83 Weeks With Eric Bischoffjmanson
Being a pro wrestling fan from the 80’s & 90’s, it’s good to see a resurgence interest from that era. After all, it was when wrestling was “real”. It gave us immortal heroes and villains, it gave us unique characters like Bruiser Brody, Abdullah The Butcher, the Von Erichs and of coarse, the immortal Hulk Hogan. It also gave us the “Monday Night Wars” and a fight between WWF (now WWE) and the WCW (formerly the NWA).
Dad used to take me to the matches and I was fortunate enough to have access to the backstage areas when they came to our state due to my position in radio. It was a fun time.
The man who dethroned Vince McMahon, Eric Bischoff, started out as a 3rd string announcer for the AWA and Vern Gagnes territory. He found himself at WCW with a plethora of other talent, which is what happened then in the industry. He was eventually given an opportunity as the executive producer and hit the ground running.
Today, he is a successful TV producer along with Jason Hervey (of the Wonder Years) and after some podcast attempts, has hit paydirt with his “83 Weeks With Eric Bischoff”. This really started with co-host Conrad Thompson. It’s my understanding that he approached Bruce Prichard about his formula and their show “Something To Wrestle, with Bruce Prichard” skyrocketed BIGTIME. Next was Tony Schivone and “What Happened When” and now Erics show.
They are all pretty good shows other than the constant profanity (mostly on Shivone’s show). When teaching people to freestyle and to write lyrics, I would always tell them that people use profanity because they aren’t smart enough to come up with more intellegent words.
Anyway, one thing I notice with Eric’s show that doesn’t really happen with other shows is that when Eric gives an answer to one of Conrads questions, if it makes sense, has logic and is understandable considering the circumstances then, Conrad doesn’t accept it and throws some douchey comment about something else that happened then that wasn’t necessarily positive.
For example: Blaming the fall of WCW on the fact that actor David Archette won the title. Or even insinuating that it contributed to it. It did not and if these critics that know all things wrestling would ever read a non-wrestling book, they may comprehend this.
WCW folded because it was cut as a result of the AOL/Time Warner merger. Because it was one of the MANY properties owned by Turner, and probably the least liked by the executive committee, it was stripped of its budget, handcuffs were placed on the creative committee and pretty much suffocated into oblivion then sold to the WWE (for it’s content library).
There was literally NOTHING they could have done that would have saved it. Even if it had the best ratings, (which it had for how many years?), the best writing, story lines, angles, advertisers, etc. etc. it would not have changed anything. It was doomed because the AOL/Time Warner executives didn’t like it, they never liked it, they didn’t get it and they were embarrassed by it.
But what wrestling fanatics like Conrad hear is “because of the story lines, it failed” which is the furthest from the truth but that millennial mentality of his kicks in and spouts some angle that wasn’t a glorious piece of pro wrestling art, insinuating that it contributed to the demise of WCW. There was/is good and bad writing in entertainment. I think if some of these geniuses could figure that out, we wouldn’t be subject to “..please defend this…”.
Maybe I can offer an analogy that will help those incapable of understanding the situation.
Let’s say you are on a boat and a hole has been drilled in the bottom of the boat. You are not allowed to use your arms to paddle so you’re arms are tied behind your back. You are given oars but they have been cut in half and you can only use 1 foot to paddle with them. Oh, and you’re not allowed to call out for help so they duct tape your mouth. The fish you caught in the boat was taken and given to the yacht across the bay from your sinking boat.
That’s pretty much what happened to WCW (and other divisions of Turner that nobody talks about).
Anyway, I love the podcast. Other than when Conrad tries to be funny or is overly cynical towards Eric about things he has no clue about. Sure, conflict creates a more compelling listen for many, but he started out so humble. I think maybe it’s going to his head. Maybe I’m wrong. But that makes me turn it off.