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View Full Version : Former TNA Creative Writer Discusses TNA's Booking Philosophy & Vince Russo



THEKEVINBRAND
03-15-2011, 03:35 PM
Power Slam recently conducted an interview with Wayne Keown, better known as Dutch Mantel. Having been involved with the wrestling industry since 1973, he accepted a behind the scenes role with TNA Wrestling in 2003, where the company's booking strategy often clashed with his own. Dutch discussed his experience with TNA and explained the organization's booking philosophy.

After you left the IWA in 2003, you took a job on the TNA creative team. Your booking philosophy was at odds with TNA's during Vince Russo's early years with the company and after he officially returned in September 2006, I know you believe wrestling should be realistic, and feature clearly-defined characters and logical storylines which build to a conclusion. And, yet, you worked alongside Russo from September 2006 to summer 2009, a period in which TNA's output typically consisted of the reverse: puerile characters and nonsensical storylines in a package which was often congested viewers found it impossible to digest what they had just seen.

I like Dixie Carter, but you can't have too much [on iMPACT!]. They are so afraid somebody's going to change the channel and go somewhere else.

I think TNA's roster is much better than WWE's. But when you've got someone like AJ Styles, you've got to let him wrestle. You've also got to get your characters over. TNA to me is trying to do the same things that WWE is doing. They're trying to be a copy — and not a good one — instead of being the alternative. [TNA] has come under criticism ... but the company can do what they want to do. Then again, I spent six years there watching them do things differently to how I would do them.

When Russo proposed ideas which you thought were ridiculous during creative meetings, would you object to them?

Everything in TNA was done by committee, by vote. I'll say this about Vince: he has some pretty decent ideas at the start, but what he's lacking — and Bret Hart, "Stone Cold" and even Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff have said this as well — is the execution of the ideas. You've got to take a good idea all the way through to the end of the process. And when the ideas failed, as most of them did, well ... Look [TNA] was a committee. If the committee decided that was the way to they wanted to go, then I would say, "Okay, let's do it.

If people in power realize that the "execution of the ideas" in which Russo is "lacking", why doesn't somebody force him to rectify this and do his job properly?

Well, I don't know.

Russo can't see how flawed his approach is. If he could, he would have corrected it years ago. I think the burning question is, why is the man still employed by TNA?

I do think his major attribute is being able to stay employed. I don't know how he does it to tell you the truth. When I was there, we got a 1.3 rating. Since I left in July 2009, they haven't gone above a 1.3 (note: interview was conducted in January). We're 18 months later, and TNA has got Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Rob Van Dam, Jeff Hardy, and the ratings haven't even gone up. Look, I wish them all the best in the world, I really do. I like Jeff Jarrett and Dixie — but if you expressed an opinion in TNA, sometimes [the booking team] would look at you like you'd just spit on the Pope. I spoke a language they didn't speak. I spoke wrestling. They don't speak that.

Do you think Dutch Mantell should be the one writing TNA instead of Vince Russo?

SilverGhost
03-15-2011, 03:56 PM
Power Slam recently conducted an interview with Wayne Keown, better known as Dutch Mantel. Having been involved with the wrestling industry since 1973, he accepted a behind the scenes role with TNA Wrestling in 2003, where the company's booking strategy often clashed with his own. Dutch discussed his experience with TNA and explained the organization's booking philosophy.

After you left the IWA in 2003, you took a job on the TNA creative team. Your booking philosophy was at odds with TNA's during Vince Russo's early years with the company and after he officially returned in September 2006, I know you believe wrestling should be realistic, and feature clearly-defined characters and logical storylines which build to a conclusion. And, yet, you worked alongside Russo from September 2006 to summer 2009, a period in which TNA's output typically consisted of the reverse: puerile characters and nonsensical storylines in a package which was often congested viewers found it impossible to digest what they had just seen.

I like Dixie Carter, but you can't have too much [on iMPACT!]. They are so afraid somebody's going to change the channel and go somewhere else.

I think TNA's roster is much better than WWE's. But when you've got someone like AJ Styles, you've got to let him wrestle. You've also got to get your characters over. TNA to me is trying to do the same things that WWE is doing. They're trying to be a copy — and not a good one — instead of being the alternative. [TNA] has come under criticism ... but the company can do what they want to do. Then again, I spent six years there watching them do things differently to how I would do them.

When Russo proposed ideas which you thought were ridiculous during creative meetings, would you object to them?

Everything in TNA was done by committee, by vote. I'll say this about Vince: he has some pretty decent ideas at the start, but what he's lacking — and Bret Hart, "Stone Cold" and even Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff have said this as well — is the execution of the ideas. You've got to take a good idea all the way through to the end of the process. And when the ideas failed, as most of them did, well ... Look [TNA] was a committee. If the committee decided that was the way to they wanted to go, then I would say, "Okay, let's do it.

If people in power realize that the "execution of the ideas" in which Russo is "lacking", why doesn't somebody force him to rectify this and do his job properly?

Well, I don't know.

Russo can't see how flawed his approach is. If he could, he would have corrected it years ago. I think the burning question is, why is the man still employed by TNA?

I do think his major attribute is being able to stay employed. I don't know how he does it to tell you the truth. When I was there, we got a 1.3 rating. Since I left in July 2009, they haven't gone above a 1.3 (note: interview was conducted in January). We're 18 months later, and TNA has got Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Rob Van Dam, Jeff Hardy, and the ratings haven't even gone up. Look, I wish them all the best in the world, I really do. I like Jeff Jarrett and Dixie — but if you expressed an opinion in TNA, sometimes [the booking team] would look at you like you'd just spit on the Pope. I spoke a language they didn't speak. I spoke wrestling. They don't speak that.

Do you think Dutch Mantell should be the one writing TNA instead of Vince Russo?

Bolded has powerful points.

Rich Cranium
03-15-2011, 04:01 PM
Has Dutch ever done anything significant?

THEKEVINBRAND
03-15-2011, 04:04 PM
Bolded has powerful points.

I want Dutch to replace Russo


Has Dutch ever done anything significant?

Well for starters, he would know how to write a show since he's wrestled, all Russo can write is garbage

Automatic
03-15-2011, 04:08 PM
Well if there is a commitee, it isn't all Russo's fault? Their writers are just plain bad or they're followers

SilverGhost
03-15-2011, 04:10 PM
Well if there is a commitee, it isn't all Russo's fault? Their writers are just plain bad or they're followers

If the ideas are put to a vote and no one objects to Russo's idea, its probably both.

Kashdinero
03-15-2011, 04:40 PM
Yeah, that interview was great, as are all PS interviews, and it just reiterated the point that Dutch would be far better off as TNA head writer, rather than Russo.

The thing is, Dixie obviously gets hard nips around Russo, and Dutch looks like a bit of a pedophile! Lol!

The whole committee thing is a bit of a joke, as theres no way a single, focused, direction can be traveled in without that one driving force holding the map. That's what Paul Heyman was pushing for, and was one of the main reasons things never worked out between the two sides. As long as there's a booking comitee, Vince will have a job on the team. Don't hope for any change anytime soon... Hope and TNA, together, can send a man (or woman) crazy!

Side note: @Kevin. Has that magazine only just been released in Canada?

Bodom
03-15-2011, 04:41 PM
Well if there is a commitee, it isn't all Russo's fault? Their writers are just plain bad or they're followers

He's still the Head Writer. Which means he's in charge and last I checked when your in charge and shit isn't going right, it's your fault.

SilverGhost
03-15-2011, 04:43 PM
He's still the Head Writer. Which means he's in charge and last I checked when your in charge and shit isn't going right, it's your fault.

So we can blame everything on Russo. Right?

Rich Cranium
03-15-2011, 04:44 PM
So we can blame everything on Russo. Right?

Don't we always? ;)

SilverGhost
03-15-2011, 04:47 PM
Don't we always? ;)

Just making sure man! lol

Lowki
03-15-2011, 08:59 PM
He is spot on with this;
When I was there, we got a 1.3 rating. Since I left in July 2009, they haven't gone above a 1.3 (note: interview was conducted in January). We're 18 months later, and TNA has got Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Rob Van Dam, Jeff Hardy, and the ratings haven't even gone up.

How people can say it's "on the up" or "it's improving" when this quote says it all. This is from a guy who likes TNA and worked there and also knows what it takes in the wrestling business. It has had a weekly TV show for seven years and it's pulling ECW numbers when ECW had both WWF AND WCW to compete with. With the names TNA has it should be breaking 2.0s by now imo.

el gabo
03-15-2011, 10:22 PM
Has Dutch ever done anything significant?

Dutch wreslted here in Puerto Rico about a decade ago and although he was in his last days as a wreslter, he cut awesome promos and I think he was a more of a teacher to young wreslters. Thing is, he's more of a behind the scenes guy. That's probably why you don't know much about him. I read things he writes from time to time and he does have some interesting things to say.

Rich Cranium
03-15-2011, 10:54 PM
Dutch wreslted here in Puerto Rico about a decade ago and although he was in his last days as a wreslter, he cut awesome promos and I think he was a more of a teacher to young wreslters. Thing is, he's more of a behind the scenes guy. That's probably why you don't know much about him. I read things he writes from time to time and he does have some interesting things to say.

That's right, wasn't he present at the time of Bruiser Brody's murder?

Kashdinero
03-16-2011, 12:39 AM
That's right, wasn't he present at the time of Bruiser Brody's murder?

Yeah, they even went to the arena together. As they were sitting in the locker room together, Dutch decided to take a little walk, and when he came back Brody had been stabbed!

In the interview Dutch also said that the reasons he was brought to TNA in the first place was because his booking down in Porto Rico was bringing in about 18'000 people, for their big shows, When he got to TNA, he wasn't allowed to implement the gameplan necessary to do what he felt was needed to go about pulling similar numbers. When he realised the level of incompetence he was dealing with, he just sat back, collected his check and watched as mistake after mistake was made.

Or something like that lol.

thedag
03-16-2011, 03:30 AM
i dont blame russo. i only blame dixie.

Kashdinero
03-16-2011, 05:08 AM
i dont blame russo. i only blame dixie.

It's true, how can Russo get all the blame, he's only doing his best. Dixie is to blame for a lot of things. Russo's bullshit is just one of them.

Blame Dixie!!!!

Lowki
03-16-2011, 07:26 AM
In all fairness though, i blame the group of idiots that let most of Russo's ideas through. Like Mantel said, it's the finishing that he lacks and this really does explain why many storylines just stop and confuses people. I know he's head writer but the point of having several writers is to work together and brainstorm. It sounds like Russo has the only say and there's no creative competition in TNA right now- Competition between writers ultimately leads to better writing.

evilash
03-16-2011, 08:09 AM
If Russo were smart - which is saying alot - he would make AJ Styles the Face of TNA, much like John Cena in the Face of WWE.

Vince Russo, Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff were the men who put WCW out of business - why does people within TNA think they have changed? If Dixie Carter thinks she knows the business well, why hire all the assassins of the one and only company that once upon a time beat WWE in the ratings: WCW?

Fans worldwide are spot on - Fire Vince Russo. TNA is a company that really listens to the fans - apparently - well hear us now, fire him! The only reason TNA has him, is because wrestling fans said that the WWF Atiitude Era was the best Era in wrestling. TNA and Dixie believe that hiring this man, that they will bring a similair product to their shows.

Wake up TNA, you are not WWE, and this is not 1999...fire Russo and be your own product. They are basically trying to breathe the same air that once gave life to every one's favourite era in WWE.

But, depsite Russo, TNA will NEVER be better than WWE...why? Because of Vince McMahon. Just as Bret Hart recently said.

Vince McMahon may be a demon of a promoter, but better the Devil you know, than the Devil you don't. Wrestling and Entertainment in his blood. Dixie Carter is nothing more than an investor. She doesn't love TNA - she loves the money TNA makes for her - as well as the publicity.

SilverGhost
03-16-2011, 09:54 AM
It's true, how can Russo get all the blame, he's only doing his best. Dixie is to blame for a lot of things. Russo's bullshit is just one of them.

Blame Dixie!!!!

Its easier to blame Russo since he put crap after crap after crap but I blame Dixie as well.

HCollins-TNA1
03-16-2011, 11:14 PM
The thing about Dutch he's a smart guy, but he was never putted over right or his writings elsewhere......
When he was in WCW in the early 90s i don't know if it was management then or who but they buried him in western gimmick....
Then in the WWF Vince made him into a mountain man with the Blu Brothers/the Harris Brothers.... another failed gimmick don't know if he had nay hand in them gimmicks or not..... But Dutch's days were in the 80s!!!!!

Lowki
03-17-2011, 07:32 PM
I don't know why Russo gets blamed when he is actually an idea machine (even Dutch complimented his writing but criticized his poor finishing of stories). The problem lies with the fact that he is HEAD writer! When he was in WWF during the monday night wars, most of his ideas passed through several people so if he had an okay base for a storyline, others would then edit and finish it off and make a good idea out of it. As head writer he gets no resistance no matter how bad the writing is. (Dutch also said similar about him). Bischoff hated russo for years and blamed his storylines on the death of WCW but he was given free reign because of "his" great WWF ideas. Some of his writing were great entertainment and were credited for winning the monday night wars but only because he had someone to filter the crap. As for Hogan, i think he has slightly changed from his WCW role. In WCW he didn't help the company by having creative control. Here, he's toned his ego down a notch (although it's still high) but he's slightly more mature (about time) which is made evident by the fact that he hasn't made himself champion, yet.

Hesterica
03-17-2011, 07:56 PM
I don't know why Russo gets blamed when he is actually an idea machine (even Dutch complimented his writing but criticized his poor finishing of stories). The problem lies with the fact that he is HEAD writer! When he was in WWF during the monday night wars, most of his ideas passed through several people so if he had an okay base for a storyline, others would then edit and finish it off and make a good idea out of it. As head writer he gets no resistance no matter how bad the writing is. (Dutch also said similar about him). Bischoff hated russo for years and blamed his storylines on the death of WCW but he was given free reign because of "his" great WWF ideas. Some of his writing were great entertainment and were credited for winning the monday night wars but only because he had someone to filter the crap. As for Hogan, i think he has slightly changed from his WCW role. In WCW he didn't help the company by having creative control. Here, he's toned his ego down a notch (although it's still high) but he's slightly more mature (about time) which is made evident by the fact that he hasn't made himself champion, yet.

Just made me say "Oh God no" out loud...

BoycottTNA
03-17-2011, 08:38 PM
please for the love of all things delete that post before he sees it