Eric Bischoff Interview – Working With Vince Russo and Bruce Prichard, Creating Storylines
Eric Bischoff called into Extreme Pro Wrestling Radio on 100.3 FM The Fan in Minneapolis (on Twitter at EPWRadio) to discuss a number of topics with Big D, Tim and Crisco including the creative team for TNA Wrestling, who was going to be the third man in the nWo storyline before Hulk Hogan got on board, his current relationship with Vince McMahon and more. Highlights from the interview are as follows:
Comparing Bruce Prichard with Vince Russo in their roles writing for TNA Wrestling what are Bruce’s strengths: “It’s hard to compare, two entirely different people with entirely different skill sets and backgrounds and experiences and things like that so it’s kind of a waste of energy to try and compare them other than to say they are two completely different people. I enjoyed working with Vince, I don’t wanna ever sound like I didn’t. It was a challenge for me and it was a challenge for Vince because of our personalities and because of the way we approach things, but it was never personal for me…in TNA and I don’t think it was for him either.
“I like working with Bruce a lot because Bruce has more experience than I do. I’ve been in the business for 25 years and I have a lot of experience but Bruce has more than I do. Not only does he have more experience than I do but he experienced the peak of WWE, the formulas that worked there and the processes that work there, he understands production very very well. I’m actually very impressed with his knowledge of production. I love his sensibility and his philosophy regarding wrestling story and finishes in particular. We see, not eye to eye, because that’s not very good when two people agree on everything.
“We do have our moments, we had one about 24 hours ago I thought was going to last for 24 hours. But I respect him, he’s been there, he’s done that a couple times and he has the t-shirts. His philosophy is rooted very much in strong wrestling fundamentals. Wrestling is no different from comedy, it’s no different than drama, it’s no different than a really good action film, in that it all comes down to basic storytelling fundamentals.
“If you focus on the fundamentals, if you focus on the details and don’t shortcut, chances are your stuff will probably be pretty good. It’s when you try to get so off the wall and throw so much stuff up against the wall and try and be wacky for the sake of being wacky and you abandon simple fundamental story telling that’s when you crater and that’s what I like about working with Bruce. Even though we may disagree on certain things I know that when he is disagreeing he’s disagreeing from a point of good strong fundamentals and I respect that.”
Is there an angle or storyline that hasn’t been done yet: “First of all, if I did…or if I could..I wouldn’t do it here. Secondly, I’d be lying to you if I said I saw some secret sauce back in the cupboard in the back that nobody has figured out yet. Nah, I don’t think there is. Again, I don’t know how many different basic stories there are but someone told me a longtime ago that was a film major, basically there is seven basic stories…boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. There’s only seven different ways to tell a story and the art of storytelling and entertainment is just finding ways that feel new and camouflaging those seven basic stories so that it feels like something you haven’t seen before.
“I think we’re there with professional wrestling particularly over the last 15 years because of the just plethora of programming that’s out there. Going back to when Nitro was three hours and Thunder was two and Raw was three and then it was two and then it was three again and Smackdown is two hours then there’s a bunch of shows in syndication, a bunch of replays on cable. It’s like, I don’t know how we’ve survived as long as we have… Well, I do but it’s hard, it’s really hard to come up with a story that hasn’t been done before that the audience will accept. It’s funny, we just got done doing two days of really intensive research in a couple different cities. Fascinating research by the way. I’m a little bit of a research nerd.
“One of the things I have known for a longtime but it becomes very apparent when you’re sitting in a focus group of people who are identified as serious wrestling fans is that they’re very… they take ownership, they’re very particular, they’re almost obsessive compulsive about it for the most part and they expect you to treat their product, because they look at it as their product, with a tremendous amount of respect. The minute you try to get too cute with it, you really piss them off. So when you ask me, is there some new storyline, some new way of doing it, some new angles, some new talent, whatever…
“Yeah, there’s a couple different things we could try that have never been done before but I’m pretty sure how the audience would react that because it would be too far outside their box and comfort zone. It’s just like Nascar fans, if Nascar decided if instead of turning left for 400 miles they’re gonna turn right? People would just have seizures and die all over the country. Yeah, it’s never been done before, it’s really cool, feels different, feels fresh. It would be horrible, it’s the same with wrestling. You gotta be real careful with that, believe me…I have the scar tissue to prove it.”it.
Bischoff also remarks on scrapped plans to bring Sting into the now, his thoughts on son Garett’s wrestling career, his current relationship with Vince McMahon, and more. Click LIKE and listen to the interview here – www.facebook.com/extremeprowrestlingradio.