Fans made quite ado about the dead rising at WWE WrestleMania Backlash, but Eric Bischoff saw a little more than zombies when it came to the benefit of cross-promotion.
Bischoff did a recent Q&A on AdFreeShows and was asked if he believed putting fake dead people on your wrestling product to promote Army of the Dead, a film starring your former champion Dave Bautista, was a worthwhile move.
“That depends on one thing: how big was the check? It always comes down to business, folks. That’s all it is,” Eric said before elaborating.
“I watched Dave LaGreca go off on a rant I thought the poor guy was gonna have an aneurysm,” he joked. “And I like Dave. I didn’t want him to die. Getting all upset about fake dead people. C’mon, c’mon now. There’s been sillier things or things just as silly, but my question is is how big was the check? And not only how big was the check, but by cross-promoting, aligning yourself, number one with Netflix (not a bad idea, folks, just from a business perspective)
Eric also imagined that a certain demographic was factored in when making those zombies lumberjacks.
“If Bautista’s movie is targeting towards teens and pre-teens, which I’m pretty sure it is, then you’re possibly co-promoting, cross promoting with a brand and a property that is targeted to a very, very highly desirable demographic,” he said noting that those viewers you tie in with that could become wrestling fans and as history has shown, that’s how wrestling has always worked.
“Professional wrestling is what professional wrestling is because it’s generational entertainment. Find me a wrestling fan that you know that can’t tell you that they were introduced to wrestling by their brothers their sisters, their mothers their fathers their aunts their uncles or in my case, a grandparent, and guess what? I became a lifelong fan and ended up in the business. So going after those teens and pre-teens while it may not meet the peripheral wrestling media happy and fuzzy, I’m guessing there were a sufficient of zeroes at the end of the check along with an opportunity to co-brand and co-promote highly desirable partner and highly-desirable property.”
Bischoff was then asked by host Christy Olson if there’s a moment where the “silliness” goes past the point of being beneficial to your product.
“Each case, each situation is different. On the surface, from a purely creative point of view, I thought the zombie thing was ‘eh,’ it didn’t really add anything. To me it didn’t detract from anything cause I looked at it exactly for what it is and wasn’t it trying to be an armchair booker, writer, producer, I was ‘Okay, I know why they did that,’ and move on. There was a lot of other good stuff on the show. It just didn’t bother me enough.”
Eric then noted that he once cross-promoted to the extreme in his WCW days with the Ready To Rumble film and putting the “big gold belt” on David Arquette.
“WWE didn’t put belts on zombies,” he said. “They were just a stunt in a match that in the big scheme of things, as much respect as I have especially for the Miz cause I know him a little bit, it wasn’t the main event, folks. It’s just that one little food selection at the buffet that if you don’t like it, go look for something else. You don’t tip the whole salad bar over because there’s one item in the salad buffet that you do like, unless you’re a complete asshole!”
Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone.