Eric Bischoff reveals that he declined to get in on the ground floor of what is now IMPACT Wrestling.
On a recent episode of his 83 Weeks podcast, Eric Bischoff discussed his tenure in IMPACT Wrestling. To start the conversation, Conrad Thompson questions Eric about the beginnings of TNA, which started just one month before Eric began his on-screen role as WWE Raw General Manager.
Eric would say he was offered a position in the early days of TNA but as he did not feel their business model was a wise one, he would politely decline Jeff and Jerry Jarrett.
"I was approached by Jeff and Jerry Jarrett before they actually started that series, and they asked me if I'd be interested in coming on board. And I knew some of the people involved," Eric began. “Jay Haspen, who previously headed up the WCW pay-per-view Division, was working with Jeff and Jerry. And I didn't have a lot of confidence in Jay. Based on my experience working with him and then when Jerry explained the business model to me, I was polite about it. I thanked him for reaching out to me, but I had no interest in it. That was the first time I'd ever heard of it. And subsequently, I may have dropped in on a portion of an episode or two just out of curiosity, but for the most part, it really wasn't on my radar.”
Bischoff would eventually arrive in TNA alongside Hulk Hogan in January 2010, but in the Summer of 2002, WWE made Eric what he felt was a more sensible offer.
Seeing as the timing of TNA’s debut was so close to the time of Eric‘s debut in WWE, Conrad would ask Eric if he felt that TNA Wrestling being on the rise had anything to do with WWE‘s decision to hire him.
Eric replied, “Not at all. The way I heard it, my name had come up in a creative meeting at WWE and there was some enthusiasm about it. The brand split, was on the horizon at least. And it kind of made sense, storyline-wise, at that time. I can't speak for anybody in WWE at that time, certainly. And I wasn't part of any of those conversations, obviously. But I don't think there was any concern at all on WWE's part about TNA becoming any kind of a legitimate threat.”
Eric Bischoff was recently released by WWE from his position as Executive Director of SmackDown and will be attending the Starrcast IV convention in Baltimore, which will be held in conjunction with AEW Full Gear on pay-per-view.
If you use any quotes from this transcription, please credit 83 Weeks with a h/t to Fightful for the quotes.