Eric Bischoff Talks Brutus Beefcake’s Lackluster Success In WCW

WWE Hall of Famer and former WCW President Eric Bischoff took to an episode of his 83 Weeks podcast, where he talked about a number of topics including Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake’s lackluster success in WCW.

Bischoff said, “I think Brutus the Barber Beefcake in WWE then WWF worked because that product was produced and targeted to teens and pre-teens. All of the characters were very animated. They were human cartoons and Brutus, the Barber Beefcake, the character. And Leslie, the performer, was probably almost perfect for that era and that character. Being targeted towards that audience. Now, we’re in a different era in terms of television. Nitro had decidedly made the move to an 18 to 39 18 to 49-year-old demo. That was the underserved audience that I recognized before the day we launched the first Nitro and recognized that in order to be different than the WWE at the time, I had to present the product differently and I chose to present it and target the 18 to 49-year-old demo with a more reality-based, more believable, less cartoonish, not 100% across the board. So all you key keyboard geeks out there, they’re going to go, Yeah, but what about the Dungeon of Doom? Again, not across the board. There were still some very animated characters for that segment of the audience that liked it. But now you’ve got Leslie. Portraying a character within the context of the NWO and the more reality-based presentation that we were assigning to that. And he didn’t have it. And Leslie as a performer, was a very, very weak performer. He was great at being the barber, but he didn’t have the talent or the instinct to adapt and to embrace a character that would appeal to that 18 to 49-year-old demographic. It was. Classic square peg, round hole. And it didn’t work. And we were forced. Well, he’s the Brutus that he was the Booty Man. And then he was the Disciple, and then he was whatever else the hell he was. All of that was a reflection of the fact that we couldn’t find anything to make this guy work. But he was part of the package, and we had to give him some time and put him in a position where he could do the least damage to the product. That’s horrible to have to say that, but it’s true.”

Bischoff also talked about giving away PPV quality matches on free TV.

“You still have to build characters. Yes. I mean. Look, there was a point in time and it’s one of the big criticisms that I got early on with Nitro is I’m giving away pay-per-view quality matches on free TV. I heard that a lot. Yeah. And now it’s kind of commonplace, right? We see it often now, but when Nitro first started and I was putting those big names on television and putting pay-per-view quality matchups on television, the peripheral wrestling industry that Dave Meltzer’s of the world all you know. Prescribe nothing but doom and gloom as a result. And we all know what really happened. But you still need, I think, to this day, occasionally those squash matches to just if not get somebody over to keep them over and just maintain their position and. Yes. And just clean up that character from time to time.”

You can check out Eric Bischoff’s complete podcast in the video below.