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Stephanie McMahon wanted Eric Bischoff to dye his hair in 2002, how long in advance Bischoff’s NWO heel turn was planned out

Eric Bischoff recently did a Watchalong for the 11/18/96 episode of WCW Monday Nitro. Here are some highlights:

Bischoff gave his reasoning why he hired Mark Madden in WCW:

“There were a couple reasons why I brought him in.  One is he is a very outspoken individual on wrestling. Mark can be pretty toxic. He’s so good when he starts ripping on something.  He’s hard to argue with because he’s a very, very smart guy.  I think with Mark, it was a situation where I thought, you know, he’s either going to be working against me or working for me, so I think I’m going to bring him into the fold knowing it was going to be problematic.  Mark was going to be controversial.  He is going to say things that will stir things up even in our own locker room, but I like that.  I like the controversy, clearly.  I wanted him on my team.  It’s one of those situations where do you want to fight against him or do you want to fight with him?  I would rather fight with him.”

Bischoff was asked how far in advance was the plan for him to turn heel and be the leader of the NWO:

“It was probably a discussion we had on an ongoing basis for, I don’t know, a couple months?  We didn’t know, none of us knew, that the NWO storyline was going to become what it became.  We thought it was a pretty cool idea.  We thought it would last six months or so.  We thought it was a hot angle.  Obviously, Hogan turning was a big deal, but none of us saw it coming.  As it got bigger and bigger and bigger, and more and more powerful, more successful, crowds were going up, television ratings were going up, PPV buy rates were going up, and merchandise was flying off the shelves, it was like, ‘Wow, wait a minute.  We didn’t see this coming.  How do we keep it going?  How do we continue to build this?”  So, I would say two months would be my guess because we did have to plan.  We did have to think about ‘If we do this, what happens next?  How do we handle broadcasts?  How do we handle certain things?  What’s the role really going to be?’  So I would say at least six to eight weeks.”

Bischoff explained why he wanted the hair vs hair match with Ric Flair in WCW.  He says Stephanie McMahon wanted him to dye his hair black again when he came to WWF in 2002:

“Back in ‘96, my hair would grow about a quarter of an inch every two days.  It was really thick and heavy and I had to dye my hair.  I would dye my hair, and two or three days later, because my hair was so heavy and thick, it would start to part on it’s own.  There would be this white streak up the middle of my head.  I would look like Pepe Le Pew, the cartoon skunk.  I hated it because I would always have to fix it.  Then I’m on television.  I would push my hair back and it was like a white wine two days after I just had it dyed.  It drove me crazy which is why I did the hair match with Ric Flair.  I wanted to shave my head.  I wanted to just get it over with and I’ve never looked back.  When I went to WWE, I’ll never forget it as a talent back in 2001 or 2002 whatever it was, I don’t even remember.  I remember after I made the deal and everything was signed, sealed, and delivered, we knew where we were going creatively.  I understood what the plan was.  I put a call in to Stephanie, who was head of creative at the time.  I said, ‘Do you guys want me to come back with black hair, or is it cool if I come back with my natural color?’  I was so hoping she was going to say, ‘Don’t worry about dyeing your hair.  That’s so phony.  Everybody knows it’s phony.  If your hair’s gray, your hair’s gray.  Come back as you.  Don’t come back as you used to be.’  That’s what I was hoping for, but that’s not the answer I got.  Stephanie without missing a beat said, ‘Oh no.  Dye your hair black’, and I was back at it again.  I was so glad when we eventually weaved our way into a story where I was going to get my head shaved again, so I had to quit dying my hair.  It was a happy day for me.”

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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