Author: Eric Bischoff with Jeremy Roberts
Synopsis: The autobiography of Eric Bischoff, who led WCW during its most successful era.
I was five-eleven and two hundred pounds. I looked like King freaking Kong to these people. And not only was I a westerner - probably the first and only one many of them saw in person in their lives - I was dressed in strange, bright red and yellow clothes. You cannot imagine the horror on these people's faces. They parted like the Red Sea as I ran through downtown Pyongyang.
While the Eric Bischoff character we've seen on television (and the backstage WCW power broker reported on in the dirtsheets) wouldn't have thought twice about badmouthing everyone in his path, the real Eric Bischoff does anything but.
Surprised? I sure as hell was.
Now... some of that might just be diplomacy. When this book was published in 2006, Bischoff was still under contract to WWE and had just finished up a lucrative run as Raw's figurehead commissioner. But I can't help shake the feeling that, the real Eric Bischoff is closer to this guy than he is the arrogant ass dirtsheet writers have said ruined wrestling in the 1990s.
For one thing, most of the people who have dumped on Bischoff in the past, including Mick Foley, Ric Flair, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Steve Austin and Chris Jericho, are spared the "payback" shots that have become so commonplace in wrestling biographies. He doesn't always agree with their assessments, but doesn't bury them when he has the opportunity to. Aside for some Turner Broadcasting suits, Vince Russo and Missy Hyatt, most subjects actually get off quite easy.
The whole thing comes off as awfully humble. While Bischoff doesn't own up to every single mistake that was made in WCW, he certainly takes the blame often enough and tries to explain the justification behind certain moves. I'm not sure how true it is, but it's a nice change from books where the subject blames everyone else for their troubles.
Another common misconception about Bischoff is that he spent Ted Turner's money with no regard for long-term planning. That's simply not true. Bischoff has a fantastic mind for the business and that's where he really focuses his energy in this book. For everyone who dumped on WCW's decision to move their syndicated television tapings to Disney/MGM Studios, for example, he offers a reason I'd never even thought of before - and it makes perfect sense.
That's not to say the book is perfect. There are certain situations (the Gold Club trial, his WWE locker room fight with Flair) that go completely unmentioned, and I get the feeling he clearly holds back on some of the humiliating things he's had to do for Vince McMahon since working for his company. And even though there are only a handful of typographical errors (The Sterner Brothers, Rick Flair), as I've said before, even one is too many.
Rating: Oh Hell Yeah! A fun read from one of the most influential people in wrestling not named McMahon.