Russo is joined on today’s show by his co-host Jeff Lane and Glenn Gilbertti (Disco Inferno).

Gilbertti opens today’s show by mentioning that he knows for a fact that professional wrestlers are taking a pay cut in order to work at PWG shows. Russo thinks it’s ridiculous that these guys are taking less money in order to work in front of that small crowd and in front of Dave Meltzer, but Gilbertti mentions that those shows generate incredible exposure for the talents involved.

Russo wonders if Kevin Kelly is done working with NJPW, because he has heard rumours suggesting that as of late. Russo mentions that Kelly has heat with him over some things that occurred many years ago when they were both working at WWE. Russo was overseeing the WWE Magazine at that time and after hearing that Vince McMahon was going to fire Kelly, he went to bat for Kelly and convinced McMahon to let Kelly work for him at the WWE Magazine.


When Kelly started working for him, Russo quickly realized that he wasn’t accomplishing anything other than drinking coffee. When the time came to hand out raises, Russo didn’t give Kelly a raise and that caused some issues between them. Russo also had to personally reprimand him for some of his personal conduct on the road at that time, furthering the issues between them.

Speaking about Eric Bishoff’s creative role in WWE, Russo says it’s impossible for Bischoff to deny that he had some influence over what decisions were made. Bischoff wasn’t the boss and Dixie Carter had the final say, but Bischoff and Hulk Hogan were in Carter’s ear the entire time they worked there, and Carter was significantly influenced creatively by both of them.

Gilbertti is very happy to hear that Jeff Jarrett has entered himself into a rehab facility, because the Jarrett we’ve seen the last couple of months is not the Jarrett he knows. He says that Jarrett is a family man who loves his kids, and this behaviour is not something he would have expected from Jarrett. Russo agrees entirely and says that Jarrett’s life has been a rollercoaster of emotions, so maybe he finally realized that he needs help to deal with these issues.

Gilbertti mentions that Stephanie McMahon recently announced that WWE just had its best quarter ever in terms of earnings. He points out that television ratings are declining and house show attendance is down, so he doesn’t understand where WWE is making all of their money. Lane points out that WrestleMania is a financial juggernaut, and that makes them money year after year. Russo also mentions that increasing earnings doesn’t necessarily mean increasing profits.

Lane informs that Monday Night RAW had a nice boost in viewership in hour one last Monday, but by the end of the night a lot of fans had tuned out. Russo mentions that WWE doesn’t understand how to capitalize on their own buzz. After the Smackdown invasion angle that concluded RAW some casual fans may have tuned into Smackdown Live to follow up. Unfortunately, WWE didn’t do anything on Smackdown Live to keep those fans interested.

Gilbertti wasn’t impressed with the invasion angle because he has no idea why Smackdown Live and RAW are feuding. Russo agrees and says that this type of angle should have been played out over multiple months. Instead, they rushed this in an attempt to generate some interest in Survivor Series even though there are no real stakes involved.

Gilbertti also thinks that WWE insulted their fans’ intelligence by having all the Smackdown talents wearing blue shirts. He thinks that looked so silly, and was a prime example of PG programming. He says that everyone knows who Dolph Ziggler is, and there was no need for him to wear a blue Smackdown shirt.

The thing that bothered Russo most about this entire angle was the fact that Kurt Angle was completely castrated. One night after suplexing talents left and right, Angle was made to look like a feeble old man who couldn’t defend himself or his roster. He was carried around the arena by two Smackdown talents and looked terrified, and Russo says you simply can’t book the Olympic Hero like that. Gilbertti says that WWE thinks they’re getting heat on the heels with that type of writing, but that was just bad.

Lane informs that a report recently surfaced, mentioning that WWE creative planned to turn John Cena heel at one point but Vince McMahon nixed those plans due to a K-Mart merchandising deal. Russo thinks it’s ridiculous that the ‘all-powerful’ Vince McMahon is letting K-Mart decide the creative direction of his company.

Gilbertti and Russo agree that Vince McMahon is underestimating the intellectual prowess of WWE’s younger fans. NWO was a heel faction but they still sold t-shirts, and there’s no reason heel John Cena couldn’t sell just as much merchandise as the babyface version of his character.

That sums up today’s episode of Vince Russo’s The Brand. You can listen to the show yourself anytime here, and I’ll catch ya tomorrow for another recap!

Steve Carrier

Steve is the Founder of RingsideNews. He has been writing about professional wrestling since 1996. He first got into website development at the time and has been focusing on bringing his readers the best professional wrestling news at it's highest quality.

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