Eric Bischoff has been discussing the Lucha libre influence in American wrestling and how he would like to see more story-telling opportunities for luchadors.
Speaking to Lucha Libre Online, the former WCW President discussed showcasing luchadors on WCW television and allowing them to perform in their own style.
“I can tell you that I think one of the things that Nitro was known for—WCW and myself—was the fact that we put a lot of emphasis on luchadores and talent from Mexico. We brought them in and allowed them to wrestle their styles and not ask them to wrestle in the American Style. We let them bring a lot of the culture from Lucha Libre into the American product and put it on national television on prime time. Nobody had ever seen that before. Not on an American network to that extent. I think because we were the first ones to do it that we enjoyed a certain privilege of being able to experiment and do a lot of different things because it was new and the audience really enjoyed it. They hadn’t seen it before.”
Bischoff goes on to note that the novelty of Lucha libre may now be diminished as audiences have grown accustomed to seeing it on wrestling shows:
“Now the audience has seen over the last 20 years more Lucha libre in the United States and more wrestlers from Mexico wrestling in WWE and other organisations. It’s not as new anymore. It doesn’t feel as exciting anymore as when we first did it. It’s like being the first man on the moon. You can only be the first man on the moon. The second man on the moon… Meh! That’s pretty cool. But it is really not that big a deal because he wasn’t the first. So we were the first man on the moon speaking in terms of really presenting Lucha Libre to the American audience on a national platform.”
A former Executive Director of WWE SmackDown, Eric Bischoff then detailed what he would like to see companies do to showcase their luchadores:
“I think in any television show, and it doesn’t matter which show, the audience has to feel like they know the star or know about the star. I think just presenting the Hispanic wrestlers or Mexican wrestlers and just letting them go out there, I want to know more about them. So I think when any wrestling company uses someone from Mexico or someone from Puerto Rico be sure to bring with them a lot of background packages and a lot of storytelling devices that allow the audience to get to know that talent. I think that would go a long way to making people appreciate the Mexican culture and the Puerto Rican culture, as well as make the talent more interesting to the audience.”
On Bischoff’s 83 Weeks podcast, he has been discussing three factors that he felt led to the demise of WCW.
Credit: Lucha Libre Online
h/t Wrestlezone for the transcription