On the latest episode of the 83 Weeks Podcast, Eric Bischoff talked about WCWs World War 3 pay-per-view in 1996. Before that show, WCW was having tons of issues regarding crowds that were paid for before he took over in the mid ’90s. Bischoff said that the company switching from handing out tickets for free to becoming a show that was sold out with paid tickets was an astonishing accomplishment and situation to be in.
“It never happened before in WCW,” Bischoff said. “WCW was known for giving tickets away, they would bribe people to go to the show. Now, we’re in this weird situation and otherworldly situation of actually having to turn people away. It was very frickin’ cool.”
Bischoff mentioned how WCW would have to continue to turn away people at the door because now they reached max capacity compared to giving away tickets for the years prior. He said this was the most exciting time for the company because it gave them the ability to make coming to a show feel special and make the fans feel like they needed their tickets as soon as possible.
“For me, I preferred turning people away,” Bischoff said. “I know that doesn’t sound right, but once people started hearing – and they did – that they couldn’t get a ticket, it’s the velvet rope mentality. Once the word gets out that it’s a hot ticket and if you don’t get it fast you’re not going to get one, that affects the rest of the markets you go into going into the future.”
Bischoff also talked about never bouncing his contract around and how he undervalued himself in negotiations. He also said he never compared what he was making to what others in the company were making.
“I don’t care what anyone else makes,” Bischoff said. “Whether they make a lot more for the same job or make less than me, that’s their responsibility. I throw myself into whatever it is I’m doing. If I feel like I’m enjoying it, it’s productive, and making good money, I really don’t care what anyone else makes. As long as I was happy, I didn’t care what anyone else made.
“I am loyal to a fault. To me, sitting back and saying ‘Wow, WCW is coming to me, they want to renegotiate. I’m doubling all of this – record ratings, record house shows, record pay-per-views, record licensing, record merchandising; all of this stuff is happening. I’m going to get every nickel out of it I can.’ That is so opposite of who I am, I just don’t think that way. It’s not loyalty in my mind.”
Bischoff also talked about the differing things he would hear regarding Vince McMahon from talent that came from WWE to WCW. He believed most of the time, talent would come to him saying these things because they believed Bischoff hated Vince and talent were just telling him what he would want to hear.
“It became so obvious to me early on that people are going to tell you what they think you want to hear,” Bischoff said. “People assumed I wanted to hear what an evil person Vince McMahon was, or how oppressive he was. They really believed I was out to get Vince McMahon, and I wasn’t. Despite the narrative that I created as a marketing tool, I don’t blame people for having that impression, but it wasn’t the case.
“The other part of me was thinking the more people would try to impress me with things like that or develop a relationship with me by telling me things I want to hear, the less genuine and honest I thought those people were. I had a tendency to shut down those conversations right away because I didn’t want to hear things that would make me lose respect for the people I was negotiating with. I would make it pretty clear right off the bat that none of this matters, let’s talk about what we’re going to do and not what happened there. It just wasn’t relative to me, but I would hear it a lot.”
Bischoff continued to say some of the stuff he was being told about Vince he would take down and listen to. He said that was rare though, and most of the stuff he was told he looked at as just nonsense because he didn’t get to hear Vince’s side of it.
“Some of it I would take note of,” Bischoff said. “Some of the things I would hear about the way Vince did business was either something that impressed me or it was something that made me realize I don’t want to do that. More often than not, I just looked at it as bullsh**. I just looked at it as people telling what they thought I wanted to hear. I didn’t put a lot of credibility into the things I heard.”
Bischoff also talked about how he was the biggest advocate for putting himself on television during the heat of the Monday Night Wars. He said that choice was made by him, and he thought it was the perfect way to capitalize on the heat he was already generating from the audience as an announcer.
“I had heat from the minute I walked into WCW as an announcer,” Bischoff said. “I didn’t work at it; I wasn’t trying to have heat. When I broke into the industry, I was an anomaly. I was a guy who had never wrestled. You didn’t come up in a wrestling family and laced up a pair of boots? I walked in off the frickin’ street – that right away made me an outsider.
“I was running the company. I had heat. I had come to WCW with heat and built upon it with the audience. Even though I didn’t want it, it was there. It just made sense to me, I could create this plot twist with the guy that’s actually trying to fight off the nWo and the company that he’s running because that makes sense right? Then find out low and behold that he was undermining the company – that’s kind of a big damn deal. Not to sound like an arrogant prick, but I knew I had the ability to pull it off. It was a believable story that I knew would piss people off, and I knew I could carry the heat.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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