Eric Bischoff has revealed why he’ll never be invited to another AEW event by Tony Khan.
Following the launch of AEW and AEW Dynamite, Eric Bischoff and Tony Khan appeared to find friendship over their efforts to run a wrestling company against WWE and Vince McMahon.
This led to Bischoff appearing sporadically on AEW television up until mid 2021. However, since that point the relationship between the pair has appeared to have soured to a degree, with both men trading barbs on social media and in interviews.
Bischoff has repeatedly hit out what he sees as AEW’s lack of growth, as well as Khan pitching the company as direct competition to WWE. For his part, Khan has openly discussed not wanting to make mistakes, WCW and their former President, Bischoff made during the late 1990’s.
During an appearance on the MackMania podcast, Eric Bischoff addressed his relationship with Khan, revealing that he won’t be invited to another AEW event.
“I have been beating this drum, and this is one of the reasons why Tony probably thinks I am a pain in his ass at this point. I’ll never get invited to another AEW event, which is okay. I am a little sad about that, but I get it, I don’t take it personally,” he said. “But I’ve been saying for over a year now when it comes to AEW. And this is why I am concerned about their dirt sheet booking approach, booking for the internet if you will. Is that if you’re not growing, you’re dying.”
Expanding further, Bischoff commented on the recent merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery. Bischoff explained AEW will need to be hitting certain targets as AEW’s TV deal comes up for renewal.
“Here’s where Tony’s at right now, he’s got a year and a half, two years left on his existing agreement with Turner. There is a new company coming to town, there is a new sheriff in town, his name is David Zaslav. He works for a company called Discovery,” Eric said. “They now own all the Turner properties.
“Well, if you come in, and you acquire one property in television, and you look at that programming schedule, and you look at the revenue that’s generated by it because this is all about making money. My first question is going to be, ‘OK, we’ve got this beachfront, also called primetime. We’ve got this beachfront property here on Wednesday nights, how is that doing?’ Well, the audience isn’t growing, ‘OK, well, they’re young, we’ll give it some time.’
“Let’s look at it a different way, ‘are they improving upon their lead-in?’ Because that’s another formula that’s very important when you’re a programmer. Not when you’re a wrestling fan, but when you’re a programmer and you’re a $350- or $550,000-a-year salary, your stock options are dependent on how well you manage that beachfront property. So, if you’re looking at that beachfront property, and the audience isn’t really growing, and they don’t really outperform their lead-in, okay, two strikes.
“‘Hey, who’s here from ad sales? OK, Mr. or Mrs. ad salesperson, how are the ad sales going for this product? Are you getting premium ad dollars for it? Are you getting mid-tier advertising for it? Or are you kind of getting bottom feeder opportunistic ad buys?’ Because, for the most part, wrestling is still a little bit of a tough sell.
“If the answer comes back, ‘Well, we are kind of just plugging along, we are getting some action in the ad sales, but it’s a lower tier, opportunistic kind of buys. And the audience isn’t really growing, and we are not really outperforming our lead-in,’ those are kind of three things that are really working against you when somebody comes in and decides whether they want to redevelop that beachfront property to be more profitable, or if they want to leave it the same. And that’s why I saw growing is so important.”
The former Raw General Manager also discussed people, including Khan, using ratings in an effort to prove AEW are competition to WWE, especially when he doesn’t see how they are.
“I would venture to guess 99% of the people who talk about it on social media when they are constantly comparing ratings, or even statisticians that are cramming all this data in there and they’re using that data to paint the picture they want the narratives to be. That was one of the things I called Tony Khan out in the first place,” he said. “Stop comparing yourself to WWE, you’re not competitive in any measurable way. But the more you try to convince people you are, the dumber you look because it’s insulting. “
Tony Khan recently came in criticism online after he claimed that many of the negative comments that AEW receives on social media come from “anti-AEW bots” rather than genuine fans.
H/t Wrestling Inc for the transcription.