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Eric Bischoff Had Plans For A ‘Formal’ WCW Brand Split, But Budget Cuts Prevented It

Eric Bischoff changed professional wrestling in various ways when he led World Championship Wrestling to new heights in the 1990s. In a recent interview, Bischoff looked back another idea that would have been ahead of its time if he had been able to execute it.

Speaking with Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful, Bischoff described how he had planned to do a genuine brand split in WCW between the company’s main roster and the members of the New World Order, also known as the nWo. This division of the brands would have been a way to keep the two warring sides away from each other.

“It was going to be a formal brand split,” said Bischoff. “It would have been a moment, an event, something would have happened, and WCW would have been designated as, because at that point, it would have been clear that the nWo and WCW guys could not play well together under any circumstances. So to resolve that issue, WCW was gonna get their show, the nWo was gonna get their show, and then we would have occasional crossovers.”

Bischoff elaborated by saying that the WCW show would have catered to traditional fans, and the nWo program would have been designed for the increasingly “edgy” nature of wrestling in the 1990s.

“They would have looked and felt differently,” said Bischoff. “WCW would have been a more traditional wrestling show because the WCW audience, the core audience, was a more traditional wrestling audience. They were NWA, they were Georgia Championship Wrestling, they were Florida Championship Wrestling back before cable television. And a lot of that heritage was still a part of the WCW audience, so that show, the WCW show, would have had a more traditional feel to it. The nWo [show] would have been a more edgy, kind of black and white, grainy [presentation.]”

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The former WCW President specified that this brand split had been planned for the summer of 1997 or 1998, but forced budgetary restrictions prevented him from producing the two entirely distinct shows.

“It would have been somewhere, it was in the summer of ’97, maybe ’98,” said Bischoff. “Once they started moving budgets around, once they started cutting my budgets and telling me what I could and couldn’t do, after I had been given the responsibility of launching an entirely new show, I had to pay for it myself.

“TBS didn’t want to pay for Thunder, so in addition to having to pay for that show, they were also cutting my budget simultaneously. At that point, I knew that we weren’t gonna be able to do any of the things that we originally planned to do.”

The full interview is available here: