In Defense Of: Eric Bischoff
by, 08-31-2013 at 01:00 AM (8514 Views)
In this edition of "In Defense Of" I will take a stab at defending one of the most Controversial figures in the IWC and wrestling and that is Eric Bischoff. These blogs usually reflect on in ring talent but in todays blog I will go to the management side of wrestling and take a look at and defend one of the most hated figures in wrestling Easy E, Eric Bischoff.
In 1994 Eric Bischoff was promoted to Executive Vice President and in his first year as EVP Bischoff convinced Turner to invest more money in WCW and up production value (Which is what every WCW booker or head of WCW neglected to acknowledge needed to be done), Hired Hulk Hogan (The Biggest draw in wrestling at the time), Hired Macho Man Randy Savage and gave the wrestling fans the dream match they been waiting to see for almost 10 years, Hulk Hogan vs Ric Flair (it was about 3 years to late but better late than never).... Eric didn't stop there, In 1995 WCW turned a profit for the first time cause of the new talent Bischoff acquired. Bischoff knew that WCW could only go so far being in the position it was in, WCW TV was taping months of TV in 1 night in front of small tourist crowd who didn't know or care about who or what was going on in the ring. WCW Saturday (The Mother ship) was on cable TV on a Saturday afternoon filled with terrible vinettes, jobber matches and cheap effects, Bischoff was smart enough to know that a big changes needed to come to breath life to a dying wrestling product. So Eric Bischoff decided to go live on Monday night for 1 hour but Eric didnt follow in the foot steps of Raw, No he didnt, He was smart enough to know that he needed to get attention and he had to put matches people wanted to see and talent people wanted to see. Unlike Raw whos first live show consisted of Yokozuna vs Koko Beware, Shawn Michaels vs Max Moon and the main event Undertaker vs Damien Demento, Nitro debuted Monday sep 1995 and the featured matches were Brian Pillman vs Jushin Liger (a rematch from their classic for the WCW lightweight title), Flair vs Sting and Hulk Hogan vs Big Bubba (Big Bossman) and the surprise return of Lex Luger to stare down Hulk hogan. That was huge for a Weekly TV show at the time. Most readers are not old enough to understand that wrestling fans didn't get a stacked card like that on free TV unless it was a Saturday Nights Main Event or a Clash of Champion which came around very seldom..... Eric was changing wrestling, back in the 80's and early 90's, TV was used in wrestling as nothing more than infomercials for PPV's, House Shows, Toys and merchandise. Eric knew that TV was much more than 60 min infomercials, That TV was a entity on its own that could bring in big revenue and no one not even Vince McMahon himself could see the big picture and where wrestling needed to go to survive.
Bischoff showed good business sense and knew that Nitro had to be different from Raw and Bischoff was giving away dream matches every week on Nitro for free, Nitro had that anything could happen atmosphere, It was unpredictable, Fresh and New.... Eric Bischoff had his ear to the floor and he heard the reactions to Hogan were dying, That the stuff that worked in the WWF were no longer working with todays wrestling audience, So he made a bold and gutsy move and turned Hulk Hogan heel and did it in a way that the WCW fan base would Hate Hogans guts, Eric Bischoff knew that Hulk Hogan would never be accepted as a WCW guy, Bischoff knew that to turn Hogan heel he would have to let him be a WWF guy, So how does he do that? He surrounds him with a bunch of WWF alumni and has them wage or on WCW. Many WCW fans thought of the NWO as The WWF trying to take over and that was Bischoff's plans all along. It was a smart plan because not only did it interest WCW fans and had them glued to their seats but it got long time WWF die hards watching rooting for the NWO like they were apart of the WWF. Eric had the WCW fans interested, The WWF fans from the 80's watching and the die hard WWF/anti WCW fans watching (Like me) all with 1 storyline.... Me personally, I never liked WCW, I was a WWF fan to the bone but when the NWO came along it had me watching and paying attention to all WCW TV, Why you ask? Because in my mind NWO was WWF guys fighting WCW to show the WWF was the superior product. It was a great plan by Eric and WCW booking committee.
Eric Bischoff had almost every big name in wrestling in the last 15 years and Bischoff knew that WCW needed more, He knew that WCW needed a variety of different talent and styles. So he hired great workers from all around the world, Great technicians, The greatest high flyers, Tough hard hitting brawlers and put them all under one company and let the mesh of styles amaze the WCW viewers. Nitro was showing styles of wrestling we have never seen in America. Eric built a Excellent cruiserweight division and a compelling Mid Card, Every week you were seeing the best performers all around the world under one roof laying it all out on live TV. Bischoff gave us variety, there was something for everybody in WCW, You were bound to like something on Nitro no matter what style you prefer.... Eric Bischoff knew that WCW had to offer the best of all worlds not just 1 world, Nitro had its older and established performers for Nostalgia and dream matches, It had its top storylines and It also had its work horses in Rey Jr, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko and Chris Jericho. Nitro was a great blend and it was mostly due to Eric Bischoff's hard work and vision.
Eric gave young, Smaller talent who didn't have that "WWF charisma" a chance to shine and show what they have. If Rey, Eddie or Chris Benoit were in WWF without going to WCW first would they get the TV time and chances they were given? No, I very much doubt it. WCW gave fans and the WWF a chance to see what these men could do, Without that exposure WWF would use them for nothing more then jobbers or mid carders.
Look at some of the things Eric Bischoff accomplished in his time in WCW...
He was the first promoter/booker to have a sucessful Light Weight Division in America (many have tried before and after)
Eric was the only booker to run a succesful invasion angle.
Eric Bischoff is the only person to ever surpass the WWF and be number 1.
Eric Bischoff changed the way Televised wrestling is done forever.
In a world without Eric Bischoff, Wrestling wouldn't have Guaranteed contracts, Wrestling programing wouldn't have high quality production, TV would be used as nothing but a tool to sell a house show or PPV's, We wouldn't be seeing PPV quality matches on free TV and You wouldn't see big name talent every week on TV... Eric Bischoff changed wrestling forever for the better, He made alot of mistakes in wrestling but no one mentions the good he did and the huge impact he had on wrestling that still shows in today's product. Eric forced wrestling to be a TV show, Eric forced wrestling to give the fans what they want, Eric Bischoff took wrestling in a new direction and its been going that way ever since.
I'm aware of all the mistakes Eric Bischoff made in WCW, Eric had too much power and Eric got lazy and in the end his ego and politics got him. Eric gave the talent too much power, He was too easily manipulated by main event talent, Eric Bischoff mismanaged money and most importantly Eric Bischoff lost control and simply ran out of ideas but that shouldn't take nothing away from his great contribution to the wrestling business and he was in his time a pioneer in professional wrestling that ushered in a new era.