Eric Bischoff recently spoke on his 83 Weeks podcast about the SmackDown premiere on FOX, as well as the times he’s been forced to work with celebrities. He said a lot of the people barely deserve to be called “celebrities”, and he hated every time he was told he would be working with one. He recalled working with Snoop Dogg and other musicians as part of the WWE’s launch on FOX, calling it a “pain in the a-s”.
“There was a lot of effort and time put into getting celebrities involved with the show without necessarily being part of the show,” Bischoff said. “By that I mean like a red carpet type of thing, where they come out, and wave to the cameras, and just associate themselves with the event and make it feel like they were part of what was going on but not actually have to produce anything for them. When working with them– sometimes when I feel strongly about something, I need to pause to make sure I don’t say the wrong thing. I’ve worked with some great celebrities. Some of them have been the easiest people in the world to work with. Some of them you would think would not be easy to work with, but are.
“I have worked with celebrities who barely deserve to call themselves a celebrity,” Bischoff added. “They kind of sort of are, but in their minds they really are, and they’re a pain in the a-s. Anytime I find out I’m working with a musician that’s a celebrity, my skin starts to crawl and I break out into a sweat. I start twitching and I feel like what might be seizures start to tremble. I hate it because they’re the worst historically, in my experience. Only mine. I’m not saying– there are probably great celebrities or musicians out there who are great to work with, and I can’t wait to meet you wherever you are.
“In my limited experience, they are the worst. I cut my teeth on Snoop Dogg on a non-wrestling project and it was one of the most frustrating, frightening, and challenging moments of my life. Anyway, there were going to be celebrities associated with this [FOX] launch, and you talk about herding squirrels – it was just insane. A lot of my time on that particular day was dealing with the egos – the managers, the boyfriends, the girlfriends, and the cousins, and I’d rather chew off my fu–ing leg than work with another celebrity. It was the worst! Catering was good, though.”
Bischoff later discussed working with DJ Marshmello on the premiere, where he fell on Carmella and won the 24/7 title. Bischoff said it gave him heartburn to deal with him. He also said he could easily destroy him by telling the truth about him, but he will refrain from doing so.
“DJ Marshmello – remember all of those things I said earlier about celebrities?” Bischoff asked. “All I’m going to say is there are perfect examples. It was so fu–ed up. What a gimmick this DJ Marshmello has. I’m not going to say it. It’s not being afraid of anything, but at some point out of respect for the people I have respect for that are still with WWE, and to a degree, myself, because I could really give away something here.
“It’s really easy to diminish, destroy, or hurt people by telling the truth,” Bischoff said. “It is. Just because it’s the truth doesn’t mean it’s always the right thing to do. So I’m going to refrain from anymore commentary on DJ fu–ing Marshmello. We have some of the most intelligent and knowledgeable listeners on 83 Weeks. People listen here because they want truth; they want facts and information that’s not full of hype. I call it like I see it, and people may not like it, or disagree, or whatever. I don’t really care. I know what I’m telling people is the truth in the best way I can communicate it. Because our audience is so intelligent, when I say I’m not going to say anything more about DJ fu–ing Marshmello, they know what I’m feeling. Enough said.”
On the SmackDown debut on FOX, Becky Lynch came out looking for a fight and was interrupted by Baron Corbin. The Rock came out and stared down Lynch before acknowledging her with a handshake in a sense of annointing her as a top star. Bischoff said that he didn’t have anything to do with that segment. He said he saw Lynch and The Rock going over their stuff in the back, but The Rock directed it, and if the goal was to make Lynch look good, then they achieved that.
“I’m sure that was the intent,” Bischoff said. “I didn’t have anything to do with writing that or creating or communicating it, but I’m sure that was the intent. That was between Vince and Rock. I don’t think anybody else had anything to do with that. Maybe Becky [Lynch] was involved. I saw Rock and Becky going over their stuff and it seemed to be Rock directing it, which should have been the case. If that was case, then they achieved that and then some.”
Bischoff then weighed in with his thoughts of The Rock being at the start of the show as an attention grabber, but said if they put him at the end of the show, that portion of the show would have drawn better numbers. He also revealed management was “terrified” of how long The Rock was going to go on the mic, as he has a reputation for running long on his segments.
“Yes, putting him at the beginning of the show is obvious,” Bischoff said. “I think putting him at the end of the show would be interesting depending on what you did with him. That could have held the audience longer had they known The Rock was going to be there. That anticipation of seeing The Rock might have allowed FOX to see a bigger number at the end. I’m not looking at the numbers right now or anything, so I don’t know how much of the audience was lost with The Rock showing up at the beginning versus what the numbers were at the end of the show. If it was 5-20%, you might have been able to build on that and deliver better numbers had The Rock been at the end, but there’s a lot to be said by kicking it off with a bang on a premiere episode.
“I can see why they put him at the start of the show,” Bischoff said. “I’ll tell you this – people were scared to death about how long The Rock was going to go. I didn’t work with The Rock a lot, but he had the reputation of being like, ‘7 minutes? Okay, got it’, and then 17 minutes later, he is still cutting his promo, and that is just devastating to everyone else on that show… You have to scramble to make it work and figure it out. That wasn’t the case that night, and it worked out well.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.