Earlier today, Jason Powell of prowrestling.net broke the story that Vince Russo has recently been demoted from TNA's creative head to their senior writer, while Bruce Prichard, TNA's new head of talent relations who replaced Terry Taylor in that role in late May, has taken over Russo's old job title too. Dave Meltzer has also independently confirmed this news. What this means is that Prichard will determine the overall direction of the product, while Russo in future will have to implement Prichard's creative vision when he continues to write the scripts for TNA Impact and their PPVs with his assistant Matt Conway. Both journalists say that this creative restructuring has been in the works for the past two months and may explain the improved quality of TNA's television shows during that time.
Perhaps not so coincidentally, two months almost to this very day was Hardcore Justice, which ended with one of Russo's most illogical and groan inducing swerve heel turns in history, where Kurt Angle ripped a steel chair out of the interfering Hulk Hogan's hands only to wallop Sting in the back with it, win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship unfairly and join Immortal. After the PPV, apparently Hogan cut an irate backstage promo on Russo for the whole locker room to see about how he didn't know anything about the business because he was never a wrestler. So Russo handing over some of his creative power to the former WWE personality Brother Love may have been a compromise to keep everyone happy, as TNA owner Dixie Carter is known to be incredibly loyal to Russo, even though there are few people left who have a good word to say about him.
This is definitely a step in the right direction for the company, as Russo has always performed best while working underneath a more experienced wrestling mind who filters out his many bad ideas, but it almost certainly doesn't go far enough. From September 2006 - July 2009, Russo served on a booking committee with then head of creative Jeff Jarrett and veteran booker Dutch Mantell, but even though those two could overrule him together, many of his bad ideas still made it through to television, as he still had too much influence on the product as lead script writer. Though Prichard has made a strong start, one wonders if he'll quickly run out of ideas, as he's never held such creative power ever before. Indeed, one of Bryan Alvarez's sources who had worked with Prichard in the past in WWE told him that:
Going from Vince Russo to Bruce Prichard is going from bad ideas to no ideas.
Also, Prichard will have to deal with Dixie Carter, Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff sticking their oar in, which has proven a recipe for disaster over the last couple of years.
Nonetheless, this is a remarkable reversal in fortune for Bruce Prichard, who seemed to be a WWE lifer in his former position as a backstage producer for that company, as he had been with them non-stop since 1993, but ended up being fired by the company in disgrace on December 1st, 2008. In Matthew Randazzo V's book Ring Of Hell, Prichard was accused of regularly indulging in racist banter on WWE corporate premises with his friends Michael Hayes and Dusty Rhodes, and one former WWE writer was even quoted as saying:
It's such a disgrace to have Prichard in the front office of a major corporation. This is a guy who walks around shaking violently, looking ill, asking for pain medication, and inexplicably busts out crying during writing meetings. He frequently disappears to deal with 'personal issues'. This is a guy that shouldn't be in management; if this guy is leadership, what does that say about the company?
Eventually, those problems, together with all the transparent political games that he played and his laziness (he had the reputation of trying to get the backstage pre-tapes he was assigned done in front of the live audience or cut from the show so he'd have less to do) caught up with him, as they allowed Stephanie McMahon to convince her father Vince McMahon to fire one of his loyal yes men that she saw through and had never been impressed by. To be fair to Prichard, at the time his wife was going through a lengthy battle with cancer, which may explain his demotivation and nerviness at work during this period.
Hopefully, his fast rise through the management ranks at TNA is a sign that he has slain his personal demons and he's showing a renewed passion and vigour for the business, as he's got something to prove to all his enemies and naysayers from his WWE days. Knowing TNA though, it's much more likely that he's got this promotion merely because he conned Dixie Carter with his trumped up creative resume and has friends in the right places (it should be noted that Prichard managed to co-exist with Russo on the WWE creative team from 1997-1999 unlike his colleagues Jim Cornette and Jim Ross). Simply put, I don't think we should get too overexcited about this creative move, given Prichard's checkered past and all the people that got TNA in the mess they're currently in still hold key positions of power.