Eric Bischoff Talks Russo’s Release, TNA On The Road, Dixie


Credit: Martin H. &

Eric Bischoff is 32 mins into the show. Eric said he enjoyed his time in Glasgow. Eric said that for TNA to get to the next level, they must go on the road, in arenas, in front of wrestling fans in a real environment as opposed to producing a show in a soundstage. He said there are logistics and financial issues. He said the audience is 75% of the energy on the show.

He said TNA has been able to produce a high quality show that is pretty low budget for the past 8-9 years and it’s one of the reasons TNA has been able to survive.

Vince Russo’s departure. Eric doesn’t want to comment on it, that he wasn’t part of the discussion or decision maker in the process. He said it’s not fair to the company and since he doesn’t know the details, he cannot comment on it.

Bischoff says he has a great relationship with Ric Flair. There were times in the past 20 years that were great, bad, and in the middle. Flair is very emotional and passionate much like Eric is. They’re close friends.

What are the differences between working with Dixie Carter and Vince McMahon? In WWE, he was a talent playing a role and not involved in any strategic discussions or creative. In TNA, he started as a consultant and now has evolved and is much more involved. As a result, he can’t compare the two.

Bischoff said he can go toe-to-toe with Vince McMahon on a creative basis. When asked if he can take McMahon after Bischoff challenged McMahon to a fight in 1998, Eric says who knows?

Triple H said if he was in control of WCW, he would have let the gates open during the DX 1998 invasion of WCW. Bischoff said if he knew in advance, it’s quite possible. He’s never shied away from competition anytime in his life.

When Bischoff left WWE, his character was dumped into trash. Did he have creative input? Bischoff said that was one of the few angles that he had input in. It was Bischoff who suggested McMahon throw him into the garbage truck instead of the original script which had John Cena throw Bischoff in. He enjoyed his time in WWE. He said McMahon put his daughter and himself through scenes that were far more degrading than what Bischoff had to do. So there was nothing personal. He brought up Jim Ross kissing McMahon’s ass being far more degrading than anything Bischoff had to do.

Has there anything Bischoff said no to in terms of being too far? Right after he started working for WWE, Bischoff got a call from creative on a Friday afternoon letting him know that they wanted Bischoff to kiss McMahon’s ass. Bischoff called McMahon that he didn’t think it was smart. He felt uncomfortable doing it especially at that stage with him in WWE. Where would his character have gone at that point? Not because it was degrading, but it wasn’t right for him at that time.

A caller asked about getting into the production side of wrestling. Bischoff said wrestling is a unique business. If you’re a comedy / drama producer, it’s relatively easy to find work. But there’s not a lot of places that you can gain wrestling experience if you’re not with TNA/WWE. He said if there was one area, it would be writer/producer.

Why did WCW have a diverse roster? Bischoff said it wasn’t to keep talent away from the competition. He now says TNA has 50-60 wrestlers under some agreement. TNA has a 2 hour show. WCW had a three hour Nitro, and other shows. There was 9 to 11 hours of original programming per week and that required a lot of talent. You can’t use the same talent over and over again without diluting the talent.

It was very close for Bischoff to buy WCW, which was 60 million dollars (the price tag at the time). The deal was done essentially. He was so confident that it was done that he took his wife and kids to Hawaii because if the deal was done, he wouldn’t have a week off for a good year. While on Hawaii, he got a call from Fusient saying that the deal collapsed because AOL-Time Warner came in and Jamie Kellner put a bullet in many deals which included WCW television programming.

Eric says he’s looking for believability and the ability to tell a story in reply to the question what does Eric look for. He said everything has a beginning, middle and an end. He said young wrestlers today don’t have anywhere to learn the art. They learn the moves and do gymnastics-type moves but do not know how to tell a story, nor be a character. Without story or a character, all you have is a spectacle which doesn’t capture the imagination of the audience except for a short period of time. Bischoff said you have to be able to tell a story without dialogue.

On why he is the way he is, Eric said he was motivated by money, and later found that he enjoyed finding creative solutions. He elaborated more.

What does Eric prefer doing? Bischoff says the hosts ask really good questions and that he isn’t used to it. He said at this stage in his life, he enjoys behind the scenes stuff more than performing. He has covered so much ground as a character that it’s difficult for him to find new grounds. He was grateful to work for WWE, but after five years, he was happy to leave. He felt like he was doing the same thing over again and that wasn’t fulfilling as performer. He kind of feels the same way with TNA right now in regards to performing. He enjoyed it when he first came in.

There was some talk on Goldust. Then, talk moved into Garett Bischoff. Eric said he actually discouraged Garett from going into the business. There are only two places to work right now – WWE and TNA, and TNA is a smaller company. At the same time, he discourages his other two children to get into acting as a result. The entertainment business is very competitive, requires travel on the road, and has a lot of stress, being away from friends/family/own home. People that go through this is susceptible to a lot of things. Garett grew up in the business.

TNA is coming back to the UK next January in 2013. Will Eric be joining them next year or would he like to? Eric’s not sure he’ll be with TNA by then because his contract expires by that date. He would like to go to Glasgow and walk around, meet people, and absorb the history and the culture. He’s been to a million places and travelled a lot over the past 25 years.

He talks about Twitter/Facebook, doesn’t like to talk about the past or inside politics, but he enjoys listening to the fans, listening to constructive criticism, tends to delete people that repeats what is said on the Internet.

The host mentions that Bischoff is very into American politics. Bischoff says he’s also fascinated in Glasgow politics too. He’s a political animal in nature. He said anyone that’s interested in humans should be interested in politics. The host plugs his 2006 book Controversy Creates Cash at Eric’s website – Eric said it was one of his favorite interviews over the past few years and would welcome to come back.

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