We haven’t heard much from either of WWE’s new Executive Directors – Raw’s Paul Heyman and SmackDown’s Eric Bischoff – since the news broke last week that they’d be taking point on the company’s two main brands. But Bischoff did address his new job at the end of his latest 83 Weeks podcast with Conrad Thompson.
Honestly, there’s still not a ton of substance in Eric’s remarks. The big news item would be that he’s moving from Wyoming to Connecticut in order to get hands around his new “23/7” job working for Vince McMahon. His target date for that move, July 10 or 11, could mean the first show with Bischoff involved would be Tues., July 16 – the Extreme Rules fallout episode from Worcester, Massachusetts.
Even minus any bombshells, it’s still a good promo. It certainly demonstrates the man who once ran a wrestling company for Ted Turner knows that running a sports entertainment show for Vince (and Fox) is a very big deal.
“First of all, I want to say thank you. I’m overwhelmed with the support, the positive response that I got on social media after WWE made the announcement that I’ll be joining the team and getting involved with SmackDown. The amount of response I got, I knew it was gonna be – I knew I’d get response, I knew it would probably be a lot, but I was absolutely overwhelmed by the nature of that response and how positive it was, just the sheer volume of it all. I think people are really excited. I’ll let everybody know, the magnitude of this opportunity and the challenge and the commitment that goes along with it is not lost on me. There’s been a couple times over the last few days where I’ve been driving around in my truck or taking my dog for a hike and going, ‘wow’. This may be – it’s not maybe, this is the biggest opportunity I’ve ever had in this industry. Granted, when [Turner President] Bill Shaw made me president of WCW, obviously that was a very big moment.
But I was learning on the job there. I was taking – I had nothing to lose there. I was taking a company in WCW that had never turned a dollar profit, that was such a distant number two to WWF at that time that we weren’t even really number two, a company that was fraught with a bad history and all kinds of internal issues. So I had nothing to lose. In this situation, this is an entirely different ballgame here. This is a very sophisticated company in WWE. There is a great team already in place. They’re moving the SmackDown show to Fox Network, which is obviously gonna have a lot of eyeballs on them in every way. So the magnitude of the opportunity is not lost on me. I said this in a tweet, this is probably the only thing I’m really gonna say beyond this is, and I mean this. I almost get a tear in my eye saying it, I’m honored, I’m humbled, and I can not express – even here, cause this is a different kind of excitement for me. I haven’t felt this way maybe in forever? But at least 20 years. This is a whole different ballgame.
And I honestly, Loree and I, my dog Nickie, we’re gonna load up our truck and we’re heading out to Stamford probably on the 10th or 11th of July. I mean literally, we’re going out there with the clothes on our back and some of it in boxes, and we’re starting over from scratch. And I’ve never been more excited. Just the opportunity at this stage in my life and my career to be able to make a move like this is so – exciting doesn’t even cover it, it’s thrilling, and I just can’t wait.
This is not a remote control kind of an opportunity, this is a deep dive. This is a 23/7 kind of a gig, this is not something I can do on my laptop remotely. This is the real deal.”
Bischoff says the podcast will continue, and he credits it allowing him to reexamine his time with WCW (the title refers to the number of weeks Nitro beat Raw in the ratings from 1996 – 1998) and re-energize his passion for the business. Thompson announced that Eric’s new job does mean they’ll have to “pause” live editions they had planned. He also says the focus of 83 Weeks will remain on “nostalgia”, and current WWE product or business will never be discussed.
So, not a ton of detail, but a little something to consider while we wait for Bischoff and Heyman to get their hands in the pie.