Eric Bischoff discussed his initial relationship with Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross upon entering WCW and firing him on a recent episode of 83 Weeks. Here are the highlights:
Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross were mentors to him:
“Both Ross and Tony were professional. I didn’t get the impression that they had a feeling about me one way or the other. I was there to do a job. I worked for Jim technically I reported to Jim Ross. Jim was very matter of fact with me in his communication, again, not supportive not trying to pull the rug out from underneath me. I would say he was just middle of the road professional.
“Tony, my first impression of Tony was this cat didn’t like me much. I don’t know what I did to him or what he thinks I’m going to do to him. Tony was almost he was like a cat. You know when you have a cat sometimes you know this cat really likes me, but other times they don’t give a s*** about you. A cat is a cat not like a dog. Tony was like a cat he was indifferent. Just very indifferent. That changed over time and I think I learned fairly early on Tony wasn’t, at that point, a very outgoing person. He was a workhorse. He worked like a dog and he was super professional. But, when it came to a conversation or chemistry it wasn’t there. At first I thought ‘wow, this cat doesn’t want me here at all.’ That wasn’t it that was just Tony and I learned that over time.”
Firing Jim Ross:
“Look, for better or worse JR believed in Bill Watts. They had a long standing relationship. JR probably owed a good part of his success and career to Bill Watts. I haven’t talked to him about this, but I’m guessing. JR felt about Bill Watts much like how I felt and still feel about Verne Gagne. Somebody gives you that opportunity that changes your life forever or gives you an opportunity that has a dramatic impact on your life in a positive way, how are you not loyal to that person? Even through their faults. I am. That’s my nature and I would imagine Jim is much the same way.
“Plus, Jim had a lot of the same perspectives and point of view creatively and how wrestling should be run as Bill Watts. Certainly Jim had his own as well, but there was a lot more in common with Bill Watts than with me for example or others. That was part of it. The other part was because they were so joined at the hip because of their previous relationship that everybody knew about because of Jim’s support for Watts in WCW during a time when supporting Bill Watts within Turner Broadcasting was not a healthy career choice. But, Jim was already there. Jim tied himself very closely to Bill Watts. It worked until it didn’t. Once Bill Watts got fired, in my opinion, I never talked to Bill Shaw about this or anybody else and I didn’t even know for sure that Jim was trying to get the job was executive producer. I didn’t find that out until well afterwards same Tony. I didn’t know Tony was trying to get the job. I think Jim was guilty by association. When the s*** hit the fan with Watts, Jim was standing there to get splattered with it first.”
Quotes via 411 Mania