Sports Entertainment’s Most Controversial Figure is the new Eric Bischoff DVD hitting the shelves on Monday, June 13 in the UK; and Tuesday, June 7 in the US.
Destined to be perhaps the only person to have got the better of Vince McMahon in the wrestling business, it still seems somewhat surreal, nearly two decades after WCW (briefly) became the number one wrestling promotion in the World, that an Eric Bischoff DVD is being released by the WWE. Bischoff himself says as much on this entertaining look at his life and career.
The main feature is a 90 minute documentary. After a opening video montage where the likes of Dean Malenko, Jim Ross, Chris Jericho, Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair interview snippets focus on the usual “mistakes” Eric made with WCW we get straight into the story of his early days on this planet.
A far from salubrious childhood saw Eric and his family move around towns and cities before Eric arrived in Minneapolis and started amateur wresting. Never a natural student, Eric started a landscaping business but soon grew tired of it and wanted to try other things. Sales and modelling jobs (where on the latter he met his wife) were followed by him and Sonny Onoo (yes, THAT one) devising a Ninja Star Wars game and Eric persuading the American Wrestling Association to carry a commercial for it. The rest, as they say, is history.
Eric talks us through his time in the AWA, admitting that it was a great grounding in all the different aspects of running a wrestling AND television show. The company was understaffed and Eric got his big on-screen break when an announcer failed to show. When money got short (him and his wife acknowledge that times were very lean, especially when the AWA couldn’t afford him) he tried out with the WWE and there’s some amusing footage of him being told to talk about a broom. He didn’t get the job but some time later was able to get his foot in the door at WCW.
Bischoff tells us how he patiently climbed the ladder and spied his opportunity. When the “top job” became vacant he applied and was given the spot. He admits that he could see why others might have been sceptical, but insists that he had all the right tools to make a fist of it.
The story of WCW’s rise to prominence is a well told one and it’s true that there’s a lot of old familiar ground gone over. But it’s refreshing to get the views straight from Eric himself. He talks about the signing of Hulk Hogan being the “game changer” and repeats the oft told tale of being surprised when Ted Turner put him on the spot and gave him a prime time spot.
In a segment that every aspiring national promotion should pay heed to, Bischoff says that his ideas for WCW were never about “matching” the WWE but were about doing what they couldn’t do. He admits the idea of competition drove him on but that there was nothing personal about his attacks on Vince and the WWE. It was merely trying to build his company; whilst he says that he can’t specifically remember telling “the boys” at the height of the war that he would put the WWE out of business within six months he says that it was about motivation, not the desire to finish them off.
Refreshingly Bischoff admits to some mistakes. He says that the success of the nWo gave him false security in many ways and that he failed, until it was too late, to consider, and plan ahead for, what would happen after that angle had run it’s course. He admits that the sheer scale of the company’s success brought a whole new set of pressures and a new spotlight onto the WCW business. Pressures that would ultimately contribute to the downfall of the company.
Eric seems at pains to correct the idea that too many boys had “creative control” saying that only Hogan had that specifically written into his contract. He does, however, admit that some others such as Goldberg, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash did have clauses that could be interpreted as leaning that way.
He talks through how he nearly bought out WCW and how that fell through before revealing details of a phone call from Vince McMahon and ultimately his stint with the WWE.
The main documentary finishes with Bischoff saying he’s happy with his life and what he’s done and that he’s ultimately “glad” that WWE won the war. You could be forgiven for almost believing him too!
There are an array of extras to entice you in further.
The two Legends sit-down chats he had with JBL are both included and they are well worth your time. Bischoff himself says that they were really the first time in a WWE context he was able to sit down and tell his real side of the story. We also get a Countdown of his most Controversial moments which, if not entirely “must see” do raise a smile to your face.
There’s also a number of bonus “stories” (some of which are extended versions of tales already told in the main feature) along with a multitude of segments, promos and even matches from Bischoff’s entire career. The Blu-Ray has some exclusive moments too. Although it’s difficult to say, again, that many of them are “must see”, they do provide entertainment and show that on-screen, as well as off it, Bischoff was certainly a character.
All in all this is a very entertaining collection. That details from the “glory era” of WCW have been told dozens of times before does mean it’s a familiar story, to hear about it direct from Eric is fascinating. If Controversy does indeed create Cash, Bischoff coins it in again on this release.
Photos courtesy: Fremantle Media, Fetch Publicity, WWE
Format reviewed: Blu-Ray
Thank you to our partners, WWEDVD.co.uk and Fetch for providing our review copy of Eric Bischoff: Sports Entertainment’s Most Controversial Figure, which is available on DVD & Blu-Ray in the UK from Monday, 13 June 2016. You can buy your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk now by clicking here.