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Eric Bischoff on why AJ Styles was paired with Ric Flair in TNA, talks with Jim Ross in 2010

Impact Wrestling

Impact Wrestling

On the latest episode of "83 Weeks," Eric Bischoff and Conrad Thompson discuss TNA Victory Road and all of the big stories that were happening around that time.

Victory Road 2010 was headlined by Rob Van Dam vs. Abyss vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Ken Anderson in a 4-Way match. Bischoff and Thompson discussed that match and the rest of the card including AJ Styles and Frankie Kazarian vs. Rob Terry and Samoa Joe, Jay Lethal vs. Ric Flair, The Motor City Machine Guns vs. Beer Money, and more.

Here are some highlights from the podcast:

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Eric Bischoff talked about getting talent over and the push of AJ Styles in TNA circa 2010: “What does pushing a guy mean? Again, another subjective term. It can mean different things to different people. There’s no rule book. There’s no recipe for getting talent over. If there was, by the way, there would be a ton of talent that was truly over in WWE. There would be talent that is truly over in AEW. There would be talent that is truly over in Impact. With all due respect to all of the talent in all three of those organizations, none of them really are. When you have talent that is truly over and your stories are over and your presentation is over, guess what happens? Your audience grows. When you don’t have talent that is truly over and your product isn’t over, guess what happens? Your audience deteriorates and declines. TNA needed to grow AJ Styles as a character. I think AJ Styles probably hit his peak in terms of what he was able to contribute in TNA in the context of what TNA was able to operate at that moment. He was already as popular as he was already going to get. Keeping the belt on him and pushing him longer, you would have gotten the same results every single week. That is not growing your audience. That is not building the character. When you got a guy like AJ Styles, who was amazing as you can get, but wasn’t that good on the mic back then. He just wasn’t. He had a one dimensional character. Yes, it was cool and he could compensate for his lack of depth as a character outside of the ring or on the mic. He could more than compensate by what he could deliver in the ring. But, guess what? That’s not enough. If you really want to get to that next level, you have to be able to do all of it. In AJ’s situation, we believed that hooking AJ up with Ric Flair, by giving him that Ric Flair rub, by allowing AJ to take advantage of some of that massive equity that Ric Flair had with generations of wrestling fans, in both WWE and in WCW would be the shot in the arm that AJ needed as a character and also would force AJ, to a degree against his will, learn how to become a different character than that wholesome, white bread, ass kicking, homegrown TNA talent.”

Eric Bischoff talked about getting Jim Ross into TNA circa 2010: “I was fully supportive of it. At that point in time, because of the support we had from Spike TV and Viacom to the way the roster was growing, to the television rating that were starting to create a bit of a trend, to the live events that we were producing at the time that looked like they were growing in a while, there were a lot of indicators we were moving in the right direction. I thought the one thing we needed was that voice. Jim’s voice. I thought if Spike was going to go more in with us and create more opportunities, then bringing in a guy like Jim Ross would be instrumental into helping achieve that. I was fully supportive of it.”

If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit 83 Weeks with Eric Bischoff with a h/t to for the transcription