Eric Bischoff Reveals More Changes to Impact Wrestling Format

Nick Paglino

Eric BischoffTNA Impact Wrestling producer Eric Bischoff recently did an interview with the One Wrestling Show podcast, and spoke on a number of topics including Scott Steiner's recent rants and the changes being made to Impact Wrestling. The following is an interview highlight:

Open Fight Night, Gut Check Challenge & More Changes To Impact:

"In my role as executive producer, one of the things that I really wanted to do — and I've been wanting to do this for a long time. My partner, Jason Hervey and I, we're in the television business and we work with many, many different television networks. In fact, just since we've been in TNA, we've wanted to produce nine different television series for eight different television networks in addition to executive producing Impact.

"One of the things that we've learned in producing different television series for different television networks is that in today's television environment, format is really king. There is no such thing as a successful television series out there. In any genre — whether it be scripted, reality or action — every successful television show has a successful format.

"Wrestling really doesn't. Wrestling has been produced much the same way as it always has for the last 15-25 years. What I wanted to do is change that. I wanted to create a very specific format for not only Impact, but for several. So, one of the things we did is that I got together with the creative team and we kind of worked through different formats.

"Week one, which is following the pay-per-view, is what we refer to as a 'Reset' format. Which means that we're really bringing everybody up to speed it they didn't order the pay-per-view. We have to reset our new stories going forward. I won't go into the details of that format because you've probably seen them many, many times before but there's a very specific purpose in the format.

"The second one is 'Open Fight Night'. The 'Open Fight Night' format is essentially a format where any wrestler can challenge any other wrestler and the wrestler that's being challenged has to take the challenge. Additionally, if someone challenges a champion, that world champion has to take that challenge regardless of any other condition. And as part of 'Open Fight Night', we're going to have the 'Gut Check' segment.

"The 'Gut Check' segment is a segment where an aspiring young wrestler, who really has never been on national television before and is not a member of the TNA roster, is going to get an opportunity to have a television match. If that wrestler impresses the judges enough — and that doesn't mean he or she has to win or lose, he or she just has to put on a great performance — if that aspiring wrestler impresses the judges, then that wrestler gets a TNA contract.

"So, that's essentially 'Open Fight Night' which includes the gut check challenge. And there's two others formats but your listeners will probably get bored if I go into the detail of them but one of them is called 'Name Your Game', which we'll be seeing in the next couple of weeks and the other is called 'Law & Order'. That's the last episode that we'll lay down before we go into a pay-per-view.

"So, they're four different, very specific formats that were designed to achieve very specific results. It was really something that Jason and I brought from our outside wrestling, television experience into TNA."

Where TNA Will Recruit Talent For The Gut Check Challenges:

"Certainly, some talent will come from OVW. I'm sure a lot of talent try-outs will come from OVW given the relationship that we have with them. But it's not exclusive.

"There will be other wrestlers, from other parts of the country, who are training at others schools and are not apart of OVW. They will also get an opportunity. … Theoretically, it's open to anyone. Al Snow is actually the person that's driving that program and heading up that program. If anybody from anywhere in the world wants to come in and get an opportunity to go to the 'Gut Check' on 'Open Fight Night' on Impact!, they just have to go through Al.

"They have to be qualified. There has to be a real good reason for us to put them on national television. But, yeah. Anybody from around the world."

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