During the latest episode of “83 Weeks”, Eric Bischoff discussed how The Montreal Screwjob made Rick Rude distrust the WWE and ultimately led to his return to WCW. Here are the highlights:
On Rude Wanting To Leave The WWE After The Montreal Screwjob:
The night the Montreal Screwjob, as its now infamously known as, went down, one of the first calls I got was from Rick Rude, and Rick and I had been friends for a long, long time, even though he wasn’t working for WCW at that particular moment, we were still friends. He called me at home, he had my home phone number, and he was livid, he was just livid over what went down, and he didn’t want anything to do with WWF. He said, ‘Eric, is there a spot. I can manage, I’ll do whatever, I just want to get out of here.’ And my first question was, ‘Well, what’s your contractual status.’ He goes, ‘I don’t have one.’ And at that point, the competitor in me got a little excited, that’s putting it mildly, because the ideas were already formulating in my head, didn’t’ know for sure what I was going to do, how I was going to do it, but I knew there was a potential to do something really, really cool, similar to Lex Luger showing up, Madusa throwing the belt in the trash, giving away finishes, all the crazy shit I did to stir up controversy, but when Rick called and said, ‘Hey, I’m free, I want to get the hell out of here, what can I do, I’ll be there tomorrow.’ I went, ‘Just get here and we’ll figure it out.’ So it came together fast, it was really easy, in large part because of the relationship I had with Rick at the time.
On Rick Rude Not Being Able To Wrestle Again:
As I said, it was the same issue that eventually led to the wedge between us because, ya know, I’m taking a stab at what was going through Rick’s mind at the time. He and I didn’t talk about it in depth, although we did a little bit. Rick saw how hot things were getting, look, when Rick Rude took advantage of, when I say he took advantage, I’m not suggesting he worked it or conned or misrepresented anything, I’m suggesting that at all, but when Rick decided to make a claim with Lloyds of London and take advantage of the insurance policy he had, at that point and time, his wrestling career was over, his in-ring career was over. Once you take that cash from Lloyds of London, once that check clears and you’ve signed all of the paperwork that goes along with it, you agree that your in-ring career is over. They’re buying you out of it. You take the money but you’re taking the money because you can no longer participate in in-ring activity which is where you’ve made your money from during your career. That’s the reason for the payout, so that if one were to cash in on that Lloyds of London policy, and then decide, ‘OK, now that the check has cleared, I’m going to go sign over here and make another $400,000 or $500,000 a year,’ you’re going to get a call from the lawyers from Lloyds of London for insurance fraud, and you’ve got a really big problem at that point. That’s why Dave’s bullshit narrative, fictitious reporting was such a joke to me, and why I still try not to get angry about this stuff but it’s so blatantly, obviously fictitious that I don’t understand why more people don’t realize how fraudulent his shit is. But when Rick saw how hot things were getting in WCW by ’98 especially, ’97, ’98, he was chomping at the bit to get in the ring. He wanted so badly to get back in the ring that it was eating him up inside.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and I say this with all due respect to his family, I met his wife and his son a couple of years ago at WrestleMania and I had a great time with them, and I don’t want to say anything that would disrespect Rick or offend or hurt his family’s feelings, but I think Rick really realized that it might have been better for him to not have cashed in that Lloyds of London policy and he was struggling with that. And at that point, he wanted me to pay Lloyds of London the sum of money that Lloyds of London had paid him during his claim. And as much as I liked Rick and as close as we were, I couldn’t do it. I know I have the rap, thanks to Mick Foley referring to me as ATM Eric, or whatever, that I could just do anything I wanted to do and I had this giant cash register full of money and I could give it to whoever I wanted to give it to and I didn’t have anybody to answer to, and again, it’s a false narrative, bullshit, whatever you wanted to call it, I had to be responsible for my budget. If I was going to stroke a check for a couple of hundred grand, or in Rick’s case much more than that, I’m going to have a conversation as to why I did it, and I couldn’t do it.
On If He Thinks Rude Not Being Able To Wrestle Led To His Overdose:
And part of what led to Rick’s overdose, and his issues with drugs and alcohol, was probably his frustrations with not being able to get back in the ring.I really believe that. I may be wrong. I’m not a psychiatrist, I have no real knowledge of what really was going through his mind at the time, obviously, but just having been around him, and seeing how frustrated he was at the time, and knowing how certain guys feel when they want to get back in the ring one more time and can’t, I think I’m right.
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Credit: 83 Weeks. H/T 411Mania.