I came into a batch of shoot interviews from James Guttman's World Wrestling Insanity website (I owe you some money JG, but I'll give you some great free high praise for now). Guttman is definitely in the upper echelon of interviews I've heard. He may not be as tough as Gary Cubeta, as knowledgeable as Dave Meltzer, as personable as Sean Oliver (KC) or as hilarious as Dr. Keith Lipinski, but he has components of all four that make him excellent in his own way. His interviews tend to run 30 minutes to an hour, but few go much longer than that. Although you'd think that would limit their scope, he gets a lot in there and has clearly learned his craft unlike some others who've been doing it for YEARS! The audio quality is alright, but I won't squabble too much over that. The "what's going on by you?" and "anything to say to all the lil' (insert a Hulkamaniac-like name of the pro-wrestler's followers) out there?" lines are nice signatures and I've got nothing but good things to say about JG and the Radio-free Insanity, I'm even tempted to buy the book now!
I will review a couple standouts from the Club WWI archives and I strongly urge people to check it out.
The first one that really caught my ear during a long road trip was with former WCW Executive Vice-President and WWE personality, Eric Bischoff. This was before Bischoff's recent foray into TNA land.
Love him or hate him, Eric Bischoff is a great talker, a media-savvy businessman and a true visionary. He is also painful honest with his perspectives. JG is a knowledgeable and respectful interviewer who seemed to gain Bischoff's respect and therefore scored a great interview. I've heard Bischoff in several different places (from WOL and the LAW to WWE and professionally done documentaries) and he's never sounded for insightful. In just over an hour, he shows just why he was able to become a boss at WCW, take that company to new heights and explains how it fell apart. While his book has been blasted, this seems excellent to me. His use of the Von Dutch phenomenon to make a point shows how outside of the bubble he truly is.
In all his honesty, Bischoff puts targets on himself. He has been said to have hated pro-wrestling, yet grew to respect it. That love-hate relationship gives him this quality that turns off many pro-wrestling enthusiasts. He really beats up on "dirt sheets," the Internet and pro-wrestling's core fans, which has to turn off 90% of the listeners. Although it's hard to compare a 65 minute interview to a 4 hour one, Eric Bischoff makes a very strong showing, but you really wish he'd do that career retrospective, fantasy booking or whatever shoot that could expose the goods that his book apparently lacked.
The Rating: ****1/4