On the latest edition of his 83 Weeks podcast WWE Hall of Famer Eric Bischoff looked back on the debut episode of WCW Monday Night Nitro, which saw the surprise return of Lex Luger, who had jumped ship from WWE (WWF at the time) and confronted the world champion at the time, Hulk Hogan. Highlights from the episode can be found below.
Recalls Lex Luger jumping ship from WWE back to WCW:
“I think Lex saw the impact that surprise appearance was gonna have. If you’re gonna bring somebody back, what better way to bring somebody back in a shocking, unexpected moment. Not promoted, not advertised, not speculated on. We were able to keep it extremely quiet and only a handful of people knew, and those people were very good at keeping secrets, thank goodness. But Lex knew that. If there were any reservations, and maybe he had them, but he certainly didn’t express them. I didn’t sense it either. Sometimes you can tell, but I didn’t get that sense from Lex. He was fully committed from the get-go and enthusiastically so.”
Says the debut Nitro, along with Luger’s debut, made it the perfect setup:
“What a perfect setup. You’re gonna launch a show to go head-to-head with a No. 1 program in your genre, but we get to do it on a night when they’re taking the day off. So, you know with the hype and everything that at least you’re gonna get a good sampling. That’s the most you can hope for in a situation like that. I don’t think the circumstances for that Nitro could have been any better than they were on that particular premiere. So, you’ve got a great sample size and you’re confident you’re gonna get that audience and that first impression means everything. You know if you check the boxes that needed to be checked in terms of what the wrestling audience was looking for and what you know they would get excited about, the odds the following week are gonna be in your favor or at least you’re gonna be competitive. That was the thought going in. It proved to be true and it worked. You could not have asked for a better situation for Nitro, or Lex Luger, for that matter.”
(H/T and transcribed by 411 Mania)