Kurt Angle coming to TNA may have been the biggest story in TNA in September 2006, but there was also a massive creative team overhaul which coincided with Angle’s signing and TNA’s new primetime timeslot. Scott D’amore and his booking committee were out of power, and Vince Russo returned to TNA after two years to work on creative with Jeff Jarrett and Dutch Mantell. Russo had previously left TNA in 2004 to explore his newfound religion. He launched a short lived religious wrestling promotion called Ring of Glory, but otherwise he stayed away from the wrestling business. Russo returned in 2006 because he felt Jarrett needed his help, especially with Jeff’s wife Jill beginning to enter the final stages of breast cancer (Jill later passed in May 2007). Russo’s return was met with mixed reactions backstage.
RUDY CHARLES: That was a time where they’d had that booking team in play [with Scott D’amore]. It’s one of those times where all the sudden there is Vince up at the office, I’m not sure what’s going on. I come to find out they had kind of had a shake up and the creative team is now Jeff, Dutch, and Vince. I had always liked Vince, I was glad to see him back. I thought he in a lot of ways breathed some new life back into the product you know. Each guy has their own philosophy so he kind of took it in a different direction. It was interesting and exciting times.
SONJAY DUTT: I thought okay obviously it’s going to be different I knew that the concentration that Scott had on matches was pretty much going to be done with that regime just because of what they favor over what Scott favors. But I didn’t think it was bad, I didn’t know what to expect. I really didn’t think this is going to be a negative or a positive I just thought hey this is different and maybe this could be advantageous to me, maybe it could be advantageous to X-Division guys because this regime is a little bit more character driven, more personality driven, more vignette driven shit like that so maybe this is good for us. Ultimately you could say that it was, we all got characters, we all got personalities, and we were all presented in a much different light than we were in the past regimes that were in power.
BILL BEHRENS: There’s always been a pocket in the industry that have difficulty with the Vince, and the basic difficulty that people have with Vince is that some of the beliefs he has are inconsistent with what a lot of us believe to be true. With that said Vince also has good ideas and is a talented man, and coming in to help write the show with Dutch and Jeff, and I learned a good bit about what little I know about booking from Dutch Mantell having worked with him in the earliest part of my booking experience at USWA when he took over for Mike Samples. So I always had great respect for Dutch in general as a booker, and Vince really was the guy that was writing the show Dutch and Jeff were more booking the show. Vince really, and Vince will say this point blank, until July  he never was booking. People were on the committee and called the booker whether it was Jeff or Scott D’amore.
DAVID YOUNG: Actually we were all happy about Russo coming back at that point because most of the young guys were getting pushed when Russo was there so we had [dealt] with the D’amores and everybody else so we actually had high hopes when he came back in.
LARRY ZBYSZKO: The politics always kept changing, and then all of the sudden out of the blue Russo is back. Half their friends were back then everything got weird so I played golf and took a break…When Russo came back I just kind of shook my head because I realized TNA wasn’t going to go anywhere quick, because I know what their philosophy is.
PETEY WILLIAMS: At that point there was so many booking changes, like Jeff was in, then Dusty was in, then Scott was in, then it’s like okay now who is in charge? Okay Jeff’s in charge again, oh and Dutch. And now they’re not in charge, and Vince is in charge? It [was so] different all the time, at that point I was like alright somebody would hand me a sheet of what I got to do for the day and I was like just get it done.
Once the creative team of Jeff Jarrett, Dutch Mantell, and Vince Russo took over the product went in a different direction, based more on gimmicks than the wrestling based product Scott D’amore and Mike Tenay championed. One thing that happened that surprised many fans was that immediately after taking over booking Jeff Jarrett removed himself from television and never was in the world title picture again. There were many controversial storylines and gimmicks at the time including the former New Age Outlaws going under the name VKM, Voodoo Kin Mafia. VKM are the initials for Vincent Kennedy McMahon. VKM would trash WWE and their new version of DX and many fans thought TNA came off as desperate for attention with the storyline. Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley formed the Motor City Machine Guns in 2007 and became a fan favorite tag team, despite never holding tag team gold until 2010.
Sting and Abyss also began a feud which involved many infamous gimmick matches and a storyline where Sting said he knew Abyss had... (Continues on next page)