Audiences have been watching individuals wrestle against one another for thousands of years, but neither the ancient Greeks or Romans could have predicted that the sport would have gone on to become as popular as it is today. As of right now, professional wrestling is a billion-dollar industry, as there are dozens of different promotions spread all over the world, with the best talent always eventually finding themselves in major promotions like World Wrestling Entertainment. The WWE is currently the largest and most popular wrestling promotion in the world, and has been so for well over two decades now, but there was a point when the company had a legitimate rival.
That rival’s name was World Championship Wrestling, which was founded in 1988, and WCW provided fans with such an entertaining product, that they were nearly capable of running the WWE out of business. In the end though, WCW lost the ratings battle, and was put up for sale, which is when the WWE put the final nail in the coffin and bought the struggling promotion, getting rid of it in the process. Eric Bischoff was the former president of WCW, which means that he was also heavily involved on the creative side, meaning that he was aware of everything that happened within the company, including some of the more scandalous and secret things that he did not want the public to find out about. Here is a list of 15 secrets about WCW that Eric Bischoff would prefer to keep buried.
15. Ric Flair Was Not Interested In Helping Out Up & Comers
When it comes to professional wrestling, the locker room is supposed to be a place of comradery and mentorship, as a big part of the business deals with older veterans gradually stepping aside for younger talent. Ric Flair will go down as one of the best wrestlers of all time, and based on his time in the WWE, you would think that he has always been willing to help out the younger guys, but to Eric Bischoff and WCW’s dismay, that was not the case. As it turns out, Flair did not care about helping the newcomers in WCW to improve, as evidenced by Shane Douglas who asked Flair to watch his matches so he could get feedback from the legend, to which Flair agreed. Every time Douglas asked Flair what he thought about a match, Flair would give the same answer, including one night when he told Douglas that he performed a certain move well despite the fact that the move was never used in the actual match.
14. Bischoff Is The Reason Why Hogan Accidentally Burnt Off His Own Eyebrows
Both Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior are rightfully viewed as wrestling legends, and when it came time for the two to meet in WCW, fans at the time went insane because they believed both wrestlers would put on great matches like they did at WrestleMania VI. Things really did not go as planned though, as Bischoff was unable to make Warrior as entertaining as he was in WWE, and thanks to his bad ideas, Warrior’s feud with Hogan turned out to be pretty lackluster. The worst part of the feud came at 1998’s Halloween Havoc PPV, where both men participated in what is considered to be the worst match of both men’s career. During the match, Hogan tried to throw a fireball into Warrior’s face, but struggled to ignite the flash paper, and after a rather long pause in the match, Hogan finally got the fire he was looking for, except he ended up burning off his eyebrows in the process.
13. The Court Case Involving Spray Paint
Over the past three decades, the wrestling industry has had its fair share of legal issues, whether it be related to steroids or private videos, but there have also been some cases that were not highly publicized in the news. One of these cases involved WCW and nWo members Sean Waltman (X-Pac) and Kevin Nash, and according to Nash, the entire thing happened as a result of Waltman using a squirt gun to spray paint at fans. Spraying paint like that could be very dangerous, especially if any gets into a person’s eye or mouth, which would explain why one fan became so upset that he picked up a rock and threw it at Nash’s head outside of the arena. Nash got the fan kicked out of the arena, and the fan’s family got their lawyers ready, and luckily for Bischoff and WCW, the entire ordeal was settled out of court.
12. Goldberg Was Talked Out Of Fighting Chris Jericho
Goldberg was absolutely dominant in WCW, and had the incredible winning streak to show for it, and while he was in the middle of that streak, a young Chris Jericho was beginning to pave his way in professional wrestling. Early on, Jericho really wanted to face off against Goldberg, despite knowing the fact that he would never probably beat the main eventer, so he was more than happy to just be a heel and call out Goldberg when he knew he was not backstage. Later on though, Jericho learned that Goldberg never wanted to work an actual match with him, because of Kevin Nash and other top guys telling Goldberg that Jericho would make him look bad in the ring. Bischoff may not want to admit it, but he gave in to Goldberg’s concerns, which left Jericho feeling rightfully slighted and disrespected.
11. Hogan Was Allowed To Go Overboard With David Flair
In 1993, Ric Flair decided to leave the WWE and return to WCW, where after a couple of years, he was joined by his son David, who the company initially hired to be an on-air personality. Later on though, David became an in-ring performer, and even got the chance to be his father’s tag team partner from time to time, which included a match in 1999 on Monday Nitro. The father-and-son duo went on to win that match, but it is what happened immediately after that Bischoff would like to keep buried, because it was a perfect example of the inmates running the asylum. The plan was for Hulk Hogan to attack David, giving him a couple lashes with his weight belt, but Hogan decided to whip him more than 12 times, which left David severely bruised. This did not sit well with The Nature Boy at all, who developed a grudge towards both Hogan and Bischoff.
10. The Scott Steiner/DDP Incident
Scott Steiner has been wrestling ever since he made his official debut in WCW in 1988, and in that time, he has managed to make a name for himself by being a ranting, foul-mouthed individual. Although his promos would entertain the fans, there was a time when Steiner went into business for himself by personally going after Diamond Dallas Page. Apparently, DDP’s wife was going around backstage telling people that Tammy Sytch was using drugs, which led Steiner to defend his friend in an in-ring promo where he personally targeted Page’s wife Kimberly. Obviously Page was not pleased with this, which is why he quickly confronted Steiner about it backstage, which resulted in a physical altercation that Steiner ultimately won. The reason why Bischoff wanted this confrontation to be kept quiet, is because Steiner apparently nearly caused Page to lose an eye, which would have been really bad press for the company at that time.
9. That Arn Anderson Was Stabbed By Sid Vicious
In 1993, there were rumors coming out of WCW that Sid Vicious, one of the company’s best heels at the time, was going to be turned face in order to challenge Big Van Vader for the World Heavyweight Championship, but things did not go as planned. In professional wrestling, there are backstage altercations all the time, but when such altercations take place in public venues and get out of hand, people like Bischoff try their best to keep the whole situation under wraps. While in a bar in Germany, Vicious was allegedly badmouthing Ric Flair, which prompted Arn Anderson to stick up for his close real-life friend. The two-men got into a physical altercation, which resulted in Vicious stabbing Anderson with a pair of scissors, and it was because of this that Bischoff was forced to cancel the planned push.
8. Broadcasters Were Forced To Change In Public Restrooms
It is true that the wrestlers are the most important part of professional wrestling, seeing as they are the ones who literally attract fans, but in order to properly run a major promotion like WCW, every piece of talent, including the broadcast teams, are essential. If you are watching wrestling on TV, you will have a team commentating on the in-ring and backstage action, and usually, these employees are treated well, but in WCW, Bischoff treated them rather poorly compared to other promotions like the WWE. Apparently, WCW’s creative would constantly make last minute changes to scripts on the fly, and Bischoff would even withhold information from the broadcasters in order for them to actually appear surprised on air. These broadcasters were even forced to change in public bathrooms before and after events, so that they would not take up any locker room space, and fans would sometimes walk in on them changing because WCW would not temporarily close off those bathrooms.
7. He Actually Disrespected Ric Flair
With this entry, we will be talking about Ric Flair for the third and final time, because as you can tell from previous entries on this list, he did not always enjoy his time with Eric Bischoff. During his time as executive vice president and head of creative, Bischoff managed to insult Flair several times, including one time when Flair asked for time off to watch his son Reid compete in a wrestling tournament, which was derailed thanks to Bischoff calling him back last minute to appear in a spot that Flair did not even need to be there for. The biggest insult, though, came one night when Bischoff went into the locker room and berated most of the roster, including Flair, telling them that none of them could draw people in, and that Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper were the crown jewels of the company. Flair had been a well established main eventer for over a decade at that point, which makes those remarks incredibly disrespectful, and it makes Bischoff look like a huge idiot.
6. Nash & Hall Were Terrible For The Locker Room
Kevin Nash and Scott Hall made big names for themselves while in the WWE, which is why it was such a big deal when news hit that both men were leaving the company to join WCW in 1996. Upon their arrival, Hall and Nash eventually teamed up with Hogan to create the nWo, which became the most dominant group in WCW for the remainder of the company’s existence. WCW became much more grittier as a result, but the atmosphere in the locker room suffered because of it, because Nash and Hall ended up having a lot of control over the creative side of things. Former wrestlers have said that prior to Bischoff bringing both men into the company, the locker room was fairly calm and easygoing, but following their arrival, the locker room became much more competitive and paranoid, because people did not want to lose their spots on the roster because of the pair’s influence with creative.
5. Stars Stole Merchandise Revenue From Other Members Of The Roster
As far as income goes, most professional wrestlers make a fairly decent living, but not all of their money comes from the annual salary listed on their contracts, as they also get a cut of their merchandise revenue. Depending on how popular they are, merchandise sales can provide a wrestler with a boatload of extra cash, and when you are a lower card performer who is not being paid as much, every piece of your merchandise sold is incredibly important, which is why it was a bit shameful that some of the top guys in WCW would actually steal merchandise revenue from lower-level guys. According to Chris Jericho, when he bought one of his own action figures, the receipt said it was a Hulk Hogan figure, which meant that unless it was a clerical error, the company under Bischoff’s watch allowed the top guys to take monetary advantage off the work of other roster members.
4. The Company Essentially Cost The British Bulldog His Career
It is always a terrible thing to see a wrestler get legitimately injured in the ring, because it usually means that they will either be forced to miss a lot of time, or they will be forced to have to retire early. The British Bulldog was a fairly popular wrestler since the mid 1980s, and shortly after returning to WCW in 1998, he suffered a terrible injury that essentially brought an end to his career. The injury in question occurred at the Fall Brawl PPV, and it was entirely WCW’s fault, because they allegedly neglected to mention to him that there was a trap door built into the ring to help give The Ultimate Warrior a surprise entrance. Since he was unaware of the trap door, Bulldog could not take the bump properly, and ended up nearly getting paralyzed while spending several months in the hospital as a result.
3. The Company Did Not Want To Pay Bret Hart’s Disability Insurance
Anyone who has watched professional wrestling since the ’80s will agree that Bret Hart was indeed an amazing wrestler, and all of those fans will also agree that the worst career decision he ever made was when he chose to sign with WCW. In 1999, Hart faced Goldberg for the World Heavyweight Championship, and at one point in the match, Goldberg kicked Hart in the head with so much force that Hart suffered a serious head injury, so serious in fact that it forced him into retirement. Bischoff tried his best to sweep what happened next under the rug, because after retiring, he initially did not want to give Hart his payout when he filed for his disability insurance. The reason for this was because other wrestlers had recently played the system to get big payouts, reasoning which Hart viewed as a slap in the face because of all the work he did in the industry.
2. That Goldberg Was Seriously Injured Because Of Terrible Planning
Wrestling fans lost their minds earlier this year when Goldberg made a brief in-ring return, which is not all that surprising seeing as he is one of the most dominant wrestlers of all time. As dominant as he was in the WWE, it was with WCW that he cemented his legacy, but WCW did have to deal with losing Goldberg for several months thanks to a terribly planned Nitro segment. The segment saw Goldberg chasing the nWo and Bret Hart, and ended with him punching the window of a limo, which resulted in him cutting his arm very badly, which caused him to lose a lot of blood. Apparently no one really knew what was supposed to happen with the window, because there were reports that the window was either supposed to be replaced with stunt glass, that Goldberg was going to use a weapon to break, or that he was not even meant to break the window.
1. The Renegade Killed Himself After Leaving The Company
Earlier on this list, it was mentioned that The Ultimate Warrior came to WCW and feuded with Hogan, but in 1992, three years prior to his arrival, Hogan made several promos that made fans think that Warrior was coming to WCW. In truth, the wrestler that Hogan was promoting was The Renegade, who was basically a knock-off Ultimate Warrior who came with similar wild hair, in-ring characteristics, and face paint. Bischoff gave The Renegade a big push with several big wins, despite the fact that fans did not seem interested in him, but eventually Bischoff had enough and stopped pushing him, turning him into a low-card performer who lost most of the time. It was shortly after that that WCW decided to release him, a decision that apparently did not sit well with The Renegade, as he fell into a deep depression following his release, a depression that led him to take his own life a few months later.
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