Eric Bischoff on Monday Night Mayhem – TNA Impact in Arenas, Snooki to WWE

Eric Bischoff appeared on Monday Night Mayhem yesterday. Highlights:
Bischoff was at the North Carolina Impact tapings live and watched it on television too. He liked the energy and a large crowd, not a soundstage crowd. He liked the vibe/feel of the show as it was completely different than what they were used to.

He said that for TNA to get to the next level, they need to find a way to get their show out in the arenas so that they can have that credibility. He said that people at home need to feel that energy as it translates. He says it would make them relevant. He said Fayetteville proved they can do it and that it works.

The host says it looked very good. Host asks that if Spike would like to do this more often or again. Bischoff said Spike executives at the Fayetteville taping and that they are usually there at Impact Zone. There were more at Fayetteville. Bischoff said everyone agreed it was a phenomenal experience. He said presenting the product in a soundstage vs an arena is night and day, but they are trying to find a way.

Bischoff said finances is a factor, but scheduling is a part of it too: finding venues. If they were going to take half the Impacts out of the Impact Zone, finding venues. How does this fit into production meets? Bischoff said it’s about finances, logistics, scheduling.

Fan asked a question about Matt Morgan’s future. Bischoff said Morgan has a bright future with TNA. He said Morgan is a likely candidate for world championship: good athlete, has credibility with the audience and is growing as a performer/professional every time he is on camera. Says Morgan’s odds are good or better to be world champion.

Question on Sting as world champion and what he can give to the company at this point in his career. Bischoff said in the right decision, Sting has a tremendous amount to offer. Bischoff says it’s obvious and everyone watching can see the audience reaction. He says Sting has brand equity, name recognition, and is one of the few characters that has stayed consistently in the limelight for the last 15 years or more.

What does TNA have to do to not fall under the shadow of WrestleMania. Bischoff said WrestleMania a lot of media attention, a big event, been around so long, and clearly wrestling fans all over the world are thinking about it. Bischoff said it would be silly to try and compete with that awareness because they don’t have that awareness. That being said, if TNA continues to build nice slow steady consistent momentum like they have over the past few months, continue to fine tune their presentation, find that edge on their product and keep the audience engaged, then TNA will do their best to keep producing. When WrestleMania is over, hopefully they’ll gain more momentum and fan interest in their product.

Fan asks about TNA ReAction as the fan said it was great for the TNA product. He asked if it could have been presented on a different day. Bischoff said it was never discussed. He said ReAction was supposed to be a preview show as opposed to a post show that was discussed in Spring of last year. Bischoff said ReAction was a great way to present characters in a different way. He said he understood why the network didn’t think it made long term sense. He says he thinks the ReAction production style will be more integrated into Impact more.

WWE bringing in Snooki vs TNA and Angelina. Bischoff says it wouldn’t take anything away from Angelina from Jersey Shore. Bischoff says Jersey Shore was one of the hottest shows on cable television. TNA was fortunate/smart to be able to bring some of that brand equity over to benefit from the press and exposure that resulted from it. Bischoff doesn’t think WWE doing anything with Snooki is going to change the benefit TNA has already gained from it. TNA has already benefited as much as possible at this point. Bischoff doesn’t think it will benefit WWE too much. Bischoff says it’s flattering as they say about imitation.

3-3-11 vignettes. What is the thought process of using that style of vignette when WWE did it with 2-21-11 for Undertaker. Bischoff said he had nothing to do with it. Bischoff was rather surprised when he saw it. He won’t go deeper into that. He doesn’t understand the thought process as he wasn’t a part of it.

A female fan called in and asked what TNA would do to attract more female fans to TNA. Bischoff said they try to appeal to the male audience by bringing in hot women and keeping in few clothes on them. Bischoff asks the fans what she would like to see.

(I believe MondayNightMayhem hangs up on callers after the call)

Question on Bret Hart saying he would have Bischoff/Hogan tar and feathered, and that Hogan is a two-faced steroid freak that deserved everything he got. Question to Eric was his thoughts on these comments. Bischoff said he was with Bret Hart and picked him up at an airport when he was on a flight to LA when Owen died. Bret heard about the death of Owen while he was on the plane.

Bischoff said he felt he had developed a relationship. Eric said Hart needs someone to hate in order to feel significant himself. When Eric picked Bret up from the airport and was distraught. Bischoff consoled him as best he could even though he didn’t have much of a relationship with Bret, not friends/acquaintances for a long time. He said during the time he worked with Bret, he never had a bad word with Bret. He said he had gifts from Bret that were personal: stuff from American History / Cowboy/Indian culture. It’s one of Bischoff’s prized possessions.

Bischoff said Bret needs someone to hate to feel good about himself. Bischoff said when Hart worked for him, he hated McMahon. He said stuff he said about McMahon were understandable, what happened to his brother. But Bret was consistent in his hatred, and wasn’t planning on working with McMahon/HBK/HHH. Hart was grateful to being with Hulk and Bischoff. The minute Bret is associated with WWE, he goes back to hating Hogan and Bischoff. Bischoff said he likes Bret and never stopped liking him as person and respecting him as a professional.

Bischoff feels it sad that Bret needs that to feel good about himself, a dark hole in his soul and has to fill it up with hate. That is Bischoff’s interpretation.

Question about bringing in Kurt/Jeff’s kids and whether it makes it too personal and not relate-able to the general audience. Bischoff said there isn’t a cookie cutter answer. He said every situation is unique. Bischoff said everyone was comfortable that everyone was comfortable. He said everyone was dealing with the pressure of it in a healthy, constructive way that has no negative ramifications with the children or anyone else. Bischoff said it ended up being a great story, is great, and is the type of story that people can relate to than they can relate to in other stories.

He said child custody, divorced parents is part of everyday life. Perhaps because everyone can relate to it made it uncomfortable makes it okay. He believes in reality-based story and as long as everyone is comfortable with it, can emotionally/psychologically do it, then it’s fine. He’s not suggesting that everyone does it as the outcome may not be pleasant, but in this case, he was sure everyone would be.

How much of an impact with the loss of Jimmy Hart have on TNA? Bischoff says “absolutely none”. He wishes Jimmy the best, is happy and feels it’s great for Jimmy. As for negative impact for TNA, he said that’s a stretch of the imagination.

Now that Abyss is off television and cannot defend the television title, what will happen to it? Bischoff said we’ll find out in weeks to come.

Question from Twitter asks how intrigued Bischoff is regarding the Best of WCW Nitro DVD that will be released and whether Bischoff will check it out. Bischoff said he probably won’t check it out. He said anything WWE does to acknowledge WCW or Nitro will be done in a way to benefit WWE from certain people’s egos, in a way to rewrite history. He doesn’t think it will give the proper recognition it should get. Bischoff won’t watch it as a result. He hopes he is wrong. He said it would be hard for McMahon and Kevin Dunn to acknowledge the fact that WCW/Bischoff had to teach them literally how to become a two-hour live television event every week, teach them how to change their formula how to survive. He said it’s a tough pill for upper management in WWE to swallow at this point.

What is a typical day like in Eric Bischoff’s life? Bischoff says there is no typical day. When he is in Wyoming working 3-4 days out of a time, he likes to spend time outdoors as much as he possibly can. He wants to spend time messing with his mules, horses just to be outside, in the winter time. He likes to do fishing, hiking, hunting whenever he can. When it comes to work, he’s usually up by 6:30 in the morning. It takes 45 mins to get things grinding. After drinking coffee, he checks his email, then goes on the phone and makes phone calls, following up on the day before. He says the last half of his day is dedicated in regards to writing, get email responses out of the way, and spend 2-3-4 hours a day either going through show notes, things already produced, or if he’s in the middle of creating a project, he would spend 2 hours doing that. Usually it is then 8-9:30 at night and he would finish phone calls and catch up on TV. He says that changes every day.

There is a fan from “Nitro, Virginia”. How would Bischoff like to see Charlie Sheen come to TNA Wrestling? Bischoff chuckles and says he’d love it! He says Charlie is getting a bad rap and he’s out there pushing the envelope. Bischoff said he probably can’t keep up with Sheen’s extra cirricular activities even if he is younger. He said Sheen is a smart and talented guy and if you listen to some of the things he says, he can take some intelligent shots wrapped in Charlie Sheen bizarroness. He says Sheen is funny and intelligent. If there was a way to get Sheen to come to TNA, he’d be the first to make it happen!

It was announced that Charlie Sheen was officially fired by Warner Bros and CBS. He’s unemployed and a free agent, the hosts note, so he needs to get people working on it. Bischoff said they might just do that. He said his partner Jason Hervey is a pretty good friend of Charlie so they may make it happen!

Fan asks about developmental territories and if TNA is planning on doing anything along those lines similar to NXT/Florida Championship Wrestling to build new talent. Bischoff said Team 3D’s academy in Orlando is in good relationship with TNA. He said TNA looks at those talent from time to time. Bischoff is friends with Brian Knobs and has schools coming up. So he has some informal relationships with some of the talent they know. There’s no formal relationship involved that he knows of.

How did the concept of Micro Championship Wrestling come about? How does he feel the venture of TruTV will stand out? Hogan called him almost two years ago and someone had MCW up and running. Hogan called Bischoff, Bischoff called Jason Hervey and saw potential. He thinks it’s going to be a great show and they have started production. They’re excited about it.

What are the main qualifications to look for to be a creative writer for a wrestling program? Bischoff says it’s a tough question similar to how you can make a million dollars. To Eric, he says you definitely need to understand the psychology of the wrestling business. He has worked and continue to work with great writers outside of wrestling. He says some are Emmy award winners/nominated writers. He says their wrestling ideas makes him go “what the hell”. It’s simple but difficult and challenging for others. He said many don’t understand the psychology of wrestling. He said that’s a problem of the business: some don’t understand fundamental psychology: some may understand the fundamental/business aspects and creative parts. But if you don’t understand the basic fundamentals of storytelling that’s unique to wrestling, more often than not, you’ll miss the mark. He said those he’d be talking to, he’d really dive into the person’s ability to understand psychology. He said he has talked to Emmy award winners that don’t get the psychology of wrestling storytelling, other than throwing good ideas against the wall from time-to-time.

Question on last week’s Impact rating. He says the reaction of the ratings were positive and that’s because Spike/TNA’s reaction is positive. Bischoff says TNA needs consistency. He says there won’t be quite the buzz on this week’s show. There was more buzz/anticipation for March 3rd than the next weeks. There’s no benefit from Bart Scott and Jersey Shore. But they want to show the fans they can do a great show and build upon that over a long period of time. It wasn’t designed to turn TNA around overnight. The plan was to show what it looked like for one night and build on that.

How has TNA progressed from last year to this year. Bischoff is happy with Immortal, with the current storyline. Bischoff says the next few months will be disciplined story building to Bound for Glory, with long term storylines. Immortal/TNA has a bright future and it’s going to be a fun future.

Next month is the one year anniversary of “The Hot Seat with Eric Bischoff”. May 2010 was the first show, however. Eric Bischoff’s fan page on Facebook is http://www.facebook.com/TheEricBischoff

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