Vince Russo's time in WWF was mostly known for his role as a booker, but he also spent time as an editor for the WWF/E Magazine.
Russo appeared on the “The List And Ya Boy” podcast to talk about his time, not as a wrestling writer, but as a wrestling magazine writer. Despite the WWF/E Magazine's popularity during its heyday, Russo said no one in the upper management, including Vince McMahon, even read the magazine.
“I knew nobody in the office was reading the magazine so I knew I could say whatever I wanted in the magazine because nobody was reading it. Vince McMahon was not reading the WWE magazine," Russo said.
Russo tried to use that fact to his advantage and he was set to publish a shoot interview with Bret Hart and Russo had even referenced WWF's top rival and some of its top executives. The story was going to be published in the RAW magazine, which was the company's second magazine and Russo was also writing for that magazine too.
"As a matter of fact, here is an interesting story. We start the RAW magazine and one of the first things we did in the RAW magazine was a shoot interview with Bret Hart. It was when Bret was on the verge of going to WCW. Bro, in the RAW magazine, we were referencing Eric Bischoff. I write the stories and have everything laid out, then I would have to send it up to Bruce Prichard and Bruce Prichard is supposed to have the final say in the magazine because Vince wouldn’t look at the magazine," Russo said.
As it turns out, Russo couldn't cheat the system and have the magazine break kayfabe during the Monday Night Wars between WWF and WCW. Once Prichard got a hold of the story, the former Brother Love knew a story like this needed Vince to take a look at it. According to Russo, Vince was not at all pleased with the story Russo was about to publish to the masses.
"This one case with the Bret story, Bruce took that story and literally ran up to Vince McMahon’s office. I get called up to Vince’s office and he has the layout of the Bret magazine on his desk. I swear to you, he takes his arm and clears the desk with it in one motion, going, ‘What the hell are you trying to do to me? Are you trying to put me out of business with an interview like this? What the hell are you trying to do?’… I wasn’t trying to put him out of business, I was trying to bring him business. You can look back on incidents like this and think this is the start of the freaking Attitude Era where we start shooting about, being real about it and people started to respect us,” Russo said.
Well, it turns out Bret did, in fact, leave WWF for WCW, but not before the infamous “Montreal Screwjob” happened where Bret lost his WWF title to Shawn Michaels after Vince McMahon went off-script and called for the bell with Michaels getting a submission win despite Bret never tapping out.
The WWE magazine continued publishing until it had its final issue in 2014 due to budget cuts as well as a decline in circulation.
You can see “The List And Ya Boy” podcast every Wednesday at 3 PM EST on Fightful.com and FightfulPods.com. It features guests such as Russo, Ken Anderson, Diamond Dallas Page, Matt Riddle, Deonna Purrazzo, JJ Dillon, Alex Riley, and several other names in wrestling. Russo's comments can be seen in the video above.