The Hollywood Blondes, Steve Austin and Brian Pillman, made a lasting impression on pro wrestling in their ten month run as a tag team.
Eric Bischoff recently opened up on 83 Weeks about why the decision was made to break up the team, saying that it came down to an issue of economics. Austin and Pillman were simply pulling in too much on an individual basis so Bischoff broke up the team in an effort to more wisely use Ted Turner’s money.
“What had happened with Brian [Pillman] and Steve [Austin] wasn’t so much of a booking decision about them being together as a tag team as it was a financial decision,” Bischoff said. “I could tell you this for sure — later on, when I did have creative control over wrestling operations around 1994-1995 I was not a big fan of tag team wrestling. Not because I didn’t enjoy watching it as a fan, but from an economic point of view.
“If you look at a tag team, and each one of them is breaking close to $200,000 a year and they are in the ring with those of equal value, now you have a million dollars worth of talent for a seven or eight-minute segment, so from an economic point of view to have two high profile guys in a tag team match and you start looking at the economics of it, you look at it like, wait a minute, I can have two separate stories here at two separate segments to fill my content requirements with for the same amount of money that I am spending on one.”
Austin and Pillman picked up the NWA and WCW World Tag Team Championships during their tenure as a team. They would eventually become coworkers in WWE where they feuded in the infamous “Pillman’s got a gun” angle.
Bischoff explained how The Hollywood Blondes needed opponents on their level which would have been too costly to maintain. Therefore, it made more sense for him to break up the high-dollar team instead.
“To have equal value or status with guys like Steve Austin and Brian Pillman at the time, you had to have other high-dollar guys with to tell stories with. Being limited in what you can do in singles matches and your storytelling for all of the content that you had to fill and put a real premium price tag on the talent that was involved in a six or seven-minute match, or one match for a pay per view.
“So it just didn’t make economic sense, which was the reason, from what I can remember early on was that if we can’t afford it we can’t afford it. Let’s get a two for one here. If we have two great guys with lots of talent it made a lot more sense from a business point of view for them to be singles then for them to be a tag team.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.