On the latest episode of the 83 Weeks Podcast, Eric Bischoff talked about his time in WWE in from June to October of 2019 as the head of SmackDown from June to October. Bischoff spoke about the most difficult times he had on the job, saying WWE doing the brand split while he was hired was very difficult to deal with.
“There was so much going on at that time,” Bischoff said. “Remember, this was when FOX was getting ready to premiere, the FOX deal had been consummate months and months before I got there and everybody was preparing. When I got there in July, they had been preparing for months before I got there and that was another part of it, me catching up to that process. The biggest challenge for me was that we knew, everybody knew, we were going to split the roster.
“At some point, at the draft, we were going to have to publicly reveal what the roster was going to be for each specific brand. That was hard because there was a lot of indecision back and forth every week. Every week there would be a meeting, every week we would have a discussion and every week we would leave that meeting with a pretty good idea of where we were at and then the following week it would all change again.”
Speaking on a previous podcast, Bischoff mentioned how he was told by WWE that he was relieved of his duties. Continuing to talk about his experience in 2019, Bischoff mentioned how hard it was dealing with constant change. He also mentioned his goal when signing with the company, saying he came to change the way WWE creative is presented.
“What made it harder for me, a lot hard for me, was the writing staff was also going to be split so that there was going to be dedicated writers for each show,” Bischoff said. “Those decisions would change on a weekly basis all the way up until the show was launched. My focus, my goal, and I still believe this to this day, that there is a much better process to be had in the way wrestling is produced, across the board, not just in WWE. There is a much better way, a formula that one could use that could at least attempt to create a more coherent storyline and product, but the way wrestling has been produced doesn’t allow for that.
“There’s instinct, there’s knowledge, but there’s no formula applied. There is a formula to everything and my goal was to create that formula in WWE, at least the framework for it so that ideas could go through a process that gave those ideas a much better chance of being success than just let’s try this, lay it out on paper and then the day of go, change my mind, I don’t like that. That’s not a process, that’s an experiment and the odds of a process being successful are much better than an experiment being successful. I think the way wrestling is presented today, across the boards, is much more closely aligned to a weekly experiment, than it is to a weekly process.”
Bischoff continued to talk about his idea to change the way creative was done in WWE, saying they needed to find a way to fix things. He said you can’t deny the success Vince McMahon has had, but times have changed.
“That’s what it’s going to take, particularly when you have a three hour show,” Bischoff said. “For god sake, that is so hard. I’m such a firm believer in structure and improving story through structure and process. I think that’s what it’s going to take.
“Look, no one can question, deny or challenge the fact that Vince [McMahon] is going to go down as one of the most creative, not only storyline wise, but business wise more than anything, people that have ever stepped foot in this industry or even got near it. But everybody needs to evolve because of the sheer volume of the content that’s being produced not only in WWE but in AEW. If you don’t have a process that you have 100% confidence in and it’s worked for you because you’ve fine tuned it, you’re just throwing s--t against the wall and hoping it sticks. Unfortunately, as much as I love and respect so many people in WWE including Bruce Prichard and Vince McMahon and an amazing staff of ultra talented writers, the process doesn’t provide for the exploitation of the talent that’s ready, willing and quite able to produce great material.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.