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Eric Bischoff on why he had heat with Michael Hayes, Bill Watts being a bully, would Paul Heyman have been a better manager for Vader



This week on the "83 Weeks" podcast, Eric Bischoff and Conrad Thompson look back at WCW Halloween Havoc 1992. The cover the Coal Miners Match between Jake Roberts and Sting, Ricky Steamboat vs. Brian Pillman, Vader vs. Nikita Koloff, Ron Simmons vs. The Barbarian for the WCW Championship and all of the big wrestling news stories from that time.

Check out some highlights below:

Bischoff talked about wanting to leave WCW in 1992: “I was so grateful to be getting a paycheck every two weeks and being able to take care of my family. At the same time, watching Bill Watts' vision of what he thought WCW should be was demoralizing for a lot of people. The locker room was not a happy place to be for a lot of different reasons. Bill Watts was a bully. He treated people, by today’s standards, wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes in a corporate environment. But even by ‘92, Bill Watts was operating in a way that may have worked for a small privately-owned company in the Mid South back in the ‘70s, but his approach to people and management in business was way out of line. It was a bad time. I was actually looking and beginning to consider finding another place to work. I was actually at this point developing a television show which was the first one I ever developed and was looking for my way out of WCW because it was such a miserable place to be.”

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Bischoff talked about the heat Michael Hayes had with him: “I didn’t realize I had that much heat with Michael. I knew he tolerated me when I got to WWE as a talent going back to 2001 or 2002 or whatever it was. When I first got to WWE as a talent, Michael was kind of standoffish. I thought he was hanging on to that Monday Night War thing and took it way too personally as a lot of people did. My impression is he was so loyal to WWE that he still resented the fact that the guy who kicked their a*s for so long was now working for the company. He wasn’t the only one. I assumed, which was a mistake on my part, that is what it was. But, if you go back to that Table For 3, the very first one I did with Jim Ross, Michael Hayes, and myself, Hayes was hammered. He must have pounded a fifth of whiskey before we did the Table For 3 as it was pretty obvious he was hammered. He was just ripping into me on that first Table For 3 that I did. I took it. I guess it was entertaining and what WWE wanted for this Table For 3 so I played my role and rolled with it. But, I never could quite figure it out. Last year in Las Vegas, I went over to meet Bruce and Michael and Michael was already feeling no pain, to put it mildly. We finally had a real conversation. Michael said he was really hurt when I fired him from WCW. He said, I thought we were tight? We talked and got along. Shortly after Bill Watts left in 1992, I had to make some tough decisions and one of those decisions was I had to cut the Freebirds. I think we finally cleared the air after all that time.”

Bischoff was asked if he thinks Paul Heyman would have been a better manager for Vader than Harley Race in WCW: “Yes, but no. Yes as a television character and a spokesperson for Vader. But Harley’s value in the equation wasn’t so much his on-camera abilities as it was that Vader was scared to death of Harley. Harley was one of the few people Vader was afraid of. Harley was one of the few people who could actually manage Vader, not as a television character manager, but literally manage Vader like making sure he got on his flight. Making sure he didn’t f*ck up. Making sure he got to the building on time. All of the little things that could go wrong when you got a talent that is hard to manage, Harley was really good at that. I don’t want to say fear, but the respect Vader had for Harley which made Harley the right person for that job. Harley would have squashed Heyman like a nat at the first conflict. That wouldn’t have worked.”

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