MLW Radio (flagship) # 291
Release Date: August 8, 2017
Recap By: Desman
- Enzo’s backstage heat
- Cornette and Joey Ryan
- Spy cams in WWE arenas
- Feelings about brand split
- Budget cuts, profits down
- Is the indy growth a bubble?
Rich Bocchini is joined this week by fellow MLWer Eric Bischoff, as MSL is away on vacation in the Bahamas.
Enzo Amore supposedly has nuclear heat in WWE and Rich asks Eric for some input on the situation. Easy E is aware of the conversation surrounding Enzo but doesn’t know enough to comment much on it.
Rich asks him for examples from his time with WCW or WWE where a talent was getting heat backstage similar to what’s supposedly happening with Enzo. Eric says a lot of the early WCW culture was the wild wild west with the lifestyle in the industry being much different in the late ’80s and early ’90s.
When he arrived on the scene in 1991 WCW had been around for a brief period of time but there was still a lot of that backstage environment. It started to change due to highly publicized issues that came about with Bill Watts, with Watts putting a spotlight on a lot of things that were wrong with WCW.
When Watts was fired and Bischoff was brought on it was a make-or-break situation, as either he was going to turn it around or they were going to pull the plug on it. On the other hand, when he came to WWE he got the feeling that there was a homogenized culture that was much more polished and a lot of people were walking on eggshells. Rich feels that culture still exists today.
Eric thinks that Enzo can pull himself out of this stuff but that it takes time. Assuming he brought some family or friends backstage that didn’t act respectfully or were taking pictures, Eric would advise him to keep his head down, do what he’s told, work twice as hard as he’s worked, and make sure nothing like that ever happens again and go out of his way to apologize to management and demonstrate a higher degree of respect for his peers. Rich doesn’t know if it will work for Enzo but he thinks he should send Pro Flowers (ad)!
9:00 – Jim Cornette has issues with Mick Foley taking Joey Ryan’s “dongplex” at an indy event. Eric loves Ryan’s character and personality and wanted to work with him in TNA. He’s familiar with the move, yet didn’t watch the video and felt really bad for Mick when he saw him recently because he was in pain and was happy for him that he was able to take the bump. His second reaction was that it’s not his kind of thing and isn’t a big fan of comedy acts in wrestling. But just because he doesn’t like spots like that it doesn’t mean that nobody should. The cool thing about wrestling, as per Eric, is that it should be a buffet, with something for everyone.
17:45 – Rich is psyched for MLW One Shot with Ricochet vs. Shane Strickland in the main event. Eric has seen these guys perform a little bit. He thinks he was on a show with Ricochet for WCPW in the UK and Rich says both guys are talented, with Shane Strickland holding titles with Defy in Seattle, WrestleCircus in Austin, and CZW. Sami Callahan is also signed to appear at the show with more announcements in the coming weeks.
18:30 – One of WWE’s tech guys had a photo of a hand on his monitor, but what caught a lot of people’s eye was spy cams all over the place. He knows a little about it from his experience with WWE but asks Eric if he has any experience with it. It’s actually the first time Eric’s heard of it and he’s kind of bugged out about it! Rich says the purpose of it is so people can communicate with each other visually. He heard a story that Vince originally put the spy cam on the announce desk so he could keep an eye on JR and Jerry Lawler to see what their reactions were to certain things that he said. Eric isn’t surprised to hear that, and says that one of the things about Vince is that he’s so controlling, which results in the sameness that he doesn’t like about the product. He wasn’t aware of the cameras when he was there, but he can certainly see it happening based on the level of control McMahon wants to have over every aspect of the product. It’s totally within his character.
24:15 – Rich agrees with a lot of people that think the brand split isn’t working, with the only difference between the two shows being the red and blue colors of the logos. Eric said that Nitro was so successful that Ted Turner wanted Thunder on TBS. Once he knew that it was on his horizon it was the reason for building the nWo the way he did, where nWo would have Thunder while WCW had Nitro. When he was in WWE and part of the original brand split he thought that creative discipline would make each brand feel unique from each other in every possible way. If he were running the show he would have committed early on to saying this is Monday Night Raw and here is the list of all the attributes and qualities that are specific to Raw, and the same with Smackdown in an effort to make it as different from Raw as he possibly could rather than a second show for the week. Right now it doesn’t matter if talent changes shows because there’s no stakes. None of the WWE’s Superstars are loyal to their particular brand because there’s no reason for them to be.
32:45 – Rich asks Eric at what point you reach your ceiling of growth among the recent budget cuts and reports of WWE’s profits being down. Eric says that stockholders demand growth, with the bottom falling out on your stock price and stockholders being unhappy if it’s not happening. As fast as digital technology is emerging, growth can come with that. He doesn’t know where the ceiling is but the last conversation you want to have happening is “let’s just be happy with where we’re at.” WWE probably would not have survived had they not turned the company around, in part by going public when they did and getting a cash infusion giving them an upper hand. It was monumental and a ballsy move at the time.
The good news is that they’re flush with cash and have remained in control due to the number of shares that McMahon owns. That being said, they still have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders and will be held accountable. He thinks there’s a real chance that WWE might buy the company back and taking it private again… Interesting!
38:20 – Indy growth has exploded with almost a return to the territory days in some ways with guys having a bunch of different ways to get exposure. Rich asks Eric if he thinks this is a bubble, but Eric actually thinks that it’s just the beginning. You have a couple of choices when you’re creating a product. You can be better than your competition, different than your competition, or by default you’re going to be less than them. Right now in the indy scene you’re seeing a manifestation of this according to Eric, because it’s so different than WWE. It doesn’t have the production values and the brand name but it’s different in a positive way, and therefore it’s building and gaining momentum. When indy promoters recognize that and fans do it’s exciting.
Rating – 8 out of 10. Haven’t been a huge fan of Bocchini, but he works much better in the driver’s seat asking the questions than he does as the “color” guy. Eric brings an in-depth knowledge of the business, especially with respect to talent and production and it was interesting to hear his take on a lot of current news. Still miss Court, but this show was entertaining. I don’t listen to Bischoff’s own podcast, but I should.
9:00 – Mick Foley takes Joey Ryan’s dongplex
17:45 – The guys talk about MLW’s One Shot
18:30 – WWE’s production and spy cams
24:15 – The WWE brand split isn’t working
32:45 – Meltzer wrote that profits are down
38:20 – The growth of the indy wrestling scene
About the Author:
Desman (@Desman6) has been an avid wrestling fan going back to the very first WrestleMania and has attended four WrestleManias during his tenure as a WWE Shop card-carrying member of the WWE Universe. A financial professional by day, he spends his nights and weekends with his wife, rescue dog, and 2 rescue cats, watching WWE programming and listening to a number of wrestling-related podcasts. His true passions are food, film, and fights and he is forever fascinated by the business of professional wrestling.
For more, check out last week’s recap of MLW Radio.