In a recent episode of "83 Weeks," Eric Bischoff, the former president of World Championship Wrestling (WCW), shared his insights on the wrestling industry, emphasizing the often-underestimated impact of a wrestler's wardrobe on their career.
Bischoff, known for his keen eye for talent and showmanship, highlighted former WCW Cruiserweight Champion Billy Kidman as a prime example of a wrestler whose in-ring skills were exceptional, yet his career trajectory was arguably affected by his choice of attire.
Bischoff praised Kidman for his remarkable abilities inside the ring, stating, "Billy Kidman was so good in the ring. Almost every single time he was in the ring, he over-delivered on expectations." He elaborated on Kidman's versatility, noting his ability to adapt to various opponents, from Kaz Hayashi to Rey Mysterio, and even less experienced wrestlers.
Bischoff compared Kidman's adaptability to that of wrestling legend Ric Flair, though he clarified that Kidman hadn't reached Flair's iconic status.
Wardrobe Limiting Kidman's Career
However, Bischoff expressed his belief that Kidman's wardrobe choices, notably his preference for jeans and a tank top, reminiscent of a grunge aesthetic, potentially limited his career growth.
"I think that did a disservice to Bill. If Billy would've been presented more like a star and less like the guy that changes your oil at Jiffy Lube, it might've had an impact on his career," Bischoff remarked. Billy Kidman's career boasts significant achievements, including being a three-time WCW Cruiserweight Champion.
His success continued in WWE, where he captured the title four more times after the championship transitioned to WWE. Beyond his in-ring career, Kidman has contributed to the industry as a producer for WWE. Notably, he was one of the staff members furloughed during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 but was reinstated in September of the same year.
Bischoff's comments shed light on the intricate dynamics of professional wrestling, where in-ring talent is just one facet of a wrestler's success. The influence of presentation, including wardrobe, plays a crucial role in how wrestlers are perceived and how their careers unfold.
This insight from a seasoned industry veteran like Bischoff offers a unique perspective on the often-overlooked aspects of wrestling persona and branding.