Bischoff on Wrestling – Episode 59
Release Date: September 6, 2017
Recap By: Andrew Soucek, PWPodcasts.com Editor
Runtime: 1 hour 8 minutes
The show opens again with Eric doing a commercial for a boxing match.
2:15 – Eric and co-host Nick Hausman greet us. Nick had a great weekend. Eric was relaxing it up and loves this time of year. He went to Yellowstone and did some dove hunting. His dog is also doing well.
Eric confessed to not yet sending out DVDs to people who left the show good reviews on iTunes. So…bribery?
5:50 – Ric Flair is alive and well. Eric thought Ric’s hospital promo was “classic Ric.” He’s a living legend and a one-of-a-kind. According to Ric’s wife, he’s making a miraculous recovery.
What will Flair do now in pro wrestling? Eric can’t predict it. Ric is an icon, though, and he’ll have visibility for as long as he chooses.
8:30 – WWE holding Raw live on Christmas and New Year. “That’s a tough call,” said Eric. There’s going to be a lot of unhappy wrestlers and family members. Back in 1999, Eric had an idea for a deal with KISS to do a pay-per-view on New Year’s Eve at the Fiesta Bowl. On one-half of the field there’d be wrestling, on the other end there would be KISS. They’d switch off between matches and KISS. (A bit of a shame we missed out on this WrestleCrap fiasco.)
People at the time were freaking out over Y2K. Eric wanted to time the pay-per-view so the main event would end a second before the 2000 began. The reason the show didn’t happen was because employees and freelancers in the company threw a “piss fit” when they heard. Turner Corporate then shut down the entire thing, even though they’d already hired KISS.
How did Gene Simmons react to this not coming together? Eric doesn’t remember. He may have informed his manager about it.
Were they going to do a KISS stable? Yes, there was going to be one. They wanted to have KISS merchandise and characters that represented the KISS army.
What was the final match of the millennium going to be? Was it going to involve a KISS character? No. It wasn’t going to. However, Eric then didn’t say what the match WAS going to be. Would have been interesting to hear…
Will fans even want to go to the upcoming Christmas show? Verne Gagne and other promoters used to run on Thanksgiving and Christmas. It depends on how it’s marketed. It used to happen all the time.
16:50 – JBL leaving SmackDown and Corey Graves takes over. Is this too much Graves? Eric isn’t sure, as he’s a big fan of Graves. He thinks he’s a great talent and a cool guy. He does question the logic in having one guy on both shows if they’re trying to differentiate the brands.
Does WWE want the shows to feel different? Eric doesn’t know, he doesn’t know what they’re thinking. He believes at this point the brand split is basically a joke.
19:19 – Nigel McGuiness taking over on 205 Live. Did Eric work with him in TNA? He did, a little. He thinks he has a good sense of the business. He thought he was really well-rounded and has a valuable perspective on the industry. (Huh…then why did RVD beat Desmond Wolfe in about three minutes after winning a fan voting contest for No. 1 contender during the Hogan/Bischoff era?)
20:17 – Sports Illustrated has a report on why JBL left the company. It stated said Bradshaw gave his notice 11 months ago, pre-Mauro Ranallo. Eric says he’s good friends with JBL. He has a lot of respect for him. Did Eric see this departure coming? No, he didn’t. He’s not surprised, though. JBL is passionate about working with at risk kids and has outside interests of the company.
Reportedly, some of the board members were horrified that JBL kept his job post-Mauro. What kind of effect does that have on the company? Eric said it’s hard. But had WWE not gone public when they did, they may not be here today. Vince may be in charge, but he still has a responsibility to the board.
25:25 – Sexy Star is…Eric doesn’t want to talk about her. But then they do briefly. Eric thinks it’s ridiculous that Alberto El Patron was stripped of the GFW Title but was still paid.
Eric talks about journalists in wrestling for a bit. He says reporters need to ask hard-hitting questions and needs to make wrestlers squirm. Nick says it’s sometimes hard to get a comment out of WWE.
28:54 – Roman Reigns referred to himself as the first “grey area guy.” What does Bischoff think of that moniker? Eric knows what it means to himself, that a character is neither a heel or babyface. If that’s Roman’s grey area, that doesn’t work. The NWO had it. They were heels that people cheered and pre-dated Roman.
Eric thinks it’s a mistake that Roman isn’t pushed as either a face or heel. It’s just not working to the potential that Eric knows he has. He believes he should be one of the top stars in the company. If he is being written to be in a grey zone, that’s a mistake. The audience should feel strongly about someone one way or another. The idea that the audience should decide is gutless on the part of creative.
32:33 – WWE Saturday Night, a new recap show in Mexico. Are shows like this effective? Eric says you get a bit of exposure but they’re not compelling. The audience tunes out of them pretty quickly.
33:55 – Is Eric still surprised that Big Show is having good matches? He is not. He said Show is an interesting guy. Hulk Hogan discovered him in Chicago and brought him in under Eric’s watch. He says the WWF basically paid him twice what he was making in WCW. He said Show was very sensitive when they worked together. He was very up-and-down. If you could motivate him, he’d be awesome. However, it was easy for him to be unmotivated. If he didn’t feel he was important and wasn’t feeling the love, he could go into cruise control. Eric saw that happen in WWE as well.
Eric was impressed with him headed into WrestleMania. But after he didn’t get his Shaq match, he thought he was less-than-motivated once more. Eric says when Show first came to WCW, he could do a kip up. They didn’t have him do it in the ring, though because nobody wants to see a 7-foot guy do gymnastics in the ring. Eric never saw him do a Moonsault, though.
38:08 – Enzo Amore comes up. Eric immediately calls him out for Nick bringing him up again. This week Enzo said “controversy creates cash” on Raw. Nick speculates that Enzo listened to their show and heard them talk about him last week. Eric thinks maybe one of the writers may have heard it and wrote it for him. Could be just a coincidence.
39:26 – This Week in Bischoff History. September 1, 1999. The NWO parody of the 4 Horsemen (well, Nick is only two years off on when it actually happened). Nick is going to read some news from The Observer and get Eric’s response.
To set the stage: Kevin Nash, Arn Anderson, Buff Bagwell, and Konnan did a spoof of Arn Anderson’s real-life in-ring retirement ceremony.
Does Eric recall this parody? “Of course.”
What was the purpose of it? The idea was to create heat and make fun of them. It wasn’t meant to be any sort of tribute.
Were the Horsemen booked to come out and beat up the NWO? No, they were not. At least he doesn’t recall it.
Does Eric recall Ric Flair refusing to do a promo because he was so upset about them not doing a beatdown? Eric remembers him and Arn being upset, but he doesn’t remember if it was because of the lack of a run in or if the NWO went too far.
Was there legit heat between Nash and Arn? Eric thinks there was because of it. Does he regret it? Eric doesn’t regret much of anything because he can’t spend time doing that. But as he’s gotten older, he does realize that some of the things he did had more of an impact on people emotionally than at the time he would have imagined. He thinks the segment got too close to the nerves to Arn and Ric.
When the NWO was running, he wanted the babyfaces to get their comebacks “eventually,” but didn’t want it to go back-and-forth. That formula was new to Arn, Ric, and Sting. “It was designed to be that way, so when the babyfaces did get their comeback, it mattered, and it felt like the world had turned on it’s axis.”
What does Eric mean by “close to the nerve?” was it Arn’s mom dying of alcohol? Arn’s body being made fun of? Eric doesn’t have a specific example, but remembers that the segment crossed the line a bit.
Nick brings up why they were trying to keep the Horsemen and NWO so far apart. Eric says he doesn’t remember and says he doesn’t have his notes in front of him from 25 years ago.
Before they move on, Eric says 22-years-ago that day he was waiting in his office for the ratings of Nitro. Nick says they already covered that. They argue back- and-forth whether they should have done it again or not. Eric said there would be no DX without the NWO, the WWE might not even be in business! He seemed to be doing a shtick.
Was there a rule in WCW about not doing other people’s finishing moves?
Of course, it’s protocol in the industry.
Why doesn’t WWE allow sponsors on wrestler’s gear? Did he ever consider that in WCW?
They did a lot of “product integration” with Slim Jim. They did it with Surge as well. Otherwise, he doesn’t think there were other sponsors who would have worked for that. It’s a cheap way to make a buck.
Did Hulk Hogan’s back surgery almost prevent him from the TNA heel turn in 2010?
Yes. Hulk was in rough shape. People can say what they want about Hogan in the ring, but he put himself through some amazingly difficult times with the pain he put up with. It’s unfortunate that the end of his career was in TNA “It makes me sick to my stomach, to be honest with you.” There were times Hogan needed help getting out of his car. Eric tried to talk him out of wrestling, but Hulk insisted.
Is WWE/NXT responsible for the resurgence in indy wrestling?
Eric thinks it’s the opposite. He walked it back, then thinks there is no connection. NXT is WWE’s solution to the fact that there wasn’t a lot of talent out there who were ready for primetime. WWE has a very demanding level of ability before they let wrestlers on Raw or SmackDown. It’s difficult for anyone to jump to primetime.
Nick calls Eric out for calling it “next.” Thank you!
Hypothetical: Jim Cornette has murdered Vince Russo and framed Eric Bischoff. He’s about to get executed. What’s his final meal?
Sushi and sake.
If Jon Jones is suspended for a long time, what are the odds of Jones vs. Lesnar in the WWE.
Eric thinks both WWE and UFC should be out of business if they do. “At some point you have to make a decision that your brand is credible.” It would make a mockery of their drug testing system.
Did Eric underestimate the popularity of Mick Foley when he gave away the finish of giving the title?
“I think that’s a safe assessment.”
What benefit does WWE get for having official theme songs on their pay-per-view?
It benefits both the company and the band to have mainstream music on-air.
That’s all for this week!
The synopsis of the show says “nothing is off limits.” Actually, a lot is off limits, because Eric doesn’t remember so many things from his career!
There were some interesting things on the show, to be sure. Eric’s take on The Big Show from years ago, his details of the KISS/WCW pay-per-view, and his honest assessment of being sickened about Hogan’s final match were all entertaining to hear.
However, there were quite a few misses. Wanting to develop a stable based off of KISS wrestlers (with Brian Freaking Adams as the leader) is definitely a moment Nick should have jumped in and asked the obvious question: “what the f**k were you thinking at the time? You were going to create an entire stable based off a band of 50-year-old men who hadn’t had a hit in years? And not only that, but you were going to expect wrestling fans to buy a pay-per-view that was half of a concert?!?!?!”
But if we look past that, can Eric not be bothered to rewatch the featured “This Week in Bischoff History” segment before they record the show? Here, it’s on YouTube. It’s 10 minutes long. Eris is open about his poor memory, but when questioned on it becomes snarky that he doesn’t have his notes in front of him. So uh…maybe rewatching the segment would bring back some memories? Just a thought!
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