On the latest edition of 83 Weeks, Eric Bischoff talked about the report from Dave Meltzer at the time that WCW’s booking committee planned to put the United States Title back on Steve Austin in 1994 at Clash of the Champions (after he lost the belt to Jim Duggan), only to be overruled by Hulk Hogan. Austin ended up losing to Jim Duggan in 17 seconds at Clash. Highlights are below.
On if Hulk Hogan overruled the WCW booking committee on putting the United States Title back on Steve Austin: “Hulk would have never done that. It’s just so, and here’s where it is, and I’m gonna try not to get shitty about this, it’s just petty. It’s like, Dave’s own distaste or whatever, or whether he’s pandering to a certain portion of his audience who didn’t like Hulk Hogan at the time, whatever the case may be, everything had to be Hulk Hogan’s fault. Everything had to be Hulk Hogan’s fault. ‘Hulk Hogan overruled the booking committee.’ That’s bullshit. Hulk Hogan didn’t give two shits what was going on in the booking committee unless it involved him. So I just, I want to point that out, not because I’m angry about it, not because it even matters anymore, but just keep that in mind when you’re reading current things that prove to be so far off point and so wrong, that so much of what this guy writes is just his own personal observations that are not based in any kind of facts. It’s just the world that he lives in.”
On why WCW didn’t put the U.S. Title back on Austin and instead kept it on Duggan: “Steve Austin struggled a long time after he left WCW, and kind of floundered until he woke up one day as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. So it’s not like the handwriting was on the wall, number one. Number two, and again, you have to go back, put yourself in the context of the time, number two, I think it’s fair to say, especially after looking at this abortion of a show, there was still a lot of residual, kind of, late 80s, early 90s, approach to characters, and I think the thinking clearly was that cartoonish, animated, poor man’s version of WWF-type characters that we’re about to, unfortunately, have to discuss for the next 10-15 minutes, was kind of like the prevailing view of what worked at that time, not necessarily in my case and not necessarily not my case either, by the way. I certainly didn’t, as the guy who was running the company, I certainly didn’t leave my office and come down to TV and go, ‘Look guys, all this cartoonish, gimmicky shit is driving me nuts.'”
“And I think going back to Steve and Hacksaw, I think, I can only assume, that the prevailing approach to creative at that time with the booking committee was, let’s kind of go with those characters that have proven in the past to draw money, and Jim Duggan was one of those characters, as was Avalanche, as was a number of other cartoony, as was Honky Tonk Man, these were all characters that were very, very successful and prominent at a period of time when the WWF was really exploding onto the scene and kind of redefining what professional wrestling was and enjoying a lot of money in the process. Again, not to beat it to death, I think there was a tendency to kind of, ‘Well, that’s what worked for them so let’s go back to that,’ thinking that you could kind of recreate it, or extend the life of it, so to speak, and clearly it was horribly wrong.”
If using any of the above quotes, please credit 83 Weeks with an h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.