On a recent episode of 83 Weeks, Eric Bischoff talked about TNA Lockdown 2011 and he discussed Impact Wrestling’s relationship with AEW today.
Here are some highlights from the podcast:
Bischoff talked about the rumors of Jim Ross and Paul Heyman having talks with TNA circa 2010-11:
“It wasn’t a rumor with Jim Ross. I was part of the conversation. I think I was the one that gave Jim’s contact information to Dixie. It wasn’t a rumor. It was a real conversation, and I was part of that conversation. I may have initiated that conversation to a certain degree. I was a catalyst for it, at least, and fully supportive of it. So, that wasn’t a rumor. That was true. It didn’t work out. Jim ultimately decided not to join TNA. I think Jim even made a trip to the ranch in Texas to meet Bob and Janice Carter. That’s how serious it got. It was way more than a rumor.
I think with Paul Heyman, I wasn’t a part of those conversations. I knew they were taking place. It didn’t bother me. People don’t know this. I have been working on and off with Paul Heyman since the middle of 1987. So, the idea of working with Paul wasn’t something that made me go, ‘Wow, I wonder what that’s going to be like.’ We didn’t always get along all that great by the way. We weren’t adversarial or anything like that. He was doing his thing and I was doing mine. By the time I got to WWE and WCW was no more, and ECW was no more, we were both talent in WWE, Paul and I spent a lot of time talking creatively and historically, and just our general feelings of things. We developed a great relationship. We kept it kayfabe because we never knew when we might have an opportunity to make some money together, so we wanted people to buy into the ‘Heyman hates Bischoff, Bischoff hates Heyman’ story, but it wasn’t true at all. We had dinner together in L.A. on occasion when Paul was a talent and I was living in L.A. part time. By the time of the subject of Paul coming into TNA percolated, I was fine with it, but I wasn’t a part of it in any way, shape or form, so I don’t know any details of what Paul wanted or what the possible role he would have played. I don’t know any of that. I just knew that there were conversations between him and Dixie.”
Bischoff was asked about his thoughts on tonight’s Impact PPV Title vs Title match with Kenny Omega vs Rich Swann and the working relationship between the two companies:
“I don’t watch the Impact product. I just can’t. I’ll just leave it at that. Nobody does give a f*ck. I guess it’s presumably some kind of a benefit to Impact to have talent from AEW come over and participate on their show. Nobody cares. Nobody’s going to watch it. I’m sure the action is good. I’m sure there’s some great matches. I don’t watch it, but I’m guessing there’s some great matches that take place. If you’re a fan of it, great. But, step back. Take your fan hat off. Put on a business hat and go ok, ‘Well, why does it matter? How has it been performing? Who has benefitted? In terms of numbers, how has this benefited anybody?’ Or, is it really diluting, AEW in particular, in my opinion, and not really helping Impact because when the AEW component of this eventually goes away, if indeed it does, I’m assuming it’s going to stop at some point, what do you have left? Less than you started with because you’ve been building your brand around something that’s only temporary. I get it. I understand why they did it. I understand what their thinking may have been. I don’t know. I have no insight. But, if the thought process was, ‘Well look, they’re on TNT and they have 750,000 viewers at that time, now they’re up to 1 million, AEW, kudos to them for that.
But, if you’re Impact and you’re delivering 130,000 viewers a week, which is basically a Youtube video, and you have an opportunity to get your product and your brand on a much higher profile network, with four or five times the audience that you have, why wouldn’t you do that? I get that. There’s nothing wrong with the logic. But, what has the dividend been so far? Have Impact ratings gone up week after week?