On a recent episode of the 83 Weeks Podcast, Eric Bischoff talked about the relationship between Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon. Bischoff, being great friends with Hogan for many many years, says Hogan and Vince have had one of the more dysfunctional relationships he’s ever seen. He also discussed Hogan talking to Vince while he was with WCW during the Monday Night Wars about a possible return to WWE, and stated that he was never worried about Hogan leaving.
“Hulk and Vince, they’re like the most dysfunctional married couple in the world,” Bischoff said. “To this day, look up love/hate relationships and those are the two names that are going to pop up. Even when Hulk was with WCW, he would tell me if he had a conversation with Vince. We were in Denver one night and he said he was going to meet Vince for a drink in his hotel room. I was aware and I was also very much aware that Hulk was a master negotiator, he loved to keep his options open, he loved to have his leverage.
“By that point, Hulk and I became pretty good friends, beyond just work friends. Just based on the conversations he and I had, real casual conversations, the things he said led me to believe there was no way he was going to leave the relatively comfortable environment in WCW and jump back into the shark pool that was WWE. I was aware they were speaking but I really wasn’t concerned.”
Bischoff also discussed Hogan’s fractured with Jesse Ventura, and noted the two were at odds after Hogan told Vince that Ventura was trying to get wrestlers to unionize.
“My recall on that was it went back to the time Jesse Ventura was trying to get the talent in WWE to unionize,” Bischoff said. “Word got back to Vince through Hulk and that created a bit of a s--t show and that’s where Jesse harbored a lot of his resentment towards Hulk. I always assumed that was the source of the issue, if there was something more to it I’m not sure what it was.”
WWE announced WrestleMania dates and locations for the next 3 years last week. Bischoff said he was surprised to hear about them being able to have a crowd for the coming show in April.
“That was odd wasn’t it?” Bischoff asked. “You know who I’m happy for the most? The performers. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to go out there and have a match without a crowd. Especially for experienced talent who have worked in front of a crowd for 10-15 years and developed that direct connection. They affect your timing as well as your energy as a performer. For week, after week, after week to go out there and perform in front of no crowd has got to be challenging. I can only imagine. They won’t work for free, but they’ll feel like offering too, it’s going to be great.”
Bischoff also said he recently saw Hogan and talked to him about his appearance on Monday Night RAW earlier this month. He said he felt bad for Hogan because he wasn’t able to be around the talent.
“When he told me he was going to do it, I was really excited for him,” Bischoff said. “Hulk misses [wrestling], it’s his life. He’s a little bit like Ric Flair in that respect, wrestling has become so much a part of who he is, he’s not just Terry Bollea playing Hulk Hogan in this wrestling show, he’s Hulk Hogan just like Ric Flair is kind of Ric Flair.
“I asked Hulk, it must have been exciting to be backstage and seeing everybody not thinking. But you can’t hang out backstage, everyone is in COVID gear. You’re over here in this bubble and they are over here in that bubble and you can’t go back and forth and visit. So I was really disappointed for him and I can’t imagine what that’s like for the other talent, it’s got to be rough.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.