Eric Bischoff’s surprise appearance during Billy & Chuck’s infamous wedding segment required a lot of preparation.
The team of Billy & Chuck formed in late 2001 when WWE veteran Billy Gunn and relative newcomer to the WWE Chuck Palumbo joined forces.
As the team of Billy & Chuck grew, they were involved in moments where they would appear very happy to be in each other’s company and the pair had their own “personal stylist” as a manager, Rico. The team went on to become two-time WWE Tag Team Champions.
There were a lot of subtle hints that maybe Billy & Chuck were a gay couple, which led to a “commitment ceremony” on SmackDown in September 2002. When it happened, it was revealed to be a publicity stunt that went a bit too far while both men were actually straight.
During the “commitment ceremony” on SmackDown, Raw’s General Manager Eric Bischoff took off a mask to reveal that he was the Pastor in the segment. That led to Bischoff’s 3 Minute Warning tag team attacking Billy & Chuck in a memorable moment.
Speaking on his 83 weeks podcast, Bischoff revealed the disguise was a lengthy process to create:
“The makeup, the whole process I think took about two months, a month and a half. My first step was I had to fly to Los Angeles and meet with the company that did the makeup and created all that, the special effects company. That was you know, I flew to LA and probably spent three-quarters of a day there, maybe 5 6 7 hours getting fitted and they did a wax cast of my face in my head, it was really an extensive thing.
And in order to create that rubber mask that I pulled off, and then the day of that event, I got to the arena, it was in Minneapolis, I got there probably at 9 or 10 in the morning. And it wasn’t until about one in the afternoon that the whole makeup and the whole thing was applied.
So that took about another 4 or 5 hours to get on. So all told there was about a 10 hour, 12 hour effort over the course of a couple of days. The entire thing took about six weeks to create the mask, the makeup and everything that went into it. And I really didn’t know. I didn’t know what the scene was going to be until that day.
I knew I was going to put on makeup but nobody said ‘Okay, here’s what we’re going to do. And here’s why you’re in the makeup and here’s how it’s gonna play out. Go and get fitted for this mask and show up to the building early so we can get it applied before anybody shows up.’
Because they wanted me in full makeup before any talent or production got there. Because again, they didn’t want anybody to know it was me. They wanted to keep that a secret. Because they wanted the surprise element. This is why I got there so early, but it took a while. Took a while.”
The storyline led to a lot of mainstream coverage for WWE and it was heavily criticized by the LGBTQ community.
If you use any quotes from this transcription, please link back to this article with a h/t to Inside the Ropes.