Former WWE head writer Vince Russo has recalled how the company’s contrasting storyline directions and outlandish characters did not work in the mid-1990s.
During that period of time, the likes of Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, and The Undertaker worked in WWE’s main events. Further down the card, WWE shows featured over-the-top characters including Mantaur and Who (aka Jim Neidhart).
Russo appeared on the latest edition of SK Wrestling’s Off the SKript with Dr. Chris Featherstone. He said he remembers one occasion when Bret Hart cut a promo before WrestleMania 13 while a steel cage was being taken down around him. While that was one example of a good WWE storyline at the time, Russo felt that other cartoonish characters brought WWE's shows down.
“Bro, that was the problem. They had this [good segments with Bret Hart] and then they had Mantaur and Who and What, and it was like, 'No, guys, you’ve gotta go balls to the wall with this direction. It can’t be both, bro.' You gotta pick a direction, and when they made a commitment to it, that’s when things started turning around.”
Find out more of Vince Russo’s thoughts on WWE in the 1990s, including Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin, in the video above.
Vince Russo on Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin (WWE WrestleMania 13)
Bret Hart defeated Steve Austin in a submission match at WrestleMania 13. The match, which is widely considered to be one of the best in WWE history, featured a rare double turn. Hart entered the match as a babyface and turned heel, while the villainous Austin became a good guy.
Vince Russo explained that he worked for WWE Magazine at the time, as opposed to WWE's creative team. Although he received some information from Bruce Prichard, Russo was not aware of the double turn in advance.
Please credit SK Wrestling’s Off the SKript and embed the video interview if you use quotes from this article.