Throughout his WWE career Jerry “The King” Lawler formed one half, of what is regarded as one of the greatest commentary teams in the history of professional wrestling. However, Eric Bischoff has revealed that history could have been spectacularly different.
While it’s well known that WCW came crashing to the ground in 2001, and was eventually brought by WWE. What perhaps is less well known is just how close former WCW President Eric Bischoff came to saving and taking over the ailing company.
On the most recent episode of his podcast 83 Weeks, Eric Bischoff broke down how as part of the Fusient Media group, he attempted to buy WCW just before it went out of business.
Speaking about what would have happened had the takeover been successful, Bischoff outlined his plans for the announce team. Revealing that he was interested in bringing in ECW stalwart Joey Styles.
“I would’ve wanted and needed to keep Tony on the team behind the scenes and in front of the camera, but I was also interested in Joey Styles,” Bischoff said. “We would’ve had four hours of TV to do in prime time, there was plenty of room for great announcers.
“There would’ve been plenty of room for announcers and likely would’ve stuck, because it was a very successful strategy that had never been done before one more thing that Nitro did that nobody else had done before, changing up your announcers in a two hour show is in my opinion still the right thing to do today. Announcers are such a big part of the show, your announcers have a stronger, larger, more consistent presence on the show than any other piece of talent and sometimes that works against you. It’s just too much for the audience to listen to.”
However, in what would have been a quite remarkable coup, Bischoff also revealed that he had a conversation with Jerry Lawler about joining his reboot of WCW. One of the signature voices of Monday Night RAW, had recently left WWE, quitting after his then wife ‘The Cat’ was fired.
Eric Bischoff went on to explain that it was Lawler who phoned him to let him know that he was available.
“Jerry called me,” Bischoff said. “I had never even said hello to him, we never crossed paths, never talked to him on the phone, nothing. It was like 5:30 at night, I’m driving and I get a phone call from Jerry Lawler. We chatted for a few minutes, let me know he was free, heard I had something going and wanted to know if I was interested and I said absolutely Jerry, let’s follow this up. Nothing ever came of it, but yeah definitely. I don’t know what I would’ve done with him but we would’ve done something with him for sure.”
After leaving WWE in February 2001, Lawler would re-join the company in November of the same year. Although no longer a full time commentator, Lawler remains with the company, appearing on many of WWE’s panel shows.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.