Eric Bischoff Opens Up About One Thing WCW Could Not Get Right

"I have not failed 10,000 times," Thomas Edison once said. "I've successfully found 10,000 ways that don't work." That also sums up Eric Bischoff's experience with WCW. 

The former WCW boss has learned some of the hardest lessons in professional wrestling from failure over the years, the latest being the realization that WCW's reliance on nebulous finishes began to wear thin with viewers and the live crowd, as expressed on this week's "83 Weeks" podcast. 


"These non-finishes and these swerve finishes at the end were more a function of lack of storytelling and lack of discipline of creative ... done well? Sure you can have non-finishes." Bischoff cited how few clean finishes "WCW Nitro" had during its halcyon days of 1995 to 1998. "It was such a compelling story that the audience was more interested in the story than 'who's gonna win the match?'" Bischoff explained.

"When you condition the audience to the point where — like a Pavlovian response, as you're going into the finish — everybody simultaneously looks for the run-in, you've done a good job of ruining the audience's engagement," he added. Bischoff now accepts that when the audience is conditioned to expect the run-in, they are no longer invested in the match.


Bischoff describes match finishes as the Achilles' heel of his former promotion from even before his tenure — going back to Dusty Rhodes and his infamous "Dusty finishes." According to Bischoff, Rhodes had a great mind for storytelling, but not for finishes, nor did anyone else. Bischoff further stated that of all the people he wishes he could've stolen from WWE while running WCW, it would be Pat Patterson.

Bischoff cited Patterson's ability to add layers to finishes as what set WWE apart from the rest of its competition, comparing Patterson's method to the way a novel or movie will build to a thrilling, complex conclusion.