In 1996, the Monday Night War between WWE Raw and WCW Nitro was heating up and WCW was beginning to take the lead in ratings. One particular episode of Nitro in January that year, the week before Clash of Champions 32, smashed Raw, taking a 3.5 rating to Raw’s 2.4. The triumph led to Eric Bischoff calling Vince McMahon. Bischoff ended up leaving a message for McMahon, telling him to “continue whatever it is he’s doing with those Billionaire Ted skits” since it was helping WCW.
On his ‘83 Weeks‘ podcast, ‘Easy E’ recalled the incident, saying it was fun and the purpose was to get inside McMahon’s head.
“I remember doing it, it was fun, it’s the kind of s**t I love doing. Again, it was to get inside of his head. The more I could get him off his game, the more I could make him angry[…]The more I could get him to focus on his emotion, the less likely he would be thinking instead of reacting to emotion, and I wanted him to be reacting to emotion as much as I could. It was kind of Sun Tzu ‘Art of War’ s**t, that I believe in. More than anything, it was just fun!”
The fun was just beginning for Bischoff, as later that year Nitro would begin its famous 83-week winning streak as Raw lagged behind in the ratings. Eventually, this led to WWE radically altering its programming and starting the ‘Attitude Era’ a change that would see the company comprehensively defeat WCW. Raw would garner higher ratings than Nitro every week from late 1998 until WCW folded in 2001, with WWE going on to buy the organisation’s assets.