“My job really, as it was described to me, was to, in a general sense, oversee anything within WWE, and to a degree with FOX, anything that touched or related to SmackDown,” Bischoff explained. “Which included, by the way, overseeing creative, that was a part of it. But, it was overseeing it, not creating. I was told clearly I wasn’t brought in as a creative person, I was brought in to manage to creative process. They are two entirely different things.
“It would be fair to say the creative had to go through me to get to Vince McMahon, yes. But it also included licensing and merchandise. It included PR and marketing. It included scheduling. It included just about everything related to SmackDown which is a lot within a company like WWE. But it did not necessarily involve me dealing directly with FOX executives, that’s my point.
He talked about the moment he knew things weren’t going to go the way he thought. He talked about how he had been self-employed for a very long time working on different projects.
“That happened fairly quickly. But not for any other reason than processes,” Bischoff stated. “The process across the board in WWE is a very unique, complex and an intense process. Keep in mind, I’ve been self-employed for 20 years. And for at least half of that, I’m kind of a one-man band. I conduct a lot of business, I’m developing a feature film for Netflix at the moment (the Hulk Hogan biopic), I’ve got other projects going on at the moment, but it’s not like I have a staff of people I’m working with. And I don’t really have anyone that I have to report to other than my wife and my banker.
“So, for 20 years, I’ve kind of been operating as a solo practitioner and now I’m leading an orchestra. And it was a transition. For me, I had a hard time adapting and for two reasons. One is, and this is my fatal flaw, and I tend to overestimate my ability to adapt to almost anything, because for the better part of my life, that’s normally been the case.”
When he was hired as executive director of SmackDown, Bischoff said he expressed optimism. However, he realized that he did not manage to adapt well to the WWE environment.
“I thought ‘Ok, I can do this,'” Bischoff said. “I know I’ve been self-employed for 20 years, I know I live out in the middle of no where in Wyoming surrounded by beautiful mountains, I know I’m in charge of my own schedule, I can come and go as I please, I know I’m only accountable to me, my wife and my family, but, I’ve done that corporate thing before, I can do it again.
“What I underestimated was just how difficult that adaptation would be for anybody that is good at adapting. It takes time. And I didn’t manage that well. My lack of performance, if you will, in terms of not fulfilling the role in the way that Vince McMahon saw it, that was on me. That wasn’t on WWE. It wasn’t because of any one person or group of people.”
Bischoff says the blame is one him to not adapt. He says is departure was more of a bad fit more than anything else. He also still considers Vince McMahon a friend “to a degree.”
“It was on me and my failure to adapt. I just didn’t work out,” Bischoff admitted. “It was a bad fit and more of a chemistry issue, really, than anything else. Vince McMahon is not a social friend of mine. We don’t have dinner together when I’m on the east coast or keep in contact a lot, but we’ll share a text every now and again. I still consider him a friend, to a degree.
“And I have an immense amount of respect for him. So there’s no frustration or anger on my part, because it was on me, not them. I didn’t live up to the job.”
Andrew Kermish contributed to this article.