Eric Bischoff has explained why he thinks legendary commentator Jim Ross didn’t want the former WCW boss to join WWE in the early 2000s.
Bischoff had started his career in wrestling in the AWA before heading to Atlanta for World Championship Wrestling. There Eric Bischoff worked as an announcer, reporting to Tony Schiavone and then Vice President of Broadcasting, Jim Ross. This dynamic was turned on its head when Ross’ friend Bill Watts was replaced by Bischoff as Executive Producer in 1993 with JR being taken off broadcasts before leaving the company and going to work for the then-WWF.
On Stories With Brisco And Bradshaw Eric Bischoff discussed his beginnings in WWE and how he was asked to be a part of the Invasion storyline in 2001. According to the former WCW President, it was Jim Ross that first called him about the opportunity and he could tell Ross wasn’t too thrilled about the possibility of working with him again:
“I tried to get some information out of Jim. Jim wasn’t very forthcoming, and I understand that. You don’t want to lay out an entire storyline to somebody if you’re not sure they’re even on your team. But Jim also had kind of a bad taste in his mouth about me. He wasn’t happy to make that call…I could tell. You know when someone’s anxious to talk to you and you know when someone’s doing it just because they have to, and Jim was doing it because he had to.”
However, Eric Bischoff adds that he got a different vibe when WWE Chairman Vince McMahon called Bischoff himself. Bischoff says he knew almost right away he’d be going to work for McMahon:
“Vince called himself and I knew within 45 seconds of saying ‘hello’ that I was going to work for him. He was super gracious, I won’t repeat what he said to me, but he was very, very gracious, more gracious than he needed to be. He laid it all out to me and I said, ‘Absolutely, man, let’s do it.’ Our conversation was probably no more than four minutes, tops five, and I made up my mind I was gonna come to WWE.”
Eric Bischoff didn’t come to WWE as part of the Invasion, instead making his debut for the company in 2002 when he was unveiled as the General Manager of Raw.