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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Eric Bischoff's Bid To Buy WCW
March 3, 2005 by Jordan Finlay


I remember reading something on this a few years ago, and after reading Wrestlecraps book on WCW I remembered. It basically revolves around a rumor that Eric Bischoff tried to buy WCW from Ted Turner in early '98,Turner rejected Bischoff's price, so he deliberately made it a poor show in order to get a cheaper price, let it get out of control and killed it off. It's a ridiculous theory obviously, but I'm going to pass the time with these pros and cons...

Cons

Bischoff had no reason to buy WCW, he had complete financial security and freedom under Turner. Not only was he blowing serious money on WCW, but on himself and family and friends also. Buying WCW would have caused risk, it would have encouraged the competition to become bolder, the freedom would have been taken away and negotiations that Turner pulled off would have become more awkward. It's widely accepted that Bischoff's mistakes were genuine, that he achieved a large flash in the pan and didn't know how to run with it, especially when he let Hall/Nash/Hogan get too close and influential and gave them too much freedom. It's probably a mixture of all of the above and common sense to say that it was a bogus rumor.

Pros

Bischoff was no idiot, he brought WCW right up, and beyond the giant WWF, it wasn't just a case of buying out hot free agents with Turners money either. There were hot production changes, and bold tactical moving, a lot of it dirty but effective, so why then did he make the mistakes of an idiot from 1998 onwards" It is said he gave Turner his price in early 1998, when WCW was red hot; Turner said no. From that point onwards the early signs of WCW's downfall became apparent. Only an idiot would miss the glaring mistakes. You could argue that Bischoff wasn't all that smart, and he stupidly missed the signs of doom because he pulled off a lucky idea by buying Hall/Nash/Hogan/Savage, but its not so simple. Bischoff was first to take notice of ECW, bringing in the Luchador's cruiserweights, and then there's those tactical kicks on the WWF. The simple question is, was Bischoff doing everything right in the wrestling world that nobody else could and suddenly turn from genius to idiot in 1998" Other "minor" things as well, like why fly the entire roster to a show where only twenty of them are working" Why offer Bret Hart $3 million a year to immediately remove him from the spotlight, but at the same time, make sure he'll still be there in 3 years" This coming from a man who made better use of WWF second fiddler Scott Hall than anyone could, and Hart was a superstar.

You have only to look at the statistics. WCW was giving away tickets for free in its final years, and even then only getting a house of 1500, but then it went on tour in Australia, and sold out every show, even Thunder. It was to be at least one final success, so how the hell did that one tour actually lose WCW half a million dollars" Overall, in the pace of 18 months, WCW lost a staggering 95% of its viewers, and that is fact.

On Bischoff's offer to Turner in 1998, there is no solid evidence he did make one, but it is a fact he tried desperately to buy WCW in 2001. The deal was all but signed, and he had major plans. WCW was to be taken off air for a month and re-launched by Bischoff, under his complete control. There was supposed to be a huge angle surrounding Scott Steiner. Is this what he had in mind in 1998" And was sabotage a means to an end that went wrong"

by Jordan Finlay..


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