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The Thread Killer

Conrad Thompson set to expand his podcast schedule with new shows

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As I have mentioned in a couple of other threads, I am a subscriber to Conrad Thompson's "Ad Free Shows" service.  For a monthly fee, I get all five of Conrad's podcasts released up to a week early and with no ad reads of any kind during the episodes.  Also, there is a significant amount of bonus content. Each host either releases a Ad Free Shows exclusive "bonus episode" every month, or does something else exclusive for Ad Free Shows subscribers. Sometimes it is an interview discussing something that they do not feel comfortable discussing on the standard public podcast. An example would be Eric Bischoff and Conrad did an extensive, in depth episode covering Eric's hiring and firing from WWE last year.  Some times it is some other kind of bonus content.  For example, Conrad and JR have been doing "watch-along" shows on classic Mid South, which has been outstanding.  Conrad and Arn have done some JCP watch-alongs which have been interesting, like the original War Games.  Sometimes Conrad will watch something with his co-hosts that they had never seen before.  For example, he and Tony watched the "Boneyard Match" from this past Wrestlemania.

My personal favorite has been the "Fires Back" series, where Conrad will play clips from Shoot Interviews for the hosts and gives them a chance to respond. They have done two episodes of "Eric Fires Back" where Bischoff responds to all the shit people have said about him over the years.  They have also done "JR Fires back" and "Tony Fires Back."  The JR episode was actually kind of sad because it featured a lot of people making fun of his facial paralysis.  Eric usually goes deep into detail and gives a point-by-point rebuttal about why everybody is wrong about what they say about him, whereas Tony seems to give zero fucks and basically just insults the person back and cusses them out.  Conrad has even done a bunch of "Ask Conrad Anything" episodes and his wife (Meghan Flair) and Eric's wife have done Q&A episodes too.  Conrad has said that he also plans to move into some exclusive video content, and is hoping to do limited series podcasts with people like Kevin Von Erich, where they do a six part series on World Class, or something like that.

I am a lower tier member.  Apparently if you belong to the more expensive tiers, you get free T-Shirts, free tickets to their live events (If those ever start up again) the hosts will actually call you at home and they are planning on regular events at Conrad's house, believe it or not. They also do regular Zoom Chats with the higher tier members, but I don't know anything about those.  I just wanted to hear Conrad's podcasts without all the ads, and I was interested in the bonus content. I'm not really interested in wearing a STW T-Shirt, chatting with JR on Zoom or getting free Starrcast tickets or stuff like that.  Plus, those higher tiers are expensive.

Anyhow...

Conrad Thompson announced to Ad Free Shows subscribers yesterday that in the past couple of weeks he had been contacted by three WWE Hall of Famers with requests to do podcasts, and he claims he said yes to "more than one of them" so we should expect a couple of new shows to be added to the Conrad Thompson podcast schedule in the near future.  Conrad admitted recently during one of his own Q&A's that he has been shot down three times in the past when trying to do a new podcast.  Conrad really wants to do an ECW show and spoke with Joey Styles, who refused.  He wanted to do a TNA focused show, and was close to making a deal with Jeff Jarrett but then Jarrett signed with WWE which killed that plan.  Conrad also claims that he has had in depth discussions with Paul Heyman on more than one occasion, and that they have been very close to making a deal for a Paul Heyman podcast.  Conrad says that he is optimistic that will still happen at some point in the future.  He kind of implied that Heyman's employment with WWE was getting in the way...so maybe that is no longer an issue.

I am curious as to which Hall of Fame talent are about to be added to Conrad's schedule.  We know it won't be Ric Flair (been there, done that.)  I think Mick Foley might be a good possibility. Anyhow, I guess we'll see.

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Sting and Kurt Angle are the biggest free agents out there. Those two and Foley are probably the three. 

Ryder and Hawkins together would be good if they wanted to be truly non-political and burn bridges. But don't think they want to be nasty and they've their own podcast.

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He's already jumped the shark with his regulars, he's exposed himself as totally ignorant of anything that is not WWE/Nitro era WCW and later ECW, I don't feel there's anyone out there who could catch my interest at this point. Arn was the worse in term of going from surprisingly good to totally skippable in no-time.

5 hours ago, rovert said:

Ryder and Hawkins together would be good if they wanted to be truly non-political and burn bridges. But don't think they want to be nasty and they've their own podcast.

Brian Myers did one of the most infamously boring and tiedous History of WWE shoot interview with KC years ago.

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The last thing he needs to do is spread himself even more thin. Most of his shows are on cruise control at this point. Bruce, I can forgive because of his schedule. The only one I still really enjoy is Bischoff because of his habit of going off on tangents about the minutiae of the TV business side of things.

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On 8/26/2020 at 5:49 AM, rovert said:

Sting and Kurt Angle are the biggest free agents out there. Those two and Foley are probably the three.

Those are good guesses, and you are probably right...but I hope you're not.

I don't know if anybody ever saw the episode of "Legends with JBL" on the WWE Network that featured Sting but if you didn't, let me tell you...it was not so exciting. Sting seems like a very nice, sincere and humble guy...but as we've learned with Arn Anderson, that doesn't necessarily make you a good candidate for a weekly podcast.  Based on everything I have ever seen, when he is "out of character" Sting does not come across as a compelling interview or interesting character.  Not to mention, I honestly don't think Sting was always paying attention to what was going on around him during his career.  During that Legends episode, he draws a complete blank when it comes to the question of him being the infamous "Third Man" in the nWo.  Everybody I have seen interviewed about this topic (Bischoff, Nash, Hall and Sullivan) all agreed that if Hulk Hogan had refused to turn heel, Sting was their "Plan B" to form the nWo, and that it had been discussed ahead of time with Sting.  Sting doesn't deny that, but he claims he has no memory whatsoever of the entire situation.  I think if Conrad did a weekly podcast with Sting it would probably end up being like the first few months of "What Happened When" with Tony Schiavone.  Conrad clearly wanted to repeat the success of Bruce Prichard's podcast only to discover that Tony Schiavone had little to no recollection of anything that was going on behind the scenes in WCW. In many cases he admits he had deliberately not been paying attention.  That is why they were forced to "pivot" and go to a weekly watch-along format for his show, otherwise it would have pretty much died on the vine. I think if it ends up being Sting as the subject of one of the new shows, we're going to get a whole lot of "I don't recall" stories.

As far as Angle goes?  There was a time that might have been a good idea, but I think that time might have passed.  I remember @SomethingSavage mentioning in this post after Kurt Angle's return to WWE that his verbal abilities seemed to be declining, and a bunch of us ended up discussing how Kurt Angle's overall presence and presentation seemed to be a lot less impressive than it had been.  At first people were speculating that Angle was having trouble doing the scripted WWE promos, but as we surmised later in that thread, it appeared (to some of us at least) that Kurt Angle seems a little slower now than he used to be.  Maybe that's an unfair statement to make, and none of us are qualified to diagnose something like CTE or cognitive damage due to substance abuse, but if you're being honest you have to admit that Kurt Angle did not seem the same in 2017 when he came back, as he had when he left WWE in 2006.  I honestly don't know how interesting a Kurt Angle podcast would be and if he'd even be capable of being entertaining, telling good stories or being verbally engaging at this point in his life.  I am not trying to insult the guy, but I just don't think Angle is as quick as he used to be.  Maybe I'm wrong, who knows.

Foley is a whole other deal.  He has certainly proven that he is an excellent storyteller, and has an outstanding memory (even though he openly admits that he has cognitive issues of his own now.)  Mick Foley can be personable, engaging and funny.  He had a storied enough career to provide a long list of potential podcast topics.  My big worry with a Mick Foley podcast would be Conrad's contribution.  You could discuss Foley's time in the dying days of the territories in the late 80's, his time in WCW or even better his time in Japan.  However, you know Conrad.  He's basically obsessed with the "Attitude Era" and if it was up to him I'm sure we'd be getting the story of Hell in a Cell 98 again, even though Bruce and JR have already pretty much driven those mid 90's topics into the ground.  I don't know if Conrad could make a Mick Foley podcast original or interesting, but I guess we'll see.

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I haven't listened to a Conrad show in close to a year, whereas a few years ago I was a weekly Bruce listener.

Now I will be sorely disappointed if Foley isn't one of the new ones...

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On ‎8‎/‎26‎/‎2020 at 5:56 AM, El-P said:

He's already jumped the shark with his regulars, he's exposed himself as totally ignorant of anything that is not WWE/Nitro era WCW and later ECW, I don't feel there's anyone out there who could catch my interest at this point. Arn was the worse in term of going from surprisingly good to totally skippable in no-time.

Brian Myers did one of the most infamously boring and tiedous History of WWE shoot interview with KC years ago.

I feel like if the Arn podcast would spend less time talking about WWE PPV's from 2010 and actually talk about shit from when Arn was a wrestler it would be a whole lot more fun to listen too. I still enjoy it, but god damn, hearing Arn talk about Michael Tarver matches instead of discussing his time in the Stud Stable or something is a real fucking letdown.

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I'd be interested in a Tommy Dreamer ECW podcast with Conrad steering the ship. Mike Tenay doing a TNA podcast if Jarrett didn't do it would be interesting. Hell, Borash doing a TNA one might be a must listen.

I'm not interested in a Sting one and I'm not sure if Foley would be dishing much information. Perhaps Bret Hart?

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4 hours ago, ChosenOne said:

I'd be interested in a Tommy Dreamer ECW podcast with Conrad steering the ship. Mike Tenay doing a TNA podcast if Jarrett didn't do it would be interesting. Hell, Borash doing a TNA one might be a must listen.

I'm not interested in a Sting one and I'm not sure if Foley would be dishing much information. Perhaps Bret Hart?

All you need is Bret's book, really.

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On 8/31/2020 at 5:45 PM, ChosenOne said:

Perhaps Bret Hart?

He has something like this on his own site if you're a subscriber - Confessions of a Hitman. I can't remember if it's a podcast or video series. You can probably find recaps on various newz sites. Conrad isn't involved though.

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On 8/31/2020 at 5:45 PM, ChosenOne said:

I'd be interested in a Tommy Dreamer ECW podcast with Conrad steering the ship. Mike Tenay doing a TNA podcast if Jarrett didn't do it would be interesting. Hell, Borash doing a TNA one might be a must listen.

There's only a few guys who were far enough on the inside of ECW that a podcast like Conrad does would be worth it. Heyman obviously, but Paul's not exactly known for being truthful. Taz or Bubba seem like the other two reasonable options besides Dreamer - part of the inner circle, good talkers and weren't totally out of their minds on drugs during the period. 

But honestly, I feel like my problem with Conrad's shows at this point is Conrad. He's just not a guy I want to listen to for two hours at a stretch. I'm burnt out on him. I'd give an honest try to an ECW show but I just can't see myself sticking with it. (And of course, that's just a personal taste thing. I've been listening to the Art of Wrestling for almost 10 years and I'm always up for a new episode, because I'm down for spending an hour with Colt.)

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33 minutes ago, Migs said:

(...) but Paul's not exactly known for being truthful (...)

Conrad has podcasts with Bruce Prichard and Eric Bischoff, what's your point again?

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1 hour ago, Robert S said:

Conrad has podcasts with Bruce Prichard and Eric Bischoff, what's your point again?

Should have been clearer - *I'm* not interested in listening to Paul Heyman on a weekly basis. I'm sure many would be!

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58 minutes ago, BruiserBrody said:

Conrad implied (sort of) that he wants to talk to Dr Tom about an idea during last week's STW.  Perhaps a SMW pod?  

Who would listen to this ? Yeah, people on PWO, I know, but really, what is the mainstream appeal of a SMW podcast ? Especially when Corny has been doing SMW episodes on his own and no one will ever beat Corny on the matter (even worse considering Conrad is probably totally clueless about it).

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1 hour ago, BruiserBrody said:

Conrad implied (sort of) that he wants to talk to Dr Tom about an idea during last week's STW.  Perhaps a SMW pod?  

WWE Training camp stuff. 

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He jumped the shark with me a while ago.  I'll still check out the occasional one here and there but I rarely get through them.  Too many ads.  I don't mind skipping a few per episode but it's overkill with his shows

Aside from Conrad not being the greatest host with a personality I can't handle all the time, the problem is the subjects themselves. 

- JR is definitely the best when it comes to history that I find interesting if they do old Crockett/NWA shows.  But he's such a grouch and a broken record that it's tough to listen to at times.

- Bischoff is full of hot air and he's run out of interesting stories to tell.  I don't care about his takes on modern wrestling.  This show ran it's course a long time ago.

- Bruce was always a WWE shill but now that we've seen his modern WWE product in practice it's impossible for me to listen to his takes on what works and what doesn't.  He's also run out of interesting history stories for the most part and half the time he's full of shit anyway.

- I found Arn's show kind of boring so I don't really listen at all TBF

- Schiavone is still the best one and the one I'll listen to the most these days (which is probably once a month), but it can be sidetracked a bit too much by the juvenile humour and I wish Conrad did a better job getting stuff out of Tony.  But Tony not being a miserable prick goes a long way with me and the watchalongs of stuff he never watched before are fun

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18 minutes ago, cm funk said:

- Bruce was always a WWE shill but now that we've seen his modern WWE product in practice it's impossible for me to listen to his takes on what works and what doesn't.  He's also run out of interesting history stories for the most part and half the time he's full of shit anyway.

Interestingly enough, when I was listening to some recent personality profile episodes that ended up quite decent, it struck me how by reading between the lines, you could get the picture about how Brucie is totally out of touch and why he doesn't get it. He makes some good points of course when talking about talents from the past (like how Diesel's edge was ruined by being turned into a baby-kissing babyface or how Val Venis gimmick set a glass ceiling from the start), but you can really grasp the fact this guy should never be near a booking sheet in 2020, like it has been demonstrated in real time.

To me Bruce is a guy who beneficiated immensely at first of a wave of nostalgia and the fact his show supposedly got you "inside the mind of Vince", added to the fact of the anti-Meltz crowd finding a hero who "exposed" Uncle Dave. Except with time passing it was obvious that the only one guy getting exposed was Brucie himself. It's a fascinating story in itself that this podcast is basically what got him his "dream job" back eventually, but the perception of him being a Vince stooge and yes-man basically got back to the start after a short period where he built an audience who was buying his shit and bullshit anti-Meltz stant (which Bischoff reprised on his own show because it worked for his friend). Who to this day still buy his "Jerry Jarrett was useless" rant, which was a funny gimmick at the beginning of the show, years ago (seems like another lifetime) ?

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11 hours ago, BruiserBrody said:

Perhaps a SMW pod?  

No way. Conrad can barely feign interest in '80s NWA, according to you guys, so what makes you think he gives a shit about SMW?

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Something to Wrestle has become almost intolerable to slog through. It was already losing its appeal to me when Bruce went back to WWE, mainly because the show's rigid structure didn't allow for a more compelling discussion to take place. It fell into a formula of Conrad reading through match results, Bruce shitting on Meltzer, overused bits ("What might that sound like..."), and of course, lots of ads sprinkled in there.

But since Bruce's role with the company has expanded, the show has just completely run out of steam for me. It sounds like they record the show practically in the middle of the night because it's the only time Bruce is available. This leads to an even less inspired Bruce, who seems downright grouchy these days. There's also technical issues, including them having to basically due the Backlund episode a few weeks over the phone where Bruce sounded like he was on a 1997 car phone.

Conrad has also been long exposed as an abysmal interviewer. On the few occasions Bruce comes up with an interesting story, Conrad almost never has any sort of follow-up questions. Sometime he doesn't even say anything and immediately moves on to the next match result. 

This is my long-winded way of saying that I wish Conrad would stop trying to expand his dominance over the wrestling podcast world. It's befuddling how popular his network of shows is when there's some real quality ones that just slip under the radar. Must be the lack of Blue Chew ads.

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Yeah, as a big Backund fan I was bummed at the audio quality of that one which basically made it unlistenable.  I still haven't listened yet because the minute or two I gave it sounded like absolute shit.

You're 100% on point when it comes to Something to Wrestle, Afro Steel.  What you described as the initial appeal is exactly what hooked me (minus the Meltzer bashing), but the shows had already lost their luster before Bruce went back to WWE....now they're on fumes and Bruce is even more exposed.

My hope is that if Conrad does start doing new shows it also means guys like Bruce and Bischoff are bowing out.  The format simply can't last for years with one co-host and a host with limited knowledge, they simply run out of stuff to talk about at a certain point

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During his "Ask Conrad" podcasts at Ad Free Shows, Conrad has said that Bruce has no intention of quitting the podcast, but has admitted that he is looking forward to Bruce either retiring or getting fired from WWE, so the show can "regain it's original form" and Bruce is more free to be critical of WWE. (I don't see either of those things happening, but whatever.)  Conrad claims that Bruce knows he has a limited shelf life in WWE (especially considering what happened to Bischoff and Heyman) but he'd be a fool to walk away from it right now because he is making much more money than he ever has made in his life.  Conrad pointed out that Bruce now owns homes in Houston and Stanford Connecticut and that ain't cheap. Conrad claims that STW is still the most downloaded of his five shows and it is still making money. 

I don't see Bruce quitting STW because I think he likes the money, not to mention the fact that Conrad has contracts with his sponsors. During one of the first Ask Conrad Anything shows, he was asked straight out how much money the hosts make, and he said it varies from host to host based on download numbers and advertising rates, but he said that Bruce, Eric and JR are all making six figures.  I was skeptical of that, but in a later episode Conrad explained that when STW first started, Conrad himself had to stump for advertisers, and eventually they hired Matt Koon to solicit advertisers to bring in revenue.  Eventually, their download numbers got high enough that they signed a contract with a "Madison Avenue advertising firm" which assigned them a rotating stable of advertisers and pays them quite a large dividend.  You can tell Jim Cornette and Brian Last have done the same thing, because their sponsors vary from week to week now, just like Conrad's do.  Conrad claims that if you can get your podcast to 200,000 downloads a week or more, a major advertising firm will sign you and you can make a significant amount of money.  He claims that 83 Weeks is making enough money to support Eric Bischoff financially as a full time gig.  If he really is making six figures, then I don't doubt it.

I am betting word has got around about how much money you can make doing a podcast with Conrad, and that explains the original post about three Hall of Famers contacting him and asking him to do podcasts.  Keep in mind, Bischoff and JR already had podcasts, but once they found out from Bruce Prichard how much money he was making with Conrad from advertising, merchandise sales and live event tickets, they scrapped their original shows in order to go with Conrad Thompson. Conrad has admitted he has been approached by a large number of Pro Wrestling talent and personalities begging him to partner up (including Vince Russo) but he is clearly being very selective regarding who he will work with.  Basically, if the thinks the talent in question isn't likely to bring in the type of downloads his other shows do, he probably won't do it.

I know Conrad is acting as a "podcasting consultant" and helped give advice to a number of other Pro Wrestling podcasts and help them devise a business plan. (I believe The Blue Meanie, The Good Brothers and Ryder and Hawkins are examples of that.)  Conrad turned down Vince Russo out of respect for Bruce and Eric who did not want to be on the same team as Russo, but Conrad did set up Russo with Matt Koon and helped them plan and execute Russo's "Truth with Consequences" podcast, which in true Russo form Russo then fucked up, and blamed it on Conrad, so they are supposedly no longer on speaking terms.

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16 hours ago, The Thread Killer said:

He claims that 83 Weeks is making enough money to support Eric Bischoff financially as a full time gig. 

Thats sounds crazy, doesn't it ? I mean, the guy is living off doing a podcast ? Wow.

16 hours ago, The Thread Killer said:

Conrad turned down Vince Russo out of respect for Bruce and Eric who did not want to be on the same team as Russo, but Conrad did set up Russo with Matt Koon and helped them plan and execute Russo's "Truth with Consequences" podcast, which in true Russo form Russo then fucked up, and blamed it on Conrad, so they are supposedly no longer on speaking terms.

Lol. Russo...

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