A review of Guest Booker with Vince Russo
by Alan Wojcik
March 2001 was the end of an era when World Championship Wrestling, the former Crockett Mid-Atlantic territory of the previous decades, was sold by AOL/Time Warner to its chief rival World Wrestling Federation. This was what wrestling fans including me had been waiting for, the chance to see the stars of WCW finally face off with WWF stars in the ultimate WrestleMania. The “Monday Night War” wasn’t going to end, WWF would keep Nitro on the air and wage war with WCW, right? Anyone who has watched wrestling since 2001 and read the books and seen other DVD’s (see my review from years ago on Kevin Sullivan & the Fall of WCW) knows what really happened. How WWF refused to buy out the top WCW talent contracts from AOL/TW for their face value, how it caved into pressure from its TV network to bury Nitro/Thunder and how internal pressure from his wrestlers/writers made Vince McMahon destroy WCW by that year’s Survivor Series PPV.
Now thanks to the Guest Booker series from KayfabeCommentaries.com we get to find out what would have happened if the Invasion angle was handled correctly. The Guest Booker is the man who was running the WWF developmental program in 2001 Jim Cornette. Actually strike that..sorry I stole my own introduction from a previous review of a great DVD, let’s watch the new version with the former WCW/WWE/TNA creative head VINCE RUSSO.
Like previous Guest Booker DVD’s, host Sean Oliver gets the background on when Russo became aware of the storyline creating by someone & who influenced him to get involved in the business. During this point Russo gives hints to why the current generation of wrestlers is not as equipped to handle improvisation in the ring as the stars of the 1970’s-80’s. In addition he gives a reason why today’s fan isn’t as emotionally invested in today’s superstars (I disagree look at the reactions John Cena/CM Punk score.) Russo gives his background on how he went from freelancing for the WWF Magazine to editing it to writing promos for the market specifics to helping shape the character of Goldust. Russo says when he writes TV he put himself in the shoes of the talent he is writing for and offers the good/bad qualities of a TV wrestling writer. I can testify having covered TNA Wrestling in person from 2002-07 that Russo is 100% true in saying he sat in the crowd as the focus group. Nothing is funnier than writing the ring action as the TV writer is watching over your shoulder.
When we get to the actual booking, sorry writing of the WCW Invasion storyline Russo admits if, “I’m not writing the product I’m not watching it.” No matter what you take from this DVD, remember Vince Russo writes with LOGIC in mind. Both Vince & Sean agree the two months from the WCW purchase to the debut of Booker T/Buff Bagwell on Raw was too long a delay. Like previous reviews, I will not spoil the DVD I will say I liked some of the choices Russo makes in who he uses 1st and when the angle actually begins yet I am still scratching my head at others like the WCW championships meaning nothing in the storyline or his claim with LOGIC in their minds, anyone sitting at home could have correctly booked the angle. Towards the end, Sean and Vince break down the current writing situation in WWE and why it works/doesn’t work. Some stuff about his working situation in the end of his Impact Wrestling run is brought up and it is interesting.
Next on the release date on www.KayfabeCommentaries.com are the following: YouShoot w/ Tammy Sytch and Breaking Kayfabe with Lanny Poffo. PLUS submit your questions for YouShoot with Diamond Dallas Page until October 5th! Don’t want to buy the DVD, check out KC On Demand through www.WWNLive.com for the recent releases like YouShoot Live with Russo, Breaking Kayfabe with Jerome “New Jack” Young & Timeline History of the WWE 2006 with Finlay.
If you have questions or comments about this review, write firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition to covering wrestling since 2001, Alan Wojcik helps host Kayfabe Wrestling Radio which airs Tuesdays 9pm on www.wildtalkradio.com with Spug & Kevin Scott as Jamal.