Lex Luger's appearance on the debut episode of Monday Nitro is considered the first shot in the legendary Monday Night Wars between WWE and WCW. Luger was recently a guest on Cigars, Scars and Superstars with Terri Runnels and he discussed the decision to jump ship from WWE to WCW.
Luger had been with the WWE for over two years and was one of the top superstars in the company. He had just wrestled at a house show the night before appearing on Nitro, so his appearance obviously came as a shock to WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and his wife, Linda. Luger said it was Eric Bischoff who made him promise not to tell the McMahons he was leaving and he would do things differently if he had the chance. The WWE was forced to edit him out of their upcoming shows because they didn't expect him to leave the way he did.
"I was in a tag match with Davey Boy Smith taking on Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon at a house show the previous day. I would have handled the situation a lot differently today, but my contract was up so legally. Sting and Eric Bischoff had talked to me and decided to bring me in, but under one condition was that I couldn't tell Vince McMahon. I had a great relationship with Vince McMahon. We were friends, so I was very uncomfortable with it even back then, but I decided that it was a good opportunity, and was a way to feed my family," Luger said. "To make a long story short, I left and Vince and Linda [McMahon] were watching at home and were both like, 'you have got to be kidding me!' They were shocked just as much as the fans. They had to pull me out of their TV shows that they already taped, because WWF had pre-taped their shows. So, they had to pull me out of their TV shows and they had no ideas I was going to walk out there at the Mall of America. That was a shock to everybody; for sure."
Bischoff signed Luger to a $150,000 contract, which was less than he made in his first run with WCW. Luger said he didn't consider giving McMahon a chance to match the offer because he was happy to be signing with WCW because of how comfortable he was with the other superstars.
"I felt that at the time, I had so many friends in WCW, with Sting and the other wrestlers, so I really felt at home there," he said. "After talking with Eric Bischoff, at the time I thought it was going to be a better opportunity for me. I didn't know for sure, but timing was, going back, we are at the beginning of the Monday Night Wars so it turned out to be a good decision for me."
Luger said McMahon had never reached out to him after he jumped ship and he never tried explain to McMahon why he left the way he did. They later ran into each other at an airport and they were cordial with each other.
"He did not speak to me until we bumped into each other several years later at an airport," Luger said. "He walked up like he always does, like a gentleman, he shook my hand, smiled and said that he was glad I was doing good."
If any of these quotes is used, please use the h/t of Cigars, Scars and Superstars with Terri Runnels via Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.