AEW Announcer Tony Schiavone Defends Controversial Writer Vince Russo Who Is Blamed For Killing WCW

Master T-Tony
AEW's Tony Schiavone answers RJ City's questions on Hey! (EW), 6/5/22 via AEW YouTube

When World Championship Wrestling closed its doors in 2001, one of the most pivotal eras in wrestling came to an end, but it wasn’t truly the end. The question of who killed WCW is still a hotly debated one without a definitive answer.

Sting vs Flair
Final Episode of WCW Nitro: Sting vs. Ric Flair via WWE YouTube

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Many people lay the blame at the feet of writer and personality Vince Russo who wrote for WCW, WWE, and TNA while also appearing on their television as a heel persona in a kayfabe (or storyline) position of authority.

Russo and his creative approach have rubbed people he has worked with and industry insiders the wrong way periodically over the years. The main reason is he was brought into WWE’s writers’ room as an outsider to the business and didn’t care as much about its innate fundamentals when it came to producing TV.

Vince Russo
Vince Russo Shoot Interview with The Hannibal TV via Hannibal TV YouTube

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His reputation precedes him but not everyone has a negative opinion of him. AEW announcer and veteran broadcaster Tony Schiavone went against the current when the topic of Russo came up on a recent podcast appearance.

Schiavone’s career dates back to the early days of WCW and he was a standard bearer for the company when Russo was hired as the head writer in 1999. 

Looking back when discussing Russo and who really is responsible for killing WCW on the What Happened When podcast, Schiavone defended Russo and fondly recalled working with him. He also said Russo worked hard to put WCW shows together.

He doesn’t understand the opprobrium Russo gets either. “I hate it that Russo gets all the sh-t that he gets. It’s not fair. Vince Russo worked endlessly, tirelessly, to put a product together. He did. And [he] was good to me, and was a good guy. And I’m honest about that,” Schiavone said.

Diamonds in the rough
Archive clip of Tony Schiavone interviewing Diamond Dallas Paige in WCW via Where The Big Boys Play | Who Killed WCW? (Full Episode), VICE TV YouTube

The VICE network put together a documentary miniseries from the creators of The Dark Side of The Ring and co-produced by Dwayne Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions that explores “Who Killed WCW?” in greater depth.

Russo and many of his old colleagues were interviewed, but Schiavone stated he won’t be watching the latter program anytime soon as he views its exposure as disrespectful to wrestling rather than illuminating.

What The Rock is cookin
Dwayne Johnson interviewed for Where The Big Boys Play | Who Killed WCW? (Full Episode), VICE TV YouTube

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“I have watched some of the Dark Side of the Ring, but I won’t watch that. Because I know what it is…it’s a hatchet job,” he says. 

Schiavone continued, “I see these people talking to the camera in Dark Side of the Ring, and I’m going, ‘What are we doing? Have some freaking respect for the business that paid you a lot of money.’”

Goldberg-Take 1
Bill Goldberg slates in Where The Big Boys Play | Who Killed WCW? (Full Episode), VICE TV YouTube

Who Killed WCW? airs Tuesday nights on VICE.

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