Eric Bischoff: Internet hurts business, talent

via Wikimedia Commons under CCA-SA2.0

Eric Bischoff addresses his role with TNA, the company's prospects and his views on how the internet and other wrestling journalism hurts wrestling in a recent interview.

Eric Bischoff's character may have disappeared from Impact Wrestling and its Thursday night broadcasts on Spike TV, but he is still involved with the promotion. And he's never been shy about giving his spin on just about any topic that's brought to him.

In a recent interview with Canada's SLAM! Sports, Easy E addressed the recent challenges that TNA has been experiencing on the public relations front, his role with the company and how the way pro wrestling news is distributed and consumed actually is bad for business.

Recent cost-cutting moves have left the TNA roster without many of the names that have been associated with the company in recent years. Asked about this source of bad buzz, Bischoff is quick to get out of the way:

My role doesn't extend to the hiring and firing or recruiting. That's the business side of TNA's business, and I'm not involved in that.

My partner Jason Hervey and I are the Executive Producers of Impact. Essentially, my role is: to oversee the creative side of the production; to be involved in post-production as is necessary; to execute the creative direction and vision of each episode; to work closely with the network to make sure the TNA side of the equation understands the network's goals; and to the liaison for TNA on the production side of things so that the network understands what our challenges are, and where we're going, and what we're trying to do. My involvement is really limited to the show itself. I'm not involved in many aspects of the business that the internet would suggest I'm involved in.

So blame him for bad stories, but not for the fact that your favorite wrestlers aren't in those bad stories.

Going further into that darn "internet" and their suggestions, he feels that wrestling coverage in general and its propensity to take rumor for fact is bad for all involved:

Unfortunately, the internet - the dirt sheets, the blogs, whatever you want to call them - a lot of them are operating with partial information. And that hurts a lot of the different parties involved. It hurts the talent in certain respects; it hurts the business in certain respects; it hurts the credibility of the people who write about things that they don't fully understand. It's unfortunate, but that's the nature of the business.

Can't say as I completely disagree with him here. The cloaked nature of pro wrestling, even in these "we all know it's scripted" days, leads to a lot of speculation, and the nature of journalism in the age of Twitter means that everyone wants to get "news" out first and make it sound confirmed, even when they know that it's neither.

On the other hand, promoters such as the author of Controversy Creates Cash, don't hesitate to use the rumor mill whenever they can. And they're not willing to throw back the curtain completely to allow for real investigation or reportage:

(That's like asking if) I feel that I owe the fans confidential information about the inside workings of the company. Absolutely not. I don't have the right or the ability to discuss personal information. Nor should I, nor should anybody else for that matter. Some things are just confidential. They may involve details of some other peoples' investments, or could involve someone's career. Not everything is suitable for public consumption.

A middle ground between insider trading and full-on tabloid paparazzi-ing could probably be struck, but okay.

He's still cautiously bullish on TNA's prospects for growth:

I think the business, and the television business, is an extremely competitive one. It's a very difficult one for a lot of people and for a lot of networks - we're competing with general entertainment, we're competing for extremely valuable real estate on a very important television network that's owned by a very important media conglomerate.

But I think there is a ton of potential in TNA. It's uniquely positioned to grow, and to become much larger in many ways than it is right now.

Even as he broadens his own portfolio using the company's name:

Jason and I together own a significant portion of a gaming company that creates and produces digital or online casino style games that are distributed around the world. Our latest project is a TNA branded digital slot machine that's being played, as we speak, on the larger networks in Europe. Just yesterday we got initial feedback that the game debuted - just about a month ago - at number two in its category. It's charting really well, and all signs indicate that it's going to be a great success. And we're proud of that because it's a new product, it's a new model, and nobody else has done it.

To sum up, he's still innovating, TNA could get bigger but there are lots of reasons outside of his control that it might not, the stuff that they're getting hammered for in the wrestling media isn't his responsibility and the wrestling media is pretty much not helping in general.

Your thoughts, internet wrestling fans?

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