Tassilo Jung is the CEO of one of Germany's biggest promotions, the wXw. Their last show ended with a title change. The three count was counted by none other than Vince Russo. We caught up with Tassilo and discussed a whole bunch of topics, starting with their working relationship with the (in-)famous former WWE Writer.
First of all, congratulations. Bringing in Vince Russo at your last show, Back 2 the Roots, and him crowning your new Champion Karsten Beck was a pretty big shocker. You, as a referee, were in the middle of it all. How was the crowd's reaction?
Tassilo Jung: They were really surprised. We've had a really long program between the Keel Holding, The AUTsiders and PROST. That program started in February, took off again in December and the involvement of Vince Russo marked the clear end. It was the end of the show, the good guys already stood tall in the ring, soaked in the moment and out comes Russo. Looking back at our “Shotgun”-Episode (a Youtube-Show of wXw) you can definitely tell, there was some confusion going on in the audience. Russo in independent wrestling? You don't see that every day.
Do you think people even knew it was Russo? He's not that often in front of the camera these days.
Tassilo Jung: I don't think every single one in the venue even knew who Russo was. But especially in Oberhausen we have a very smart audience. We were also showing his WCW Titantron and I think true wrestling fans figured out pretty quick what was going on.
What were the reactions to Russo online?
Tassilo Jung: Well, we are watching our Facebook very closely, in terms of “how many people are reading our posts”. When we covered the story about Tim Wiese (German soccer player) possibly joining WWE, we've reached four-and-a-half times more people than usual. When we posted the picture with Russo, Beck and the Championship, we've reached six-and-a-half times more people, that's massive. It basically went viral. We don't even have that many followers. It's just a huge name, he worked for WCW and WWE in creative. He fits wXw very well in the year of 2015.
I guess through Russo's involvement people may start watching wXw. Meaning people that didn't watch up until this point. To what extend did you bring him in, in terms of getting new eyes on the product?
Tassilo Jung: In my opinion, everyone that is well known and doesn't belong to our core lockerroom is brought in to get more people to watch. wXw grew in its early days as an internet darling, getting guys from the States like Daniel Bryan, El Generico, Kenta Kobashi or even Jake Roberts. Russo fits in that line. After all, Clothesline.eu asked for an interview. You guys didn't interview wrestlers from wXw before that. We've got some attention. Lots of Ex-WCW and WWE stars work independent shows, but other than our partner IPW:UK, I don't think Russo's been part of an indy organization before us.
Do you think the Russo-effect is short-termed or will he have an impact on wXw's future?
Tassilo Jung: Every step we take to gain a broader audience has a long-term effect on us. If people see a new product and it's good, some of them will stay. And I'm certain we offer just that.
Alright, let's take a step back: You have introduced Russo as a new investor. What's behind all that?
Tassilo Jung: We are growing rapidly right now. 2013 we've had our first tour throughout Germany. This year we have 20 Shows in all kinds of different towns. So we need money to pay for things like venue, licenses etc. up front. It's great to incorporate something like that in your show with a big name. It just makes sense. The kayfabe has evolved immensely, but it is still wrestling's job to create that suspension of disbelieve. That itself can come in all kinds of different forms.
If you look at CHIKARA, they've created their own little fantasy world and every person in the building plays a role. Of course that's a product for a smarter audience and that's where the lines between fiction and reality blur. I can't tell you where the line blurs in our product, because that's what makes wrestling interesting to me.
How did you get in contact with Russo and how did you convince him to work for a German independent promotion?
Tassilo Jung: There are basically two ways to convince somebody: Either he needs money, I don't think he does, by the way, or you've got something really exciting going on. The chance to enter a new market. And someone who is watching the German wrestling landscape right now would recognize Germany could be such a market.
Wanna know what Jung thinks about Russo's controversial reputation and if we will see him again in wXw? Stay tuned for Part 2!