One of the biggest ‘what ifs’ in wrestling history is what would have happened if Eric Bischoff had been successful in his attempt to purchase WCW in 2001? It remains one of wrestling’s most debated hypothetical questions, and now the man himself has provided some details on his immediate plans for the once all conquering promotion.
The former WCW President has previously spoken about needing to strip the company back to the bare minimum before trying to rebuild, but he has now gone further in explaining just what that might have looked like.
Speaking on his 83 Weeks Podcast, Eric Bischoff has now revealed that he intended to temporarily shutdown WCW had he been able to take control of the company.
“We knew… early on, that we wanted to shut WCW, we wanted it to go away. For an extended period of time, so there was no coming back in April, I don’t think was a hard date that we had in mind. We wanted WCW to go away for as long as possible. Now, granted that wouldn’t have been six months or eight months. It would have been fine with me had it been, because I do believe that absence makes the heart grow fonder, the longer we were off TV the easier it became for people to forget about all of the silliness and baggage that occurred. All the bad booking, all the bad creative, all the bad strategy, you know, Judy Bagwell on a pole shit, all that stuff would have been easier for an audience to forget the longer we had gone away. If we were only off the air two or three weeks, not that big a deal.”
Speaking specifically about February 2001, Bischoff went on to say that he doesn’t remember there being a specific date or plan for when WCW would return to TV, contrary to some reports at the time.
“I don’t think that we ever had a firm date for our return to TV once we went into the shutdown. Especially, at this point, in February.”
The joint takeover bid from Bischoff and Fusient Media was initially accepted, but the new head of Turner Broadcasting Jamie Kellner, removed all WCW programming from it’s TV networks. This immediately caused the deal to collapse, leaving the door open for WWE to eventually purchase the flailing company.
Bischoff would famously join WWE as the Raw General Manager in 2002, and has recently revealed that he knew almost instantly that he wanted to work for the company after just one phone call with WWE CEO Vince McMahon.
You can listen to the full episode of 83 Weeks here. If you use any of the transcription above do so with a link and a h/t to Inside The Ropes.