Eric Bischoff has used an unusual analogy to describe the rabid fanbase of TNA as he compares them to the owners of lovable, yet staggeringly ugly, dogs.
Bischoff was part of TNA for four years between 2010 and 2014. What started as a run that seemed full of promise as the former WCW President joined Hulk Hogan in joining the company ended in acrimony with Bischoff and TNA embroiled in a lawsuit.
Eric Bischoff explained on his 83 Weeks podcast [available early and ad-free at AdFreeShows.com] how TNA didn’t achieve the heady heights it could have but that didn’t matter to the incredibly loyal fanbase that the company had found from its inception:
“You know I think it all comes down to the fact that nobody ever took TNA [seriously]. Now TNA had its hardcore audience that loved everything TNA and loved the homegrown talent and loved the six-sided ring. There was a lot of people, there was a significant amount of people that really loved TNA because at that time, TNA was the alternative, right?”
“It wasn’t WWE, it wasn’t WCW, although they brought in a lot of WCW people, obviously, and some WWE people. But at its core, TNA was looked at as the homegrown alternative. And it had a loyal audience that followed it.”
“That loyal audience didn’t care that the show was being shot inside of a soundstage. They loved it so much, they didn’t care. They overlooked, dismissed, some of the obvious shortcomings of the IMPACT episodes under TNA because they loved it so much.”
“It’s like having an ugly dog. You know it may be an ugly dog, but that’s your ugly dog, and you love it, right? But when you get outside of that hardcore super-committed ugly dog owner, and you get out to the larger audience who look at TNA and they looked at that little soundstage and they never took it seriously. That audience is going to be far more critical of the product than the people with the ugly dog. It just is what it is.”
Eric Bischoff then discussed the major names that TNA had brought in over the years and says despite all those superstars, the company still remained for the most part in the IMPACT Zone and that’s why a wider fanbase than the “ugly dog owners” never took the company seriously:
“They look at the scale of the show, despite the fact that they brought in Sting, they brought in Booker T, they brought in Hulk Hogan, they brought in Kurt Angle, they brought in Jeff Hardy, they brought in Eric Bischoff, they brought in this guy, they brought in that guy, they brought in that guy.”
“And it still never got outside of that little kind of funky soundstage arena. And therefore people just generally, unless they’re really constructively being critical, look at TNA as a joke. Because it never really reached the level it should have reached, given the talent that was there.”