Vince Russo jumped from WWF to WCW in October 1999. By December, his finger prints were all over the product. Russo’s biggest story in his first few months on the job was the reformation of NWO 2000, lead by Bret Hart.
Unfortunately for WCW, NWO 2000, Russo, and Hart, plans quickly had to be reshuffled. At Starrcade 1999, Goldberg effectively ended Hart’s career with a kick to the head. WCW and Russo were left scrambling to fill void.
Speaking to Sean Ross Sapp and Jimmy Van on The List and Ya Boy, Russo talked about Starrcade 1999, the aftermath of Goldberg’s kick, and reshuffling the deck for Souled Out 2000.
“We had to quick fix it. I was just trying to logically figure out something that would make sense, get us through (Souled Out 2000) and figure out long term. (Jeff) Jarrett couldn’t work because he got a concussion when Snuka came off the top of the cage. We lost Jeff. We lost Bret. And it was a couple of days before the pay-per-view. What I tried to do, here’s where I always started when I wrote wrestling, with logic. Let’s start with logic. If this was really the hand that we were dealt, logically what would happen? And that’s what I tried to refer back to," said Russo
In the end, Chris Benoit defeated Sid Vicious for the vacant WCW World Heavyweight Championship at Souled Out 2000.
When asked if there was any heat on Goldberg, Russo said there was none to his knowledge.
“I don’t know if there was in the locker room. But at my level, I mean, there wasn’t. Stuff happens in the ring, bro. I mean, it just happens. In the locker room, I don’t know if there was. But from a management level, I mean there wasn’t. It’s just part of what you’re dealing with," Russo recalled.
Most interestingly, Russo commented that he wasn’t so sure that Bret was really hurt until much later.
“I probably didn’t believe it until the end of my contract with WCW. I probably thought, maybe, he was just trying to get out of a bad situation. Contract, whatever the case may be. I never thought we were not going to see him wrestle again, ever," said Russo.
When asked how much Bret figured into their plans, it was no surprise to hear that Bret was going to be a major factor in WCW moving forward prior to the kick.
“(He was) huge. One was the things that I was watching when I went to WCW was, they did not know how to use Bret. They just didn’t know how to use him. And I had so much respect for this guy, working with him in the WWE. I just wanted to get him in a spot that he belonged in. So, yeah, bro, big big plans for him at that point," said Russo.
It’s unknown how Bret Hart and NWO 2000 would have ruled WCW in 2000, but it sure would have been entertaining to find out.