During the latest episode of the 83 Weeks Podcast, Eric Bischoff looked back on the time he spent living in Stanford, Connecticut in 2019 as the Executive Director of SmackDown. Bischoff actually said he was living on the same block as Vince McMahon, and he told a story about seeing him drive home late at night.
“When I was in Stanford last year, I actually lived a block away from Vince McMahon,” Bischoff said. “It was great. [His place] was a very exclusive condominium. It was always fun because I would be out walking my dog at night, and I’d see Vince come blasting around the corner. He drove like a f***ing mad man. He’d come zipping around the corner, dive down into the parking area. He lived right down the street from me.
“I’d be sitting on the jet [to leave for SmackDown/Raw], and typically we’d be waiting for Vince to arrive. He’d come blowing up to that corporate jet like he was taking a pitstop at the Indy 500. He liked to drive.”
Bischoff also talked about the night he was fired live on Monday Night Raw in December of 2005 and thrown out in a garbage truck. He said that night was actually a relief to him, and he gave some insight into what the conversation was like leading up to that night with the McMahon family.
“This wasn’t me necessarily getting fired,” Bischoff said. “I got notified by Stephanie McMahon that they just decided they were going to go in a different creative direction. I still had time left on my contract when I got the call from Stephanie, and she said ‘Look, we’re going to take a different direction, pay you through your contract. You didn’t do anything wrong, there’s no heat. We just need to go in a different direction.
“I remember getting that call because the two times I was terminated, both times I was relieved. Stephanie, I think, anticipated me being upset or having some type of response to the phone call, and I just said, ‘Steph, I completely understand. We have run out of rope as far as this character is concerned. It’s starting to get redundant.’ “
Bischoff continued on to say his time as the general manager of Raw had run its course. He said the story of being the pain in the ass GM and ruining things for talents like John Cena, Stone Cold, and Kane, had to come to an end.
“It worked for about 3-4 years, but after a while, you get tired of doing that as a performer,” Bischoff said. “You know you’re essentially doing the same things over, and over, and over again. You may be doing it with different people and the set ups may be different, but you just run out of room. I wasn’t a wrestler and couldn’t get in the ring. I was pretty limited. As a performer, you actually get tired of it. When Stephanie called me, I was like, ‘ah, the time is right.’
“I fulfilled my goal. My goal was to end my career in WWE as a talent on a positive note. That was my note going in when Vince McMahon called me. I told my [wife] that this was my way of putting the period on the last sentence in the chapter I want my career to end on. This was actually a perfect set up for me.”
Bischoff compared that show, which was dedicated from start to finish to the angle of him being fired at the end of the show, to wrestling shows today. He said this show is a perfect example of how great storytelling is written because the show starts with his trial and leads into McMahon firing him and sending him off in a garbage compactor. Bischoff also mentioned the issues regarding wrestling storytelling today, and he said the audience aren’t the ones at fault.
“Story architecture requires that a story threads from beginning, to middle, to end,” Bischoff said. “That’s how you grow an audience during the course of an hour as opposed to getting a big tune in, leveling off during the middle of the show, and if you’re lucky, maybe pumping your number towards the end. That’s simple basic fundamental storytelling that will never ever, ever change! Whether it’s a book, an infomercial, a movie, or yes indeed, a wrestling show.
“Nothing has changed in terms of the audience – what’s changed is the discipline or lack there of amongst the people that produce it. Phew, I am never going to get a call to go anywhere again to appear on any wrestling show for the rest of my life, but you know what? I am good with that.”
In that same breath though, Bischoff also talked about the possibility of returning to WWE. He said if the company were to ever call, he’d keep his options open, along with AEW. This is because he loves the ability to perform in front of an audience. Bischoff also talked about his future and if his appearances on AEW Dynamite could’ve been the last time we ever saw him on a pro wrestling show.
“I’m not going to lie, if I get a phone call from WWE and they offer me an opportunity to do something as they have, some of it, I do, some of it, I don’t,” Bischoff said. “It has more to do with timing, and my schedule, and what’s going on in my life than anything else. It’s not me being a bit** or a diva. Same with AEW.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to perform for AEW because I love to perform. But I also know my train has left the station. My time is over and I’m good with it. If I never appear in front of a camera again, I’ll be disappointed because I love to perform, but I’ll also understand it and not take it personally. I’m perfectly comfortable being 100% honest.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.