The Professional 3 9.08.13 Vince Russo's Worked Shoot Experiments
Posted by Jon Harder on 09.08.2013
411's Jon Harder writes about feedback from fans and somehow turns it into a piece based around Vinny-Ru. Unbelievable.
Welcome everyone to another edition of the Professional 3 on 411mania.com! I'm Jon Harder and another exciting week in the world of pro wrestling! With the continued rise of two different companies and the more exquisite in-ring product of independent wrestling makes for happy wrestling fans. However, this fan is not as pleased as he normally is. Trust me; I will "shoot" on this.
Before we go any further, check out EPISODE 100 of the Hardway Podcast on TheJonHarder.com. It's been a lot of hard work, dedication, and struggle, but the Hardway made it to 100 episodes. The Hardway did a Roundtable with Stan Stylez, Good News Hughes,B-Sizzle, and myself, and it is a must listen interview to say the least. This episode tells the history of the podcast and why it's a total team effort to get to the next level of a small idea.
Also, follow me on Twitter at @TheJonHarder. I love funny jokes, tweets about the New York Mets, pro wrestling, and what other jibber-jabber you'd like to send over.
Yet, for some reason, I actually hate feedback. I don't know much about other 411 writers, but I read every ounce of feedback on the bottom of my column. The majority of feedback is normally positive and very funny, but last week's column feedback actually got me. There was a lot of negative feedback towards my Baseball Playing Wrestlers P3. From "Smarky Smark" Wahlberg calling me a horrible lister, to overall panning of the article, I felt down on myself for last week's bad list. Then, after reading a 411 news article on a particular story, I saw THIS at the bottom of the screen:
I then felt vindicated and laughed about it. TAKE THAT, SMARKY SMARK! This is what happens when trolls and internet fans believe in saying thing without thinking them through. It is the age of fans believing they know the business better than the wrestlers and personalities in it, and it got me heated. Smarky Smark Wahlberg might be a Hell of a name, but he's nothing more than an unhappy wrestling fan.
In all honesty, that was what we call a "worked shoot". Yeah, it was a lame attempt at it, and I personally would never go as far as I would go in a one-on-one conversation, but I explained a tad bit of hurt in my opinion and tried to have everyone believe it. Personally, it didn't work, but that's the issue with worked shoots in wrestling: they just don't come off realistic or good. There have been some exceptions (The CM Punk Pipebomb in 2011 comes to mind), but for the most part in mainstream wrestling, they just do not come off well.
What makes the "worked shoot" worse is that there have been people in wrestling trying to make this their in-ring persona. In some weird way, certain in-ring competitors believe that breaking the 4th wall from behind the scenes and bringing it in front of the camera will make them "edgy". Instead, it completely confuses the casual wrestling audience. That's what makes for disappointing television at times. For many mainstream companies over the past 20 years (WWE, WCW, and TNA), there has been at least one character inside of those companies who have attempted to give fans an insider's look into how pro wrestling.
Strangely enough, these characters were developed by Vince Russo.
Look, no matter what anyone says about Vince Russo, the man was a success in the world of pro wrestling. He survived for almost 20 years in pro wrestling as a writer for WWE, WCW, and TNA. People hate what Russo has created, but no one can deny that the Attitude Era in the late 1990s was one of the greatest time periods in the history of pro wrestling. Vince Russo was the architect behind that era. Even though WCW died approximately a year after Russo took over the book in 1999, we still talk about the insane moments Vinny-Ru put together. After Bound for Glory in 2006, many people thought Russo taking over creative would be the death-knell for TNA. Love TNA or not, Russo did not kill the company. You can actually credit Vince Russo as a success, in regards of making money in the sport.
However, there have always been certain examples of Russo that just wants to expose the business. I watched "Timeline: WCW 2000" from Kayfabe Commentaries and Russo repeatedly acknowledges that wrestling is fake. In hindsight, although a lot of people might believe that statement, it should not be FLAT OUT said as bluntly as Russo states it. The "worked shoot" character that Russo legitimately attempted to get to the next level of mainstream wrestling just didn't work, no matter what he did.
Want some proof? Without FURTHER HESISTATION...
THE PROFESSIONAL 3: Vince Russo's Worked Shoot Experiments
1) JEFF JARRETT, THE WORLD'S GREATEST WRESTLER
In October 1997, Jeff Jarrett, after 18 months in WCW, returned to the WWF. Standing in the ring, Jarrett proceeded to tell the world on why he left WCW. Due to issues with Eric Bischoff when it came to contract time, Jarrett came back with a big money deal. However, Jarrett also took the time to open his mouth about the WWF and Vince McMahon. Jarrett proceeded to become "the World's Greatest Wrestler" and shoot on everything wrestling related for several weeks before joining the NWA faction led by Jim Cornette.
Knowing now on how Russo started his head writer regime in middle 1997 and how Russo booked worked shoot angles in WCW on a weekly basis, this was standard Vinny Ru. Russo, a huge supporter of Double J, tried to get him to the next level with this worked shoot character. Sadly, Jeff Jarrett could not pull off this type of character, charisma wise. I thought Jeff Jarrett had an awesome career in wrestling; however, this character JUST didn't work.
The funniest attempt of a "worked shoot" character in my eyes. When Vince Russo, as the Powers That Be, started utilizing small internet rumors about wanting to make something special out of Buff Bagwell and making them a part of the storylines, I nearly lost it. In "The Death of WCW" by RD Reynolds and Bryan Alvarez, it was written that Buff Bagwell and Scotty Riggs of all people (American Males!) were discussing the "finish" to their match backstage. The best was yet to come, however, when during a bit of a rivalry between Buff and La Parka, Buff strictly came out to the ring, laid down for "the Chairman of WCW", and lost. After the match, Buff got on the headset and said verbatim, "Russo, did I do a good job for you?" Unbelievable.
This was SO wrong on so many different levels. Russo was OUT OF HIS MIND during the first run in WCW. From Chavo Guerrero being an Amway salesman and Hacksaw Jim Duggan being a janitor to the Piñata on a Pole, Buff Bagwell's worked shoot attempts took the cake. After retiring Curt Hennig, Buff had a "shoot" fight backstage with DDP and proceeded to talk about sleeping with Kimberly, DDP's then wife, on Nitro. Ultimately, it died out once Russo was FIRED from WCW. In all honesty, Buff was so charismatic, but it felt forced. The commentator's spot was just outrageous and actually killed main event money making ability with Bagwell.
And yes, with Bagwell's look, he could have made some serious money.
3) THE VOODOO KIN MAFIA
Whether you call them the New Age Outlaws, the James Gang, or Jesse Jammes and Rockabilly, the Road Dogg and Billy Gunn were always two über charismatic individuals. However, in 2006, when the James Gang "quit" TNA, they came back as the VKM: Voodoo Kin Mafia. The inception of the VKM was to talk on Vince McMahon and berate D-Generation X and how awful the DX skits were on television. In a reversal of terms, the same way DX had attempted to invade WCW, the VKM were trying to invade WWE. However, by burying WWE's television product, it made TNA look bush league. Not only that, the TV product wasn't where it once was.
It was definitely a Vince Russo idea. The New Age Outlaws have stated it in a shoot interview. It just did not work. Why in the world try to go after WWE when there is no rivalry between both promotions? It was horrible exposure for TNA and in fact showed how bitter the VKM were during that time period. It actually really made TNA look god awful. Such a horrible Vince Russo Worked Shoot Experiment.
BONUS: Vince Russo Hates Hulk Hogan
I believe this title explains what this video is about. Bash at the Beach 2000 will live on in infamy. I LOVED it.
Vince Russo introduced a lot of realistic ideas and characters into pro wrestling. Some loved them and some hated them. But his concept of "worked shoot" characters really drove fans and wrestlers through a wall. Fans want to driven by great stories, similar to a movie, NOT TO BEHIND THE SCENES knowledge! They want to suspend disbelief for a little while. Thankfully, these characters normally do not last long term. Vince Russo might have developed phenomenal ideas, but the ones that stunk STUNK.