Eric Bischoff Says Vince Russo had No Idea What He was Doing in WCW
On the latest edition of 83 Weeks, Eric Bischoff discussed how he felt Vince Russo had no clue what he was doing as head of WCW creative and why his creative strategy of pushing younger talent like Billy Kidman was just a way to get him support backstage, and how pushing talent before they were ready ultimately just ended up hurting those talents in the long run. Highlights are below.
On how he and Hulk Hogan had no respect for Russo: “It’s no secret, Terry had no respect for Vince Russo, neither did I, neither do I, but certainly at that time, Terry had nothing but disdain for him, creatively and personally, professionally.”
On how Russo had no clue what he was doing in WCW and was in over his head: “When you told me we were going to do this show, I said, ‘OK, I’m not going to bash, I don’t want to just be negative for the sake of being negative,’ because it’s easy to do that, especially when you’re looking back at something from 20 years ago and you can pick it apart, and there was obviously a lot of things wrong at this point, and by the way, a lot of things had been going wrong under my watch, as well. It’s just so easy to throw hand grenades like that, and I really wanted to do this show without doing it, and I’m trying to say this without any malice, but Vince Russo never had a clue about anything. He was a very emotional guy who had no idea how he ended up in the role he was in.”
On how Russo pushed young guys as a way of getting support backstage: “Once he got there, he didn’t know what to do with it, and his reaction to being in that position was to kind of take guys like the Mamalukes and no disrespect to Billy at all at that time because Billy was phenomenal as a talent, but he wasn’t ready for primetime, he wasn’t ready to be a main eventer, neither was Jeff Jarrett, by the way. Again, I have nothing but respect for Jeff Jarrett, more so now than ever in my life, since I’ve known him. But was still was never a main eventer. But Russo had a knack for taking the periphery of the talent roster, those guys who would never really get an opportunity to break through and have any focus put on them, and he would kind of galvanize those people around him to give him support, and make him feel more valuable or make him feel like he was on the right track, and he was their biggest cheerleader, and it was just a way for him to cloak himself in the support of a bunch of people, when the vast majority of people that really understood what was going on knew there was nothing under the hood with him.”
On pushing young guys too soon ultimately hurt those wrestlers: “Russo’s biggest claim was, ‘You gotta get the young guys over.’ Well, pushing people before they’re ready is not getting them over, it’s getting them killed, it’s making them irrelevant in the longterm because once you try them, once you try take somebody who is not ready for primetime, throw them in that primetime spot in a main event or a series of main events, and they fail, it takes them years to recover from that. And Russo was famous for that. And that’s what Russo was doing at this time, he was throwing all the people who would pat him on the back and tell him what a genius he was, he was giving all those people great opportunities, kind of playing to the dirtsheet marks who were all clamoring for younger talent.”