Arn Anderson, in his own words, felt like the guy watching the building burn and hoping the fire engines would arrive.
They didn’t in time for WCW, and there were a number who thought that they were intentionally held up.
On a recent edition of his ARN podcast, Double A discussed whether Vince Russo was planted by WWE.
A lot of people thought that. Believe it or not, they sure did. I guess it was probably because the fact that – if you’re in that chair, and this is just me. I’m not qualified to be in that chair and be responsible for a show and company that big. But to me, no matter what a talent had to say about my running of the company or disagreeing with the way I was going or the way I was using talent, I would’ve figured out a way to patch the holes and make it work.
One thing I can do is recognize talent and talent that can make a contribution, or I can go out and watch a talent three weeks in a row and tell you if he’s getting over. I’m able to spot that. With all those guys going home, and then you send Russo home – this thing is about to crack open. I think most of the thoughts and conversations that he was sent down to sabotage the company was because of his style of writing. Huge buckets of blood getting dumped from the ceiling on guys and just the wacky characters that he used. These weird names – General Rection and all that stuff. Having him sent down by Vince to kill the company, that was a little far-fetched, but there were very real conversations that it was a possibility.
But it seems that when people were sent home during the darkest days for the company was when he realised they were doomed.
Anderson felt sorry for the whole business, knowing what a proportion of work was about to be lost.
I couldn’t sprinkle any magic dust on it and I couldn’t put a new coat of paint or rationalize it. For me, it was a period of my life that the companies I really loved – Jim Crockett Promotions that morphed into WCW, and then it became WCW – I saw that it was on fire, and the fire trucks weren’t gonna make it in time. I was the guy that took the call and was standing in front of the house, and it’s three-fourths on fire. The guy calls from dispatch and says, ‘Sorry, Arn, we’re still 45 minutes away with the firetrucks. We’re not gonna make it in time.’
There’s that moment where inside your head, you go, ‘This is over.’ The business as I know it is over, this company is probably gonna be done. I can no longer wrestle no matter how much I will myself to do it, I’m just physically not able. It was a really down, depressing time for me. I was looking at all the jobs, all the dreams, all the young guys – when that company goes down, at least half the jobs in the industry are gonna go down the sink with it. To sit there and have to watch, it’s like somebody is holding my head straight and saying, ‘Watch the monitor. There’s the future. It doesn’t look very bright.’ Not a good feeling.
With thanks to 411 Mania for the transcription.