Bischoff on Wrestling with Co-Host Nick Hausman
Episode 53: Bischoff on Lesnar, Punjabi Prison, etc.
Release Date: July 26, 2017
Recap by: Ryan Thompson
Top Newsworthy Items:
– Nick is moving into a “haunted hotel”
– Eric thinks McGregor fighting Mayweather is great for the UFC
– Nick thinks Big Cass can be the next John Cena. Yup.
– Eric hates Punjabi Prison and flag matches
– The WCW announcers didn’t know who the third man was going to be
– Trump would have been a great Raw general manager
– Claims WCW was instrumental in the WWF Attitude Era
– Nobody can compete with WWE on this planet
00:00: Show Introduction
8:15: Brock Lesnar/UFC Discussion
33:50: Mark Henry Retirement
35:00: MLW Event Center
1:12:10: Show Wrap Up
Show opens up with a brief discussion about Nick’s impending move into a new place and how much Eric hates moving. If anyone cares (not sure why you would, but what the hell), Nick is moving into what he describes as a “haunted hotel” out of The Shining. Eric proceeds to ask us for a review and a rating, as they are essential towards building the show’s reputation and audience. Unlike most shows, Eric insists on an honest rating, not necessarily a 5-star rating, to know what he can do better. “Don’t be afraid of input, brother, don’t be afraid.” Nick takes a few moments to plug everything else on the IRW Network, including a media call with Bruce Prichard and Dutch Mantel of GFW/Impact Wrestling.
Brock Lesnar/UFC: The biggest news of the week was the Brock Lesnar situation regarding a potential UFC fight due to the “down year” UFC is having. Eric says he is not surprised about the “down year,” though he admits to not being very familiar with their business model.
Eric says it is very hard to build stars in UFC, due to the difficulty of the sport. Essentially, anyone can beat anyone on any given day and, with just a handful of exceptions (he named Chuck Liddell and Ronda Rousey), the titles seem to change hands rather frequently.
Compare this to heavyweight boxing champions, such as Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali, who were champions for years. He argues that unless you’re a hardcore UFC fan, it’s hard to keep track of who the champions are on a day-to-day basis. Eric believes that because the sport is so close competitively, it’s hard for casual fans to get to know anybody to a high degree because they could lose the next day. He also mentions the potential problems related to fighters failing drug tests.
Eric feels that the decision to let Conor McGregor fight Floyd Mayweather, in what is a down year for UFC, was brilliant. He thinks that McGregor will become an even bigger star and an even bigger household name by promoting himself for this fight. Eric is very lukewarm on Lesnar’s potential return to UFC. He doesn’t think the return of Lesnar will all of a sudden bring in a huge amount of money to UFC, due to the way his last fight went down. Eric believes that the idea of Jon Jones beating Daniel Cormier and then beating Brock Lesnar in a potential superfight is an awful lot to ask of the guy, but if he were able to pull it off, it would be quite the accomplishment.
WWE: Eric is not a fan of the announced SummerSlam main event, a fatal four-way match featuring Brock Lesnar vs. Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman. In general, he’s not a fan of gimmick matches. He thinks these types of matches are thrown together when there is no compelling storyline, nor anticipation, for the participants. He feels that if there is any anticipation for this match, its all because Lesnar and Joe.
If the story isn’t compelling enough, “sharpen your pencils” and come up with a more compelling storyline (I agree, two singles matches would be better, except that we already saw them last month). While he believes the match is going to be great, he doesn’t think anybody will care about the match. Nick thinks part of the problem is that SummerSlam is a dual-branded pay-per-view, causing each show to have less matches and, therefore, create multi-man matches in order to get all their stars on the show. Eric agrees, and hates the brand split for this reason, among others (he claims he wants to go in-depth on the brand split on a later show).
Nick feels WWE has a “good problem to have,” seeing as how they have so much talent that could main event on any given show. Eric disagrees, mentioning he lived it in WCW. “Everybody wants to be the main event…it’s human nature.” It can cause some problems backstage. Eric asks Nick which current member of the roster could potentially replace John Cena within three years and be the next big star, to which Nick names Big Cass (seriously?). Eric is clearly underwhelmed.
Next was the Battleground discussion. Eric very clearly hates the Punjabi Prison gimmick (don’t we all). He claims that if someone had paid him money to attend the event, or if Vince McMahon himself had flown out to Cody, Wyoming to personally escort him to the show, he would have declined.
As for the flag match, well, not a fan. As Nick is explaining all the rules changes for this particular match, Eric chimed in: “does this not sound like Vince Russo kinda stupid sh*t to you? I mean if there was a raw chicken somewhere attached to one of these flag poles I would swear it was a Russo idea. This is just dumb. It’s dumb. We’re playing capture the flag. It’s dumb.” Well said.
The last topic related to Battleground was the two United States Championship changes. Eric had no problem with the “hot potato” because of the performers involved (Kevin Owens, A.J. Styles, and Chris Jericho). Though this sounds a bit contradictory, he claims that this storyline at least seems to make some since to him. In relation to the reports of the Styles-Owens match finish being changed in the ring, Eric says he’s never heard of that happening before.
Mark Henry Retirement: With Mark Henry announcing on Table for Three that he will be retiring and taking a backstage role, Nick was curious if Eric had any thoughts on him. Eric claims he never really had the opportunity to work closely with him, but that he always found him to be very pleasant. If Triple H has confidence in him to work backstage, Eric is sure he will do well.
Before the mailbag even begins, Eric continues his rant on the flag match. Not a fan. He is stunned that somebody sold this idea to Vince McMahon. He believes it shows a complete lack of creativity.
If Eric were in charge of WWE, what is the one thing he would change?
Other than getting rid of Punjabi Prison and flag matches, he can’t really criticize WWE very much. He would try to produce his television shows to show the audience that anything can happen on his show, not necessarily every week, but enough to create “water cooler talk” and buzz. To Eric, WWE is such a perfect production that he doesn’t feel that anything could happen at any time.
According to Tony Schiavone from the Bash at the Beach 1996 show, the announcers weren’t told ahead of time who the third man would be. Is that true?
Yes, it’s true. Eric claims nobody “really” knew until they absolutely had to. The last people he wanted to tell were the announcers, due to their knack of foreshadowing. He didn’t even want his announcers to know the finishes, saying that’s how he was trained in the AWA. In conclusion, he wanted a real, genuine reaction from everybody, including the announcers. Eric praised Jim Ross as well, saying he is still the best play-by-play guy in the business.
What was Eric’s favorite pre-nWo WCW project?
While he doesn’t feel it’s very exciting, Eric thinks that moving his television tapings to MGM in Orlando was a huge project, since there was so much risk involved.
Is there any reason why Hulk Hogan never had a rematch against Goldberg for the title?
There was no specific reason; it was just the way the storylines played out.
Is there one thing you’ve picked up from Vince that changed your approach to business?
Eric can’t pinpoint one thing, but greatly appreciated the commitment to detail he saw in WWE that he’d never experienced before, his own projects including. He really came to see how important the little details and minutiae are.
If Eric could have chosen one politician, dead or alive, to succeed him as Raw General Manager, who would it be and why?
Before answering the question, Eric revealed that he was in the running to be the host of Access Hollywood, believe it or not, but he did not get the job. Eric thinks the obvious choice would be Trump, since he’d get easy heat. Truer words have perhaps never been spoken.
Where does Eric stand on shows like WWE 24? Does it do the product any favors by “breaking down the fourth wall?”
Eric likes the shows because he loves the idea of getting to know characters outside of their wrestling personas.
Apart from when he was in the Dungeon of Doom or the nWo, why did the Giant never have entrance music?
I don’t know.
Was there ever an attempt for WCW to sign Kurt Angle?
Apart from the Hogan-nWo heel turn, when did Eric have the most heat while performing?
He always had heat. He came into the business with heat. He believes the perception was that he only got his job because of the way he looked (he described himself as a “cardboard cutout weatherman”). He feels that his perception among the talent got back to the audience, which led to his heat.
Would the WWF Attitude Era have taken off without the nWo making wrestling cool again?
Absolutely not. WCW gave WWF the formula. Eric references the JBL interview from the WWE network, where JBL talks about how there would have been no DX without the nWo and there would be no Mr. McMahon character without the Bischoff nWo character.
What are some of the big things that a company would have to do to give WWE a run for its money in today’s wrestling business?
Eric says you’d have to move to another planet. Nick disagrees, saying New Japan could absolutely compete. Eric tells Nick he’s kidding himself. Eric asks Nick what would have happened if five years ago, the USA Network decided they didn’t want wrestling anymore? While Nick says they would have gotten on somewhere else, Eric claims WWE’s business model would have collapsed. And if WWE had been affected to this degree, another company would have no chance. Another network with the capacity of the USA Network would have to give the company a chance, and that’s not going to happen. When Nick brings up the idea of Ring of Honor and Sinclair syndication, Eric retorts that being syndicated, and being on different stations at different times across the country would greatly decrease your chance of establishing a base audience. Long story short, a company would need three things: network television, a lot of money, and a huge mainstream star, such as CM Punk. Eric believes CM Punk COULD be that guy.
Does Dave Meltzer’s rating system have a positive or negative impact on the business?
Eric didn’t know his rating system, and, once Nick explained it to him, Eric didn’t think it really mattered. It’s just one guy’s opinion.
Score and Review (8/10):
I enjoyed this episode more than usual. As someone who also hated Battleground, the rants against the Punjabi Prison and flag matches were music to my ears. I was fascinated by the discussion about how to compete with WWE on a national level. In the span of about five minutes, Eric went from “no chance” to “huh, maybe.” I also find it interesting that he confirmed something from Schiavone’s show after burying him last week, though that was fairly well known at this point. I look forward to hearing him once again next week.
If you missed it, check out last week’s recap of Bischoff on Wrestling.