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Eric Bischoff on ending the Chris Benoit-Kevin Sullivan storyline, Bobby Heenan’s performance at GAB 97

On this week’s episode of “83 Weeks,” former WCW executive Eric Bischoff and Conrad Thompson talk about The Great American Bash 1997. The pay-per-view is topical this week since WWE is bringing that name back for the next two weeks of NXT shows.

Here are some highlights:

Eric Bischoff talked about Bobby Heenan’s performance on Great American Bash 1997: “I don’t think Bobby was at the top of his game here. I think a part of that was there was such a new style of wrestling being presented to him that Bobby was simply uncomfortable with. He hadn’t had any experience in that. There was a lot of talent Bobby didn’t know anything about or a lot about. For example, Muta and Chono. It was hard for Bobby to be Bobby and do the job he was capable of doing when Bobby was talking about doing color commentary for people he didn’t know a lot about. Then, you add in different styles of wrestling and different wrestlers and Bobby was probably a little out of his comfort zone. I think that was it more than anything else.”

Bischoff commented on ending the storyline between Chris Benoit and Kevin Sullivan on TV: “I think back to this situation between Kevin and Nancy and Chris Benoit. It’s one of those tragic tales where you have to be careful how much you integrate a personal situation into a storyline situation, particularly when it involves a husband and wife or a significant relationship. I can tell you the reason we just completely disconnected and disassociated from the reality of it was because it was becoming a real problem. What started out as a storyline, and I remember when it started out when Kevin and Nancy were still together. People were looking at the direction we were going with Chris and Nancy hinting there was a relationship developing. I remember certain talents coming to me, and I don’t remember the exact conversations, I’m paraphrasing this. They said, you have to be careful. This is dynamite. Keep it away from the flame. It’s getting dangerous. I didn’t think about it too much at the time because I figured if it was affecting the relationship, I’m sure Kevin and Nancy will work it out. That’s a personal issue and then it became a professional issue. It just kept getting weirder and weirder and weirder. Some of the scenes and some of the promos, I remember one that was going on backstage in the dressing room. The details are not really that important but the interaction between Chris and Nancy kind of crossed the line, in terms of what’s good creative, what’s good storytelling into making a point. That was right about the time things started really getting a little out of control. By this time, it got to the level on my radar that we need to put an end to this. It’s only getting worse every week. It’s not getting any better. So, let’s put an end to it right now.”

If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit 83 Weeks with Eric Bischoff with a h/t to for the transcription


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