I was really interested to see the juxtaposition of the openings of the Bischoff article and the Ole Anderson texts we read for this week. The theme throughout was Vince being the 'wrestling insider' who knows evry inch of the industry and Bischoff being sort of an intruder into the wrestling world who shakes things up. But what is interesting is the different takes on which has the advantage-- the one 'in the know' or the one with fresh eyes and ideas.
Anderson starts his chapter on mismanagement: "Turner's people in the WCW couldn't control their wrestlers because the people running it didn't know anything about the wrestling business. They hired people who were completely ignorant about wrestling and who had never had anything to do with the business."(360)
I think this harkens back to my post about family in wrestling- there does seem to be a really tightly held community in wrestling and a strong sense of legacy and continuity... this helps the industry because one storyline can go on for years, even generations. There is also implicit trust and loyalty that comes from the tight community. I think we can see this even through all the shifts from regional to national through format shifts there. Interestingly, in the documentaries we've seen that have been produced by the WWE, it seems like Vince doesn't choose to emphasize his legacy role, instead framing his success as coming through his announcer role and the developing into a superpower with hard work over time. Maybe we'll see a different version of the narrative in the 'MacMahon' documentary we'll watch soon, but Vince is playing the role of ultimate legacied insider and hard-worker who finds wild success (sort of the heel and the face at the same time, both onstage and off, at different stages).
Bischoff, on the other hand, presents a model of irreverence and audacity that only an outsider could possess. His text 'From Disadvantage to Edge' begins: Applying for the executive producer's spot was a big leap. I though there was a very slim chance that I'd get the job. I had only one real advantage-- I wasn't a wrestling guy." (81) He doesn't have to play by the established rules, and none of the loyalty, dedication, or deep understanding of the sport came into play. Instead, he could reenvision wrestling as an entertainment format, and say things like 'Screw that and let's just produce television' (92) and fire people that had histories and change the criteria for a successful wrestling show to something off from what had been happening and developing slowly over time.
Bischoff's role as outsider allowed wrestling an evolutionary leap, on some level. He offered a burst of energy, a challenge to status quo, a direct challenge to Vince and the WWE. I think most would agree that this insider-outsider matchup of Vince and Eric was largely responsible for reinvigorating and refining the wrestling medium.