On the latest episode of the “83 Weeks” podcast, Eric Bischoff and Conrad Thompson cover the WWE SmackDown debut on FOX from October 4, 2019 and all of the big news that was going on around that time with the WWE Draft, Kofi Kingston losing the WWE Champions to Brock Lesnar, Cain Velasquez’s WWE debut and more.
Here are some highlights from the show:
Bischoff talked about the debut of SmackDown on Fox, in particular, the draft: “I thought most of the process that I saw, and keep in mind, I was only there about 120 days before the launch, everything that I saw went amazingly smooth. But from the marketing and promotion side, from the coordination side, it ran like a Rolex. It was smooth and flawless. The challenging part was the creative in dealing with the draft. That was a freaking nightmare right up to the final moments before we went on air. It was constant second-guessing and back and forth and last-minute changes. It was brutal. Right up to the day of the show, none of us really knew for sure who was going where. Try writing TV that way by the way. There was a lot we didn’t know as we were going into that show when it came to talent and future stories.”
Bischoff talked about Vince McMahon’s appearance and said that his impression was that he didn’t want to do it: “It was my impression that Vince didn’t really want to do it. I can understand it. There comes a point when you are getting older that you realize the strength and the credibility that you bring to television isn’t what it used to be. It is what it is, we all get older. When you spend your life on television, you are aware of how you look and how you can present yourself. It was my impression that Vince didn’t really want to do it. It was also my impression that Stephanie really did want him to do it. Guess who won? I saw it go down. I wasn’t standing inches from them, but I was a couple feet away. I saw the hesitation from Vince and I saw the pressure put on by Stephanie. First of all, it made my heart fall seeing that father-daughter relationship and that exchange. It was really important to Stephanie. When they went out and did it, it was exciting as hell. It was the right thing to do, it brought tears to my eyes…But I think there was some awareness on Vince’s part that his time as a television character was in his rearview mirror…”
This backs up reporting from The Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Dave Meltzer has noted over the last few years that Vince no longer likes to appear on camera. You can check out Vince’s appearance in the video below.