This year's Valentine's Day must be a bittersweet one for TNA owner Dixie Carter, as she's had to bid a sorrowful goodbye to her closest ally within TNA management, senior script writer Vince Russo. Yes, Russo has indeed been ousted from TNA's creative team, which Dixie confirmed a few hours ago on her Twitter feed:
TNA and Vince Russo have mutually parted ways as of this week. The separation is amicable and professional. We are glad for the opportunity to have worked together and wish each other nothing but good luck and success in the future.
One presumes that Russo finally got fed up of working alongside Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, whose power has grown over the last six months ever since Hogan re-signed with TNA for another year.
That's a safe bet, as it is well known that both Hogan and Bischoff have never rated Russo's abilities as a writer, ever since they briefly worked together uneasily in the dying days of WCW, which ended in a worked shoot (WCW champion Jeff Jarrett laying down for Hulk Hogan at Bash At The Beach 2000) that turned into a shoot when Hogan got the huff at Russo's subsequent unexpected verbal burial of the Hulkster. Hogan even sued Russo and Universal Wrestling Corporation (the remnants of WCW that Time-Warner was still responsible for once they sold its assets to WWE) for defamation and false light invasion of privacy over the shoot promo that blindsided him, a case that he eventually lost. So the only reason Russo wasn't forced out much earlier by Hogan and Bischoff is that Dixie did her utmost to protect him, but that wasn't enough to stop the proud man from quitting after seeing his creative power and influence reduced over time to almost nil to placate his former WCW enemies.
So from a creative standpoint don't expect major changes whomever replaces Russo as their lead writer, since Hogan, Bischoff and Bruce Prichard will still be responsible for the big picture creative decisions and will want someone to meekly turn their ideas into a cohesive script. The favourite for the job is Dave Lagana, the former lead writer of Smackdown and ECW, who TNA hired last October to work on their Indian Ring Ka King project. Unfortunately Lagana comes with worse baggage than Russo. In the book Ring Of Hell, his former WWE writing colleagues Dan Madigan and Dominick Pagliaro painted an unflattering portrait of Lagana as a cowardly sycophant and a sexual pervert that tried to solicit sexual favours from both male and female undercard talent. He was supposedly fired by WWE in January 2008 when Kevin Thorn complained to his friend The Undertaker about Lagana's sexual advances, who made a very public stink about it. Yes, this is the man to save TNA!