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Conrad Thompson & Eric Bischoff's podcast


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#41 BigBadMick

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Posted 19 May 2018 - 02:42 AM

I listened to the Bret episode. I'll say this for Bischoff - he's put a lot of time and effort into prep for this episode. Not nearly as much 'i don't recall..' answers as I was expecting based on previous interviews.



#42 SomethingSavage

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Posted 19 May 2018 - 10:04 AM

He's been surprisingly insightful so far here. There's still plenty of sidestepping and some of his usual stock replies, but he's gone in-depth on several things already. A lot of them veer more into the business side of his dealings with Turner or talent, but it's what he knows & that's his experience. This may eventually get very old very quickly, but it's refreshing and insightful enough right now.

#43 The Thread Killer

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 03:36 PM

This week's show on Bash at the Beach 2000 was an interesting listen, for a variety of reasons.

 

It started off great. Conrad had his research, and Eric filled in a lot of the blanks and really expanded on the circumstances surrounding his return to WCW in 1999, the reasons for it, the nature of his relationship with Vince Russo, and how it started to fall apart.  As has been documented extensively elsewhere at PWO, I loathe Vince Russo so I was entertained by Eric's stories about Russo's multiple creative and personal shortcomings.

 

The show started to go off the rails when Conrad seemed more interested in holding Eric Bischoff to task for the things that Russo booked.  He recapped the show match by match, and that show is a perfect microcosm of everything Russo. No clean finishes on the entire show, not one.  Ref bumps and outside interference galore. Poorly produced supernatural offsite segments, complete with Styrofoam tombstones. Scantily clad women dancing around in more than one segment or match.  "Swerves" and fake shoots.  The issue to me was that Conrad almost blamed Eric for it, or at least blamed Eric for letting Russo book it.  It seemed misdirected to me, and Conrad was pretty relentless about it.

 

To be fair as well, Eric's Meltzer bashing was pretty out of control during this episode.  I bitch about Bruce Pritchard doing it, so fair is fair.  Eric was playing that card over and over again this week.  I will say, that generally Eric is a lot more specific about the reasons Meltzer drives him nuts, he will highlight the actual news items where he says Meltzer was wrong as justification for his vitriol. 

 

For example, Eric claimed that the reason Meltzer bothers him so much is because he knows Meltzer was being fed false or biased information by WCW talent while he was in charge.  He even names a Turner executive who was supposed to be overseeing WCW who was getting all his information from the Observer, rather than asking Eric about the issues in person.  Bischoff claims the reason he and Russo had to "work the boys" regarding the Hogan/Jarrett finish is because they knew if the planned finish got out, somebody who worked for WCW would leak it to Meltzer.

 

That is one of the things that has always annoyed me about Prichard.  He complains about Meltzer ad nauseam.  He bitches to the high heavens that Meltzer gets things wrong or makes them up, but conveniently leaves out the fact that "the boys" leak info to Meltzer all the damn time and are usually the source of the damn stories. The only time I ever remember Prichard admitting that is during the Paul Heyman episode.  At least the way Eric Bischoff explained it, it made some sense.  I'm not saying I agreed with it, and I'm not saying it was true, but as an argument at least it made some degree of sense.

 

Then he invoked the "Meltzer has never booked a wrestling organization in his life so who is he to report on or criticize wrestling" argument and I lost all sympathy for him. As I've said before, to me that statement is the podcast/shoot interview equivalent of Godwin's Law.  When you go that direction, I stop taking you seriously  If Meltzer has as little credibility as Prichard and Bischoff claim, then they should be able to refute him on facts, not by sticking their fingers in their ears and saying "how dare you criticize me."

 

Fair play to Eric again though, he did say outright that Hulk Hogan was wrong regarding the facts in his recounting of the BATB 2000 incident in his book.  He never said Hogan was lying...he did a fun little dance about how people remember different things in different ways, and talked about how Hulk had personal problems, and how sometimes he tried to "work" interviewers to the point where he forgot the truth himself.  But in the end, he flat out refuted Hogan's claims - while calling him his best friend at the same time.  I would not have expected that, to be honest.  I expected Bischoff to pretty much be ride-or-die with Hogan and his version of "the truth."  Maybe Eric realized that trying to justify some of Hogan's outrageous claims over the years is a battle you just can't win, regardless of how devoted a friend you are.

 

However, much to my surprise the reason the show finally went off the rails altogether towards the end - and I was totally not expecting this - is because Eric was drinking during the show, and by the end he was clearly very, very drunk.  Slurring his words, making jokes and going off topic.  Not quite the "all business" Eric Bischoff who featured in the previous three episodes.

 

It was still a lot of fun, informative (in parts) and entertaining.  If I had to choose between this show and Prichard's show as they both stand right now, I'd chose this one easily. (I can only handle so much Meltzer bashing in one week.)  Having said that, I would recommend Eric stay away from the booze while recording next week. It might make the show funnier and even more entertaining, but it's hard to take him seriously when he is clearly plastered.



#44 SomethingSavage

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 04:25 PM

I really dug the Bret episode from last week. Regardless of where you draw the line for Eric's bullshit versus Bret's claims in his book, at least Bischoff took a stand and made a case for his own version of events.

I'm not the type to fact check every claim on every podcast. I'm the type to throw in my ear buds in my truck, at the gym, or at work and just listen to some fun stories being told. I'm always up for new sides of these stories or whatever possible insight can be offered from these new sources & voices.

Do I believe some of this stuff is absolute bullshit? Of course. Workers gonna work, and it's typically bullshit artists working in a bullshit business. I *expect* everyone to be out to offer THEIR side of the story. That's not strictly a pro wrestling thing. That's a human nature thing.

At the end of the day, I'm no more bothered or offended by Eric or Bruce's bullshit than I am by Dave's insistence that Okada and Omega have had the greatest match in the history of the business. It's all individuals pushing their view of things. It's what happens. People form perspectives, and then they share them.

Bringing it back to the Bret episode though - does anyone know if word of Eric's claims have reached Bret yet? Surely there would be a response.

I was also hoping to hear Conrad press for more information about the Thunder/Nitro roster split. It kept coming up, with Eric outright saying it was the only reason he'd brought in Bret in the first place. But it just lingered there with no follow-up, time after time.

At one point, it sounded like it was supposed to be WCW Thunder versus nWo Nitro. But how does that work exactly? Logistically, how do you run two weekly shows that are rivals for one another? What do they do every week? Obviously, there needs to be rivalries within those rosters - and Eric even talked about that a little, mentioning the Bret vs. Flair feud as something that would help to carry WCW Thunder in its early months.

And Conrad has needled Schiavone about the Thunder vs. Nitro rumors on numerous occasions over on earlier episodes of WHW, so it's not like he isn't aware. I don't know. Maybe he's deliberately holding off for a Thunder specific topic or something, but it was just weird that he never drilled down on it - despite it coming up over & over again that Bret was signed specifically to fill out the main event scene for the Thunder roster.

#45 BrianB

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 09:44 PM

I agree to a point, but then you went too far. You must not buy into the fact/opinion distinction. Because that's a clear and important difference between Okada/Omega is the best match of all time and "Bret never seriously negotiated with me in 1996." I haven't heard anything as far as Bret responding, but Meltzer definitely went hard at Bischoff's new angle.

 

Nitro/Thunder and the repeated return to the separate nWo brand well after it was clear that was a bad idea, I'm guessing will be a future focal point of this podcast.

 

edit: The continued returns to concerts and "events" will be another one when they hit 1999. Road/Hog Wild should be fun too. Eric's long-winded defense will be great once it's followed up with the obvious dagger question: "so what advertiser's did you score from doing these shows and how much did they pay you?"



#46 Victator

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Posted 24 May 2018 - 01:11 AM

Bischoff was careful to use seriously as a qualifier. Bischoff knows his bullshit. 



#47 BrianB

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Posted 24 May 2018 - 11:42 AM

This week's show on Bash at the Beach 2000 was an interesting listen, for a variety of reasons.

 

It started off great. Conrad had his research, and Eric filled in a lot of the blanks and really expanded on the circumstances surrounding his return to WCW in 1999, the reasons for it, the nature of his relationship with Vince Russo, and how it started to fall apart.  As has been documented extensively elsewhere at PWO, I loathe Vince Russo so I was entertained by Eric's stories about Russo's multiple creative and personal shortcomings.

 

The show started to go off the rails when Conrad seemed more interested in holding Eric Bischoff to task for the things that Russo booked.  He recapped the show match by match, and that show is a perfect microcosm of everything Russo. No clean finishes on the entire show, not one.  Ref bumps and outside interference galore. Poorly produced supernatural offsite segments, complete with Styrofoam tombstones. Scantily clad women dancing around in more than one segment or match.  "Swerves" and fake shoots.  The issue to me was that Conrad almost blamed Eric for it, or at least blamed Eric for letting Russo book it.  It seemed misdirected to me, and Conrad was pretty relentless about it.

 

To be fair as well, Eric's Meltzer bashing was pretty out of control during this episode.  I bitch about Bruce Pritchard doing it, so fair is fair.  Eric was playing that card over and over again this week.  I will say, that generally Eric is a lot more specific about the reasons Meltzer drives him nuts, he will highlight the actual news items where he says Meltzer was wrong as justification for his vitriol. 

 

For example, Eric claimed that the reason Meltzer bothers him so much is because he knows Meltzer was being fed false or biased information by WCW talent while he was in charge.  He even names a Turner executive who was supposed to be overseeing WCW who was getting all his information from the Observer, rather than asking Eric about the issues in person.  Bischoff claims the reason he and Russo had to "work the boys" regarding the Hogan/Jarrett finish is because they knew if the planned finish got out, somebody who worked for WCW would leak it to Meltzer.

 

That is one of the things that has always annoyed me about Prichard.  He complains about Meltzer ad nauseam.  He bitches to the high heavens that Meltzer gets things wrong or makes them up, but conveniently leaves out the fact that "the boys" leak info to Meltzer all the damn time and are usually the source of the damn stories. The only time I ever remember Prichard admitting that is during the Paul Heyman episode.  At least the way Eric Bischoff explained it, it made some sense.  I'm not saying I agreed with it, and I'm not saying it was true, but as an argument at least it made some degree of sense.

 

Then he invoked the "Meltzer has never booked a wrestling organization in his life so who is he to report on or criticize wrestling" argument and I lost all sympathy for him. As I've said before, to me that statement is the podcast/shoot interview equivalent of Godwin's Law.  When you go that direction, I stop taking you seriously  If Meltzer has as little credibility as Prichard and Bischoff claim, then they should be able to refute him on facts, not by sticking their fingers in their ears and saying "how dare you criticize me."

 

Fair play to Eric again though, he did say outright that Hulk Hogan was wrong regarding the facts in his recounting of the BATB 2000 incident in his book.  He never said Hogan was lying...he did a fun little dance about how people remember different things in different ways, and talked about how Hulk had personal problems, and how sometimes he tried to "work" interviewers to the point where he forgot the truth himself.  But in the end, he flat out refuted Hogan's claims - while calling him his best friend at the same time.  I would not have expected that, to be honest.  I expected Bischoff to pretty much be ride-or-die with Hogan and his version of "the truth."  Maybe Eric realized that trying to justify some of Hogan's outrageous claims over the years is a battle you just can't win, regardless of how devoted a friend you are.

 

However, much to my surprise the reason the show finally went off the rails altogether towards the end - and I was totally not expecting this - is because Eric was drinking during the show, and by the end he was clearly very, very drunk.  Slurring his words, making jokes and going off topic.  Not quite the "all business" Eric Bischoff who featured in the previous three episodes.

 

It was still a lot of fun, informative (in parts) and entertaining.  If I had to choose between this show and Prichard's show as they both stand right now, I'd chose this one easily. (I can only handle so much Meltzer bashing in one week.)  Having said that, I would recommend Eric stay away from the booze while recording next week. It might make the show funnier and even more entertaining, but it's hard to take him seriously when he is clearly plastered.

 

 

I'd agree with that core assessment, The Thread Killa. At the same time, what's wrong with holding Bischoff's feet to the fire on the creative, if he's saying he's effectively got an equal voice to Russo? If Vince McMahon ever did a podcast and Vince just tried to bury JJ Dillion for Papa Shango the Ultimate Warrior vomiting ooze angle without admitting he didn't veto it and let it go ahead, I think it'd be fair to push hard on that response. I get that's not 100% analogous but it's feels generally close enough, and the same is true for when Bischoff tries to push too much onto Kevin Sullivan. Besides that it's early in this show's run, so it's not quite like Bruce's show where the audience already knows the 2-3 go to pivot moves and knows beforehand how Conrad will react practically every time.

 

As for Meltzer, I think taking "shots" has just become part of the schtick for all of Conrad's podcasts, probably for some metric and social media reasons. It might frustrate people, including me when it's the same old shit again and again, but it seemingly works in terms of increasing subscriptions, shirts, downloads, etc. I agree with you that Bischoff definitely does seem like he's thought about more about his Meltzer criticisms than Tony or Bruce, and he's got more of an axe to grind on certain topics. FWIW, if they cover it, Bischoff will probably get some points in on some contract figure numbers between 1996 and 2000 since Keller and Meltzer didn't always get those right apparently from the WCW payroll numbers that came out in connection with the racial discrimination lawsuits. (Shouts to Bix and Chris Harrington for putting all that out there and organizing it, btw)

 

I'm guessing Eric got more sauced as BATB 2000 went along because he heard the "stiff" critiques of the first two shows, and it's a common "loosen up" move people go to. Plus, having brews feels like one of Eric's go to moves for trying to connect with people--it pops up almost every time he talks about meeting with somebody new to him in wrestling and wanting to connect. I haven't heard anything personally, but I'm guessing some people who have interviewed Bischoff for long periods of time probably have some amusing stories on that front.



#48 With Coil

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Posted 24 May 2018 - 11:54 AM

Kevin Nash has said Eric was a booze guy when they would all be fooling around at Nitro. Not surprising.

 

Eric's ama on reddit went well. He was on the road in one of the Dakota's or Wyoming or some shit and pulled over to answer about ten-fifteen questions for about a half hour. Best responses were about not watching NXT and how he'd never been around a more delusional wrestler than Bret Hart.

 

The NXT answer was amusing to me. That board loves that show so some folks probably were surprised by Eric's answer. It shouldn't be surprising though. Nobody outside of the hardcore watches that shit.



#49 SomethingSavage

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Posted 24 May 2018 - 02:17 PM

I agree to a point, but then you went too far. You must not buy into the fact/opinion distinction. Because that's a clear and important difference between Okada/Omega is the best match of all time and "Bret never seriously negotiated with me in 1996." I haven't heard anything as far as Bret responding, but Meltzer definitely went hard at Bischoff's new angle.


I recognize the difference between supposed facts and opinions. It just doesn't bother me much. I expect the Eric Bischoffs and Bruce Prichards to spin some yarns, to embellish, to exaggerate, and to sensationalize. Workers gonna work.

When you listen to these podcasts, you're listening to bullshit artists who found success in a bullshit business. You can't come in with unrealistic standards. It's not a deposition setting. Nobody has been sworn in. They're usually only going to give their side of the story. I'm not sure why anyone would expect anything else.

I just feel like some folks take this stuff way too seriously - using it as an excuse to pretend to be outraged over more "fake newz!" or whatever.

But what do I know? I'm more than comfortable being the outlier around here. I don't listen to these podcasts as part of some fact-finding crusade. I'm not listening to play private eye or prove I'm the smartest guy in the room about any given subject. I just listen for the stories. I can appreciate differing accounts of an event or opposing versions of a story without feeling the need to cast judgment one way or another.

Don't get me wrong. I absolutely appreciate this place for the discussion and all the knowledge passed around here. But I'm partial to the bullshitting and the storytelling offered in these things.

I'll take the "McMahon cigarette on a plane" story, the "partying with Chris Adams in a trailer park" story, or the "McMahon coaches Kelly Kelly on how to dance" deal over ANY attendance report or star rating I could ever get from Dave. That's just where I'm at as a fan at this point. Fifteen years or so ago? Maybe that's a different situation. But I've been that kind of fan. I'm just not there anymore. I couldn't possibly care any less about watching wrestling with a notepad or with a design to assign rankings to everything I'm watching. And it's a similar situation with podcasts now.

I do find it amusing that wrestling fans claim to love "great workers"... Up until they catch a hint of someone trying to work them. Then that person is just a liar and a conman.

No. They're workers. And the smart ones will figure out how to continue to work things in their favor, regardless of whether it's labeled a "shoot" or a podcast or whatever. Those things are all just new tools to do the same old job.

#50 Matt D

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 07:19 PM

Bischoff struggling to remember the name of "Game of Thrones" but then likening Meltzer to Varys by name and calling him the "Lord of Whispers"  multiple times is peak 2018.

#51 Johnny Sorrow

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 10:04 PM

Podcasts becoming worked shoots where it's all about Twitter outrage may be what's popular right now, but it stinks.

#52 BrianB

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 10:35 PM

Podcasts becoming worked shoots where it's all about Twitter outrage may be what's popular right now, but it stinks.

 

100%. I guess monkey sees, monkey does with the Eric trying to imitate Bruce's schtick, and in particular his Bret BS from last week with a poor man's Bossman and the Dave NBC tape false story, but doing it even worse...

 

This latest episode had some merit, and Bischoff is generally less of an asshat on the Meltzer subject than most, but fuck....he's also comes off as the biggest douche persona of anybody on on Conrad's pods between Flair, Tony, himself, or Bruce. 

 

We can already look forward Bischoff having a meltdown over a Brian Pillman topic, when Liam O'Rourke's book gets lots of play over how Pillman evaluated and essentially worked Bischoff with the loose cannon gimmick.



#53 The Thread Killer

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Posted 28 May 2018 - 10:42 PM

I'd like to see some sort of aversion therapy set up, where every time Bruce, Tony or Eric (or Conrad for that matter) mention the name "Meltzer" they automatically receive a mild (but still painful) electric shock.  Similarly, Meltzer should receive the same shock every time he tries to tweet.



#54 SomethingSavage

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 02:59 PM

Bischoff is one strange cat.

At times, he can kind of convince you that he's a smart, sly guy when it comes to business practices & maneuverings.

At other times, he seems super naive & borderline clueless about how poorly he comes across. And I'm not just talking about getting caught in boldfaced lies.

Take this whole deal with Meltzer and Bret for example. Eric supposedly planning to reach out and "do something" with Dave back in 96/97 looks like a blatant attempt to control the release of news and "rumors" at the time.

#55 The Thread Killer

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 03:44 PM

I'm about an hour into the Chris Jericho episode. It's really good, as good as the Bret Hart episode, but damn is Bischoff a lot more prickly and defensive so far this week. I am also greatly enjoying that every time he uses the word "bro" Conrad calls him on it, and Bischoff's subsequent reaction. As much as I enjoy this podcast, I have to admit we are starting to see a lot more of the kind of behavior people were worried about when it was first announced. Eric Bischoff is really showing his arrogance at times, and doing his absolute best to portray himself as a creative visionary and business genius. In his defense, it seems to be his reaction the various misleading or outright false narratives which have come up over the years regarding WCW from various Shoot Interviews, books, documentaries and autobiographies - but it's still not a flattering look for him. I prefer funny/self-effacing Eric to indignant/defensive Eric.



#56 Victator

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 04:08 AM

In some ways Eric may not get the credit he deserves. He was so smug during his rise and time on top, people relished in his decline, Which would make one defensive. 



#57 SomethingSavage

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 10:53 AM

Eric is a bit *too* defensive at times, but I'm hoping some of that subsides with time. We're only a month into this thing, so there's still an abundance of prefacing and over-explaining things that his general audience have already heard for the last 15 years ad nauseum.

Take his response to the contract negotiation with Jericho for example. You could tell it rattles him, so he immediately goes into defensive mode and spends (what felt like) 20 minutes drowning us with misdirection and explanation about how he was tasked with stopping the spending & making a profit. We know all that. Everyone does. The appeal is in the hows and whys. There are times when Eric hits his mark with that stuff - and I believe Conrad fully realizes it - but there are also misfires like this one here.

I was in the middle of a shoulder session at the gym when I listened to this, so I kind of stuck with it out of necessity by that point. But that first half hour or so was sooo bad. It was the most boring and dry answer you could imagine. WIth that being said, I'm glad I stuck with it. Because the show greatly improved from there, and Eric really hit a stride with his responses later.

You can tell Eric knew he was opening himself up to some shots when he agreed to this, so of course he's going to get his own licks in here & there. And he's surprisingly good at picking his spots. I popped for the shot at Vince at the end - almost entirely playful, but also accurate as fuck and VERY fitting to cap off the episode. His response to Jericho calling him a court jester (in comparison to Vince's king) was aces, too. Just fun stuff. Eric isn't always in top form, but he comes off so much better when he's picking his shots and letting them really land this way.

There's still some genuine insight and intriguing information to be found here, too. Hearing about the business of the business is always neat, and I especially dug his explanation about how critical the cruiserweights were to his vision. Also enjoyed his response to Hall and others being threatened by the cruisers at the time - with Eric even admitting that the cruisers were delivering exactly what he expected of them. That distinction between the main event style and the cruiser style was a crucial piece of his winning formula and presentation, so you can see why he'd be defensive there.

The licensing and merchandising talk was good as well.

As long as this episode was, there are points where I was actually left wishing he would've gone more in depth with some of this stuff. So yeah. I'll be sticking with the show for now. I'm optimistic and hopeful that Conrad can direct the show more often and steer Eric away from the repetitive, overly long prefacing more often. Other than that, there's substance here that is worth hearing about.

#58 The Thread Killer

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 02:38 PM

This week's episode was a tribute to Dusty Rhodes.  It was pretty unremarkable until the surprise Hulk Hogan appearance during the last half hour of the show.  I have to admit, it was pretty surreal to hear Conrad Thompson asking questions of Hulk Hogan like he normally does of Bruce Prichard or Eric.



#59 Victator

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 03:04 PM

Hulk will be recounting when he slammed the near 600 pound Conrad and tore his back in two. 



#60 SomethingSavage

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 08:00 AM

Just a heads up for anyone who dug the Jericho episode of Bischoff's podcast - today's Talk Is Jericho is the rebuttal from Jericho's point of view. In a pretty cool twist, Conrad is hosting & steering the conversation again.

 

Mileage may vary, and I'm not even sure when I'll get around to listening. But Jericho is usually dependable for a few good stories. Could be a fun companion piece to the Bischoff pod, which (I thought) was excellent.






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