Eric Bischoff has been speaking about his relationship with Ric Flair a lot lately. On a recent episode of his 83 Weeks podcast, Bischoff was asked about a backstage altercation that happened between him and Flair when they were in the WWE in 2002. Bischoff said Flair’s account of the dispute wasn’t completely accurate.
“There’s a couple problems with the recollection of what Ric Flair gave,” Bischoff said. “Number one, I was in a room that was used as a set, a TV Room, or my TV office room. No one else was in there. I was talking on the phone with my wife and my attorney about a real estate deal that I was closing up. I wasn’t talking about Girls Gone Wild, so whoever wrote Ric Flair’s book is fabricating that story. Ric walked in with Arn Anderson. Arn wasn’t standing by the door; he came into the room with Ric Flair. Jonathan Coachman was in there too, and I haven’t said that anywhere else before either. Jonathan Coachman was in there as well and saw the whole thing go down.”
Bischoff, who recently said his current relationship with Flair is good, was confused by Flair approaching him so aggressively because things seemed fine between them. Bischoff even thought they were playing a joke on him.
“I had no idea because I had been out having a beer with Ric and Arn the week before after TV and had gone out a couple previous to that night right after getting there, shortly after,” he said. “So my thought process, my thinking at the time was that I was sitting there on the phone with my attorney and my wife was that Arn Anderson and Ric came in, which didn’t bother me and I didn’t think anything about it until Ric started screaming for me to get out of the chair. For a brief moment I put the phone on my shoulder and asked Ric, ‘What the f–k?’ I thought it was a rib at first.”
Flair started throwing punches, but Bischoff said they never landed. Flair and Bischoff have a contentious history after Bischoff sued him for no-showing an episode of Thunder and even making a disparaging speech about Flair to the WCW locker room with Flair present.
“Now, Ric was throwing punches, which by the way never connected. I was sitting in my chair. I wasn’t defending myself. I was sitting in my chair and Ric started rifling shots at my head, which none of them connected. They were working punches. He may have intended for them to be shoot punches, but to my point I was out on television 45 minutes after the fact and didn’t have a mark on me, so you can believe me, not believe me, don’t give a f–k, just giving you my side of the story because you asked,” Bischoff said. “But he’s rifling shots off. he was so upset, and by the way my wife and the attorney were still on the phone and they were hearing all of this. I was still confused about the entire thing, like, ‘What the f–k is going on? Am I in a scene? Where’s the camera? We’re shooting an angle here and nobody told me about it.’ Those were the kind of thoughts that were going through my head and I was really confused until I looked at Ric Flair and he was so pissed off he bit the inside of his lip and blood was coming out of his mouth. Mind you, I was still sitting in the chair and he’s bleeding from the mouth throwing punches at me.”
Bischoff said Flair verbally attacked him, but he doesn’t remember what was said because he was just focused on diffusing the situation. He wasn’t sure what set Flair off, but he refused to fight him. Bischoff also called out Anderson for not stepping in to try and calm Flair down.
“Now, I did get up and I threw the phone down and I said, ‘Ric, what the f–k are you doing?’ He then went off on me, although I forgot what the words were. I told him that I wasn’t going to fight him, there’s just no way, I wasn’t going to fight Ric. He came after me and threw a couple more punches, he wanted me to come after him but I wasn’t going to do it. I finally got back up against the wall and I had no where else to go, and that was when Sgt. Slaughter came in and broke things up. So I never got kicked in the leg, he never had his thumb in my eye, he never had me down on the couch, none of that stuff happened,” he said. “What happened was that he walked in, I don’t know what set him off, something must have triggered him, he was hot and wanted to beat my ass and threw some leather at my head, I got up and got out of the way, didn’t have a mark on me when I went out to do television and Sgt. Slaughter did come in and pulled him out of there. Arn Anderson didn’t do anything, just stood and watched. I lost a lot of respect for Arn Anderson that day. That was it, it was over, and when Slaughter took Ric Flair out I was thinking, ‘What the f–k was that all about?’ Again, context is king. A week before that I was out having beers with both him and Arn Anderson after a show. It was just weird.”
Bischoff said he tried to avoid bringing the issue to Vince McMahon, but he had no choice. He said he wasn’t upset about the situation at all, he was more perturbed by it. McMahon told him he’d handle the problem.
“As soon as it was over, I thought, ‘Well, this was f–ked up.’ I didn’t want the word to go around and I didn’t want Vince McMahon hearing it from someone else first, so I went back to Vince McMahon’s office, which wasn’t something that I ever did. I didn’t go back and try and talk to him during the course of the show unless it was something I had a question over in a performance he was involved in I left him alone,” he said. “I went back, knocked on the door and told him, ‘I don’t know what the f–k just happened but here’s what happened, it’s all cool with me. I have no issues but I wanted you to know. I didn’t fight Ric Flair. I wasn’t going to fight Ric Flair, not at an arena.’ And he said, ‘Alright, I will look into it.’ I walked out and Gerald Brisco met with me. By this time he had heard what was going on and Gerald Brisco was upset. He thought that I would be a lot more upset than I was. I really wasn’t upset, I was just confused more than anything. I was shocked and confused because he didn’t lay a finger on me. I wasn’t concerned about getting my ass beat, I was just confused more than anything.”
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.