Eric Bischoff’s short-lived tenure as WWE SmackDown executive director came to an end as surprisingly and suddenly as it began when WWE terminated him from the position last Tuesday.
Now, amid the confusion over why Bischoff would be let go just four months after starting up a new stint with the company, the former WCW president is citing a clash between the culture and process of the WWE and his personality.
“I’m really grateful for the opportunity to work in WWE,” Bischoff said on his “83 Weeks” podcast. “It didn’t work out the way I wanted it to work out. It clearly didn’t work out the way Vince McMahon wanted it to work out. But that happens.
I’m not taking any of it personally. Professionally, I’m taking a hard look at it and thinking it through. More than anything, I’m grateful for the opportunity. Part of the reason is I am, I had a chance to work with a great team of people.”
Reports after Bischoff’s termination cited Bischoff “messing up” with Fox executives multiple times as well as a report from Wrestling Observer Radio’s Bryan Alvarez stating, “I heard that he just didn’t know anybody. He didn’t know any of the talent. He didn’t go out of his way to learn about anything. He would leave and nobody could get a hold of him.”
The grind of working in creative or executive positions in WWE is well-known, with many former team members discussing the long hours required in the company. It’s possible that culture is what Bischoff was citing on the podcast when describing how he didn’t fit within the company.
“I didn’t come here thinking I was going to be in WWE for five or 10 years,” Bischoff said. “I looked at it as a relatively short term opportunity, meaning 2-3 years. I didn’t think it would be quite this short term, but sometimes that happens.
WWE is a great company with a very defined culture and process. I didn’t necessarily fit into it. That’s just the way it is. I’m not sad, disappointed, any of those things. Just looking forward to the next opportunity, whenever and wherever that may be.”
During his first stint with WWE, Bischoff served as an on-screen general manager of Raw from 2002-05.
Firing Stone Cold Steve Austin while he was recovering from an injury was arguably one of the biggest mistakes WCW and Eric Bischoff made during the Attitude Era as The Texas Rattle Snake signed with WWE after this. He then went on to become one of the biggest stars in the wrestling history and his battles with Vince McMahon played a crucial part in winning the Monday Night Wars for the company.
On the latest episode of his 83 Weeks podcast, Eric Bischoff talked about the firing of the former World Champion and revealed how a phone call led to this decision. The former WCW President recalled the time when Austin was in home recovering from a triceps injury but they were still paying him a lot of money due to his guaranteed contract.
So to make sure that Austin’s character stayed alive and it didn’t disappear from TV completely, Bischoff decided to put him in a backstage segment at WCW Staturday Night. He asked Tony Schiavone to give Stone Cold a call to come and shoot the promo but the former Champion didn’t want to come to the phone:
“Tony called Steve and Steve’s wife answered the phone, and the way it was reported back to me from Tony was that Steve’s wife said ‘Hey Steve, Tony Schiavone is on the phone he wants to talk to you’, and Tony could hear Steve yelling back to his wife, ‘Tell them sons of b—–s I’m not here.’” recalled Bischoff.
“Well, that’s pretty bulls–t right? That’s bulls–t. He was there; he just didn’t want to have a conversation. He didn’t want to hear anything I had to say, or maybe he was in pain, I don’t know.”
Schiavone then came back to Eric Bischoff and detailed the call which led to him believing that Austin was being dishonest to him. According to the former WCW executive, he becomes irrational once he feels that someone is being dishonest with him and this is the reason why he made the call to let the former Champion go.