Eric Bischoff has hit back at Tony Khan after the AEW President said former WCW owner Ted Turner didn’t know 1% of what he knows about professional wrestling.
Bischoff opened up about Tony Khan’s comments on the latest episode of the 83 Weeks Podcast, which is available early and commercial-free via AdFreeShows, addressing some of the AEW President’s recent tweets regarding Ted Turner and WCW.
Aptly speaking on the podcast named after the amount of times his own company spent at the top of the wrestling chain, Bischoff spoke of his support for AEW.
“Let me first say, I am pulling for AEW to be hugely successful. I am a supporter of AEW, I am grateful that AEW is doing well on TNT.”
Bischoff went on to say, though, he doesn’t quite agree with the comments of Tony Khan, adding that it isn’t a good look.
“There’s a lot of things I like about AEW but some of Tony Khan’s comments this week are not doing him any favours let’s put it that way. I think it’s cool that Tony responded and AEW responded to the fact that WWE did a half hour overrun to challenge AEW as their show started at 10 o’clock. I like that and think that was great.
“I would’ve tried to do the same thing so I have no criticism for what Tony is doing but I think some of the things Tony is saying is not a good look. To come out and predict as he did that AEW is going to outperform [WWE].”
Eric Bischoff went on to label the current competition as “cosplay competition” – adding that Tony Khan’s comments served the internet fanbase, but not his business.
“Keep in mind, for all of you people that are out there who are focused on ratings and demos, nobody is putting anything into context. The wrestling audience wants there to be a legitimate Monday Night War version 2.0 so badly that they all participate in cosplay competition.
“To come out and predict that AEW was going to defeat SmackDown on FS1 was a bad choice. SmackDown delivered somewhere just under 800,000 viewers, AEW delivered just under 600,000 viewers. Not a good look. It wasn’t slightly, it was to the tune of 30-35%, that’s not insignificant.
“Even more so, that all happened on FOX Sports One. [Tony Khan’s] tweet didn’t do AEW any favours. You might have served the internet fan base but you’re not serving your business well because you got your ass kicked on Friday night. Simple as that.”
I’ve never met Ted Turner. It’s very possible Ted Turner is smarter than me, but he didn’t know 1% of what I know about professional wrestling or WCW would still be on TNT/TBS. @AEW is here to stay, watch #AEWRampage LIVE tonight on TNT or WatchTNT app on your phone or any device https://t.co/eYLCzCiMiQ
— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) October 15, 2021
Eric Bischoff then added that Tony Khan’s comments regarding Ted Turner, where the AEW president said Turner “didn’t know 1% of what he knew about professional wrestling” before taking a shot at WCW no longer being on TV, were ignorant.
“That is a completely uninformed, therefore ignorant comment to make,” Bischoff said. “Ignorant because I don’t think Tony knows whether or not Ted Turner grew up a wrestling fan or not, I don’t either by the way. If you know anything at all about Ted Turner, if you’ve read anything that’s been written in Teds own words, Ted believed in wrestling above all else other than perhaps the Braves.”
The WWE Hall of Famer then added that TBS “got off the ground” as a result of Turner’s knowledge of professional wrestling.
“Professional wrestling is one of the reasons that TBS got off the ground because Ted Turner knew that professional wrestling was a staple of the audience that he was trying to generate and knew it would bring eyeballs.”
Bischoff added that Tony Khan’s comments were “ignorant” particularly because AEW Dynamite is on a channel named after Ted Turner.
“The fact that Tony Khan is even on TNT, which at least when I was there stood for Turner Network Television, and then to come out and compare himself to Ted Turner and suggest if Ted knew anything at all about professional wrestling on the level that Tony Khan does, that WCW would still be around? That was an ignorant statement.”
Eric Bischoff then had some advice for Tony Khan, saying the statement made him look childish.
“Read the book, The Rise and Fall of Nitro by Guy Evans, Tony. If you’re going to come out and compare yourself to Ted Turner, which is laughable, and say things like that, read the book, you’ll not embarrass yourself quite as badly. I thought that statement really made Tony look childish, uninformed.
“I know he’s a brilliant guy and I like Tony, he’s doing a lot of things right but when he comes out publicly and says these stupid things. He’s coming off like a dirt sheet writer. That might serve your internet wrestling audience but it’s not doing a damn thing for your ratings.”
Comparisons to WCW have followed AEW since the company’s inception, but Bischoff said AEW drawing 593,000 viewers with CM Punk on the show “isn’t impressive” and that Khan should embrace the role of underdog.
“All I hear out of AEW is how much better they are [than WCW], but I’m not seeing it,” Bischoff said. “What did Friday night [AEW Rampage] do [in the ratings] with CM Punk in a match? 593,000 viewers? I’m sorry that’s just not impressive at all. On top of it, the Dynamite numbers really are not [impressive], they’re over a million, that’s great.
“TNT is probably happy just like Viacom and Spike TV was thrilled with TNA IMPACT, they were thrilled with it, it was one of the highest rated shows on the network, still doesn’t mean much. I just would hope at some point that Tony embraces the role of being an underdog. That’s kind of the advice I was giving to Cody [on Rhodes to the Top] hoping others would see it.”
Eric Bischoff added that he doesn’t think AEW is competition for WWE in the “real sense” saying numbers are objective and that there’s no competition regarding revenue.
“They’re the underdog, AEW is at the point now where people want them to succeed but by continually talking about how much better they are than WWE and talking about the competition, first of all, they’re not in competition with WWE. They’re in the same industry but they’re not competition in the real sense.
“If you’re going to say you’re competing with WWE, then let’s talk numbers because numbers are objective. Is AEW anywhere near WWE in terms of revenue? No. WWE is going to make more money going over to Saudi Arabia for one weekend than AEW is going to make from Turner for the entire year of programming. So there’s no comparison from a revenue point of view, there’s no comparison in terms of their global viewer footprint. On what basis is there a real competition?”
Bischoff concluded that AEW has a long way to go before getting close to where WCW was in 1996.
“The whole cosplay competition and burying your competition while they are kicking your ass. What matters is the numbers and when it comes to the numbers, AEW has got a long way to go. They’re not even close to where I was in 1996, not even close in terms of real competition because they’re not really competing.”