By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Vince Russo on how to write a show: Blank piece of paper, and that’s what Vince [McMahon] cannot do. Vince McMahon, bro. You know, it’s not one of his tools. You cannot give Vince McMahon a blank piece of paper and ask him to write a show. You’ve got to give him something. And that’s what Ed [Ferrara] and I did. We wrote the show in its completion, and we handed a final show to Vince. So there were never any big decisions to be made. Like, Vince would kind of go through our show and look at the nuances and stuff and maybe add a little something to punch this up or something like that. But once he got that full show, there were no big decisions made at that point. It’s that show.”
Comparing a writer to a booker: Usually, a booker is a former wrestler or even in some cases, an active wrestler. And what a booker is going to do because like I said, they’re former wrestlers. What book workers do is they start with the match. What two guys are going to have a great match. So they will book that match, and then they will try to make sense out of a story with a writer. It’s completely the other way. It’s the story first. What you guys would match up with a good story. So it’s the story first, and then the story will organically become the match. So it’s really bookers start with match first.”
Using titles as props: “Nobody wins the belt. The belt has never been won by anybody. But the basis of wrestling is that prop or that belt is supposed to be the most important thing on the show. Everybody should be there because they want to win that belt. Everything should be revolving around that belt. Because again, you’ve got to start with the premise of if this is real, if this is MMA, everybody wants to be the champion. If this is professional boxing, everybody wants to be the champion. If this is professional wrestling, everybody should want to be the champion.”
Working off of bullet points versus working off of a script: “It would depend on who it was. It really would bro, because bro, there were some guys that wanted me to write a verbatim and Jeff Jarrett was one of those guys. Like, Jeff wanted me to write his stuff verbatim. Goldust [Dustin Rhodes], he wanted me to write his stuff verbatim. Bro, I wrote a lot of Shawn’s [Michaels] stuff verbatim. It really depends on who you are writing for, bro. One of the things that I learned was when you got a great technical wrestler, when you’ve got like a Jarrett, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, guys like that would want me to write out their stuff verbatim because all they wanted to think about was the match. Like, their focus was on the match and they had to trust in me. Like, I’m going to be thinking about my match and I’m going to be sitting down. It was the match, the match, the match. ‘Vince, just write my verb and give it to me of what I have to say.’ So that’s the thing. But you got to adjust to the individual. Again. I get the impression that’s not what’s happening there today. It’s a broad…. Everybody gets the script and they got to read it verbatim. When we were doing it bro, it really depended on how much does that talent need us? It changed from person to person.”
Other topics include how to write a show, comparing a writer to a booker, using title belts as props, working off of bullet points versus working off of a script, why execution is so important in writing for wrestling, and more.