Former WCW president Eric Bischoff was recently interviewed on the “Pancakes and Powerslams” podcast to talk about several professional wrestling topics.
Here are the highlights:
Doing Nitro in Mall of America:
Well, it was really more necessity more than anything else. WCW had not been drawing an audience for a long, long time. We had a hard time getting people to come to television tapings. So the idea of going to Mall of America was a way to have the event in a really interesting, unique environment and atmosphere without having to worry whether we’d be able to put 5,000 or 10,000 people in the arena. So it was a bit of camoflauge and a lot of smoke and mirrors, but it worked.
Bringing out Lex Luger for that show:
Without a doubt [it was to get buzz around WCW]. You know, prior to launching Nitro we had spent several months doing a significant amount of research, and interviewed a lot of wrestling fans all around the country. We did focus groups in obviously Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, I think we did one in Cleveland, Minneapolis, a couple from the east coast, Kansas City, and then a couple out west.
And one of the things I heard consistently in these focus groups, when the research company that was conducting the research would ask the question ‘What’s one of the things you like most about professional wrestling?’ And consistently across the board — and there were a lot of different answers, and a lot of the answers that you would hear frequently. But the one kind of loud and clear message that I got during that research process was how much fans liked surprises. And the sense that anything can happen.
So that was one of the things that I really focused on in creating the Nitro format, was to find as many ways as I could to do things that were unexpected. Or that the audience didn’t anticipate to kind of check that box with regard to surprises and things like that.
H/T 411Mania for the transcriptions