WWE Hall of Famer Eric Bischoff has claimed that, while AEW and NJPW’s cross-promotional Forbidden Door event is great for current fans, it’s unlikely to grow AEW’s audience.
On the April 20th edition of AEW Dynamite, it was announced that the relationship between AEW and New Japan Pro Wrestling would be moving to a new level. The result is a super-show that will be held on June 26th at the United Center in Chicago. While no matches have been yet been announced, the event sold out its presale allocation of 11,000 tickets in under an hour and the remaining 3,000 reportedly sold out minutes after the general sale opened.
Former WCW President Eric Bischoff spoke about Forbidden Door on the most recent edition of his Strictly Business podcast (available via AdFreeShows). When asked if he thought the event would help grow AEW’s audience, Bischoff said that believes that AEW is booking for “internet wrestling fans” more than the casual audience and this event will only satisfy the audience they already have.
“I don’t think so,” Bischoff said, on if Forbidden Door will grow AEWs audience. “What AEW has been doing and what, at least up until the last episode I watched about two weeks ago, is kind of internet wrestling community-centric. They’re booking for internet wrestling fans more than they’re booking for the casual audience and I would venture to guess, and it’s just a guess, but they’re satisfying an audience that they already have. And they’re doing a phenomenal job of doing that but how many people watch New Japan wrestling? How many people watch the New Japan product on a weekly basis [in the US]?
Eric Bischoff did, however, go on to explain that he likes the idea of Forbidden Door from a wrestling fan’s perspective and enjoyed his own experience of working with NJPW while he ran WCW in the 1990s.
“How is merging a television property that’s only getting 200,000 viewers a week with AEW, how is that going to increase or attract the casual viewer that AEW doesn’t have? I don’t know, doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea, I kind of dig the idea from a wrestling fan’s perspective, and I’ve spent a lot of time in Japan and have a lot of good memories and experiences working with New Japan. I love the Japanese style of wrestling but that doesn’t mean it’s going to grow an audience.”
“It may work, again I’m not being critical of the idea. My belief is no, it’s not [going to increase casual viewership].”
H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the above transcription.