Former WCW President Eric Bischoff has revealed what he feels was the hammer blow that eventually killed WCW Nitro and then the entire company.
Bischoff ran WCW throughout much of the nineties, taking the once ailing brand to the heady heights of dominating the World Wrestling Federation through characters such as the nWo, Goldberg, and Sting. For 83 straight weeks, WCW Nitro defeated its Monday night counterpart WWF’s Raw in the ratings, giving Vince McMahon his closest competition ever in the wrestling business.
Speaking on his 83 Weeks podcast [avilable at AdFreeShows.com], WWE Hall Of Famer Eric Bischoff left listeners in no doubt what move forced upon him he blames for eventually killing Nitro’s momentum – going to three hours.
“I fought it tooth and nail. I knew, I just knew it was the wrong move. If two hours wasn’t working, going to three wasn’t going to make it work better, that wasn’t the problem. It wasn’t even the reason why we were forced to go for three hours. We weren’t asked, I didn’t get to vote, it wasn’t a democracy, I was told ‘You are now doing three hours.’ That was the end of it, I think it may have come in an email.”
“Their solution was we need to improve the bottom line, let’s go to three hours, that will work. Sure, short term it will work, you’ll create more revenue and you’ll kill the product in the process, but I didn’t get to vote.”
The highest-rated Nitro episode took place on the 31st of August 1998 and featured a star-studded main event. Lex Luger and Sting battled Hollywood Hogan and Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart in the headline bout with Sting and Luger coming out on top via count-out. Just over 4 months later, the ‘Fingerpoke Of Doom’ happened alongside the famous “Butts in seats” comment and WCW Nitro never recovered to the heights it had once scaled.