Pro-Wrestling Eric Bischoff Q&A Session
Last updated 4 December 1999
This interview was conducted on 19 February 1997 by Bob Ryder.
Thanks to Prodigy for allowing this excerpt.
Question: Mr. Bischoff, are you worried that RAW is bouncing back fast?
Bischoff: No, not at all. In fact, if you look at the numbers...all of the things they attempted to do to compete, none of them have been very effected. Them moving to a 2 hour format is a competitive move on their part and it's one that I welcome. As I have stated repeatedly, competition is good for the business. I'm not really worried about them coming back too strong or too fast. The competition will improve the industry.
Question: Eric,did you ever have ring experience?
Bischoff: I wrestled in high school and college and I was a kick boxer, but I never performed as a professional wrestler.
Question: HI,Eric how long is the nWo going to stick around at wcw.??
Bischoff: I keep answering this the same way everytime I do a chat. The answer is...as long as it's a successful endeavor we will give it an opportunity to grow and prosper.
Question: What do you think of the ECWWF thing going?
Bischoff: I really don't know much about it, I was obviously doing my own show and didn't get to see what transpired.
Question: Eric, thanks for joining us again. I wanted to know if you could elaborate on the status of ED LESLIE. Even though his numerous "gimmicks" haven't worked out, I think he deserves another shot.
Bischoff: Interestingly enough, I had a meeting with Ed last night and again this morning down in Florida. I'm looking forward to getting Ed back in the limelight and in the thick of things. He's a great guy with a beautiful baby girl.
Question: Is Debra McMichael having lots of fun? Enjoying seeing her come into her own, first playing the victim then turning heel. She's drawing more heat than most of the wrestlers!
Bischoff: Debra McMichael is probably one of the surprise finds in our industry in a long time. She has an incredible amount of talent, plays well to the camera and has an uncanny feel for our industry.
Question: When does Kevin Greene make his return?
Bischoff: I had a meeting with Kevin last Sunday in Atlanta. We are looking at a couple of dates, maybe as early as March. We are also discussing May.
Question: Describe how your friendship with Hollywood Hulk has built in the past few months?
Bischoff: I think over the past 6 or 8 months I've come to know Hollywood Hogan better than I have in the past 2 years. He's really a generous person, and I say that in the professional sense of the word. He's a guy that is more committed to the industry than most people give him credit for. Unfortunately most of those people don't know Terry Bollea but they are quick to pass judgement on him. He's without question the biggest name in the history of this business.
Question: What do you think of the Blue World Order in ECW?
Bischoff: I'm flattered that they think so much of the nWo that the people at ECW and those involved in the Blue World Order saw fit to rip off the concept.
Question: What do you think about the apparent Extreme Championship Wrestling involvement with the World Wrestling Federation?
Bischoff: If it's true, I'm not surprised. I anticipated that Paul E would eventually "sell out" to someone. So much for being the ultimate independent promoter.
Question: Will WCW be spending the summer at the Disney-MGM Studios, in Orlando, again this summer? That outdoor set was classic..
Bischoff: No. We did that primarily because of the Olympics and because of the lack of production facilities during the summer. That's why we went to Disney last year. We won't have to do that again.
Question: What possessed you to kiss Miss Becky not once but TWICE at Souled Out? Two words: arf arf
Bischoff: The first time was so good...I had to go back for more.
Question: How would you compare Miss Jacqueline to that big women that was on RAW, the one who killed Marlena
Bischoff: Again, I have to say I didn't see RAW. I have heard that they have come up with a woman to be involved in their program, but I haven't seen it so I can't comment.
Question: What do you think about the first PPV for ECW?
Bischoff: I welcome competition. I wish them the best. I think it will be very interesting to see just how much of a base they really have. The people that live on the internet or avid sheet consumers have a tendency to feel ECW's presence is bigger than others feel it is. The buy rate will indicate just how much of the market they really have. Moderator (Speaker) WCW VP Eric Bischoff is currently answering questions. Please feel free to send in your alotted number of questions.
Question: eric-what were you thinking when you did the nwo ppv
Bischoff: Good question. My goal was to produce a PPV that was unique and cutting edge in terms of production and content. Souled Out was a classic example of "it looked good on paper but didn't come off on TV". I was very disappointed in the event and if I had to do it over again I'd make significant changes. It was a great concept but didn't live up to expectations.
Question: Eric, whats this all about a "new 2 hour live show"
Bischoff: We are taking a look at the possiblity of producing another prime time program for the TBS Network. Based on the success of NITRO we feel that if there is an opportunity during the week in prime time on another network that we can generate even more interest in the WCW product.
Question: Mr. Bischoff--Thank you for joining us. While I'm a huge fan of WCW, I would like to address something that annoys me. I understand you must promote PPVs, but it seems the announcers talk about Hogan-Piper during EVERY match. I feel it takes away from the match going on and makes it seem less than important. Do you see this changing anytime in the future?
Bischoff: Good observation. I appreciate the comment. One of the most difficult things about being an announcer is finding a balance between calling the match and promoting an event that is incredibly important to the fans and the company. Sometimes in trying to promote properly we cross the line and have to reevaluate the amount of emphasis we put on a PPV. The truth is, though, the Piper/Hogan match in December was the most successful PPV in our history. It really is an important event.
Question: eric-what do you think about the ecw wwf relationship and do you think it will help the wwf out in the long run
Bischoff: I really don't think it's going to help the WWF as much as it will help ECW. The ECW product is a very unique product and it appeals to a very small segment of the viewing audience. The product as it is today is not produced for mass consumption. In order for it to exist on national television it will have to be modified to the point that it doesn't have the unique qualities it currently has. If it is watered down to be suitable for mass consumption then the talent currently in ECW will not benefit the WWF.
Question: Eric- How much of an effect will ECW being at RAW next week LIVE from The Manhattan Center have on the Monday Night Ratings?
Bischoff: I don't think it will have any effect on the ratings. An incredibly small portion of the viewing audience even knows what ECW is. It's certainly not enough to drive a rating.
Bischoff: If they experience higher ratings next week, it will be because of the show the previous week and the creative direction they are taking. I really don't think it would have anything to do with ECW.
Question: With the sucsess of Nitro and Raw do you think a 3rd party i.e. FOX Sports, Espn, or Prime Sports could start a Wrestling Organaztion and make it succsefull.
Bischoff: No. There just isn't enough talent out there. One of the things we have proven over the last 2 years is that it's a talent driven industry. You have to have recognizable talent. You have to have people that the average viewer considers a star. There just isn't anybody out there available that could drive a 3rd promotion.
Question: eric-are the steiners still under contract or not?
Bischoff: The Steiners are still under contract.
Question: Uncle Eric,With the WWF starting to turn things around and there ratings rising,do you think it would actually be a wise thing to put another 2 hour live show on every week instead of working on keeping Nitro #!?
Bischoff: Actually the WWF hasn't turned anything around as of yet. The ratings will be out tomorrow, and perhaps this week will be an exception...but if you look at the ratings, they haven't been able to outperform WCW Saturday Night in the last 6 months. While they are putting out a more interesting product recently, they haven't been able to convert that to a ratings increase. Their PPV buy rates also don't indicate any increase in performance.
Question: Mr. Bischoff--WCW has the future of wrestling in their hands, the Giant, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, etc....Are there any non-WCW talents you feel have a great future ahead of them?
Bischoff: There is a tremendous wealth of talent in Japan and in Mexico. Right now we are looking at either buying New Japan Pro Wrestling or creating our own promotion in Japan to attract new talent as well as expanding our efforts in Mexico. I believe a tremendous amount of talent will come from Japan and Mexico in the next few years.
Question: A question from Bernd Model in Germany - "The largest German independent wrestling magazine "Power Wrestling" by Wolfgang Stach reports there is a problem between WCW and the German producer of WCW TV shows, Dieter Krap - the story goes WCW doesn't like the way Mr. Krap sales the shows in Germany...is this report true and if so will you please comment?"
Bischoff: No, we have a good working relationship with Mr. Krap. We've been working with him for a number of years and look forward to working with him into the future.
Question: is there any chance of WCW opening there libarys for some Classic Wrestling Special or Video Tape Seriers, featuring matches like Piper/Valentine Dog Collar Match, or Flair/Steamboat matches
Bischoff: Yes, there is a possibility. I'm not sure how much of a market there is. I know there are people that would be interested, but there really isn't a mass market demand for that kind of product, but there is always a possibility.
Question: Eric- Was the decision to go 15 minutes extra last night on Nitro due to the out of the ordinary RAW? Or had you planned Nitro to go to 10:15?
Bischoff: NITRO kind of takes on a life of it's own from week to week. We try to hit the hour as close as we can when we produce the show. A couple interview went long and a couple of matches went long and we went over by 15 minutes. It wasn't something that was in reaction to anything on another network.
Question: Uncle Eric,will you be using Miss Jackie in the ring in the future?She could most certainly hold her own in the ring.
Bischoff: I think we will. I think she will be a great asset in the ring. She's proven she can take care of herself outside the ring.
Question: Eric, If you keep firing referees, there won't be any left, except NIck Patrick. is that the plan?
Bischoff: It's not my plan...but it's not a bad idea. Nick Patrick is, afterall, a fine young referee.
Question: Eric, If you could tell us, what is the progess of Ric Flair's recovery? Will he be wrestling in the near future?
Bischoff: My understanding is that Ric will be released to wrestle May 1.
Question: Eric- Why did Piper give an interview from Alcatraz last night? Did I just miss the meaning of it?
Bischoff: I think Piper is a little crazy to begin with. I think he liked the isolation that Alcatraz can provide. I think he was trying to make a point and to get a message across to the viewing audience that he is going to take it to the extreme to get done what he wants done.
Question: Another question from Bernd Model in Germany - " Germany is the most important market for the WWF in Europe (and many say Germany is #2 to the United States.) In your opinion, is WCW/NWO strong enough to break the WWF hold on Germany?"
Bischoff: Germany is an important market to WCW and to wrestling in general. Unfortunately WWF has toured so often in Germany that the market may not be ready for a real agressive promotion right now. The live attendance has dropped significantly for both promotions in past years. The television is doing well, but it might not be practical for WCW to attempt a major live tour there right now.
Question: Eric what is this on a new WCW show? What will it be called?
Bischoff: No, we haven't gotten that far yet. Right now we are taking a look at what nights might be available. We are also looking at what the major league baseball and basketball schedule will look like for the next year or two.
Question: Another question from Bernd Model in Germany - " In Germany, WCW and the WWF are on the same TV channel. Is this a problem for you Mr. Bischoff?"
Bischoff: No, not at all. We were the first ones on the DSF network and really haven't suffered in terms of ratings or popularity because of their relationship with the WWF. I'll keep going back to the statements I have made before...competition is good for the industry...whether here in the United States, or in Germany.
Question: Eric, what are your personal goals for 1997?
Bischoff: To build a log home in Vail, Colorado. To see both my children make the honor roll...and to enjoy my job.
Question: Another question from Bernd Model in Germany - "Does Mr. Bischoff have any plans to come to Germany in the near future and if so, would he please do a chat for German fans?"
Bischoff: WCW will be coming to Germany in June. I would welcome the opportunity to do a chat with German fans.
Question: Eric--Despite hard feelings between the two of you, after seeing Steve Austin's great performance in the WWF, do you have any regrets for not hanging on to his talents? He would've been great in the NWO.
Bischoff: There are no hard feelings...at least on my part. I don't regret letting him go. It was a decision I had to make at the time. I think he has benefited from that decision. In the long run, the decision I made was best for both Steve Austin and WCW at the time.
Question: Mr. Bischoff...i think you are slime for firing those two referees. Are there any plans for a benefit card so that Randy Anderson's little kids can get food on the table (although his wife certainly hasn;t missed many meals lately)
Bischoff: I don't thing Randy has missed any meals either judging from that derby he is carrying around. I'm sure that Randy and family will do just fine.
Question: Eric, will we ever see blood in WCW again?
Bischoff: No. Unlike our competition, we have a firm policy (that we enforce). We've seen what happens to organizations who allow that kind of graphic violence to exist in their product. I think what happened at In Your House was another example of the hypocracy that runs so rampant in the WWF. Over the past several years Vince McMahon has written letters not only to Ted Turner but to other executives in the Turner organization and to other people in the television industry deploring acts of violence on WCW programming. In an act of desperation he now allows the kind of spectacle we say this past Sunday night. I would be happy to provide copies of Mr. McMahons letters to Prodigy members to demonstrate the debths of that hypocracy. In the most recent instance where a wrestler did split his head open...our policy is to pull back in a wide shot so the blood is not detectable on television. That's the responsible thing to do. If Vince McMahon is as serious as he claims to be about his concerns for the industry then he would adapt the same policy. Obviously he won't, because he is nothing but a hypocrite.
Question: with the boom in Digtal Satellite sales and the rapid growth of new cable/satellite channels do you think a 24 hour Wrestling Channel could happen, theres 24 auto racing, Food, Travel, Horse Jumping, and Romance Movie Channels why not Wrestling
Bischoff: I suppose that it could happen. I find it somewhat unlikely. Wrestling is very episodic in nature and I wouldn't be interested in a tremendous amount of programming that wasn't current in being on a 24 hour network. It would take the focus off of the weekly efforts that are so important to our storylines and our PPV's.
Question: Uncle Eric,Why the sudden Change in dates of Nitro in Philly?
Bischoff: I believe that WCW's NITRO dates were confirmed prior to ECW's PPV committment.
Question: What do you think of the new two hour Raw show?
Bischoff: I didn't see it and can't judge the quality of the show, but it will be interesting to see how they can sustain momentum. They just don't have the talent to sustain a two hour effort. The fact he had to "bait and switch" the audience (LOL) by promoting "Royal Rumble RAW" on the premier of the new expanded two hour show is an indication that Vince McMahon doesn't know how to present a two hour show. Then to see how they milked the Sid/Undertaker match during last night's show further indicates the trouble they will have in sustaining a two hour show on a weekly basis.
Question: Eric...do you plan on stripping Roddy Piper if he pins Hogan on Sunday night? Do you think Ted Turner will fire you on live national TV if you do? Have you retained an attorney in case of such an occurrence...I think you could win a court case...BBS and BNT has a good ring to it.
Bischoff: If Roddy Piper can defeat Hollywood Hogan and become the World Champion, then so be it....as long as he does it fairly and according to WCW rules. As far as Ted Turner firing me...WCW has never experienced the kind of success they have experienced under my direction. The thought hasn't crossed his mind. In fact, I fully expect an invitation to Thanksgiving Dinner at the Montana Ranch this year. Ted Loves Me!
Question: Eric, are there any international stars that we haven't seen yet set to debut in WCW soon? How about any new cruiserweights?
Bischoff: We are taking a look at a couple of new cruiserweights. We constantly look a talent from around the world. The cruiserweight division will continue to expand.
Question: I know you've been asked, and answerd this before in past sessions, but have you given anymore consideration to JJ Dillon getting involved more physically? I would LOVE to see a comeback, and I bet ratings would skyrocket for you.
Bischoff: With all due respect...I don't think his appearance on camera would sky rocket the ratings. I think JJ is pretty happy in his current office position. He certainly has more than his share of responsibility, and an on camera role might be distracting.
Question: Will Jacelyn be given a shot at the Women's title?
Bischoff: I'll give her a shot at the Men's Title if she wants one.
Question: Do you have any plans for the Horsemen to bring them back to what they were in the 80's and any plans to give the Disco Inferno a push?
Bischoff: Unfortunately the Horsemen are plagued with injuries, so they are at a real disadvantage. As far as Disco goes, he continues to improve and has a tremendous amount of opportunity in front of him.
Question: What is your policy on drug testing?
Bischoff: WCW has had the same policy in existence for the past several years. We have random drug testing on a regular basis. Talent under fully executed contracts are tested when they come in to WCW.
Question: Can WCW sustain good PPV buy-rates when you have Starcade which was excellent, the follow it up with a dud like Souled Out?
Bischoff: Without question, Souled Out was a disappointing effort on our part....but if you look back on the 6 or 7 months previous to Souled Out we put together some excellent PPV's. We learned from our mistakes at Souled Out and look forward to continued success with our PPV's in 1997.
Question: Eric - could you possibly explain to me why Hall and Nash willingly handed over that videotape to Schiavone? Do they like prison cells? I HOPE THEY FRY FOR WHAT THEY DID TO THE STEINERS
Bischoff: I think they handed over that video tape to prove that it was an accident and wasn't intentional and was reckless driving on the part of the Steiners that caused that accident.
Question: You can take back any title you want, fire anyone you want, but one of these days, someone's go to get the best of you, the nWo is at a low point, any comments?
Bischoff: On the contrary....the NWO has never been stronger....not only here in the United States, but in Japan as well. Nobody is going to get the best of me. I look forward to a bright and prosperous future for myself individually and the NWO as a group.
Question: Hey Eric, thanks for joining us. People including myself have taken offence to the angle with the firiing of Randy Anderson. How much longer do you plan to keep this angle going?
Bischoff: As far as I'm concerned, it's over with. It ended last night. Moderator (Speaker) WCW/nWo Vice President Eric Bischoff is here to answer your questions, please keep the questions coming and please remember that Nitro is on every Monday Night at 8PM for two action packed hours.
Question: Eric - what do you think of the Blue World Order? I for one am outraged at this blatant attempt to capitalize on your success. Have you ever thought of hauling Heyman into court?
Bischoff: Unlike my competition, I don't run whining to a court at every opportunity. As I said earlier...imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Question: Why do you racial sterotype your Wrestlers and Managers like Sonny Ono a cowardly far sighted Asian, Disco Inferno a dumb greasy Italian Amercian, and Teddy Long a shucking and jiving Afrcian Amercian, this is the 1990's not the 1950's. You, Vince McMahon and Paul Heymen seem to dodge this issue
Bischoff: First of all...I don't think we've ever presented Sonny Ono as being far sighted. Perhaps it's your perception of Asians and sunglasses that is stereotypical. A lot of people wear sunglasses that aren't far sighted. Teddy Long on television is the same individual as Teddy Long on the street. There has been no effort to modify his character in any way. I believe he would take offense at your characterization of his television persona.
Question: Have there been any talks with guys like Dennis Rodman, Mark Windsor, or Reggie White, about making some appearances in WCW?
Bischoff: Reggie White has expressed interest in getting involved in WCW. I expect to talk to him later this week.
Question: do you feel the free amount of Wrestling on TV has hurt Independent Wrestling 2 Indy groups in Detriot have shut down in the last 2 months, where are young guys supposed to make there mark
Bischoff: Actually, I think the amount of wrestling on television has done nothing but enhance our industry and to give regional promoters an opportunity to capitalize on our growth. That doesn't mean that every regional operator is going to be successful. Some will succeed...some will fail. The important thing is the industry continues to grow. Our efforts, and the WWF efforts, have given the industry a chance to grow.
Question: Are you trying to put the WWF out of business as Vince McMahon has suggested?
Bischoff: Absolutely not. As I continue to say over and over again. Competition is good for the industry. The quality of product on Monday nights today is far superior to the product that existed before NITRO came along. Vince McMahon is whining and crying publically about WCW only because for the first time in his professional life he is having to deal with competition...and quite frankly, he is not up to it intellectually, emotionally, or creatively.
Bischoff: That's all the time I have for tonight. Thanks as always for the questions. I love you guys!