Bischoff on Wrestling – Episode 39
Hosted by: Eric Bischoff and Nick Hausman
Review by: Craig Elbe
Duration: 60 minutes, 21 seconds
-The passing of Matt Anoa’i
-YouTube dropping pro wrestling content monetization
-Upcoming Table for 3 episode with Jim Cornette and Michael Hayes
2:51 – The death of Matt “Rosey” Anoa’i
5:33 – Rock movie success and beef with Diesel a work?
9:20 – You Tube deeming wrestling content non-advertiser friendly, IRW Network launch in Beta
14:21 – Table for 3 with Cornette, Hayes; Bischoff/Cornette bury the hatchet?
19:50 – Fox Philippines and WWE can’t reach agreement for television rights fees
21:35 – Impact and AAA strike a working agreement to share talent and run shows together
25:18 – Jinder Mahal pushed as a result of new WWE executive in India, plus ShopZone expansion?
33:26 – Extended mailbag
A coffee filled Eric started the show and introduced co-host Nick Hausman. Nick took over, saying this week was the second consecutive week of no guest, but promised a big guest for next week without divulging more details.
Nick said last week’s show has given him mostly positive feedback. Eric said their opposing political and life views that healthily clashed last week was challenging. It riled him up, but respects all perspectives and doesn’t intend to demean anybody’s opinion unless he feels they’re wrong. Then he’ll inform the right and wrong of the argument from his mind’s eye. All in all, Eric enjoyed the conversation.
Nick said he didn’t feel demeaned; growing up in Texas, one of the reddest states, tempered his skin tough for political conversations. Eric elected to start with wrestling topics and if it goes into political waters, so be it.
Nick thanked MLW Radio and gave us information on where to find, subscribe, rate, and review the show. Later in the show, Nick said there will be an expanded mailbag.
Nick brought up the passing of Matt “Rosey” Anoa’i, who Eric shared screen time with in WWE as 3 Count (Nick misspoke and meant 3 Minute Warning.) Eric said he starts his day very early and checks out all news items, and was saddened Tuesday morning to learn of his former colleague’s passing. Eric didn’t know him well but recognized how kind, gentle, and classy Anoa’i was. About two years ago, Eric and Anoa’i shared a car ride together in route to a personal appearance. In that car ride, family discussion was exclusive; anything about wrestling wasn’t even brought up as they chose to talk about what was personally important to them. That day, Eric got to know Anoa’i better than he did during their entire time in WWE. Eric extended his condolences to the tight-knit Anoa’i family and hopes Matt Anoa’i rests in peace.
Nick brought up the record-breaking success of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s movie The Fate of the Furious had over the weekend, as it had to be bittersweet timing for the Anoa’i family. Without being cute or creative as he can’t put himself in that position, Eric congratulated everyone involved in the movie franchise. He said he personally doesn’t know but Johnson but briefly worked with him, but knows the family, also working with Umaga (Eddie Fatu, Matt’s cousin and tag team partner in 3 Minute Warning; brother of Rikishi) in Australia before his passing. (It was on Hulk Hogan’s Hulkamania Tour of Australia from November 21-28, 2009; co-promoted by Eric and Hogan. Eddie Fatu passed away on December 4, 2009.)
Staying on the topic of The Fate of the Furious, Nick pivoted to the rumored beef Johnson and Vin Diesel. The pro wrestling promoter in Eric thought it was originally going to culminate at WrestleMania, which coincidentally occurred 12 days before the movie release date. Eric was cynical of said beef, since it apparently is now squashed after the announcement of its record-breaking success, and called bulls**t on it all.
Nick said Johnson and Diesel will be together for two more movies for the The Fast and the Furious franchise, and it will end in 10 movies total, with the ninth in production already. Eric joked if it were more than ten movies Johnson and Diesel would be moderately slow and slightly angry! Nick offered his Jay Leno impression as another cast member in an 11th movie.
Nick brought up YouTube dropping pro wrestling content monetization. Nick said he and Eric have heard from some affected and struggling indy promotions as they’ve been working on the launch of the IRW Network.
Eric’s been very immersed in the presentation of a project to a major network he alluded to last week, which can now be known as a motorsports project. After Nick emailed Eric of the YouTube news, Eric was shocked and decided to tweet out about the IRW Network he founded and launched April 5th of this year, which is in its Beta stage right now. Eric said it’s unfortunate YouTube slammed the door on pro wrestling content providers trying to earn a living, and he has many potential suitors for his IRW Network since that tweet. For Eric, it’s an interesting an ironic time for the wrestling industry, while Nick said can relate to being a starving artist. He then encouraged anybody seeking a new home away from YouTube for their pro wrestling content to contact he or Eric on the live Twitter account with open direct messages, @IRWNet, and he or Eric will get back to them about setting them up on the site. Over the next two weeks more announcements for new content will be made, and next week will see more content debut. Nick went cliché, saying this situation urges him to make a star out of a scar. Eric immediately said to steal that phrase and make a t-shirt, as stealing something and making it your own is one of the seven basic storylines in wrestling. Eric quoted another storyline, of telling everyone you’re a genius and eventually people will believe it, just ask Jim Cornette!
Speaking of Cornette, Nick mentioned how Cornette and Eric bonded over mutual hatred over someone in a forthcoming Table for 3 on the WWE Network. Eric, as a television producer, won’t reveal too much out of respect for the audience and WWE, or give any press attention to the person who’s hated (editor’s note: it’s Vince Russo). Eric said Cornette did all the talking, making it easy for Eric to eat and participate in the mending of fences. Michael Hayes was the referee for the reconciliation, which surprised Eric as he was a belligerent prick, drunk on cheap scotch the last time Eric attempted a similar scenario with Hayes.
The big moment of the show for Eric was when Cornette’s dissertation culminated when he accused Eric of deciding to edit some content to somehow control something Bill Watts and Cornette were trying to do. Hayes pointed out to Cornette that Watts was in charge at the time, not Eric. Eric sensed Cornette’s realization of living in a false pretense for many years when Hayes informed him of reality. Watts didn’t even like C squad announcer Eric at the time, and Eric was looking for work because he sensed termination.
After the Table for 3 taping, Eric has heard Cornette talk about it and Eric still thinks Cornette has conflated Eric’s role while Watts was in charge. Cornette may have been thinking subconsciously because, during the Table for 3 taping, Eric said that Cornette said his WCW stooges at the time informed him about what Eric was up to. Eric said he corrected Cornette and said stooges tell you what they want you to know, and they were wrong. Eric lamented those parts probably won’t make air. After that, the rest of the discussion with Cornette was constructive and collaborative even while disagreeing. Eric doesn’t know, nor thinks WWE knows, when that Table for 3 episode will debut. Eric said he left out the best part, and just gave us the edges to nibble on.
Nick brought up the news of Fox Philippines and WWE failing to come to a television content distribution agreement. Eric basically said it won’t move the needle or amount to more than a case of Mountain Dew and a bucket of KFC to WWE’s bottom line. Nick recalled their show with Jonathan Coachman (Episode 25) where Coach mentioned WWE doing syndicated markets for revenue; Eric said some markets are great, large, and matter to the bottom line. The Philippines fan base is simply too small and WWE doesn’t tour there. It’s a much better headline than a financial issue. (WWE was last in the Philippines on September 9, 2016, their first in 7 years. Since this show was recorded, it was announced on April 18 WWE will be available in the Philippines on TV 5 beginning April 30, 2017.)
Nick brought up that Impact Wrestling and Lucha Libre AAA came to a partnership, where AAA talent will appear on television with Impact Wrestling and will run co-branded shows this summer. Eric sarcastically had his breath taken away with the financial implications of the headline. Nick continued, saying AAA talent who are also Lucha Underground talent that appear on Impact Wrestling television aren’t allowed to portray their Lucha Underground personas, per the agreement.
Eric said, after laughing, there’s no meaning, relevance, or money in the story. While he enjoys the cool content that is Lucha Underground, it’s just expensive content that draws no ratings, has no touring, makes no money, and has no licensing or merchandising aspects he’s aware of. The fact these athletes who portray characters on a show making no money have the privilege of working for another company that doesn’t make any money but can’t be the characters who don’t draw money on another other network is baffling.
Impact makes zero money for television licensing fees and basically gives their show to Pop TV as an infomercial, with hopes of future revenue. YouTube isn’t an option anymore, and they don’t have live events or licensing and merchandising. Eric said it really doesn’t matter that some guys from Mexico get to work for a company that doesn’t pay anybody and makes no money, but is happy everybody is happy. Great headlines that create great perception, and if people can make a living from cheap headlines that don’t really matter, good for them; but at the end of the day it’s a non-issue issue.
Nick asked if the agreement may help Impact expand in Mexico. Eric emphatically shot that notion down as nobody cares, Impact can’t even expand out of Orlando and couldn’t draw flies if they rolled in horses**t. Despite new management, he threw one more shovel of dirt on Impact, joking the next headline will say that Jeff Jarrett is in Krakow, Poland to announce a partnership with a Polish wrestling company and Impact has expanded to Krakow, Poland!
Nick used the theme of wrestling companies trying get into new and different markets to bring up Jinder Mahal becoming the new number one contender to the WWE Championship, despite barley winning his matches. Nick said it could be due to WWE expanding WWE Shop into India and hiring a new VP and General Manager of WWE India. Eric said those things were likely an influence in Jinder’s push. He continued, saying WWE has a large footprint and can do some internal and qualitative research, not just the obvious things of how many subscribers the Network has, etc. He’s not sure if WWE has done it but he would if he had that kind of database to wisely determine money making markets. Even if he was wrong, Eric said WWE did the unexpected and got everyone talking because of it.
Nick said he’s enjoyed Jinder’s recent work and they both appreciate his new physique, which Eric had to tell Nick wasn’t a Scott Steiner type of jacked up, ballooned out physique. Eric said it’s easy to be cynical but he believes Jinder could very well be cleanly accomplishing his look, as Jinder keeps denying all accusations of being dirty. Eric has known many people who have accomplished those goals clean, especially genetically gifted people.
The next and last topic Nick had was WWE attempt to acquire Ring of Honor no longer being on the table. Eric didn’t know enough about this subject to lean one way or another, but figured it was click bait for a bit and fun to talk about for a while. He thinks the story could have grown legs by some third-party suggestions that made more of a conversation that had some polite business traction, but ultimately made no sense for either side.
There was a question to Eric on his thoughts on the Beautiful People’s run during his TNA time, especially Lacey Von Erich. Eric said he enjoyed being around her as she was like one of the guys, a lot of fun, beautiful, had a great wit and sense of humor with a sailor’s mouth. She also was a lot smarter than anybody gave her credit for or knew, as she came off as ditz in her act. Eric said she protected her character carefully, and appreciated that, but had intelligent conversations with him, noting real estate and the economy as subjects they discussed.
Eric felt the Beautiful People had some talented people but was too reliant on juvenile eye candy that didn’t do much for him. Nick had a quick question if Eric was around when Kevin Von Erich brought in Marshall and Ross Von Erich-Eric was not. (Nick was referring to when Ross and Marshall Von Erich debuted for TNA at TNA Slammiversary XII on Father’s Day, June 15, 2014 in a tag team match against Jessie Godderz and DJ Z. Nick also didn’t mention Ross and Marshall are Kevin’s sons, so I will. Plus, this was June of 2014, easy enough to find that Eric was gone from TNA by then.)
Next question was who decides who’s goes in the WWE Hall of Fame and who called Eric to induct Diamond Dallas Page in this year’s Hall of Fame. Eric said he’s not sure on the decision process or who knows about the process outside that small circle of people that decide on the Hall of Fame, but he’s essentially in the dark. He declined to reveal who informed him of being the person to induct DDP out of respect for what he perceives WWE’s preference. Nick was disappointed but not surprised.
This was a question about Matt Hardy becoming Broken in WWE after, and if, WWE and Impact reach a settlement over the Broken trademark and gimmick. 62-year-old Eric doesn’t get the Broken Universe gimmick but respects the hell out of Matt Hardy for being able to become a star that goes away, reinvents himself, and comes back. Eric said Chris Jericho has made an art form out of doing it. If Matt wants to bring the Broken character to WWE, Eric doesn’t think there will be a happy medium as WWE has a penchant for controlling things. However, not being there, he could be dead wrong.
Nick wondered how the Broken Universe will look with the WWE touch. Eric said a gritty presentation won’t matter as much as WWE wanting to play to a broad audience would. The Broken Hardy character has an indy vibe to it that has a narrow appeal; WWE isn’t indy but the Broken character would be great for the IRW Network. Eric couldn’t help himself there!
Nick said that the IRW Network will likely be a theme going forward on the Bischoff on Wrestling show. He said he’s excited about IRW Network show hosts appearing on this podcast in the future. Eric brought up how the host of the pro wrestling podcast Off The Script, @JDfromNY on Twitter, garnered some Twitter interest, reached out to Eric and got Eric’s attention as a prospect for the IRW Network.
The dumb question of the show was somebody wanting to know if Eric remembered what happened to a side plate of a WCW Tag Team Title belt circa 1996-1997. Eric’s response is worth checking out for yourself.
Somebody asked if Eric was planning on doing a Facebook Live or Periscope Q & A. Eric said he hates Facebook and keeps his private to friends and family only, checking it every three weeks or so. He hates how Facebook changes all the time, isn’t user friendly, the advertising drives him nuts, and can’t be monetized. However, he will consider it as a promotional vehicle for this podcast or something else they’re doing.
Nick agreed but uses Facebook mostly for work purposes, then promoted his C2E2 appearance for Wrestle Zone in Chicago where he’ll do many Facebook Live interviews with wrestlers at the convention on April 21-23. Eric got the convention name confused with the Star Wars character R2D2, but hopes he see R2D2 at C2E2.
There was a question asking what happens during both pre-and post-production meetings or wrestling shows. Eric said pre-production is a detailed rundown of what’s going to happen on every segment with every element of the production team present, including agents, to be on the same page for what to anticipate and communicate to the talent. He called it a very granular breakdown of the entire television format.
Post-production meetings, when they occur, are like autopsies to anticipate what and where to improve next time. He didn’t elaborate why they don’t happen regularly and Nick should have asked.
Someone asked if JBL should stop being blamed until it’s verified by Mauro Ranallo. Eric said everybody should get a freaking life. Nick brought up Mauro and WWE negotiating a non-disclosure settlement that would result in us not knowing the dirt. Eric doesn’t know or care if it’s true; it’s more click bait, peripheral headline stuff of people talking about topics with little knowledge of it. He prefers all the chatter, as he calls it, to go away.
Somebody asked if Eric thinks sports entertainment is more dangerous than it ever was. Eric said it is without a doubt. Today’s wrestlers are so athletically gifted and capable, and the audience demands more extreme athleticism. Eric also blames the television landscape itself that doesn’t lend itself to characters and storytelling anymore, favoring the crash and burn action aesthetic instead. Talent that pushes the envelope is probably the biggest factor, not just in wrestling and used NFL players as a comparable example. The ability to learn and train and do almost super human feats compels these highly athletic people to do higher risk things.
Overuse of false finishes hurting or helping a match was the next inquiry. Eric loved the question and observation, and feels that false finishes acts as too many plot points/twists in a movie resulting in a meaningless collage of chaos. In too many cases, false finishes are overused and dilute the story and emotion. They should be used sparingly in meaningful times in meaningful ways.
While attending indy shows, Eric chooses to give advice to those who ask, and will talk, till their ears fall off, about storytelling, character development, and building an arc to great moments and spots in their match that will mean something and create emotion with the audience; those details are a passion for Mr. Bischoff. When it’s a guy trying to get over in his market in front of a small crowd, he shows respect by restraint of advice. If a show had a television aspect or was a live event or just a large crowd then he will dispense without solicitation on what he feels they need to consider changing.
Somebody wanted the appropriate response when someone says Demolition was better than the Road Warriors. Eric laughed and said, “what a rush,” complete with his best Hawk impression. He said the Demolition guys are friends but said tiresome, basically saying the question is old and very rhetorical.
This was a question to Eric of what WCW would have been like if social media was around. Eric said it’s hypothetical, although pain in the ass dirt sheets were around. He said members of management who didn’t pay attention to the business itself and take what a jagoff writing in his mother’s basement said as gospel. Eric thinks he would have melted down if the internet was as prevalent back then as it is today. Nick thinks the surprise element has dissipated due to the internet, and Eric wholeheartedly agrees, and does a callback to stooges and Jim Cornette. In the end, Eric thinks we should just enjoy the entertainment wrestling provides and not think too much about it or worry about what’s going on backstage. With that approach, Eric feels it will be more enjoyable and allow for people to escape from their reality easier.
Last question was how were WCW and WWE rings different. Eric answered that WCW rings were 18 x 18 feet, whereas WWE rings are 20 x 20 feet and watching someone run the ropes is more dramatic experience. WCW rings were a little more forgiving than WWE’s, but he really doesn’t think he’s qualified to give the best answer, as he’s only taken bumps here and there in small parts over his years in the wrestling business not as a wrestler.
Nick was about to close the show, but Eric wanted to talk politics. Nick chose to end the podcast here but will begin to record an overrun for the IRW Network starting immediately at the end of this podcast. Eric said he’s ready to verbally kick Nick’s political ass.
This show had a good spectrum of discussion despite no guest. Sometimes the guest is the highlight of the show, depending on who they are. Eric is a good interviewer who can talk to anybody. I’m a little frustrated that Nick may seem a little intimidated by Eric and doesn’t follow up or challenge Eric when he should. I’m not suggesting the show becomes one big argument or Nick becomes the next Conrad Thompson in that regard, although he could be better prepared for tangents and more aware of wrestling history, like 3 Minute Warning instead of 3 Count; very different acts that were in different companies at different times. Also in this show he didn’t know his own co-host’s time in TNA on a question he knew he was going to ask. I love Conrad by the way; his preparation, knowledge of history, and no-nonsense approach are all great, but if Nick tried to replicate the argumentative side of Conrad it would be transparent, but the other two traits would make for a better show.
I don’t like how Eric used hyperbole when he said Impact and Lucha Underground make no money. I may just be a stickler for details and would have preferred more concise language and numbers, even if he had ball park estimates. His past and perhaps ongoing heat with Impact, and the lawsuit, seemed to come to the surface with this episode being the most recent burial. Now I don’t want to be flippant about the lawsuit. Does the lawsuit have to do with Dixie Carter and her family/Panda Energy or Jeff Jarrett?
Overall I mostly enjoyed Eric’s take on everything else, especially false finishes diluting matches that could exercise more discipline for a better story told. Eric’s other takes were strong and entertaining, notably how little the loss of the Philippines TV distribution costs WWE at the time and the dumb question of the show. A low point was how dismissive Eric remained on the bullying topic; he refused to comment on the Mauro Ranallo/JBL situation specifically until the facts come out, which is great, but hasn’t admonished bullying as a whole. As person with influence, tenure, and a previous knack for showing how ballsy and courageous he can be, Eric sure hasn’t said as much as I’d hoped about something he endured in his youth and how it can be a huge factor is a person’s life, positive or negative.
The other low point was how Eric resorted to the old stereotype of people writing stuff while in their mother’s basement as a dirt sheet writer reference. Not sure which one he may have been referring to or if he was just being ignorant. If you want to make a point, be original!
Score: 7 out of 10. Not getting to hear Eric interact with an interview subject and show his talent will always hurt the show. Hopefully next week’s big guest lives up to the hype. Nick and Eric’s chemistry still is suspect, as well as Nick as a host overall. Regardless of that, the show’s good to great content and some funny Bischoff moments outshined the negative.
Thanks for checking out my review!
About the Author:
Craig was bit by the wrestling bug me when he was about three-years-old. It fell off a couple times but always found its way back. Now that he’s 34, that bug is here to stay. He can be seen air drumming at any stoplight in Green Bay, or heard yelling at the TV about his Packers, or WWE of course! He’s always enjoyed writing, so he hope you readers enjoy what he provides! Check out his Talking Smack reviews on PWTorch.com, follow him @CraigElbe on Twitter and have a chat!