Brian Gewirtz, the former lead writer of RAW, has addressed rumors that Vince Russo once tried to get The Undertaker fired from WWE.
Russo was WWE’s head writer in the late 1990s when RAW regularly drew its highest television ratings. He returned to the company in June 2002 as a creative advisor. However, he soon left the role and took up a full-time position with IMPACT/TNA.
Gewirtz wrote about Russo’s short-lived return in his book, “There's Just One Problem...: True Tales from the Former, One-Time, 7th Most Powerful Person in WWE.” He clarified that Russo did not want The Phenom to leave the company, but he did raise doubts about the legend’s world title status:
“I’d like to clear up a rumor that arose a few years back—that Vince Russo upon returning wanted to fire The Undertaker,” Gewirtz wrote. “I have no recollection of him ever saying that. What he did want to do was strip The Undertaker, who was Champion at the time, of the WWE title and have a tournament to crown a new one.”
According to Gewirtz, Russo did not have a “defined on-screen reason as to why we’d be stripping ‘Taker of the title.” He allegedly wanted a new WWE Undisputed Champion to be crowned simply because The Deadman was “not hip and cool.”
Vince Russo wanted RVD as WWE Undisputed Champion instead of The Undertaker
Rob Van Dam (RVD) was one of WWE’s most exciting new stars in 2002. Vince Russo enjoyed the high-flyer’s performances and told the creative team that his son often spoke about RVD with his friends.
Brian Gewirtz was also a fan of the ECW icon, but he questioned the logic behind suddenly vacating the WWE Undisputed Championship:
“Rob Van Dam, the breakout star from ECW, had an undeniable coolness factor, and while most of us didn’t object to the idea of RVD becoming champ, stripping The Undertaker of the title and mapping out a tournament just because a test audience of three teenagers at a CD Warehouse thought it’d be neat did not necessarily seem like the wisest move,” Gewirtz continued.
The creative team went along with Russo’s suggestion and created a potential tournament bracket, but the idea never made it to television.
Watch the video above to hear Brian Gewirtz’s story about a WCW segment that Vince McMahon found hilarious.
What is your favorite WWE moment involving The Undertaker? Let us know in the comments section.
Brian Gewirtz’s book, “There's Just One Problem...: True Tales from the Former, One-Time, 7th Most Powerful Person in WWE,” is available to buy on Amazon.
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