In 1998, WWE and WCW were locked in in the Monday Night Wars, and despite several forays into WWE’s pool of talent, WCW’s upper hand was not as strong as it once was.
One of the biggest stars to side with WCW during this time was the Ultimate Warrior, who, upon signing with Eric Bischoff’s company, dropped the “Ultimate” prefix to become plain old Warrior.
Talking on his podcast, 83 weeks with Eric Bischoff, the former WCW owner discussed signing Warrior, and the anticipated heated feud it could build between him and another former WWE star, Hulk Hogan.
“There was a lot of anticipation. Look, Warrior had a lot of equity built up with the WWE audience. He was a known commodity. Nobody would have ever expected-with all of the heat between him and Hulk Hogan-nobody would have expected him there.
“There was this built-in, natural, promotional effort without having to expand any promotional effort on our part. It was automatic. The wrestling audience wanted to see what the hell is going to happen when these two come together because there was so much natural heat and story in the WWF.”
However, Bischoff admitted that it took about 20 minutes for him to realise signing Warrior was a mistake. During his WCW debut, Warrior cut a 20-minute promo that left not only the crown stunned, but also Hogan and Bischoff, the targets of his rant.
“On his first Nitro appearance was when I knew I was in trouble. Everything else that happened after that was a decree of how bad it was going to be ultimately. When he first showed up and we walked through it and blocked it, everybody had a good idea of what the first promo was going to be. We knew that we had 8-10 minutes.
“Again, we had flexibility. We worked for the television company that owned us so there was a little room for margin of error when you are on live. But that first promo going back to his first appearance on Nitro, it was scheduled to only be 8-10 minutes, and somewhere along the 20-22 minute mark when Hulk Hogan and I were staring at each other in the middle of the ring and asking what the f**k he is talking about.”
Warrior would only wrestle on three occasions for WCW, departing two weeks after Halloween Havoc in 1998. His brief spell under Bischoff coincided with the gradual demise of the company, which was bought by WWE in 2001.
Thanks to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.
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