Wrestling legend and WWE Hall of Famer Gerald Brisco sat down with Drew Rice recently for a The Wrestling Inc. Daily interview. During the conversation the two discussed a variety of topics, including how hard it can be for wrestlers to establish chemistry as a tag team.
“It is really hard for a tag team to find [chemistry],” admitted Brisco. “I think that’s the trouble with, and I’m not going to go into today’s product, but they’re just put together so quickly and if they don’t click and blend within the first month or two, it’s broken up. These kids don’t have time to develop that chemistry and develop a great tag team. Jack Brisco and I were lucky we were blood brothers. We were real brothers. So, we had that bloodline and that mindset, we both had that amateur [wrestling] background. We had the exact same coaches from middle school, all the way through high school, and all the way through college… so it was easy to kind of read the mind… [and] we were great at reading body language. When you have a partner like that, where you can just look at and look at his body positioning, you know? Even with the Funks we had such great chemistry because we knew where they were, except Terry Funk was kind of crazy and we could never really figure him out. But we kind of knew what direction the match was going and where to go just simply by body positioning.”
When discussing the current pro wrestling product, it was suggested that wrestling may currently be overexposed. Brisco disagreed and said he has heard people talk about the risk of overexposure of the wrestling industry since the advent of cable television.
“In 1983 when cable TV first came out, [about 40 years ago], I was hearing this exact same thing,” shared Brisco. “’Cable TV is going to ruin the wrestling business’ or ‘Cable TV is going to ruin wrestling.’ And all it did was get bigger and bigger. I heard the saying that it’s overexposed. If you watched cable TV you could get wrestling [almost] every night of the week, and you could, just about. But that was a promoter’s biggest fear was cable TV when cable TV first started coming out. And we proved them all right when we sold to Vince, but that’s another story.
“It’s a TV industry. We had to pay for our TV when we were at Florida Championship Wrestling. We paid for our TV, we bartered. We gave them half the commercial time and we took half of the commercial time. Their half of commercial time they’d sell, of course, to sponsors. And our part went to promote our local shows. That was the barter agreement we had. But there was a price to pay to be on TV in Vero Beach, Florida, there was a price to pay to be on TV in Tampa, Florida.”
Brisco went on to discuss how the emergence of cable television impacted the various wrestling territories. Brisco said most of the territories were fine because of the NWA Alliance at the time, but that things changed when Vince McMahon decided to start taking wrestling to a national stage. In other interviews Brisco has opened up more about his relationship with Vince.
“In places that were established like Florida and the Carolinas it really didn’t hurt that much because they had such great talent and such a great promotion going on,” recalled Brisco. “But your borderlines your Kansas Cities, your Tennessee, some of the western states that didn’t have solid promotions [were more at risk]. The territories that were solid in the beginning, they were okay. And they had the NWA Alliance, so they could send some of their talent out and be on cable TV out in Atlanta, and get their guys over like national stars. So as long as it was being a cooperative type of deal, it wasn’t hurting anybody. But the established territories, for the first few years, cable didn’t bother them. When Vince and everybody started wanting to go nationally, that was when [territories] started [being at-risk]. There was probably a ten-year timeframe from when cable hit till the demise [of territories] came.”
Later on in the interview, Brisco discussed the biggest difference between the crowds from when he wrestled to the crowds that currently fill WWE arenas.
“Crowds back then didn’t know nearly as much as today’s crowds,” Brisco quickly answered. “Today’s crowds are the most educated crowds. And I’m talking about not just your casual TV viewer, I’m talking about somebody who buys a ticket, goes to the arena, sits down, and watches the matches at a live event. Those people are so much more educated now and have so much more knowledge. Not only about the people in the ring wrestling now, but most of them have done research and know about guys like me and know about guys like my brother. They know a little about it.”
Brisco went on to say that he thinks it is those fans that the WWE is currently losing the most of due to the increased speed and quickness of wrestling matches. He says that the current wrestling product does not have the same edge to it used to, which is similar to comments that The Undertaker has made in the past.
“Those are your fans that I think we’re losing a lot of because of the sound bite matches we’re having and the quickness of them,” observed Brisco. “When we were [wrestling] we had time to tell people a story and draw them emotionally into a match. And very few of those guys have that opportunity now. And that’s a shame for them to lose that skill. We had [fans] emotionally involved with us because [they] knew we were going to go out and kick ass. [They] knew they were going to see a wrestling match when [they] saw the Brisco brothers.
“Nowadays you know you’re going to be entertained when you see John Cena, but you don’t get that same feeling as [older fans] did when [they] knew they were going to see some ass kicking. Well John Cena, he’s going to make me laugh and we’re going to have a great time. And I love John Cena, I think John Cena is a great performer and I think John Cena would’ve gotten over back in my day bigger than hell too, because he’s an athlete and he can go. But it’s not that same emotion, it’s not that same, what we call, ‘heat.’ There’s a different type of heat. We had heat and they’ve got interest now.”
You can follow Gerald on Twitter @FGBrisco. The full audio from part one of Brisco’s interview can be found via the embedded players below.