On the latest episode of the 83 Weeks Podcast, Eric Bischoff spoke about the aftermath of the Montreal Screwjob and Bret Hart coming to WCW. Over the years, Hart has had plenty of criticism directed at Bischoff for his time in WCW. Bischoff said when Hart first came into WCW he was against everything WWE and then once he left and went back to WWE to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, his anger switched to WCW.
“He wanted to kill Vince McMahon when I started working with him,” Bischoff recalled. “He hated Shawn Michaels, he hated Ric Flair, he hated a lot of people [in WWE]. He was miserable, Vince McMahon was the antichrist, until he got to go into the Hall of Fame. Then it’s time to kiss and make up, then Eric [Bischoff] is the antichrist, [Hulk] Hogan is the antichrist.”
Bischoff discussed Hart’s his run as the World champion in WWE. The former President of WCW said Hart always has to find a person to deflect blame towards and get angry at.
“To this day, I do respect Bret, many aspects of Bret Hart as a performer,” Bischoff said. “Bret Hart in my opinion is one of the best technical performers in his generation, not the biggest star. His drawing power in WWE is well documented by anybody who wants to do the research in any objective way. He was not a main event draw in WWE.
“That’s it, that’s a fact. It’s not my fault, I wasn’t there, I didn’t book him, it just didn’t work. He was the champion, he was the face of the company, and he was the least successful World Heavyweight Champion, or at least one of them, in WWE history which is a long freakin’ history. Bret Hart is that guy that has to have something to hate in order to have something to talk about. If he has to do an interview, he has to find somebody to pick on, somebody to hate, somebody to blame.”
Bischoff also discussed the issue with age in wrestling over the years. As recently as this last weekend, 62-year old Sting got a victory in the co-main event match at AEW Revolution. Bischoff said the talk about age started with the Monday Night Wars, but it should not be an issue.
“I think it all started with Vince McMahon thinking Hulk Hogan didn’t have any value, Randy Savage no longer had any value, Rowdy Piper no longer had any value, Ric Flair no longer had any value,” Bischoff said. “So many of the real established names, it’s time to put them out to pasture. You could go all the way back to Warrior and Hulk Hogan in WWF, when Vince wanted to put the belt on Hogan because he thought Hogan was done when Hogan was 37,38.
“Once part of that roster came to WCW and started kicking Vince McMahon’s ass on a regular basis, what did Vince do? He started framing and contextualizing talent as being too old and washed up and has-beens with Billionaire Ted skits.”
Bischoff continued to talk about the age issue in wrestling today and said the best use of older talent is to use them to brush up against other talent to make them bigger stars. He said there’s no issue with how old somebody is as long as the fans still respond to them.
“You need to brush them up against a Sting, you need to be Darby Allin getting that rub,” Bischoff said. “That’s how you utilize a guy like Sting because the audience is still invested in Sting. AEW just signed Big Show, why? It was a good calculation, Big Show is a name with a ton of freaking’ equity. If the character happens to be 52 years old or in Stings case today 62 years old, it doesn’t matter. The audience still digs it because there’s equity there.”
As the former President of WCW, which first wrestling on the TNT Network, Bischoff talked about AEW’s success and appreciates how they’ve focused on building up their television product over doing too many pay-per-views. He said a time will come for them to add more pay-per-view events in a year, but right now isn’t it.
“I like what AEW is doing,” Bischoff mentioned. “I don’t study their business model, I don’t follow them as closely as some may but they’re doing the right thing. What are they doing? They’re building their television property, they’re not focusing on pay per views. They are not splitting their focus, they are not splitting the focus or resources. They’re building a loyal audience and when the time comes when the audience is significant enough and they’re able to grow that audience, there will come a time where more pay per views make sense. Right now, they don’t.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.