Taz recently spoke with Busted Open Radio. Here are some highlights:
On if TNA is on the upward swing in 2014 after a disappointing 2013:
“I think I can speak on behalf of most of the guys in the company, the roster, the creative team, production–I mean, I’m sure they all– it’s nice hearing someone say that probably. Look, you guys know TNA has been the whipping boy in the industry online for a couple of years now. I mean god, I’ve been here now five years and I’ve heard from where I came in, “you’re going out of business, the place is going out of business, yadda yadda.” Ok yeah. Enough with that. They’re not going out of business. As long as you have a TV contract, you’re not going out of business. As long as you have a niche audience that you have with over a million people 52 weeks a year with original programming on world wide TV; you’re not going out of business. That’s for all you smart marks because you think you know everything and you really don’t. So that’s number one.
Number two; I agree there was some–it was a rougher year maybe? You’re right, I kind of agree with you. Look, you have down times, you have up times. I mean that’s–same with WWE. Same, I’m sure with ROH.I remember when I was with ECW, it was the same with us. Everybody thinks that everything we did in ECW was the cat’s meow. And everything Paul (Heyman) touched was gold. No it wasn’t. Paul would be the first one to tell you not everything worked. For all of us. The wrestlers back then and the current wrestlers now. Listen, fans need to realize that our industry is the most unique because there is no down time. There is no off season. So you hear wrestlers or promoters or whomever in interviews say that a lot what I just said. There’s no off season like the NFL or the NBA or Major League Baseball, NHL. True, right? But put it in perspective and really think about that. There’s no off season. Therefore, these creative teams in TNA or WWE or wherever that get bashed and ripped by hardcore wrestling fans. Which are the fans that–believe me when I tell you behind the scenes we all truly love cause we know no matter what, through thick and thin, they’ll always be there.
The thing is man it’s not an easy task to write 52 weeks of TV and stay fresh. With the most–an audience that is so fickle and that expects so much more and to top yourself every week. That’s an extremely, extremely ambitious thing to do. I’m telling you, I’ve been in creative meetings with the WWE. I’ve been in meetings with TNA and I’m not on the creative team but I’ve been part of giving input at times.–Guys, there’s so much more involved with it then you’ll ever, ever, ever, ever know. And how difficult it truly is. So to understand, I don’t want to speak for WWE but I think the industry as a whole that’s doing TV every week could understand that it’s a deal where–you gotta try to keep it fresh, keep it hot, keep doing stuff that keeps people talking. Keep your talent over. Get the guys and gals over that you’re trying to get over and hopefully they click and connect with the audience. You gotta do that every week! So you know there are times where TNA–yeah. We might have some shows that are horrible but then there might be some shows that are great. I can tell you those shows that were horrible; the intentions were for those shows to be great. Okay, so it’s like a baseball player. He gets to the box. He gets up to the plate. His intention is to make contact and get on base. His intention isn’t to hit a foul ball or foul out or strike out or hit a pop up. He wants to get on base. Okay. Same with us. We want every show to be a homerun. Every show. That’s the goal. That don’t always work. Look, I just wanted people to understand that that’s kind of the ebb and flow, the ups and downs of the industry.”
On what direction would he go if he had complete control of TNA:
“I would bring MVP in to be the investor. (Laughs) If I was in complete control of TNA, I would do anything–if WWE right now was going left; I would go right. And if they started going right; I would go left. So that’s what I would do. I would try to be the complete opposite of WWE. That’s just my opinion. I don’t have millions invested. I don’t make tons and tons of money as an upper management guy. I don’t go in focus groups. I’m not part of that whole research team. I–this is just some blue-collared guy from Brooklyn that wrestled for a living that talks about wrestlers now giving you my opinion. Doesn’t mean I’m right. I’m probably wrong. But that’s just what I would do as a wrestling fan and a former wrestler; is try to be–look I think our show last night, it looked awesome. I mean hi-def, beautiful bright lights, awesome lighting grid, the whole nine yards. Thousands upon thousands of people. You know all of this stuff, it looks great on TV. The way its shot. Awesome camera work. All these camera shots. Tons of money going into the production. Me? I’m old school. Give us a couple of cameras, a spotlight over the ring, dark out the arena, let’s get after it. That’s my idea, you know? But that doesn’t draw millions. Or NWA would still be in business. And ECW. So what do I know? But that’s what I would do.”
On The Great Muta coming to Lockdown; how much has changed in a year:
“I think that’s awesome. I mean, geez. Who doesn’t have mad respect for The Great Muta? Great Muta is just the bomb. I mean just a legend. Iconic figure in our industry worldwide. I mean no doubt about it. So I think that’s awesome. Very excited. I have not seen Muta in years. Looking forward to seeing him again. Last time I saw him it was in Tokyo, many years ago when I was wrestling there. But I’m looking forward to seeing him.
On the Aces And Eights Angle:
“And yeah a lot has changed from Aces and Eights being gone. I thought the Aces and Eights deal was a very cool concept. Some people loved it; some people hated it. I liked it a lot. Even if I wasn’t a part of the gimmick, which I was, I still would’ve liked it. I really liked it a lot. That was during a time where we had different heads of states in there running stuff. I thought it went a little long for my liking. A little long but I thought it was really cool. I thought it helped create some bars. I thought it was a cool gimmick.
It think it really helped Bully Ray immensely. And now Bully Ray is at a point where he helps things. He don’t need things helping him anymore. And that’s kind of what our business is about; is you want to put a title on a guy to help make the guy. And once that guy’s made, let’s get it on someone to help him. And now once that guy is made, he can help someone else. It’s kind of like hot tag. You just tag in and out. And that’s kind of what happened with Aces and Eights with Bully Ray I felt. You know that really helped him, pole-vault him, really give him a platform to show the world who he is as a character. And he kicked ass on it. He did an awesome job on it. I think that you gotta tip your cap to guys like Eric Bischoff who were heavily behind the Aces and Eights concept. I thought he did a great job with it. And the rest of the creative team with Matt Conway and Dave Lagana. I thought they did a great job with that. There were a lot of guys in that thing at one point. It got a little crazy. But then it simmered down and all that stuff. And that was for a reason. Now Aces and Eights are a thing of the past. And that’s cool. We just move on. We keep evolving.
So the whole investor angle, I’m not sure where it’s going. It’s really cool. You saw with Dixie Carter last night, she was kind of– her character was freaking out a little bit backstage. Nervous, oh my god the investor’s here now. Boom. Now we’re going to see the fallout, right? We’re gonna watch Impact this week to see what MVP’s gonna say. What he’s gonna do? How do The Wolves play a part of this? Who else is involved with this if anyone? What’s Dixie Carter’s reaction? Sorry, I’m giving you the whole announcers deal right here. Breaking it down for you. But those are the questions I think true fans would ask.”