Eric Bischoff talks about a career low point. The former president of WCW talks about how an internal investigation in the late 1990s caused him to lose faith parent company of WCW as he worked his hardest to keep world championship wrestling in the zeitgeist.
Eric Bischoff has talked in the past about how WCW was under a greater microscope once the company became one of the most popular entities in the world and now, he is reflecting on an executive of AOL/Time Warner informing Eric Bischoff that he was the subject of a private investigation.
Eric Bischoff Reflects On A Moment In His WCW Career Where He ‘Lost Faith’
Speaking to Chris Van Vliet on the INSIGHT podcast, Bischoff reflected on the 1998 meeting.
“So I have never discussed this before, and I have to be careful about how I say it. During the AOL/Time Warner merger, there was a point sometime around the end of 1998. WCW was rocking and rolling, we were making money hand over fist, the ratings were great, it couldn’t have been better. I think it was around August or September, I got called to Harvey Schiller’s office, Harvey Schiller was my boss and the president of Turner Sports at the time.
There was a corporate attorney there, general counsel, sitting in his office. I thought well this is weird. They sat me down, and they said ‘Eric, we just, we have to share something with you.’ I go wow, this is serious. [Schiller continues] ‘For the past several months, we have been doing some private investigation work and some forensic accounting, and we just want you to know that, because we have had to interview certain people in your company.’ I thought ok, cool, why? I probably wasn’t that calm, I got a little more agitated, there might have been an f bomb in there somewhere [laughs]. The corporate counsel said ‘Look Eric, we had no choice.
An executive from Time Warner went to a WCW event.’ It was one of our bigger events. [They] Went to the event, ended up in an elevator with a guy wearing a WCW Nitro crew shirt. The gentleman from Time Warner was a very senior executive for Time Warner. This individual started asking the guy in the WCW shirt what do you do? Tell me about WCW. This guy was a disgruntled, he wasn’t really an employee, he was like a freelancer that every once in a while we would hire to help set up rings, stuff like that. But he wasn’t on the regular payroll, wasn’t a regular employee.
This guy just unloaded all kinds of fabricated narrative, Dirt Sheet, Reddit type stuff. This is the one that really got to me, this is what they were told, ‘You are giving your friend Diamond Dallas Page $1.5 million and you are getting a kickback.’ That was the narrative, somewhere this guy had got a hold of it. That hurt me, I don’t know if it hurt me, but I lost faith.
I had put so much into WCW at that time, put so much into Nitro, and I felt good about it. I loved working with the people, loved working with Ted Turner, he is an amazing person, I would cut off a hand right now if I had the chance to work for him if it was necessary. But that just really bothered me, and I don’t even know why, I think it was the lack of trust.
The idea that they didn’t tell me until the investigation was over, ‘By the way, we have got nothing on you. We have been through you, your finances, your friends, your family, your neighbours, we know all about you.’ Well thank you very much! It put a dent in me, let’s put it that way.”
Overall, Eric Bischoff’s WCW is still seen as the top company to have ever challenged WWE in any significant way to challenge WWE, defeating them for 83 weeks in the Monday Night War.
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