In my last article - Read here - I pointed that after 1 year with TNA John Gaburick has failed to improve any aspects of which his job entailed. Sure he has been working under difficult circumstances but then we all do and we don’t have the luxury of failure. So with Big John’s head on the proverbial chopping block, in my opinion, I am going to take a look at realistic candidates to feel the role as head of creative.
Now taking into account that the wrestling world is relatively small it will come as no surprise that whoever the Carter family next places in charge would have already performed this role at another company or even TNA. One can only hope that after the Gaburick experiment, he had no experience in a role like this before, has at the very least shown Dixie that she needs to select someone who will have an idea of what they are doing.
So lets look over the TNA creative alumni and see who/if any can make an “Impact”.
Bruce Prichard came over from WWE where it seemed he just worked in conjunction with the creative team and as an agent. Lasting nearly 2 years as head of creative in TNA, though some would argue that was just a title, Prichard was neither qualified or experienced enough for this role. While ratings did slightly improve, the company bled a lot of money during his time and while not all of that can be blamed on Prichard, the buck has to stop somewhere. Also of note is that Prichard inserted himself on screen during the interminable Gut Check series. Having a had a reputation as just a “Yes man” within WWE, Prichard was always going to find it tough at the top on his own. He was released from TNA in July 2013.
Maybe…….. there are better available but ratings did slightly improve under Prichard. Personally I don’t think he has what it takes to cut it as the main man, the job is just too big for him. However he could definitely contribute under a main writer as part of a team. With less pressure maybe TNA could get the best out of his near 30 years worth of experience.
Eric Bischoff was another guy who was given a crack at the whip, depending on who you speak to. One thing for sure is that when Bischoff and co-arrived in TNA, changes happened. Well to be more specific, lots of changes, which surely could not have been a coincidence. No doubt Bischoff has pedigree in this field and what he managed with WCW was nothing short of brilliant. What isn’t so brilliant unfortunately is the state he left WCW in, by the time Bischoff was removed as head of TNA, the ratings had plummeted to a 2.6. At its peak WCW Nitro was pulling 4.0 and above with ease. Again I am not putting all the blame on Bischoff but he was at the top and simply had no long term plan for WCW. His tenure in TNA seemed to consist of him talking through segments, allegedly making decisions backstage and pushing his son Garrett way ahead of far more deserving talent.
Dixie should steer well clear from Easy E no matter how much Hogan or anyone endorses him. Aside from his poor run already within the company, its blatantly obvious that Bischoff doesn’t care about TNA. In recent podcast appearances with Steve Austin and Jim Ross, Bischoff didn’t mention TNA once. In close to over 3 hours of conversations not at anytime did Bischoff even hint at having worked for TNA, nor did he speak about TNA when asked about his son, Garrett. All Bischoff said was that Garrett is a great worker with natural ability who is under utilized. When asked about another book Bischoff stated that nothing interesting had happened and that it would be nothing more than a pamphlet. Over 3 years with TNA and other ventures and Bischoff describes it as nothing interesting. That right there is reason alone to not go back down the Bischoff route.
On a side note I am not going to address Hulk Hogan or Paul Heyman as both are tied under contract to WWE and therefore unobtainable.
Vince Russo has previously worked in the TNA creative department, much to the amusement/annoyance of TNA fans who have been more than vocal about his involvement in the past. Having been head writer in WWF/E and WCW, he is more than qualified and has all the relevant experience one requires for the position. Also unlike others Russo is very strong willed and won’t let wrestlers or other members of staff dictate to him. Obviously Russo comes with negativity as many fans have a perception of him that is set in stone and may try to hijack matches or segments with “FIRE RUSSO” chants. However, as proven, Russo can contribute well to a show if given the opportunity.
So it’s time to bring on the abuse as for me I would urge Dixie to hand over full creative control to Vince Russo. Now before I am put before a line of people holding stones, let me put my case forward. When Vince Russo was made head writer in WWE it was after RAW had just pulled a 1.9 rating in March 1997. By March 1998, the rating was up to a 4.4 and it continued to get higher. WWF/E have never had the kind of ratings they had when Vince Russo was writing there show, that’s not an opinion the numbers make it a fact. No doubt people will point to WCW, and still to this day, people blame him for the demise of the company. Again though if one looks at the ratings Russo took over WCW when it was in the 2.6 range and within a few weeks Nitro was back up to a 3.4. Russo was fired and rehired 4 months later where the numbers again had dropped as low as a 1.8. It took 3-6 weeks under Russo’s booking for WCW to get back to a 3.2. His last ever Nitro pulled a 3.6….WCW never achieved as high a number again before being bought out by WWE. Even when given complete control of TNA for 8 weeks numbers remained steady under Russo. Another positive is that Russo has a penchant for pushing mid card acts and thus is always creating fresh main eventers……something TNA fans have long complained about.
If anyone wants anymore evidence, just simply read what the man himself writes at www.pyroandballyhoo.com. Some of the articles will blow you away and show what a great mind Vince Russo has for the wrestling business when allowed to just write and not deal with politics etc. There is no doubt in my mind that Russo is the man who could really make a difference to TNA and replace John Gaburick.
We all want TNA to not just survive but thrive…….so here is hoping that Dixie for once does copy WWE and does “what’s best for business”. “HIRE RUSSO!!!”
Who do you guys think should be in charge of creative?