In a recent candid retrospective, Eric Bischoff, a long-time confidant, and friend of Hulk Hogan, addressed the controversial feud between Hogan and Billy Kidman that took center stage during The Great American Bash 2000.
The rivalry garnered significant criticism at the time, with fans accusing WCW of mishandling the narrative by not properly allowing Hogan to 'put over' Kidman. Bischoff's close association with Hogan, both then and now, is no secret.
However, in a sincere effort to provide a nuanced perspective, Bischoff expounded on the topic. He clarified that Hogan entered the feud with an earnest desire to make it successful. As a pivotal figure in WCW, Hogan was alert to the company's declining fortunes and needed to adjust his character accordingly.
Hogan's Reluctant Collaboration with Kidman
According to Bischoff, "Hulk wanted this thing to work but was smart enough to recognize that things were falling apart." Like Bischoff himself, when he collaborated with Vince Russo, Hogan was driven by the best intentions and the willingness to traverse unfamiliar territories.
This included working with Kidman, an idea Hogan initially found ludicrous. However, the larger objective of managing the roster morale was at the forefront of Hogan's mind. Hogan, as a leader and influential talent, felt obligated to address the perception of limited opportunities among a significant portion of the roster.
Hence, the idea to feud with Kidman, although not originating from him, was something he agreed to do to challenge the prevailing narrative and uplift morale. However, Hogan had reservations. He didn't see the storyline with Kidman as believable.
This didn't reflect on Kidman's abilities—Billy was undeniably talented even then—but rather on the absence of a compelling narrative. Bischoff reflects, "There was no story there that made it believable... Hulk Hogan, 275 pounds, 24-inch pythons...
now he's going to get in a ring with a guy that probably weighed a buck 90 and was relatively new. It just wasn't believable." Hogan's acquiescence was an attempt to shatter the pervasive belief within the locker room and among the fans that mid-card wrestlers would never make it to the main event.
While the execution may have been flawed, the intent, as Bischoff reiterates, was to inspire change within the WCW during a tumultuous period.