Written Podcast Recap: Truth With Consequences – Killer Queens – Buried By Vince, Exploited By Steph
Release Date: December 2, 2018
Running time: 2:33
Recap by: Joe Aguinaldo
- On today’s show, Vince and Matt are calling out Vince McMahon and Stephanie McMahon about women’s wrestling.
- Many wrestlers that have podcasts will not call out Vince McMahon because they may want to work for the WWE for one last run. Russo doesn’t want to work for the WWE again.
- This is not a burial of Vince McMahon but rather he and Stephanie getting called out over the women’s evolution, how we got to this point, what this is really all about and what it represents in 2018
- Vince became a wrestling fan in 1973. Back then there was only one name…The Fabulous Moolah
- Moolah won the NWA Women’s Championship in 1956. In 1983, she sold the rights for that title to Vince McMahon who was buying up all the territories at that time.
- Moolah held the title until 1984 but according to the WWE record books, they claim Moolah was recognized as the women’s champion for 28 years. In essence, there was only one individual who was the champion and that was Moolah.
- Leading up to WrestleMania I, Cindy Lauper chose Wendi Richter as her representative and Piper brought in Moolah. Moolah vs. Richter was one of the top 3 matches and helped draw the card. The WWE had a special on MTV and the women were featured. That special drew 10 million people. According to Russo, women’s wrestling was red hot and only 6 years later, the women’s title was vacated and did not return until 1993.
- Richter’s title reign came to an ugly end when there was a contractual issue between McMahon and Richter. Moolah ended up winning the title back from Richter in a shoot.
- Shortly thereafter, the title is abandoned but is brought back with Madusa aka Alundra Blayze
- In 1990, Rockin’ Robin was the champion but left the company. The title remained vacant until Alundra Blayze came along in 1993.
- Russo wonders why Vince McMahon would allow the title to be vacant for three years knowing how hot women’s wrestling was back then. It was a money maker.
- Madusa was a great wrestler who came up in Minnesota and wrestled in Japan. She was trained by Sherri Martel who used to beat the crap out of her.
- Alundra was a proven commodity and McMahon knew what he was investing in.
- Russo came into the WWE as a freelance writer in 1994, which is when he first meets Madusa.
- His first impression of her is that she wants someone to pay attention to women’s wrestling. She wanted to build up women’s wrestling and bring it back into prominence.
- When talking about the current women’s evolution, you can’t ignore that Alundra was trying to create that for the WWE in 1993.
- Alundra Blayze the character was not who Madusa really was. Madusa was a character who could kick your butt. McMahon didn’t go with it because of copyright. He didn’t own the Madusa character so Vince created the Alundra Blayze character.
- Russo was trying to give her as much publicity as he could in the magazine but could see her frustration that it was a man’s world.
- When Russo was editor of the magazine, he could see how passionate she was about women’s wrestling in the magazine and thought that passion would be the same on the TV side. What would the reason be why they wouldn’t at least look at trying to bring women’s wrestling back to the level it was in 1983 or 1984?
- Madusa was also very respectful. She was a pro and went about this the right way but it still fell on deaf ears
- Russo says from 1984 to 1995, Vince McMahon is in charge of the company. If there is a lack of women’s wrestling during this 10 year span, there’s only one person you can look at because it’s his company.
- Matt finds it funny that Vince McMahon was upset when Madusa threw the title in the trash when she went to WCW because they didn’t pay attention to the division. Russo says this was the first shot in the Monday Night Wars.
- Russo thinks the people in creative at the time (Vince, Pat, Bruce) thought they should have listened to her. Madusa didn’t throw the title in the trash for a paycheck but rather because she was frustrated. She was begging them to do something and they didn’t do anything.
- The next time we think of a woman getting into the wrestling ring is Sable.
- Madusa throws the title in the trash in 1995 but we don’t hear about the title again until 1998.
- In 1998, Jacqueline won the title from Sable to get the title back on the map.
- Russo would hang out in the crowd and noticed Sable was getting a huge reaction from the crowd. The only other person getting a bigger pop was Austin.
- Russo suggested to McMahon they put the women’s title on her. Russo thought if Sable was representing the women’s title, she could open doors to mainstream media that men could not such as Howard Stern.
- McMahon told Russo to call her and see if she was interested in wrestling.
- Russo called the Mero household and spoke to Marc first. Vince told Marc he wanted to make Sable the women’s champion. Marc said they should talk to her. She was taken aback but by the time they got to the end of the conversation she said she would do it and Marc started training her.
- Vince says people don’t like him because ‘they’ think wrestling while he thinks business. Vince knows Sable is athletic and can be a draw monetarily. If she’s a draw, she’ll make money for the women wrestling her.
- When Vince looks at the roster and sees Jacqueline and Luna, he knows he’s putting Sable in the ring with pros who are there to make money. They may not agree with it but they would be pros. They knew they would make more money and make Sable look like a million bucks.
- Matt says Marc Mero’s career was over when Sable powerbombed him. Vince disagrees and says his career ended because his wife was getting over. The other guys were looking at him and saying a woman was taking their spot. Russo saw one of the top three guys getting into Vince McMahon’s ear about Sable because they didn’t like it.
- This is what makes Vince laugh at Stephanie regarding the women’s evolution. In essence she is burying her father. Her father was in charge when there was no women’s wrestling so when she is talking about doing all the great things about women’s wrestling, who was the one treating them as second rate citizens?
- Luna hated Sable but Vince says if Luna knew Sable she wouldn’t because Sable was a good person. Vince says Luna hated what Sable represented. However, regardless of what Luna thought, she was willing to do business.
- During one backstage altercation, Vince had to get in between Luna and Sunny because he was scared that Luna was going to kill Sunny. Luna ended up going through Russo but it just highlights the pride these women had.
- From 1995 to 1998, there was no female wrestling. If Russo had not suggested Sable, he doesn’t know how much longer they would have gone without women’s wrestling. Sable was rebuilding women’s wrestling and they were trying to figure out where this was going to go.
Vince Russo Writing Women’s Wrestling
- All the time Russo was writing, McMahon never told him to put the breaks on the women. But, if there was ever an issue with one of the women wrestlers, they would come up with an excuse like a contractual issue.
- Russo wrote the women like Vince Russo would write the women.
- The Sunny situation ignited the Bret vs. Shawn war. She was seeing Shawn but went on a vacation with Bret. To this day, Sunny swears nothing happened with Bret. Vince was there when Shawn did the ‘sunny days for Bret promo. Bret was married at the time and Shawn was accusing him of having an affair on live TV.
- Russo says the women stayed separate from the men. They were intimidated and respectable of the guys. They wanted to be part of the show but didn’t want to rock the boat. They performed when called to perform
- In 1998, Jacqueline was in a match where her top was ripped off. Bruce Prichard said it was done on purpose. From a writing perspective, that wasn’t written but believes what Bruce said about it.
Shenanigans Between Men And Women
- Matt finds it hard to believe there wasn’t some sort of shenanigans back then. Even Vince McMahon admitted to cheating on Linda in interviews
- No woman in his career ever came on to Russo or asked for any favors. But he was told once by one of the women that another one of the women said if they were going to cheat, it would be with him.
- Russo didn’t get involved in that kind of stuff. He just wanted to concentrate on the show and wasn’t interested in that.
Second Class Citizens
- In the 1990s, the WWE’s stance was to bury the women and treat them as second class citizens. Matt asks if Russo was part of the problem as one of the writers.
- Vince says he was not part of the problem. Before he started writing, women’s wrestling was non-existent and he was trying to build them from the ground up. He was also doing it quietly so no one would put the kibosh on them
- They were in no-man’s land when he started working with Madusa and then they started getting a little bit of play with Sable (and Chyna). He was trying to massage this and get them into the framework.
- Jerry Lawler brought his girlfriend Stacy Carter into the WWE and Matt reports there were a lot of politics involved. Russo doesn’t remember there being politics and thinks that came after he was gone.
- When Sable was red hot, Marc got hurt and asked Vince to keep an eye on Sable to make sure no-one messed with her. Years later, Mero got hurt and that’s how she and Brock got together. Marc found out by getting hold of her phone.
- Sable was champion for 16 months and re-established the women’s title but then lost the title to Deborah. Vince wouldn’t be surprised if it was due to a contractual issue because the WWE was having problems with Sable.
- Matt brings up the handprint bikini (Fully Loaded 1998). He also says that people say Russo was obsessed with Sable.
- Russo had been around some of the most beautiful people in the world and did think that Sable had natural beauty. He was close with both her and Marc.
- Marc grabbed Russo to show him Sable’s bikini for the contest. When she dropped the robe, Vince had a Ralph Kramden moment. Russo had nothing to do with her bikini, it was all them.
When Vince First Met Stephanie
- Vince remembers seeing Stephanie at an event when she was 19. She was in Boston University at the time and thought she was beautiful.
- Russo was the one who suggested Stephanie be on TV. She was the epitome of virgin pure and innocent and this evil guy was her dad. It was a perfect spot for her.
- Matt asks about the Randy Savage/Stephanie McMahon rumor but Russo said he didn’t hear about it until after he left the company (which Bruce Prichard has said as well).
- When Vince left the WWE, women’s wrestling was a huge part of the show. The demo at that stage was 18 to 34 males and the women were important for ratings.
- Russo feels women had a place in wrestling higher than they were
Give Divas A Chance
- Mark brings up AJ Lee putting out the ‘Give divas a chance’ tweet at the end of a 30 second women’s match and many have said that was the start of the women’s revolution.
- Russo remembers when that happened but to him, it’s not about the match, it’s about the TV time
- Russo doesn’t know that the audience he represents want women or men wrestle long matches.
- As a result, NXT starts churning out great women wrestlers.
- Russo thought Charlotte and Sasha were great. He’s all for moving them up but the problem is they can be great wrestlers but people still have to care about them. You have to build those characters. Sable, Chyna, Sunny and Terri Runnels were characters.
- A bunch of these women may be great athletes and great wrestlers but without that developed characters they are going to fall short.
Safety In Women’s Wrestling
- Russo is a big into safety in wrestling particularly with the women.
- Matt brings up Paige who was injured and can no longer wrestle. He asks Vince why she is the epitome of why the WWE are still exploiting/burying women wrestlers.
- Russo is seeing a lot of girls getting hurt. He says the girls are trying to do what the guys do. He brings up the Brie Bella/Liv Morgan incident and how the striking area for a woman compared to a man is much smaller.
- Russo has no problem with the attitude of women trying to do what men do however, women’s bodies are not built the same way from a physiological standpoint and women are more at risk. When he looks at what’s going on with women wrestlers, is the pressure there for women to do what men do?
- Matt mentions the recent battle royal where everyone who was eliminated went over the top rope, stood on the apron then was knocked off which could be an accommodation so they don’t take bumps like the men. Vince hopes that’s the case and if it is he applauds them. Vince doesn’t want to see anyone get hurt doing unnecessary things.
- Russo brings up Alexa Bliss and says she is arguably the top three in mic skills. She has the whole package. When you have someone with all the tools, why do you need her to wrestle like everyone else?
- Vince thinks many of these injuries are due to pressure. When wrestlers talk about their matches, they can get crazy and it was Vince’s job to protect them from themselves. That is the role of an agent. Vince wonders where the agent is telling these women to take it easy. On top of that, with all these women getting hurt (Becky, Liv) why aren’t other women getting concerned and backing off unless there is pressure from the top.
- Vince says the women got their own PPV because the WWE did not send them to Saudi Arabia. If they didn’t go to Saudi Arabia and the women weren’t banned from going, he doesn’t think we would have seen a women’s PPV. He says the WWE is a greedy corporation and will take the money.
- When Stephanie came up with the PPV and they cried and hugged, Vince said he could see through that.
- Matt feels that the Evolution PPV was an exploitation of the women as a PR move against the Saudi Arabian deal that Vince agrees with. Matt also feels the Evolution PPV is that because the GRR had 50 wrestlers then they advertised Evolution with 50 women.
- Russo brings up the murder in Saudi Arabia, but regardless, the WWE still went. He says they are motivated by money. Russo questions if McMahon believes an all women’s PPV is lucrative. There may be an audience for it but it’s a small portion of the WWE universe. There are a lot of people that don’t care about women’s wrestling. Russo says for the WWE to take a chance on that PPV without a guarantee means they had to do it for a reason which was to save face.
- Russo says when you’re in the business, you should know when it’s time for the stars to take center stage.
- For Stephanie McMahon to not know that was embarrassing. He doesn’t think Stephanie should have come out at the end of Evolution. That was not her place as she didn’t perform whereas all the other women busted their butts to pull that off. Vince feels her ego wouldn’t allow her to stay in the back and let the other women take that moment. This is not the same Stephanie McMahon he knew.
- Matt says it’s fair to say Stephanie coming out and taking a victory lap on an event she wasn’t on is a form of exploitation.
- Russo says the WWE has said it’s all about the brand. We see them as being players in the game but the WWE is all about the brand. When we talk about women in the WWE, who are we seeing front and center? It’s Stephanie McMahon. However, we are not seeing that on men’s side. You don’t see Vince McMahon stepping out in front of the boys. But when you look on the women side, Stephanie McMahon is the ‘brand’ on the women’s side.
Thoughts On The Current Women’s Roster
- Matt says one of the biggest missed opportunities is Bayley. Vince agrees and said back then if they handled her correctly Bayley could have been the next John Cena when it came to make a wish requests. She has a unique look, she’s a hugger, she’s got the balloons but what does she have after that?
- Vince thinks Sasha has a great look but he doesn’t know why they call her the Boss because they haven’t established why she’s the boss.
- Matt said they established both Sasha and Bayley on NXT but didn’t carry that over to the big roster and didn’t continue building their characters.
- Russo doesn’t have an idea of what Liv Morgan or Mandy Rose represent.
- Russo asks how did Nia Jax get through NXT without having the ability to do a good promo unless they needed an enforcer. She does not have all the tools.
- Russo says a producer’s job is to know a talent’s strengths and weaknesses. If Nia’s not good at cutting a promo then do not put her in those situations. She is not being produced correctly.
- Russo likes Becky but thinks to this point it’s been a lot of smoke and mirrors. The crowd has made her but the tricky part is for the writers and producers to back that up and continue pushing that forward. Russo is not sure if the creative will back it up because they’ve shown that they can’t.
- Russo says Charlotte knows how to carry herself and makes the investment in her character and specifically her wardrobe. When Charlotte comes out, she looks like a star and carries herself with an air of confidence. Early on, fans were rattling her during her promos but she overcame that.
- Russo felt sorry for Alexa Bliss, Bayley and Sasha for their ‘This Is Your Life’ segment. You can’t write a segment like that unless you have Mick Foley or The Rock. You have to know your players and that segment wasn’t suited for them although it’s not their fault
- Matt says Charlotte has an extra level of emotionality. He says she had a career defining moment at Survivor Series against Ronda. Vince says she stole Evolution with Becky and stole Survivor Series with Ronda.
- Russo says if Charlotte stays healthy, she will be the greatest women’s wrestler of all time.
- Russo doesn’t think the WWE takes full advantage of Charlotte’s marketability because she’s not the hood ornament.
- When Russo first heard about Rousey coming to the WWE he didn’t think it was going to deliver the hype they thought it would because she lost her two fights. She has done a phenomenal job but where she lacks it’s due to poor producing. If she gets beat up one week she should not come down the ramp smiling the next week. In interviews, Vince McMahon has told her to go to the ring smiling.
- Russo says Ronda coming to the ring the day after the Charlotte beat down and having a match was horrible.
- Based on the current booking Russo says they are trying to keep everyone in the middle instead of trying to put anyone over.
- Russo says Asuka has been put in the TLC match to lose to either Charlotte or Becky. He also says this is too obvious or predictable.
- Russo says Ronda has natural beauty but don’t understand what they’re doing with her look. From day one, pro wrestlers were beating up Ronda, which was McMahon’s way to show wrestlers were as tough as Rousey. This has compromised Ronda in an attempt to get the McMahon’s and the wrestling egos over
- Russo doesn’t think Ronda will be around for a year. She started getting emotional and said the quality time she’s spending with the WWE is time she’s away from her family. If she’s feeling that now, she won’t be around long because McMahon will exploit her. He’ll have her work every house show and arena show.
- There are things that are obvious and when they’re obvious, just say them. You can’t BS people now because people aren’t that stupid especially with social media.
- The WWE still treat their fans like marks.
- Russo would respect Stephanie if she admitted Vince McMahon didn’t give women their due. He was the one responsible for holding the women down.
- He also wants to hear the WWE admit the Evolution PPV was a response for women not being able to compete at Crown Jewel. People are not stupid and the WWE think they are working everybody.
- Russo says the WWE is not clever enough to work anybody because we see right through it. The WWE will not gain respect by not telling us. Russo says tell the truth.
- Russo also says people see through what Stephanie did at Evolution when she came out after the show even though she did not compete.
Rating – 7/10
Let me start off by saying this podcast isn’t for everyone, but that said, I thought this was a solid episode. Lots of good information and some good takes on women’s wrestling. Granted, even though Vince is a champion for women’s wrestling, you also have to take what he says with a grain of salt when you balance out some of the stuff he wrote for the women during his time. Also there are two underlying themes throughout this whole podcast, the first is that Vince McMahon buried women’s wrestling for so long and that Stephanie should be calling out her father for doing so especially now that the women are finally getting a chance. Finally, this podcast gives you an alternative to the WWE narrative. Would I say it’s 100% true? Absolutely not…some of this is opinion with Vince and Matt freestyling a bit BUT Vince and Matt do come up with some really good points about the whole situation. Definite thumbs up recommend from me.
Joe is a long time wrestling fan from Toronto. He is a co-host on the Pull Apart Podcast with Jeff Rush and Caitlin Lavelle as well as a contributor to www.pwpodcasts.com. One of his life goals is to be a guest host on one of Wade Keller’s post-show podcasts. He doesn’t consider himself any sort of expert, he just likes wrestling. Check him out on Twitter and Instagram @ja113.