The career of Eric Bischoff in the wrestling industry will always be polarizing for many reasons. Bischoff’s best moments were considered genius and helped change the wrestling world for the better. Meanwhile, the lowest moments of Bischoff’s career played out in a way that damaged his reputation more than some of the positive things helped it. Both sides will be examined here as we try to figure out whether he was a genius or not.
Bischoff made his name in WCW with the role of making the big decisions for Ted Turner to compete with WWE. WCW had a meteoric rise and an even more memorable fall. The future of Bischoff would see him end up in WWE as a General Manager before moving to TNA for a poor run behind the scenes. Easy E is now one of the lead creative minds running Smackdown for WWE. Find out just how things went for Bischoff with five reasons why he’s a wrestling genius and five reason why he’s not.
10 Genius: Cruiserweight division
The cruiserweight division in WCW helped the company establish something completely different from WWE. Eric Bischoff many great talents from Mexico, Canada and Japan to join the company and compete in tremendous matches based on competition.
Names like Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio had their first major break in North America in WCW’s cruiserweight division. Bischoff took a chance on something different and it paid off. The cruiserweight division is one of the things that best hold up from WCW watching it back today.
9 Not: Firing Steve Austin
No one could have easily predicted Steve Austin would become the biggest star in wrestling history, but the potential to become a main eventer was always there. Eric Bischoff didn’t see much value in Austin when taking over WCW in the early years.
Austin got fired from WCW via FedEx when Bischoff decided it was time to let him go during an injury. Bischoff was focused on adding big names from WWE instead of building his own stars. It led to him getting rid of the guy that would become WWE’s biggest star of the era.
8 Genius: Booking celebs like Dennis Rodman and Jay Leno
The concept of booking celebrities to wrestle can go different ways, but it depends on which names a company brings in. Eric Bischoff struck gold on a few occasions when reaching out to celebrities that wanted to wrestle.
Dennis Rodman joined the New World Order during his peak as an NBA superstar for Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. All of Rodman’s matches created strong outside interest for WWE. Late night talk show host Jay Leno helped create interest in WCW when teaming with Diamond Dallas Page to face Hulk Hogan and Bischoff.
7 Not: Booking celebs like Master P and KISS
The opposite side of celebrities hurting the company would see Eric Bischoff book a few names for huge money that did nothing to help the company. Bischoff grew desperate around 1999 when WCW was falling apart with ratings going downhill.
Rapper Master P signed a big contract to make a few appearances and lead the No Limit Soldiers faction with Rey Mysterio and Konnan. Fans turned on it and booed them every single week. Legendary rock band KISS received a massive payday to perform on Nitro, but ratings didn’t even improve.
6 Genius: High on Ali
One of the few recent details to drop about Eric Bischoff’s status in WWE is his fandom of one talent. Fightful reported that Bischoff was high on Ali after watching him have a superb dark match against Buddy Murphy before Smackdown in Madison Square Garden.
Ali has a tremendous chance to become a top star for WWE with his pure babyface character and ability to thrive as an underdog. Bischoff already picking him as one of the talents he’d like to push is a sign he may have genius left in him to help Smackdown.
5 Not: Booking his son to get pushed
The TNA run of Eric Bischoff might be the worst mark on his track record. Bischoff joined the company along with Hulk Hogan to help them compete against WWE. TNA failed in the early stages of the competition and just started focusing on their own product.
Eric’s son Garett Bischoff was selected as one of the younger talents to get a major push. Hogan even endorsed Garett as the future of the wrestling business. Fans didn’t care in the slightest as the younger Bischoff did not have what was needed to succeed in wrestling.
4 Genius: Sting's character change
Sting was one of the most beloved superstars in WCW history long before Eric Bischoff even received power. It took a lot of guts from Sting and Bischoff to move forward with a character change in 1996. The New World Order was taking over WCW and manipulated fans and wrestlers to turn on Sting.
This inspired the character change from the stereotypical face to a loner with the Crow era starting. Sting sported a new look and watched the shows from the rafters going over a year without speaking. WCW fans fell in love with the new version of Sting and it created the best storyline in WCW history against the nWo.
3 Not: Giving away opposing show's results
Eric Bischoff did not want to keep things professional with WWE once the Monday Night Wars started. Many new tactics in wrestling would see Bischoff throw mud at WWE trying to prevent viewers from going back and forth between both Raw and Nitro.
Bischoff started leaking the results for Raw episodes that were taped which happened every other week between 1995 and 1997. Nitro would start off with Bischoff revealing the match results and order from Raw to stop fans from tuning in. It made WCW come off poorly and sometimes would lead to fans changing it to Raw if the results interested them.
2 Genius: New World Order
The best idea of Eric Bischoff came in 1996 when starting the New World Order. Bischoff chose Scott Hall and Kevin Nash as the perfect two stars to start an invasion angle with implications that they were representing WWE to make fans think a WWE vs WCW feud was happening on Nitro.
Bischoff made the boldest move when turning Hulk Hogan heel after over a decade as the top face in the industry. The trio of Hall, Nash and Hogan made the nWo the hottest act in wrestling right away as it helped WCW become must-see television.
1 Not: Making TNA compete against Raw
Eric Bischoff’s dumbest move took place in TNA right when he and Hulk Hogan gained power. One of their first moves was to transition the Impact television show from Thursdays to Mondays to compete with Raw exactly like Nitro did.
Hogan and Bischoff believed all the old names from WWE and WCW signing with TNA would give them an instant chance to compete with Raw. Instead, the show flopped badly in the ratings. TNA lost a lot of money in the time slot and with the live show costs. Bischoff pulled a move that TNA is still trying to rebound from today since it killed the brand’s identity.