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What if... Vince Russo never went to WCW?


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#1 C.S.

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 06:26 PM

So many possibilities here:

 

Vince Russo was responsible for record high ratings during the Attitude Era. What if he never went to WCW but instead remained in the WWF?

 

- Can he sustain those numbers?

 

- Even if he can't, is he remembered in a much more favorable light?

 

- What happens to WCW? Do they remain in business? (I always felt it was a very naive and simplistic view to blame Russo for everything when there were clearly other and much bigger problems and factors in play.)

 

- Does TNA ever become a thing? (We already know Vince Russo came up with the name, so it would have at least been called something else.)

 

- Does Chyna get a second chance in the WWF because of her friendship with Russo?
 

- Who gets pushed under Russo that otherwise wouldn't have? (Not counting Jeff Jarrett, whom I assume Vince McMahon would have continued to veto.)

 

- How long does Russo last in the WWF overall?



#2 Loss

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 07:13 PM

I don't think much about WCW's path changes. Wrestling has done a really bad job overall at cultivating new minds with a fresh approach to this stuff. I suspect we would have had an endless loop of Bischoff, Sullivan, Hogan and Nash power struggles, which already wasn't working.

 

The WWF is interesting. The biggest beneficiary there probably would have been Chris Jericho, who he was higher on than anyone else with power at the time. 



#3 Strummer

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 07:20 PM

Stephanie probably never becomes head of creative

#4 The Thread Killer

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 07:34 PM

Vince Russo was responsible for record high ratings during the Attitude Era.

 

I strongly disagree with that statement.  Vince Russo helped contribute to those ratings and that success, but to say he was responsible seems like a gross overstatement.   He certainly thinks he was responsible but I don't know if anybody else does.



#5 ...TG

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 08:35 PM

Stephanie probably never becomes head of creative

 

I don't see why this would be the case. She's still Stephanie McMahon.



#6 Loss

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 10:27 PM

I've come to believe Russo - to an extent - when he talks about his contributions, because I see his fingerprints everywhere in 1998-1999, and also at times in 1997. The issue is that I think he thinks the stuff that sucked is the reason they were successful, when a lot of it was genuinely shit that people were willing to sit through in order to see Austin, Rock, and DX. Stuff like Chyna's friend Sammy giving Mark Henry a blowjob, or Terri Runnels and Jacqueline tying Mark Henry up and whipping him, or Mark Henry confessing in sex therapy that he had carnal relations with his sister, or ... well, just about anything else Mark Henry was saddled with during that time. To name some non-Mark Henry moments, the Chaz-Marianna domestic violence story, Hawk's live suicide attempt, and Mideon's sexual attraction to farm animals are the kind of thing that Russo seems to genuinely think mattered to their success.

 

Stephanie I do think would have become head of Creative, and when more stuff inevitably stopped clicking as fans started burning out, Russo would likely try and fail in making her a scapegoat. Not much would change with or without her in that role since, as we've seen since her departure from Creative, everything is pretty much the same in her absence.

 

Where it gets interesting for me with Russo is when Paul Heyman shows up. If Heyman isn't content to just announce, and he likely wouldn't be, the two of them are probably jockeying for position, knowing there's really no reason for both of them to be around.



#7 SirEdger

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 11:40 PM

Vince Russo tends to forget that first and foremost, his success during the Attitude Era was due to the fact that there was Vince McMahon to filter his ideas. Of course, some of his ideas made it on the air and were questionable at best but when you look at what happened in WCW when he had free reign over everything - remember Oklahoma, specifically created to mock Jim Ross - , we see things would go horribly wrong with the product.



#8 C.S.

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 12:46 AM

I've come to believe Russo - to an extent - when he talks about his contributions, because I see his fingerprints everywhere in 1998-1999, and also at times in 1997. The issue is that I think he thinks the stuff that sucked is the reason they were successful, when a lot of it was genuinely shit that people were willing to sit through in order to see Austin, Rock, and DX. Stuff like Chyna's friend Sammy giving Mark Henry a blowjob, or Terri Runnels and Jacqueline tying Mark Henry up and whipping him, or Mark Henry confessing in sex therapy that he had carnal relations with his sister, or ... well, just about anything else Mark Henry was saddled with during that time. To name some non-Mark Henry moments, the Chaz-Marianna domestic violence story, Hawk's live suicide attempt, and Mideon's sexual attraction to farm animals are the kind of thing that Russo seems to genuinely think mattered to their success.

 

Agreed, although - thank God - I don't remember the Mideon farm animal stuff.

 

Where it gets interesting for me with Russo is when Paul Heyman shows up. If Heyman isn't content to just announce, and he likely wouldn't be, the two of them are probably jockeying for position, knowing there's really no reason for both of them to be around.

 

Brand extension? Russo takes Raw and Heyman takes Smackdown?

 

Vince Russo tends to forget that first and foremost, his success during the Attitude Era was due to the fact that there was Vince McMahon to filter his ideas. Of course, some of his ideas made it on the air and were questionable at best but when you look at what happened in WCW when he had free reign over everything - remember Oklahoma, specifically created to mock Jim Ross - , we see things would go horribly wrong with the product.

 

Oklahoma was actually created in the WWF - not with that name or the full costume, of course, but Ed Ferrera debuted his idiotic J.R. impersonation on Sunday Night Heat.



#9 El-P

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 01:11 AM

I don't get to do my WCW Highway to Hell thread. Which is my best writing about pro-wrestling. So that would be a loss. Of sorts.



#10 Laz

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 08:11 AM

Russo in WWF:
We see a peak of the crudeness in early 2000, but the weight of going public forces McMahon's hand in toning it down. Jericho gets a stronger push early on but still isn't ME until late 2000 (most negative talk was about his working style and WCW-causes attitude), I don't think we get HHH as super dominant as he was, and the Radicalz (assuming they still jump) are given slightly more to work with angle-wise. We see the Hardys/E&C pushed still, I think the Dudleys are allowed to be more like they were in ECW (right up his alley), and women's wrestling getting a little more serious due to Trish/Lita/Victoria takes another year or two to happen. If Russo is still there in 2001, Austin's heel turn either doesn't happen or doesn't last particularly long (retconned to being a ploy against McMahon).

What about WCW?
The ratings continue to decline but money isn't lost nearly as fast. We don't get Arquette as champion but the "new blood" still happens in a vague sense (Power Plant kids still get called up and pushed). Hogan sticks around doing Hogan stuff, and that either ends when WCW dies in 2003 or, if things get corrected, when he's forced into taking a lower deal by Turner execs.

TNA?!
If WCW doesn't still go down in flames then there's no TNA. It's possible Jerry gets back into the business still, but I could see that either being another company entirely or possibly booking up with RF/Gabe once ROH starts really growing later in 2002 (which is a long shot). If WCW lasts longer than 2003ish but still dies? TNA becomes a thing in the sense that ex-WCW guys start up another company. It wouldn't be TNA but it wouldn't be far off.

#11 Matt D

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 08:59 AM

Last week's BtS was on 99, and Nash's booking and it's rough. Bischoff's out of touch. This is when they put forward the 10 guys who are real stars (Hogan, Sting, Hall, Nash, DDP, Savage, Flair, Piper, Goldberg, Luger). Nash is pushing Savage down everyone's throat and making all the babyfaces look bad because he's his opponent. The January NBC deal died. With Owen's death, the Bret vs Nash tonight show bit is done and over with. Rey's been unmasked. 

 

I know people liked the few weeks of Sullivan (or whoever) booking but I don't see a great way out, looking at it. 

 

Who do you even make a star? I know at the time we saw Benoit as the great smark hope but I don't know. Konnan had a ceiling. Booker T was injury prone but at least somewhat viable. Steiner had his own issues, but sure. Rey was already unmasked. 

 

I don't think anyone other than a total madman like Russo could have escaped the Hogan/Nash black hole. And he only managed it by blowing everything up to the point of it being unviable. People at Turner resented WCW. Three Hour nitros weren't going away. The merger was coming.

 

Maybe there would have been a more viable alternative at some point?



#12 supersonic

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 03:07 PM

Strongly advise the last 2-3 editions of the Lapsed Fan's Starrcade Memorial Tour for this scenario. Fair and detailed spotlight of every factor, including corporate, with the only flaw being the failure to name Mike Graham for giving leverage to the Radicalz release.




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