Former WCW president Eric Bischoff recently took to his podcast, “83 Weeks,” to talk about several professional wrestling topics.
Here are the highlights:
Wrestling audiences getting behind a character or not:
It’s really interesting. You know, wrestling fans are a very, very interesting audience, in that first of all, they’re smart. They know what you’re doing. They know what you’re trying to do. They know when you’re pushing a character and you’ve got to be very cognizant that you’re not pushing them down their throat.
And that’s not just true with regard to Roman Reigns back here in 2015 or whenever it was. It’s true across the board. It’s gotta happen organically. The audience has got — you have to be aware, I think as a producer, promoter, whatever you call it. You’ve got to be aware and have a sense of the audience’s desire, and tease them with a character.
How to make a major push work with fans:
If you have somebody — I’ll take Roman Reigns’ name out of it. But if you have Character A that you really think is marketable. You really think is gonna be your next John Cena, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, Rock, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, you name it. If you have that character and you really believe in it, I think positioning that character in a way that the audience is dying to see that character make that next big move and become the face of the company — that’s how it works.
And if you step over that line and you push it too hard, and you try to expedite it or you try to force feed it, or speed it up. Whatever you want to call it. And you do it before the audience is ready, they’ll turn on you. They just will, and it’s hard to unturn them. Once they’ve kind of developed that opinion collectively that, ‘Oh my god, they’re pushing that Wrestler A down our throat. They want this guy to be our, the next face of the company, so to speak.’
They’ll fight it with everything they’ve got. And we’ve seen it over and over and over again. I think wrestling fans — in my opinion. I’ve read, I’ve heard, I’ve listened to people face to face talk to me about who should get a push and who shouldn’t get a push, and how hard they should be pushed. Once — damn, once they make up their minds, it’s really hard to convince them otherwise.
Reigns being pushed too soon:
I think the mistake that they made with Roman Reigns was pushing him too hard, too soon, in a direction that the audience really didn’t want it to go. And look, same thing happened to John Cena to a degree. John Cena was able to overcome it, WWE was able to overcome it. But we’ve seen it a number of times, when you’re just pushing someone that the audience doesn’t really accept.
H/T 411Mania for the transcriptions