Former WWE Executive Director Eric Bischoff has discussed his short-lived return to WWE in 2019 and how he feels he “f*cked up” during that time.
In June 2019 it was announced that Raw and SmackDown were getting their own Executive Directors with the belief that those put in charge of the shows would have overall control over them. Paul Heyman was named as Executive Director of Raw while former WCW President Eric Bischoff was given the same position at SmackDown.
However, after just 4 months and with SmackDown having now debuted on FOX, it was announced that Bischoff’s time at WWE was again over and he was being replaced by Bruce Prichard.
Now speaking to Renee Paquette on her Oral Sessions podcast, Eric Bischoff has reflected on that period in his life and explains what he feels went wrong:
“I’ve had a lot of time to think about this, partially because I get asked that a lot and it’s forced me to think about it. Here’s where I f*cked up. I went into WWE overly concerned about the way people perceive me. And by that, I don’t mean people I meet out on the street, but in a wrestling environment, there’s been so much narrative about how heavy-handed I can be and difficult at times.”
“Some of that is true, I don’t deny it. But it’s been way blown out of proportion. And it was really important to me, this is my error in judgment, it was more important to me to fit into the system and eventually try to implement my ideas and the things that I wanted to do. I don’t think that’s what Vince wanted.”
“Now looking back on it, I think ‘what if I would’ve gone in there and been the kind of alpha executive we all know Vince likes?’ And I could’ve done that because that’s not alien to my nature, to be very aggressive and focused. And sometimes it rubs people the wrong way.”
Eric Bischoff then explained that one thing he didn’t lack during this time was face-to-face time with Vince McMahon himself:
“No. In fact, I had way more of it than I wanted to [laughs]. Look, I like Vince. We’re not like ‘let’s go out to dinner’ friends. We’re not ‘ride or die’ friends, none of that. But I have a lot of respect for Vince, and I’m really disappointed in myself that I didn’t manage myself better to get more of an opportunity to work with him.”
“Here’s where I made that mistake though because it is a catch-22 except I knew going in, based on not what I learned firsthand from Vince but the fact that I competed with the guy, I kind of knew what he was about from that perspective. Everything I’ve ever heard about Vince is he wants you to come in and take control. He wants you to take ownership.”
“He wants to be surrounded by aggressive people who approach their business in an aggressive way. That’s who he is. Of course, he’s going to want somebody just like him, or as close to him or his approach to things as possible. And I went in taking the ‘okay, I’m just going to work my way into the system, and when the time is right (do my thing).’”
The position wasn’t long for Paul Heyman either as he was removed from the position after just a year in the role with Prichard taking charge of both of WWE’s main roster shows.