Bischoff on Wrestling Episode 43
Hosted by: Eric Bischoff, co-hosted and produced by Nick Hausman
Review by: Craig Elbe @CraigElbe on Twitter
Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes 50 seconds
-Randy Orton’s Twitter comments.
-WCW Cruiserweights compared to WWE’s 205 Live roster.
-Smackdown picture-in-picture advertising/short attention span advertising.
-Braun Strowman’s exaggerated return window, can WWE be trusted in other ways?
00:42 – Show Intro.
2:11 – Reacting to Randy Orton’s indy style criticisms.
11:42 – WCW Cruiserweights style and selling versus WWE’s 205 Live wrestlers.
13:52 – Wrestling needs evolutions and why NWO was necessary at the time.
15:56 – Does indy style draw money compared to WWE style, more comments about Orton.
19:02 – 205 Live performing poorly for viewers on WWE Network?
24:31 – Smackdown getting picture-in-picture type advertising.
28:28 – Google and YouTube making shorter commercials/short attention spans.
31:35 – WWE Women’s tournament.
35:02 – New Japan creating the NJPW United States Championship.
44:17 – Sami Callahan is new head of creative for CZW; should WWE do death matches?
48:58 – Braun Strowman’s injury and potentially exaggerated timetable to return.
55:46 – Mailbag questions.
Eric introduced the show and kept the digital savant streak alive (it’s now four weeks!) and introduced producer and co-host Nick Hausman. After deciding to have their political discussion occur in the overrun on the IRW Network today, wrestling fans who want wrestling content on this podcast rejoiced. Eric acknowledged wrestling fans come to this show for precisely that reason, despite Nick hearing from some fans overseas they get some enjoyment on the current United States political scene. I’m sure they do!
Randy Orton/Rip Rogers Twittering against the indy style was their first topic. Eric knows Orton a little bit from his time in WWE. He likes and respects Orton quite a bit as a person and a professional. Eric’s perspective sees a pattern over his years in the business. When he first started in the business as a green fly on the wall in the AWA, he heard all the older veterans complain similarly as Orton and Rogers. Orton is a more unique case, as he had a lot of the second-generation psychology influencing and molding his approach to the business. Many times, the older guys would complain about match pacing and psychology the younger wrestlers didn’t have, as well as them trying to do too much in a match.
About five years later in WCW, he heard the same complaints from guys like Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, and Arn Anderson. Eric senses that these generational issues tend to have a period of about five years before they evolve and garner lamentation from veterans around their 30s and older. The same thing happened to Eric when the mold was broken with the NWO. He joked that he seems to always go back to the NWO like it’s his only accomplishment! The late ’90s saw a change to the wrestling style again, especially when he started to export talent from Mexico and Japan to WCW. Again, the guys in their 40s and older started complaining about the younger talents that brought a different style, approach, and presentation to the art form of professional wrestling; naming Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, and Juventud Guerrera as examples.
Eric put the proper context to the era that these veterans were just around a different style than what they’ve done/were used to/grew up on. By nature, performers and artists become uncomfortable in those situations. He put himself in the category of today’s current style lacking what he prefers wrestling to be, which is by-and-large what it was in years past and includes selling and judicious use of false finishes for dramatic storytelling. But, he’s aware enough things like this change and evolve. He brought up how modern country music gets slapped with not having the heart, soul, and feel of country music from older generations. Eric added there isn’t a form of entertainment where people who haven’t evolved with it and accept it, bitch about it. He has his preferences but understands it’s a new world with a new audience and expectations, talent, and abilities and doesn’t get caught up in the frenzy.
Nick mentioned the initial tweet that started the controversy came from proud old-schooler Rip Rogers, who has morphed into a highly-touted trainer after his wrestling days. Eric respects Roger’s perspective and understands why he feels the way he does. He’s met him a few times in their WCW days but didn’t get a real chance to get to know him. Eric didn’t disagree with what Rogers said but found his tweet a bit alienating to a large segment of wrestling’s fanbase and what they find enjoyable.
Nick wanted to know if the Cruiserweights in WCW sold their opponent’s offense more than the current WWE Cruiserweights. Eric said the entire presentation was much more high-flying that evolved, and had to, from neck-breakers and piledrivers used as finishers. No matter how much he wanted wrestling to stay the same, Eric knew it couldn’t. When Hulk Hogan saw the Cruiserweights, he thought their work didn’t make sense and were ruining the business. But, the same was said about him when he was coming of age in the early to mid-’80s. Nick thought that may have led to arguments between Eric and Hogan, but Eric said it didn’t. They never yelled at each other when their opinions widely differed, and would always respectfully agree or disagree while having conversations. Never making those disagreements personal is one of the biggest reasons Eric loves Hogan so much. But, back then there were definitely times of stress with that real-time change.
At this point, Eric wanted to bang his head on his desk, in jest of course. Nick encouraged Eric to have some drinks but Eric reasoned it was too middle-of-the day for that! He continued playing his broken record, hence his desire for head and desk meeting, that evolution is necessary in wrestling. The NWO was a necessary change in psychology when they blurred the lines of traditional heels and faces. They were heels, but kinda cool and bad guys that people loved to hate. He also named Randy Savage and Sting as those opposed to the evolution that was going on at the time.
Eric wasn’t surprised with veteran’s apprehension to change because hie heard it from Verne Gagne in the ’80s. In the early ’90s WCW Eric worked closely with Ole Anderson and saw him as a guy trying to maintain how wrestling was presented when he was at his height of popularity and success in the ’60s and ’70s. Though Eric didn’t work or engage closely with Bill Watts, he saw Watts’s attempt to keep alive the type of wrestling that was popular when he was at the peak of his success (I would add through his son Erik Watts). Unfortunately, if one doesn’t embrace the changing of the tastes and times, they die with it. Gagne, Watts, and Anderson are very good examples of exactly that.
Nick was happy to see Eric’s ability to see both sides. He remembered Bret Hart airing his frustrations weekly of a changing industry while he co-hosted his podcast (which is now defunct by Bret’s choice and not any fault of Nick). Playing devil’s advocate, Nick wondered if Orton and others are coming from a place of feeling the “indy” style doesn’t draw money today compared to his WWE style. Eric pondered the question carefully and said Orton, who makes sure to say he respects a lot, has the luxury being successful working for a company that’s a not-on-purpose monopoly (really?) in WWE.
WWE makes a lot of money, consequently, so does a big star in Orton. He hasn’t had to change his style to be a star on the indies due to that fact. Eric said Orton just has to stay on the treadmill. If Eric was in his 20s on the indies trying to make a name for himself, he would have taken offense from the comments Orton made. Orton’s a guy that gets a seven-figure payday in multiple facets, sometimes from things he may have forgotten he did, from a machine that does a lot of the work to print that money. Many people don’t have that. Eric said it’s similar in the music business, where 2% of the people make 98% of the money. That 2%, he argues, shouldn’t look down at the other 98% trying to find ways to craft a living.
Nick referenced his new WrestleZone show, The Daily, he did earlier with Conrad Thompson (if you don’t know him, shame on you) where Conrad said he’s heard the 205 Live show on WWE Network doesn’t do very good numbers. Nick said compared to bigger main roster guys like Braun Strowman, the Cruiserweights aren’t drawing well or getting over as much. Eric cautioned Nick on statements like that. 205 Live may not be doing as well as other WWE content, but it’s less than a year old (it debuted on Nov 29, 2016) and it takes a while for a new format and presentation to find its audience. Secondly, the Cruiserweights don’t work like the ones he exploited (his word, as he preferred to be honest) in WCW. They’re just smaller guys working the same style the bigger guys do on Raw and Smackdown. Changing the ring ropes, mat, and lighting isn’t enough of a difference in presentation for the show. Nick agreed to a point but stopped at Orton, as he has retained an old-school style with the Garvin Stomp and Diamond Cutter, sans the seldom-Cena used Canadian Destroyer and all! He’s still in the main event scene on his 13th title reign while continuing to make a lot of money, trying to stay injury-free. Nick said that approach could be more valuable because it’s now the exception to the current style.
Eric agreed with Orton on that, then added a wrestling show needs variety to appeal to everybody. A three-hour wrestling show especially needs to have a unique perspective in its presentation. He added, with authority, if everybody on Raw or Smackdown used the same psychology and presentation as Orton, Bret Hart, or Ric Flair, it may only appeal to Eric’s tastes but not a 15-year-old. Orton is in a great position as he’s an amazing talent who’s been able to maintain his second generation psychological-heavy style as he’s transitioned upward while being protected in WWE. He’s one of the best at it like Bret Hart was. But, three hours of it will be crickets.
Smackdown will start having picture-in-picture advertising as studies proved an increase of 13% in ratings for commercials. Eric, and many others over the years, attempted a similar approach in WCW called pod-busters back then, where there was a commercial pattern break using a 10-15 second behind the scenes break in the show to keep viewers watching. In the television industry, commercial breaks have gotten longer and some shows Eric enjoys seem to have more advertising than program content. Viewers’ attention spans, whether it’s mobile devices, viewing patterns, or access to different ways to consume content, are much shorter. As a result, advertisers are having a harder time making money.
Holding an audience was difficult for Eric 20 years ago and he tried many different things then. Nick asked Eric if advertisers preferred picture-in-picture type experimentation. For Eric is wasn’t the case. Advertising is very quick to react creatively to societal happenings but slow to react structurally. Even 10 years ago, networks that must answer to ad agencies who support them were very hesitant to get too creative with commercial breaks. Advertisers don’t allow the thought and fact of someone taking focus off the product they’re paying commercial time for by watching a little box in the corner of a TV screen. Eric didn’t work directly with the advertising companies, just the network that did but was aware the advertisers were reluctant to change their methods.
Nick brought up a report he read of how Google and YouTube are ditching 30-second commercials in favor of 10 and 15-second commercials that had advertisers anticipating the change. The report indicated acknowledgment of the shorter span of viewer attention retention.
Eric and his wife love the show The Voice but choose to DVR it to fast forward through the commercials and they subscribe to Hulu and Netflix for commercial-free content as well. Then he noticed short commercials creeping in that eventually got longer over time. As a producer, holding your audience is the biggest challenge. Looking at quarter hour ratings that lost viewers over the course of the show because of long commercial breaks that pushed away viewers is the last thing a producer wants to see. That’s why Eric started Nitro a couple minutes early and was laser focused on WWF commercial breaks so he could be live at those times to get into a hot segment or action at the spur of the moment. He knew he could keep channel flipping WWF Raw viewers watching Nitro for 15-20 minutes instead. The same thing is happening today but in a different way. Nick joked he was surprised WWE hired him after he tried so hard to compete with them!
WWE Network will be releasing the women’s tournament in 3-4 chunks of episodes at a time like was done with Holey Foley and Camp WWE. Mick Foley was critical of that approach. He felt utilizing a weekly promotional model would have given the show more of a must-see vibe. Eric respects Mick and it sounds like they think alike in that regard. Episodic natures build followings and momentum. As a viewer and consumer of content, however, Eric prefers binge-watching instead of remembering to tune in week-to-week. That puts him in the younger demographic of viewing habits despite his older age. Eric understands both sides of the argument, especially how difficult episodic television is becoming due to technology dramatically changing viewing habits. Thus, he understands why WWE is adjusting to the viewing pattern of the current consumers.
Nick wonders if it can be different for wrestling instead of cartoons and reality shows. Eric admitted he’s no longer an expert but guessed the few episodes at a time delivery can work. Wrestling and its fans, while unique, also watch other programming and have been conditioned into viewing habits from them. Despite how wrestling has always been weekly and episodic, doesn’t mean that’s how people want to watch it.
New Japan Pro Wrestling announced a two-day tournament in July for the newly created NJPW United States Title. What are their motives are for launching a new title for a different country? Eric isn’t sure and no longer knows anybody in New Japan. He did offer a nugget of information his good friend Sonny Ohno sent him the previous night. Apparently, Antonio Inoki has been charged in Japan with fraud for a massive amount of money Eric couldn’t convert from Yen to American dollars. Being out of the loop for a long time, he doesn’t know New Japan’s business model or management structure. But, looking at the U.S. market presents a lot of opportunity for them. There is a large fanbase that enjoys their approach and presentation. Although not he’s not an avid watcher, Eric is impressed with what he’s seen.
Nick was very curious about the Inoki story as he remembers Inoki having god-like reverence in Japan. Eric replied that Inoki has been involved in Japanese government since the ’80s and has been in some controversial situations, such as some sort of arms dealing issue. Eric didn’t want to say too much about that because he doesn’t know enough about it but deferred to Dave Meltzer and others like him that can fill in the blanks better than he can. Anoki is both beloved and controversial in Japan.
Back in the ’90s, Eric co-promoted wrestling cards that featured Anoki in the main event that garnered a ticket price of about $120. He speculated there is still some of that nostalgia from the ’70s-’80s still around to this day, including a local sushi restaurant Eric goes to. The employees there, who are in their 40s, know Eric has worked with Inoki and always mention how highly they think of him. But, many people know Inoki’s checkered history. Nick was surprised to hear that as he always thought Inoki was untouchable in Japan.
New Japan and Ring of Honor have a great working relationship, even WWE has used some New Japan footage, but Nick wondered if this venture into America is too risky for New Japan. Eric didn’t think so. At least 20 years ago, in Eric’s estimation, Japan admired American culture. Japan is also very protective of its own culture but wants to be thought of as cool by having a western sense combined with their own culture. Having their wrestling product important to the United States elevates New Japan as a company in Japan. Eric compared a Japanese baseball star making it to the MLB is a national hero in Japan. It’s also just like making it in New York City means you can make it anywhere. Still though, New Japan will always be a very Japanese product.
Jay Lethal was the first person announced for the NJPW United States Title tournament. Eric holds him in high regard. He’s so talented in many ways and loved working with Lethal in TNA. In the ring, he was amazing but was hilarious backstage. So, they decided to put him with Ric Flair to show off his ability that wasn’t seasoned over a long time as Lethal was still rather new to the business at the time. Eric thought he knocked it out of the park, even with the extra challenge of working with Flair. Eric is a huge fan and is happy for Lethal. Nick said the Woooo-off Lethal and Flair had still shows up on his Facebook timeline at least weekly. Eric said if a person has the production crew and everybody backstage laughing their asses off, that’s an indication of striking gold.
Sami Callahan is now head of creative for Combat Zone Wrestling, and will put less focus on death matches and more focus on the promotion itself going forward while honoring all previously announced death matches. Nick asked Eric’s opinion on the viability of death matches in today’s wrestling landscape. Eric said it’s not his taste, and is not a fan of gimmick matches in general. Death matches do have their fans and encourages those people to support it but wouldn’t watch one if it was happening in his backyard!
Nick wondered if WWE, even on their own network, would do a death match or tournament. Eric strongly doesn’t think so as it’s opposes their business model too much. Theoretically, they can do it on their own network and not have to answer to advertisers. But, you are still judged on the company you keep from an advertiser and sponsor perspective. Eric can’t see Mattel, for example, associating with a company that does something called death matches.
Nick still could see a Saturday Night Death Matches, TV-MA program on WWE Network, not available to kids. Eric brought up, on an extreme, pornography. Porn is one the most successful money making internet endeavors around. Would its popularity mean you want your company to associate with it? Nick didn’t think death matches and porn are on the same playing field. Lately, he argued, WWE seems to be about finding out who’s the best in every niche and building around those bubbles and filter them into the bigger picture. Eric counter-argued there must be a limit somewhere. At some point, there will be conversations with the people that really keep you afloat, which are the sponsors, licensing partners, and the networks outside your network necessary to build your own network. If WWE began promoting death matches, which is very niche and outside anything commercially viable, it may cost them money long-term. Short-term it likely will attract a buzz and an audience like anything would, but it doesn’t mean it’s the right long-term move.
Braun Strowman’s injury and subsequent surgery has set a timetable for his return of up to 6 months according to WWE. Dave Meltzer argues this in an inflated number and Strowman will return mid-July. Nick threw the question to Eric of wrestling promotions working the fans and lying about the severity of someone’s injury. Eric said “whoa!” He said Nick ought to be careful how he’s posing the question. Working an audience is okay, but outright lying is hard to delineate between a good work and a lie. The product isn’t sports and people who bet on it really shouldn’t be. It’s a fictional story, not a legitimate sport. Eric’s opinion is it is absolutely and definitively okay to manipulate perception in order to achieve a certain goal in the context of this art form. Nick wondered about things like injuries that are actual news that people want reported on and WWE makes people question what the truth is and is not. Eric said it’s good because when you can get people to question things, then you’ll get them to tune in and compel them to discuss and debate, to disrupt. Then they are engaged. Discover. Discuss. Disrupt. Eric loved that saying so much he wanted to trademark it!
This isn’t politics, medicine, or life and death, Eric continued. It’s an art form. If exaggerating and covering your ass, even though you think somebody will be back in three or four months, but say six months, there’s an argument for that. But for people to think they have a right to that knowledge or news, they don’t! It’s entertainment and fiction and they deserve is an opportunity to have fun with it. Nick gets that side of it, but when WWE announces a Wellness Policy violation, for example, that news is coming from the same source and is hard to not question. Eric said that makes sense and he understands that part, but one is story, and the other is legal and has repercussions of employment and their lives. In Strowman’s case, a real injury happened and WWE is exploiting and maximizing it for the enjoyment of the audience, the talent’s long-term success, and to keep a talent alive and a story going. For people on the periphery, like him and Nick, it’s great to have something like this to debate and talk about but they’re debating fiction! Eric made fun of himself how his wife thinks he’s nuts when she notices him yelling at a character on a TV show running out of bullets way later than what it would have been in reality.
Nick further argued the that WWE has investors and sponsors that want to believe the source. Eric swiftly said all those people are investing in fiction! Eric, who is familiar with firearms, told a story of watching The Walking Dead where a guy fired off about 147 rounds off a 9-millimeter handgun where it’s maximum capacity is maybe 15, depending on which is state it’s in. That doesn’t mean he’s not going to invest, support, or sponsor The Walking Dead. It’s drama and fiction! Nick feels a partner ought to be trusted and if WWE is known for putting out stories that aren’t on the level, where’s the trust? Eric’s counter was it’s the nature of the industry and business world we live in. Wrestling is scripted entertainment, but Nick still believes it’s news. Eric disagreed and replied that it’s not news, it’s marketing and Nick wants it to be new because that’s the business he’s in and it is just entertainment, so get over it! Nick relented but vowed to get back into it in the politics part of it on the overrun.
55:46 – Mailbag Questions
This question asked what song is played at the end of the podcast. It’s called “Bombshell” by Fahrenheit 420. Eric said it was part of the series his production company did called The Devil’s Ride. He and Jason Hervey own some of the rights to that song. Nick was thankful he got a real, true answer from Eric, playing off their last topic.
This question asked Eric if he has any good Klondike Bill stories, who of course has been made famous by Tony Schiavone on his podcast, What Happened When. Eric interacted with Bill, but only as co-workers peripherally. They were both too busy with their unrelated jobs to afford opportunities interact or talk in-depth. Bill was very funny, friendly, and professional, dedicated to his job. He doesn’t have a lot of memories other than the day to day things going on.
Next was more of a statement of having too many championships in WWE, aside from the heavyweight titles, as they don’t feel as important. Eric agreed and went back to the ideals of the formula, presentation, psychology, and attention span. As a young boy in Detroit, then a teenager in Minneapolis, he remembers the heavyweight championship, tag team championships, and occasionally a women’s champion coming through the territory once or twice a year. That was it, no other titles. Titles are only devices to create stakes that allows the viewers to invest. Having so many titles, the stakes are then diluted and the titles perceives values are diminished and not a very useful device. Eric agrees with the premise and perspective of the person asking the question but conceded numerous titles these days is an evolution of the business.
Nick likes the approach WWE is using with Brock Lesnar as Raw’s Universal Champion and seldom appearing. They are making the Intercontinental Title important again as the top title on Raw while still having the Universal Title one to aim for. He’s impressed how WWE is creating value in the Intercontinental Title and gives a lot of that credit to Miz. Eric, while not following WWE too closely, commented it’s because WWE is investing in the Universal Title by not featuring it every week. To support Nick’s claim and show he doesn’t always like to argue, he remembered back in his day when people wanted the title to feel more important. Common arguing was whether a title should change hands on TV or only on pay per view. When WCW couldn’t draw flies even if the wrestlers rolled around in manure before a show, Bill Watts was brought in. His mentality back then, in the ’90s, was still rooted in the ’60s and ’70s where a title should change hands primarily on the house shows. That didn’t work because the television audience didn’t care due to not knowing about it and getting to experience it. That made it difficult for the stakes to feel important.
The other extreme, that Eric freely admitted guilt on, was changing the titles too frequently. That approach also diminished the stakes. He feels the answer lies somewhere in between both extremes. From what he’s heard, WWE isn’t overexposing the Universal Title, which makes it feel more important while building towards it.
Another example from Eric of titles feeling important, which is still a complaint he has, is when he sees talent drag their titles along during their entrances or throw the titles around before they’d engage in whatever they were about to do. When a talent treats the title belt haphazardly like a prop, it also negatively affects its perceives value. When a talent treats a title likes it’s their most prized possession, it is another small way to enhance its perceived value in addition not overexposing and diluting it.
A few weeks ago, somebody asked Eric about a missing sideplate of a WCW tag title belt from around the ’90s. Eric hilariously ripped the person apart for asking it and continued that trend here. Nick kiddingly asked if he had figured out what happened to it. Eric said he’s going to jump on a plane and kick Nick in the mouth! Laughter was had!
The question asked Eric why WWF attracted a larger following in the U.K. than WCW? The WWF was on a subscription channel, Sky, and WCW was on TNT, which was basic cable. Eric, having seen the question on Twitter and answered it there, also replied it here. He said it had a lot to do with branding, and WWF had been around a long time and promoted some big events in the U.K. with Bret Hart. They and had a strong U.K. following, regardless how people accessed the content, long before WCW toured there. That’s part of what makes sports entertainment (Ugh) such an interesting and challenging business model. It takes commitment, and you must develop a relationship with your market wherever it is. You need to be there to engage and invest in the market before they feel like you’re a part of their life and vice versa. WWF ha the benefit of decades of presence and success along with some big deals that happened in the U.K. long before WCW emerged on television there.
This question wondered if Eric had any hand in his WWE entrance music. Eric said it was chosen for him and he had nothing to do with it. He liked it a lot though, and thought they used the original AC/DC song “Back in Black” his first night but then produced the song they used from him all the way through his run, which had a parallel vibe. He still has people asking him where they can find it, and thinks WWE did a great job with the song.
Nick had another music question for Eric. Conrad Thompson, again from his appearance on Nick’s Wrestle Zone show called The Daily, brought up that around 1996 a video hype package with Bret Hart and Diesel had the classic song “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” by the Smashing Pumpkins used as the underscore. Nick wondered if Eric ever talked with Billy Corgan about doing music for WCW. Eric said no, they did not. WCW was a part of Turner, and had many advantages, which included the television network owned the company. But, there were some disadvantages. One of the which was not being able to work outside the Turner resource pool. Turner had its own music division with its own way of doing music and what was going to be allowed on any Turner network. The only exception was the Jimi Hendrix song “Voodoo Child” for Hollywood Hogan.
The last question was if Eric had any interest in being a pro wrestler when he was a boy or teenager. Eric replied he had none, whatsoever, such desires. He loved watching it but it didn’t ever occur to him to entertain the idea of becoming a pro wrestler. It’s one of the reasons, in such a manner of coincidence and happenstance, he ended up sitting across a table from Verne Gagne. He was a huge fan as a kid growing up on Saturday mornings watching pro wrestling with his brother and it was his big thing. When he moved to Pittsburgh as a young teenager, watching pro wrestling was still a big thing. Then about at 14 or 15-year-old kid in Minneapolis and all the way through high school, he always loved watching professional wrestling. It never occurred to him to for a moment to figure out a way to get into the business. When a strange coincidence, he was at a table with Greg and Verne Gagne, Wahoo McDaniel Ray Stevens and Nick Bockwinkel, it was like how did this happen!
Nick gave his final plugs for #Bischoffonwrestling for questions for this show, his and Eric’s IRW Network that just added a WrestleZone channel that includes Nick doing a 15-20 daily pro wrestling news update with a variety of co-hosts. Eric thanked everybody for listening and then encouraged ratings and reviews on iTunes and reminded listeners they are commercial free but if they plug their IRW Network, that’s free until June 1st, that is a place for many independent promotors, producers, podcasters, artists, and talent, he’s sorry (with just a bit of sarcasm).
This episode was a great example of why having Eric Bischoff doing a wrestling podcast is a wonderful addition to the world of wrestling podcasts. I won’t bore you to death on every example in this show, but Eric has had such a unique variety of roles in the wrestling business and outside it that his perspective is supremely valuable. From recognizing his preferences in wrestling but knowing tastes and styles needing to evolve without ego or being upset with it due to his experiences with advertisers in WCW, this podcast is a must listen. Not every episode has been a winner but this one is one of his and Nick’s best.
I’ve been critical of Nick in the past but this episode shows he’s working on his hosting craft. He had more follow up with Eric and took some subjects in unique directions that the topics they were discussing may have not indicated they would go. Those tangents played well into Eric’s unique perspective nicely. He also had better topics and wasn’t afraid to speak his mind more without going outside his integrity, even if he comes across a little too fanboy. It may just be his charm! I thought he chose better questions for the mailbag than he has in the past. He still has a way to go but this was a nice step in the right direction.
There was no guest this week but it didn’t hinder the show from being great as Eric and Nick produced an episode dense with relevant and unique content. I love how Eric has a dry sense of expressing himself and that he’s not afraid to throw himself in the pack of who he picks on. However, I was disappointed he didn’t elaborate on how he ended up at that table with Greg and Verne Gagne, Ray Stevens, Nick Bockwinkel, and Wahoo McDaniel. How and when did it happen and what followed that saw Eric stepping into the wrestling business? I’m half sure he was trying to sell his book as he did mention that the story is in there but I chose to put that fact here instead of the review.
Score: 8 out of 10. A perfect score would see Nick fully evolved as a host and Eric finishing important stories. He only failed to do it once on this show but detailed everything else enough for a clear picture. Still, this episode is definitely worth a listen. There are more timestamps as usual, hence the density of the show.
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!
For more, check out last week’s recap of Bischoff on Wrestling.