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RF Video Shoot Interview with Eric Bischoff, Disc Two

Disc Two runs for One Hour and fifty three minutes long

To Read the Disc One recap, click on the link below:

http://www.rspwfaq.net/2014/12/rf-video-shoot-interview-with-eric.html

He said that Hogan was the one who suggested bringing in the Ultimate Warrior to WCW. Bischoff said that Hogan wanted a high-profile guy to work with so he went out at signed Warrior. When asked about the rumor of Hogan bringing in Warrior just to get his win back from WrestleMania VI, Bischoff said that it is a bullshit rumor. Bischoff is then asked about the Warrior saying how if he knew his time in WCW was going to be that bad he would have never signed and Bischoff laughs and says that he respects Warrior and does not want to say anything negative but to go back and look how he made his debut and how it was the longest and most painful live in-ring segment he has ever done in his life and that while originally written to go from 7-10 minutes long, it ended up lasting 25 minutes. Shortly after that Warrior tore his bicep. Bischoff said that Warrior was similar to Savage in that they were both passionate and intense, as well as way out there.

When asked if he regrets telling Tony Schiavone to announce that Mick Foley was going to be winning the title on RAW, Bischoff said he does and I retrospect it was one of the dumbest things he ever did.

On Goldberg, Bischoff said that he knew pretty early on that he could be a star but also said he was very green and had him work short matches. Once the crowd started to go crazy for him, they had to make sure he was wrestling in longer matches. When asked why they gave Goldberg a larger contract in 1999 when he was already under a deal, Bischoff said that he did that so he wouldn’t get held up by him.

Bischoff said that it was Hogan’s idea to drop the title to Goldberg on Nitro in Atlanta as it was in his hometown and make a great TV moment.

He then said that Goldberg is a friend but very intense and difficult to deal with and had a short fuse as well. Bischoff said that he had too many people telling him what to do and it became too much.

When asked if the “Finger Poke of Doom” was a terrible idea, Bischoff said it was and the fact that the question was even asked shows it was a terrible idea. He had no specific memories of that night either.

About Bret Hart coming into the company, Bischoff said that they “danced” a few times prior to him signing but nothing came of it at the time. He then said that he never would have brought Bret on WCW TV with the WWF Title as this was after the lawsuit against the WWF regarding the nWo and became a lot smarter with copyright laws and corporate would have never allowed it to happen either.

On the Montreal incident, Bischoff said he was not surprised that it happened.  He remembers watching and after it happened, Rick Rude called him up and was livid, telling him that he was coming back to WCW. He then said if he was in Vince’s shoes and everything played out the way he thought it did then he would have done the same thing.

Regarding Bret coming to WCW and not being used to his full potential, Bischoff said that Bret was really devastated after what happened in the WWF and once Owen died, he became a shell of himself due to the trauma of the incident. He then said that he did not have the best ideas for him but at the same time Bret was depressed and not “in the game” as he would show up a half-hour before the show started and didn’t really want to do what they wrote for him.

Bischoff talks about the guys who challenged him about creative decisions and said that Savage was probably the most challenging. He also said that he would let the guys add stuff into their programs and characters.

He is now asked about the Sting vs. Hulk Hogan match from Starrcade 1997. Bischoff said that Sting was going through some “issues” at that time. He did not want to bring them up, saying it is best for him to talk about that. Bischoff then said that Sting had a whole year to prepare for his big moment and they would quickly see him and he had on the coat and makeup so they had no idea what his physique looked like. Right before the show, Bischoff said that he came in pale and with a poorer physique. He also added how he was a lot less passionate too. Hogan told Bischoff that he couldn’t believe Sting didn’t bother going to the gym or getting a tan for this big moment. Bischoff said that from his perspective, he felt there was something missing and that it was just bad timing in Sting’s life.

On the fast count in the match, Bischoff said that he cannot remember who was at fault and did not then, either but noted it became a huge deal.

About Scott Hall, Bischoff said they tried hard to help maintain his sobriety by sending him to rehab multiple times then talks about when he was sober, he had one of the best minds in the business. When he was under the influence, Hall was unbearable.

Feinstein asks him about whether or not he allowed partying in the locker room, Bischoff said that some of the guys had beers in the locker room and he did permit it but not everyone did that either. However, Bischoff said that in retrospect it was a bad idea.

Bischoff is asked about the celebrities that appeared in WCW. He said that both Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone were worth it and when he first started negotiating with them it was before the Bulls and Jazz met in the finals. He said that Jay Leno was worth it as it got WCW a lot of mainstream press then says that a lot of wresting purists might not like that but he had to appeal to advertisers and corporate sponsors as well as the consumer side. When asked about David Arquette, said it was Russo’s idea and it “probably” devalued the belt but while it was a bad idea in retrospect, no one who has not come up with a bad idea has ever tried to come up with a good idea. On Kiss, Bischoff said that the original plan was in conjunction with the Fiesta Bowl that the PPV ended at the stroke of midnight with Kiss playing at one end of the field and the ring at the other with the three count of the main event happening at the stroke of midnight. He said that the idea was scrapped when no one wanted to travel that day. He said that Master P and the No Limit Soldiers came in although he doesn’t know how it got pitched. He did think Curt Hennig’s West Texas Redneck’s stuff was funny but looking back bringing in the rappers was not worth it.

Kevin Nash became booker as Bischoff said he was burned out and had not come up with a good idea for a long time. He also said that corporately was kicking his ass and they were a mess and he became fed up.

He speaks about Kevin Sullivan as a booker and said that he was one-dimensional and dark and that did not fit in with the commercial product. He did put over Sullivan for being great at finishes and how that he really understood how to draw heat but struggled to build everything up to get to that point.

Bischoff is asked about Thunder and how he said that he should have stood up and said no to that idea. He talks about how they were at capacity with their current show schedule and Thunder made it worse.

When asked how they did not get any revenue stream with Thunder, Bischoff added that they did not get any revenue stream from any of the shows as they were not licensing them to their own network, just producing them for the network.

Bischoff talks about the Time Warner/AOL merger. At first he thought it was great but several months later someone told him that overtime the culture will change and that Turner will become more like Time Warner and not the other way around. He then tells us that WCW got lumped into a non-specific category within the company and so when they started to make money other people wanted to take the revenues and build up their own divisions, plus some people did not want wrestling in the company. In 1999, he was told that they were cutting his budget, after telling him he had to do Thunder and figure out the budget himself by cutting stuff across the board so they can allocate their funds elsewhere. Bischoff said this was when Nash came in and he had a lot of conflict with the corporate offices. He said that a lot of Time Warner executives were either embarrassed by wrestling or wanted the money allocated to it for other projects.

He talks about how he talked with NBC to do some live specials after Leno did WCW and NBC as scrambling for programming when the NBA went on strike. He said he planned to have Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra get divorced on TV but it never came to fruition.

On D-X invading WCW with the tank, Bischoff said that he was shocked at first then pissed off at himself afterwards as he did not think of something to do with them and wanted to let them into the building.

When he challenged Vince McMahon he never thought he would show up but after he did, Savage and Hogan told him that Vince would show up and kick his ass.

Bischoff is asked about the day he was removed from power. He said that it happened on September 10th, 1999. The night before he was in his office and fed up then thought back to August 1998 when he saw the writing on the wall and should have quit. He talked to someone who he thought was a friend and said that he was done and pissed off. When he got home, he thought he should suck it up and stop being a bitch. The next day he got the call from Harvey Schiller that he had to be in his office at 9am and knew something was up as that never happened. When he got there, Schiller told him he had to go home. Bischoff said he had a PPV but Schiller told him that he did not and to go home and get rest then they would talk later. When he got home, he flew his plane to Wyoming at went fishing as it finally sunk in that he was out. He said now he understands but back then, there were so many pieces involved that he did not know exactly why it happened.

About Bill Busch replacing him, Bischoff said that it was “comical.” He also felt the same way when they brought in Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara as part of creative.

He did say that Guerrero, Benoit, Malenko, and Saturn leaving for the WWF shocked him and was an indication of how bad things got in WCW.

When they called him to come back he had a lot of emotions going on, including a little bit of “I told you so” as he knew there were things no one else could do when he left.

Bischoff said that he wanted to like Russo and calls him a charming guy and can be very persuasive but doesn’t feel that he understands the wrestling business. At the beginning he said they worked together well but as time went on he could not trust Russo and it manifested in July 2000 at Bash at the Beach.  He got in late from his father’s funeral and wanted to delay the production meeting until he got there but when he arrived, the meeting was already underway. Bischoff said that the deal was that they both had to agree on the idea and if they could not Brad Siegel was the “tiebreaker.” And Hogan had creative control at the time as well. His idea was that Hogan was going to quit and leave with the belt then they would recreate a new champion, who would be a heel, then at Halloween Havoc Hogan would come back and face the champion. When they landed in Tampa for the show, their phones were blowing up with people calling them because Russo went into business for himself, which was not part of the script whatsoever. Siegel had agreed with Bischoff and Hogan’s plan at the time. When asked, Bischoff said that Hogan was right at suing Russo and he would have as well if possible.

On the locker room vibe when he came back compared to when he left, Bischoff said that it gotten worse as there was more stress and insecurity as the company was declining.

When he found out that Jamie Kellner cancelled all wrestling programs on Turner Broadcasting, he was in Hawaii with his wife and kids and got a call that it was all over as the deal he had in place to purchase WCW was off the table as the distribution deal they put together that was worth $67 million was now worth about $0.85. He said if Ted Turner was able to maintain power none of this would have happened.

Bischoff said that he had spoke with Fox previously but did the deal with Turner and when that fell through, he tried to reach out to Fox again but that did not work. He said without a TV slot it wasn’t worth anything to anyone except for Vince McMahon.

Feinstein then asks Bischoff about several rumors floating around at the time of plans he had for a revamped WCW. He did have conversations with Joey Styles and Don Callis about being the announcers. He said that he never had any definite plans of bringing back Hogan or Nash to the show but probably would have. He did say there was plans to have the TV tapings in Las Vegas.

After WCW, he thought he was done in the wrestling business and never anticipated he would work for Vince McMahon.

Bischoff said he was never attached to the Mat Rats production. He went and saw one taping and thought it was cool but the company fell apart before he could get them any deal or sorts.

He talks about how wrestling used to be the ultimate unscripted program but does not know how to describe it today.

Bischoff goes into all of his outside projects from reality shows to his brewing his own beer and this goes on for about ten minutes.

On going to the WWE, he was shocked when Vince called. He said that he was never contacted to come in during the invasion angle and thinks that was a mistake. They had a good conversation and when Vince asked him if there was anything he wouldn’t do, Bischoff said that he was not willing to move up to Connecticut.

As the RAW GM, Bischoff said that he had a blast and thanks Vince for allowing him to do some fun things on air. He said that he was excited to have the chance to do something positive and move on past the Monday Night War stuff.

He says that the reactions on peoples faces when he walked backstage were incredible as they were all shocked.

When comparing the production between WCW to WWE, Bischoff said that WWE was a machine and there was no weak link from the television side of the product.

Bischoff said that he got along with Kevin Dunn professionally but not much beyond that. He said that he never felt lingering hostility from the McMahon’s and made to feel like a part of the family at that time. He did say that Stephanie could have had a little bit of tension under the surface as she is really close to her dad but he might be wrong about that.

On the night when Ric Flair went after him backstage, Bischoff said that he was talking with his wife and a real estate broker when Flair and Arn Anderson came into the room. Flair was sweating and fired up then yelled at him to get up. He had no idea what was going on as they went out for beers a week prior and had no problems since but Flair was so mad that he bit his own lip to the point that it bled then started to punch him but said they were not hard so he hung up the phone and told Flair he was not going to fight him and after that people came in and got Flair out. He said that they have talked and hung out multiple times since but never brought it up and when asked, Bischoff said that Flair never apologized.

He loved working with Steve Austin and talked about the skits they did where he was finding Austin at the orders of Vince. Bischoff then said it was easy due to all of the built-in heat and everyone wanting to see Austin kick his ass. He said it was amazing to work with him.

Feinstein asks him about several wrestlers. He calls John Cena a very talented guy. He said that Chris Jericho is also talented but very emotional as well. He did put him over as a class act to work with. He didn’t really know Shawn Michaels or Randy Orton all that much but liked them both. When asked, Bischoff said that there were never any plans for Michaels to jump over to WCW.

When asked about the Chris Benoit tragedy, Bischoff said that it was hard to believe. When asked what he thought happened he said that people have things going on in their lives and its unfair to speculate.

Bischoff said that he was written out of the storyline in 2005 as it ran it’s course and it was a long time for a non-wrestler to be in that role. He did say it was his idea to be tossed into the garbage and suggested that Vince McMahon do it himself.

He talks about how the flew in a Hollywood makeup artist to come in when he did Billy and Chuck’s wedding. Bischoff said it was awesome and that he was in makeup at 2pm that day and no one could tell who he was and that he channeled Jim Barnett with that character. He said that he faked out Brad Rhiengans by messing around with his kids then walking off as he had no clue who he was until when he ripped off the mask.

If the WWE offered him a chance to return he would for the right story.

He decided to write a book on his career after the WWE asked him too and never even thought he had enough of a career to fill a book until a ghostwriter spoke with him.

Bischoff does not believe that any other wrestling company can compete with the WWE due to the fact that there is no one else with the experience, knowledge, and vision combined with a network that is behind you. He said the conditions will never be the same.

On the WWE Network, Bischoff said that he does not know enough about the streaming market but thinks it is a phenomenal idea and made a great move due to their vast library of content.

To start a new promotion today would take $100 million dollars and ten years of patience to wait for it to pay off.

He would like to be remembered in wrestling as someone who was innovative. When asked, he said that he gets frustrated over the “narrative” about him in WCW but does not take it personally.

Thoughts: Overall, I thought this was a very good interview. Bischoff was open and willing to talk throughout. I also enjoyed him shedding light on just how messy the corporate side of everything was at the time as it really made things messy. Bischoff did constantly talk about wanting to put an end to all of the “narratives” that others have said about WCW and it was interesting to hear.

I came away from this interview liking Bischoff as a person. He was able to admit when he was at fault and took the high road more often than not here. I believe that he was unable to talk about TNA here due to legal reasons but I am not quite sure.

I recommend this interview to everyone who wanted to know about WCW.

You can purchase this at RF Video. They are having a 30% off sale at the moment as well, making it a good time to buy this if you want.

http://www.rfvideo.com/ericbischoffshootinterview.aspx

And just to let everyone know, I will be taking the next two weeks off from shoot interview recaps due to the Holidays