Bischoff on Wrestling Podcast – Episode 40
Review by: Craig Elbe
Hosted by Eric Bischoff and Nick Hausman, produced by Nick Hausman
Duration: 1 hour, 25 minutes and 38 seconds
-Vince McMahon biopic
-WWE using Miz to send message to Ambrose?
-Conor McGregor vs Floyd Mayweather discussion
-Bill Goldberg interview
00:42 – Show Introduction
2:58 – Vince McMahon Pandemonium movie and casting ideas
10:00 – Was Miz a surrogate messenger to Dean Ambrose from WWE?
17:09 – Potential match and rules for McGregor/Mayweather; C.M. Punk comparison?
23:38 – Bill Goldberg and Eric catch up
59:39 – Mailbag questions from #BischoffOnWrestling
Eric Bischoff opened the show and introduced himself and “digital savant” Nick Hausman. Nick was thrown off by the compliment from Eric. Eric was merely heaping praise on Nick as Eric can’t do what Nick worked hard to get good at in contrast to Nick being born with the digital abilities. Nick said he can embed a podcast and do basic coding.
Nick brought up Eric being in the news but went right into the big guest Bill Goldberg. Eric said it took them a while to finally line up their schedules to accomplish a Goldberg appearance, and it was nice catching up with him. Nick said Goldberg’s admiration and respect for Eric shone during the interview. Eric chalked it all up great timing and being happy to be a part of Goldberg’s success.
Nick brought up news of the Vince McMahon biopic, and rumors of who will play Eric if he’ll be a character in the movie. Eric corrected Nick on the pronunciation of biopic, as “bi-ah-pic” sounds like eye disease, then said he didn’t hear the rumors but is sure he won’t be cast as himself. He isn’t sure if he will be represented in the movie at all, but hopes and believes it will be successful.
Nick asked Eric, with his television and entertainment experience, how he’d present Vince’s story. Eric said his week has been tough but saw the headlines and hasn’t put any thought into it. Off the top of his head, Eric remembered Vince having a rough childhood with a poor home life and reconnected his father later in life. From there, Vince got into the wrestling business and started at the bottom and worked his way up. Eric wasn’t sure if it was a second-generation promotion at the time or more but said it’s a very rich and historical story that will make a fascinating movie about Vince bringing wrestling into a high level of pop culture.
Nick said the casting director has a tough task discovering people to portray Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Eric Bischoff, etc. Eric said The Rock could be an easy get as he still has a relationship with WWE and is one of the best actors today. He said Hogan may be difficult to cast as he has many unique characteristics, as Eric has witnessed first-hand with how people react to seeing him in public. He feels portraying a more youthful Hogan would be best. As far as himself, Eric preferred to ponder who he’d prefer to play himself in the movie. Nick’s favorite actor that’s been rumored is David Arquette, as his previous history (former WCW Champion for crying out loud!) and age and similar look seem like a good fit. Eric doesn’t see it, though he feels Arquette is a great actor but is more a comedic actor and Eric doesn’t fancy himself a funny guy. Nick disagreed with that premise, and Eric just isn’t comfortable thinking about who should play him. Nick gave out Eric’s Twitter handle (@EBischoff) for people to let Eric know who should play him in the bio-pic. Nick loves the fantasy booking of movie casting, Eric said it will become a betting thing in Las Vegas, and Nick thinks Dave Meltzer will reveal the final cast before it gets publicly released.
Nick referred to Miz’s promo on Dean Ambrose from this past episode of Monday Night Raw where he called Ambrose lazy and complacent. Nick said similar sentiments have been echoed by Steve Austin, that Ambrose lacks fire, and people have interpreted that promo as a WWE directive to send a message to Ambrose. Nick asked Eric if that occurred in WCW, where the line between work and shoot got blurred. Eric said he never resorted to those chickns***t tactics, even though he’s been accused of and guilty of many things, but being a chickens**t wasn’t one he was convicted of. At times he would reverse the order; confront first, then turn it into a work. He’s only had a brief meeting with Ambrose so can’t give an educated idea of his fire or work ethic and doesn’t know what WWE is trying to say, perhaps for Ambrose to get on the stick?
Nick asked Eric about a scenario of Eric having an issue with someone’s performance or output, talking to them in the locker room, and using that reality in the storyline/promos. Eric doesn’t think he ever did, but wouldn’t do something unless everybody was comfortable with it. He recalled his first storyline with Ric Flair that was based on the known real legal issues and disagreements, but the storyline wasn’t executed until after those issues were resolved. With the audience aware of the situations and Flair being very over combined with Eric’s heat, he was able to use that a source for what Eric described as some of Flair’s best promos. Still, great care had to be employed with delicate real life situations in a work, and used Chris Benoit and Nancy (and Kevin Sullivan) as an example.
Nick asked if anybody crossed a line with Eric in a promo. Eric couldn’t recall any such instance but has always been thick-skinned and easy to work with, especially with the prior discussion of it being just business. His wife and kids were the only off-limit subjects. His program with Flair was the only time he used his personal life in a program but it wasn’t his family. Vince McMahon never crossed those family lines despite the storyline opportunities that could have been used in their history. Instead, the story arc was that Vince brought him in as the General Manager, they embraced at first, then Vince got rid of him based on job performance.
Nick brought up Dana White keeping the Conor McGregor/Floyd Mayweather fight a possibility in the headline with a TMZ interview. In the same interview, White said he favors McGregor as a southpaw as Mayweather has shown flaws against left-handed strikers. Eric said there’s too much money to be made for it not to happen. As a peripheral observer, Eric thinks there’s too wide a gap between boxing and MMA, and favors Mayweather in a boxing match as he’s very quick and elusive and has always been a boxer. However, without the rules being known and/or disclosed Eric and Nick weren’t sure what to think yet.
Nick wondered if Dana White should even bother with this idea as the public didn’t react too kindly to C.M. Punk’s quick and decisive debut loss to Mickey Gall. Eric said the UFC is predicated on finding out who the best is in all fighting disciplines from around the world, and feels the McGregor/Mayweather fight possibility reflects that spirit. He said everyone stands to make a fortune and even if McGregor loses badly it shouldn’t be a deterrent; Eric feels UFC has enough equity and large enough fanbase to withstand a lopsided McGregor loss to Mayweather, adding the C.M. Punk situation is completely different than McGregor/Mayweather. Punk came from a totally different world and didn’t make sense to Eric as to his age and no prior professional fighting experience.
23:38 Bill Goldberg Interview
Eric introduced Bill, saying they’ve known each other a long time, worked with each other, and Bill was a big part of the recent WrestleMania. Bill long paused and said it’s always an honor and privilege to talk to him as their long- time friendship has never been dull. Eric brought up Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s announcement retirement from NASCAR after the 2017 season. Bill said the news came as a complete surprise to him, not hearing a peep of it despite tending to his pace car duties the on Sunday for the NASCAR race. The race was ultimately canceled for weather and he had to miss the Monday make-up race due to his son’s school schedule. Bill and Eric referenced Earnhardt Jr.’s concussion issues that cost him essentially the second half of last season, with Bill saying the timing of his retirement was a surprise but not the reason. It will be a devastating for NASCAR as he’s won most popular driver 14 consecutive years and is only 42 years old.
Bill said Earnhardt Jr. will still be busy as he’s always had other endeavors, and brought up the charitable contributions he’s witnessed first-hand from Earnhardt Jr. and his father, the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. Bill said a hunting show could be a possibility as Earnhardt Jr. is part owner of Realtree and loves to hunt. (Realtree is an apparel company that specializes in camouflage and has other outdoor lifestyle clothing, gear, and accessories for the whole family.) Bill said the life and death risk race car drivers face, especially that Earnhardt Jr.’s father died in a race, adds up to a less than favorable scenario, basically understanding Earnhardt’s decision.
Eric said he doesn’t follow the sport like Bill does but has participated in some practice runs on the Richard Petty School as the sole car on the track and can’t imagine being in a real race with the courage it takes. Bill said he was in one of the Viper Cup races (in 2012) that sees Viper owners race competitively with a couple of celebrities. He said he’s had numerous opportunities, many of which Eric afforded him, that were unbelievable and he mentioned some of his football and wrestling memories, and the Viper Cup was one of them. It was a 20-minute race where he estimated he lost 15 pounds by sweating. He got passed on both sides going 160 MPH and can’t imagine what it’s like doing a full-fledged race for a few hours. He said it’s awe inspiring, especially how kids around the age and size of his 10-year-old son can do it. He told a brief story of how former NFL quarterback Donavon McNabb changed his critical tone after he got in a car to replicate what race car drivers experience. Eric said drivers must collapse after that constant adrenaline rush that accompanies an approximately three-hour race.
Eric asked Bill how his vast car collection is. Bill said he just finished washing one and exclusively collects muscle cars. Eric asked what his current favorite is, Bill wanted categories so he could accurately answer! For a nice Sunday drive, Bill gave two cars of choice. If he wants to risk breaking down, it’s his ’69 Hemi Charger. To the contrary, he’d choose one of his brand-new Hellcats to get to and from his destination quickly and rattled off the car’s specs. He said he’s broken down too many times to bother to remember.
Eric said he was surprised Bill went back to WWE and asked about how he was first contacted to come back to the ring, and if he was surprised to be asked. Bill said dealing with Eric early in his wrestling career prepped him for not being surprised by anything in the wrestling business. He said he was surprised since his hiatus was so long. Eric asked who first reached out, understanding if he wants that to stay unknown as he prefers not to discuss certain things. Bill said it was Barry, his representation, (I assume lawyer) was the first person contacted and he didn’t ask who it was. He believes the video game deal with 2K was the catalyst for him being asked to come back and doesn’t think it the offer would’ve happened without it. He was in the right place at the right time.
Eric said Bill has attained success through his strong and stubborn personality, and was negatively outspoken in the past about WWE. He asked how that previous tension played out in his return. Despite his past defensiveness, Bill said he came in as open as possible. He wanted to show appreciation for everyone that stepped aside for him to execute his program and be accepted as one of the guys and be liked for being the good guy he is instead of someone who hides all day, does their segment and leaves. Eric said when he was at the podium at the Hall of Fame ceremony to induct Diamond Dallas Page, he could see Bill and how happy and content he was. Bill said his wife was very happy and emotional for him to be afforded the chance to wash the bad taste out of his mouth for the business he’s harbored for many years. To have his son and wife witness him become what he used to be was emotional and important for him and was his top priorities, but wouldn’t do it for just 12 bucks a match either!
Bill referenced his appearance on the Edge and Christian podcast that made headlines and news due to his detailed honesty in his misery in preparation. He compared it to a pregnancy where the process can be miserable but the result is the best experience ever. Bill didn’t want to tarnish the legacy that Eric helped build perfectly and what he put himself through was a very mental game where he had to think about everything he was doing instead of just naturally reacting. Looking back, it was a success and everything he did to accomplish that was worth it and he’s not embarrassed one bit. Eric agreed.
Eric said Nick put out a questionnaire to fans about what they want to have Eric and Bill discuss. Eric said Bill’s winning streak in WCW was the number one fan request. Eric said he doesn’t remember exact details like hardcore fans but recalled in about 1995 just wanting to get Bill on TV because he was a phenomenal character. Bill said the winning streak evolved and Eric gave the fans what they wanted because his pre-match spears and Jackhammers to The Giant (Big Show) were getting over on the house show circuit, akin to Mike Tyson’s quick knockouts. When Bill was set to debut on TV, he told Jody Hamilton his name should be The Hybrid. Hamilton said no because they want to eventually sell t-shirts, Bill didn’t think he’d sell any shirts but was given the name Goldberg. Bill said the crowds started reacting stronger to seeing something different, and the formula wasn’t altered. Eric said Bill wasn’t at the Power Plant very long but he wanted to get Bill in front of crowds and test the waters. Crowd reaction dictated how to utilize Bill. Bill credited everyone at the Power Plant, and named Sarge, Jody Hamilton, Yugi Nagata, Ernest Miller, High Voltage, and Ron Reis, who Bill perfected the Jackhammer on, and said it was a golden time to be at the Power Plant. Bill referenced a fight school he went through, and he also dove into studying UFC training tapes to see what he could use in the ring that was visually spectacular but not kill someone with. He could do something different each match and had a wider repertoire back then, and that it was an organic, perfect storm.
Eric asked Bill, excluding John Cena, and betting his ’69 Hemi Charger, who will be the next big star for WWE in the next 12 months. Bill said he can’t answer that, he’s not a good gambler but said from what he sees, Braun Strowman has a lot of potential if everything was done properly to get the most out of his high ceiling. Eric agreed, that Strowman has something unique that a lot of talents have. Eric, also a bad gambler but will wager a beer with Bill, said he still somehow feels Roman Reigns has something in him that will emerge and bring him to the stratosphere. Even after two years of having that feeling, Eric won’t concede and still believes THAT (Okay, sorry-had to!)! Bill didn’t consider Reigns because he thinks he’s already there and noticed the crowds are different these days. Reigns oozes star quality and talent like The Rock and is a good guy who deserves his push, and feels for the guy when he gets booed. Eric said it seems Reigns’ natural heat will work better if addressed and used for an advantage instead of working upstream and having that usable energy work against him. Bill agreed and feels Reigns is very talented.
Eric went to thank Bill for being on the show as he keeps a busy schedule that includes keeping his cars nice and clean, taking care of his horses and family, and beating people up in the gym. Bill said he’s done all that today minus beat up dudes in the gym, as he will do that later in the afternoon. Eric asked Bill if he still does Muay Thai and MMA. Bill said his body went to shut down mode for only 6 or 7 days after WrestleMania and feels really good now. Looking in the mirror, he asks himself what he’s going to do with all of it! Ernest Miller will be coming by with his team and will have some fun learning some more. Eric put over Miller as one of the best guys in the world, Bill agreed and thanked Eric for introducing him to Miller and other people like him in the business. Eric thanked Bill for being on the show and they mutually wish each other and their families well.
Eric said it is always great talking to Bill and he’s still probably coming off his WrestleMania high. Nick said he wants to see Bill in an MMA attraction fight. Eric said it was something Bill considered 4 or 5 years ago and had opportunities but never took them. He said Bill is a guy that loves the contact and the motivation that it brings to work out and stay on top of his fitness. Nick wondered if Bill and Brock Lesnar may have had a little fun combat session out of boredom and curiosity leading up to WrestleMania. Eric doesn’t know Brock well enough to guess, but knows Bill well enough to think he wouldn’t as there is too much mutual respect to be that juvenile at this stage of their lives. If they were in there 20’s or early 30’s, maybe!
Nick brought up a tweet from a fan who was listening to the podcast while waiting for the birth of his third child. Eric and Nick picked on the guy who probably would get heat from his wife if she knew what he was doing while she was in labor. Nick gave out the guy’s name and Twitter handle so I doubt he will be safe regardless if he deletes the tweet.
59:39 – Mailbag
A fan asked if IRW Network will have an Apple app. Eric said IRW will have an Apple app and probably an Android component as well and expects them to be in place by the official launch on June 3rd, but can’t say with 100% certainty yet. Nick said in the beginning of May will see some announcements for more channels of content being added IRW Network.
There was a question to Eric about his disdain for non-standard matches and if War Games was an exception. Eric clarified he doesn’t like gimmick matches for the sake of gimmick matches and prefers a great story arc that results in the necessity for a cage match or other gimmick for the blow-off/culmination. He said a lack of a story in a gimmick match is chaos for the sake of chaos and is careful to not offend or talk down to the performers who have to work harder and risk more. War Games was different and annual and always had a build up to it every year. He said TNA doing all cage matches for their Lockdown pay per views was also stupid. Nick said he notices kendo sticks are used all the time now, Eric wondered why cookie sheets and coal shovels are under the ring. A ladder’s presence can be explained, but anything not believable takes Eric out of the moment; for example having to sell a cookie sheet shot or not being able to duck a ladder coming at you.
This question was why did the angle of The Giant being Andre the Giant’s son get nixed so quickly, and if it was it from WWE pressure. Eric said WWE didn’t pressure and couldn’t but he didn’t feel right about it and the audience didn’t buy it and it fell flat.
Next was a question if Eric believes protecting a top guy is a lost art and if 50/50 booking prevents building new stars. Eric said the reader spends too much time delving into backstage news, but used Roman Reigns as an example. Vince chose Reigns to be one of his top stars a couple years ago but it hasn’t worked out yet for whatever reason, but he isn’t there and doesn’t want to judge. They are still protecting him and trying him as a top star but maybe could attempt different creative routes. Currently, he thinks WWE is doing a very good job trying to protect and build who they want as their tops stars. Eric said TNA doesn’t have any top stars and doesn’t watch enough Ring of Honor to gauge who their top stars are but they seem to feature their top talent prominently by what he hears and reads about and doesn’t think, overall, protecting top talent is a lost art. 50/50 booking, however, is a mistake. Eric attributes 50/50 booking to not having a defined heel and babyface. Eric said the audience is different and fans on social media influence each other who to boo or cheer and bring that to the shows to try and take over the show. The lost art, to Eric, is not clearly giving fans people to truly love and hate. Nick said Reigns and Cena win most of the time as examples of 50/50 booking not happening to top talent. Eric said his opinion may be irrelevant because his time has passed and the audience and product have changed, and he’s well aware and okay with that as he’s no longer actively producing. With rare exception, it takes a long time and a lot of patience to build a relationship with a wrestling audience for someone to become a top star. He listed Bill Goldberg and The Rock as some of the rare exceptions, and Steve Austin as a typical long-term case.
Next question was when Eric Bischoff wrestled Jim Ross. Eric didn’t want to unfairly use the term “wrestle” to describe the encounter and said it was an angle that got physical. He said they used some known previous heat that had been long squashed to forward the angle as something believable and had fun doing it with Ross, although he didn’t like “breaking” a cinder block on Ross’s face. Eric said a similar strategy and backstory was used for him and Steve Austin.
This was a question of any special memories of the Insane Clown Posse in WCW. He recalled an early career Ted Turner conversation where Turner said if he programs content to only his tastes, he will fail. Eric said ICP wasn’t his thing but recognized the audience had an affinity for them. He said they were a little loud and obnoxious backstage but not problematic, and really into their characters in a lot of ways, some that concerned Eric. It was short lived but fine for what it was. Nick asked if he would entertain a phone conversation with Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J for the show. Eric said he always got along with them but isn’t certain if they feel the same, and it is funny how time can change how things really went but would be happy to talk to them because from his perspective and memory, he always got along with them and had no issues despite not having anything in common with them.
Nick said ICP are involved in politics now, and they’re staging a Million Clown March later this year in Washington to protest the FBI, as they’ve been deemed a gang by the Bureau. Eric doesn’t think it will get much coverage or would be a good use of his Saturday afternoon. He wished sarcastic luck to the clowns.
Next question was if he was responsible for bringing in the Road Warriors to fight Kane and RVD on the May 12th, 2003 edition of Raw. Eric marveled at the great memories and attention to detail wrestling fans have, down to what was consumed at catering on a specific date (cough, cough) but doesn’t remember this match. However, he was only a character and performer in WWE so no he had nothing to do with the angle.
Nick said that essentially answers all questions they have regarding Eric’s “regime” as the Raw General Manager. Eric joked that, if they were in court, his attorney would say “asked and answered! Stop badgering the witness!” Nick made a honey badger reference that Eric didn’t catch.
Nick promoted some video content he and Eric do that gets released every Friday on 120Sports.com. Nick said now they’re now being allowed by 120 Sports to put the videos on the IRW Network. That video will act as this episode’s overrun and they will discuss Vince McMahon’s “John Cena as the Babe Ruth of WWE” comment or could talk about President Trump’s tax plan. Eric elected the former.
This question was if Hulk Hogan were introduced right now, would he be as big today as he was at his peak. Eric said he would not as the audience has changed and Hogan would need to be presented with an edge to resonate with today’s fans as Terry was larger than life in his prime.
The next question was if anyone ever had Eric break character and start laughing during a promo or commentary. Eric said Steve Austin did but Kevin Dunn cut away from him and the audience probably didn’t catch it. When Eric and Steve shared screen time, he wasn’t able to prepare for anything funny Austin would say as 75-90% of the time they improvised and he didn’t know what they were going to say.
The last question was why Chris Cruise wasn’t part of the Nitro broadcast team. Eric had no idea.
Nick acknowledged Eric’s tough week and all the nice messages of encouragement Eric has received on the loss of his dog. Eric teared up as he thanked everybody for their kind words.
Although this episode featured a guest, the only noteworthy tidbits were Bill Goldberg detailing his thoughts on Dale Earnhardt Jr. retiring and his Viper Cup experience. Everything else was a basic repeat, except that he rhetorically feels great several weeks removed from WrestleMania; unless of course, he wanted to give his buddy a scoop on a previously undisclosed injury.
Nick and Eric had better chemistry today, but the mailbag questions and topics Nick chose to use were great if you’re a casual fan and only listen to this podcast, but terrible if you’re a hardcore fan consuming many other podcasts and reading multiple wrestling websites. If Nick chose topics and questions that are not being discussed everywhere else it would help his show stand out from the crowd.
Eric used Chris and Nancy as an example of a real-life situation being played out in a wrestling storyline. Failing to mention Kevin Sullivan as the other party in the real-life situation left it to interpretation for the tragedies that occurred in 2007. I feel that was irresponsible of Eric, and he could have used the Matt Hardy, Lita, and Edge storyline as a better, less tragic, and more well-known example of what he was trying to convey.
Eric misinterpreted the intended definition of 50/50 booking from the person who asked. Eric’s thoughts were well placed, but Nick should have brought up how trading wins and losses, especially in the midcard of WWE, was at least another detriment to building stars. Using that idea only for Roman Reigns and John Cena give me the impression Nick isn’t a big enough wrestling fan to host this show or just has poor wrestling IQ, or both. However, he doesn’t specifically indicate the measure of his fandom, but contributing content for WrestleZone shows a somewhat high level. I am merely left to speculate on that but I appreciate that Nick doesn’t deviate from his personality, despite it not being the best fit to host a show like this and challenge Eric when necessary.
Score: 5 out of 10. Eric had solid thoughts but nothing entertaining or new. His interview was the most boring Bill Goldberg interview I’ve ever heard. I’ve already detailed how Nick isn’t a good fit and doesn’t add enough to the show to warrant hosting it. I keep hoping each week I can finally have an aberration to Nick’s hosting deficiencies, but I’ll have to wait some more.
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 hopes you readers enjoy what he provides! Check out his Talking Smack reviews on PWTorch.com, follow him @CraigElbe on Twitter and have a chat!