Story: In a business that is loaded with controversial personalities, few have reached the peaks and consistency of being hated as Eric Bischoff, the former WCW president who would not only turn the company around, but conquer Vince McMahon, at least for a while. His accomplishments, regardless of whether you think he deserves all or none of the credit, are impressive and no one could discuss this time period of WCW better than Bischoff. 1994 would be the start of Bischoff’s plan to get WCW back on track and in this episode of Timeline, he walks through his decisions, large and small, as well as his thoughts on all kinds of topics relevant to that moment in time.
Entertainment Value: I love that Eric Bischoff was chosen to guide us through 1994 WCW, as he was in the captain’s chair and while it was a transitionary year for the company, Bischoff was planting a lot of seeds and he details his decisions here. Bischoff is joined by our Timeline host Sean Oliver, who takes a laid back, but effective approach to his host duties. He is ready to prompt for more when the moment arises, but otherwise stays back and lets Bischoff talk and talk, which is a wise choice, since Eric is always fun to listen to. I enjoyed hearing him discuss the early steps taken to change WCW’s direction, some of which would take months, if not years to manifest results, which to me is a testament to the vision and patience of Bischoff. He has a good memory of the events from this time and often goes into great detail about the questions, though he seems willing to admit when his memory fails or if he has a different take than the usual response.
I was most interested in the stories behind how Hulk Hogan was brought into WCW and Bischoff doesn’t disappoint here, covering how it all went down and the ripples it sent through the company. He was very candid about Hogan not getting the reactions he had hoped for and I was thrilled when Sean Oliver brought up the Hogan vs. Brutus Beefcake Starrcade main event. To his credit, Bischoff is open and honest about that situation, he addresses it directly and clearly, which I appreciated it. There is a good deal of Hogan talk and that makes sense, as he arrived in 1994 and his arrival shifted WCW, even it wasn’t the explosive entrance some hoped to see. Bischoff also touches on the production elements being improved, other talent signings, and the business end of WCW, as well as how those moves played out over this year and in the years ahead. I found this to be a very good episode of Timeline, one of the better ones I’ve seen and while Bischoff has his biases and bad takes like anyone, he seems genuine for the most part here and provides a terrific Timeline experience.