The man who was the face of WCW
“Controversy creates cash.”HOT! LESBIAN! ACTION!
— Bischoff 101.
Eric Aaron Bischoff is most famous for being the mind behind WCW
during a portion of the Monday Night Wars
of Professional Wrestling
. Originally just a fan of the sport, Bischoff eventually found himself in the American Wrestling Association
as an interviewer and later, an announcer. The AWA was short on time and eventually folded. Out of work, Bischoff sent a job application to the company he would later devote his life to eliminating: the WWF
. This was arguably the best thing to happen to Eric, barring WCW picking him up.
When given charge of WCW, Bischoff’s booking took WCW to a new era where eventually WCW began to dominate the WWF in ratings. The ratings war, officially named the Monday Night Wars, seemed to strongly favor WCW; WWF lost 80+ weeks back to back during one period. Empowered by a new style of booking and the seemingly unstoppable nWo
group, WCW was equally unstoppable. But all good things must come to an end, and Bischoff’s time at the top of WCW was no exception. When numerous issues led WCW to lose the dominance it held for so long, Bischoff was no longer running the show.
Eventually, the WWF emerged victorious in the Monday Night Wars and Bischoff found his way into his past enemy’s locker room in a mostly non-wrestling role as the General Manager of RAW
. Though he held no actual power in the WWE
(the new name for the WWF), he portrayed a great heel and would often be greeted by a chorus of boos wherever he went and whenever he spoke.
Bischoff last found himself in the hands of TNA
, where he was in the company of old friends such as Hulk Hogan
. Having played the same on screen role as he did in WCW, Bischoff was “fired” and put to work behind the scenes as an executive producer before eventually being sent home once Hogan left the company.
Tropes associated with Eric Bischoff include:
- All Men Are Perverts: A frequently alluded to flaw of his. It led to him booking himself in a match with Trish Stratus with the offer that if she could beat him she would get a title shot. She was well on her way to beating him too before Victoria and Jazz interfered on his behalf, after which, his victory speech was so creepy Linda McMahon felt the need to come out and stop him for acting on anything he said.
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: The "Hot Lesbian Action" angle, which was actually a take that to Eric Bischoff. He and his real life spouse had got in some legal trouble over a proposed threesome — a truly foolish mistake on Bischoff's part, since he knew better than anyone how desperate the 60-year-old WWE is for fresh story material. So, in typical form, the WWE decided to incorporate Eric's public humiliation into his character, even though it turned off TNN through whom Raw was broadcast in the USA. During the brand extension era when he was general manager of Raw and Stephanie McMahon ran Smackdown, his stated goal was to make Stephanie engage in carpet munching somehow(!), and even planned to hire a woman to assault her. (It turned out to be Rikishi in disguise, and he just attacked Eric).
- Arch-Enemy: Mostly notably Vince McMahon when not a part of WWE. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin during his WWE run. In TNA, his own son.
- Author Appeal: Jim Cornette cited this as the reason behind the NWO's success, them being the kind of men Eric Bischoff wishes he was. He has a thing for giant power stables and motor cycles in general, Aces & Eights are enough evidence of this.
- Bad Boss: The defining characteristic of his on-screen persona. More than one wrestler has claimed Bischoff was this behind the scenes during his handling of WCW, especially Ric Flair in his book, To Be The Man.
- Bald of Evil: One storyline involved Eric losing a match to Eugene, better known for his time as Doink the Clown. The loser of the match had to get their head shaved. Since Eric lost…
- Batman Gambit: In his words and imitating Ted Turner's accent he was asked, "Ah, Eric, ah, what do we have to do to compete with WWF?" His answer? To give him prime time. Turner accepted and placed Nitro against Raw. Cue the Monday Night Wars and nearly two years as the king of the mountain in Professional Wrestling.
- Best Beer Ever: Bischoff doesn’t pull any Scott Halls but he does own his own brewery.
- Big Bad: Bischoff is almost always portrayed as this due to his status as a permanent heel and his near-omnipresence in a position of authority (be it for real or for show). Often demoted to The Dragon when a Bigger Bad such as Vince McMahon becomes involved.
- Big "Shut Up!": While nowhere near the level of McMahon, Eric has let out a few of these during his WWE career. Typically done to a heel subordinate that has displeased him.
- Bring My Brown Pants: Bischoff is ‘’very’’ good at giving facial expressions which convey this thought, especially when he has to perform in the ring against larger wrestlers.
- Bullying a Dragon
- Pretty much any time Bischoff tries to pick a fight with any professional wrestler, most notably his trying to attack The Giant when Giant caught Hogan's fist and squeezed him into submission.
- During the Monday Night Wars, while the WWF and WCW were trading cheap shots, DX did a segment where they went to WCW headquarters, calling out Eric and Ted Turner personally. In response, Eric cut an nWo promo where he challenged Vince McMahon to a legitimate shoot fight to be broadcast on Nitro. According to him, Hulk Hogan warned him not to, since there was a good chance Vince would accept, and that Eric would probably get his ass handed to him.
- Butt Monkey: Stone Cold had to thoroughly enjoy the angle where he was co-GM with Bischoff if only because he got to manhandle Eric every RAW for a few months. Also anytime Vince showed up, Eric would definitely have the fear of God in him and would be quickly reduced to pleading for Vince not to remove him from GM duties, but not before a verbal Vince smackdown.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Has admitted on more than one occasion that he may not be the model image of a saint. In one promo, Eric said the only thing closer to the Devil than he was his boss, Vince, who was standing right in front of him. Vince’s reaction? A smile.
- Carnival of Killers: In TNA he sent Raven, Rhino, Homicide, Tomko, and Desmond Wolfe after Abyss.
- Catch Phrase
- See the page quote for his most famous one. It’s even the title of his book.
- Eric does the opposite of the cheap pops that Mick Foley typically does where Mick addresses the crowd by saying the town’s name with a thumbs-up pose. Eric, as a heel, lays out an insult towards certain people, then says the name of the town he is in to imply the audience is full of those who he just insulted. Occasionally he does it so sneakily that it goes over the crowd’s heads.
“I never did like the hicks around town back in my WCW days. Being here in Birmingham is a grim reminder of those times.
- Cheap Heat: He’s not above getting a reaction through cheap heat as seen above.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Common with Bischoff, to the point that a list of people who he has backstabbed would require its own page.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Bischoff never believed Chris Jericho to be a headliner. And during TNA’s State of the Union address in 2010, he reconfirmed that he liked Jericho but still felt the same way. This is after a decade of Jericho being one of the WWF/E’s biggest superstars.
- Cue the Flying Pigs: When Vince and Eric hugged, it was as if hell had frozen over. Even the roster was stunned.
- Deal with the Devil: Announcers will refer to wrestlers who willingly work with Bischoff to get ahead as an example of this. Funnily enough, this was used by the announce teams of WWE when Vince and Bischoff were revealed to be working together when Vince hired Eric to be the RAW general manager. But no one specified which one was the devil.
- Dirty Old Man: Right up there with McMahon, though not nearly as old. But keep in mind Bischoff was around 50 during his time with the WWE.
- Disco Dan: During his time in TNA, Eric seemed either unable or unwilling to move on from his WCW heyday
- The Dog Bites Back: After being bribed, coerced and bullied by Evolution into giving them shortcuts to championships, stacking matches in their favor and the like, the one time Eric needed them, when he was getting shaved bald by Eugene, and Evolution didn't even bat an eyelash. Cue Eric telling Flair the next night that he can't be demanded anymore, then up and leaving RAW for a month, leaving control of RAW to the winning team of Team HHH vs. Team Orton at Survivor Series 2004.
- The Dragon: To Vince McMahon in the WWE, until Vince fired him.
- The Evil Genius: He’s a schemer for sure. He was the more suave of the nWo mooks, with a smaller physique and slick helmet of hair that inherently made him the 'brains' of the outfit.
- Evil Uncle: To Eugene on Raw.
- Finishing Move: Bischoff will play off his past kickboxing abilities when he gets in the ring to do something other than talk. It’s usually a kick to the head. Kicking in general is most of his offense, though, if the few not-very-effective attacks he gets in can even be called offense.
- Flipping the Bird: He gives his middle finger some air time occasionally. An example.◊
- Heel: One of the best examples in wrestling history. The main reason is because the vast majority of his career was him being a heel.
- Heel-Face Turn: TNA actually tried this with Eric. Since Bischoff had been nothing but a heel to the people for years (his entire WWE run was heel from start to finish, with the exception of a short period between turning on Evolution and hating John Cena — for how that went, read on), he handled his new face persona… not well. Things went back to normal before long.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: If Bischoff isn't wearing a suit, he is probably wearing leather.
- How Much More Can He Take: His co-GM period with Stone Cold can be summarized as this. Austin did everything he could to screw with Eric and break him.
- "I Am" Song/He's Back: His WWE theme was called "I'm Back."
- Incompetence, Inc.: Eric has made some decisions that in hindsight were more than just terrible (view It Will Never Catch On below for wrestler examples), the most significant one being his nonstop pushing for the nWo to win everything and have near omnipresent screen time even after the fans began booing a wrestler just because he was wearing nWo colors.
- The WCW PPV event Hog Wild/Road Wild was his idea entirely because he was a huge motorcycle fan. It was done for four years in Sturgis, SD to coincide with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Because it was held outside and with the ring surrounded by motorcycles, there was no gate, meaning they lost money every year. Add in that when your audience consists of hundreds on drunk bikers, many of whom didn't care about wrestling and only wanted to see people get hurt, it was almost the complete opposite audience of a normal event (to the point that they loudly cheered a garbage match between forgettable wrestlers Scott Norton and Ice Train and loudly booed a beautifully fought match between Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko, two of the best technical wrestlers of the past thirty years. Add in that for almost every bump, the bikers would rev their engines, meaning people who paid for the PPV couldn't hear the commentators.
- It's All About Me: Whenever he is in a position of power, expect this to be his mindset.
- It Will Never Catch On
- This might be Bischoff's biggest flaw: saying certain wrestlers will not succeed and then letting them go only for those people to become superstars. Some argue that this has as much to do with WCW ultimately losing to the WWF as Vince Russo's booking. Chris Jericho, Jim Ross and Steve Austin are 3 examples of people Bischoff said would not catch on. Fast forward to now. Jericho has been in the upper card of RAW for over a decade and is still going strong, Jim Ross is widely considered to be to commentating what Ric Flair is to wrestling, and Stone Cold went on to be one of the most popular and successful wrestlers of all time.
- While he owns up to having said that about Chris Jericho, he denies he ever said that about Steve Austin. He said he did recognize that Austin had talent, but at the time he was rather unprofessional. Which probably has some truth to it, since Austin can be difficult to work with. Vince probably had a higher tolerance for it.
- Jerkass: Most heels are this and Bischoff is no exception. Unfortunately, numerous wrestlers have claimed that Eric was this behind the scenes during his time as the head of WCW.
- Kangaroo Court: He was subjected to one shortly before being kicked off Raw
- Kick the Dog: You want to make a face of any degree turn heel? Have him attack Jim Ross. You want to make a heel even more hated? Have him attack Jim Ross. You want to put Bischoff into a heel class all his own? Have Bischoff break a cement block over Jim Ross' head.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Bischoff is the SOB in just about every case, and it can define an entire show after proper build up. Ask a friend what matches were on the 2003 No Way Out card besides Steve Austin vs. Eric Bischoff.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Try to list every single person who was ever a member of a nWo roster.
- Loser Leaves Town: He's made this the stipulation to a few matches, such as the 2003 Survivor Series match between Team Austin and Team Bischoff, though it only applied to Austin, who upon winning would be able to be as physical as he saw fit instead of having to be physically provoked before "opening a can of whoop-ass."
- Monday Night Wars: The instigator. In his words...
Ted Turner asked me, "Ah, Eric...what have we got to do to compete with WWE?" I wasn't prepared for that. "Give me prime time." I thought it was safe that he wouldn't do it. And Ted looks at me, looks at Scott Sasser, and goes, "Scott, give Eric two hours, Monday night, on TNT."
- No Sell: Completely inverted in regards to Bischoff being on the receiving end. The only thing more fragile than Eric is a referee. Almost always played straight when Bischoff attacks a wrestler; they just stand there with a smile on their face (one excellent example being Austin vs. Bischoff at No Way Out).
- Power Stable: The most prominent example is without question the nWo. TNA's faction of Immortal also counts. WWE somewhat toyed with this, as Bischoff was very friendly with Evolution, but Triple H was always calling the shots and would occasionally bully Bischoff even though Eric had the power.
- Prejudiced For Pecs: Not to the degree of Vince McMahon, perhaps, but Bischoff is known for sabotaging the pushes of several over wrestlers simply because he did not think they were big enough.
- The Scapegoat
- People who watched RAW during the 2003-2005 time frame heard Vince McMahon say numerous times that Eric was the reason for WCW not just losing the Monday Night Wars but also the reason for WCW going under, neither of which Bischoff even tried to deny. The truth is, the blame for both rests on the conscience of another man.
- As far back as 2001, Konnan said Eric Bischoff was not to blame for WCW's backstage politics spiraling out of control. (and Konnan was not afraid to criticize Bischoff)
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Late 2004, he realized that despite all the times he stuck his neck out and backed Evolution and gave Triple H numerous second chances for the World Title, the one time he really needed them, he ended up getting shaved bald by Eugene. After that, Eric took it upon himself to go on a one-month break and leave RAW in the hands of the "inmates."
- Sex Sells: A philosophy he fully embraces whether he is in character or out of it.
- Smug Snake: His permanent role in WWF, though he did manage to get some dignity back after Eugene shaved his head. He remained pretty ineffective, but he stopped cowering every time Triple H burst into his office to complain about something.
- Take That: Took plenty of shots at the WWF and the people in it when he was running WCW. The WWE would later get its revenge, putting him on late night show WWE Confidential where Johnathan Coachman asked him at what point NWO stopped standing for New World Order and started standing for Not Working Out.
- Actually Pretty Funny: Despite this obvious attack on his booking, Eric genuinely laughed at this (before talking about everything he tried to do to keep the NWO popular after the fans started getting sick of it, noting Kevin Nash's Wolf Pack was working for a while).
- Tonight In This Very Ring: Very common when announcing matches as RAW’s general manager.
- Villain Team-Up: When Bischoff and McMahon hugged after Vince shocked the world by announcing that he had hired Bischoff to be the new General Manager of RAW.
- Worked Shoot: On more than one occasion.
- Would Hit a Girl: That and just about anything else to emphasize his heel status. He also encouraged it, having 3 Minute Warning squash two women that he had been promising all night would be engaging in "hot lesbian action" just because he knew it would anger the audience, and booking Wild Samoan Umaga against backstage interviewer Maria.