Eric Bischoff is one of the most polarizing figures in the pro wrestling industry due to his runs with WCW, WWE and TNA. The success of Bischoff came from being both an on-air authority figure and the guy who actually called the shots in WCW. The Monday War between WWE and WCW would have never happened if not for Bischoff’s cutthroat attitude and will to knock Vince McMahon off the top of the wrestling mountain. WCW would eventually go out of business and Bischoff ended up in WWE for a few years as a general manager. His most recent role in wrestling was an executive position in TNA.
Aside from the occasional spot on a WWE Network program, Bischoff seems to be done in the wrestling business unless he pulls another rabbit out of his hat. The brash and arrogant boss made many tremendous moves in his career but he’s had his fair share of brain farts. While Vince Russo is rightfully credited with being the king of terrible ideas in wrestling, Bischoff gave him a good run for his money over the years.
Between his time in WCW and TNA, Bischoff thought of various terrible concepts. Easy E was the mastermind between some of the worst characters, swerves, matches and decisions the wrestling industry has ever seen. These ideas were just downright terrible at the time and put the company in a bad spot going forward. Bischoff has one of the more egotistical personalities in wrestling, so he would never admit most of these were dumb ideas on his part, but anyone who lived through the time period of his work can attest to how bad they were. Over the course of twenty years, these were Eric Bischoff's worst 15 ideas.
15 nWo vs. nWo feud
The birth of the New World Order was likely Eric Bischoff’s best idea. Hulk Hogan turned heel to join the debuting Kevin Nash and Scott Hall as a powerful heel faction. It was the perfect mix of taking a calculated risk and delivering something new for the fans who were tired of the stagnant wrestling world. Things got off the tracks when the nWo added so many members that they were forced to divide into two separate New World Order factions. Hogan led the nWo black and white against Nash’s nWo Wolfpac. The idea was meant to create new excitement, but it caused fans to roll their eyes.
14 Writing A Book
Eric Bischoff likely made a great deal of money writing his “Controversy Creates Cash” autobiography for WWE, but it wasn’t the best idea for his reputation and perception. Before the book, Bischoff was still credited by fans for his hits with WCW and being the genius that started the Monday Night Wars. The thing that most people took away from reading Bischoff’s story of the WCW era was just how petty he was. Bischoff took shots at various wrestlers he worked with and passed the blame to everyone else. His reputation has changed dramatically through the years and he’s now looked at as an overrated wrestling mind that was lucky.
13 TNA ReAction
During his time with TNA, Eric Bischoff was given a lot of freedom to make his own decisions and create new concepts. The television show “TNA ReAction” was the brainchild of Bischoff and his business partner, Jason Hervey. The show was meant to be a documentary-style program to advance stories in a realistic manner. While the idea was fine on the surface, there was one fatal flaw. Reality-inspired television in the form of documentaries is riveting because they’re real. Unless you’re trying to tell the story of a worked shoot, take a potential CM Punk vs. Triple H match for example, there’s no way fans are going to suspend their disbelief to buy into a show like ReAction.
The character of Glacier was introduced with a lot of hype and money behind it. It was the concept of Eric Bischoff and was meant to be a character similar to one you would find in a Mortal Kombat video game. Bischoff’s love of karate was displayed with Glacier but fans did not care about it at all. The special effects and fake snow wasn’t enough to make the silly gimmick work. Bischoff’s fantasy of a ninja warrior was given a chance with storylines in the lower card for a couple of years, but he was unable to make a mark thanks to Easy-E's silly idea.
11 Curt Hennig Turning on the Four Horsemen
The New World Order’s dominance was a necessary evil for WCW to thrive but they needed to create heroes to combat them. Yes, Sting and Diamond Dallas Page got over thanks to becoming the stars that stood against the nWo, but it should have led to more top face stars. The Four Horsemen should have been a more respected stable to pose as a realistic threat against the New World Order. Curt Hennig joining Ric Flair, Chris Benoit and Steve McMichael made for a good core four with various strengths. Instead, Eric Bischoff had Hennig turn heel on Flair to join the nWo. Hennig went from being the hot new member of the Horsemen to just another guy in the second tier of the New World Order.
10 Aces and Eights
Eric Bischoff’s love of motorcycles was not a surprise to anyone that watched him in WCW. The power he was given in TNA led to the creation of the heel faction Aces and Eights. A faction of angry bikers with face masks turned into one of the worst stables in pro wrestling history. Names like Wes Brisco, Mike Knox and Eric’s son Garett Bischoff didn’t spark excitement and their booking sunk their slim chances at success. Everything the faction did turned into a joke but the overall concept was doomed from the start. This was the best example of Bischoff no longer having any of the genius he had in WCW and it rightfully should go down as one of his worst ideas.
9 Turning Bret Hart Heel
Bret Hart’s signing with WCW was one of the biggest botches in wrestling history but the biggest error in his tenure came with one horrible Eric Bischoff decision. Hart joined the company with great hype and a fat contract following “The Montreal Screwjob” having him leave WWE as an undefeated champion. From the start, Bret was put in meaningless feuds and matches but the death blow came when he turned heel to join Hulk Hogan’s nWo Hollywood. The joining of the New World Order was bad enough but this plan essentially established Hart as Hogan’s lackey. Hart still holds a grudge against Bischoff to this day and trashes him in various interviews.
8 Feuding with Ric Flair
The proposition of a non-wrestler using his creative power to place himself in an on-air storyline is always dangerous. Vince McMahon is the most successful example during the Monday Night Wars but most others get tiring very quickly and Eric Bischoff's feud with Ric Flair was no different. Bischoff’s early involvement as a member of the New World Order was effective but when he started having his own sole storylines, it became convoluted. Ric Flair was placed in a big feud with Bischoff and it led to the second biggest match at Starrcade 1998. The arrogance to book himself in such a spot when the roster was loaded with talent set a terrible precedence and played a role in his eventual demotion.
7 Booking Ultimate Warrior vs. Hulk Hogan
The Ultimate Warrior had one of the most forgettable runs in WCW history when he was brought over. Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan were close friends and many speculated Hogan influenced Bischoff into signing Warrior, so that Hogan could get his win back after he lost to him at WrestleMania VI. The rematch was a huge bust at Halloween Havoc 1998 and is still remembered as one of the worst matches of all time. While Warrior was a poor wrestler that couldn’t keep up with the changes of the time, he still held value and booking him to lose against Hogan was a horrible debut. Bischoff could have received much more out of his investment by having Warrior face another opponent before building up to a big match against Hogan.
6 Stopping DX From Invading Nitro
One of the most popular WWE moments of the Monday Night War era was D-Generation X showing up to WCW Nitro’s show in a tank. Triple H, X-Pac, Road Dogg, Billy Gunn and Chyna tried to invade Nitro with the tank but had the doors closed on them before they could get in the arena. They filmed enough humorous content to create great television and made WCW look like fools. If Eric Bischoff decided to fight fire with fire by allowing DX into the building and recorded it, WCW would have won the situation. The realistic scenarios would have seen DX awkwardly come to the ring, get beat up backstage by Meng or exchange high-fives with Kevin Nash. Bischoff has acknowledged this regret and wish he let them in the building.
Eric Bischoff’s time in TNA showed the flaws in continually trying to recreate history. In a joint idea with Hulk Hogan, Bischoff decided to have loved star Jeff Hardy turn heel and form the faction Immortal. It was meant to be an updated version of the New World Order with Hardy playing the role of 1996 Hogan. The faction went down instantly and was the biggest specific moment where fans turned their backs on TNA and realized Bischoff’s influence would sink the company. The additions of guys like Ric Flair, Gunner and the NFL’s Bart Scott were also poor decisions but the overall formation of the faction was the actual worst part.
4 Hulk Hogan vs. Goldberg
There was no bigger money match for WCW in 1998 than Hulk Hogan vs. Goldberg. The powerful hated heel and the rising undefeated babyface was the perfect storm for a main event at Starrcade but Eric Bischoff had it take place on a random episode of Nitro. The moment of Goldberg winning the title and defeating Hogan clean in front of a huge crowd was wonderful but it was done with little build. The company left way too much money on the table by not building up the match as a must-see PPV event. It was another instance of Bischoff making a poor decision with a short term idea rather than planning for the long term.
3 Challenging Vince McMahon To A Street Fight
WWE was starting to right the ship and overtake WCW in 1998, which led to many poor decisions by Eric Bischoff. One of the more desperate ideas was Bischoff deciding to challenge Vince McMahon to a street fight at Slamboree 1998. Bischoff looked tacky making the declaration and it came off like the most pathetic shot fired during the Monday Night War. McMahon stated on various WWE productions that he considered showing up but wisely decided against giving the competition a big value. In a release, McMahon stated he would fight Bischoff in any parking lot across the country without television cameras but Easy E declined. The ego he displayed with the challenge was detrimental to WCW and one of his dumbest ideas.
2 Road Wild
The Road Wild/Hog Wild PPV concept made no sense and was basically a way for Eric Bischoff to give free shows to the biking community. As an avid biker, Bischoff created an outdoor PPV during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The show was a trainwreck every year and made zero financial sense. Bikers attended the shows for free and annoyingly revved their engines all night long. Many of the fans made racist comments at Harlem Heat at one of the shows but that didn’t stop Bischoff from continuing the tradition. In fact, he put mainstream celebrities like Jay Leno and Dennis Rodman on shows that resulted in zero profit from the live gate.
1 Moving TNA To Monday Nights
WCW is known as Eric Bischoff’s biggest failure due to how fast it collapsed, but his worst idea came from his time in TNA. Bischoff had the mentality from the start that the best way to become relevant would be to once again go head-to-head with the WWE on Monday nights. In hopes of starting a new Monday Night War, TNA was absolutely destroyed and ended up getting worse ratings than they did on Thursdays. This worked for WCW because they were building up momentum and made the right moves. Bischoff’s idea to recreate history with TNA was made purely out of ego. The beating of TNA by WWE on Mondays killed any chance of them ever being viewed as competition and was Eric Bischoff’s worst idea.