On the first episode of his new 83 Weeks podcast, former WCW president Eric Bischoff discussed the creation of the most famous faction in wrestling history, the nWo. Even though Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were huge stars that he poached from WWE, Bischoff said what they earned was still a step below what was paid to WCW's top stars like Sting and Ric Flair.
"It was never a thing with me. We had a budget in place that had been approved the year before by Turner Broadcasting Finance Committee, so I knew the parameters that I had to work with. I knew that politically, from a locker room prospective, I knew that there was no way that I can bring these new guys in and make more money than Ric Flair," Bischoff said. "Nor did I wanted to put them at the level, even if Ric Flair hadn't been there, I didn't want to pay them at Sting's rate. Sting was the highest paid guy. We were all comfortable with that, the rest of the talent was comfortable with that, but I never used it as a barometer publicly. I knew that within my budget, and Sting being the highest paid guy, along with Ric Flair and a few below him, again, the questions that I did have with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, especially with Kevin because I talked with him more based on our previous relationship with him."
Bischoff said it worked out well for Hall and Nash because they didn't work as many dates as when they worked for WWE. For Nash in particular, the schedule was easier on him because he was expecting his first child.
"Kevin made it clear to me, we put a maximum of 180 dates, WWE was at 250, we may be splitting hairs to a degree, but it wasn't half the dates. It may have felt that way to Scott and Kevin, but we had a maximum of 180 dates, we never hit the maximum dates, it was around 125-130 dates a year, so it was definitely a lot less of a load than what they were used to," Bischoff said. "Kevin was expecting his very first child at that time, and in WWE he would have been on the road, add the travel that they worked along with the front and back end of traveling back home and leaving again they were probably gone 300 days a year, so it was a much lighter load. Add the income from pay-per-views, house shows, and all the profit shares, they were probably making $500,000 or more, but they had to work hard to get it, but they both expressed to me, especially with Kevin, it was much of a lifestyle consideration as it was a financial one."
Bischoff also took time to dispel the notion that he gave out guaranteed contracts to superstars. He said WCW had been giving out guaranteed contracts since before he worked for the company, so he's unaware how the rumors got started that he was the one to introduce them.
"It's amazing to me, and I get this all the time, and no matter how many times I talk about it, and how many ways it is so obvious that it is not true, but people still want to believe it. Here are the facts: when Eric Bischoff came to work for WCW as a 'clean up batter' on the announce team working alongside Tony Schiavone, I came with a guaranteed contract," he said. "The first day I showed up on the job, the very first day, I rode to town with [Head of WCW Security] Doug Dillinger and Dusty Rhodes, and we drove to Anderson, South Carolina, and I got to the building, and the very first person that said hi to me was Larry Zbyszko. Larry and I worked together in AWA and we were pretty good friends back in the day. One of the very first things Larry did for me was pull me aside and said, 'Kid, keep your chin down. Don't stir up any s--t and you will get paid for life.' They all had guarantee contracts before they got there. How it became that Eric Bischoff gives out guaranteed contracts I will never freaking know. I really won't, but it is out there."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks with Eric Bischoff with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: 83 Weeks with Eric Bischoff
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.