Welcome back wrestling fans to another fantastic interview here on Kayfabe Kickout. For this interview I had the immense pleasure to speak with Bruce Mitchell, Senior Columnist for PWTorch.com. Few individuals in the world of professional wrestling journalism can match Bruce's expertise and knowledge, and passion for the business of pro wrestling.
Bruce has been in the professional wrestling journalism game for over two decades, and has written thousands of informative articles on the subject of pro wrestling.
There isn't one single topic of professional wrestling, whether it's the WWE, TNA, or promotions of yesteryear, that Bruce doesn't have insight on, and his views on the subject of professional wrestling are refreshing to say the least.
I spoke with Bruce on who he thinks is the biggest star ever in professional wrestling, what was the one factor that killed WCW, where TNA will be in one year and so much more.
Richard: For some wrestling fans who may not be familiar with your work with PWTorch.com how did you get your start as a professional wrestling journalist?
Bruce: Back in the pre-internet day, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, the Wrestling Observer newsletter had a popular letters page to which I contributed long, long letters. At about the same time, around 1990, I started subscribing to the Torch. He had a columnist named Bill Kunkel who wrote something way too WWF friendly, for me -a southern NWA guy's taste. A buddy of mine, John Hitchcock, and I worked up a parody of Kunkel's piece (trolling pre-internet), sent it in and Wade published it. I wrote it and Hitch drew the cartoons. Kunkel wasn't too happy. Wade hired me to write for him anyway. That was 23 years ago. I still watch wrestling shows with Hitch.
Richard: Who in your opinion is the bigger professional wrestling superstar; Hulk Hogan or John Cena?
Bruce: In the Eighties? Hulk Hogan - of course John Cena was only six years old. Now? John Cena - of course Hulk Hogan is sixty years old. That's a tough question. Hulk Hogan dominated a time where there many more wrestling fans and built the foundation John Cena stands on. That said, I'll go with Cena because Hogan was a major factor in WCW going out of business, something that the industry has yet to recover from.
Richard: Do you think the big promotions like the WWE and TNA should be more receptive to the idea of speaking to wrestling news media sites like PWTorch.com?
Bruce: I do think it would do them good to understand they are a business like any other and should be covered professionally by people who have proven they know their business. Should WWE and TNA speak on the record to the top wrestling news media sites (they already do OTR)? It depends on how much they have to hide.
Richard: What are your thoughts on TNA using mainstream MMA Stars like Tito Ortiz and Rampage Jackson?
Bruce: If they won't participate in worked matches you can't use them to build to anything on pay-per-view that will draw money. If they help draw a rating and Spike TV is paying for most of it, I guess it's OK. TNA is clearly evolving into pretty much a TV show.
Richard: There are many mixed opinions on the Attitude Era and the Monday Night Wars, do you think this era hindered professional wrestling or helped it?
Bruce: They led to the biggest financial boom period in wrestling history, so clearly they helped. That said, the key was that the right stars were in place.
Richard: Do you get a lot of flak from your friends and family because of your job as a professional wrestling journalist?
Bruce: My family has no interest at all in what I do in pro wrestling. My non-wrestling friends vaguely know I do something with it, and will say supportive, if patronizing, things to me about it if I bring it up. My wrestling friends, the ones I go to and watch shows with, are completely unimpressed, but they like to hear the gossip. That all may sound bad, but it's actually pretty cool.
Richard: Getting back to TNA, with the recent roster cutbacks and other major financial issues with the company where do you see the promotion in one year?
Bruce: Maybe at the same place it is right now, drawing the same TV rating on Spike. I've always thought TNA would survive until some accountant no one has ever heard tells Panda Energy that enough is enough. That said, the fate of Bellator could impact TNA too.
Richard: Do you think the advent of the internet has destroyed professional wrestling in terms of keeping Kayfabe alive?
Bruce: Nah, I think the internet's influence of pro wrestling's business is completely over-rated. The vast majority of wrestling fans just watch TV when they want their wrestling fix.
Richard: What do you think was the one major factor that destroyed WCW, if one factor can be pinpointed?
Bruce: The selfish short-sightedness of the top talent and management's lack of knowledge and discipline (OK, that's two)
Richard: I'd like to get your thoughts on blood in pro wrestling, do you think it's essential to tell a good story in the ring, or is it just window dressing?
Bruce: Essential? No. I've seen too many good big money matches on successful shows that didn't have any blood to think that. Wrestlemania, anyone? Most people think blood in pro wrestling is gross and advertisers and TV networks (Spike TV excluded) want nothing to do with it. The money is the mainstream of American culture, and that's where WWE wants to be.
Fans can check out Bruce's columns and audio on PWTorch.com, as well as their free live and podcast shows Monday through Friday (Monday 7-8 Est before Raw, Tuesday through Friday 5:30 - 6:30 with Live Interview Fridays) on pwtorchlivecast.com and blogtalkradio.com. Also on their new youtube.com/pwtorch channel with interviews with Scott Hall, Bob Holly, J.J. Dillon, and a host of more.
I want to personally thank PWTorch.com Senior Columnist Bruce Mitchell for taking the time to speak with me here on Kayfabe Kickout.
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