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Eric Bischoff: play-by-play is lacking in WWE, Michael Cole is “not produced in a way that we are allowed to see it”

This week on “83 Weeks” is a “Ask Eric Anything” episode where Eric Bischoff answers questions sent in by fans.

Bischoff and Conrad Thompson discuss the Big Bang pay-per-view that was rumored to happen when Bischoff and Fusient Media Ventures thought they were going to purchase WCW. Bischoff talks about rumors of Sting being the third man to join the NWO, Steve Austin as a Horsemen, thoughts on the Eye for an Eye match at WWE Extreme Rules and much more.

Here are some highlights:

Bischoff commented on the influence Rey Mysterio had on the industry: “If you take one person that personifies what the cruiserweight division actually did for the industry as a whole, I think Rey Mysterio on Nitro established the fact. Not just Rey. I don’t mean to not acknowledge so many other people, but if you had to pick one person that you can say that person and the cruiserweight division as a whole changed the way the product was presented and still to this day is being presented, I don’t think without Rey Mysterio and guys like him, including Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit and the entire Luchadore roster and so many others, I don’t think without that, I don’t know we would have transitioned in the era where guys are 175 pounds, 185 pounds, 200 pounds were viable in this industry. Until the cruiserweight division, they weren’t. You can argue, and it would be a fair argument that they were active in ECW or they were active in Japan, well sure, they were, but not in a way where in a place that affected the industry quite like the cruiserweight division did. It was such an important era and strategy in changing the industry. I think a guy like Rey Mysterio was the most influential of the group and opened the door for what we see today, which is an entirely different presentation of the product than what we were seeing 20 years ago. I think that is largely because of the influence of the cruiserweight division as a whole.”

Bischoff gave his thoughts on Michael Cole’s work in WWE: “I don’t think you can judge play by play or color commentary for that matter in WWE and assign that judgment to the individual who is performing. Michael Cole is heavily produced. He is doing what he is asked to do. He is obviously doing it very well because he’s been in that position a long time. He is delivering exactly what the guy who signs his checks wants him to deliver. So I applaud him for doing that. That’s your job. When you take that job, when you agree to do that job, you know what the rules are. You know what the process is. You know what the parameters are and you sign up for it. You do the best you can, and Cole does that. Now, do I agree with that approach to play by play? I said it 100 times and I’ll say it 100 more times, absolutely not. I think play by play is one of the missing ingredients in WWE, not so much in AEW. I feel strongly about J.R. and Tony as a team. Part of that is because of my relationship with them and having worked with them…Play by play is a different art form. I love hearing traditional play by play. Tell me what’s going on. Describe to me what’s going on in a way as if I’m blind. Paint that picture for me in my mind. It enhances people who don’t have sight issues when you describe it that way because you are creating a sense of being there and seeing it live, even though you are watching it on TV, you feel like you are in the venue. The way WWE produces their play by play approach doesn’t provide that opportunity. I think that is seriously lacking. I think Michael Cole is doing an amazing job. On my very best day as a play by play announcer, I couldn’t carry Michael Cole’s bag to the arena. He has the ability. He’s just not produced in a way that we are allowed to see it.”

Bischoff talked about the release of Ricky Steamboat from WCW in 1994: “Number 1, I really appreciated Ricky Steamboat as a performer, professional, and a human being. I worked with Ricky for a very brief period of time. We were in WCW together when I was an announcer and shortly thereafter when I got into management. I always found all of our discussions very productive, very positive, very professional, and obviously, I admired his work as a performer. When things got difficult with Ricky, it wasn’t because of Ricky. It was because of Ricky’s wife at the time. When you have your wife, especially a wife who has been around the business for a while and knows some of the other principals; Ricky’s ex-wife was very familiar with the wrestling business, or thought she was. She was the issue, not Ricky. That’s what became problematic. When you get to the point where you can’t reason with someone, or rationalize with someone, or they are dealing from a perspective from fear or anxiety or anger or whatever the case was, or thinking they know more than they really do. When you let your wife handle your business, sometimes things blow up. That was the case with Ricky. But, it was not a reflection from my perspective on Ricky. We couldn’t deal with his crazy ex-wife any longer.”

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

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