He’s back, and better than ever.
Eric Bischoff, the former General Manager of Raw, made an electrifying appearance during World Wrestling Entertainment’s Raw 25 celebration last Monday. After his big return to television, Bischoff spoke with Still Real To Us in an exclusive interview in preparation for Astronomicon, a pop culture convention which will take place in Sterling Heights, MI, from February 9 – 11.
“You’ll see a lot of the great celebrities that will be a part of Astronomicon, and of course, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash. We all feel the energy. I don’t think Scott, Kevin, and I have been together in Detroit since the Nitro days,” said the Controversy Creates Cash author. “For all three of us to be together, at an event, with fans who remember that era of professional wrestling, and are still excited about it–that excitement is very catchy. We’re going to have just about as much fun as the fans will.”
It was a surreal week for Bischoff, who at one point was Vince McMahon’s greatest rival in sports entertainment. The former executive producer of World Championship Wrestling’s Monday Night Nitro went into detail about his experience returning to Raw for the first time since his last appearance on the December 10, 2007 broadcast of the show.
“It was great. I was honored to do it, and was excited when I got the invitation to be a part of it for a lot of reasons. Certainly, Kevin, Scott, X-Pac and I see each other at different events throughout the year. Maybe three times a year. There are other people, Ted Dibiase and Bruce Prichard, who I have the opportunity to see throughout the year,” explained Bischoff. “Having us all together, on Monday Night Raw, being a part of an amazing show, and I mean amazing; not necessarily because of the content of it, but the fact that Raw has been on television for 25 years, 52 weeks a year. It’s a mind-boggling, amazing feat.”
WWE Superstars and Hall of Famers weren’t the only ones that the former president of WCW was excited to reunite with at Raw 25.
“I got to catch up with people who I haven’t seen in 10 years. A lot of the production people, behind-the-scenes, who fans might not recognize. I became pretty good friends with a lot of those people. To see them, be a part of Monday Night Raw, and of course see a lot of the performers that were there with me, was really, really cool,” Bischoff humbly told Still Real To Us.
As Bischoff basked in the afterglow of his Raw 25 appearance, Vince McMahon officially announced on January 25 that the XFL was returning in 2020. While Bischoff made it clear that he is not a “sports expert,” and was never an “executive in traditional sports,” he gave his honest thoughts on McMahon’s gutsy decision to revive the failed alternative football league that was originally launched back in 2001.
“From where I sit, it’s an entirely different world today than it was 18 years ago, or whenever it was when Vince first launched the XFL. The NFL is a different franchise now than it was back then. I don’t think it’s a better franchise, or a stronger franchise,” Bischoff said. “It may be a larger franchise, but that doesn’t mean it’s stronger or better. I think there are some real, fatal flaws with the current NFL product. I think a lot of that has to do with oversaturation. I just think there is too much NFL on television.”
When asked for further comment, Bischoff was more than happy to oblige.
“I think that free agency has hurt the product in a couple of different ways. I think the fact that teams are moving around, and the NFL’s reshuffling the deck by selling franchises and moving franchises are regularly as they are, doesn’t do anything to help the brand,” stated Bischoff. “Obviously, we also have the controversy that we all lived through in the last 12 months or so. I think all of that, combined, has weakened the NFL, which is the opportunity that I think Vince McMahon is likely seeing.”
Before McMahon had the opportunity to make his blockbuster announcement, WWE.com reported that former two-time WWE Crusierweight Champion Enzo Amore was released from his contract last week after allegations of sexual assault surfaced on Twitter. Having to make difficult decisions during his reign as president of WCW, Bischoff weighed in on the hot topic.
“Generally speaking, the response is positive because it reflects accountability,” said Bischoff.
“People need to be held accountable for their actions. When you’re a celebrity, or a high-profile character, and you’re under contract for a brand or business, your actions away from the business should be held accountable. Especially, when it involves alleged criminal activities.”
The former executive producer of Impact Wrestling took an educated guess as to why Enzo was released from his contract so quickly.
“I think the real thing that we have to look at is the facts. None of us know the facts. We know what the allegations are. I think from what I read–I don’t have any first-hand information, I think the fatal flaw for Enzo as to why he got terminated so quickly, as opposed to being suspended until there was a final determination about the charges, was because he didn’t inform anybody,” speculated Bischoff. “He knew of the investigation. He knew that there was the potential of something like this going public. Rather than disclosing that, so the WWE would have the chance to be prepared for that type of thing, he withheld that information. He hid it, intentionally.”
One of the biggest no-nos in WWE is causing trouble for the company during one of their biggest shows of the year.
“As a result of it, WWE got blindsided by it on a day when there were more eyes on them by the media than any time other than WrestleMania,” Bischoff told Still Real To Us.
“I’m fairly certain there was a tremendous amount of creative reshuffling that had to take place as a result of that. It cost the company money. It cost them resources. Who knows what that show would have looked like, had not so much energy and attention be taken away from the product. Instead, it had to be relegated to try to solve that problem,” Bischoff articulated. “I don’t blame WWE for what they did. It’s unfortunate, all the way around. In general, I think people should be held accountable. We are seeing it in all of entertainment. In the corporate world, you don’t get to get away with half the things that people in the sports world do. Look what goes on in the NFL. It’s a disaster compared to WWE. I think players in any sport should be held accountable.”
WWE and their superstars are receiving high praises from wrestling fans after an incredible Royal Rumble pay-per-view. Roman Reigns dominated the men’s Royal Rumble match, lasting until the very end. In addition, Dolph Ziggler made a shocking return to the ring by competing in the match as a surprise entrant. While they failed to win the Rumble, Bischoff believes both men would make for ideal members in a modern day nWo.
“Who would I cast in the Kevin Nash role. Kevin Nash was the big, powerful character. He could be that super cool badass. For the most part, he was that 7 foot, intimidating character. He spoke softly and carried a big stick. I see Roman Reigns playing that role pretty well,” Bischoff stated.
As for Ziggler?
“I see Dolph Ziggler probably handling the Scott Hall character pretty effectively. God, if you could ever talk Stone Cold Steve Austin into coming back and being that Hulk Hogan character–or even a John Cena. If you could wave that magic wand and make things happen the way you would want them to…that would be a pretty good start,” Bischoff laughed.