Eric Bischoff was in charge of WCW in the Monday Night Wars, here is answers fan questions regarding a range of topics from Brian Pullman untimely death, Wrestling dirt sheets and WCW talent contracts
The chat is from October 1997.
DiscoDoused (Prodigy Member) – A wrestler is dead and the overuse of prescription pain killers is suspect. As Senior Vice-President of a national wrestling promotion, what have you done and what do you plan to do to rid wrestling of its epidemic of drug abuse…and please, no corporate PR bs here, a man has died.
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – That man happened to be a pretty good friend of mine, and I don’t take the situation lightly. Unfortunately, there is only so much we can do to curtail or prevent the abuse of prescription drugs or any other drugs for that matter. WCW does have a drug testing policy in place and wrestlers are tested when they come to WCW. They are subject to random tests at any time and there are random test procedures in place that have been fairly effective. I’m not going to insult anyones intellegence to
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – say there aren’t abuses, but the fact is there isn’t a problem we have detected among people working with us now. Unfortunately, drug abuse exists not just in wrestling, but all walks of life.
Moderator (Speaker) – Welcome everyone, tonight Eric Bischoff is our guest.
DiscoDoused (Prodigy Member) – Ric Flair has told friends he is tired of WCW politics and would like to spend one year in the WWF. Many wrestling fans wonder why you have dismantled a money making gimmick like the Four Horsemen. Please share with us the unvarnished, behind the scenes truth regarding Ric Flair and his relationship with WCW.
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – I can’t speak for Ric Flair, I can only tell you that Ric and his representatives have expressed a strong interest in extending his relationship beyond his current agreement. The fact they have been so active in trying to extend that agreement tells me Ric has every intention of staying here.
NWA4Life (Prodigy Member) – It’s been reported that Jeff Jarrett’s contract expires this week. Do you fear a possible “Lex Luger” appearance on RAW next week, and do you have assurances from him that he will be on the PPV? Can you update us on negotiations?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – I don’t want to get into details of negotiations, I make it a personal policy not to discuss that publically. It is, indeed, true that his contract expires today. Our hope is that he will stay with us, but if he decides to move on, we wish him all the luck in the world. I hope he stays in WCW, but that’s a choice Jeff will have to make.
DiscoDoused (Prodigy Member) – Seemingly most on-line wrestling fans hate you. Why do you think you darw such ire?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – Because I’m so good at what I do.
NWA4Life (Prodigy Member) – There’s been speculation recently about the contract status of several WCW wrestlers. The Torch recently reported Hogan’s contract expires in a couple of months, and other’s supposedly expiring soon include Giant, Page, and Piper. Can you clarify the status of those wrestlers?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – Without going into specific detail, Hulk Hogan’s contract expires December 31 of 1998. Giant runs through Jan of 1999. Piper’s agreement has about 2 years left, and Page has at least 22 months left on it.
DiscoDoused (Prodigy Member) – It has been eight months since you announced your intentions to either buy into New Japan Pro Wrestling or start up your own Japanese promotion. Since then, most wrestling sheet writers have mocked you as extremely naive or downright deceitful with your announcements. Please share with us the facts, are you ever going to fulfill your Japanese intentions or was the episode just wishful thinking?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – >From what I remember, most sheet writers were convinced I wouldn’t be successful running WCW and they laughed at NITRO going against RAW. The fact that sheet writers don’t put stock in my strategy is of little consequence to me. We do have a strategy and before my tenure in WCW is finished we will have a presence in Japan.
Swiss Rolls (Prodigy Member) – Also, what do you think about Jim Cornette’s comments yesterday on Raw?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – I think it’s great. It surprised me because I thought Vince would have learned the first time he started promoting our wrestlers on his show that he would have learned it wasn’t a good idea. One would think he would have learned his lesson. The fact Jim Cornette would talk for 4 or 5 minutes about the evils of the NWO and about how great Ric and Arn are, first I want to thank him for the free promotion of our product. I’m sure he still wishes he works for WCW, someone should remind him he doesn’t. It only creates more interest in our product. As far as what he said, it’s laughable. I don’t hang around with Scott Hall or Kevin Nash. I think he said something about them riding motorcycles. Neither of them ride motorcycles or would get near one. I thought the comment about Syxx was totally out of line. Syxx was a guy that went through treatment and has been clean for a long time. He should be looked up to for what he has accomplished instead of being characterized that way by Jim Cornette. Jim is a funny guy, it’s just unfortunate he’s been such a failure. When he was in a management position in WCW he was involved at a time WCW had huge losses. His tenure here was nothing more than a failure. Then he moved on to Smoky Mountain, another failure. He continues to have the same effect on the WWF. I for one am glad he’s there. The best thing to happen to WCW was guys like Jim Cornette and Jim Ross going to the WWF.
NWA4Life (Prodigy Member) – There were reports recently that Tod Gordon had been in contact with WCW and was trying to arrange a mass exodus of ECW talent. What can you tell us about that situation?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – I’ve never had a conversation with him, except maybe once a few years ago. I believe he had a talk with Terry Taylor, but nothing came of it.
NWA4Life (Prodigy Member) – Another recent report involved Taz. Have you had serious discussions with Taz, and what are the chances he will be appearing in WCW anytime soon?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – I haven’t had any discussions with Taz.
NWA4Life (Prodigy Member) – How concerned are you that the new TBS show will dilute your product? Are you worried about over exposure? How much is too much wrestling on television?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – We have a strategy in mind that we feel comfortable with. I think the most important thing is we put on a show that’s unique in as many ways possible. As long as we do that, I’m not worried about over saturation. We have enough talent on our roster and have our creative plan ready. I think the long term effect will be positive for the franchise.
Eggman (Prodigy Member) – What do you think about that bloating idiot’s shoot comments on WCW workers? Of course I’m talking about Jim Cornette.
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – As I said earlier, I think Jim Cornette is just another parasite in this business for reasons nobody can explain. It’s not that he has talent, it’s not that he’s a good announcer, it’s not that he has proven to be successful. He has a face only radio could love. The fact he could make any comments about anyones talent or ability is at least ironic. Once again, I want to thank him for the airtime, but I think our audience is a little more astute than Jim Cornette.
DiscoDoused (Prodigy Member) – Most on-line wrestling fans are astonished that a clear majority of wrestling fans nationwide would watch your TV product over the WWF’s. Please share with us why you think WCW Nitro appeals to more wrestling fans than Raw Is War.
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – NITRO is a more entertaining show. It’s faster paced, higher production values, with talent that people care about and are interested in, and story lines more appealing to the masses. Why there is such an obvious difference between what the public likes to watch, and what online fans like, has more to do with the culture of the online fans. Online fans are usually influenced by comments from guys like Wade Keller and Dave Meltzer, who are influenced not by what they think, but what they think will continue to stimulate sales of their sheets. Without controversy, and differing opinions of the two programs, readership of those dirtsheets would deteriorate.
Moderator (Speaker) – To visit WCW on the World Wide Web goto http://www.wcwwrestling.com
A1 Sauce (Prodigy Member) – When Hollywood took that “McMahon…BYTE ME!” sign, it was classic. I saw your reaction, but I’m wondering what your thinking in your head?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – I was just wishing I would have done it.
maddog O (Prodigy Member) – It seems to me that Bill Goldberg is version of Stone Cold Steve Austin. Is that the idea?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – Not at all. Bill Goldberg is much bigger, and in much better shape, and is a far better athlete than Steve Austin has ever been. Bill Goldberg is going to be Bill Goldberg. He won’t be a character per se. He’s a very intense, very gifted athlete. Steve Austin isn’t the only performer who happens to shave his head. That’s the only thing they have in common.
ChrisJericho (Prodigy Member) – When will JJ Dillion be back and take over for Piper?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – Not for some time. Piper seems to be doing a pretty good job, at least for now.
A1 Sauce (Prodigy Member) – Paul Heymen recently called you a “genious” for being successful under the Turner enviroment. He also said your empire could fall quick if you keep on tampering with other’s contracts outside of WCW. Your comments?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – We don’t tamper with anyones contracts. The fact that individuals come to us who are ready willing and able to enter into an agreement with WCW is not tampering. It may be unfortunate for people like Paul Heyman, but to suggest an individual doesn’t have the right to work for whoever he may wish to work for. Paul Heyman may like to throw terms around like tampering, but the fact is the people who have come to work for WCW are legally, ethically, and morally able to do so. No matter how much
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – Paul Heyman or Vince McMahon don’t like it. It would be like saying Green Bay tampered with Bret Farve when he was under contract with the Atlanta Falcons. If in fact, anybody he suggests we tampered with were not able to come to us it would be resolved very quickly in a court of law, and honestly would be resolved before it ever got to court.
A1 Sauce (Prodigy Member) – What is WCW’s penalty put towards wrestlers who use profanity on live TV? I’ve noticed alot of cussing on WWF’s live programming lately, while profanity in WCW is nil to none (last incident I recall was Booker T saying the “n” word on a PPV).
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – About six weeks ago, I sent out a letter to all talent reminding them the use of vulgar language or gestures will not be tolerated. From time to time in any live situation you will hear things you wish you didn’t hear. We don’t have a specific penalty, but depending on how serious the incident a wrestler may be terminated or fined. Without going into detail, those situations have happened in the last year or two. I have had to take that position on a number of occassions.
MrMondayNite (Prodigy Member) – What do you and WCW have to say in rebuttal to the Jim Cornette comments on RAW last night? I realize you may not have seen it, as I have trouble watching WWF most of the time to due to the quality of their show of late.
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – You’re right, I haven’t seen it, but I had the audio portion played to me. Like I said earlier, it’s hilarious a guy like Jim Cornette who hasn’t had any success anywhere he’s been can try to criticize people who have been successful like Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Syxx, or Eric Bischoff. I’m glad he’s in the WWF. I hope he’s involved on a daily basis in the creative direction of thier company. Nothing could insure the future of WCW more than to have guys like Jim Cornette working for the WWF.
BBye Pillman (Prodigy Member) – How serious is Kevin Nash’s injury?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – I talked to Kevin today and he is way ahead of schedule in terms of rehab. He is anxious to get back to work. I’ll probably be seeing him this weekend.
Hey Eric SW (Prodigy Member) – Thank you for joining us tonight Eric. Did you have a chance to see the WWF tribute and interview with Mrs. Pillman last night and if so what are your thouhts on it?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – I haven’t had a chance to see it yet, I hope to take a look tomorrow. Melanie is going to have to deal with the situation the best way she can in a way that works for her. I’m not going to pass judgement on whether it was appropriate or not because it may be something she felt she needed to do to get through this situation. What does disgust me is Vince McMahon and the USA Network used the situation to milk a rating. If Melanie wanted to address the situation, I think it would have been a
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – great thing, but in my opinion it should have been done at the beginning of the show and not promoted throughout the show to get a rating. I think that was disgusting.
Moderator (Speaker) – To visit WCW on the World Wide Web goto http://www.wcwwrestling.com
Hey Eric SW (Prodigy Member) – I heard that Kevin Greene can not wrestle with WCW because of his contract with the San Fran 49ers. Is this ture and if so, do you have any plans for him in another role?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – It is true. I had an opportunity to talk to Kevin the night before he signed with San Francisco and we talked about his future with WCW. I encouraged him to play as long as he can in the NFL. His career in WCW will be waiting for him when he is done. He has a chance to break Lawrence Taylor’s record for sacks, and has an opportunity to be considered for the Hall of Fame. In the long run, playing another year or two is a much greater opportunity than coming to WCW. Especially with that
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – opportunity waiting for him when he is through. That’s what I encouraged him to do.
Hey Eric SW (Prodigy Member) – WCW was mentoined on Raw…Along with video shown of the Cliq, of Shawn, Hunter, Hall, and Nash from MSG. He said “The Cliq owns this busniess.” What are your thoughts on this angle and how it kind of uses WCW’s talent in a non-wrestling role by using Razor and Deisel’s name and the infamous “Cliq” and what would be your reponce to Shawn coment about owning the biz?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – I really don’t have a response. Clearly the WWF is attempting to try to take advantage of the popularity of the NWO. The NWO is the most successful angle probably in the history of the business. It’s stronger now than it ever has been. Merchandise is selling at record paces in Japan. It will soon exist in Mexico. It’s only natural Vince will try to capitalize on it. I just hope he keeps giving us airtime.
RoyAyers Joe (Prodigy Member) – Eric – When the announcement of Pillman’s death was made on Badd Bloods FFA, many people online, had trouble believing this was real, even after Vince announced in numerous times, in a serious and very legit-looking manner. What do you think about fan’s not being able to differenciate fiction and reallity?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – Well, we walk a fine line in the wrestling business between fiction and reality. In some cases in the last couple of years, the most entertaining things have had an element of reality to them. It’s not difficult to understand why someone might think this was not a real situation. It’s unfortunate in a case as tragic as this one. With all the rumors and ridiculous things done in wrestling in the last few years, I can understand why it would be an initial reaction. In this case it’s really
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – unfortunate. Combine that with the fact that when something like this happens to someone you know, you have a hard time believing it anyway, and the fact it happens in a wrestling environment exacerbates that to an extent.
ELVISTCB (Prodigy Member) – I would like to know if the WCW would ever offer Jerry Lawler a contract?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – Not in my childs lifetime.
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – Jerry Lawler and Jim Cornette should start a company. They have a lot in common and have the same level of ability.
xXxStakexXx (Prodigy Member) – Mr. Biscoff I would like to hear your reaction to the tragic death of Brian Pillman, and the reactions of some of the wrestlers in WCW… I’m sure you knew him well and are as devasted as we all are..
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – Brian Pillman was a friend of mine, and someone who I had a lot of respect for. Brian probably had more adversity in his life than any of us would experience in a dozen lifetimes. As Brian used to say, he had his demons. While I knew Brian, he stayed in control, and although he had problems from time to time, particularly towards the end of his stay in WCW, he was able to slay his demons and get control of his life. My dealings with Brian were always honest. He never tried to manipulate
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – any situation. Even at the end while we were negotiating and he made a decision to go to the WWF, he did it in an honest and straightforward way. One of the last things I said to Brian was he hadn’t burned a bridge at WCW, and if the time came when he was legally willing and able to come back, he didn’t have to call he just had to show up and there would be a contract waiting for him. If there was ever one decision that I could change, and ever one time in my wrestling lifetime that I could
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – turn back the clock and change the way things happened, I would have gone the extra mile to make sure Brian stayed with WCW.
Juggalo KT (Prodigy Member) – Will Nitro be coming to the United Center or the Rosemont Horizon any time soon?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – To be honest, I don’t have my schedule with me. I’m certain we’ll be back soon, by the end of the year or the first quarter next year.
FlyerJon (Prodigy Member) – Although Brain Pillman made many enemies, he spent the majority of his career in WCW. What have the backstage reactions of his former collegues been?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – I keep hearing how he made enemies. Brian had a lot of friends at WCW. That’s one reason I wish I could turn back the clock. I talked to Chris Benoit last night, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Dallas Page, a lot of people in WCW liked Brian and were stunned and saddened and obviously upset about what happened. What’s more upsetting is that while it may be true that prescription drugs may have had something to do with his death, the fact that he was already tagged with that before an autopsy was
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – done was in incredibly poor taste and unfair to his children, family, and friends. I’ve never had anything but positive discussions with and a positive friendship with Brian. He had a lot of friends here. We’re all going to miss him.
FlyerJon (Prodigy Member) – What is your reaction to the insinuation that the NWO is being run up North?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – If indeed that’s what is really going on, and if indeed they are going to pursue that storyline, as I said earlier, it doesn’t surprise me that they would try to capitalize on the strength of the NWO concept. I think it’s another desperate manuveur by an increasingly desperate organization.
Ray Pruit PF (Prodigy Member) – – Are there any talks going on between you and Taz?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – I have a cat named Taz, that’s the only Taz I talk to.
TL Richard (Prodigy Member) – Eric- Now that Seagrams has purchased Viacoms shares of USA Network, do you care to speculate whether USA will continue to program WWF wrestling. i.e. RAW, Superstars, Live Wire- or is just a matter of time when the Universal Library could pull more viewers than WWF programming?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – I think there’s a couple of things in play here. I can’t imagine how much longer USA will put out the kind of trash in prime time that Vince McMahon produces every Monday. The USA Network has a responsibility, particularly when a lot of the advertising is geared to a younger audience. McMahon continues to go to an extreme to produce programming in poor taste. If USA continues to ignore the kind of trash that is on there on Monday nights, they won’t have to worry about Universal, they’ll have
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – to worry about their advertisers and the FCC. The current trend of programming on Monday nights on USA tells me it’s just a matter of time, and probably the not to distant future, when the advertisers refuse to advertise within that time period and USA realizes the WWF and their brand of programming isn’t compatable with the USA Network’s future.
Ray Pruit PF (Prodigy Member) – – What is the current situation with Jeff Jarrett? Will you re-sign him?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – As discussed earlier, Jeff’s contract ended today. I have respect for Jeff as a performer and a person. I sincerely hope Jeff will stay with WCW, but if he decides to go anywhere else I respect that decision and wish him the best. He’s a pro and a good human being and deserves whatever success he can get whereever he chooses to be.
FlyerJon (Prodigy Member) – I thoroughly enjoyed “Slamboree: A Legends Reunion.” What happened to this format, and will there ever be more WCW Hall of Fame Inductees?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – There may be at some time. While we enjoyed the Legends format, it got increasingly more difficult because of egos to put on an event like that. We hope to do it again in the future but have no plans to do so right now.
STONECOLDfan (Prodigy Member) – why do you continue you to pay a has been like Hulk Hogan, 4 million a year when he very rarely wrestles?
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – Hollywood Hogan continues to have more impact on this industry than anyone past present or in the forseeable future. The reason I continue to do business with Hogan is because I like doing business with Hogan and because it’s profitable to do business with Hogan and because he helped get us where we are today.
Aussie CK (Prodigy Member) – Eric,any chance of WCW coming to Australia,since we do get Nitro down under every week.
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – Yes, as a matter of fact, we are talking to a number of promoters right now. We hope to do that sometime in 1998.
Eric Bischoff (Speaker) – That’s all the time I have tonight. Thanks for the questions.