On the most recent episode of 83 Weeks with Eric Bischoff, Bischoff and host Conrad Thompson spoke for over three hours about Chris Jericho. Covering everything from Jericho’s entry into WCW all the way to his eventual departure, no topic was off limits and at one point, Bischoff felt the need to change to set the record straight on a reputation he’d earned as someone too eager and willing to spend Ted Turner’s money — a narrative Jericho made worse when he wrote about his meeting with Bischoff for the first time and being hired by WCW.
Bischoff used a reference from Chris Benoit — among others — as good enough reason to bring in Jericho for the WCW Cruiserweight Division. Bischoff didn’t want to beat around the bush, and that shocked Jericho who thought Bischoff would never pay him what he’d asked for. Not only did Eric, but he “countered” with $35k more than the $100K Jericho asked for. Jericho called it the first time he’d see “ATM Eric” in action. He called is strange to negotiate with a guy who clearly had more money to spend than he knew what to do with.
— PWP Nation (@PWPNation) January 16, 2018
Bischoff’s claims the story is inaccurate and that it wasn’t about having money to burn. It was about something completely different.
Bischoff claims Jericho was extending a narrative, making the then-President of WCW out to be bad with money and willing to spend it which ultimately hurt the company. Instead, Bischoff says what really happened was that Jericho was the benefactor of “ATM Eric” proving he could run WCW with no budget first, then being given a little rope later. Bischoff had already proven he could save WCW money by cutting out house shows and moving the production to the Disney studios and while doing so, was trying to deal with a locker room full of WCW talent who talked about money on a regular basis. The idea was not to lowball Jericho but also avoid any potential future ramifications of he and his friends in WCW talking.
Because Bischoff knew Jericho was friends with Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko and others, the only fair thing to do was offer the same rate of pay they were making. After all, they’d all be working together in similar roles and in similar storylines.