In 2008, Karen Angle filed for divorce from her husband Kurt Angle in a situation that played out on live television after Karen fell in love with TNA founder Jeff Jarrett. This real life situation was blended into a year long storyline between Jeff, Karen and Kurt on TNA television.
On a recent episode of his podcast 83 Weeks where he covered the 2011 Against All Odds pay per view, Eric Bischoff talked about working in TNA while the Angle vs. Jarrett storyline was happening. He said it was a tough situation to deal with and did his best to avoid it at every chance he could backstage.
“I just tried to stay as far away from the reality of this story as I possibly could,” Bischoff said. “The situation and the stories that I heard about how it all went down with Karen and the divorce and the relationship and the affairs, it’s like man, this is too hot for me. I don’t want to be near it at any time, I don’t want to talk about it, I don’t want to hear about it, if somebody else is talking about it I’m going to leave the room. I don’t know.
“I don’t know how to describe how uncomfortable the whole thing was in real life and then to build it into a storyline was a little unnerving. I’ve seen what happens when you bring real life and relationships into a story, Chris Benoit and Nancy Sullivan for example, I’ve seen what can happen.”
Bischoff noted how the three of them were very professional and found ways to tell a great story. He said it was sometimes strange to watch how okay with the whole situation they all were and said the only thing that bothered him about the storyline was this match at Against All Odds where if Angle won, he would receive custody of him and Karen’s kids.
“I was impressed with how professionally and maturely all Jeff, Karen and Kurt were about it,” Bischoff said. “They were all okay with it which was impressive and mind numbing all at the same time. The only thing I didn’t like about the story was the stakes, if Kurt wins he gets custody of the kids. That stipulation made it unbelievable to me.
“Even though the stipulations were on the silly side, the match was still good. Kurt Angle I don’t think could have a bad match if his life depended on it, if he was being paid to have a bad match he wouldn’t know how to do it and the same could probably be said about Jeff. It’s not just Jeff and Kurt, Karen did a phenomenal job in her role as well. A lot of people talk about story but they don’t know what the f*** they’re talking about, this match had a great story. You’ve got to have a great story and great execution and this was a good example of both.”
Bischoff also told a lengthy story on the podcast about a time Ric Flair had a party after a WCW taping involving talent from Japan at a sushi bar. He said at the end of the night he received a major bar tab that he had to pay for.
“Party goes on, finally everybody goes home, the next morning I get a phone call,” Bischoff said. “ ‘Mr. Bischoff, I’m the general manager of the Swan Hotel, we have a credit card here for Ric Flair and lets just say it didn’t go through. Could you give us Ric Flair’s phone number?’ Well, that didn’t work out, I got another phone call. ‘Mr. Bischoff, we have a little bit of a situation here we have a $5000 bar tab that needs to get paid.’ So guess who got to pay that? That’d be Mr. Bischoff because I was running the ship and I was being held responsible for a $5000 Ric Flair bar tab.”
“I didn’t have $5000 of my own money, so I had a corporate Turner card and thought I’ll figure this out when I get back. A $5000 bar tab on my personal expense account, I had to explain all of that. I’ve since learned my lesson when it comes to drinking with Ric Flair. I love Ric, I enjoy having a cocktail with Ric but I am not getting anywhere near those bar tabs.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks Podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.