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flyonthewall2983

83 Weeks with Eric Bischoff

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Podcasts becoming worked shoots where it's all about Twitter outrage may be what's popular right now, but it stinks.

 

100%. I guess monkey sees, monkey does with the Eric trying to imitate Bruce's schtick, and in particular his Bret BS from last week with a poor man's Bossman and the Dave NBC tape false story, but doing it even worse...

 

This latest episode had some merit, and Bischoff is generally less of an asshat on the Meltzer subject than most, but fuck....he's also comes off as the biggest douche persona of anybody on on Conrad's pods between Flair, Tony, himself, or Bruce.

 

We can already look forward Bischoff having a meltdown over a Brian Pillman topic, when Liam O'Rourke's book gets lots of play over how Pillman evaluated and essentially worked Bischoff with the loose cannon gimmick.

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I'd like to see some sort of aversion therapy set up, where every time Bruce, Tony or Eric (or Conrad for that matter) mention the name "Meltzer" they automatically receive a mild (but still painful) electric shock. Similarly, Meltzer should receive the same shock every time he tries to tweet.

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Bischoff is one strange cat.

 

At times, he can kind of convince you that he's a smart, sly guy when it comes to business practices & maneuverings.

 

At other times, he seems super naive & borderline clueless about how poorly he comes across. And I'm not just talking about getting caught in boldfaced lies.

 

Take this whole deal with Meltzer and Bret for example. Eric supposedly planning to reach out and "do something" with Dave back in 96/97 looks like a blatant attempt to control the release of news and "rumors" at the time.

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I'm about an hour into the Chris Jericho episode. It's really good, as good as the Bret Hart episode, but damn is Bischoff a lot more prickly and defensive so far this week. I am also greatly enjoying that every time he uses the word "bro" Conrad calls him on it, and Bischoff's subsequent reaction. As much as I enjoy this podcast, I have to admit we are starting to see a lot more of the kind of behavior people were worried about when it was first announced. Eric Bischoff is really showing his arrogance at times, and doing his absolute best to portray himself as a creative visionary and business genius. In his defense, it seems to be his reaction the various misleading or outright false narratives which have come up over the years regarding WCW from various Shoot Interviews, books, documentaries and autobiographies - but it's still not a flattering look for him. I prefer funny/self-effacing Eric to indignant/defensive Eric.

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In some ways Eric may not get the credit he deserves. He was so smug during his rise and time on top, people relished in his decline, Which would make one defensive.

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Eric is a bit *too* defensive at times, but I'm hoping some of that subsides with time. We're only a month into this thing, so there's still an abundance of prefacing and over-explaining things that his general audience have already heard for the last 15 years ad nauseum.

 

Take his response to the contract negotiation with Jericho for example. You could tell it rattles him, so he immediately goes into defensive mode and spends (what felt like) 20 minutes drowning us with misdirection and explanation about how he was tasked with stopping the spending & making a profit. We know all that. Everyone does. The appeal is in the hows and whys. There are times when Eric hits his mark with that stuff - and I believe Conrad fully realizes it - but there are also misfires like this one here.

 

I was in the middle of a shoulder session at the gym when I listened to this, so I kind of stuck with it out of necessity by that point. But that first half hour or so was sooo bad. It was the most boring and dry answer you could imagine. WIth that being said, I'm glad I stuck with it. Because the show greatly improved from there, and Eric really hit a stride with his responses later.

 

You can tell Eric knew he was opening himself up to some shots when he agreed to this, so of course he's going to get his own licks in here & there. And he's surprisingly good at picking his spots. I popped for the shot at Vince at the end - almost entirely playful, but also accurate as fuck and VERY fitting to cap off the episode. His response to Jericho calling him a court jester (in comparison to Vince's king) was aces, too. Just fun stuff. Eric isn't always in top form, but he comes off so much better when he's picking his shots and letting them really land this way.

 

There's still some genuine insight and intriguing information to be found here, too. Hearing about the business of the business is always neat, and I especially dug his explanation about how critical the cruiserweights were to his vision. Also enjoyed his response to Hall and others being threatened by the cruisers at the time - with Eric even admitting that the cruisers were delivering exactly what he expected of them. That distinction between the main event style and the cruiser style was a crucial piece of his winning formula and presentation, so you can see why he'd be defensive there.

 

The licensing and merchandising talk was good as well.

 

As long as this episode was, there are points where I was actually left wishing he would've gone more in depth with some of this stuff. So yeah. I'll be sticking with the show for now. I'm optimistic and hopeful that Conrad can direct the show more often and steer Eric away from the repetitive, overly long prefacing more often. Other than that, there's substance here that is worth hearing about.

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This week's episode was a tribute to Dusty Rhodes. It was pretty unremarkable until the surprise Hulk Hogan appearance during the last half hour of the show. I have to admit, it was pretty surreal to hear Conrad Thompson asking questions of Hulk Hogan like he normally does of Bruce Prichard or Eric.

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Just a heads up for anyone who dug the Jericho episode of Bischoff's podcast - today's Talk Is Jericho is the rebuttal from Jericho's point of view. In a pretty cool twist, Conrad is hosting & steering the conversation again.

 

Mileage may vary, and I'm not even sure when I'll get around to listening. But Jericho is usually dependable for a few good stories. Could be a fun companion piece to the Bischoff pod, which (I thought) was excellent.

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I'm trying to wait until mid-week to check it out. I listen to a lot of podcasts with my current schedule, and I've grown to love Jericho's show in general.

 

But this one clocks in at just over two hours, so I'm trying to save it for one of my heavier gym sessions. I don't want to listen in smaller sessions at work, and it's too long for my commute to/from work. I'd like to listen to this one uninterrupted.

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I liked it as well. Jericho clearly wanted to put a lot out there. It's a good couter-example to how some of Conrad's other pod partners *cough* Bruce *cough* have been phoning it in.

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You guys were right. Jericho's response was great. He's clearly lightened up on a lot of his animosity toward Bischoff since writing the book, but he still called "total bullshit" on some of Eric's recent claims all the same.

 

I'd kind of forgotten what a dick Scott Hall was said to be back then. Sheesh. Pissing on Benoit's cowboy boots? Needling Jericho about his "little Terry Taylor push?" Just seems like the guy was a miserable prick, despite making big money like a bandit at the time.

 

Jericho's impression of Hall was pretty horrible, and yet the cadence was kind of on point at the same time. Cracked me up.

 

The line about WCW still owing his dad money was funny, too.

 

I never read any of Jericho's books, so I never knew the "man of 1,004 holds" shtick was Disco Inferno's idea. Never would've guessed that.

 

I don't know why really, but Jericho just sitting back - going dead silent - whenever Conrad would do his goofy, exaggerated belly laugh was amusing to me. Happened at least three or four times.

 

But the "two brownies for two gentlemen" psych out test had to be the absolute best. Loved that little story. Just goes to show the effect Vince's reputation can have on people. And then for the whole secret meeting at Vince's house to ACTUALLY turn out to be a trial of trust in reality?! Tremendous.

 

So yeah. This one's well worth seeking out and giving a listen, guys. It's a soopah fun listen overall, and it really is the perfect companion piece to Eric's episode on Jericho.

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That Dusty episode was pretty fucking fun. I had no expectations going in, so maybe that helped. But Eric was almost entirely positive throughout the whole thing. In fact, he even deliberately sidestepped some of the negativity at times.

Bischoff gushing over Dusty's commentary was awesome, too. I guess I just assumed that Eric wasn't fond of Dusty in the booth for some reason, but nah. He totally got it, and he NAILED the explanation about what separated the excellent announcers from the average. Eric sounded less like the "guy who got lucky and stole McMahon's stars" and much more like a really bright guy who actually grasped & understood aspects of the wrestling/promotional business here. It was great.

The Hogan cameo was cool as shit, too. Conrad selling the shock & surprise was cheesy, because he was obviously pitching to Eric and setting it up - but fuck it. Hearing Hulk answer a laundry list of questions like it was his own god damn show was just tremendous.

I know people are skeptical about all things Hulk Hogan, but I don't care. I choose to believe everything he said about Big Dust here. Hulk praising Dusty's promos and saying he swiped the "No, no, no" finger wave from a spot he saw Dusty do was phenomenal.

And maybe it's the childhood nostalgia in me, but there's something incredibly cool about Hogan marking out for the loyalty of Japanese fans, their streamers, Abby, Inoki, etc. I know some people will be quick to label it phony or bullshit anytime Hulk puts somebody over, but fuck that noise. I grew up on Mid-South and Hulk-A-Mania damn it, so I'll gladly be the gullible outlier here. :D

Maybe there aren't any newsworthy revelations or anything here, but I highly recommend this one. It's kept under two hours. Eric is mostly positive. Hulk does the run-in and atomic leg drops Conrad's line of questioning like it's obese heel #365 circa 1987. Good stuff.

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There are still some gems of insight here & there, but you have to stick around for it. My overall interest is wearing a bit thin with all the numbers talk, but things always liven up when we start to get more candid opinions from Eric about the actual events, shows, performers, etc.

I thought Eric did a decent job of deflecting the criticisms & explaining his own logic in the moment regarding the Hogan/Goldberg match in the Georgia Dome. Did it still result in WCW passing up a perfectly easy BIG money payday? Absolutely. But, at least upon hearing his side of things, you can honestly see how he'd arrive at the decision be ultimately did.

Nitro *was* basically built on the formula of surprises and big money matches up top on free TV. So I can totally see Bischoff sticking with what he'd known to work.

He also pointed out that WCW had a history of operating with that routine - running a really hot "go home" edition of Nitro right before the PPV, and it had always delivered a bigger buyrate as a result.

I realize that was certainly the case with Bash at the Beach and this particular Nitro, but what other instances are there that Eric might be referencing here? I'm not calling bullshit or anything - I'm legitimately curious. Although I faithfully followed WCW every Monday night throughout that time, a lot of those nWo era Nitros tend to blend together in my memory.

The 100th milestone is the only episode that immediately jumps out at me, so I guess maybe there's that one? Did Road Wild '97 do significantly better business because of the Lex title switch? And are there actually other examples of a really hot Nitro leading to an increase in PPV buys?

The TV company talk was less convincing to me. I mean, I can buy Eric believing he should keep doing what had already made him successful in the past. But trying to justify passing up guaranteed millions (by just waiting to run Hogan/Goldberg on PPV instead) for the supposed potential to make even more down the road (by running it on free TV to correct the course for future Nitros) doesn't hold up for me. TV company, wrestling company, or whatever - they're all in the business of staying in business. And profit is profit, period.

I couldn't help but crack up when Eric started ranting about the stupid idiots who pay every month for Meltzer's newsletter - mere minutes after Conrad used his usual line about being a lifelong subscriber to the WON.

Conrad was much less a factor on this episode, and he chalked that up to being sick. But he did come in at the end with his typical routine, playing the part of diehard fan boy. So apparently the belief is "Hogan was uncharacteristically unselfish by offering to drop the belt to Goldberg, but ONLY because Hulk is ACTUALLY secretly super selfish and wanted people to pat him on the back for being unselfish in this one instance."

... Uhh. Okay then.

So it's like this section of fans basically made up their mind that Hulk was going to be selfish either way, and that's that. So stupid.

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The Road Wild 1997 did a disappointing buyrate considering the rating for the title change, so that's a case where the highly rated go home nitro probably hurt the buyrate (tbf, the go home show had the ppv main event and had the payoff people wanted to pay for with Luger beating Hogan).

 

The Pillman episode was even worse than the Bret episode. Looks like we should expect any highly acclaimed book about a guy who has some bad things to say about Bischoff to be full of fake news retorts.

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I'm curious about how the author of Pillman's book would respond to the Pillman episode. I know he posts here and always seemed like a reasonable guy.

 

Like most things in life, I think the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Relying on workers for information always means you're getting worked, while on the other hand Bischoff's pride won't allow him to admit certain mistakes. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Dooley said:

I'm curious about how the author of Pillman's book would respond to the Pillman episode. I know he posts here and always seemed like a reasonable guy.

 

Like most things in life, I think the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Relying on workers for information always means you're getting worked, while on the other hand Bischoff's pride won't allow him to admit certain mistakes. 

Liam has already addressed this over on the UKFF, here's what he had to say:

Quote

The second I heard they were doing the show, I had no doubts he's try to bury and discredit it, it's the whole gimmick of the show, sadly enough.

and then

Quote

I really don't think there's much there to respond to, just read between the lines. The book touches on some of Bischoff's insecurities and the fact he got worked, so his move (if he actually cares and this isn't all just trying to target something that has got a lot of praise since that's the entire premise of the podcast) is to discredit the entire thing. Problem is, and if he read it he'd know this (which he admitted he hasn't, in the ultimate irony of his Meltzer bashing), is that the stuff he has a problem with isn't regurgitated from Meltzer newsletters from years ago, it was from first-hand interviews I did with the people Brian was closest to. And I think I'll take Steve Austin calling it outstanding, Meltzer saying it was spot on accurate and his father figure Kim Wood telling me that of everything ever written about Brian, I captured him the best and most accurately, over the words of Bischoff, who just told people with a straight face that he wasn't worked, Pillman didn't get out of his contract and that he wanted Brian to go to the WWF. He speaks with conviction, but that's all he's got on this one.

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Ugh. That Pillman episode really was the worst one yet. Everything enjoyable about the Jericho & Dusty episodes was absent here. It just felt like an endless tirade.

I don't remember the Something To Wrestle pod about Pillman being the bee's sleeves or anything, but it was much better than this shit. Go listen to that if you've got an itch for Pillman coverage. Because this show does the book (and the topic itself, really) no justice.

It's a shame, too. Eric's been better than this on several subjects. I hope it turns out to be more of an outlier than an indication of where things are heading.

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On the Macho Man '95 episode, Bischoff claims Steve Austin pitched a storyline around that time which would have had Austin being revealed as Hulk Hogan's long-lost brother.

... The fuck? I know I've never heard this before, and it sounds like typical Eric talking bullshit. But it's crazy to think about & would be tremendous if only Austin heard about this or offered any kind of response ala Jericho.

Long shot, but would likely be the most entertaining thing to happen on Austin's show in months & months.

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