During the peak of the Monday Night Wars, WCW poaching of WWE stars was very common. After all, nWo was primarily founded by Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, all former WWE superstars. Many others would join the group.
Ted DiBiase was the fourth member of the nWo and acted as their manager and spokesperson of sorts. However, he never fit nWo or WCW for that matter. Eric Bischoff on his 83 Weeks Podcast discussed DiBiase’s time in nWo and why it didn’t work for both sides.
“Ted DiBiase was probably the worst idea when it came to casting the nWo. “It has nothing to do with Ted DiBiase; we have touched on this before, I love Ted DiBiase. He is a great guy.
We see each other on the road, we hang out and have dinner. He is a gentleman and a pro, but yours truly, in a poor, decision-making mode, cast him as one of the talking heads to kind of lead the nWo.
It is just bad casting; I don’t know how else to say it. It has nothing to do with Ted’s talents or ability. It had nothing to do with his credibility. Had nothing to do with anything other than being a bad fit. Now, Michael Wallstreet [IRS] was another example of that and there were others we can talk about any of them.”
Bischoff said the nWo was not a huge success just on tv and in ratings, but it also helped bring life to WCW’s struggling merchandise sales. He would talk about WCW’s merchandise sales before nWo.
“It was anemic, and non-existent. It was so bad that it almost didn’t even make sense to bring in a staff or hardware tables and displays. It was so bad that it almost didn’t even make sense to sell it. That is how bad it was.”
“What I have said in the past from the business aspect of WCW, especially early on, when we have talked about why WCW didn’t offer a revenue share like the WWE did so the talent didn’t have a big guarantee, they had guarantee contracts.
One of the reasons for that was that we didn’t have any revenue to share with them. You couldn’t offer Hulk Hogan $20 a week plus 50 percent of merchandise, or you couldn’t offer a Roddy Piper $20 a week plus 25 percent of merchandise because we didn’t have any merchandise revenue to share.
“Now all of a sudden because of the nWo merchandise and the nWo angle, [that] is what catapulted WCW into, not only the merchandise category in terms of live events like we are talking about here where you are selling your t-shirts or whatever other attraction we had at the time, but from a licensing point of view for gaming and other types of license products, it all came about as a result of the nWo.
To kind of put it into perspective, if you go to the WWE Network and look at Starrcade 1996, so many of the shirts in that audience facing the hard camera all were nWo shirts. We didn’t plant that stuff. They are still buying that stuff today. It is amazing.”
h/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.