On the latest episode of 83 Weeks, Eric Bischoff spoke about the creation of the nWo and how that took the Monday Night Wars to another level. Bischoff mentioned how he took a lot of top stars from WWE, but also spoke about two big names that he never got to sign.
In 1995, Owen Hart and Yokozuna formed a tag team and won the WWF Tag Team Championships. The two superstars had historic singles careers, both having marquee matches at WrestleMania, including Yokozuna main eventing two. Bischoff spoke to WCW’s interest in both Owen Hart and Yokozuna.
“Not on Owen Hart,” Bischoff said. “Primarily because he wasn’t available. He hadn’t reached out to us, he was under contract, especially at this point we weren’t very anxious to get ourselves in any kind of tortious interference situation with regard to approaching WWE contracted talent. Not out of any lack of desire to have someone of Owen’s caliber on our roster, but it just wasn’t possible therefore there was no consideration for it or reason to talk about it.
“With Yoko, I’m sure there were at some level conversations about hey, what if? I wonder if this is possible, I think he might be interested. There were those conversations I’m sure, I would not have been a part of them. I don’t remember anybody in a serious way coming to me and saying ‘Hey, we have an opportunity to get this guy, if we can, would you be interested?’ That level of conversation never occurred but I’m sure that there was some dialogue in WCW offices about at least inquiring about the opportunity.”
There had often been rumors that Shawn Michaels was signing WCW after his WrestleMania 14 match with Stone Cold Steve Austin. On numerous occasions, both Michaels and his former “Kliq” buddies Kevin Nash and Scott Hall would acknowledge each other on opposing wrestling shows. Jim Ross, who was the former Head of Talent Relations for WWE during that time, shared that Vince McMahon overpaid Shawn Michaels to stay at home during his four year hiatus from the company to avoid him jumping ship to WCW.
On a previous podcast, Bischoff spoke about having no interest in Michaels and reiterated his point again on this episode. The former WCW President said having Michaels, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash in WCW at the same time would have been a bad idea.
“He was a basket case,” Bischoff said. “Nobody in their right mind would want to bring that, especially to WCW. I have all the respect in the world for Shawn Michaels today, but I wouldn’t want him anywhere near me or my roster back at this point. He had issues man, he’s talked about them, he’s written books about it, he’s very transparent about it.
“Yeah, he was great but especially because we brought Scott [Hall] and Kevin [Nash] in [to WCW]. I was even more convinced that I didn’t want Shawn anywhere near WCW once Scott and Kevin came in. I mean it was hard enough as it was, could you imagine bringing in Shawn Michaels before he cleared himself up and got his head straight and he found god, found his religion and really cleaned his act up. But prior to that point? Nah, I don’t care how good he was.”
Continuing to speak about Michaels in WCW, Bischoff said he never had the idea to take him over Scott Hall or Kevin Nash in the creation of the nWo. The former WCW President said the nWo never would have worked with Michaels because the origins of his idea for the group were of former members of WCW coming back to spite the company.
“It would not have occurred to me because Shawn had never been in WCW,” Bischoff said. “The idea wouldn’t have come together in my own mind initially, before I even talked to Scott or Kevin seriously when I knew I was going to be having conversations with Scott or Kevin, that was the premise, that was the idea, that was the catalyst that became nWo for me. I don’t think the idea would have popped into my head if it was Shawn.
“If Scott and Kevin weren’t there and Shawn would’ve been available, I don’t think the risk of bringing Shawn in would’ve been quite as high because Scott and Kevin wouldn’t have been [in WCW]. I may have considered that, but I can tell you that I don’t think the idea would’ve percolated in my skull for anybody other than Scott and Kevin.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.