Though it didn't last long, Eric Bischoff stands behind the decision to debut Glacier as a Mortal Kombat inspired character.
In April 1996, WCW began airing vignettes for a new character, Glacier. A not-so-convincing facsimile of the popular video game character, Sub-Zero, Glacier was a variety offering on a show that was becoming more reality-based with the advent of the nWo.
WCW spared no expense on promotional materials, gear, and entrance effects for Glacier. He would eventually debut in September of 1996, right around the same time that Mortal Kombat Trilogy was released. Unfortunately, the character was not well received and, as a result, lasted only four matches and less than one month.
Speaking on his 83 Weeks podcast, Bischoff shared why, if transported back in time without the benefit of hindsight, he would likely do something similar.
"It's a Mortal Kombat ripoff," he began by saying. "That's what it was. It's not that hard to explain or understand, but yes, we had something completely different. It was a complete contrast to the reality that was working so well. But it wasn't like I wanted our entire show to look like and feel like what we were doing with the nWo, for a couple of reasons. Number one, not everybody was on board with the nWo idea. It wasn't everybody's cup of tea. Even for people who did enjoy the nWo and the reality element to it, they still enjoyed the other styles of presentation that existed in professional wrestling, from the goofy Dungeon of Doom nonsense to, yes, a Mortal Kombat derivative, because wrestling needs to appeal to the widest variety of audience you can. If you're going to zero in on one style of wrestling, be it hardcore, be it comedy-based, be it reality-based, be completely fantasy-based, you know, WWF pre-90s, you know, kiddie wrestling. If all you're going to do is focus on that one style of presentation, you're going to lose.
The Mortal Kombat franchise was a fucking hot property. There was massive licensing and gaming opportunities in that category and Ray and the Mortal Kombat idea was, yes, a direct contrast to the reality that we were trying to integrate into the nWo, into WCW as a whole. But given the same circumstances, if I was somehow transported back, without the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, I'm not sure that I wouldn't try doing the same thing again. Maybe not exactly the same thing, but a version thereof."
Bischoff concluded by saying that there were no alternative plans for Glacier and that he was WCW's way of appealing to video game companies, with whom they wanted to be doing business. He said the following:
"No, I was all in on the Glacier character and the presentation here of it. Again, it was something that, I don't mean to be the dead horse here, that whole idea of the concept was to appeal to video game companies. We wanted WCW to be in the video game business. It was a licensing and merchandising-driven idea, and I was totally committed to it. Obviously financially I spent a great deal of money, you know, creating the vignettes and the lighting and the character design and all of that. I did it for a very specific reason and I was 100% committed to that idea. If it worked I'd be a hero. If it failed, I wouldn't be. So no, I didn't vacillate. I wasn't looking for a compromise solution anywhere in the process. It was one idea, one commitment, played out to the end, good or bad."
Glacier (Raymond Lloyd) would remain with WCW until November of 1999. During his last few months with the company, he would portray the character of Coach Buzz Stern.
If you use the quotes above, please credit 83 Weeks with a h/t and link back to Fightful for the transcription.