During the 83 Weeks Podcast, Eric Bischoff talked about Jeff Hardy and his struggles with addiction in 2019. Bischoff said that he wasn’t upset working backstage during that time because it wasn’t shocking news to him. He said others in the company weren’t angry either when finding out the news – they were more focused on fixing creative.
“I wasn’t critical. I wasn’t even angry because I wasn’t surprised by it,” Bischoff said. “Jeff has gone through this so many times. It was obvious to me the few times I had crossed paths with Jeff that he was probably still using. Sometimes you can tell by the things you see or hear on social media that were a little off. I wasn’t surprised.
“If you’re not prepared to deal with that type of thing without losing your s–t, then you probably shouldn’t be in that business. Probably spent more time and energy fixing things that weren’t able to happen because plans change. You spend a lot of time creatively making chicken salad out of chicken s–t. There was a general sense of disappointment. I didn’t sense anger from anyone else; it was just, ‘oh god, here we go again.'”
In July, Jeff Hardy was involved in a storyline with Sheamus where his addiction issues were the main focal point. Bischoff talked about WWE using his substance abuse issues in the storyline and why he has no judgement towards them for doing it.
“I have no judgement on that,” Bischoff said. “I don’t know all the details, all the background. Was it Jeff’s idea? I think it’s inappropriate to pass judgement. If it was Jeff’s decision and if it allowed him to confront his challenges in an honest or open way, then I think it was in a good way – if it was Jeff’s decision. I don’t know, so I refuse to pass judgement.”
Bischoff also talked about working at WWE during the premier episode of SmackDown on FOX. The show opened up with Vince and Stephanie McMahon introducing fans to the new look of SmackDown. Bischoff said Vince was hesitant to go out in front of the crowd, but Stephanie convinced him to.
“I actually got tears in my eyes when I saw Vince and Stephanie go out,” Bischoff mentioned. “It was my impression that Vince didn’t really want to do it. It was also my impression that Stephanie really did want him to do it. Guess who won?
“I saw it go down. I saw the hesitation from Vince; I saw the pressure put on from Stephanie. It made my heart full seeing that father daughter relationship in that exchange. It was really important to Stephanie when they went out and did it, and it was the right thing to do. It brought tears to my eyes.”
Bischoff continued to explain why Vince McMahon might have been hesitant to show his face on screen. He said from experience, when you’re on camera for so many years, there comes a time where you just want to stop it.
“I think there was some awareness from Vince’s part that his time on television as a character was in his rear view mirror,” Bischoff continued to say. “Especially when you’re as powerful of a character as Vince McMahon was and is. It’s so easy to dominate/overshadow everything else that was on the show. Once you go out there and you establish yourself on camera when you’re a character like Vince McMahon has been for so long, it’s easy to fall into the trap of doing it too often and going back to that 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.