Eric Bischoff

Eric Bischoff Comments on His Decision to Unmask Rey Mysterio in WCW


During the latest edition of his “83 Weeks” podcast, Eric Bischoff commented on his decision to unmask Rey Mysterio at the WCW at SuperBrawl IX event in 1999. You can check out some highlights from the interview below:

On the thinking behind his decision to unmask Mysterio: “My thinking was, and I don’t think I’m wrong, or I wasn’t wrong necessarily, but my thinking was, for our domestic audience, where we made, we meaning WCW, made the vast majority of our money, whether it be in television, PPVs, live events, whatever the case may be, probably 95% of our revenue or more was generated here in the United States. And while I understood, and to a degree appreciated, the cultural difference between the lucha form of professional wrestling and the domestic U.S. form of professional wrestling, and I understood the implications of taking off the mask, I understood it intellectually, but I didn’t put the same value on it that Rey did. I believe, because of the nature of our domestic audience, that watching someone wrestle, when a talent is in there, when there is a match occurring, and someone is getting their ass kicked, babyface or heel, in order to kind of convey the emotion that’s going along in that action, you’ve got to see the pain, you’ve got to see the expression on the talent’s face, and by having a talent under a mask where you, to the same degree, not be able to feel and sense and see and vicariously experience the situation that a heel or babyface is in, because you can’t see their face, 70% of selling happens from the shoulders up. You can be out there and physically selling in every way possible, someone is working over your knee, you can be selling it like a champ, but if you’re not expressing it in your face, if we’re not communicating that, the audience doesn’t feel it. So my thought, as short winded as I can be, was by taking the mask off, and again, Rey is a great looking character, he’s a great looking young man, and has great facial expressions, and I just really believed that whether he was smiling or out there as a babyface and we’re experiencing a win vicariously through him because we can see it and feel it in his eyes, or whether he’s selling because he is getting his ass kicked, having the mask off would enhance his ability to connect to the audience. That was the logic behind my thinking.”

On what he underestimated about unmasking Mysterio: “What I underestimated, and I’m disappointed in myself for not having a bigger, broader view of this at the time, but it is what it is, I underestimated the value of that mask to Rey because by taking that mask off, he was basically saying goodbye to a lot of his business in Mexico. He was abandoning his audience, so to speak, and his fan base in Mexico. And I didn’t appreciate that to the extent that I wish I would have. It is what it is.”

(h/t – 411 Wrestling)

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