Russo is joined on today’s show by Big Vito.
Russo mentions that rumours are circulating regarding the status of Paige’s in-ring career. Apparently she has been forced to retire after taking a kick to the back area from Sasha Banks at a recent live event, and Russo thinks this entire thing could have been avoided.
He doesn’t want to criticize Sasha Banks too heavily because she probably already feels terrible about this situation. However, over the last couple years he’s seen Sting and now Paige forced into retirement due to reckless in-ring work that should have never happened.
Russo recalls watching Seth Rollins throwing Sting around like a rag doll during their match a couple of years ago. He’s sure Sting agreed to do whatever Rollins wanted during the match, but Rollins should have been smarter and protected Sting, given that Sting was in his mid-50s at the time.
Fast-forwarding to today, it was known that Paige has had issues with her neck and spine for the last little while. Instead of protecting her opponent as her job description outlines, Banks kicked Paige right in the back from behind. Russo points out that part of working in the wrestling business is protecting your opponent, and much like Rollins with Sting, Banks failed to protect Paige during this match.
Vito points out that Rollins has injured John Cena and Finn Balor in the past as well with similar moves. He says that as a performer you can protect yourself if you see the bump coming, but it’s impossible to protect yourself if you’re getting thrown into a turnbuckle from behind or getting kicked blindly from behind.
Russo points out that obviously this was an accident and it wasn’t malicious on Banks’ part at all, but she didn’t hold up with that kick at all. He says that the business is supposed to be a work; you’re supposed to make it look like you’re hurting your opponent without actually doing so. This is the biggest issue Russo has with the trend of nasty injuries.
Vito thinks the office and the agents backstage need to be held accountable for this type of thing as well. They all know Paige’s history of neck and back issues, and they should have never allowed a move with this type of risk associated with it to be used during the match.
Russo says that green, unexperienced performers need to be reigned in to a point where all the other talents feel comfortable working with them when they arrive to the main roster. If they do stupid things in the ring, WWE should send them back to developmental and cut their income. That will make them learn rather quickly.
Russo and Vito both agree that the business rushes talents today. All these young talents don’t want to put the work in to learn the business inside and out, and they’d rather take shortcuts. This leads to the development of an entire generation of dangerous workers.
Russo thinks part of the problem is the CEO’s son, Shane McMahon coming back into the company at nearly 50-years old, leaping off of cages and taking incredible risks. A 20-year old kid who watches that must think that they need to take similar risks in order to succeed in WWE.
Vito points out that Shane punched years learning the wrestling business, and he earned the right to take those risks. There’s a reason he still hasn’t been hurt taking those risks; that’s because he knows how execute these dangerous moves safely. Vito considers Shane to be one of the top 10 wrestlers of all time because he was a fantastic worker while only working part-time. You can only imagine what Shane would have been able to do if he worked a full-time schedule.
Russo admits that Shane certainly punched his time learning the business in his younger years, but he still fears that Shane is not going to stop taking these huge risks until he gets severely hurt. Russo adds that a 50-year old body reacts to this stuff far differently than a 30-year old body does.
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!