INDUCTION: Eric Bischoff’s WWE Debut – The Hug That Flushed Millions Down the Crapper

14 Submitted by on Mon, 22 September 2014, 20:00

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WWE, 2002

As I look at that image above, I am half tempted to just hit the “publish” button and be done with it.  And if you think I am joking about that, consider the fact that I had this in my draft folder for over a week contemplating doing just that.

But it seems only appropriate that on the eve of the arrival of the new Death of WCW: 10th Anniversary Edition to WrestleCrap HQ (I will have received my copies as you read this) that I would go ahead and write something more.  How much that will be, I really don’t know.  This is one of inductions where we won’t be concentrating on having a bunch of images, animated GIFs, sound files.  That’s not really viable here as I am writing about something that transpired over a period of approximately 5 minutes or so.  But in those 5 minutes, Vince McMahon and WWE flushed away so much cash that it’s impossible to measure.

I admit sometimes I get carried with the business aspects of wrestling.  Ever since I wrote the original Death of WCW with Bryan, it’s something I’ve not really been able to shake.  Believe me, there are times when I know I’d enjoy wrestling more if I didn’t concentrate on the business of it.  Amazingly, though, Eric Bischoff’s WWE debut would not be one of those occasions.

Because honestly, as a fan, and a fan alone, I absolutely hated this angle.  HATED it.  To me, it was yet another opportunity to somehow, some way, salvage the whole fiasco that was the InVasion angle.  Speaking of, why did they spell it that way?  With the capital letters?  Mrs. Deal, get Dave Meltzer on the…aww, forget it.  I’m sure it was some ridiculous reason not unlike when they’d spell everyone’s names with Y’s and Z’s.  ChYna! RhYno! Dudley BoyZ!  For as much as folks despise the whole “WWE Universe” terminology, it’s nothing new.  Just be glad they don’t spell it some silly way like “WWE UnEVerse”, because I could totally see them doing something like that.

Where was I?  Oh yeah, this.

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Ok, a bit of backstory.  There may be folks around here that didn’t live through the whole Nitro vs. Raw era and don’t understand exactly what happened back then that made this so infuriating.  Maybe you’re trying to educate yourself to what happened by watching the Monday Night War series on the WWE Network.  If that’s your plan, let me save you some time and give you that version of the story:

– WWE was doing great except they had a handful of bad characters that served as the basis for

– The Evil Ted Turner bought all of the WWE’s top stars

– Folks were CONFUSED so they started watching Nitro

– Eventually, Degeneration X came on the scene and attacked WCW which made everyone realize that WCW sucked mainly due to Triple H being such a stud

– Vince then defeated Evil Ted Turner by buying out the company

I don’t think I missed too much from what I’ve seen so far.  It’s sorta infuriating, but hey, the won the war and thus the victors get to tell their version of history.  Kudos to them.  If you want the REAL version of what happened, well, y’all know where to go.

Where was I?  Oh yeah, this.

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Ok, a bit of backstory.

Didn’t I just write that?  I keep getting distracted by things that the company has done or is doing that are driving me mad.

Let me try this again.  During the grand time that Raw and Nitro were going head to head, each side did their damnedest to make their show the one to watch.  When Nitro was first announced, there were a lot of folks who thought that it was a completely idiotic move by WCW and that they were going to get slaughtered going up against Vince.  I was one of those people.  What I didn’t count on and honestly never considered was the fact that Eric Bischoff was ready to reinvent wrestling by breaking all the rules.  And he did so with such aplomb, such swagger, that it really caught folks off guard.  I’ve ragged on Bischoff over the years, but make no mistake I have a lot of respect for what he did in the early days of Nitro.  He gave away pay-per-view quality matches on a weekly basis, he gave away taped match results from the WWF, he wheeled and dealed and brought in big names.  The man changed the rules and had zero fear in pissing folks off doing it.

And the guy he infuriated more than anyone was Vince McMahon.

Sure, the new canon spewing forth from the Network is that it was Vince vs. Ted Turner.  That’s a total crock.  It was Vince vs. Eric.  They both had monitors hidden under their announce tables so they could watch what the other guy was doing; in essence, at times, they were paying more attention to each other than their own product!  So to claim that there wasn’t a personal issue between the two is woefully inaccurate.  Bischoff for sure wanted to drive Vince out of business.  Vince probably wanted to kill Bischoff.  It was obvious during to anyone watching in the late 90’s that this was the case, and honestly, as much as the two despised each other, fans amplified that in their minds.  So if the day ever came when Bischoff showed up on Raw, it would be armageddon.

Remember…we’d already had the InVasion.  We’d already had various WCW stars that we couldn’t have during that preliminary period such as Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall show up and be disposed of before Bischoff showed up.  So this was really the final, last gasp effort to see a war that we all wanted to believe was real, that more than that, we all KNEW was real.

It was the ultimate personal war.

And what did we get?

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 8.40.07 PMYeah.

Some would complain about Bischoff showing up before he was even announced, saying hi to Booker T.  I actually thought that made sense; if someone saw Bischoff, they could call their friends who may not be watching and tell them what was about to go down.  That’s fine.

You know what wasn’t fine?

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The rest of the angle maybe I’ll cover another time.  Right now, just seeing that image again makes me shake my head and renders me incapable to continue.

And hey, look at that – I did do the induction with just one picture.

Guess I was just too angry to add any more.

Want the REAL story of the legendary Monday night wars?  Then check out the brand new Death of WCW: 10th Anniversary Edition.  A whopping 40% larger than the original, and available in paperback, hardcover, and Kindle versions here.


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Yeah, you know...the WrestleCrap guy. Been here since before day 1, I have. You can hang out with me on Facebook. (I'm on there quite a bit) or follow my exploits on Twitter (I'm on there not quite so often). Thanks, and Keep on Crappin'!
14 Responses to "INDUCTION: Eric Bischoff’s WWE Debut – The Hug That Flushed Millions Down the Crapper"
  1. Jerichoholic Ninja says:

    Yeah, one can’t help but wonder what their mindset was doing this. Even if they didn’t have an immediate feud planned, the hug just seemed so… Unnecessary. Yet they seemed to think that a Bischoff vs. Stephanie feud was money in the bank.

    Also, I agree completely with your assessment of the Monday Night War show. It seems like that series, as well as the Top 10 Countdown show, exists solely to convince fans of how great Triple H, Vince and Stephanie are (It seems like they Specifically pick topics that allows them to include one of them, while people like Hulk Hogan are rarely featured). In the MNW show, they did an entire episode talking about how great Trips is and how he and DX single-handedly helped win the War despite being mid-carders who rarely main evented. While the guy who actually main evented most ppvs and made the biggest difference is included only as an afterthought. Yeah, that show annoys me (though I do hope they do a Cruiserweight episode, and I’m really curious to see if they do a Sting episode).

    Two things RD:
    1) Have you thought about doing reviews of the Monday Night War show?
    2) Some of the Gooker inductions are down. Specifically 2013 and 2012 (but 2011 works).

    • "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

      Oops! The 2012 and 2013 Gookers not being available for you guys to view is completely my fault! Sorry about that, everyone- I screwed up. I fixed the problem and you should be able to find them thru the Search box and view them now. I’d love for R.D to review The Monday Night Wars for the site! That would be really cool!

    • Guest says:

      Hulk Hogan underexposed?…..I don’t live on this planet anymore.

    • Panny says:

      I’m sorry but you’re just wrong on this. The second episode was entirely centred around the nWo. It focused a lot on Hogan and the impact the heel turn had. The fourth episode, and only that episode, was about DX. The first half was about its original form and the second was about what happened when Triple H took over. Your snobbery in saying they were only midcarders is revisionist history just as insidious as anything the WWE could come up with. DX were a pivotal part of the attitude era and one of the company’s hottest properties. Regardless of what Triple H has done since then, to suggest anything else indicates bias or that you just didn’t watch much WWF programming during these years. And where’s the comments saying how great Stephanie is? Plus, there was a great cruiserweights episode (even featuring footage of Benoit, though he was mostly overlooked) and an ECW episode. The series does obviously have its leanings but that doesn’t make your side balanced. I actually find the show to be much closer to RD and Alvarez’s account than I was expecting and not unwilling to shy away from the stuff that sucked in WWF in the mid-90’s.

  2. AdamX says:

    They had Vince’s two biggest rivals under contract(let’s not overlook Heyman) and nothing ever came of it.

    Yeah they over value Trips but it’s gotta stick in his craw a little how no matter how much the company pats him on the back he’ll never be as big/beloved as the guys that left or Taker.

  3. AK says:

    I understand RD’s and others’ sentiments about the hug. I remember seeing it and wondering if this was going to lead to one last angle. It’s been discussed, dissected and I’m sure even a few fist fights have broken out pertaining to what Vince could have done to turn this into a billion dollar angle,

    I think it’s safe to suggest especially after the Invasion angle played out and that lame attempt at bringing back the NWO that Vince would never evvvvvvvvvvvvvvvver put anyone or anything over himself and his company. Yes Vince has done the job before and has taken his share of punishment all for the sake of making the WWE and some of its characters stronger but when he and Bisch hugged it out, I imagine having an angle was the furthest thing from Vince’s mind. For one thing there was no real competition anymore and he bought said competition for peanuts. He also I believe actually was a billionaire at the time and while I am not one nor do I expect to ever become one, I wouldn’t be surprised if he even cared that he flushed an opportunity for another potential billion. I think the hug can be interpreted as Vince’s final parting shot to all those naysayers or people who wanted Vince to fail. Steve Austin would give people the finger. Vince instead would say screw you by hugging it out with his long time nemesis who now was working under him.

    Still, what could have been..Pretty sure if TNA and/or ROH go under and Vince actually bought those companies out and he had an opportunity to do the Invasion angle differently, he wouldn’t. Even if he is isn’t currently a billionaire, it’s just not Vince’s way.

    Something about Vince and Dixie Carter hugging though..that doesn’t sound too weird does it?

    • Guest says:

      Considering the majority of TNA’s top talent left or are on the verge of leaving why WWE would do a repeat of the invasion angle even if they wanted tp (especially with lesser known stars) is beyond me.

      • Hoshino Yumemi says:

        …and considering TNA already DID their terrible version of a years-old storyline with THEIR InVasion that wasn’t…

  4. Mister Forth says:

    A very underwhelming moment.

  5. Barry says:

    So, Vince hugged Eric, who spent years trying to put him out of business and then Eric feuded with Stephanie, who only recently, had been trying to put Vince out of business.

    Okay then.

  6. SCLSCL says:

    Sunday Monday Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday Friday Saturday, Sunday comes again!

  7. MistaMaddog says:

    What, no trial of Eric Bischoff by garbage truck!? That was the very reason Vince blew his cash on the hiring the guy…

  8. riteone45 says:

    bischoff and vince hugging it out is kind of like a historical moment though. it was the end of the attitude era. always will consider it that. after this point wrestling as we new it and loved changed. the official start of sports entertainment.

  9. Panny says:

    I’ve been watching the Monday Night War series and I simply haven’t seen the tone you’re referring to.

    There was one single episode which talked about DX, and Triple H’s version of the group only took up the second half of it and gave credit to everyone involved. I know nobody working for this site likes Triple H and I understand why, but he and DX WERE big parts of the Attitude era. There was a rather questionable comment in the nWo episode about how WCW was profitting from WWE’s work, but then again that’s exactly how the angle was conceived anyway – an invasion by WWE guys. And it was mostly about how cool the nWo angle was to start with and followed with the episode where the Attitude era began as a direct consequence of needing to compete with WCW. I haven’t seen anything suggesting fans were confused, it in fact interviews several current WWE stars who admit to watching both and give the exact same reasons you and Bryan did in the book (variety of great action and big stars). Ted Turner is mentioned as WCW’s owner, yes, but it’s still mostly centred on Bischoff’s work and rivalry with McMahon. There’s an entire episode on ECW and one on the Cruiserweights, both of which play out pretty much identical to how they’re described in the book. The last few episodes, which I haven’t watched yet (I’m halfway through) are, looking at the synopsis, focused on WCW’S mistakes that led them to failure.

    Look, I get that WWE is going to portray itself positively, but Wrestlecrap often seems to go out of its way to refuse to give them any credit whatsoever. Triple Kelly even went so far as to say they only won the war because of WCW’s incompetence, which is absolute nonsense. WWF was putting on a product people wanted to see. If they weren’t, both companies would have suffered for it. The series isn’t perfect by any means but it’s much better than I was expecting and certainly a lot better than people on here are making out, though I still recommend reading Death of WCW as well.

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