Recently on WOOOOO! Nation with Ric Flair, ‘the Nature Boy’ spoke with former Executive Producer and President of WCW, Eric Bischoff. Flair and Bischoff covered a lot of ground in this two-part interview, including Rick Rude, Hulk Hogan, and WCW’s special contracts.
When asked whether Bischoff remembered Rick Rude demanding to have Sting’s spot in WCW, Bischoff recalled having to retrieve a championship belt from Rude, who had physical possession of the title at the time.
“I don’t even remember the details that led up to that situation in Orlando [Florida], but I remember he had physical control over the belt and I needed it back.” Bischoff continued, “I walked out to his car, he opens up this trunk, and there’s the belt sitting there right next to a .357 [revolver]. And he just kind of looked in the trunk and he looked at me. And he reached in and I thought, ‘well, here it goes.’ And he grabbed the belt and he handed it to me. I think he made a statement and that was the end of it. Nothing happened after that, really. But that was an awkward moment.”
Flair added that Hulk Hogan called Rude ‘the Tasmanian Devil’ and refused to work with him because he knew that Rude beat up the Ultimate Warrior in WWE after Warrior said in passing that Rude was not good enough to get a title shot.
Flair was instrumental in Hogan signing with WCW in 1994. According to Flair, Bischoff asked whether Flair would be able to put him in touch with Hogan. Flair called Hogan to see whether Hogan was interested at all in meeting with Bischoff. Hogan expressed interest, so Flair and Bischoff drove down to Orlando to visit Hogan on set during the filming of Thunder in Paradise.
“So we got in a car, Eric and I drove through the woods for two hours and [Hogan] had a trailer there and I sat in the car or did something and Eric went in and talked to Hulk for an hour and a half and he came back and he said, ‘we got him.’ And then, about a month later or two months later, the same thing with Macho [Man].'” Flair continued, “Eric had the power, and he had the money, and the company, [Turner Sports President] Brad Siegel in particular, wanted that marquee guy.”
Flair said he was happy to play a part in WCW’s acquisition of Hogan as he was focused on having someone to work with. Flair claimed that he never viewed it as relegating himself to the number two spot in the company.
“I loved working with Hulk. I mean, people are going to say what they’re going to say and whatever, but working with Hulk Hogan was the easiest job I had in my entire life!”
Bischoff stated that Hogan was interested in moving to WCW due to the excellent pay, lighter work schedule, and the opportunity to work with Flair. Bischoff indicated that Hogan’s WCW deal was $500,000 for each pay-per-view and about 40% of his own merchandise. Hogan would work four pay-per-views each year and approximately seven to ten TVs leading up to each pay-per-view.
As for Hogan’s favorable merchandise deal, Bischoff noted that WCW made $40 per week in merchandise before Hogan arrived on the scene.
“Now, he had some really favorable percentages on his merchandise that were unrealistic, but, you’ve got to remember, at the time that we brought Hulk in, WCW was making about $40 per week on merchandise on everybody totaled up. There was no merchandise really being sold.”
“[Hogan’s] biggest issue though wasn’t the money or the schedule, it was who he was going to work with. He didn’t trust very many people.” Bischoff added, “so money was the condition, like one of the conditions, but the precedent was, ‘if we’re going to do this, I’ve got to be in a long term program with Ric Flair first.'”
According to Bischoff, Hogan’s creative control was overblown, as Hogan only used the clause once or twice during his time with WCW, the first time being when Bischoff originally pitched a heel turn 6 months or a year before the nWo angle.
On the subject of special contracts in WCW, Bischoff stated that only a handful of talents, most notably Hogan and Bill Goldberg, received special contracts.
“So much of what is out there is just fabricated B.S. There were a handful, a handful, of unique agreements. Hulk Hogan being the first. Bill Goldberg being another one. And there may have been three or four more.” Bischoff continued, “the two people that I can recall that had ‘favored nations’ [clauses] in their agreements [were] obviously Hulk and Bill Goldberg and that’s because they shared an attorney.”
Additionally, Flair and Bischoff discussed Bischoff’s resentment toward Lex Luger, Bischoff’s legacy in professional wrestling, and many other topics. To check out the two-part interview, click here.
Source: WOOOOO! Nation with Ric Flair