In the first part of this riveting Swerve interview with TNA creative writer, Billy Corgan, Vince Russo takes the genius behind the Smashing Pumpkins to task when he pulls no punches about Billy’s company TNA. Being one of the very few in his position to actually have the KAHUNAS to take on Vince, Billy meets his friend HEAD ON as the two pull ZERO punches when discussing the company that Vince helped build for over a decade. This interview is as REAL as it gets folks, between two people with some different views, but yet a deep, mutual respect for each other!

Note: The video version is available only to VIP subscribers of The Brand through The RELM Network.  Free audio will be available tomorrow (6/10/16) on PodcastOne.

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  1. Billy briefly hit on this, but I think he was onto a really good point about when wrestling really took a turn for the worse. I think wrestling took a bad turn from 2001-2004 and started with the sale of WCW.

    Everyone knows how bad the Invasion angle was, but one of the things that was really bad is how during the angle most of the WWE roster were portrayed as faces and the Alliance roster were supposed to be the heels; so, the WWE spent half a year with a lack of compelling heels and an abundance faces. When the Invasion angle came to an end, you suddenly saw some dramatic heel turns (Jericho, Angle, McMahon) and dramatic face turns (Austin) that didn’t make sense.

    After this, they put the undisputed belt on Jericho, who is a fantastic worker, but he is a small guy who beat Austin and The Rock on the same show, which was hard to believe. Then, in the midst of building Jericho’s reign, the WWE brings in the NWO who dominates the the story, making the newly created undisputed title a secondary story, and when you take the focus off of the title it loses its importance in the eyes of the fans.

    Then the WWE then butchered the NWO storyline that they were emphasizing by turning Hogan face quickly after Wrestlemania. On top of this, after LOSING to The Rock at Wrestlemania, the WWE have Hogan defeat Triple H to win the Undisputed title at the very next PPV, only to have him immediately drop it the next month to The Undertaker, who drops it after two months to The Rock, who drops it the next month to Brock Lesnar. This hot-potato with the title is also occuring at the same time that the brands have split, and Raw creates another world title for Triple H. All of this, I think, devalued the title and gave wresting fans less to care about.

    Possibly the most important thing in all this, though, is the loss of star power in the midst of the brand split. This was when The Rock basically stopped being a full-time performer and started making movies. This is when Stone Cold’s injuries and disputes reached the point where he stopped being a full-time performer. The Undertaker and Kane both battled constant injuries during this time. Kevin Nash went down with an injury and Scott Hall was released, ending the NWO.

    You also have the people WWE tried to build up but dropped the ball on or other circumstances happened. Scott Steiner debuted as a potential star and was quickly taken down the card and released quickly. Bill Goldberg was only in the company a year before leaving. The WWE put a lot in Nathan Jones who was a total flop. The WWE were building up Jeff Hardy but his circumstances happened and was released. Finally, the WWE put A TON of stock in Brock Lesnar only to have him walk out of the company at the same time as Brock.

    During a time of a lot of mega star power leaving and high attrition with your biggest stars, you have the brand split and Raw and Smackdown, being very weak on star power, turned to guys like Benoit, Guerrero, RVD to fill the void, just as Jeff Lane pointed out. I agree with Jeff on how Benoit winning the belt had an impact on what turned into today’s product, I think you have to look at the “perfect storm” that built to the creation of that moment in fully seeing the “how and why” this happened.

    We talk about it a lot today, but if you look at the landscape and product back then, I think the WWE forgot how to make stars a long time ago because at a time when they needed to create stars they couldn’t produce guys who could become the next icons like Austin, Rock, and Taker. They were able to live off of what talent that came in before all those big stars left or went down and got lucky with a couple of new guys, but for the most part they weren’t able to develop a lot of talent dating back to the early 2000’s.

    • I still can’t believe the WWE is going with another brand split after how negatively the first brand split affecting the product. As I said before, at least the first time around they still had guys like Kurt Angle, Shawn Michaels, Edge, and Triple H to still be the top guys and be the faces of the sport and drive the story. I mean, what on earth are the going to do now?

      If there were ever a time for another company to step up and gain some traction, it’s right now. I think Billy is right that wrestling is at a crossroads, and I think that the company that is smart enough to take some risks while going back to the things that the masses and old school fans want is going to strike it big.