Eric a man of honour
By BRET "The Hitman" HART -- For The Calgary Sun
Eric Bischoff is out.
I'm not surprised, but I am disappointed. Plain and simple, Eric is a good guy. He's got a lot more integrity than most and although I'd like it if he was still around, he's probably better off in a business where there's a higher value put on honesty. Both Eric and I have seen that you can't always do unto others as you'd have them do unto you if the others involved do only unto themselves.
It's inevitable that all sorts of people will say all sorts of things about how WCW's ratings were slipping and be so quick to point the finger of blame at Eric. I'd rather be No. 2 in the ratings and still be able to hold my head up about my kids and yours watching the show.
Last week, WWF showed naked ladies in the shower. I salute Eric for maintaining high ratings without coming down to that level.
No, I didn't like what WCW was doing with me or, it's better said, what they weren't doing with me. But that's certainly no reflection on Eric Bischoff as a person.
Let me tell you what kind of a person Eric Bischoff is. When Owen died, I was on a plane to Los Angeles to be on The Tonight Show.
Eric met that plane and had already arranged for a jet to fly me home. He told me to take as much time as I need. He knew when to take off his business hat and talked with me as a friend. I was moved that Eric was almost as upset as I was. It wasn't the only time Eric Bischoff earned my respect.
Last year I was the victim of a sick hoax when some demented low-life called an arena, 10 minutes before a pay-per-view, impersonated my brother, Bruce, and said that my dad had died. Eric ended up being a victim of it too because he did the difficult deed of telling me the news.
He said I didn't have to work, which is really something especially considering that I was in the main event and he had someone on the phone making arrangements to fly me home when J.J. Dillon gave us the news that Stu was fine.
Eric was mortified that WCW hadn't called Calgary to check things out and he felt absolutely awful about it, but the truth is that I was new to WCW and they didn't have any numbers to call and verify anything.
Still, that he was ready to fly me home and that he felt so bad about the mistake left quite an impression on me. Especially when I know from first-hand experience that most promoters don't treat wrestlers that way.
Take Survivor Series '91 for example.
Bruce was visiting with me on the road for a few days when we got the call that our brother, Dean, had died. I told Vince McMahon and his reaction was no reaction. It was like, "Oh, okay ... so now let's get back to talking about the pay-per-view..."
Like it didn't even matter at all. Bruce was appalled at Vince's uncaring attitude, as was I, but I figured, in what is now notorious McMahon M.O., it was a case of "the show must go on." I wrestled three times in three towns before I went home to my family. I figured they'd say thank you when all was said and done.
They never did.
I hope when Bischoff's chapter is written into wrestling history, it talks about how Eric Bischoff is the guy who invented the nWo and turned a company that was losing money year after year into a company fighting for the No. 1 slot in the cable ratings week after week.
Sure, it would be easy to use Bischoff as a scapegoat but he was in a very difficult position and I don't envy the next guy to fill his shoes.
Long after I hang up my gear, I'll still think of Eric Bischoff as a friend and I'll still respect the way he took the high road.
Good luck in the next chapter, Eric.
What does all this mean to the future of The Hitman in WCW?
I have no idea!
We're all about to find out, together. The other day, a fan asked me what happened to Sting in the locker room. I told him I'm not sure, but I think he slipped on a banana peel.
Makes about as much sense as anything else.