The legendary “Monday Night Wars” between WWE and WCW came to an end in 2001 when WWE purchased the company. While a reboot of the brand quickly fizzled, the company did create an Invasion angle that would involve WCW talent and ECW talent clashing with WWE stars.
The Invasion angle failed due in part to a lack of top stars from WCW, the overemphasis of talent in WWE defecting to WCW and the massive involvement of the McMahon family in the story rather than Vince, Eric Bischoff and Paul Heyman.
As a special guest on the latest episode of WWE’s After the Bell podcast, Eric Bischoff spoke about WWE’s version of the WCW Invasion and if there were ever talks for him to be a part of it. Bischoff said the company made him an offer, but he just wasn’t interested at the time. The offer that Bischoff is referring to could have been to be the leader of the nWo in WWE, which was later revealed to be Vince McMahon.
“I’ve never really asked the question but I’m pretty certain that at some point right before that angle launched, I know I got a phone call,” Bischoff said. “I got a phone call from Jim Ross. It was in July or June and Jim called me, Jim and I are very close now, but back then when the WWE version of the nWo angle was unfolding, I got a call from Jim Ross which really surprised me because of the tension in the relationship. Jim called me and he was very professional but very distant and basically offered me an opportunity to come in and join WWE as apart of a storyline.
“Jim offered me an opportunity to come in but the timing wasn’t right for me, it just didn’t feel right. Jim wasn’t being as forthcoming as I was hoping him to be to at least get me excited about it so I passed on it. I’m pretty certain it was shortly after we found out Vince McMahon was behind the whole WWE/nWo story. Had I decided to take that opportunity, I think it may have been revealed that I was bringing nWo with me into WWE. If I’m right about that, I think it could’ve helped a lot. I don’t think anybody bought into the story of Vince McMahon bringing in the nWo to ruin his whole company.”
Bischoff discussed WWE bringing in the nWo as a group rather than solo talents. He said it was a great idea by WWE and it was smart for the company to showcase the biggest star of the WCW during the Monday Night Wars.
“That was obviously a good choice,” Bischoff said. “You’re looking at Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Hulk Hogan, like come on. If you want equity in your characters you can’t get more equity than those three characters as the nWo. I thought that was brilliant.
“The expansion, the exponential growth of the nWo in WCW was really two things. It was, holy cow, this is really working, let’s keep going. The other part of it and the larger part was to grow the nWo large enough so that it had its own roster so it could have its own show. Unfortunately about half way across the river, the horse broke the leg and we went down and now we’re stuck with a bunch of nWo guys with nowhere to go. From the outside looking in it was kind of a cluster.”
A year after the Invasion angle, the former WCW President was signed to a WWE contract as the General Manager of Monday Night RAW. Bischoff used his role as manager to create a living hell for many talents and used the heat he garnered from WCW to become a top heel. Bischoff said singing with the company was all about timing and he just needed the right time to come to WWE.
“It was really timing,” Bischoff said. “It’s not that I didn’t want to get back in the business or I didn’t want to work for WWE, it was nothing like that. It was right around the 4th of July, it’s a big deal to my family. Jim called me right before the 4th of July and I literally had friends coming in from all over the country, some of them driving in from all over the place to be here and I can’t just up and leave. It’s just bad timing and that’s really all it was.
“As far as coming to WWE a year later, that was perfect timing. My desire to join WWE was no greater or no less in either of those instances. It was just timing.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE After the Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.