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WRITTEN PODCAST RECAP: Bischoff on Wrestling – his experience on Table for 3, how he would have booked his WWE debut, why did the WCW/NBC deal fall apart? (Ep. 45)

Bischoff on Wrestling, Episode 45

Hosted by: Eric Bischoff, produced and co-hosted by Nick Hausman

Duration: 56 minutes, 31 seconds

Review by: Craig Elbe, @Craig Elbe

DIRECT LINK TO LISTEN/DOWNLOAD

Top Stories, all stemming from the Table for 3 show with Eric, Jim Cornette, and Michael Hayes on the WWE Network.

-Was Hayes sober and a good moderator?
-Eric’s heat with Cornette and detailed resolution not fully captured on the show.
-Eric’s and Cornette’s mutual disdain for Vince Russo.
-WCW’s Power Plant was ahead of its time.
-Eric’s other most prideful WCW creations.

Timestamps

00:41 – Show intro
3:00 – MLW plug, ratings solicitation and Eric’s overrun with Sonny Onoo on IRW Network plug
4:47 – The WrestleCircus/IRW Network co-promoted event that crashed the IRW network’s server
6:51 – Last week’s overrun with Hornswoggle now on podcast feed/Start of Table for 3 details with why Cornette hasn’t like Eric for many years.
16:15 – Cornette’s WCW stooges; Cornette’s and Eric’s loathsome feelings towards Vince Russo, Spike TV executive quote on Russo circa 2014.
23:28 – Brief clip on Eric’s interview with Sonny Onoo regarding Vince Russo in WCW.
25:51 – WCW Power Plant’s creation and reasoning, being ahead of its time
27:54 – Cornette and Eric as great natural heels working together in hindsight.
29:45 – Eric’s other prideful WCW creations
35:25 – Eric’s WrestleMania 34 main event choice, can Roman Reigns be a true and real heel?
36:08 – New Montana Congressman bodyslammed a reporter?
37:56 – Mailbag questions

Recap

41 seconds

Eric greeted us listeners and said this may the last episode of Bischoff on Wrestling…from Cave Creek, Arizona. He and his wife are packing up and heading to Cody, Wyoming in Beverly Hillbillies style. They will be spending the summer in what he calls God’s Country. Before that, Eric is squeezing in another episode of Bischoff on Wrestling and introduced Nick Hausman.

Nick is helping his friend sell a thousand raccoon penis bones via this man’s Kickstarter, aptly titled, I Wanna Be the Guy Who Sold 1,000 Raccoon Penis Bones. There was no punchline. This man purchased a thousand raccoon penis bones in tiny capsules and is selling them for $10 each. Nick encouraged us to support his buddy. Eric let those words marinate in our brains, then said it was stupid and motioned for them to move on.

According to Nick, this same guy was on Shark Tank and was granted $30,000 by Mark Cuban for his I Wanna Draw a Cat For You idea. Nick said it was wacky but innovative. Eric sternly, but not loudly, insisted for a second time to move on. Nick wildly misjudged his friend again buy thinking Eric would find this news enjoyable. Eric raised his voice only to show his annoyance and asked Nick why he thought he would have liked it. It was a bizarre way to open a show, and Eric stammered a bit, then found the words, “What the hell, are you smoking something! Did you pop something! Are you drinking!” Nick plead none were happening. He was just in a good mood and is cleansing this week.

Upon waking up, Nick found his friend’s viral video commercial and found it funny. This guy sings a song about wanting to sell all these raccoon penis bones. (Nick may not be getting all his nutrients from this cleanse and ironically is cleansed from thinking this was a good and funny idea.) Eric didn’t want to hear any more about this bizarre third world sh*t and finally moved Nick away from further discussion of this “great” idea.

3:00
Nick thought this was a great time to ask people to give 5 star ratings and nice comments on iTunes for Bischoff on Wrestling. He also plugged the overrun he and Eric do and for the IRW Network, posted on Wednesday nights and then re-released on Monday nights on the Bischoff on Wrestling podcast feed. This week’s overrun features an hour and a half conversation with Sonny Onoo. Eric gave some small details on what they cover, but says it’s essentially everything relating to them and their history together in martial arts and wrestling. Nick said it was everything he hoped he would hear from them talking to each other. His favorite part was Eric and Onoo talking about being in North Korea the pay-per-view Collision in Korea.

4:47
Nick also hyped they are putting up new content daily on the IRW Network with new producers in quicker fashion than they had been previously. He mentioned that WrestleCircus had the first hour of their iPPV on the IRW Network this past Saturday. So many people found out about this it crashed their server for the first 45 minutes! Eric recalled that as surprising and disappointing, but conceded to technology despite trying not to have that occur. IRWNetwork.com is a new site in beta while they work out the bugs. It’s a work in progress, but WrestleCircus is a cool promotion and were great at promoting themselves. Eric and Nick also did a lot to promote the event and the response was overwhelming and they had a bit of a stumble out of the chute.

For Eric’s money, IRWNetwork.com is a great product and WrestleCircus is an amazing product. He thanked and apologized to everybody, assuring us that they will continue to work hard at living up to our expectations at delivering a great opportunity to check out some of the best independent wrestling content anywhere on the world. That is their mission. Nick lamented the crash, but added it helped them notice where improvements were needed. Now, bugs have been fixed. They are looking forward to doing more great things with amazing independent pro wrestling companies, like WrestleCircus, and others.

6:51
Nick pointed out a Monday night war of sorts happened this past Monday night. As the Hornswoggle interview was posted to the Bischoff on Wrestling podcast feed, Eric was also on the WWE Network in an episode of Table for 3 with Michael P.S. Hayes and Jim Cornette. Eric received a lot of response from the show. Most of the feedback implored a longer episode as it was only 19 or 20 minutes long. More episodes on a regular basis were also highly demanded. Eric honestly isn’t sure he and Cornette have multiple shows in them. In the background, Nick seemed to disagree, uttering “I don’t know, I don’t know.” Eric knows he and Cornette have history and two different, divergent personalities and points of view that made a great special but may not translate to a great series. The fact he’s had favorable and supportive feedback means he hit a home run as a performer by leaving the audience wanting more.

Nick noted that Michael Hayes began the episode, fully aware Eric’s heat with Cornette was the main draw of the show. It’s turned out to be the takeaway from the show. Nick wondered to Eric how Hayes was at the table and what his role was. Eric quipped he was to stay sober for the first time! Eric added Hayes did a great job. The last time he did one of those round table shows with Hayes, Eric remembered him having ¾ of a bottle of Jim Beam and was drunk and horrible. This time, he was a great traffic cop. Nick noticed their attire, Eric said Hayes looked like a gay hooker! Nick wondered if Hayes chooses to dress like that. Eric said Hayes still has a gimmick that he was born with and will live with.

Nick brought up the seemingly one-sided feud Eric and Cornette have had. Upon walking in the room to meet each other that day, Eric was aware of the audience’s anticipation and how cool a moment it would be for them. He never understood the heat and nonsense of information that’s been out there between each other. Cornette has always been venomous toward Eric, and wondered what he was talking about at the start of the show. After a while, Eric realized Cornette was just getting himself over, which he does to a lot of people. He’s very funny and intelligent while being articulate and knowledgeable of what he’s talking about, for the most part. Cornette’s also very opinionated.

Over the years of hearing what Cornette says, Eric knows it’s what Cornette believes even though he’s wrong and didn’t take it personally. That enabled Eric to have the mindset to just go and have fun when he and Cornette met before sitting down to do the show. Cornette warned Eric he was going to come at him as he always does. Eric told him it was cool and to have at him. He’s already heard what Cornette has said and wouldn’t be shocked. Eric just wanted to make it entertaining.

Nick described Cornette’s approach as prosecuting Eric with the story about editing some shoot comments Cornette made in the ’90s in a promo. Nick wanted to know if Eric was aware of that being the lingering resentment Cornette had. Eric didn’t pay close enough attention to know exactly what Cornette’s b**ch was. He just knew Cornette was in a long line of people who hated him and didn’t listen closely enough to his perspective until that Table for 3 show. He likes Cornette and had fun with him, but doesn’t think they’ll ever be friends and send each other Christmas cards, let alone hang out together over hamburgers and crack beers together. If they get a chance to debate again, Eric would embrace that opportunity.

That said, Cornette came out immediately with his case of how he hated and resented Eric due to his “birds” telling him how Eric influenced a then in-charge Bill Watts to edit shoot comments Cornette made in a promo that were the premise of a hot angle he was going to build between Smokey Mountain Wrestling and WCW, pre-approved by Watts to Cornette. Eric chose not to use “birds” in a reference to Game of Thrones as he guessed it would go over most people’s head. (The show isn’t popular or anything) That was the first time Eric heard those accusations, having to pay attention to Cornette, face-to-face with him, as opposed to reading snippets online. Eric wasn’t sure how he was going to break it to Cornette he was actually a C-squad announcer who didn’t have permission to take out the garbage, and especially edit stuff out of a show, because Bill Watts was in charge.

It was so abstract to Eric that he was having a hard time processing it. A sober Hayes pointed out to Cornette, Eric wasn’t in charge at the time. A thankful Eric was relieved of the burden to inform Cornette of that news himself by beating him over the head with potentially controversial reality. Once Cornette saw he had a figurative big shovel, he stopped digging and changed the subject to how Eric fired Ole Anderson because Cornette showed up and did an interview with Ole’s son. Eric fired Ole for completely different reasons, but he digressed. People believe what they need to believe to get themselves through the day and build themselves up. Eric doesn’t hold that against Cornette, he likes him, finds him very smart and would love to debate with him sometime. Nick cannot fathom how that debate would go with how heated he and Eric get in their own political discussions. One of them would for sure walk away from the phone, and Nick would like to hear that!

16:15
Eric decided to use that Game of Thrones reference. Nick said he doesn’t watch that show, as it’s too nerdy for him. Eric swiftly said it’s one of the best scripted shows out there. There is a eunuch character in Game of Thrones that had his testicles removed at an early age, as all eunuchs do. His power within his little society is the birds he has around him, which are basically stooges that feed him information for power. Eric didn’t want to use the Game of Thrones reference on a WWE show as it would go over most people’s heads, including Cornette’s and certainly Hayes’. He had to call Cornette out on his stooges, that by design, tell you what they think you want to hear so they can stay close to you. In that manner, they feel important. Eric reasoned that’s why stooges are the scum of the earth. They just little parasites. If you rely on stooges for information, like some dirt sheets do, it puts all that information into that context.

Nick said all his sources are on the record as only he does transcripts on his podcast. Eric said, “good for you, you’re a man!” Nick likes that in this world of some wrestling “journalists” all his business is out in the open and he has nothing to hide. Nick apologized to Game of Thrones fans for the using the word “nerd” for the show. Quite simply, fantasy has never been his genre. Political drama is more his speed, and House of Cards season 5 just dropped. He binged it already and thinks it’s amazing, and suggests we all check it out. There are stooges in that show too!

Nick asked Eric who the stooges in WCW were. Eric declined to names anyone. It’s 20 years later and both sides have moved on with their lives and it doesn’t matter anymore. It took him a while, but he eventually figured who they were. Nick thought leaks were the culprits that led Eric to have an idea of the moles. To the contrary, Eric noticed a similarity to tones and responses to know where the information came from once he read the reports. Though tempted, Eric chose to leave it at that and still not give any names. With only a few exceptions, living in the past and picking off old scab wounds isn’t how Eric wants to conduct himself. Nick remembered that was Eric’s rhetoric when discussing starting this very podcast.

Nick noted an unprovoked Cornette went right at Eric at the start of that Table for Three show. They then bonded over their mutual hatred of Vince Russo (I hate typing his name. I’m quite sure he loves his name out there no matter what. Controversy creates cash right! Where have we heard that before?) Nick asked Eric why he dislikes Russo so much. Eric explained he can have a difference of opinion with somebody, dislike somebody, not respect someone, and still not have a point of view that’s so strong as he has with Russo.

One thing he cannot tolerate is dishonesty. Russo has such a long track record of estrangement from facts, reality, and honesty, that while not hating Russo or anybody, as hate is carrying a backpack full of sh*t and doesn’t do you any good, that there are certain people, like Cornette, for example. He’s said some horrible and untruthful things about Eric and in situations so far out of context, like on Table for Three, that it is silly. Eric doesn’t mind that. It’s one person’s perspective. When someone orchestrates a lie and intentionally deceives, that’s a whole other category, and the category Russo is in.

He, again, doesn’t hate Russo, but refuses to associate and give credibility to someone who has such a well-documented history of, in his opinion, pathological bullsh*t that he chooses not to connect, associate, or engage with. Viacom, for example, is not a company that publicly discusses content, programming, or the people involved. Eric directed us to the comments of David Schwarz, who is the Senior Vice President and Head of Communications for Spike TV, owned by Viacom.

(Eric didn’t elaborate on Schwarz’s comments but I’ll fill in some blanks: TNA was aware employing Russo was frowned upon by Spike TV after Russo left TNA in 2012. After Eric and Jeff Jarrett left TNA, Russo saw an opening in the Fall of 2013 as his two biggest detractors were gone. He contacted Dixie Carter, who delegated to John Gaburick. A secret job as a creative consultant for TNA was struck thereafter where he worked from home. Russo claimed to not know why it was kept secret.

During the summer of 2014, Russo sent an errant email to PW Insider’s Mike Johnson that was intended for then TNA announcer Mike Tenay, containing his announcing tips and ideas for Tenay. Russo was forced to come clean about the secret partnership with TNA or be exposed by Johnson. He tried to spin it as a purposeful email to see how the reporting would be, but to no avail. Russo was fired by TNA.

Following that termination, Russo stated Spike TV was a horrible television partner. Schwarz fired back and had this to say in retaliation:

“We took TNA from a late-night spot on Saturday nights doing 500,000 viewers to a two-hour slot that did two million viewers over time. Spike went out of its way, not just adhering to the contract, but above and beyond the contract. We paid Hulk Hogan, and Eric Bischoff with our own money. We financed many shows. We financed U.K. shows. We helped promote. We gave TNA a prime-time slot of Thursdays from 9-11 p.m. I think his comment are way off base. Clearly, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He’s somebody who thinks more of himself than really exists. Vince Russo never meant anything to Spike TV. He had nothing to do with negotiations. Nobody cares about Vince Russo at Spike TV. Nobody cares or knows who he is.” Quite the bold statement.)

23:28
Nick played a snippet from Eric’s interview with Sonny Onoo. It was where Onoo speaks of Russo. Onoo told the story of how Russo’s first day in WCW went. As an American, Russo said he doesn’t want any international wrestlers in WCW anymore. Onoo had just signed a two-year deal with WCW at the time but he, and all other international talent, were taken off TV. It was like they disappeared. Russo argued he kept Rey Mysterio, but Onoo clarified Rey lived in San Diego and was American. Consequently, Russo made a lot of excuses years afterward, of course trying to cover himself. Instead of just one international talent, like Onoo himself, Russo chose to eradicate all of them from TV.

25:51
Back to Table for 3, Nick transitioned to the WCW Power Plant that was briefly talked about in the episode. Nick praised it as ahead of its time to get talent acclimated to WCW. To Eric, the independent wrestling scene at that point wasn’t as vibrant or robust at the time as it is now, making the Power Plant a necessity for him to brainchild for upcoming talent.

Right now, Eric is very excited about current indy wrestling. It bears many similarities to the territory system, pre-national exposure. The diversity it has that Eric loves today didn’t exist in 1995 and before when Eric conceived and created the idea of the Power Plant. Wrestling went from territories, to the sewer, to national. It was either WWF or WCW, anything else meant you were kind of out of business.

There were indy shows, but it was almost non-existent compared to today. Eric felt compelled to have the Power Plant from that logic and perspective to create their own talent. (I’m surprised Nick and Eric didn’t make any WWE Performance Center comparisons, as the Power Plant certainly was a precursor and a mold for it.)

27:54
Jim Cornette’s legacy as heel manager role combined with Eric’s natural heel ability seemed to be a bonding moment for Eric and Cornette as Nick watched Table for 3. He asked if more work in wrestling capacities was a missed opportunity for Eric and Cornette. Eric differentiated himself from Cornette as being a more arrogant and smarmy heel, while Cornette was a more flamboyant heat-seeking missile great heel. The combination of the two different heel approaches may have worked but Eric wasn’t sure he could see it. One of them would have had to turn babyface. No question, Cornette can still talk. Table for 3 would indicate Cornette got paid by the word! Cornette is very articulate, understands the art form and knows how to get heat. Nick noticed Eric’s calm demeanor during the show, allowing Cornette to get everything off his chest about him. There’s a power in that, Eric said. Especially when letting someone dig their own hole!

29:45
Besides Eric’s statement of his greatest creation being the Monday Nitro format on Table for 3, and the obvious other answer of the NWO, Nick wanted to know what other creations Eric reflects on with pride in WCW. Eric first replied making the product more international by bringing in a diversity of styles. Those different styles and influences created an atmosphere, in a real and consistent way, that anything can happen on any given night.

Hitting that beat within the format of a two or three-hour show where something happens that doesn’t feel like it’s part of the ingredient list was one of Eric’s primary focuses. Giving a viewer a sense of something going awry that wasn’t supposed to happen is part of the magic and allowed a WCW to brand itself as anything can happen (just like Vince and WWF did years prior when Raw debuted. Nice try Eric, although he did raise the stakes from what WWF did.) Not delivering consistently, even non-monumentally, won’t fully engage the audience consistently.

Nick added the NWO was a great vehicle for that unpredictability to continue to grow, representing what Eric was talking about (except for starting the advertised main event about 40 minutes before the show was to end, only for a half hour and directionless melee to finish out the show) Cornette’s comments on Table for 3 lamenting a cool heel era that still seems to be present prompted Nick to ask Eric’s opinion. Eric doesn’t see it that way, but understands others that may. Eric is a traditional wrestling guy who loves story and clear babyface and heel distinctions, just like Cornette and Jim Ross probably do. Robust and high-flying antics displayed by the likes of the Young Bucks don’t resonate with 62-year-old Eric. But, he does understand the evolution of wrestling is necessary.

A daily reminder for Eric is one cannot program content to suit their personal tastes. You’ll be out of your demographic due to there not being enough of you to support it. He learned that from Ted Turner during one of his manifestos. Appealing to yourself means appealing to as very small audience. Eric may prefer an older school wrestling format from the ’70s or ’80s, he’s also a big fan of the business and it evolves.

The music business and sitcom business are comparable. Employing the production ways of The Mary Tyler Moore Show or Married with Children, or any other big show from the past won’t last a week. Evolution with the audience and the tastes and are a must. You must grow. That’s why Eric is so interested in the independent wresting scene. It may not be consistent with Randy Orton’s or Eric’s point of view for what they as individually like, but it doesn’t matter. The business evolves and grows and you choose to either grow and evolve with it or devolve and die. Eric chooses to grow with it and open his mind to other things.

35:25
The conclusion of the Table for 3 saw each person pick their ideal WrestleMania 34 main event. A Roman Reigns who has found his inner heel vs. John Cena was Eric’s selection. Could Roman be a real heel? That was Nick’s question. Hesitation didn’t have a chance in this bout. Eric said hell yeah! Nick was cautious and judicious to make sure a cool heel Reigns wasn’t part of the question. Eric remained steadfast with his answer; Reigns comes from a long lineage of talent that understand the business. If he gets the, pun intended, reigns and is allowed to be a real heel, Eric is pretty sure he can do that.

36:08
Post-podcast recording last week, Nick turned on his television to see the report of newly minted Montana Congressman, Greg Gianforte allegedly bodyslamming a reporter. Nick raised objection to the use of the term bodyslam, seeing it as more similar to a double overhand choke. To Eric, it resembled a bad bar fight where a guy gets thrown down by the shirt and the aggressor just yells at his prey. Eric called bullsh*t on it and topped it with the moniker of fake news!

For next week’s show, Nick wants to poach another show featuring Eric. This time it’s the 5/26 episode of Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard where he and host Conrad Thompson went in depth on Eric’s time in WWE. Eric cordially agreed.

37:56 Mailbag Questions from #Bischoffonwrestling

This question asked Eric whose promos he enjoyed the most in his WCW time. Eric’s mood depended on it, plus the context of what the interviews were. He always loved Bobby Heenan, but he didn’t typically do promos as they are normally defined when in WCW. A green Ernest Miller impressed Eric while he was finding himself, adding Miller was smart and talented. Context is so important in that question, making it hard to answer. Nick loved Scott Hall’s WCW promos. Eric felt Hall rambled at times, but everybody had strengths and weaknesses, and that’s why context is everything. Nick also loved the cool calmness of a Kevin Nash promo. Eric offered only silence in response.

This question asked Eric how he would have ended the NWO in a perfect world/scenario. Eric would have had the NWO storm into Ted Turner’s office and thrown him out, to have Hall or Nash light up some Cuban cigars at Turner’s desk and welcome everybody to the New World Order Organization. Nick figured out there would be no end of the NWO angle, they would just thrive and get stronger and take over Turner Broadcasting. Eric answered “yeah” in such a manner as to suggest “why not!”

This question asked Eric if there was ever a push to work with Puerto Rico in any way. Puerto Rico was too small of a market to warrant WCW. Eric didn’t want to sound derisive, saying Puerto Rico was important, just not important enough at the time.

This question asked Eric if WCW’s pay-per-view profits went to Time Warner and not WCW on the books. It’s true, and a great question in Eric’s estimation. Time Warner’s accounting methods had WCW in a category entitled “Other,” meaning WCW didn’t have line item accounting. There were other Turner entities that fell into the “Other” category as well. There were also other divisions under Turner Broadcasting that controlled certain aspects of WCW.

For example, WCW wasn’t attributed for any ad sales revenue. That was attributed by and accounted for by the Turner Broadcasting ad sales division. Despite WCW’s tremendous revenue at its peak in the ads sales area, they were never credited for it. The same held true for licensing, then separate categories of satellite and pay-per-view, international sales, among many other areas that WCW didn’t receive credit for. A lot of the bottom line WCW generated wasn’t accrued to or accounted for within the WCW financial position.

This question wanted to know if that if Eric could’ve foreseen what streaming would have become, would he have bought WCW’s library on 2001 to combine with current content to leverage to some sort of online platform. Eric answered the question with a question. If you went into a 711 and bought a lottery ticket at exactly 11:02 and 22 seconds A.M. on May 31st that was worth $302 million, would you have bought it? Nick answered of course! The answer was so obvious to Eric but he didn’t want to discourage future questions.

All major television networks would have allocated resources accordingly if they knew what streaming would become. Eric would have as well if he could have gazed into his crystal ball in 2000 and noticed the technology that would have occurred 17 years later allowing the monetization and leveraging of content through streaming. It’s not a stupid question, just an obvious one. If just the WCW library was for sale, Nick wondered to Eric if he would’ve bought it. That’s basically what Vince did, according to Eric. Despite coming off as a Vince McMahon kiss-a**, Eric promised he’s not. WWE has a lot of overblown and hyperbole content currently. Eric argued one must admit that WWE decided a long time ago to aggregate and curate all the legacy and old-school content they possess. The vision was there at the time, but the technology wasn’t there yet.

Controlling the content was their goal, and streaming via their own network become the vehicle to initiate that monetization goal (Eric neglected to mention Blu rays and DVDs of WCW content performed well in the marketplace, and probably WCW apparel as well.) What WWE really did with the WCW purchase was acquire a library of content; not TV rights fees, rings, or talent. It is that library of content they are now making a fortune with, and good for them.

This person asked Eric if he thought it was dumb when he got featured backstage on Raw before he went out and hugged Vince upon his big WWE debut. It’s a toss-up for Eric, but he gets why it was done that way. He would have done it differently, he builds his premise more on surprise and shock. Once your hand is tipped to the audience, it dilutes the opportunity. There’s not one right answer to the situation as Eric thinks both strategies are probably valid. Nick joked he should have come from the ceiling with Miss Elizabeth for his WWE debut. Eric indulged Nick, that he would have snuck himself into the arena at ringside, in makeup. Then have Vince do his big build up and introduce “sitting here in the front row is the next Raw General Manager!” Eric would remove his hat and sunglasses and make his way to the ring and shock everybody. In this scenario, Eric would walk through the backstage area to see the reaction of the talent. That is the difference between what Eric would have done and what Vince did.

This question wanted to know if Eric would like to see a tag team Money in the Bank ladder match. For once, Nick guessed correctly that Eric wouldn’t care.

This person wanted to know if Eric could explain Hulk Hogan’s hairpiece at the 1996 Halloween Havoc. Eric offered a laugh, then said no with a radio straight face! Nick left it at that, to protect the business I’m sure.

This question asked Eric if undefeated streaks mean less than they did in years past. Eric thinks so, that anything that was done well before is hard to replicate. He cited Goldberg’s undefeated streak as the most well-executed streak ever. It’s hard to plant your flag second and have it mean more, and it’s just the way it is. Eric used the question as a general statement on repeating past successes and used the Goldberg streak as an example.

This question asked why a WCW proposed network deal with NBC in late 1998 into 1999 didn’t come to fruition. Eric went on a rampage about a bunch of gutless, mindless, short-sighted executives who were so afraid that NBC ad sales was going to benefit from a Turner property and got jail food mentality-type of territorial. It cut off what could have been a very powerful relationship with NBC and Turner Broadcasting. That was one reason Eric was so disenfranchised with the then new Turner management team. It was dumb, stupid, short-sighted, territorial, and typical of Turner management at that time.

A baffled Nick asked if Turner shot down WCW being on NBC. A very powerful person in the Turner ad sales division with a very loud voice to Turner Broadcasting was against another broadcast entity being able to sell and promote inventory within a Turner Broadcasting property. A still baffled Nick feels that was a dumb decision. WCW being on NBC and Turner would only make WCW the coolest, most desirable entity on television. Eric said that topic is for an entire episode.

Between August of 1998 and then time he left in 1999, he went berserk from the many passed up great opportunities for WCW to grow and reach a level of success. They were riding and had momentum, and already did business with NBC by having the angle with Jay Leno that culminated in the Road Wild pay-per-view match in Sturgis. That success evolved into the question asked of Eric for this show about the television opportunity that got shut down by Turner ad sales. Nothing makes Nick sadder than money burning or hearing about it.

Nick continued to solicit questions for future episodes and directed us to Eric’s interview with Sonny Onoo on the IRW Network and on the podcast feed after Monday Night Raw. It is probably Nick’s favorite overrun so far.

Craig’s Conclusion

Nick was crap and great all within one episode. The generation gap is so obvious at times it makes me wonder if Nick is even aware of it or just fixated on what he likes that he can’t fathom others not liking it. His fan perspective still is a little fanboy-ish but that’s ok. His abilities to be a competent host remain streaky. How is promoting sales of raccoon penis bones even remotely a good way to open a wrestling podcast, let alone anywhere on one? Just because it’s his friend? Isn’t that what social media is for? Stick to the format man! But, I’m sure some wrestling fans would be interested in such unique and wacky ideas, but still.

Using an already aired show to use as the standalone topic with some tangents may seem lazy. The fact Eric had so much more to add to the 19-minute Table for Three, plus catering to the demand and timely nature of the WWE Network show proved a good plan. More news items may have been helpful but likely overshadowed by what everybody wanted to hear about.

The mailbag questions were the highlight for me, others may find the Table for Three details more engaging. To each his own and I hold no grudge to that. I’ve been consistent that Eric’s experience makes for a great podcast host and star. Detailing WCW’s accounting methods and how the Tuner ad sales division big mouth ruined a potentially great NBC television deal were cool to hear. Eric does like to toot his horn about the NWO and Goldberg. Cool heels existed way before the NWO but were wisely turned babyfaces before it got out of hand like the NWO did. Goldberg’s streak pales in comparison to Bruno Sammartino’s streak of title defenses during his first title reign that lasted nearly eight years. Not every finish was clean and perfect, but it was part of the continuation of Bruno’s story and historic reign. I doubt any rational person, currently or in those days, would feel Sammartino’s reign was anything less than spectacular while generating a lot of money for the WWWF and building the foundation that WWE stands on to this day.

Eric’s idea for his WWE debut makes me long for him to have creative power in SOME wrestling company, while hoping for the best. Another reason I’d like to see that is because Eric won’t promote something exclusively for himself and Vince McMahon is often criticized for. Plus, his failures have taught him more lessons than anything and has copped to that many times over the years.

Score: 8 out of 10. I’d still like to see Nick improve as a host and understand Eric better. He had good questions and follow ups here, but is still missing something resembling a consistent, solid host. Eric was really good but is sometimes too good at drinking his own Kool-Aid. By and large, it must be a treat for him as he sure doesn’t partake in that liquid diet regularly. Having to keep Nick on track is obviously challenging at times for Eric but is entertaining without seeming to try to. If it’s a work, then I’m happy to be worked in any fashion during this climate of today’s wrestling where very little isn’t known compared to any past era.

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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!

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