In a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on The Ariel Helwani Basketball Show, Eric Bischoff, former WCW President, shared an intriguing behind-the-scenes story involving wrestling legend Dennis Rodman and his then-wife, Carmen Electra. Bischoff discussed the missed opportunity to bring Carmen Electra onto WCW Nitro and shed light on an unrealized idea for a wrestling divorce that could have been a groundbreaking event. Let’s delve into the details of this fascinating tale and explore the factors that led to its unfortunate demise.
Eric Bischoff revealed that when Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra were in the public eye due to their high-profile relationship, he received an unexpected call from Gary Constantine, an executive producer at NBC. Constantine informed Bischoff about a gap in their schedule and proposed that WCW create a two-hour special to fill that void in prime time. Bischoff was thrilled by the opportunity to showcase WCW on a major network.
Bischoff and his team brainstormed a unique concept for the proposed special, taking inspiration from wrestling weddings that had become a staple in the industry. They envisioned a wrestling divorce, flipping the script and providing an alternative storyline for fans. The idea was to present the split between Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra in an amicable manner, culminating in a dramatic brawl that would captivate viewers.
Excited by the prospect of WCW appearing on a massive platform like NBC, Eric Bischoff sought permission from Turner Broadcasting, the parent company of WCW. Unfortunately, the idea was met with resistance from Turner ad sales, who objected to WCW appearing on any network other than Turner-owned channels. Bischoff was stunned by the rejection, as he believed this would be a one-time opportunity that could greatly benefit WCW.
Despite Bischoff’s efforts to convince Turner Broadcasting of the potential value of the NBC special, the proposal was ultimately shelved. The wrestling divorce idea died with that rejection, and WCW never had the chance to capitalize on the massive exposure and mainstream attention that appearing on NBC would have provided.
Dennis Rodman’s Changing Outlook: Bischoff also shared insights into Dennis Rodman’s evolving attitude toward wrestling during this time. Rodman had previously participated in wrestling events and had found success in the crossover between wrestling and his basketball career. However, by the time of the proposed NBC special, Rodman’s enthusiasm for being in the ring had diminished. He had already experienced the thrill and excitement and was no longer as invested in pursuing further wrestling ventures.
The story of the missed opportunity involving Dennis Rodman, Carmen Electra, and WCW provides a glimpse into the wrestling industry’s complex dynamics and the challenges its creative minds face. Despite the initial excitement and potential for a groundbreaking event, the roadblock presented by Turner ad sales prevented the WCW from venturing beyond its own network. Nonetheless, the tale stands as a testament to the innovative thinking and bold ideas that were prevalent during WCW’s heyday, showcasing the untapped potential of wrestling storytelling on a grand scale.