Eric Bischoff

Eric Bischoff
Eric Bischoff

Eric Bischoff in 2011.
Billed height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Billed weight 195 lb (88 kg)
Born May 27, 1955 (1955-05-27) (age 56)
Detroit, Michigan
Resides Cody, Wyoming
Debut 1987

Eric Aaron Bischoff (born May 27, 1955) is an American entrepreneur, and professional wrestling booker and on-screen personality currently signed to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. He is best known for serving as Executive Producer and later President of World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and later, the General Manager of World Wrestling Entertainment's Raw brand.

With an amateur background in Tae Kwon Do, Bischoff also sporadically performed as an in-ring competitor, and is a former WCW Hardcore Champion.[1] He wrote an autobiography, titled Controversy Creates Cash, that was released in 2006 under WWE Books.


Professional wrestling career

American Wrestling Association

Bischoff started in wrestling working for the American Wrestling Association under owner Verne Gagne and would eventually become an on-air interviewer and host until the AWA folded in 1991. Bischoff at first worked in the sales department on the AWA's syndicated programming, and became an on-air personality virtually by accident and at the last minute. Larry Nelson, whom at the time was employed by the AWA as an announcer, was arrested under suspicion of a DUI.[2] Because of Nelson's sudden unavailability, Verne Gagne and his son, Greg, opted to recruit Bischoff (who initially had no desire to be in front of the camera) to fill-in on the interviews. Bischoff believed that the Gagnes thought that he would be a good replacement due to his immediate availability in the television studio, and the fact that he was already wearing a suit and tie.

During the gradual demise of the AWA, the company was unable to meet payroll, and Bischoff auditioned for an announcer's position with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1990, but was not hired.

World Championship Wrestling

In 1991, Bischoff joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW) as an announcer, debuting at The Great American Bash.

As an announcer, Bischoff reported to producer Tony Schiavone and WCW's Vice President of Broadcasting, Jim Ross. In 1993, after WCW President Bill Watts resigned from the company, Bischoff went to TBS executive Bill Shaw and WCW Vice President Bob Dhue to ask for the job of Executive Producer. At the time, Ross and Tony Schiavone seemed to be the two top candidates. However, Bischoff was hired in Watts' place.[3] Schiavone remained a producer until the company's demise, but Ross was released from the company and ended up in the rival WWF.[4] Initially, Bischoff and Dhue worked together as partners, but frequently clashed over the direction of the company.

In 1994, Bischoff was promoted from Executive Producer to Executive Vice President, effectively making him the boss of the entire company. Dhue resigned, as did event manager Don Sandefeur and junior vice president Jim Barnett. Bischoff convinced Turner executives to better finance WCW in order to compete with the WWF. Almost immediately, he used the money allotted to him to sign big names such as Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and others away from the WWF. He also invested money in production values and increased the number of WCW pay-per-views (first 7 a year, then 10, and then once a month). The plans paid off, and in 1995, WCW turned a profit for the first time in the company's history. By 1997, Bischoff's official job title was President of WCW.

Monday Nitro

During one meeting at the CNN Center in 1995, WCW Owner (via Turner Broadcasting) Ted Turner asked Bischoff how the company could possibly compete with the WWF. Bischoff, taken aback by the question, told Turner to put WCW on prime time television against the WWF's Monday Night Raw on the USA Network. At the time, the flagship show for WCW was WCW Saturday Night, a taped show that ran on Saturday nights at 6:05 pm (EST) on TBS, and was nowhere near the production value of Monday Night Raw. Bischoff argued that because of this, there was no direct competition between WCW and WWF for viewers. To the surprise of many within the wrestling industry (and those within Turner Broadcasting), and Bischoff himself, Turner agreed, and gave Bischoff a one hour prime time slot every Monday on TNT (in 1996, due to high ratings, it would expand to two hours, and eventually three hours in 1998).

Bischoff designed and produced the new show, WCW Monday Nitro, and showcased the company as a fresh alternative to the WWF. Bischoff has stated that he wanted to draw an audience by being different from the competition and not trying to be similar. Nitro was live each week, whereas at the time Raw was live every other week (with the next week's show taped after the live Raw on Tuesday nights). Knowing this, Bischoff would often give away Raw results to encourage viewers to watch his show instead. On Nitro, he called the WWF the World Whining Federation. In his book (Controversy Creates Ca$h), Bischoff describes the design for Nitro as being a complete alternative to the WWF. Raw catered to younger crowds, so Nitro went for the 18-35 male demographic. Character-wise, Raw featured larger than life cartoon characters, while Nitro would begin to integrate edgier characters with more depth. Raw tended to have lots of squash matches on its television each week during this part of its history while Nitro regularly showcased competitive matches that would normally be reserved for pay-per-view.

Because WCW and TNT were both part of Turner, Bischoff was able to start Nitro several minutes earlier than Raw, as well as provide a late-night rebroadcast so viewers who opted to watch Raw could still see the show (Not to mention West Coast viewers who—because the Turner networks operate on a single coast-to-coast live feed—would otherwise have missed Nitro entirely because of the three-hour time difference). With the influx of new money Bischoff also began signing wrestlers from around the world, including All Japan, New Japan, and Extreme Championship Wrestling to fill the undercard with quicker paced, more action-packed matches. Although most industry insiders had predicted a short and certain death for Nitro at the time, it was an immediate success. What would be dubbed the "Monday Night Wars" began, as Nitro beat Raw in their first head-to-head week and ran neck-and-neck with the WWF for the remainder of the year. The show garnered eleven ratings-victories by the end of 1995, and slowly but steadily, the popularity of the wrestling business in general began to grow during this period, driven largely by the direct competition between the two wrestling shows.


In 1996, Bischoff signed WWF superstar Scott Hall, better known to audiences as "Razor Ramon". Hall's defection from the WWF was kept a secret within the industry, so that his first appearance on Nitro seemed to be a legitimate "invasion" from the rival company. Two weeks later on Nitro, Hall was joined by Kevin Nash, better known as "Diesel", to become "The Outsiders". Bischoff intentionally depicted the duo as WWF rebels who were not under contract to WCW. To avoid legal action by the WWF, Bischoff, in a worked interview at The Great American Bash, asked point blank if they worked for the WWF, which both Hall and Nash emphatically denied. The Outsiders expanded and became the New World Order when perennial fan-favorite Hulk Hogan aligned himself with the Outsiders in July 1996.

The nWo was depicted as a rival company engaging in a "hostile takeover" of WCW. Week to week, the angle grew more complex, with a barrage of main-eventers, mid-carders, executives, referees, managers, and announcers involved in various subplots related to the onscreen "WCW vs nWo" power-struggle.

Led by the nWo storyline, WCW overtook the WWF as the number one wrestling promotion in America with Nitro defeating Raw in the ratings by a wide margin for 84 consecutive weeks. During this era, Bischoff moved from a commentator to a manager role with the nWo. His television character, dubbed "Eazy E" by Hall, which had always been a babyface-announcer, became a dictator and egomaniac as the nWo boss. Bischoff also enjoyed some mainstream exposure in his own right at the time, appearing on the HBO series Arli$$ as well as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Downfall of WCW

In 1996, media conglomerate Time Warner had acquired Turner Broadcasting. Little by little, the new owners gave Bischoff slight restrictions as to what he was and was not allowed to do with WCW. Eventually the restrictions, ranging from the presentation and direction of WCW programming to the financing/budget, increased. In the summer of 1998, Bischoff was called to a meeting by individuals representing Time Warner's Standards & Practices department, and the conglomerate's Advertising Sales wing. It was during this meeting that Bischoff was outright ordered to alter WCW's format to a more "family-friendly" output. Knowing that this would never work due to the mature nature the show had been taking since its debut, Bischoff objected to the "new direction" and outright refused to comply, but eventually resigned himself to the fate upon realizing that with Ted Turner being forced out of power, Bischoff and WCW had lost their internal support.

The forced shift in WCW's programming, the addition of new show WCW Thunder, and the addition of a third hour to Nitro, took a great strain on the resources of Bischoff and the WCW staff. At the same time the WWF, buoyed by its new "Attitude" branding and product, began beating an increasingly stagnant WCW week after week in the Monday night ratings war. By January 1999, the tide had completely turned, after Bischoff's strategy of revealing Raw results backfired, and his revelation that Mick Foley would be winning the World Championship resulted in an unprecedented 600,000 Nitro viewers switching to Raw; although Nitro would continue to edge out Raw for a few weeks, it was never able to regain the ratings it had once enjoyed. According to Controversy Creates Ca$h Bischoff marks the point when the Standards & Practices and Advertising Sales departments began applying heavy restrictions on WCW's creativity section as the time when he should have left the company, but he remained.

His TV presence disappeared, and a demoralized Bischoff began to turn his attention to projects other than WCW. When Bischoff returned from hiatus in April 1999, the company was in bad shape. He would try to unsuccessfully extend the WCW brand outside of wrestling with a restaurant called The Nitro Grill in Las Vegas (which went under in less than a year) and a brand of cologne. Bischoff also tried to bring in musical talent such as Kiss, Master P, Chad Brock, and Megadeth in an effort to co-brand with WCW's product, but none of these performances were able to make an impact in the ratings.[5][6]


On September 10, 1999, Bischoff was suddenly relieved of his management position with WCW, by TBS Sports chief Harvey Schiller. The job title "President of WCW" was eliminated. He was replaced with WCW accountant Bill Busch, who was named Senior Vice President. One of Busch's first acts in charge was the additions of former WWF head writer Vince Russo and his colleague Ed Ferrara (both of whom had worked on Raw when said show began to overtake Nitro in the ratings) to head up WCW's creative direction.[7]

However, less than six months went by before Russo and Ferrara were suspended and Busch was removed from power. Busch, according to Controversy Creates Ca$h, was a numbers man and had no idea how to run a wrestling company. To make matters worse, ratings, which had been at least decent under Bischoff's tenure, plummeted to embarrassing lows. Replacing Busch at the helm was Time Warner programming executive Brad Siegel. Siegel's first order of business was to ask Bischoff what could be done to save the company, and because of this, Bischoff briefly came back into power in April 2000, although not as president; instead, he was named event and television manager, and Russo, reinstated and named creative director, was to second Bischoff. Although unhappy with Russo's booking (which Bischoff would later describe as "dark, mean-spirited, and creatively shallow"), Bischoff worked with Russo for the good of WCW. The last straw, according to Bischoff, was the Hulk Hogan incident at Bash at the Beach in 2000. Bischoff would quietly leave his post after six weeks; Russo assumed complete control over WCW television and pay-per-views.

Attempted purchase of WCW

In late 2000 with WCW facing major financial woes, Siegel accepted Bischoff's offer to purchase the company. Bischoff and a group of investors known as Fusient Media Ventures signed a letter of intent to buy the company.[8] Bischoff and Fusient briefly withdrew their offer when the WWF made an inquiry on WCW (due to the terms of a settlement, WWF had a right to bid on WCW's properties, should they ever be up for liquidation). When then-WWF broadcaster Viacom objected (fearing a WWF-owned show on a competing network), the Bischoff-Fusient consortium signed a new letter of intent.

However, if Siegel wanted nothing to do with WCW, then his new supervisor in the AOL Time Warner merger Jamie Kellner (former WB Network executive) wanted even less to do with the company. Named the new head of Turner Broadcasting, Kellner formally canceled all WCW programming from its television networks.[9] With no network on which to air its programming, WCW was of little value to Bischoff and Fusient (Bischoff: "It made absolutely no sense for us to do the deal under those circumstances."),[10] whose offer depended on being able to continue to air WCW programming on the Turner networks. With WCW programming canceled (and Viacom subsequently no longer objecting), the company was purchased by the WWF in March 2001 for a substantially lower price (approximately US $3.5 million) than what had been offered.

Bischoff was appointed President of Matrats, a youth-based wrestling company.[11]

World Wrestling Entertainment (2002–2007)

General Manager of Raw (2002–2005)

Bischoff during his time with WWE.

In 2002, Bischoff was hired by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE, formerly WWF) to be the General Manager of Raw. Although primarily an on-screen role, Bischoff had a wide range of contacts within WWE to whom he could pitch creative ideas.[12] His debut as Raw GM resurrected his characteristic brand of smarminess with the GM position, again playing the arrogant heel character he had perfected as the NWO boss in WCW. During his debut on Raw he told the audience about how he was president of WCW, Creator of the NWO and how he forced Vince McMahon to change the ways he does business.[13] His reign as GM was longer than any other GM in WWE history and included "innovations" like the "Raw Roulette" and the Elimination Chamber, as well as feuds with Stone Cold Steve Austin, John Cena, SmackDown General Manager Stephanie McMahon, and former Extreme Championship Wrestling owner Paul Heyman. At Taboo Tuesday 2004 Bischoff would have his head shaved after failing to beat his "kayfabe" Nephew Eugene. Bischoff then began a face turn after his head got shaved. He favoured face wrestlers such as Randy Orton, Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho. Bischoff "kayfabe" took a vacation after allowing Randy Orton's team to become General Managers for up to four weeks with every member being the General Manager once a week.

Bischoff would turn heel again after then-WWE Champion John Cena, drafted to RAW in June 2005, refused to participate in Bischoff's vendetta against an impending ECW revival.[14] As a result, Bishcoff "declared war" on Cena (citing disdain for Cena's rapping and "thug nature") and made wrestlers such as Chris Jericho and Christian try to take away the WWE Championship from Cena. In November Bischoff alligned himself with Kurt Angle. After numerous title shots Cena maintained to have Angle's number. At the Survivor Series 2005 Bischoff lost to Theodore Long in a match which was GM vs. GM, after serveral months of Raw and SmackDown! Invasions, Bischoff would lose to Long after The Boogeyman helped Long beat Bischoff.

At December 5 Eric Bischoff was kayfabe "fired" as General Manager in late 2005, when Vince McMahon tossed him into a garbage truck - following a "trial" where his history of unscrupulous actions were listed - and driven out of the arena. Bischoff then sat out the remainder of the year and spent the start of 2006 writing a book that would become Controversy Creates Cash. Bischoff was against writing a wrestling book initially, as he believes "most are bitter, self-serving revisionist history at best—and monuments to bullshit at their worst."[15]

Sporadic appearances and departure (2006–2007)

On September 25, 2006, Bischoff appeared on WWE TV for the first time in close to a year, being brought into the ring by Jonathan Coachman where he proceeded to promote his recently finished book Controversy Creates Ca$h (ISBN 1-4165-2729-X) and gave a worked shoot on McMahon and WWE. During his segment Bischoff stated, "Without Monday Nitro there would be no Monday Night Raw...without the nWo there would be no DX...and without Eric Bischoff there would be no Vince McMahon", after which Bischoff's microphone was turned off and he was escorted from the building by security. A few days later John Bradshaw Layfield conducted a four-part interview with Bischoff, further discussing his book on During the interview, Bischoff discussed various topics, such as his true feelings towards Lex Luger, his thoughts on ECW promoter Paul Heyman, his decision of giving Kevin Nash booking power, and his overall reaction to the Monday Night Wars. The book was a New York Times best seller.

Bischoff was chosen as the special guest referee for the D-Generation X vs. Rated-RKO match at Cyber Sunday on November 5, with 60% of the vote. He then cheated DX out of the win, leaving Orton and Edge the victors. The next night on Raw, Bischoff was reinstated as General Manager for one night only. During his time as the GM on Raw, he restarted matches if he did not like the outcome. He also got revenge on Maria for her statement made in his trial the year before by making her face Umaga, forced John Cena to "take the night off," and banned DX from the building. He restarted the match between Jeff Hardy and Johnny Nitro for the WWE Intercontinental Championship after Hardy won by DQ. Bischoff restarted that match as a No Disqualification match, and Nitro took advantage of that using Melina to distract Hardy and striking him with the title belt. At the end of the show, DX interfered in the main event when Bischoff tried to help Edge and Randy Orton win the tag team title, and forced him to be humiliated by "Big Dick Johnson" as revenge for costing them their match the night before.

On March 5, 2007, Bischoff made a brief appearance on Raw in Phoenix, Arizona to give Vince McMahon his thoughts on the WrestleMania 23 match against Donald Trump. Then on December 10, 2007, Bischoff made his last appearance with WWE on Raw for its 15th Anniversary Special and was confronted by Chris Jericho, who was fired on Raw in 2005.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2009–present)

Bischoff at a TNA event in July 2010.

In October 2009, Bischoff was in charge of negotiating a deal among Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), Hulk Hogan, and himself.[16]

He premiered alongside Hogan on the January 4, 2010, edition of TNA Impact! as part of a alliance to take over and rebuild the franchise. Behind the scenes, he was also appointed TNA executive producer and has authority to book matches.[17]

Despite being a heel when dealing with the likes of Jeff Jarrett, Mick Foley and Abyss,[18][19] Bischoff refereed his first TNA match at Against All Odds, favoring the face challenger Samoa Joe over the heel champion A.J. Styles in a match for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. During the match, as part of the storyline, Bischoff punched out Styles' manager Ric Flair, after he interfered in the match, but the distraction led to Styles retaining his belt.[20] On the March 15 edition of Impact! Bischoff attempted to shave Mick Foley bald as a punishment for trying to help Jeff Jarrett in a handicap match the previous week, but was shaved bald himself, when Foley turned the tables on him.[21] At Lockdown Bischoff turned face by helping Team Hogan defeat Team Flair in the Lethal Lockdown match.[22] The next months Bischoff worked with Hogan, Jeff Jarrett and Samoa Joe against Sting and Kevin Nash, who claimed that they knew that Bischoff and Hogan were up to something.[23] During this time Abyss turned on Hogan and went on a rampage, which included attacking the TNA World Heavyweight Champion Rob Van Dam to the point that he was forced to vacate the title, all the while claiming that he was controlled by some entity, that was coming to TNA.[24][25][26] After he manhandled TNA president Dixie Carter on the October 7 edition of Impact!, Bischoff presented Carter with the paperwork that would have Abyss fired after his match with Rob Van Dam at Bound for Glory, which she then proceeded to sign.[27]

Immortal (2010–present)

At Bound for Glory Bischoff turned heel with Hogan, as the two of them helped Jeff Hardy win the vacant TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Bischoff, Hogan and Hardy then aligned themselves with Abyss and Jeff Jarrett.[28] On the following edition of Impact! it was revealed that Bischoff had tricked Carter and the paperwork she had signed a week earlier, were not to release Abyss, but to turn the company over to him and Hogan. Meanwhile, Bischoff's and Hogan's new stable, now known as Immortal, formed an alliance with Ric Flair's Fortune.[29] On the November 4 edition of Impact!, Bischoff took part in his first match in TNA, challenging the concussed Mr. Anderson to earn his shot at the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, only for Matt Morgan to take his spot and beat Bischoff to become the number one contender.[30] Dixie Carter returned on the November 25 edition of Reaction, informing Hogan and Bischoff that a judge had filed an injunction against the two on her behalf over not having signatory authority, indefinitely suspending Hogan from TNA.[31] On January 31, 2011, at the tapings of the February 3 edition of Impact!, Fortune turned on Immortal, explaining that they were not going to let TNA suffer the same fate as WCW.[32][33] Hogan, having won the court battle against Dixie Carter, returned to TNA on the March 3 edition of Impact!, declaring himself as the new owner of the promotion.[34] However, on the May 12 edition of the newly renamed Impact Wrestling, Immortal lost control of the program to Mick Foley, who revealed himself as the Network consultant, who had been causing problems for Immortal ever since Bischoff and Hogan took over the company, however, this angle was aborted just three weeks later, when Foley left the promotion.[35][36] Also in May, Bischoff declared war on the X Division, after the legitimate firing of Jay Lethal, and on the May 19 edition of Impact Wrestling, wrestled his second TNA match, when he teamed with Matt Hardy in a tag team match, where they defeated Generation Me (Jeremy and Max Buck).[37][38] The storyline concluded on August 11, when the Network gave the division back to the original X Division wrestlers, after the success of Destination X, which saw Immortal's Abyss lose the X Division Championship to Brian Kendrick.[39] On October 6, it was reported that Bischoff had signed a contract extension with TNA.[40] On October 16 at Bound for Glory, after losing control of TNA back to Dixie Carter, Hogan turned on the rest of Immortal by saving Sting from a beatdown at the hands of its members.[41] Sting had won the match when referee Jackson James, who had earlier in the event been revealed as Bischoff's real-life son Garett Bischoff, reluctantly called the ring bell for a submission, which led to Eric hitting his son with a steel chair following the match, starting a rivalry between the two.[41]

Production career

Bischoff, with actor Jason Hervey, runs his own production company, Bischoff-Hervey Productions, which produces reality TV shows. They produced a live Girls Gone Wild pay-per-view event from Florida in 2003 with WWE and another pay-per-view about the Sturgis, South Dakota motorcycle rally in 2004. They also executive produced the VH1 reality shows Scott Baio Is 45...and Single, and Confessions of a Teen Idol, along with the CMT show Billy Ray Cyrus...Home At Last. Bishoff-Hervey Productions also produced a wrestling reality show called Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Championship Wrestling in which ten celebrities were trained to wrestle and one celebrity is voted off weekly. Bischoff also appeared as one of the "judges" on the show. In November 2009, Bischoff helped produce Hulk Hogan's Hulkamania tour to Australia. Bischoff, also has a show in development with Food Network called "Food Fight" where pro wrestlers take on celebrity chefs in cooking and then tag-team with them in a wrestling match.

In 2011, Bischoff was promoted to Executive Producer for TNA Wrestling.[42]

Personal life

Before getting into professional wrestling, Bischoff had a number of occupations. He owned a successful landscape construction company, worked as a veterinary assistant, competed as a professional kickboxer, and ran a butcher shop, where he sold meat via van delivery. Hulk Hogan would famously refer to this time in his life during a promo at the end of the 1996 WCW pay-per-view event Bash at the Beach in Daytona Beach, Florida, saying, "If it wasn't for Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff would still be selling meat from a truck in Minneapolis."[43]

Bischoff also appeared in a training video for bank loan officers that covered prohibited lending practices.[citation needed]

Today, Bischoff lives in Cody, Wyoming, with his wife of 25 years, Loree, and his two children, son Garett (born April 20, 1984)[citation needed] and daughter Montanna (born November, 1985)[citation needed].[44] Garett, under the ring name Jackson James, made his debut for TNA Wrestling on November 7, 2010, as a referee at Turning Point.[45]

On May 5, 2011 Eric Bischoff has announced (via twitter), that he was starting a brewing company in his hometown. Their first beverage, called Buffalo Bill Cody Beer, has the phrase "The Spirit of the Wild West" attached to it.[46] Eric also tweeted that he had been working at this project for a couple of years.[47]

In wrestling

  • Nicknames
    • Easy "E"

Championships and accomplishments

  • Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards


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  • Mick Foley (2000). Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. HarperCollins. ISBN 0061031011. 

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