Triple H had a stint in WCW as first, Terror Risin’, before changing the name to Terra Ryzing. He was with the promotion right when Eric Bischoff was going to be in charge of the company.
On his 83 Weeks with Eric Bischoff podcast, Bischoff talked about Triple H’s WCW career and how he would end up leaving the company in 1995 for WWE.
“When Hunter came in it was at a time in WCW when we were really cutting costs. Expenses were a really big issue. I think it was Terry Taylor who first introduced Hunter to us. My biggest concern with him was that he lived in the Northeast.
At that point, things were so tight financially that we were looking to concentrate on the talent that lived in Atlanta, Georgia because we couldn’t afford to fly people all over the country, so that was one big issue.”
Triple H was in his mid-20s around then and was nothing like the superstar he would become for the next 20+ years. Eric said he was a solid worker but did not have the personality to resonate with the crowd.
“He didn’t drink, he didn’t smoke, didn’t do drugs, didn’t get loud. He was friendly, he was sociable, he was cordial, but he was kind of… I don’t want to say aloof but he was one step outside the kind of inner circle of talent in the way he carried himself.
And by the way, that is a compliment because he was a real pro even in this social environment, and I did notice that because it was early for me in management, but I did notice it. He was in control of himself almost at all times.”
As Triple H lived far away from WCW headquarters and that his personality did not click with Eric, WCW did not make any effort to keep him and so he went to WWE.
“He grew up watching the WWF. He was from the Northeast, that is what he grew up watching and that is what his goal was, and I don’t think there was anything going on in WCW at the time that was going to make him change his mind about his goal.
And when the time came, he was ready to move on. There wasn’t any tension, argument or anything like that, but his contract was up. We made him a little bit more of an offer to stay but he had already made up his mind that he wanted to go take a shot in WWF and we parted ways, and that was really it.”
Bischoff was not happy with the way the brand extension was handled in WWE back in 2002. Many WCW wrestlers were in WWE at that time and a great storyline could have happened. But WWE dropped the ball.
“One of the reasons why [the brand split] didn’t work probably started before I got there with the ill-fated Invasion angle. They never went all the way with it, they went halfway with it.
They had compromised it. This idea that we are talking about now where I had introduced the belt and everybody associated with WCW and to an extent me, that could have been a bigger moment. It could have been a bigger issue and could have created a more divisive environment and created heat.”
“As it was, it was kind of a smarmy little move. It was okay because as a heel it worked for me and they were trying to position Hunter as a heel, I guess. He wasn’t a very good heel in my opinion, but he was trying.
It worked okay, but I remember thinking when it was over that we kind of missed the heat here if they had spent a little more time and became a little more committed to taking advantage of me and who I was and my history with WCW.
“Now, introducing this belt, and if they had turned the volume up just a little bit more than they did instead of it being a throwaway segment, I think it could have been, maybe, I don’t like to look backwards, but I think it could have been a much bigger moment and it could have led to a much bigger story. And it did, but like I said it was just a throwaway segment.”
h/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.