Dean Malenko Talks WWE Departure, Wrestlers Taking Big Risks In AEW, Eric Bischoff/WCW

Former longtime WWE agent / producer and legendary pro wrestling veteran Dean Malenko recently appeared as a guest on the Pro Wrestling Illustrated podcast for an in-depth interview.

During the discussion, "The Man Of 1,000 Holds" spoke about his belief that he would have been the first person WWE released when they made COVID-19 cuts earlier this year had he still worked for the company. He also touched on Eric Bischoff bringing Cruiserweights to WCW, his thoughts on Darby Allin and some of the riskier performers in All Elite Wrestling and more.

Featured below are some of the highlights of the new PWI podcast interview with Dean Malenko.

On being glad he left WWE on his own terms due to his belief that he would have been among COVID-19 cuts: "I know it would’ve been me. I probably would’ve been [at the] top of the list. So again, it kinda solidified in my own mind what I did was the right thing."

On Darby Allin and AEW’s riskier performers: "A lot of these guys trust themselves and trust the guys that they’re working with. I’m a big fan of it to be honest with you. A lot of stuff these guys do, very scary, very high risk. Part of my job is to try and pull these guys back a little bit, because for every one move you can [do], there’s 50 million moves you can do as a substitute. I think Darby’s a risk-taker. He’s one of the guys — that’s his character, that’s who he is as a person to a certain extent, so it’s hard to change people totally and you don’t want to because then you have a whole different product and a whole different person out there. But I think, to your point, some of the stuff they’re doing, it’s a little risky but, the guys go out there and they’re as careful as they can be."

On crediting Eric Bischoff for allowing WCW to feature the cruiserweights: "Well one, he let it happen so I gotta give him that credit. It was totally different, it was so new to the wrestling audience back then. Never seen the Cruiserweights from that standpoint. When you look back from the list of guys, they had guys from Europe, guys from Japan, guys from Mexico. It was really a wide variety of international flavor to it. When I finally won the title and we had Rey Mysterio come in and the first time I ever wrestled Rey was the Great American Bash. He didn’t even know it was gonna be a pay-per-view. He just thought he was wrestling somebody. But again, there’s a guy that we never got to see before, ever in the public eye and it’s the first time we got to see a guy like Rey Mysterio and there were so many great matchups and you know, I think [Eric] should get credit from a standpoint of he went out there and took a chance on it because nobody [had] done it to that magnitude before, ever in the business."

Check out the complete Eric Bischoff interview below, or at

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