There’s always been a narrative that Steve Austin was fired from WCW over the phone by Eric Bischoff and that the reason was he wasn’t marketable, was thanks to his black boots and black trunks gimmick. Ironically, Austin went on to become the biggest star in professional wrestling history and, for years, Bischoff looked like the fool that let him go.
During his latest episode of the 83 Weeks podcast, Bischoff shed a little light on what all went into the decision to let Austin go and how most people don’t have the entire story.
He relayed that he had a similar conversation with Austin on Austin’s own podcast, so he’s not really revealing anything new here but he did admit to firing Austin over the phone. The conversation was quick and direct, saying they were moving another direction. What Bischoff added was the story that came before that call. A story that is often left out of the conversation when talking about firing Austin.
Bischoff noted WCW was paying Austin a lot of money on a guaranteed contract but Steve was often injured. At that time, Austin was nursing a torn triceps and wasn’t able to wrestle, but Bischoff thought it would be good to get some promos with Austin just to keep him in the hearts and minds of fans. He says, “I told Tony Schiavone to give Steve a call, it was early enough in the afternoon, he could’ve driven in and shot the promo and been back home by 7 o’clock that night. Should’ve been no big deal right?”
Unfortunately, this is where the story gets a little weird.
Austin Apparently Sealed His Own Fate
Tony called Steve and Steve’s wife answered the phone. While Bischoff didn’t hear the exact conversation, he said Tony reported back to Bischoff that when he called Austin he said his wife yelled to Steve that Tony Schiavone was on the phone he wanted to talk to you. Tony could hear Steve yelling back to his wife, ‘Tell them sons of b—–s I’m not here.’
Bischoff goes on to detail that this was the final straw for him. He explained,
“Well, that’s pretty bulls–t right? That’s bulls–t. He was there, he just didn’t want to have a conversation. He didn’t want to hear anything I had to say, or maybe he was in pain, I don’t know.”
Bischoff Doesn’t Like Dishonesty
He told Conrad that dishonesty is just one of those things that triggers him. He doesn’t have to like working with people or see eye-to-eye with everyone he works with, but there’s need to be an element of trust. He was upset that a guy he thought wasn’t going to lie, lied. He even said, had Austin just picked up the phone and told him off, that would have something he could have dealt with. But, the hiding was the final straw. That’s when he knew he was done with Austin in WCW.
“I become irrational sometimes once I feel like someones being dishonest or not being transparent,” Bischoff said. He added, ultimately, “That was why I made the decision I made. There was no politics, there was no salesman ship, I wasn’t trying to mitigate the situation, I was like this is what we’re doing, we’re moving on.”