Vince Russo has shouldered quite a bit of blame throughout his career in sports entertainment.
Targeted by many as 'the man who killed WCW,' Russo is facing that blame again as TNA struggles to cling to life. Russo served as a secret consultant for TNA in 2014, and accidentally included wrestling writer Mike Johnson in an e-mail intended for Mike Tenay, which unraveled the situation. Despite that, Russo says he wasn't the reason TNA started their downhill skid. Instead, he points the finger at John Gaburick.
"John Gaburick got hired by TNA and his first month on the job he sent home Eric Bischoff. Eric Bischoff was the executive producer of Impact on Spike, the Spike executives loved Eric Bischoff. That was a major, major, major mistake and that was the beginning of the end, not a Mike Johnson-Vince Russo email," said Russo on last week's Fightful.com Podcast. "The fact that Gaburick’s first month on the job he sent home Bischoff, who Spike was a huge fan of -- that’s the truth. In my opinion that was a huge mistake and Spike knew that they were not going to renew the deal. They never liked working with Dixie Carter, they didn’t respect Dixie Carter. Everything I got there when I was a consultant (was that) John Gaburick did not have a good relationship with them. The minute Bischoff was sent home the deal was done."
Bischoff not only worked alongside Spike during his time with TNA, but was also a pivotal on-screen character for much of Monday Night Raw's tenure on the channel. According to Russo, Bischoff was still on TNA's payroll even after being relieved of his position.
"You know how TNA works and you know how Dixie Carter works—do you know what they had him doing? So basically the idea was give him something to do so it feels like he’s earning his money. They had him review the shows. Here’s why I know this -- they would send me Bischoff’s reviews and from beginning to end he ripped the show. You know how I review Raw for Fightful and I’m not very positive? This was 100x worse than that. There was never one positive thing in his reviews. Guess what Bischoff did in return? He sent that review to Spike. When they forwarded it to me it was on the forward that he was sending those same reviews to Spike. So Spike was reading every single week how much Eric hated the show…Eric, who they thought very highly of. Right then and there they knew that they were not renewing the contract. Literally Eric wrote them to bury TNA to Spike, that’s why he wrote them," said Russo.
Bischoff would eventually leave TNA altogether before filing a lawsuit of his own. TNA would see their flagship Impact program canceled on both Spike and later Destination America before landing on Pop TV.
You can listen to the full podcast with Vince Russo above.