Eric Bischoff arguably had the greatest impact on the culture of WCW in the 90s. His career would see him jump from an Executive Producer to the Executive Vice President in 1994, becoming the person in charge of the company’s future. Bischoff started signing big names from all over the world and decided to go head to head with WWE by having Nitro oppose Raw on Monday nights.
Bischoff's big signings helped WCW become a relevant threat to WWE for the top spot in the industry. We will look at the best wrestlers to join the cause during his time making the decisions for WCW. These talents all had a positive impact, helping the company grow in different ways.
10 Lex Luger
Eric Bischoff initially did not want to sign Lex Luger to a contract when his WWE deal expired in 1995. Luger's last run ended poorly, but Sting tried to talk Bischoff into bringing back the former world champion. Luger and Bischoff reached a deal ahead of the first ever Monday Nitro episode.
The signing made for a huge moment, showing that Nitro would have unpredictable shows that were worth watching live. Luger found way more success back in WCW than WWE as he was always a better fit there. The WCW run saw Luger return to main event form.
WCW signed Bill Goldberg after his NFL career fizzled out, due to his impressive look and athletic background. Goldberg was not expected to become a main eventer that fast, but the undefeated streak caught on right away to make him credible.
Fans fell in love while witnessing Goldberg destroy his opponents in a matter of minutes (most weeks). Goldberg moved into the main event picture and became one of the all-time great WCW legends. Bischoff made a great move taking the chance on him, despite the wrestler's minimal experience.
8 Eddie Guerrero
The international market became a huge part of WCW’s scouting when looking to expand their roster. Eddie Guerrero delivered incredible performances for ECW, New Japan and AAA in the 90s, putting himself on the radar of Eric Bischoff and WCW.
The working relationships with AAA and NJPW played a role in Bischoff bringing over Guerrero and a few other cruiserweights. Eddie was one of the bigger acquisitions for WCW in that category, enjoying a solid push in the mid-card to start his run. Bischoff adding international names helped make WCW a great promotion, offering a variety of styles and talents.
ECW was commonly raided by WCW when Eric Bischoff hoped to sign new talents. The first huge one to jump ship was Raven in 1996. ECW made Raven their top heel champion, as he was the most compelling performer on the roster with great character work and top matches.
Eric Bischoff signed Raven to a bigger contract and pushed him in the mid-card picture. Raven didn’t hit his potential as a top star, but the work he provided in the middle of the card helped WCW thrive.
6 Dennis Rodman
Celebrity involvement was a big part of wrestling in the 90s, with both WWE and WCW trying to add household names. Dennis Rodman was, arguably, the top celebrity of the time, since he became a regular member of the New World Order for WCW.
The popularity of Rodman was higher than ever, with his run on Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls going strongly. Rodman was comfortable enough in WCW to wrestle a handful of matches per year, always bringing positive buy rates and ratings numbers.
5 Scott Hall
Scott Hall jumping ship from WWE to WCW showed that Eric Bischoff was going after everyone. It was well known that legends would be offered big contracts by WCW, but Hall represented someone in their prime that had yet to hit their potential.
An incredible debut saw Hall interrupt the show and tease the New World Order coming over to WCW to start a hostile takeover. Hall was a valuable early member of the faction, helping make WCW a must-watch product as they took control of the ratings war.
4 Rey Mysterio
WCW's cruiserweight division gave them something WWE had no answer to. WCW scored big ratings because of the main eventers, but the overall card depth is what made the diehard fans keep coming back each week.
Rey Mysterio was the most popular luchador in the cruiserweight division, connecting with all fans. Mysterio’s size, along with the fantastic masks and gear he wore, made him a beloved underdog with a unique look. Eric Bischoff did a great job hiring Mysterio, instead of letting his smaller stature scare WCW away.
3 Randy Savage
Randy Savage joining WCW was one of the bigger signings by Eric Bischoff in the 90s. Savage was a top tier performer from WWE in the 80s and still very popular. He left WWE after Vince McMahon wanted to retire him by forcing him into the commentary spot.
Fans started giving WCW a chance as Savage and other familiar names became the faces of the company. Savage had another strong run for the next five years, helping WCW dominate the ratings war. The signing gave them another top draw to build the promotion around as they re-branded.
2 Kevin Nash
The WWE run of Kevin Nash as Diesel saw him taking a main event spot. Diesel had a WWE Championship reign that lasted almost a year. Vince McMahon loved the look, size and charisma of Nash and hoped it would land him another top tier star.
However, WCW came calling when Nash hit free agency, with a massive contract. Eric Bischoff felt the duo of Nash and Scott Hall was perfect to execute his New World Order faction. The group took over the sport and Nash eventually joined the main event picture as one of the company’s all-time greatest stars.
1 Hulk Hogan
Eric Bischoff’s biggest and boldest sign in the 90s came when signing the legendary Hulk Hogan away from WWE. The tension between Hogan and Vince McMahon led to him wanting a change. WCW came calling as Bischoff convinced Ted Turner to open his checkbook for a huge contract offer.
Hogan pushed WCW into a new role as a legitimate contender to WWE. His eventual heel turn to form the New World Order is what pushed WCW over the top. Hogan went from the all-time great face to the all-time great heel, and WCW benefited tremendously.