On his latest podcast Eric Bischoff looked back at the 1995 WCW/NJPW Collision in Korea and why he didn’t ask the State Department for permission. Below are the highlights courtesy of 411Mania.
On his relationship with Ted Turner at the time:
“You know, you have to understand that I looked up to Ted Turner quite a bit. And I wanna make it really clear here, because it’s easy for people to assume when they listen to a podcast like this, if I’m not careful about how I say certain things that it gives one the impression that Ted and I were close and we comunicated on a regular basis. That wasn’t the case. Especially now, at this point early in 1995. It changed later on after we launched Nitro and everything, I got closer to Ted and communicated with him much more. But at this point, I had very little direct contact with Ted. I would see him at company functions. I was at a Christmas party or two when he was there, things like that. But there was no direct connect. But, I understood anecdotally and indirectly through some of the people who reported to Ted, his worldview.”
On Turner’s philosophy:
“For example, I was just reading an article on how evidently WWE has dropped the ban on certain wrestling words. We all know that WWE heretofore didn’t like the word ‘belt’ as it related to a championship. So there were certain words like ‘belt’ and ‘title’ and ‘fan’ and things like that, that Vince has a real problem with. Ted Turner was not that much different. If you used the word ‘foreigner’ or ‘foreign’ as an employee of Turner Broadcasting, you were chastised by your management. Not severely, but you were corrected to never use the word ‘foreign’ or ‘foreigner.’ It was ‘international,’ or refer directly to the place of origin of somebody that you’re talking about, as opposed to just referred to them as a ‘foreigner.’ Ted felt very strongly about that. And it was part of his mission, I think. Ted Turner launched CNN because he believed that he could bring the world closer together with a twenty-four hour worldwide cable news franchise. And that’s why and how CNN was born. Ted was the first one to do that. And he really believed that he could bring the world closer together. He felt that he could, I don’t wanna say achieve world peace, but he could improve upon the world’s relationship with each other. Country with the world’s relationships with each other. The same was true with the Goodwill Games. Ted funded the Goodwill Games at a substantial loss to Turner Broadcasting because like Antonio Inoki to a degree, he believed that sport kind of broke down a lot of cultural and language barriers. More cultural barriers than language barriers.”
On not asking the US State department for permission to go to North Korea:
“I just believed from a corporate perspective, I believed that if things were to have gone south, and I would have gotten in trouble with the State department and there would have been some kind of political issues? Number one, we’d get more press, so I was up for that. I didn’t mind that. And number two, I knew that once I got out of jail or released from the State department or whoever would have arrested me. I believed in my heart that Ted would have given me a wink and a nod and said, ‘You should have asked first.’ Knowing that if I would have asked, I would have been denied the opportunity. So I didn’t tell anybody. I didn’t have to tell anybody — well, I guess I should have, but I didn’t. I was willing to take the risk.”