With traditional television networks unveiling new programming this week, WWE Network followed suit on Monday by debuting its new interview show “Legends with JBL,” a cross between the old WWE Classics On Demand “Legends of Wrestling” roundtable and “Meet the Press,” in which John “Bradshaw” Layfield conducts an extensive one-on-one interview with a guest, in this case, former WCW head Eric Bischoff, as part of the Network’s “Nitro Week,” a celebration of 20th anniversary of the debut WCW Monday Nitro in September 1995.
In part one of this two-part episode, JBL and Bischoff discuss the latter’s career until 1998 and discuss a variety of topics including his roots as a fan in Detroit, his initial business venture with AWA owner Verne Gagne, his auspicious debut as an interviewer for the AWA, his early days at WCW and his rise to prominence as the Executive Producer of WCW television. Other topics included former Time Warner CEO and WCW owner Ted Turner, former WCW stars Steve Austin, Mick Foley, Lex Luger and Jim Ross and the debut of Nitro in Minneapolis.
Another surprising inclusion into the discussion of the nWo angle was the mentioning of Hulk Hogan, a man whose recent closet skeletons have seen him virtually erased from the entire WWE mythos and whose name viewers are not likely to hear mentioned on WWE programming anytime soon. Whether this episode was filmed before Hogan’s remarks were made public is unknown but even if that is the case, the fact that comments pertaining to him did not hit the cutting room floor is telling about the candidness viewers can expect from future “Legends” episodes.
The teaser for part two of JBL’s interview with Bischoff hint at discussions regarding the fall of WCW and will touch on incidents such as the disastrous Goldberg-Diamond Dallas Page match at Halloween Havoc 1998 and Vince Russo’s take on the Hogan-Jeff Jarrett controversy at Bash at the Beach 2000, as well as Bischoff’s opinion of the “Montreal Screwjob.” The episode will air on the Network Thursday night when “Smackdown” goes off the air.
In addition to spotlighting the legacy of Nitro and WCW, “Legends with JBL” joins new programming such as “Breaking Ground” and the recently debuted “Table for 3,” combined with episodes of the Stone Cold Steve Austin podcast and “WWE 24” specials, as further offerings to attempt to satiate the desire of fans to see behind the curtain, which has long been the major selling point to Network subscribers, in addition to pay-per-views, library footage and new in-ring programming such as NXT.
Fans nostalgic for WCW memories as well as fans of shoot-style interviews who have been wishing for new episodes of “Legends of Wrestling” would do well to give this program a viewing.