The following is an interview highlight from the Monday Night Mayhem radio show:
Monday Night Mayhem had Eric Bischoff on their nine year anniversary today live today.
Bischoff took questions from fans. When asked about the Super Bowl, Bischoff said he used to live in Pittsburgh.
A fan mentions the ratings of TNA and how successful they were. Bischoff said one of the things that’s resonating with the audience is integrating reality with characters, and keeping an edge. Bischoff says the storyline arc started back in October at Bound For Glory and is continuing and leading up to March 3. Bischoff said investment in a long term storyline arc and reality, and keeping a sharper edge. He said it’s a combination of those things.
A question was about Fortune being revealed as "they". Bischoff said he hates the three-part questions. Bischoff says it wasn’t close to seeing the return of the Main Event Mafia. He said there were some shifts, but they knew way in advance that there was going to be an issue. There were plans to adjust the plans accordingly. He said Nash signed an agreement with WWE. Bischoff said he isn’t involved in talent signs of things. He said Nash/TNA departed as friends. He said nothing caught them off flat-footed. When wheels were off original plan, it was a matter of time before "Plan B" took place.
Bischoff says Plan B was well received and caught everyone by surprise. He said the guys were pretty excited about it. He said Fortune is a strong, aggressive, emerging group of talent. He said he’d prefer that you ask the talent because he doesn’t like to speak for others.
Immortal vs. Fortune. Was it meant to occur too fast? Bischoff said he prefers not to get into it. He says where they are now is where they would be in a matter of time. He said it caught them flatfooted a bit.
Why is everyone ducking the Sting rumor? Bischoff says he is not aware of whether Sting is with TNA or not. He’s not involved in talent acquisitions or discussions/negotiations, so he’s not in the front line of it. Bischoff doesn’t think Sting would go to WWE, but if it was, it would be for a short time, maybe merchandise/licensing. Bischoff says anyone that expects Sting to show up in WWE as a full-time wrestler will be disappointed.
Bischoff says he hasn’t seen Desmond Wolfe on the next set of tapings and is unsure about the future of Wolfe as he doesn’t know.
How does Bischoff react to people that discount Bischoff’s abilities, such as TNA’s downfall? Bischoff said last he checked, TNA is doing pretty well. Bischoff said 10% of the people make 90% of the negative noise. The smallest percentage of the Internet are giving wrestling fans in general a bad name.
An opinion of WWE’s product. Bischoff says he hasn’t been watching. He respects Shane, Vince, Stephanie. He says the company has taken this business to a new level: a television juggernaut. Bischoff says the youth movement is good. Bischoff says WWE’s business is down and finds it ironic? Bischoff says WWE goes back to the older talent to bring business back up (Nash, Booker T, Sting, Jerry Lawler going for the title).
Bischoff says Nature Boy isn’t going anywhere. He said there are two sides to every story, there may have been a lot blown out of proportion. He says there isn’t an issue that he is aware of with TNA/Flair. He said he sees Flair’s name on the next set of tapings and he doesn’t hope Flair is going anywhere.
Question: how do you take experiences and mistakes from the past and apply them to current situations today? Bischoff says he goes by feel when it comes to creative, characters. He elaborated a little more about this.
Is the Vince Russo hate uncalled for? Bischoff says no doubt. Eric says nobody is perfect or 100% all the time. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and Vince is no different. Day in, day out, consistently, Vince is more than proven himself to be an extremely talented guy, proves he can change/adapt, strives to put out the best product. He says he never met anyone that worked harder and most of what people are enjoying right now can dfirectly be attributed to Russo.
How is Hulk Hogan doing? Bischoff says Hogan is doing well from all the discussions he has with him. He says you will see Hogan in Fayetteville on 2/24 – which will be March 3rd.
Bischoff says you will see a powerful show from a content point of view on March 3rd (2/24). He says you will see a show that is from a content point of view, going to be different than what you typically see. He says you will see a different kind of energy in an energized crowd. He didn’t want to say better crowd. He says there are positives and negatives in Impact Zone. He says an audience that doesn’t show up every tapings or hang out with the wrestlers at hotels. He says the show is going to "feel" much different?
Hulk/Eric’s contract that is up this year – rumours. Bischoff doesn’t comment on contractual issues? He won’t comment on that.
Scott Steiner’s return. Main event player at this point in his career? Bischoff says anyone that underestimates Steiner’s in ring ability is kidding themselves. Bischoff says he is unsure about how he will be used, but he knows that Scott Steiner is a player, wherever he is. He’s believable, intense, and is a workhorse in the ring.
Bischoff has a high opinion of Robert Roode as a talent. Final question. With the road to wrestlemania, Eric is not afraid of competition. With that said, with the recent spike in Impact ratings, how pleased is Eric to see the progression of the company over the part of the past several weeks. What can the fans expect in upcoming weeks/months?
Bischoff said this past year, there were 7-8 weeks of the highest ratings in the history. He said TNA is slowly but surely are hitting in the right direction. He said there were some speed bumps, he said they are building momentum and good talent. He wants to take the show in the road, inject the show with different kind of energy. He says they have a good future and is very proud of it.
The show went to commercial break and Kevin Nash is scheduled to be on the show right afterwards. This show aired on Monday Night Mayhem’s official site. Visit Eric Bischoff’s Facebook page and Monday Night Mayhem’s Facebook.