Eric Bischoff

Eric Bischoff Reveals Why Dusty Rhodes’ WCW Battlebowl Concept Didn’t Work


During the latest edition of his “83 Weeks” podcast, Eric Bischoff commented on Dusty Rhodes creating WCW Battlebowl, why it didn’t work, and more. You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:

On Dusty Rhodes creating WCW Battlebowl and Dusty’s booking style: “It was a Dusty initiative, as many of the big, headline main event matches were at this point in 1993. Dusty had a different way of looking at things, and he was looking for that Starrcade, he was looking for that WrestleMania, he was looking for that big event that could become a tentpole. I want to be so careful about how I say this because sometimes I listen to our shows back and I made a statement and I know what I meant when I said it, but it comes off a little differently. I don’t think Dusty was the long-term strategic storyteller that he probably would’ve liked to have been. Dusty thought in terms of the next big event, the next big headline. Perhaps, and this is just a perhaps – perhaps it’s because Dusty came up in a part of the country where weekly territories dominating the scene.

“So, you’d have your big match, you’d have your finish or you’d have something happen that led you to next Saturday, whereas pay-per-view was more of a monthly territory. It was TV, TV, pay-per-view. As a result of that weekly education and that base of experience and as a performer and having so much success in weekly territories around the Southeast in particular and in Texas, the idea of the elongated storylines that lasted not just weeks but months, it was not something that came naturally to Dusty. What did come naturally to Dusty was his vision for big events as opposed to strong story – not that Dusty didn’t come up with some great strong stories – he did. The majority I think of Dusty’s creative thought process was probably dedicated to what’s the next big huge hit we can conjure up and create. I think Battlebowl was an example of that.”

On why the Battlebowl concept didn’t work: “In my opinion, lack of story. Go back and look – even though WWE business was down at this time, this was at a period of time when WWE was probably recognized for telling such great stories. They weren’t weekly stories, they were long-term stories. There were long-term buildups and that’s what the audience was voting for – they were voting with their remotes, in addition to all the great marketing WWE did and the tremendous vision Vince McMahon had in shaking up the wrestling business and all the things Vince did in the late 80s and early 90s. At the core of it all was some pretty fucking good storytelling. It was longer-term storytelling whereas, in WCW, we were relying probably too much on the exhibition, the big match, the gimmicks – Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal, and Battlebowl. I’m guilty of it too – World War 3.

“Those are all examples of let’s just have this super big event, but how do we build a story to support the big event? What’s the foundation that people are investing in in order to see the payoff at this big, special event? Those conversations weren’t happening until later on at this point in time…….stories were a secondary thing to the big tentpole, highly-promoted event. It had to be both. You always wanted that big tentpole, highly-promotable event that captures the audience’s imagination like a Battlbowl, but if you didn’t have great story that people were invested in going into it, it was just an event. At this point, WCW’s track record of events that really didn’t mean that much was a big part of the problem.”

(h/t – 411 Wrestling)

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