Eric Bischoff On Controversial Hulk Hogan Feud – “Didn’t Like It”
Eric Bischoff has sounded off against a Hulk Hogan rivalry in WCW that he didn’t like at all.
In the spring of 2000, World Championship did a “reset” where they literally stopped doing new shows and then came back with different storylines. Vince Russo was the main writer after the company signed him in October 1999 while former WCW President Eric Bischoff was an advisor of sorts.
One of the rivalries that took place that spring saw six-time WCW World Champion Hulk Hogan feud with Billy Kidman, who had a lot of fan support as an exciting, young, cruiserweight wrestler.
When it comes to Hulk Hogan, it is well known that he is very close with Eric Bischoff and has been since about 1994 when Eric signed the WWE Hall of Famer to a WCW deal after Hogan had been WWE’s top guy for a full decade.
On a recent episode of his 83 Weeks podcast covering WCW Slamboree 2000, Eric Bischoff gave his thoughts on the Hogan-Kidman feud.
“Didn’t like it. Thought it was a bad idea. Largely because there was no real story behind it that mattered, but it wasn’t done because it was a great creative idea. That decision, and Hulk approved that, Hulk didn’t have to do it, but I think Hulk was so tired of hearing, not so much in the dirt sheets he didn’t read the dirt sheets.”
“But, this general narrative that existed he was aware of that he wouldn’t do business and he wouldn’t put people over. I think it was a death by a thousand cuts and he finally said ‘f*** it I’ll work with you man’. That’s what the company wants, that’s what I’ll do.”
He didn’t do it saying like ‘I’ll do it, but I’m not going to get him over.’ He didn’t have to do it. He could have said no I’m not going to do it at all, but he wanted to be a team player. This was Hulk trying to be a team player to overcome a narrative that not only existed in the peripheral dirt sheet news media, but also was an issue backstage. Because, a lot of what Vince Russo did when he first came in was bury Hulk Hogan and a lot of the older guys and that was Russo’s thing man. ‘These guys are too old, they’re too old.’”
“Well, that had ramifications and you saw Vince Russo, again when he first came in, bringing in a lot of guys that nobody ever heard of before and smaller guys and greener guys. Guys with less talent. Vince Russo’s deal was ‘I’m gong to bring these young guys in and I’m gonna prove that these young guys can compete with WWE, and he was dead wrong.”
As Eric Bischoff continued, he spoke about how this was all done because it was Vince Russo trying to appeal to younger wrestlers on the roster that felt like top stars like Hulk Hogan were holding them down.
“That was his deal, and it was also a way for Russo to endear himself with a significant part of the roster. Because, there was a lot of those young guys that weren’t main event ready yet and some of them weren’t even TV ready yet.”
“But, when you got a guy like Vince Russo, who for a minute was head of creative, talking about all the opportunity he’s going to give to all this under utilized talent even though they were underutilized because they should have been, many of them. What are they going to do? They are going to support the new boss. Because that’s where their opportunity lies and that a period of weeks and months that created kind of a us versus them mentality in the roster with a lot of the older guys.”
“The Lex Luger’s, the Hulk Hogan’s, the Randy Savage’s, the Sting a lot of people didn’t know where they stood now that they’re considered the old guys. That’s why we created the (New Blood) to take advantage of that or try to mitigate it and turn a negative into a positive.”
“It’s exactly why we created New Blood, whatever we called the older guys at the time. It was all about creating separation. It was my idea to create the New Blood versus Millionaires storyline and scenario to turn that negative that existed not only in the narrative, but also on the roster in the locker room turn that into a positive and try to make it work for us.”
While Eric Bischoff didn’t remember the name of the veteran group, they were called the Millionaire’s Club. If you’re wondering, Hogan beat Kidman in that Slamboree 2000 match with Bischoff in the role of guest referee.