Velvet Sky was complimentary of Vince Russo's by-the-numbers philosophy.
IMPACT Wrestling released its Knockouts Round Table discussion, which features Gail Kim, ODB, Christy Hemme, Brooke Tessmacher, Taryn Terrell, and Velvet Sky talking about the trials, tribulations, genesis and evolution of the division.
After talking about the initial experiences with the promotion, Gail Kim asked about the biggest hurdles that they felt the division needed to overcome in its early days, one of which included getting more exposure on television. Velvet Sky credits Vince Russo for supporting the girls and getting them on the show as much as possible. Here are her full remarks:
"Maybe not everybody was a big Vince Russo fan, but Vince Russo was a huge supporter of the girls and the Knockouts, to the point where he was starting to give us 2-3 segments on the show. Then fast forward to when Vince left and John Gaburick came in, I'm sorry, the truth is the truth, that's when s**t started to go south and that's when the girls started to take a back seat. When we had Vince there, I don't care, love him or hate him, he was always the number one avid supporter of the girls. He went strictly by the numbers, he saw the ratings that were coming in for the girls, and the girls were most of the time the highest-rated segment on the show. Once he went by the numbers, week-by-week-by-week because the numbers don't like, he's like, s**t, we have something here, let's feature the girls more on the show. So whether it was in the ring with matches or backstage segments, or whatever the case was, in-ring promos, he was the one, Vince was the one responsible for really supporting the girls as far as getting us on the show as much as possible. Again, when Big [Gaburick's nickname] came in, whatever your opinion is on him, that's when everything went [two thumbs down]. Big and Dixie [Carter] together was just like a no-no. Sorry."
Gail Kim shared her belief that because Gaburick came from WWE, he had a preconception of what the women had to be. Christy Hemme praised "Big" for valuing her knowledge and allowing her to think and be creative. She claims that he championed the women more than most people probably know, but a lot of outside forces stopped it from being as obvious as it otherwise might have been. Brooke Tessmacher added that, in her opinion, everyone from management had their own personal favorite, but that she never had any problems with anyone.
After Hemme informed Sky that Gaburick was a big fan of hers, she clarified that she has no personal problem with him. She just noticed that when other management came in and Vince left, there was a more noticeable shift, for whatever reason.
Russo worked as a writer for the company from 2006-2012. The Knockouts Division started gaining traction in 2007, with Gail Kim becoming the first-ever Champion at Bound For Glory that year.
Hemme and Sky agreed though that the Eric Bischoff/Hulk Hogan era (roughly 2010-2013) was their least favorite. While every minute of the show should matter, they say that this is when people were forgotten about and only the main even was given consideration.
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