WCW's Hog Wild '96 event was an extremely loud affair and the rumor is Bobby Heenan was drunk while on commentary. Eric Bischoff knew Heenan used to have a couple of cocktails before work, but noted that it was a different time back then.
The huge motorcycle rally in Sturgis South Dakota isn't for everybody. This fact made it difficult for people who weren't used to that kind of atmosphere, especially Heenan. Bischoff addressed the idea of Heenan being drunk on commentary during Hog Wild from an understanding position.
"You know if he was [drunk] I didn't detect it," Bischoff said on 83 Weeks. "I wouldn't have been surprised if he was. Look, [Hog Wild] was an amazingly difficult event for a lot of reasons especially for guys who weren't really inclined to want to be there in the first place."
Bischoff said WCW employees felt unwanted and out of place in Turner Broadcasting, so they had to form their own union. He met with several WCW employees at the Mall Of America in Minneapolis including Sting, Paul Orndorff, Big Boss Man, Madusa, and The Steiner Brothers to ride eight-hours to Sturgis. He said this was a great chance to socialize and build comradery.
"A core group of people loved to ride [motorcycles] and none of us really socialized, save for an hour after the show somewhere," Bischoff explained. "The idea was all getting together and it wasn't just us who were riding motorcycles. There was a whole caravan of people who were following us along that weren't riders necessarily but were following in their cars."
Bischoff said none of them had been to Sturgis before which added to the excitement. It was a bonding experience for everyone on the road trip, but Bobby Heenan had his own travel plans. Bischoff explained how Heenan went looking for accommodations he couldn't find in Sturgis.
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally generates around $800 million in yearly revenue. Half a million people flock to the 3.99 square mile South Dakota town, but Bischoff explained how other than the ten days of the rally Sturgis is a ghost town.
"Bobby wasn't on the [road] trip. Bobby wasn't one of those guys that wanted to bond and have a fun two or three days on the way out there. Bobby got there and he was looking for a four-star hotel with a really cool bar that serves martinis. You're not going to find that s--t in Sturgis.
"Sturgis is a down and dirty -- you know if you go to Sturgis two weeks after [The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally], it's a f--king ghost town. There's nothing there. Like, it's a town of about 8,000 people 360 days a year. For five days a year there is about 350,000 people there and it's crazy but the rest of the time there ain't s--t there.
"Bobby was used to a nice Hyatt [Hotel] with a nice seafood bar and they didn't have it. So for a guy like Bobby, who was used to kind of the finer things in life. To be stuck at Sturgis where it's hot, f--king noisy, you're hearing Harley Davidsons from 5:30 am till 2:00 am. You're hearing nothing but 250,000 motherf--king Harleys making more noise than you can imagine. You can't sleep, you can't relax, you can't find a place to sit down that's quiet and clean. It's just a little gritty and I think it got to Bobby, to be honest."
Bischoff didn't hear about the rumors of Heenan's inebriation during Hog Wild until after the fact. He explained how the world has become a much different place in the last twelve years, but it never interfered with Heenan's performance. Therefore, Bischoff didn't mind if his broadcasting team had a couple of drinks before the event.
"It was a different time and I knew Bobby would have a cocktail or two before the show, so did Gene [Okerlund]. It never got in the way of work so it wasn't an issue for me. It was a different time between the 90's and 2018. If it was today it would be a much different situation but back then if it didn't interfere with your work, then have a cocktail or two I don't give a s--t."
If you use any portion of the quotes in this article please credit 83 Weeks with a H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription