Vince Russo Says the Infamous Kliq Curtain Call was Not Disrespectful

May 5, 2019 - by Steve Gerweck

In the latest episode of his podcast Truth With Consequences, Vince Russo spoke about the backstage reaction to the infamous ‘Curtain Call’ in WWF, in which Shawn Michaels and Triple H broke character and said goodbye to Kevin Nash and Scott Hall at a WWF live event, shortly before the two left for WCW. It happened on May 19, 1996 at Madison Square Garden. Here are highlights:

On finding out Nash and Hall were leaving: “Let’s back up with when I first heard Scott and Kevin were going. It was a one on one dinner with Bruce [Prichard] and Bruce broke the news to me that they were both leaving. And bro, I gotta tell you, he was devastated. Bruce told me that Vince was devastated. I was like, bro…and I say this same thing today, no one talent or two talents are bigger than the company. There are people behind them that can fill those shoes. Yeah bro, it’s a big loss but are they really bigger than the WWE? And you know, Bruce was devastated, Vince was devastated, I think they were really caught by surprise because never had they lost stars of that magnitude to a competitor because of dollars and cents. Never.”

On if he understood why so many people backstage were so angry over the curtain call: “Yeah bro, I totally understood it. I totally understood it, but I really felt like they were taking it to the umpteenth degree. Like I really felt like…it was like life and death, bro. I understood completely, but I just felt like they were taking it to the extreme. It was like, guys, like this is a freaking work! These guys are friends, nobody believes this shit is true. You gotta understand, the internet is in full mode right now. There’s no more kayfabe. You can read every day what’s going on in the lives of these people, who’s friends with who, the power the Kliq has in the locker room, bro this shit is all out there now. This isn’t kayfabe stuff anymore.”

On the feeling that the Curtain Call disrespected the business: “Bro, I don’t argue with that at all and I totally understand that point of view but there is a whole other side to that and the other side is: this is reality, bro. These are two guys that are leaving the company. These guys are close friends. This is really reality. And you know, again, at that point in time, in my mind, in my opinion, this is where the company needs to go. I didn’t stand there and argue with them and laugh at them and disrespect them, I didn’t do any of that. I kept my mouth shut, I let them react.”

On Cornette claiming he’s disrespectful: “I’m really tired of hearing Cornette with the ‘I don’t respect this and I don’t respect that’…Bro don’t give me that freaking bullshit. I was watching wrestling when Bruno Sammartino was the champion. I was watching wrestling when I was a ten-year-old freaking kid, so don’t tell me I disrespect the product. When you know something needs to evolve, you’re not disrespecting the past, you just know the past is the past. We need to move into the here and now. We need to evolve the product. It has nothing to do with disrespect. Cornette likes to use that word over and over and over again. Bro, that has nothing to do with it. What it has to do with is evolution, bro. You’ve got to evolve. Did they take it in Major League Baseball, Oh my God bro, did we disrespect the tradition of the Babe and Lou Gehrig and DiMaggio and Mantle when there was a designated hitter? Oh my God, did we disrespect the tradition of wrestling? No bro, they evolved the game. And Cornette always likes to say that and the reason why he says that bro is because to this day he has not evolved. So when you want to change something, he looks at that as a disrespect. The reason you want to change it is because you want it to be over! You want more people to watch! You want to grow that wrestling audience! That’s why you want to change it. It’s got nothing to do with disrespect.”

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