The following recap of TSN’s Off The Record with Michael Landsberg is from Steve Khan of WrestlingObserver.com:
Up Front with Eric Bischoff
Landsberg asks Bischoff (who is doing the interview over the phone) if wrestling should be covered critically like other pro sports and Bischoff says yes. Landsberg says if other sports had the number of deaths wrestling has had, they would be examined under a microscope yet pro wrestling has dodged the focus.
Landsberg asks if WCW and WWF/WWE provided a safe enough workplace. Eric says if you look at the number of matches and balance that against the number of injuries they’ve had, he would say it’s exceptionally safe. Landsberg brings up all the early deaths as a counterpoint. Bischoff says Landsberg is merging two different theories because guys aren’t dying “in the workplace,” besides Owen Hart. Landsberg says the environment that was created led to the number of deaths in the industry. Bischoff disagrees that it’s the environment that lead to those deaths. He says the problem isn’t steroids but all the prescription drugs which have caused majority of the deaths. He says prescription drugs are the second-most highly regulated product in the United States (behind tobacco), and if the federal government can’t regulate prescription drugs from licensed physicians, how can anyone expect the WWE to solve that problem?
Landsberg says the issue is that the company is creating a workplace where guys are taking pain killers which are legitimately prescribed because they are in pain. Bischoff calls that a stretch – there are plenty of guys who could work the WWE and WCW schedule (when there was one) without pain killers. He suggests pain killers are not being used as pain killers, they are being taken recreationally and are abused. He mentions Vicodin and somas specifically and says that it’s a problem in society not just wrestling.
Landsberg says Bischoff has to see the connection considering wrestling is tough on the body and Vince in particular expects his guys to wrestle hundreds of times a year, but Bischoff says there are more guys than not who can work the schedule without abusing drugs. He says occasionally guys do get hurt and have a legitimate reason to take pain killers, like after a surgery, but guys who are taking a dozen Vicodin a day or a hundred somas a day aren’t doing it to work a schedule, they’re doing it to numb the brain and get a buzz like heroin junkies.
Up Front with Mick Foley
They show a clip of Foley on OTR years ago saying “If Hulk Hogan were to have wrestled me in his career, he would more or less sound like a whiny girl in a porno film saying, ‘Not so fast and not so hard.’”
Landsberg asks Foley (also over the phone) what he’s wearing. Foley is wearing a denim jacket with Disney characters on the back, along with tie-dye sweat pants that his wife got him on ebay, wrestling shoes and a TNA Lockdown t-shirt. Foley says the way he’s dressed is horrible even for him. “Some people follow trends and some people set them, and I do neither – I just wear what’s available.”
Landsberg calls Bischoff feisty, smart, well-spoken and extremely rightwing. Foley laughs when Landsberg calls him rightwing. Foley says Bischoff is a sharp guy who changed the landscape of the business. He didn’t care for Bischoff when he was claiming he wanted to put WWE out of business but once they reunited in WWE they got along really well and considers him a friend.
Landsberg wonders why people are so unwilling to criticize Vince. Landsberg figures it’s because that no matter how serious your feud is with Vince you’re only one phone call away from making up. Foley says he has always felt open to criticize Vince even when he worked for him. He’s working on a new book and is critical of him in there too and says Vince would expect it. Foley doesn’t expect to work for McMahon again but you never know.
Landsberg asks what advice he can give the wrestlers that can make their lives better. Foley says you need to be realistic about the business and understand that only a small percentage is lucky enough to earn a living in the business. Even among the guys who did make a good living in the business, only a small percentage did the right thing with the money. Part of the nature of the business is that one day you’re in the toy aisle next to Spiderman and 6 months later you’re struggling to find work.
With a dumbfounded look on his face, Landsberg asks Foley if the main event at Lockdown is really Mick Foley against Sting. Foley considers it perhaps his biggest match in 10 years. He mentions that wrestling Randy Orton in 2004 and Edge in 2006 may have been as big, but he wasn’t expected to lead those shows and hopes to come through big time at this one.
Landsberg asks Foley if he twitters. Foley doesn’t, but is proud of himself for learning how to use email.