Eric Bischoff says John Oliver’s WWE hit piece “drew blood”

Apr 5, 2019 - by James Walsh

Eric Bischoff recently appeared on the ‘After 83 Weeks’ podcast to talk about John Oliver’s recent story on Last Week Tonight about WWE. The piece criticized WWE for referring to its wrestlers as independent wrestlers and not giving them proper healthcare, among other reasons. Here are highlights:

On his thoughts on the story: “Yeah, it drew blood. It was definitely…it was funny. I liked the comedy. I gotta admit that. It was written and executed, I thought it was great. But the subject material, it’ll be interesting to see if it sticks. The fact that it came out right before Wrestlemania when, you know, somebody was smart enough to realize it was going to get more traction on the Internet because of it being Wrestlemania weekend. If they put it out three months later or three months before, it probably wouldn’t have got as much attention. It’s getting a lot of attention, a lot of discussion. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes.”

On if WWE’s positions on independent contractors or healthcare need to change: “Look, the precedent for the industry that we call sports entertainment or professional wrestling, the model or precedent has been around forever. If WWE, which is the most viable, obviously the largest producer of this type of content anywhere in the world, anywhere in the history of said world, if they were to change their business model to accommodate a traditional employer model, I’m not sure what would happen to that company. It’s a substantial change. Not saying they can’t do it, not saying they won’t do it. I have no idea.”

On experiencing both sides of the issue: “I wasn’t a wrestler…So I’m probably not the best person to ask but I have been an independent contractor almost all of my life. There’s only been seven years of my adult life that I worked for somebody other than myself. And during that seven year period, seven or eight, I worked for Turner Broadcasting. I was an employee, I got benefits, I got stock options, I had health insurance. I had all that good stuff. I loved it. It’s free. Who doesn’t like free? But for the largest part of my life I’ve not had that luxury or that situation so I’ve been accustomed for paying for my own sh-t.”

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