Former WCW executive producer Eric Bischoff nearly became the man that destroyed Vince McMahon‘s WWF empire. Thanks to a handful of marquee additions to the roster, excellent business decisions and crafty storylines, Bischoff and WCW was the most popular wrestling promotion for much of the mid-90s.
Bischoff’s greatest move may have been to have Hulk Hogan turn heel, forming the villainous New World Order alliance with Kevin Nash and Scott Hall – who were all former stars in the WWF. ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage and Lex Luger were also big names who went from the WWF to WCW.
It’s safe to say that WCW wouldn’t have gained so much relevance had they not signed some of the top superstars in the rival promotion. But Bischoff wanted to make something clear while appearing on the Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast: He did not “steal” WWF talent:
“There was never really anybody that we sent back in a dark room, with a six-pack of beer and said, ‘OK, let’s see if we can get this guy or steal this guy.’ Whether it was talent, or Producers, whoever it was trying to come to WCW, it was them coming to us; there was never really us trying to cherry pick talent.”
Bischoff did admit that he tried to “covet” from the WWF was long-time wrestler Pat Patterson. The former boss of WCW said this was because some of the guys working with him were high on Patterson, saying he was “a ‘great’ finish guy.” The 1996 Hall of Fame inductee never jumped ship, however.
It was Bischoff who was able to convince Hogan to quit his acting career and come back to wrestling – when he signed with WCW in 1994. Other stars like Nash and Hall were offered more money by WCW, which helped them leave the WWF without having to think for long.
But one of the biggest problems WCW would later run into was their over-reliance on aging and past-their-prime stars to keep running the show. Fans eventually got bored of the on-and-off nWo reunions, while Vince began going with younger talents like ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and The Rock, among others.
Eventually, Bischoff and WCW made too many mistakes with their finances, bookings and more that led to the downfall. Bischoff was able to revive his career by working as the general manager of Raw shortly after the draft/brand extension. Nearly 20 years after his run in WCW ended, Bischoff remains one of the biggest names in the wrestling industry – and for good reason.
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