Former WCW World Heavyweight Champion David Arquette recently made his return to professional wrestling. Former WCW head booker Vince Russo recently had Arquette on his The Brand podcast, and Russo discussed who came up with the idea for Arquette to win the title.
Arquette's championship win is largely cited as the straw that broke the camel's back in the demise of WCW. Arquette was an avid wrestling fan and initially didn't want to win the title because he knew how negatively the fans would react to a celebrity becoming champion. But Russo believed it would be a good way for WCW to boost its publicity, and he convinced Arquette to go along with it. Russo revealed that announcer Tony Schiavone was the one who came up with the idea to have Arquette become champion.
"I write the shows. The shows are in the can. The shows are written, the shows are done. That tag team where it was you and Diamond Dallas Page against Eric Bischoff and Jeff Jarrett, that was already written. The show is written. We have our production meeting. I don't remember the finish of that match but you were not going over. When I was writing that show, you winning that title was not even a thought in my mind. Not even a thought. So, we have the whole production meeting and we lay out the entire show. I don't remember what the finish of the match originally was," Russo said. "The meeting is over and everybody leaves; Tony Schiavone comes up to me, and you can verify this with Tony, but he goes, 'Vince, I want to pitch you something.' I'm a huge Tony Schiavone mark, who is a great guy. Tony is the guy. He looked at me and said, 'What if David Arquette won the WCW World Title?' Now, you know me and my reputation. I was the swerve master, so anytime I could swerve you and give you surprises I did it. When he said that to me I stopped dead in my tracks because here is the swerve king, that thought never even crossed my mind. I looked at Tony and I said, 'Tony, that thought never crossed my mind. If Vince Russo wasn't even considering that can you imagine the people watching the show?'"
The idea fit right into Russo's unpredictable booking style, so he loved it because he knew how unexpected it would be. Russo made sure that Arquette would end up pinning Eric Bischoff, because he knew no wrestler would ever allow Arquette to pin them.
"Now, I am like, we have to do this. I'm like, bro, if I did not consider this nobody is going to see this. The beauty of it was Eric Bischoff was in the match so pinning an Eric Bischoff was not you pinning a Jeff Jarrett," Russo said. "We would not have been able to do it if you were pinning a wrestler, so I'm like, if he can pin Eric Bischoff we can probably get away with that."
Russo also revealed that none of the WCW backstage officials or producers were opposed to the idea of Arquette winning the title. According to Russo, it was unanimously believed to be a great idea for the company.
"The production meeting was over, Tony hits me with this one on one, I call everybody back in from the production meeting, and when I say everybody it was everybody who was working back there during that time. It was Eric Bischoff, Terry Taylor, Arn Anderson, J.J Dillon, whoever was working there at the time I called them in and told them that Tony Schiavone gave me this idea, it wasn't even a thought in my mind, but what do you guys think?" Russo said. "One-hundred percent on board. I think Jimmy Hart was there too. Not one person said that we couldn't do it, or that it was a ridiculous idea. Not one person did that. After we had the discussion and everybody was on board I was like, let's do this. Now, everybody agrees with it and then they all leave the room."
If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit Vince Russo's The Brand with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Vince Russo's The Brand
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.