Eric Bischoff has discussed his brief term as a WWE Executive Director in 2019, saying he “f*cked up” his time with the company.
In June 2019, WWE announced that both Raw and SmackDown would get their own Executive Directors. The expectation was that the people who took the roles would have overall control over the shows. Paul Heyman became the Executive Director of Raw, and Eric Bischoff got the same position for SmackDown.
While Heyman remained in the Raw role for almost a year, Bischoff was removed from the Smackdown post after only four months and replaced by Bruce Prichard.
In a recent interview with Renee Paquette on her ‘Oral Sessions’ podcast, Bischoff looked back on that time and explained that he believes he “f*cked up” by being too cautious.
“I’ve had a lot of time to think about this, partially because I get asked that a lot and it’s forced me to think about it. Here’s where I f*cked up. I went into WWE overly concerned about the way people perceive me. And by that, I don’t mean people I meet out on the street, but in a wrestling environment, there’s been so much narrative about how heavy-handed I can be and difficult at times.
“Some of that is true, I don’t deny it. But it’s been way blown out of proportion. And it was really important to me, this is my error in judgment, it was more important to me to fit into the system and eventually try to implement my ideas and the things that I wanted to do. I don’t think that’s what Vince wanted.
“Now looking back on it, I think ‘what if I would’ve gone in there and been the kind of alpha executive we all know Vince likes?’ And I could’ve done that because that’s not alien to my nature, to be very aggressive and focused. And sometimes it rubs people the wrong way.”
Eric Bischoff went on to joke that, during his brief tenure, he got more than enough face-to-face time with Vince McMahon.
“No. In fact, I had way more of it than I wanted to [laughs]. Look, I like Vince. We’re not like ‘let’s go out to dinner’ friends. We’re not ‘ride or die’ friends, none of that. But I have a lot of respect for Vince, and I’m really disappointed in myself that I didn’t manage myself better to get more of an opportunity to work with him.
“Here’s where I made that mistake though because it is a catch-22 except I knew going in, based on not what I learned firsthand from Vince but the fact that I competed with the guy, I kind of knew what he was about from that perspective. Everything I’ve ever heard about Vince is he wants you to come in and take control. He wants you to take ownership.
“He wants to be surrounded by aggressive people who approach their business in an aggressive way. That’s who he is. Of course, he’s going to want somebody just like him, or as close to him or his approach to things as possible. And I went in taking the ‘okay, I’m just going to work my way into the system, and when the time is right (do my thing).’”
Following Paul Heyman’s departure from his backstage role on Raw, the Executive Director positions were both replaced by Bruce Prichard, who was then in charge of both Raw and SmackDown.
H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the above transcription.