Eric Bischoff – Hardcore Champion

Eric Bischoff - Hardcore Champion

We all know the physical threat Easy E is. Why, he once defeated hardcore legend Terry Funk at his own game, winning the WCW Hardcore Title 1-2-3 in the middle of the ring!

Now, to Bischoff’s credit, his Hardcore title victory over Terry Funk isn’t something you’ll hear Eric brag about, as he’s not the type of person to coast off an ultimately futile accomplishment from two decades ago.

Even if you were watching Nitro in the Year of Our Lord, Two Thousand (and you probably weren’t), there was a good chance you missed it. But happen it did.

The Funker had held the title since April 16th, 2000, beating Norman Smiley for the vacant championship after the new management of Bischoff and Vince Russo stripped all reigning champions of their titles.

Funk lost the title to Shane Douglas, but regained it the next night on Thunder while disguised as Ralphus.

And what a striking likeness it was. See that t-shirt? It even said, “Ralphus”!

Everyone loves to talk about Bischoff’s “old man” disguise in WWE, but imagine how surprising the unmasking would have been if he had worn a gorilla suit labeled, “Minister”.

By June 5th, 2000, Funk had held the title for a then-astonishing 52 consecutive days (barring the one-day reign by Douglas) so it was time for the grey-haired 45-year-old exec to do whatever it took to win the title back for the New Blood.

Bischoff wouldn’t do it alone, of course. That’s why he brought along his kid’s karate instructor, Ernest Miller.

“The Cat” immediately paid dividends, leveling Funk with this baffling cartwheel.

But Terry soon got the upper hand anyway…

…forcing Eric and Ernest to flee backstage with Funk on their trail.

And then the announcers got confused. “Have we got a camera back there?” asked Scott Hudson.

Well, what do you think, Scott? On the previous Nitro, the cameras followed Funk and Vampiro (and Sting) into a parking lot with gasoline spraying everywhere…

…and on Thunder they’d ridden along in a pickup truck to a horse stable to film the conclusion of Funk vs. Chris Candido

…and they had been filming backstage segments all night including one just prior to the commercial break before this match.

But to answer Hudson’s question, no, they did not have a camera backstage to film the rest of that night’s Hardcore title match.

So the commentators stalled for time – “We’re just stalling for time” were Tony’s exact words – by plugging the online “WCW Reload” pre-show.

If WCW Backstage Assault had featured just the three announcers killing time on screen while players blindly mashed the buttons… well, it wouldn’t have been any worse than the game we got (just as long as Mark Madden kept his mouth shut and didn’t start with that “snoochie boochies” crap).

Fortunately, Miss Hancock came to the ring to dance.

This is still the same segment, by the way.

Kimberly Page then arrived to tell her what for…

…then whacked her with a clipboard.

To everyone’s amazement, the vicious clipboard shot failed to incapacitate Hancock for any appreciable length of time. Grabbing the microphone, she taunted Kimberly to get her “fat ass” into the ring.

Page was outraged.

Miss Hancock having the nerve to say the former Booty Babe had a “fat ass?” Who did she think she was, Stacy Keibler?

She was? I couldn’t tell with those glasses.

Well, that would explain why Hancock/Keibler, a native of Rosedale, MD, called it a fat “ey-us”. Linguistically, that’s called a diphthong, which she also happened to be wearing under her mini-skirt at the time.

Mike Awesome checked to confirm whether Miss Hancock’s accusations were true and vehemently denied that such was the case. Within a month, however, he would transform into the Fat Chick Thriller, so now I don’t know what to think.

Kimberly said that she would deal with Miss Hancock later, then walked up the ramp, where Terry Funk and Eric Bischoff were returning to conclude their Hardcore Championship match.

I can only assume that Funk and Bischoff had just been hanging around catching their breath for the past five minutes, but I have a sneaking suspicion, this being WCW and all, that Terry had actually been beating Eric into oblivion the whole time even when they weren’t on camera.

Terry Funk performed this modified wheelbarrow suplex on Bischoff (“modified” in that there was no suplex involved) to dump him back into the ring.

You know, Funk’s previous match had involved a wheelbarrow, as well, but it contained 185 pounds of crap instead of Eric Bischoff.

I am just stating facts.

There may not have been any cameras available backstage to shoot the majority of this match, but there was one stationed in Vince Russo’s office to film him watching TV. Russo was so disgusted with what he saw that he sent the Mamalukes to the ring to end the match.

In the meantime, Terry Funk vowed to show his “wrinkled ass” and to give Eric Bischoff a “bird’s eye view”.

Was he going to string Eric up to the ceiling or something?

Just as Funk was pulling his tights down to give Bischoff the stinkface, he was interrupted by…

…Miss Hancock, who told him that he had a fat ass! I knew that weird tangent with Miss Hancock and Kimberly would have a payoff!

I kid. Instead, it was Johnny The Bull and Big Vito, who beat up Funk…

…as Tony Schiavone tried in vain to make sense of the proceedings

…then dragged their boss on top of Funk for the 1-2-3.

A suit like Bischoff beating a legend like Funk for a title is blasphemy in wrestling, but at least WCW could build some heat for Bischoff as a heel if they milked the moment for all it was worth.

Bischoff posed with title in hand for 0.8 seconds before the production truck cut away to Goldberg taping his wrists backstage.

The next night at the Thunder taping, Vito and Johnny The Bull simply showed up with the belt.

After two weeks as co-champion, Vito won the title for himself before losing it to Lance Storm, who renamed the championship, “S.H.I.T.”

Finally, something in 2000 WCW that made sense.

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