Russo is joined on today’s show by his co-host Jeff Lane and Stevie Richards.
Russo thinks the deterioration of RAW over the last few years has a lot to do with Vince McMahon’s inability to write a consistent wrestling show. When Russo wrote for WWE back in the day, McMahon would often take Russo’s script and add some subtleties to it in order to make it better. McMahon was very good at adding the finishing touches to scripts, but he’s unable to write shows from start to finish week after week.
Russo mentions that not only will WWE Superstars have to perform live on RAW tonight on Christmas Day, WWE recently announced a tour from Dec. 25th-Dec. 30th so these performers are going to be on the road from now until New Years Day. He thinks that’s completely unnecessary and he doesn’t understand why WWE just didn’t tape RAW for this week.
Richards agrees with that, and points out that the Christmas season has become all about greed, with large companies and corporations taking advantage of their employees in order to boost their bottom line at this time of the year.
Russo says that Richards, who’s now 46, still looks tremendous and is in better shape than the majority of WWE’s current roster. He asks Richards why he’s not still working for a large wrestling promotion. Richards mentions that after working in the wrestling business for over two decades he wanted to leave his mark on life in another way. After recently being released from Impact Wrestling he decided to begin helping other people with fitness training, and he loves to spend time with his family and foster animals.
Russo informs that he’s not a big fan of Paul Heyman due to his personal interactions with Heyman. When McMahon began bankrolling ECW back in the day things began drastically changing in WWE. A partnership emerged between both companies, with mid-card WWE talents appearing on ECW and certain ECW talents appearing on WWE.
Russo recalls telling McMahon that he wanted to work with Bubba Ray Dudley and Stevie Richards, who were working with ECW at the time. McMahon approached Heyman who said that those guys had no interest working for WWE and he couldn’t convince them otherwise. Russo knew immediately that Heyman was lying out of his teeth.
This really bothered Russo because Heyman’s lies were costing those talents an opportunity to earn big money, and in turn he wasn’t living up to the agreement he had made with McMahon. Richards mentions that Heyman was probably just doing what he thought he had to do in order to protect himself and his company, but cashing a weekly cheque from McMahon while he was lying to him like that was not good business.
Russo thinks WWE continues to make the same huge mistake when they debut talent from NXT. They just throw those guys onto RAW or Smackdown Live without any vignettes or background information, and he doesn’t understand why they do that. Richards agrees, and points out that the announcers are all made to look stupid, basically acting as an informercial every time a new NXT talent debuts.
Russo says that if Triple H is the guy who’s making the decisions on who gets called up from NXT, he’s a terrible judge of character. He assumes that McMahon is placing his trust in Triple H up to a certain point, and after a few weeks he discovers that these talents simply aren’t ready to compete on RAW and Smackdown Live.
Richards doesn’t understand how McMahon ever came to the decision to put his Titles on regular looking guys because when Richards worked for WWE, he recalls McMahon saying that he wanted his Champion to stand out when they walked through an airport. Triple H is also a ‘body guy’, so WWE’s decision to put the Universal Title on Kevin Owens really didn’t make any sense to Richards.
Richards mentions that he’s concerned about the future of professional wrestling, because with the current generation of performers taking unnecessary risks every night, they’re all going to be retired by the time they’re 35 and there won’t be any wrestlers left.
Russo says that he tried to tell The Young Bucks that when they came into TNA while he was working there a few years ago, but they obviously didn’t take his advice. He points out that all professional wrestlers have a shelf life, and if you’re forced to leave the ring at 35 years old because your body is beat up, it’s going to be tough to continue to take care of yourself and your family.
Amidst WWE’s declining ratings, Richards wonders whether McMahon is planning of just giving up USA Network’s advertising money in exchange for moving RAW and Smackdown Live to the WWE Network. Russo agrees and says that as soon as he heard about the launch of the WWE Network he suspected that McMahon’s plan was to air RAW and Smackdown exclusively there.
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!