by VINCE RUSSO
Man, I just hate how critical I am of RAW some weeks. At my core I’m truly not a negative guy, however, I’m also an honest guy. So when RAW is good I say it’s good, but when it’s bad—LOOK OUT BELOW!!!
My criticism concerning RAW is NEVER on the talent. I never criticize, or “rate” their wrestling ability simply because I know how difficult it is to do what they do–and I, for one, could NEVER do it. I also never criticize writers for bad ideas—we all have them. A good, or bad idea is subjective–no two people see the same thing the same exact way. My criticism over the WWE product always stems from lack of effort. There are just weeks when it seems like they are sleep walking through shows. There are weeks when there is very little effort put into the creative process. There are weeks when the show come across as if they just don’t give a !@#$%!.
This will always be unacceptable to me. Fact is, I really don’t even care if the show is good, or bad, as long as it comes across like 100% effort was put into the creation. I know myself, and Ed Ferrara, agonized over RAWevery week. I can’t tell you how many times I put my own family off and lost sleep even, to assure that we were putting out the best product we possibly could. If you’re Italian you call that PRIDE. We all have it, and build our very foundation on it. To me, all that matters is when the show is over you, as a writer/producer, can look yourself in the mirror and say—I did the best job I possibly could.
There are many days I kick myself for still caring about the wrestling business like I do, however, I also know that there is good reason for that—two of them actually. For starters, I take great defense when because of the lack of creativity, vision and logic we open the door for our critics to laugh at our product. That isn’t on “them”, it’s on “us”. By shoddy, don’t give a !@#$% booking, we allow others to point the “fake” finger at us and I loathe that. In conjunction with that—I DEPEND on the wrestling business to make a living. With my podcasting channel on The RELM Network (vincerussobrand.com), and my upcoming show on I HEART RADIO(this Saturday night 10pm est.), as the wrestling business goes—so goes the Vince Russo business. If people don’t care about the WWE—then they simply don’t care about wrestling. No matter what smart marks think, or say, the WWE IS the only game in town. So, I need the WWE to be EXCEPTIONAL. I depend on people to watch it . . . and care about it.
After last week’s RAW, I made the decision to just stop watching the show. It became such a chore on Monday nights that it became an absolute burden on my shoulders. At 54 years old, I just don’t want to do what I don’t want to do any more. I’ve had my share of that in my life—believe me. So, I made the decision to review shows from the Attitude Era to take the place of watching RAW. With all due respect—I had given up.
This past Monday night, I literally couldn’t find anything else to watch at 6pm. There were no reruns of The Office—WITH Michael Scott, Raymond, or King of Queens and the Giants had the night off. So, as my red record light came on my DVR to capture the weekly boredom of RAW, I decided—what the heck—let’s see how they try and get out of the Lesnar/Taker finish fiasco.
As I started watching the show, this one seemed to have a particular feel. Maybe because it was live from New York, and New York shows are always “special” to Vince. No offense to anyone, but the Big Apple was always the main stage for the WWE, going al the way back to Vince Sr.’s WWWF. When you’re in New York, you just tend to put it all out there—and, this clearly was the game plan for the WWE this Monday night. Now, I’m not by any means saying that I agreed with everything they did, truth is, there were many things I would have done differently, however, all that really mattered was that the WWE Creative Team CARED about this one, and it was evident with mostly every segment. Time, thought, and creativity were injected to the show to replace long, boring, meaningless wrestling matches that mean nothing—being stretched out to nausea to fill time.
This past Monday night, the WWE proved that they can be creative—WHEN THEY WANT TO BE. And, it’s not about Sting coming out of a cake, it’s about THINKING. Pushing yourself to be original rather than allowing yourself to fall into Wrestling 101 cookie-cutter booking mode . . . because it’s easier. Try new things, push the envelope, make whatever kind of effort you need to make to get the masses back on Monday night. The hard-core wrestling fans are always going to be there—NO MATTER WHAT. I have said that for years, and they have never let me down. If the word “wrestling” is used even once in the three hour time slot, and at some point a ring appears—they are watching–that’s what they do. When all day long grown men are flagging Sting’s day including what time he’s going to take his next dump—trust me—they are watching the show!!!
It was both a relief and a joy to put over the effort of the WWE this past Monday. They proved to me, and everybody else that they are capable of good, solid entertainment . . . when they want to be. Unfortunately, you cannot work hard one week and then go on vacation for the next three. You have to follow up your effort with a show that’s even better than the previous one—that is the key to growing any audience. That is the main ingredient to “Must See TV”.
Will the WWE follow up this past week’s memorable show? Only time will tell, but they clearly have earned my time to watch and see.