A Thank You To The Nature Boy
by VINCE RUSSO
Presented by TagMeADate.com. First ever dating website for wrestling fans. Free for the first month to try.
This past Sunday night was a poignant time in my life. On my podcasting channel,vincerussobrand.com, which can be found on RELMNetwork.com, I officially–and for the world to see–apologized to God for trying to force open doors that I know he, himself, shut almost four years ago when I made the decision to leave TNA wrestling. Due to a fear of not being able to support my family–a fear that all men possess–I showed a complete lack of faith in trusting others with my future . . . instead of God. For four years I paid deeply for that decision, as my walk as a Christian was clearly stunted due to my disobedience.
It was late Sunday night, when I publicly and officially slammed that door shut once and for all, and since then, the other doors that have opened for me have literally been mind-blowing. Reading this, I know that there are a lot of you that won’t understand what I’m saying, or even talking about, and that’s absolutely OK. One day . . . if you’re supposed to . . .you will.
With a two-ton weight being lifted off my back, I went into this week looking at all the possibilities before me, rather the wallowing in the muck of my past. The muck of my past. Yeah, unfortunately at times that’s the best way for me to describe my career in the professional wrestling business. Outside of the great guys and gals that I was blessed to be able to form friendships with—the majority of my experiences have been haunting. The job was a thankless one–there was never a thank you, never a you’re appreciated, never even a pat on the back and a “that-a-boy”. And, let me make this clear–that wasn’t only me personally—that was with many people I worked with who busted their !@#$% week in and week out in an effort to be the best they could be while supporting their families along the way.
But, through it all, I survived and here I am. Scarred–yes. Beaten-yes. Bruised–yes. Still standing–yes. Even though I feel like Rocky after going the distance with Creed—there is still life left in this body and plenty of it. Despite the jabs. the upper-cuts and the roundhouses–I’m coming out for the next round. As the Italian Stallion himself once said, “It’s not how many times you get knocked down . . . but how many times you get back up.”
I’d be lying to you if I told you that I wasn’t “almost” put out by a succession of cheap jabs over the past 15 years, and of course I’m referring to the “DEATH of WCW”. It’s been a decade and a half of having to live with the rights and the lefts from those who weren’t there, and just didn’t have a clue, concerning the nine months of my career when I actively worked for World Championship Wrestling. In a world where we seem to live to put others down, rather than to put them over, WCW was the answer my critics choose to attempt to tarnish everything I ever accomplished during the hey-day of the Attitude Era.It was there way of taking away any credit whatsoever, because for whatever personal reasons—they just did not like Vince Russo.
It was only a few months ago when during an interview in the UK, I finally lost my composure and “almost” exploded at the interviewer for pointing the finger at me–a writer–as the cause of WCW losing some 62 million dollars. The notion of his statement was so ridiculous that yeah—for a second, or two, a red, fiery flame blanketed my eyes . . . and I wanted to attack.
But as always–all things happen for a reason.
It was only recently that Ric Flair went on that same talk show in the UK and was asked the question, “Did Vince Russo kill WCW.” Truthfully, I had no idea this interview even took place, until somebody told me about it on twitter. When told that I should look at the video and see “what Flair said”—I about threw up in my Taxi wastepaper basket. In my heart, of hearts, I knew, that if the iconic Ric Flair feel into the trap of placing the smoking gun in my hand—whether it was the truth, or not–this would be the final vindication that all my haters needed—to just put me in the hole and throw the dirt on top. In their minds, if FLAIR said it—then it must be true.
So Ric was asked the same question I was–in the same exact studio I was–only a few short months later. In putting in my ear buds I was expecting the worst. In my business you just “assume” that everybody is going to pile on when it is the sheik thing to do. But on this day . . . Ric Flair didn’t buy in. Flair quickly put the kibosh on the interviewers question when he said that WCW was dead “long before Russo got there”, and all he, Russo, was trying to do was “survive” like the rest of us.
In my heart, of hearts, I cannot tell you what those few words from the Nature Boy meant to me. In having worked with Ric over the years, I know for a fact that he might not have agreed with all my creative, there’s no way he could have–we are two different people with two different mindsets—BUT—when Ric had the chance to unrightfully bury me—with the majority of the IWC hooting and hollering on—he didn’t. He took the high road. He spoke the truth.
For that, I wanted to use this column to thank Ric Flair. His words were all I needed to hear in order to finally put closure to a topic that has been a thorn in my side since 2000. Ric Flair WAS WCW and will ALWAYS BE WCW. Along with the greats like Dusty, the Horsemen, Animal and Hawk, the Steiners, Sting, Nikita, Lex, Magnum, Vader—Natch helped build that organization on HIS back. When the company folded he had the right to make it personal, he had the right to blame whoever everybody else wanted to blame . . . but, Rick didn’t. He was honest. He told the truth, and for that I will be forever grateful to him.
Much, much respect Mr. Flair.
(You can follow Vince Russo daily on The RELM Network at vincerussobrand.com.)