much everybody agrees was at it's best when Russo was out of the picture, and now that he's gone again has actually become more focused and watchable. There are just mountains of evidence of his incompetency on display that I'm not sure anybody else should even be in the discussion. The guy was a total product of television and the Monday Night Wars, poached by WCW suits who didn't understand the business and hired by TNA because Jarrett was his friend and Dixie is a mark for anyone who was a "success" in WWF or WCW and has had no problem swallowing losses and a lack of growth. In any other era of wrestling no promoter in their right mind would let him run their company. I'm not even sure why he ever got into the business when he doesn't even seem to like or understand it.

#9 gordi

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 06:25 PM

(until the Invasion angle of course, which is the lowest of the low in term of booking).


Who gets the "credit" for booking the Invasion? Was it just Vince?

#10 Loss

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 06:48 PM

Vince is such a micromanager that he's always going to take the lion's share of the criticism when something goes wrong in his company, just like he takes the lion's share of the praise.

#11 Gregor

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 07:31 PM

I'm not sure that Russo was a worse booker than Kevin Nash. Russo at least has things that could count as positives - he booked for a company during a successful time for it, and he tried hard to get midcard and undercard acts over. There are arguments against both of those points, yeah, but I don't think Nash has anything that you could even try to spin as a positive from his period of booking. Russo has had a much greater negative impact overall for the companies for which he's booked than Nash has, but a lot of that is the result of Russo being given far more chances than Nash ever was. On the other hand, Nash and Russo both booked WCW in 1999, and Nash-booked WCW was better than Russo-booked WCW, so there you go.

#12 Mr Wrestling X

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 08:49 PM

Vince Russo Ed Ferrara Kevin Nash Kevin Sullivan In that order

#13 Victator

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 08:56 PM

Why is Kevin Sullivan a bad booker? Also Nash was booking when WCW did Spring Stampede 99.

#14 Dylan Waco

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 08:59 PM

Russo is the obvious winner. Who was booking LA when it started to tank?

#15 Mr Wrestling X

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 09:10 PM

One good PPV doesn't make up for a whole load of questionable booking decisions and general mind-fuckery that occured during Kevin Nash's reign as booker. It's easily forgotten because the lethal injection of Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara immediately followed and presented so many destructive bookings and character killing angles that they made Nash look like Dusty Rhodes. As for Sullivan, he's the guy that thought it was a cool idea to book Bill Dannenhauer as his dyslexic brother "Evad Sullivan", he's also the guy that rubbed so many people the wrong way that four of WCW's most talented stars quit following his promotion to head booker in 2000. Think about Sullivan's creations as a booker - the Dungeon of Doom was a colossal failure, given that none of it's members were particularly over and that the main angle revolved around a terrible feud that Sullivan had begun with Hulk Hogan.

#16 KrisZ

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 09:24 PM

WCW was pretty dead in the water when Russo showed up. Did he not do a horrific job surely so and his influence in wrestling over the years has changed the business not for the better you could say but........Kevin Nash basically killed WCW dead just that simple. Russo's work in TNA has been ungodly bad so that seals his fate on this list but you can't discount Nash as the worst booker ever. To Loss' point though, how much blame should Heyman get in changing the wrestling business from what it used to be for decades to what it has become now. ECW was the original Crash TV format and you can say that Russo basically ripped off Heyman doing it his own way with help of course.

#17 Victator

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 10:23 PM

WCW was more than salvageable before Russo got there. I was enjoying during that period in August/September 99. I thought the booking was pretty solid and everyone was in a good place. A not terrible booker could of saved WCW.

As for Sullivan, he's the guy that thought it was a cool idea to book Bill Dannenhauer as his dyslexic brother "Evad Sullivan", he's also the guy that rubbed so many people the wrong way that four of WCW's most talented stars quit following his promotion to head booker in 2000. Think about Sullivan's creations as a booker - the Dungeon of Doom was a colossal failure, given that none of it's members were particularly over and that the main angle revolved around a terrible feud that Sullivan had begun with Hulk Hogan.

He was also booking during 96 and 97.

#18 Cox

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 10:24 PM

As for Sullivan, he's the guy that thought it was a cool idea to book Bill Dannenhauer as his dyslexic brother "Evad Sullivan", he's also the guy that rubbed so many people the wrong way that four of WCW's most talented stars quit following his promotion to head booker in 2000. Think about Sullivan's creations as a booker - the Dungeon of Doom was a colossal failure, given that none of it's members were particularly over and that the main angle revolved around a terrible feud that Sullivan had begun with Hulk Hogan.

Actually Sullivan didn't book this. Sullivan was brought in as a wrestler at this point, and might have been on the committee (I can't remember the timeline), but the head booker was Flair, both when Sullivan came in and at the start of the Dungeon of Doom. And, of course, Hogan had the final say on almost everything he was involved with at this point, too.

#19 Jingus

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 11:11 PM

Sullivan's booking stint in early 2000 was absolutely unwatchable. At least Russo's shows could be entertainingly bad at times, with a "rubbernecking at a car wreck" sort of feel. And they tended to fly by pretty quickly. Sullivan-booked shows from that era were some of the slowest, dullest crap imaginable and the storylines were still no more coherent than Russo's were. He also took WCW back a step by trying to push the oldest guys in the company as the top stars, at a time when even the other bookers in that company had finally figured out this was a bad idea.


Nash was a fucking terrible booker (the summer of 1999 might have been WCW's single worst period ever), but did he do it long enough to count? He didn't have that job for even an entire year. He had two claims to anti-fame: beating Goldberg. which was, indeed, very very stupid. But was the Fingerpoke his fault, or was that more of Hogan's infamous creative control? Hulk's ridiculously generous contract pretty much let him write all his own storylines and the company wasn't allowed to say no, and I can't imagine Nash volunteering to lose the world belt so quickly after he won it.

Also, despite hurting the company significantly, WCW was still doing much better business during Nash's tenure than they were during Russo's. When measuring bookers, I think using the company's overall bottom line is a much fairer metric than trying to argue which wrestler drew how much money. This is the one guy in charge of everything, and the company's success or lack thereof is pretty easy to gauge.

He literally has zero redeeming qualities.

I don't think he literally has zero redeeming qualities. He always tried to give the undercard guys their own personalities and stories, as opposed to many bookers who just throw the young guys out there in meaningless matches with no gimmicks and no angles. And he sometimes tried to push younger stars when others in power were still clinging to useless has-beens. Those two positives aren't nearly enough to counterbalance all his negatives, but it's more than zero.

That being said, he's still my vote for WBOAT too. Nobody in the history of wrestling has consistently lost more money than Vince Russo.

Some hardcore Russo fan are still defending him though : cf Youshoot with Russo which is a total waste of time and a pile of the usual bullshit to the sound of a few marks clapping for every retarded statement the guy makes.

Yeah, that's the amazing and depressing part. Russo really does still have fans and defenders out there. Obviously not many, considering TNA's track record, but they do exist. Then again, you also still get people who think that the Nazis were awesome. Never be surprised at the depths of human stupidity.

To Loss' point though, how much blame should Heyman get in changing the wrestling business from what it used to be for decades to what it has become now. ECW was the original Crash TV format and you can say that Russo basically ripped off Heyman doing it his own way with help of course.

Heyman shows and Russo shows don't look that much alike. Russo stole a few ideas from ECW, mostly the central concept of doing an edgier young-adult-oriented product, but then he did things very differently. ECW still did plenty of long matches and focused more on the in-ring action than anything else. Russo's always been severely allergic to in-ring action, and tried to construct his shows almost entirely out of promos and vignettes and backstage brawls.

#20 cm funk

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 11:40 PM

The idea of giving everybody a character and a role and pushing new stars is great, Russo just sucked at it. In WCW he saddled everybody with a ridiculous gimmick or hook of some kind and it was just too much going on. Nobody stands out as funny or wacky when half the roster is given a funny or wacky gimmick. The closest thing to a breakout star TNA has had was Samoa Joe, who got over in the period Russo was out of the company, and Russo managed to kill him within a few years with his haphazard booking. How many homegrown stars has TNA created in all the time that Russo has booked that company?




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