When Eric Bischoff joined WWE in 2002, it was just after the promotion had its brand split that separated Raw and SmackDown. Bischoff was appointed the General Manager of Raw while Stephanie McMahon became the GM of SmackDown.
That created quite the dynamic between Bischoff and Stephanie as they often battled for Superstars and supremacy. Bischoff discussed working with Stephanie on the latest episode of his 83 Weeks podcast.
"I liked the idea of working with Stephanie McMahon. Stephanie was pretty green still at the time. She had been on camera before quite a bit, but she still wasn't in her groove 100 percent yet. But she had so much talent. Again, like I talked about with Steve Austin, the natural history, the organic and real s**t that had been going on with me in WCW and the McMahons just made it so easy," said Bischoff.
"You have to remember this was before Stephanie and Triple H were a thing. I mean, they were a thing but they weren't married yet. It wasn't quite as obvious at this point, but to me it was fun. She was a great talent, she was believable. Hunter, Hunter was okay - I don't mean that as a knock. Looking back now I can't say that there was ever one really great scene that I had with Hunter where I felt that connection with Steve Austin or Mick Foley or a couple of other people, but Hunter was good. He was solid, but more than anything I think the audience was interested in that storyline and anxious to see where it was going to go based on our history."
Perhaps the most memorable segment between the two came on Halloween in 2002. During a backstage Halloween party, Bischoff was wearing a Vince McMahon mask. Moments later he and Stephanie had a lengthy kiss that fans are still talking about 16 years later. However, he still doesn't know who exactly came up with the idea for the segment.
"To this day, because again, WWE, nobody talks about whose idea it was. As many times as I spent with Bruce Prichard I had never asked him that question, which is really weird because I would still like to know. I am pretty sure it was Vince McMahon's idea but I would still like to know," stated Bischoff.
Bischoff said that the segment of him kissing Stephanie wasn't something planned out well in advance. It was scripted on the day of the kiss and was something different than the banter that Bischoff and Stephanie had up to that point.
"I thought it was a great idea; again, it was pushing the envelope. It was the foundation of what could have been a great storyline as opposed to the back-and-forth stuff that we were doing about who was the better brand. That kind of s**t didn't really get over with the audience because it wasn't big enough. It wasn't controversial enough, it wasn't hot enough, it didn't feel believable enough," admitted Bischoff. "It was just going through the motions of trying to create two separate brands. This was a beat that I thought when they laid it out to me. I thought this could work depending on where they were going to go with it, but I thought it was a great idea. I was really excited."
Bischoff was still relatively new to WWE whenever the kiss happened and didn't have much of a relationship with Stephanie or Vince McMahon. Making things even more awkward was that Vince was directing the scene in which his biggest rival made out with his daughter.
"Having [Vince] standing there directing the scene while I was making out with his daughter - I knew she didn't want to do it," said Bischoff. "It was like me and how I felt when I had to take a Stink Face from Rikishi. I am sure she wasn't feeling that, but she was a pro and as weird as it was, again, as a character you are doing it.
"I think it was a live segment, and as I am doing it I can hear the crowd reacting even though I was in a remote arena. But I can hear the reaction from the crowd, thinking, holy s**t, this is going to be great! Then it got dropped. It was like, boom, gone, never to be spoken of again which was really weird. It was more weird for me than having Vince McMahon standing there directing me as I make out with his daughter. His direction was very animated, but we did it and then it's gone. It's like, what the f**k?"
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.