Vince Russo's 10 Insider Stories From Running WWF Magazine

As WWF Magazine closes, its greatest editor reminisces.

The WWF Magazine was where I got my official start working for the World Wrestling Federation. I believe it was sometime around 1993. I began my journey writing free-lance stories at $150 dollars a pop. At the time my two video stores on Long Island, New York had gone out of business, and I was selling TVs/video equipment, full-time at a popular Island chain called P.C. Richards and Sons. My only light at the end of the runway was writing about my passion€”wrestling---whenever the editor would throw me a story€”that was usually about once a month. From there, I caught my huge first break when the editor of the magazine was released, and I interviewed for his job and got it! I was on top of the world! At 33 years-old, I had won the lottery as the full-time editor of the WWF Magazine! I had my hand in both the WWF and Raw Magazines up until the day I left in 1999. It was my pride and joy, and I took great honor with every word I ever put on paper. Along the way, there were some REAL stories to tell€”the following is my juiciest insights€”hope you enjoy!

10. My First Story Assignment

I was given my very first story assignment by the editor I was originally hired under, his name was Ed Riccutti. Ed was a great man, I loved him, and he was just as flamboyant, colourful, charismatic and quirky as the actual WWF Superstars themselves. Now remember, at this time the majority of the stories in the magazine were actually fictional. Nobody ever really took the time to actually INTERVIEW the superstars; the writers on the staff would just basically put their words in their mouth and write away. I told Ed that I wanted the opportunity to change that---I wanted to interview the wrestlers THEMSELVES. At the time besides Ricchutti who didn€™t write much, there was only one full-time writer, a little Italian guy by the name of Louie Gianfriddo. Louie and I became really close, and he was actually the one who taught me the ins-and-outs of the wrestling business. The other writer was a hippie-looking dude by the name of Keith Elliott Greenberg, who was just one of the hippest and coolest guys I had ever met. Keith would go on to write several best-selling books throughout his illustrious career. Back to the story, Ed meets me at the Poughkeepsie Civic Center, where I was to interview Shawn Michaels for my very first €œhands-on€ assignment. Man, I can€™t tell you how nervous I was€”I can feel the dryness in my mouth right now. I€™ll never forget being stopped immediately by WWF road agent Tony Garea, who practically patted me down to make sure I wasn€™t carrying what. From there, I actually entered the locker room. The first site I saw just blew me away---the heels and the babyfaces playing cards TOGETHER. Look, at 33, I knew this !@#$% wasn€™t real, but to see the walls come down for the first time was something that I just never forgot. Then the interview, I€™ll never forget the little Sony hand-held tape recorder I used when interviewing Shawn. This was at about the time when he was really getting his first singles push. Honestly, Shawn made my job easy, he was both a pro and a gentleman, and little did I know at the time that he and I would have a love/hate relationship over the next five years. But to me, it was far more love than hate!

Former head of creative for the WWF and WCW during the most crucial period in wrestling industry history. Currently working on, writing weekly slideshows exclusively for