Bischoff on Wrestling, Episode 44
Hosted by: Eric Bischoff, produced and co-hosted by Nick Hausman
Duration: 1 hour, 13 minutes, and 51 seconds
Recap by: Craig Elbe @CraigElbe
-Ed Nordholm sharing Broken Universe sensitive information.
-C.M. Punk’s $1 million offer to wrestle again.
-Jinder Mahal as a foreign heel WWE Champion.
-New Japan planning on having a U.S. subsidiary in 2018 and land on American cable TV.
00:42 – Eric show intro.
1:50 – Acknowledgement of Manchester attack.
3:25 – Quick mention of the Hornswoggle interview on the overrun on the IRW Network.
4:39 – Ed Nordholm sharing contractual and timeline correspondence about Impact’s ownership of the Broken Universe.
9:18 – Did Eric ever turn to wrestling media to squash/address information?
18:27 – C.M. Punk’s $1 million offer to wrestle.
20:58 – Jinder Mahal as foreign heel WWE Champion.
27:10 – New Japan’s plans to have a U.S. subsidiary and be on cable TV in America.
36:47 – John Cena’s Australian one-man shows, life after WWE?
We first heard the voice of Eric Bischoff, introducing himself and co-host/producer Nick Hausman. Eric stopped his “digital savant” streak, leaving the record at four weeks. Using a deep voice he doesn’t have, (and frankly neither do I) Nick used the word “surreptitious” to describe how last night went for him. Before any minds venture into anything resembling a gutter, Nick merely won a Crusin’ USA racing game tournament where he toppled 31 other competitors to claim victory, and more importantly, $200 with unlimited margaritas for the evening. Eric was happy for the man.
Nick lamented the Manchester terrorist attack that affected wrestling companies that were scheduled for shows just days after the Ariana Grande concert where the attack was perpetrated. Eric expressed condolences to all friends and families of those struck by the tragedy. It’s a horrible situation that’s happening with more frequency and intensity, in America as well, and Eric’s heart goes out to everyone in the U.K. Nick solidly agreed and concurred.
Nick gave some promotion to this week’s overrun, featured as always on his and Eric’s IRW Network. This week, an interview Eric conducted with Hornswoggle is up and available to listen to. Nick got his memory confused and thought they talked about their times in WWE. Eric promptly corrected Nick with the fact he and Swoggle (his name on the independent circuit) weren’t in WWE at the same time. While crossing the same path at different times without meeting one another, Eric mentioned his talk with Dylan (Swoggle’s real name) was great and they got to talk about independent wrestling and things they have in common. Interviewing those he’s never met is one great attribute to doing this podcast. Nick said Hornswoggle and Eric used to be Raw General Managers and used that as a segway to another person who he shares a similar past title with for their first discussion point.
Impact Wrestling President Ed Nordholm shared contract portions and timelines of correspondence with many wrestling media outlets regarding the intellectual property of the Broken Universe gimmick Matt Hardy and Impact have been at a crossroads over. Nordholm claims Impact has 100% ownership while Hardy and his wife Rebecca have disputed the timeline Nordholm furnished. One thing of note in the correspondence was how Nordholm offered WWE an opportunity to buy the IP of the Broken Universe and they declined. Dave Meltzer reported WWE wasn’t interested in buying an idea or gimmick, opting to have Matt work it out with Impact. If Matt gains ownership, they can then consider using the gimmick. Eric immediately took issue with Meltzer, wanting to know if he’s stating facts or opinions (In all honesty it is hard to tell at times with Dave). Nick figured Meltzer is reporting what his sources are relaying, Eric is more cynical. Nick plays into Eric’s hot/cold relationship with Meltzer and Eric called bulls**t. Meltzer should finish a sentence he started by giving reasons he knows something is true. It could be true, but who knows!
Eric has his own history with WWE and how they regard trademarks and intellectual property, calling back his own legal issues of a federal lawsuit. (I believe Eric is referring to when WWF sued WCW and Eric for having Scott Hall mimic some Razor Ramon mannerisms in the early days of the Outsiders in 1996 before Hogan was revealed as the third guy). While his experience only gives him an opinion and doesn’t mean he’s right, Impact claiming WWE is taking a certain strategic approach is bulls*it.
According to Eric, Nordholm releasing all this information to the public is playing all-new levels of small ball. It reeks of amateur, is desperate, and makes no sense to Eric. Confidentiality clauses in contracts go both ways. When making moves and posturing like Nordholm has, for the sake of 275,000 viewers on a good week, perhaps to curry favor with a small percentage of that will or won’t watch the show because of this. He’s desperately trying to hold onto a half dozen viewers, in Eric’s estimation of course, because he’s putting out information that makes them believe him. Divulging contract information to peripheral wrestling media is basically putting a big tag around your neck that says, “small ball” on one side, and the other side says “mark.”
Nick asked Eric if there was ever a time in WCW where he turned to the wrestling media to address/debunk a story he was irked by. Eric used to do interviews with Bob Ryder* (via early internet service Prodigy, I believe) and Dave Meltzer. Engaging the internet community isn’t wrong, Eric professed, especially these days. He also emphasizes brand protection, as he was once president of the largest wrestling company in the world, but for 275,000 viewers on a good day, feeling the need to divulging that kind of information reveals transparency of a lost game.
Nick questioned Nordholm’s wisdom behind hoarding the Broken Universe. He may be alienating and turning off a hardcore fanbase, potentially more fans by playing with this kind of fire. Eric feels it’s a mistake on Nordholm’s part, but admitted he is a fighter and capable of making the same mistake. Long-term wisdom should prevail with well-pondered ideals despite having a fighter’s instinct. Even in a shorter-term window, Eric adds the harder Nordholm and his associates running Impact position themselves against the Hardys, the harder they will lose in the court of public opinion. It’s better just to shut up, focus on something positive, and let this die and move on. The harder they try to prove they’re in the right, they will garner more heat even if they are right. To Eric, that defines small ball. At some point, they must recognize the time to move on, and make a move instead of a press release about a press release talking about a joint venture that may or may not happen, and just do something productive. Rather than constantly play the media for something, actually, do something a build on that. To spend time and energy fighting Matt and Jeff Hardy, good luck with that strategy!
Nick can’t figure out what Nordholm’s end game is. Reby Hardy, Matt’s wife, has been very critical of Nordholm on Twitter. She indicated Nordholm put together some type of business presentation to WWE about the Broken Universe for them to buy it. Eric hated to use the term again but said it’s another level of “little” by using that tactic and it’s the most bizarre thing he’s ever heard. He imagines WWE, through his time working for WWE and battling against them, that this has to be running joke with them, joking about using their nominal pocket change to buy the Broken Universe from Impact!
Nick has heard Matt and Reby, who are very good about staying in touch with all wrestling media outlets, want full ownership of the Broken Universe IP. They also keep referencing other instances they can sue Impact over. For example, Senor Benjamin never signed a release form. Nick speculated the Hardys could use that as leverage to retroactively sue Impact if they don’t get the Broken IP. Eric, who doesn’t know Reby, but understandably hurled some social media hand grenades at him some time ago (he doesn’t seem bothered by it anymore, but it was about Broken Matt stating Eric and Hulk Hogan raped, pillaged, and plundered TNA from what it was in a shoot interview with RF Video in September 2016. That video was taken down from YouTube after Eric threatened legal action, but kept on the DVD of the interview. That prompted Reby to respond only as she has become famous for. It’s worth checking out for a giggle. Just Google “Eric Bischoff Reby Hardy”). Eric likes and respects Matt for reinventing himself and Jeff, and compared them to Chris Jericho as someone else who successfully evolves and changes. But, if he were to advise Matt and Reby, he would tell them to not talk about what they’re going to do, and just do it. Talking too much negates the threat, and not following up on a threat makes you look small. Let Mr. Ed look small and take the high road! (He stopped short of saying Nordholm is a talking horse. You younger readers Google that too!)
Nick is aware Eric can’t talk too much about TNA/Impact due to his current and continuing legal battle with them, but asked if Dixie Carter and Billy Corgan is looked back fondly by anybody as the transition of power lead to Ed Nordholm. Eric doubts Dixie is, but said she and her husband Serge were great socially and she is a nice person. Business-wise, however, Dixie is the other end of the spectrum. Her personality enabled her to gloss over some aspects of the business side of things. Eric hasn’t worked with Corgan or said more than hello in passing and certainly doesn’t know Mr. Ed. He feels Impact has gone from bad to worse just by observing their patterns of activity and decision making, plus not following up with some moves they said they were going to make. Nick made the connection to the old Mr. Ed show, and Eric confessed the show was his inspiration. What followed was some hilarity of talking horse impressions.
C.M. Punk was offered $1 million by the owner of U.K. promotion 5 Star Wrestling, Dan Hinkles, to come out of wrestling retirement and participate in their 128-man summer tournament. Punk couldn’t be reached yet but Hinkles is just grandstanding the offer out there. Eric said he’d have his passport up to date, his bags packed, and that million dollars in an escrow account and be headed to the U.K. Nick feels this is a true test if Punk really hates wrestling enough to turn down a $1 million payday. It’s a two-day tournament for probably more than one match, but quite the offer. Eric said after U.K. taxes, that money will be about $350,000 when it gets to the United States. Eric would still take the money though! Punk may have had other offers but nobody knows. Nick thinks if Impact or Ring of Honor could land Punk it could be a game changer for either company. Eric can’t see it happening from everything he’s heard and read about the guy. If Punk hasn’t answered the phone for a million dollars to wrestle in the U.K. for two days, Mr. Ed has slim to no chances and would surprise Eric if it happened! Nick joked Punk could have peanut butter rubbed on his gums before press conferences. With the already present owl and now horse in Mr. Ed, Impact has the barnyard of pro wrestling! Eric quipped it’s a zoo!
Eric loved the move for Jinder Mahal to become new WWE Champion at Backlash. He previously talked about how in favor he was of the decision but didn’t think it would be this quick. It makes perfect business sense and as a fresh, unique character that’s not a cookie cutter WWE character. Nick agreed that it wouldn’t be the same if Jinder had lost to Orton at Backlash. He would have lost momentum. Eric loved that WWE shook it up. It was necessary due to the sameness, despite what Triple H says about WWE’s diversity, that 90% of the content passes through the same filter. Eric recognizes the efforts but inevitably and unintentionally, everything looks, smells, walks, and talks the same. Eric is excited about Jinder Mahal as he’s an exception and has broken the mold. Nick was in the arena in Chicago when Jinder won the belt and claimed mega heat he’s not been witness to in a live setting. A fan was so upset they threw a box of popcorn in the ring!
Nick wondered if Jinder should be a heel. Eric, like last week, wanted to fly to Chicago to smack Nick in the face and buy him a beer and explain why he hit him in the face! Eric reminded the social justice warrior-minded Nick how he prefaced this question, that he saw something he never saw in a heat generating crowd reaction. Eric said it was perfect. Nick questioned why it always must be an evil foreigner. Eric insisted Jinder is the happiest guy in the WWE and it doesn’t matter, and why should Nick care. Nick countered with WWE trying to build a bridge to India. Eric guaranteed nobody in India won’t want to go to a WWE show that comes to India because Jinder is a heel champion; he’s the hottest thing in the hottest company on the face of the Earth right now! He implored Nick to leave his social justice warrior s**t at home when it comes to wrestling, it’s not applicable. After Nick asked, Eric couldn’t remember the last foreign babyface but said it didn’t matter after Nick begged he was onto something. Eric commanded it’s either a successful good guy or bad guy, ethnicity doesn’t matter and he doesn’t care if they drink green beer on St. Patrick’s Day. The audience’s reaction is the only thing that matters! Nick brought back the manifestation of heat that was the box of popcorn, Eric guessed Jinder was fearful of cotton candy coming next! Or a Hershey bar! Eric said he should have been around in WCW to really see garbage hit the ring. Nick remembered watching that on TV but hasn’t seen anyone throw garbage at a wrestling ring since he’s been a spectator at shows. Nick was also at NXT Takeover the night before Backlash and highly suggested the Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunn match for those who haven’t seen it. It was very cool for him to see it live as it was patently obvious to him halfway through it was going to be an all-time classic. I will highly agree with Nick’s high opinion of the highly touted match.
New Japan held a press conference announcing plans to launch as U.S. subsidiary in 2018 and intentions of having New Japan content on cable TV in the United States. Nick recalled Eric’s comments last week of New Japan always being a Japanese promotion. Nick wondered if that’s going to be evolving a bit. Eric objected. New Japan may do business in the U.S. but will still be a Japanese company, just like Toyota is successful in the U.S. but is still a Japanese company. It only enhances their perception in Japan as the Japanese cultures loves when any Japanese products can be successfully exported to the United States. Whether it’s fashion or music, for example, a lot of the Japanese trends start in America. As Eric pointed out last week, New Japan being successful in America will only enhance their standing and perception in Japan.
For Nick, the difference between last week and this week was the announcement of the NJPW United States Championship. Their great relationship with Ring of Honor may be impacted by having a standalone promotion in the United States, running regular shows. Eric asserts he doesn’t think it won’t affect that relationship, America is a big enough country but doesn’t know Ring of Honor’s business model. New Japan will probably stick to the West Coast and doubtfully will run shows in the same markets as ROH. Eric subscribes to the theory of high tides raise all ships, and he and Hornswoggle (on the overrun on the IRW Network) talked about how the independents, which Eric includes New Japan and ROH in, keep on growing. With New Japan coming to America and presenting healthy competition, it brings more awareness and interest to the scene. Nick’s concern lies in the theory where one fish gets so big it will eat the other fish. Eric disagrees and thinks they can both grow together.
WWE will have the first Women’s Money in the Bank ladder match at the pay-per-view bearing the match’s name, for the Smackdown brand on June 18. Eric thinks it’s great and a natural evolution of a category, element, and demographic that’s growing and gaining popularity. More young women are watching and living vicariously through the female competitors or aspiring to be female wrestlers themselves. It’s nothing but positive.
Nick brought up the Mae Young Classic Women’s Tournament, using that and the Cruiserweight Division as an aside to openly wonder something he forgot to mention during their Hornswoggle interview. He’s curious if WWE would redevelop a midget wrestling division for the WWE Network, and if it would be accepted in today’s world. Eric, being so far removed from the market, doesn’t have a solid feel for it but doubts it on first instinct. It’s a unique specialty act, but wouldn’t work as a constant diet. His only experience with midget wrestling was a show he and Jason Hervey produced with Hulk Hogan called MCW, short (no pun intended) for Midget Championship Wrestling for TruTV. It was not a huge hit or a failure, just moderately successful. Once you’ve sampled it, in Eric’s opinion, you aren’t inclined to follow it unless there’s a great story or something more compelling besides the action. Eric doesn’t see it happening based on his own experience and feel for what the audience will probably react to. Nick would like to have a half hour or hourly weekly show. Eric picked on Nick for watching anything that calls itself pro wrestling and would watch it 24/7 if he could. Nick would also like his healthy mix of politics to go in his balanced TV watching soup. He has an extra TV in his kitchen right now and has the WWE Network on mute and tuned to its programming stream. That reminded him to ask Eric when he saw something on the network after the Bash at the Beach 2000 that saw Hogan and Vince Russo have their infamous work/shoot situation. It was rumored Russo was sent to WCW by Vince McMahon to ruin WCW. Eric quietly, but defiantly shot down that notion, offering McMahon was probably chuckling at the mere suggestion and the nature of wrestling fans. Eric’s heard that idea a million times but it wasn’t the case.
Nick found some more of the newfound courage he’s been demonstrating and point-blank asked Eric if he just stopped caring in those days. Asked for clarification on the timeframe, Nick elaborated it was after Hogan quit after the Jeff Jarrett/Hogan/Russo debacle. Eric confirmed that incident was his last straw and he wasn’t around for very much longer after Hogan resigned. It was deceitful, dishonest, among many more rightful reasons he was pissed off and didn’t want anything to do with the very screwed up company it became. Shortly thereafter he tried to purchase the company back with some backers he assembled, but to no avail. Nick wondered what Russo was thinking or trying to accomplish, like he was emulating Vince McMahon but the WCW version. Eric said Russo has always been a mark for himself and was trying to get away with something he thought he could because of it. Nick conveyed his retroactive real-time sympathy for Eric when he was watching that show.
John Cena has been announced for three one-man shows in Australia this summer. They will be interview shows going over his career with fan questions. They are being promoted by an outside company, not WWE. Nick said it’s a huge step for Cena away from WWE. Nick guessed Cena will openly talk about his observations of his past 15 years in WWE. Eric doesn’t know enough about it to guess what the angle and purpose of the shows are. But if he’s going to do these away from WWE, it’s obvious he’s trying to be independent and step outside the WWE box. He’s 100% confident Cena will always have a home in WWE as long as he wants, and is also very sure Cena will always treat WWE with a tremendous amount of respect. It’s a natural evolution for Cena, who is also about to host the second season of American Grit for Fox, which is also not part of the WWE. Cena is also pursuing acting roles with little or nothing to do with WWE. Cena is clearly positioning for a life outside of and after an active full-time WWE career, as he very well should.
Mailbag Questions from #Bischoffonwrestling
Nick still has been getting lots of questions for the song that opens and closes the show. It’s called “Bombshell” by Fahrenheit 420. I’ll add it’s from their six-song EP entitled The High End of Low, released in 2014. It also looks to be only digitally available. I’m an Amazon Music subscriber and it’s available there. Eric added it’s on iTunes.
This question asked Eric about how he got the music rights to Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child” in WCW for Hollywood Hogan’s entrance music. Eric answered it was different then than it is now. He always has been a huge Jimi Hendrix fan, since hearing him play at the first Woodstock. (I’m sure he wasn’t there.) When he wanted something unique and cool that didn’t resemble wrestling for the NWO for Hogan. He personally oversaw the endeavor because it was important to him, and reached out to who owned and controlled the rights to Hendrix’s estate. Through his attorneys, it turned out it was Hendrix’s sister who they needed to negotiate with for those rights. It cost $100,000 for worldwide rights and for multiple uses within broadcast. He doesn’t remember all the details but did recall he could only play the song for 15 or 20 seconds at a time, not the entire song. But it was enough time for a long entrance or outro. Eric declared it the best investment he ever made because that song couldn’t be touched for probably less than $5 million today with the rights he had. Nick wondered how negotiating with Hendrix’s sister went, if she had had any trepidation of a wrestling company using the song. Eric said both sides has lawyers doing the negotiating after Eric made the initial contact. It happened fast so it must not have been a concern for her. (Money talks though.)
Nick asked Eric if he wishes WWE would use more well-known music for entrances. Eric said of course, and that they probably would too, but maybe not because they’ve made a lot of money from the publishing rights of their own music catalog. Plus, there are many ways to make money in music and is likely a big part of their licensing revenue. It’s hard to create the emotion a well-known song can and that’s why soundtracks often employ their use. These days, however, music publishing and licensing is so much more expensive than it used to be that it probably is cost prohibitive for WWE. Nick had his own deep digging experience when trying to secure music rights for his podcast and found there is no hard line in the sand or category for how to do so. Eric isn’t surprised to hear that. Aside from his little bit of experience 20 years ago, he knows almost nothing about the music business but does know it’s morphed and become very complicated and complex and hard to navigate.
This question asked Eric his thoughts of Tom Cruise playing him in a movie, which of course couldn’t be the Vince McMahon biopic as he’s not yet in the script, if he ever will be. Eric, after a long pause, replied it could work. They used to have similar hair! From a hundred yards away they could seem to look alike, especially how Eric used to look back the era where he would be portrayed if in the movie. Cruise can be charming and arrogant at the same time, so that also works in his favor! Cruise is Nick’s favorite suggestion thus far and joked Eric could be in the Illuminati and Scientology at the same time!
This question asked if Nick and Eric could do a Japanese focused episode. It gave Nick the idea for an overrun where they could take a deeper look at the Japanese scene and maybe watch a pay-per-view. Eric added they could have Mike Tenay join them for historical references and maybe go back to when All Japan and New Japan merged on the scene in 1972-73 when Rikidozan and Giant Baba and Antonio Inoki were all part of the era. The history associated with the Japanese wrestling business is fascinating and has all the elements, including mafia activity where Rikidozan shot on someone in the ring who was supported by the Yakuza (the Japanese mafia) and got killed for it (that’s a very interesting story. It’s too much for me to put here but it’s worth your time if you love wrestling history to do a Google and read). Eric had Nick at Yakuza.
This question asked if a WCW revival show would have worked in WWE, like what was attempted for ECW. Eric sighed and groaned but answered “sure” but under the right circumstances. Those circumstances and opportunities were really never there. It would have taken a large desire and commitment for WWE to do it, but they didn’t have it and crapped on WCW. Their goal seemed to make it look like WCW was never WWE, despite the fact WCW was kicking their asses and teaching them how to survive in the ‘90s and 2000s. Their mission was to buy WCW, absorb and take what they could and squash it. That’s just what they did and anything contrary wouldn’t have fit their model.
Nick asked Eric if he saw the horrible Booker T vs Buff Bagwell Raw match (on July 2, 2001, that allegedly convinced Vince McMahon that WCW was inferior.) Eric read about it and heard a lot of things but never saw it. (Nick failed to follow up with anything more when there was a golden chance to ask Eric if a horrible match, in theory, between two of WCW’s top stars in WWE could have influenced Vince McMahon away from pushing WCW stars and the brand as a whole)
This question asked if WWE went back into the pay-per-view market, Nick assumed get rid of the WWE Network, if the pay-per-views would sell well or not. Eric couldn’t see why not, it worked for all the years prior to the network and doesn’t think anything has really changed. It would be a huge mistake and is a hypothetical question not based on any logic or reality. But nothing suggests to Eric people wouldn’t be interested in the product. Nick agrees.
This question asked Eric his thoughts on commentary and if he prefers a two man or three-man booth. To Eric, it depends on who that third man is. He tends to prefer a two-man booth but a three-man booth is necessary at times, especially during three-hour show. He gets tired of the same two guys for three hours, and by necessity, the show needs to be moved along in different ways by different voices throughout the entirety of what needs to be conveyed on a three-hour broadcast. The third man provides relief of what Eric called an audible ice pick of hearing the same two people. Traditionally, he prefers a play-by-play guy and a color commentary guy who are characters themselves. That is a little easier to accomplish with two guys instead of three but depends on the situation.
Nick asked Eric the best commentary team he was a part of. He loved the team of Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan, but was tough to say what was the best. He had the most fun with Heenan and Steve “Mongo” McMichael, so that counts for something he feels! Nick said McMichael lives in a close by city so he should try to get him on the show.
This question asked Eric’s opinion of Raw having guest hosts in 2009-2010. Eric hated it and Nick left it at that without asking for more follow up, again. (Could have been another awesome and funny rant but we were deprived of such entertainment)
This question asked if Eric had any other cool WCW artifacts, stemming from the NWO Chopper Eric is selling on eBay. Eric doesn’t have anything left besides the bike he’s selling, adding he changed out the fishtail pipes that never held up from the vibration of the bike frame due to not having any suspension. He also went from ape-hanger handlebars to Carlini drag bars. Aside from those two changes, everything else is the exact same. He’s too old to ride a hardtail Chopper anymore and it is just sitting. It’s fun for bar hopping but he can’t get his wife on it and it beats the hell out of him. He loved it when he was in his 30s and 40s and made many long treks on it. Now, he’s got the Lincoln Continental equivalent of Harley Davidsons!
Nick and Eric talked more about motorcycles, etc. but I wrote the previous paragraph to let people know Eric is selling a cool piece of wrestling memorabilia.
This question asked Eric what his favorite films are, besides Tombstone, and if westerns are his favorite film genre. Tombstone is his favorite western of the past 20-30 years but had a hard time thinking of other movies to list. After some thought, he tends to go back to older movies he watches every year as a barometer. Dances with Wolves is one, The Postman in another, making two Kevin Costner movies. He added he will watch anything Denzel Washington is in, same for Gene Hackman as they both always seem to be in phenomenal movies. For Eric, it’s more about the actors or the writers or the director than it is about the movie itself. It’s hard to pick just one though.
This question asked Eric to elaborate a previous statement on pro sports being fixed. Eric doesn’t think they’re fixed by criminals, but sports are so highly controlled and manipulated for eventual outcomes, not necessarily for wins and losses. Whether it’s for television purposes, growth of the league, or management of costs, pro sports for Eric seems too overly controlled that the end result feels highly structured, but backed off on the word highly and settles with structured.
Nick mentioned some of the best football news he’s seen in awhile, in his opinion, that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has relaxed touchdown celebration rules. Eric replied with a “meh”, that it just turns into a circus and it’s not his thing. It gets so out of hand that it takes away from the game too much. If he wants to go to the circus, he’d go to the circus. Eric isn’t a football fan because he’d rather be outside and he feels free agency ruined the sport, what it should be about, and what it means to him. He remembered as a child that a player was on a team long enough to become part of the community, and if a trade occurred it meant something. The team was also part of the community and each year there was hope to invest in from the previous season. Nowadays, rosters have too much turnover for Eric’s tastes and teams also move around too often and become disjointed from the community. A touchdown dance is just one more way where something is taken from the team.
(Nick apparently hasn’t been listening to Eric wax poetic for months about how he loves and prefers everything old school and from his youth/younger days and thought Eric would jump for joy upon hearing the news of players’ ability to make scoring touchdowns all about themselves without consequence. Did I make myself clear here? Ok, good.)
This question asked Eric if wrestling finishers should have gimmick names or be what the move is technically called. Eric asked what the technical wrestling name is for a Tombstone Piledriver! Nick suggested a superkick be called a crescent kick. Eric, who has some martial arts experience, said that Shawn Michael’s Sweet Chin Music isn’t a crescent kick, rather it most closely resembles a sidekick in martial arts. A crescent kick has more of a sweeping around motion. It’s funny to Eric that the wrestling names of finishers are also gimmick names, and theorized somebody was trying to be too much of a wrestling expert with that question.
This question asked Eric if stretcher jobs are overdone in WWE. Eric doesn’t watch WWE consistently enough to know if they overdo anything, but it’s like anything else. If something is used at the right time with the right execution and makes people suspend their disbelief and engage in the story, then how well something is done trumps how often something is done. If something was done well 10 times in a year then great. If that same thing was done well once and the other nine-time in that year it sucked, then it’s probably been done too much.
This question asked Eric his thoughts on working with Larry Zbyszko in the AWA and WCW. Eric always enjoyed working with Zbyszko, a lot. He came up old school as a protégé to Bruno Sammartino. That style and psychology that went with that era is when Eric cut his teeth in the wrestling business, and Zbyszko was a large part of that time for him. He was already in WCW when Eric started working there, but it got a little difficult at the end of Zbyszko’s career. He wanted to do more but Eric didn’t see it. They were friends and Zbyszko was also a pilot before Eric was and they flew in Zbyszko’s plane for leisure. As the late ‘90s progressed and WCW got hot, Zbyszko was done in the ring, for the most. A hot WCW caused him to want to get back in the ring again, but it was difficult for him to stifle Zbyszko’s desire. But he has nothing bad to say about him and enjoyed working with Zbyszko.
Eric hears about what Zbyszko says these days and thinks he’s living in Larry Land where his memories are colored by his desires to be what he wants them to be instead of what they were. Eric said it happened to everyone, including himself. Aside from hearing about things where Zbyszko says Eric got the NWO idea from him, it was a blast working with Zbyszko.
This next question had two parts. One: would Nick and Eric play In the Dirt again where they delve into dirtsheet headlines. Eric agreed, and they could play around with the format and do it sometime. Nick said it could be fodder for an overrun and would use a poll to decide what exact week to pull from. Two: this person seems to have solved the biggest mystery in Bischoff on Wrestling history. Before Nick could make the big reveal, Eric adamantly put his foot on the ground and said if this is about the stupid sideplate, he’s leaving. Nick sheepishly said it was and that Skullbuster Radio will do an eight-part series on the whole mess. Eric was happy for their 12 subscribers but doesn’t care to go any further in the sideplate topic ever again.
Nick relented, then told us about Eric’s interview with Hornswoggle, available now on the IRW Network. Nick has an idea for the overrun, and make the overrun available on the Bischoff on Wrestling podcast feed. Eric agreed, to Nick’s delight.
Nick straddles the line of being an annoying and ignorant mark or a charming guy with an innocence to his ignorance. This episode featured his less than ideal characteristics. I indicated in the review his instances of failing to follow up with more questions and curiosities, but he did in some parts which was good. But how he doesn’t know enough about his co-host and friend when he was in WWE compared to Hornswoggle is baffling, and is just a quick Wikipedia search or a text to Eric! He left out details on the topics he chose to discuss. Not knowing when he and Eric record the podcast makes it difficult to know whether he was aware of Ed Nordholm’s interview with the Fight Network discussing the Broken Universe, among other things. That interview was released the day before this show, so I’ll withhold judgment and give the benefit if the doubt.
For the C.M. Punk story, Nick failed to mention the dates of the 128-man tournament for 5 Star Wrestling, and the namesake of the promotion’s owner! It’s kind of important as this man, Dan Hinkles, is the one offering Punk the $1 million! The tournament starts June 10th and will be 30 weeks long, ending December 30th.
Thinking WWE would entertain a midget wrestling tournament, let alone show, is plain ignorant on Nick’s part. WWE is publicly traded and have recently come under bullying allegations. They would be crucified in some circles for such an endeavor. Plus, Eric pointed out why it’s not feasible without a potential public outcry.
I don’t have much of a problem with the questions Nick chose as he has a wide audience to cater to that have varying degrees of wrestling knowledge and time invested in this genre as fans. But, some were stupid to me and were at least made funny and entertaining by Eric’s answers. I do like the courage he found to ask Eric if he stopped caring shortly before leaving WCW. I just wish he could muster it more often.
Eric made good-to-great points and showed again he isn’t too proud to admit when he’s stricken with an ego bug, be it temporary or permanent. He took Mr. Ed Nordholm to task brilliantly and gave a good assessment of what his experience has taught him and what common sense dictates, plus also picking on Dave Meltzer a bit for making his opinions seem like facts at times. I will say this in defense of Nordholm, he may be trying to set a precedent on the grounds of principle regarding intellectual property as Anthem very recently acquired TNA and rebranded it Impact. He may only be seeing it from that perspective and blind to the long-term ramifications and public dismay that probably will take a miracle to change no matter what happens from here. Eric pointing out their tiny audience highlights why Nordholm has the appearance of small and desperate.
Eric was spot on about a mindset of WWE crowning Jinder Mahal champion. He also had to shoot down Nick’s ideals by telling him they don’t apply to wrestling and the audience’s reaction is all that matters. Case in point, that box of popcorn! I disagree with Eric about Jinder and WWE being hot, at least yet. They may be the biggest but they certainly don’t burn as hot as other promotions currently do, namely New Japan for one. He added his funny take on the C.M. Punk million dollar offer, and his wise and insightful takes on the WWE Women’s Money in the Bank match and current women’s wrestling in general. His comments on John Cena’s outer WWE ventures, and New Japan’s United States aspirations were also well spoken and thought out and made sense.
Eric’s answers and insights to the mailbag questions were good and provided yet more reasons why he’s a valuable voice in the wrestling podcasting world. Plus, his sarcastic wit is always welcome to my ears, but I can see how it can grate on people. His blunt intelligence isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, it is an acquired taste and enjoyable once you are acclimated.
Score: 6 out of 10. This is worth the listen if you can tune out how Nick dragged it down so badly. Eric provided his usual good-to-great perspective. Nick is just in the role he’s not suited for as a host. I’m sure he has other talents but hosting this podcast isn’t one of them. No political discussion for two weeks in a row is a huge plus though!
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!