And the person pulling open the car door to welcome me is the guy I almost forced into bankruptcy: Vince McMahon. Could anyone have predicted this day would come? The first was more than a decade before, when he said hello to me after a job interview in Stamford. The history of pro wrestling might have been very different if I had. The funny thing is, I feel as if I really know Vince well. Inside the arena, the crowd is hopping.
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And the person pulling open the car door to welcome me is the guy I almost forced into bankruptcy: Vince McMahon. Could anyone have predicted this day would come? The first was more than a decade before, when he said hello to me after a job interview in Stamford. The history of pro wrestling might have been very different if I had. The funny thing is, I feel as if I really know Vince well.
Inside the arena, the crowd is hopping. What you may not know is that almost everything that makes Raw distinctive -- its two-hour live format, its backstage interview segments, above all its reality-based storylines -- was introduced first on Monday Night Nitro, the prime-time show I created for the TNT Network. The media called our conflict the Monday Night Wars, but it was more like a rout. Nitro beat Raw in the ratings eighty-something weeks running.
Then Vince caught on to what we were doing, and the real battle began. Stephanie McMahon pops her head into the limo. Not too many people bother to distinguish between the character I play on television and who I really am. A lot of them create their own stories and realities just to watch other people react to them. Which is one of the reasons I decided to write this book. The truth is, I hate most wrestling books.
I read a sentence, a paragraph, sometimes a page, then quit. Most are bitter, self-serving revisionist history at best -- and monuments to bullshit at their worst. A lot of the guys who write them seem desperate to have the last word on everything. They come off like whiners, complaining about everything.
Everyone does in life. But pro wrestling for me has been full of good things. I started out as a salesman and then, by necessity rather than ability, became an on-camera talent. I went from that to being chosen, improbably, to head the second largest wrestling promotion in the country. With hard work and against heavy odds, we became number one.
What had been a company generating 10 million in losses on 24 million worth of revenue, became a company with million in sales pumping out over 40 million in profit. Then things went to hell. After a wild roller-coaster ride I ended up back where I had started -- as an on-air talent, ironically, with the guy I had been at war with for years.
And ultimately we became friends. We get out of the car and begin walking through the backstage area. I can hear the crowd in the arena as I reach the holding area backstage. WWE writers have given me a two-page script to memorize, and the words are bouncing in my head. But not tonight. The writers for WWE have spent a fair amount of time on this script; my job tonight is to deliver what they want. But even before I look at the words, I know what I have to do tonight.
I have to find my inner heel. Vince McMahon has come onstage and is about to introduce me. Wrestling began in the United States as a sideshow carnival attraction. It thrived and grew because it blended showmanship, unique characters, and illusion. It still does, in some respects. The business structure and revenue model are extremely complex.
No other form of entertainment, quite frankly, combines the different revenue streams and opportunities that WCW had, or that WWE has now. I hope to give you some idea of that complexity in this book. What happened to WCW while I was there is as much about business as it is about wrestling. A lot of wrestling fans think WCW unraveled because of things like guaranteed contracts for wrestlers and the decision to give Hulk Hogan creative control over his matches. The fact that we may have overpaid some wrestlers was one reason WCW ended up in a position that was difficult to recover from.
But it had nothing to do with why WCW failed. If our talent budget was half of what it was, in the end, it would have made no difference.
The company failed because of what happened inside Turner after it was bought by Time Warner. WCW was just one of many casualties. There was a lot of collateral damage. Even Ted Turner suffered in the fallout. Did I make mistakes? What happened to WCW is a cautionary tale.
Plenty has been written about WCW and my time there. But none of the stories of its demise have come from someone who was there. I was there, on the front lines. I walk out toward the man who was my most bitter enemy for four or five years.
We embrace. That rumbling beneath your feet, I tell Vince, is a whole lot of people turning over in their graves. All Rights Reserved. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc.
Controversy Creates Cash
Fans have hurled everything from beer bottles to fists at him. Industry critics have spewed a tremendous amount of venom about his spectacular rise and stupendous crash at World Championship Wrestling. Bischoff has kept quiet while industry "pundits" and other know-it-alls pontificated about what happened during the infamous Monday Night Wars. Basing their accounts on third- and fourth-hand rumors and innuendo, the so-called experts got many more things wrong than right. Now, in Controversy Creates Cash, Bischoff tells what really happened. Bischoff has surprisingly kind words for old rivals like Vince McMahon, but pulls no punches with friends and enemies alike. Why he fired Jesse Ventura for sleeping on the job.
Eric Bischoff: Controversy Creates Cash
Controversy creates cash