In the 1990s, WCW almost destroyed the WWE, beating them in the ratings every week for a year. During that time, the WWE fought back and made themselves out to be the little guys and the victims of the evil “Billionaire Ted” Turner and Eric Bischoff, who played loose with Ted’s money. In his recent Bischoff on Wrestling podcast, Bischoff discounts those allegations and says that he didn’t do anything that Vince McMahon wouldn’t have done, and hadn’t done before.
Heading back to the ’80s, before WCW broke away from the NWA, Vince McMahon Sr. sold the WWE to his son and Vince McMahon had much bigger plans than his father. While Vince Sr. ran his promotion in the Northeast, focusing on New York, Pittsburgh, and the surrounding areas, Vince Jr. wanted to take the company worldwide. To do so, Vince started to buy up the best talent from the territories and systematically put the major competitors out of business.
Eric Bischoff pointed out that Ted Turner never did anything like what the WWE made it seem he did. As a matter of fact, Eric took the credit for everything, which included buying up huge WWE names like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Bret Hart, and more. However, Eric said that Vince was worse.
“He raided territories and offered boatloads of money to guys who they wanted who were committed to smaller territories. He bought out markets and blackballed people. He did all the same stuff that I did, no, he did more than I did. It’s just the narrative.”
Eric Bischoff said that it is all about who is telling the story. In the ’80s, Vince McMahon took stars like Junkyard Dog, Ted DiBiase, and Jake “The Snake” Roberts from Bill Watts’ Mid-South Wrestling. He brought in Roddy Piper and Ricky Steamboat from the Carolina NWA territories. He signed away Matt Bourne and Billy Jack Haynes from the Pacific Northwest.
Vince bought out Stampede Wrestling and made Bret “The Hitman” Hart, Dynamite Kid, and more into stars in the WWE. When the Four Horsemen were the biggest names in the NWA, Vince McMahon brought “Nature Boy” Ric Flair and his NWA title to the WWE and then brought in Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard as the Brain Busters as well.
Vince McMahon forced his way onto WTBS when the NWA had a stronghold there with Georgia Championship Wrestling. When the fans revolted, it went back to the NWA. The day that McMahon and the WWE arrived on WTBS is still referred to as “Black Saturday.”
McMahon offered to buy up smaller territories and shut them down. When wrestlers or promoters tried to stand up to him, McMahon would allegedly work to shut them out of the market and blackball them from the WWE when the battles were over and the WWE had won.
When Mid-South Wrestling and World Class Championship Wrestling tried to go nationwide, the WWE allegedly completely strong-armed them into going out of business. However, when the Crockett NWA promotion went nationwide as WCW and started to compete with the WWE, Bischoff said that McMahon turned into a victim.
“When Vince needed to be the underdog he needed his loyalist fan base. Remember, WWF is three generations old… WWF was not a start-up company and Vince was doing everything he could to protect it. That’s something I admire and respect, by the way, I am not diminishing it or being negative about it at all.”
Eric Bischoff was not trying to insult Vince McMahon and the WWE here. Instead, Eric said that the narrative of WCW being evil was false and that Vince did everything Bischoff ever did and more. Eric also said that he is sure that Vince would have done it first if he could have. Instead, McMahon made the WWE the victims to billionaires and ended up winning the Monday Night Wars.
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