During the Monday Night Wars, a common angle in both WWE and WCW was a future Hall of Famer feuding with his boss. In WWE it was Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon while in WCW it was Ric Flair and Eric Bischoff. However, unlike WWE, the feud in WCW wasn't just in front of the camera as Flair and Bischoff had real-life heat between each other with Bischoff even suing Flair for no-showing a Thunder episode.
Flair and Bischoff managed to make this real-life feud into a storyline but there was always resentment on Flair's side. Bischoff discussed repairing his relationship with Flair on the latest edition of his 83 Weeks podcast.
"It was a process. It didn't happen like over a weekend. While I was in WCW, we kind of put our immediate issue to bed and worked an angle together as a result to that, or using that issue and all the heat that we created which was real, I thought at that point we put it behind us," stated Bischoff. "Of course, I left WCW thinking that Ric Flair and I were still cool. I didn't see him or cross paths with him until we were both at WWE. Even when I got to the WWE, the first several months, maybe even six, I can't remember when he and I got into a backstage altercation with a lack of a better way of saying it up until that moment I thought we put it past us.
Bischoff mentions that while in WWE, he, Flair and Arn Anderson would often grab a beer after a show. Bischoff didn't realize that Flair still had that bitterness towards him and he finally reached his breaking point one day.
"Ric is a very emotional guy and it had been building up in him and I think it just boiled over with him one day that I still had heat with him. Because one day I am sitting in a chair and talking on the phone with my wife and a real estate agent and Ric comes in and rifles a couple of shots on the side of my head," said Bischoff.
"After that happened and I realized that we aren't friends like I thought we were, a couple of months went by, and I believe we were in the UK and were in the hotel bar after the show and everyone was having a good time and I happened to walk into the bar. I didn't really look around me, I just walked into the bar and Ric Flair is about 4-5 feet away from me. He just kind of smiled and looked at me and came over. We just started chatting like nothing ever happened and we have remained good friends ever since."
After both left WWE, they reunited on a Hulk Hogan tour of Australia in 2009. The event was created by Hogan and Bischoff and featured Flair vs. Hogan as the main event of each night of the tour. A couple of years had passed since they last saw each other in WWE and this was when the beef between the two was finally squashed.
"We never have talked about it. Isn't that funny? We both know it happened, but I will tell you where the first time I really spent a lot of time around Ric was when I put together a tour around Australia," said Bischoff. "Might have been around 2009 maybe? It was the first time I spent a lot of time around Ric after that. We got along great over there. We had a great time. We talked about it a little bit on the trip, but I don't think we spent more than a few minutes talking about it. It was more or less like, eh, whatever, that crazy s**t happens.
"I never understood what he was angry for. Like I said, I was confused because I thought we had gotten past all that stuff years ago at that point. We had spent so much time hanging out a lot in WWE that I had no idea he was still resenting things towards me and had anger on what went on back in 1998. But evidently it did and now I look back at that and laugh about it. It is really silly."
Bischoff and Flair would then work together again when both were in Impact Wrestling. They even formed an on-screen alliance when Bischoff's stable, Immortal, aligned itself with Flair's stable, Fortune, before the two factions later feuded with one another.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks with Eric Bischoff with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: 83 Weeks with Eric Bischoff
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.