Russo is joined on today’s show by his co-host, Jeff Lane.
Wrestling Observer’s Bryan Alvarez and Dave Meltzer were discussing the quality of WWE’s programming during this attitude era on one of their audio shows this past week. Alvarez says that WWE’s programming was very good in 1997 but it fell off of a cliff in 1998. Meltzer quickly pointed out that business was huge in 1998, regardless of the programming’s quality.
Russo gives Meltzer credit for pointing out just how good business was in 1998. Alvarez might think the programming fell off of a cliff but television ratings were at an all time high, and none of the mainstream viewers cared if Steve Austin or The Rock could wrestle or not. That’s not why those mainstream fans were turning in.
Meltzer went on to argue that WWE needs to debut more NXT babyfaces at the Royal Rumble, adding that Johnny Gargano would have received a huge pop if he would have debuted at the Rumble this year, much like Tye Dillinger did last year. Russo can’t even remember Dillinger’s debut, so he can’t imagine the pop being that great.
Meltzer also thought the RAW after the Royal Rumble this year was a really good show, but unfortunately it didn’t hold the viewers. Russo says this statement is an oxymoron. He points out that if you go to a movie and it’s good, you’re not going to walk out of the theatre halfway through. RAW’s viewership consistently drops from hour 1 to hour 3 because the show simply isn’t good.
PWTorch’s Wade Keller spoke out this week, mentioning that Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn don’t come off as guys “playing” wrestler; they’re real people. Russo agrees entirely, and that’s why Smackdown’s ratings have gone down eight weeks in a row. He says that nobody wants to watch real people, they want to watch Superstars.
Russo says he doesn’t understand how we’re supposed to get excited about a fake fight featuring Ronda Rousey. It’s obvious that Rousey is a ferocious competitor in real life, but it’s not appealing to see her in a scripted fight. He thinks Rousey’s appeal should be similar to what WWE did with Mike Tyson during the attitude era. Rousey should be unpredictable, making fans wonder what she’ll do next. Instead WWE will probably just book her in a fake fight with Asuka and mainstream fans won’t care about that at all.
After Braun Strowman serenaded us all with a song on Monday Night RAW this past week, Pro Wrestling Sheet’s Ryan Satin tweeted out his love for the segment, saying Strowman should be given everything, including the Presidency. Russo says it’s hard to even make fun of these guys anymore because their mental capacity is clearly lacking. They’re supposed to be adults but they’re tweeting out stupid stuff like that.
At another point this past week, Wade Keller appeared to be angry that Booker T and Corey Graves worked him with their recent “feud”. Russo thinks Keller’s angry because Booker T and Graves have basically been bragging about working the marks, but he’s not going to back away from his previous comments in which he said there was definitely some legitimate heat there.
The heat definitely wasn’t as serious as Booker T made it out to be, but Russo could tell there was definitely a little heat there from the tone of Booker T’s voice. Russo also points out that if Keller was such a respected journalist, wouldn’t he have had sources telling him that this was a work from the start?
Ryan Satin called out Ric Flair this past week for tweeting about the #Metoo movement. Russo says if he was Flair he wouldn’t have touched that story with a 10-foot pole, but of course Satin got on his high horse again, calling out another wrestling legend for something that “offends” him.
Lastly, Jason Powell spoke out this week, mentioning that WWE should introduce a ranking system for their Titles. That way, they can have interesting storylines that revolve around each wrestler’s rank. Russo laughs hysterically at this concept, but points out that at least that’s some form of a storyline.
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 next week for another recap!