Wrestlemania hype was in full effect tonight, as RAW superstars Eric Bischoff and Shawn Michaels each took a turn in the hot seat on TSN’s Off the Record.
Both interviews were highly anticipated. Bischoff had not been on OTR since 1998, when WCW was arguably at its peak. Michaels had never been on OTR, and was easily one of the most anticipated interviews in a long time.
Here are the highlights of each show.
- Bischoff does not like revealing the business. He explained that the illusion and mystique makes wrestling unique.
- Bischoff said that he enjoys working for Vince McMahon. He saw working for WWE as an opportunity, but has other projects going on.
- Feels that his, “fingerprints are all over that company.” He talked about making Nitro a live show forced the WWF to go live.
- Bischoff also talked about calling the lighter wrestlers “cruiserweights”. He felt that calling them juniorweights or light-heavyweights would be-little them.
- Doesn’t feel that the Nitro Girls brought more sexuality to wrestling, saying they were “window dressing.”
- Bischoff does not want to return to backstage work. Described the work as being a “full-time and a half job,” adding that, “people don’t realize just how big a job it is.”
- Really wanted to acquire WCW when AOL/Time Warner put it up for sale.
- Compared wrestlers who never leave the business to musicians who never retire.
- Bischoff felt that WCW was in a bad position in mid 1998, when the merger with AOL occurred. Everyone at his level and higher changed the way they worked. He said the culture, which was entrepreneurial, became bureaucratic. He also said that, “when accountants told me how to run my show, I knew we were in trouble.”
- Says that ego problems in the locker room existed when he first came into WCW in 1991. Bischoff said that while Hogan did have creative control, he was one of the easiest to work with.
- Bret Hart was also easy to work with, but Bischoff felt that a lot of Hart’s passion was gone following the Montreal incident and Owen’s death.
- Bischoff said that Steve Austin was “less than easy to work with on a regular basis.”
- Says that part of the reason Austin was fired from WCW was because of being often injured.
- If he was in control of WWE, Bischoff feels that he would not do much different from what is being done now, just be more aggressive with the brand extension.
- Quirky fact: Diamond Dallas Page was Bischoff’s neighbour.
- Name Association: Chris Jericho – an interesting performer; Paul Heyman – very intelligent; Ric Flair – a consummate professional; Scott Hall – a sad story; Dennis Rodman – a riot; Michael Landsberg – beginning to like him a little bit more.
- Bischoff is looking forward to WrestleMania, said it would be one of the highlights of his career and life.
- Michaels opened by talking about his return to WWE, saying that doctors are still telling him not to wrestle.
- Michaels was originally supposed to be doing small television roles, but after Kevin Nash went on the injured list with a torn quad, Michaels began to think about ideas for the show, most of which, he said, he saw himself involved in.
- Michaels officially became a born-again Christian on April 24, 2002. Being born-again has, according to Michaels, has affected his life, “in the most positive of ways.”
- Michaels looks back at his earlier days and sees himself as being immature. He admits to having been a pain in his first run, but it came from his passion for the business.
- Michaels also said he wasn’t as professional as he should have been.
- A clip of Bret Hart’s comments about Michaels from February, 18’s appearanceon OTR is played. Michaels didn’t think the comments were fair, even in reference to how he was before he was born-again. He said, however, that Hart is entitled to his opinion.
- Michaels admitted to knowing McMahon’s plans at Survivor Series ’97. Michaels was told to keep silent about it by Vince at the time and in the future, which he did (including in an interview conducted with SLAM! Wrestling in 2001).
- Michaels finally revealed that he knew about everything during a recent appearance on WWE Confidential.
- Michaels said he was only following orders from McMahon, saying that “my boss asked me to do a job and I went out and did it.”
- Michaels said that he, Nash, Hall and Triple H still talk a lot, though he doesn’t speak to Hall as much as the others.
- Michaels said that the four of them would travel on the road together and come up with ideas for the WWF, then suggest them to McMahon.
- Michaels also said that it’s hard to establish friends in the business, and when you do you are “branded”.
- Michaels said that he would be interested in coming on OTR with Hart.
- Name Association: Ric Flair – The greatest. Michaels would love to wrestle him again; Marty Janetty – trying to get in touch with him; Vader – big cuddly bear; Psycho Sid – Had great matches with him; Curt Hennig – A tragedy. Michaels said he was just at Hennig’s wake. He also said Hennig was very gifted.