Bret Hart, along with Davey Boy Smith and Jim Neidhart, signed with WCW in 1997. Having been a focal point of the hottest faction in the WWF as The Hart Foundation, matches with The Four Horsemen and nWo seemed to have been a natural, but WCW decided to go in a different direction.
During a recent episode of the 83 Weeks Podcast, Eric Bischoff discussed Bret Hart signing with WCW after the Montreal Screwjob and why he never booked a feud between The Hart Foundation and The Four Horsemen. Bischoff cited Hart’s agreement to come to WCW as a spur of the moment situation and they didn’t have tons of time to plan around what his debut, along with Davey Boy, was going to look like in advance.
“The Montreal Screwjob and the fallout from it was obviously something nobody anticipated,” Bischoff said. “We didn’t have months to determine what we wanted to do and how we wanted to do it with The Hart Foundation. It wasn’t a long term plan, it was a spontaneous opportunity. There was no real plan in place. A lot of the main players were already in storylines so it wasn’t like you were just going to drop everything you were already doing and start out fresh and pretend none of your other stories were happening. The other part of it was a couple of the talents that came over had issues, drugs and otherwise. So that was a problem.”
Bischoff also mentioned how he never even met with any of the talent jumping from WWE at that time. He said there wasn’t a reason to meet with them because you just knew how professional someone like Bret Hart was going to be after hearing stories of their time in WWE.
“I didn’t meet with them prior to signing,” Bischoff said. “I obviously knew exactly who they were and had a pretty good idea of what their respective values would be to the roster at that point. I didn’t feel the need to sit down and have a conversation with them, so I was a bit taken aback [when things went wrong].”
Bischoff also discussed another big superstar who left the WWE during the Attitude Era: Chyna. Bischoff admitted that Chyna was never on his company’s radar because of the lack of competition they would have had for her given the lack of experienced women on their roster.
“I’m not really sure why other than there weren’t a lot of women in the industry at the time that could work,” Bischoff mentioned. “There were a lot of women but they were valets, eye candy type roles. They weren’t physical in the ring, especially as physical as Chyna. There just wasn’t a lot of opportunity, creative opportunity because we didn’t have a lot of women on board.”
Bischoff continued to talk about Chyna’s WWE group DX, and who ultimately catapulted the group. He also said the group was a complete copy of the nWo and it was clear.
“It should be pretty obvious that it was,” Bischoff mentioned about DX copying nWo. “It was entertaining as hell, they knocked it out of the park. I wasn’t a big fan of Shawn Michaels character in DX, he overplayed it, he tried too hard to be cute. Triple H to me seemed a lot more natural at it. He didn’t have to force it quite as hard, I think he was having a lot of fun with it. I think what got DX over more than anything, more than Triple H, more than Shawn Michaels, was Sean Waltman.
“I think that added a level of credibility and made it feel more real. It brought more of an edgy character with it and I think because of the way he left WCW and the rhetoric back and forth. It felt like it should’ve felt during the Monday Night War era.”
On the March 30th episode of Monday Night Raw, Sean Waltman debuted as a member of DX after leaving WCW. On that show, he cut a promo on WCW, belittling Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff and stated that if Kevin Nash and Scott Hall weren’t being held hostage by Bischoff and WCW, they’d be standing right next to them in WWE.
Bischoff discussed his promo and how he reacted at the time to them. He said he was grinning ear to ear and loved hearing what he said because that’s what the Monday Night War was all about.
“I was still pretty cocky at that point and wasn’t worried about too much,” Bischoff admitted. “I was concerned don’t get me wrong but I kind of liked it because it was what made the Monday Night War the Monday Night War. It felt like a real war.”
“We weren’t just in the same time period, on the same night, we were actually doing everything we could to undermine each other and overpower each other. That’s one of the reasons I think the Monday Night War era will probably be recognized in the decades to come as the most significant era in professional wrestling possibly in our lifetimes.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.