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Eric Bischoff On Why He Was Sent Home From WCW, Recalls Publicly Calling Out Turner Executives

July 16, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Eric Bischoff

– During the latest 83 Weeks, Eric Bischoff looked back on being sent home from WCW in September of 1999 by Harvey Schiller and removed from his position atop the company. Bischoff was discussing Bash at the Beach in July of 1999 and recalled how he was sent home just a couple of months later, noting that it wasn’t about the numbers but rather how he was behaving in relation to the management of Turner at the time.

Bischoff was removed from power in mid-September by Schiller, the head of TBS Sports, who eliminated Bischoff’s position of President of WCW and installed Bill Busch in charge from the position of Senior Vice President. Bischoff would return in 2000 to join Busch hiree Vince Russo on the creative team and as an on-air character, but would never be in charge of WCW again.

Highlights from the discussion are below, along with the full podcast:

On whether he was sent home because the numbers had dropped: “Honestly, I didn’t get sent home because of lack of performance. You know, I know that’s not the narrative. And it would be very easy for anybody, whether you have an agenda or not, it would be very easy for anybody to kind of look at the total picture when you’re not in the loop or part of the process, and say ‘Oh, the numbers are going down, they were losing money, or not doing as well as they should have been doing. So let’s get rid of Eric and bring somebody else in.’ That wasn’t the reason I got sent home.”

On why he actually got sent home: “I got sent home because I was a d**k. I got sent home because I was fighting for something I believed in. I didn’t really understand the nature of corporate mergers and corporate takeovers. I had no idea that Ted Turner was getting sent out to pasture. Neither did Ted — [that’s neither] here nor there, but it was true. I thought, ‘You know what, I’m going to draw a line in the sand, and I’m going to push this thing till it breaks. Because when it breaks, me and Ted are gonna sit down and 80% of the time I’ll come out the way I need to come out.’ Well, I was picking fights with people I shouldn’t have picked fights with, you know? I was naive, inexperienced and unsophisticated in the ways of dealing with a situation like this. And it was bad judgment. I went into battle not knowing the army I was fighting. [chuckles] I thought I was fighting one army, and I prepared for battle as a result of what I thought I knew, without knowing I really had an entirely different battle going on on my hands. And the way I conducted myself was, you know, I set myself up. It was just my nature at the time, and again, lack of experience and being naive. You can’t publicly embarrass people who are on the board of directors. [laughs] You just can’t — I shouldn’t say board of directors. On the executive committee. There were people who were two doors down from Ted Turner, and I was calling them out. Just like I would anybody else who I disagreed with. And I would not necessarily do it privately. And that’s why I got sent home.”

On his relationship with Harvey Schiller: “And the fact that Harvey Schiller, we talk about Harvey a little bit. Harvey was a tough dog, you know. He was a colonel in the Air Force, he had a very military way of conducting his business. He built his entire infrastructure and his staff in a way that — there was a lot of similarities between the way he operated as an officer in the Air Force and the way he ran his office. And I liked it, by the way. I had no issue with that at all. I had no real issues with Harvey, and actually, I don’t want to say it was a mentor/mentee relationship there, because that would be overexaggerating it. But there was an element of that. Harvey would let me go off the reservation as much as he felt I needed to to be me. But when I started getting a little too close to the edge, where it looked like I was gonna come off, he’d reel me in, sit me down, talk to me. But he do it in a way that, you know, he was mentoring me, in his own way.”

On Schiller making the decision to send him home: “Harvey, he was reading me. He knew I was at the end of my rope. I was making, again, bad judgment, exercising poor judgment in the way I was conducting my business. Just the stress of it all, you know? There’s a difference between talking to me in ’97 or ’98 when I was on fire, I couldn’t wait to get out of bed in the morning, I just, I hated to leave at night. That guy, that Eric Bischoff, was fun to be around, even if you didn’t really want to, it was still a positive thing most of the time. Not all of the time, but most of the time. By 1999, you know, I would walk into a room and it was like, [low growl]. I was just breathing fire, and not in a good way. So Harvey saw it, and he sent me home in September … two months after this PPV. I think he sent me home thinking that, ‘If there’s any way to salvage this guy, I’ve gotta get him the f**k out of here. Because he’s setting himself on fire at this point.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.

article topics :

Eric Bischoff, WCW, Jeremy Thomas