Eric Bischoff is a man who knows something about a wrestling war, and he says AEW has to take the fight to WWE in this era’s battle for supremacy in the wrestling world.
Bischoff was WCW President during the fabled ‘Monday Night Wars’. He led WCW in a battle against the World Wrestling Federation, scoring an incredible 83 weeks of successive dominance in the ratings. Ultimately Bischoff departed the company under some acrimony before being brought back but by then the WWF had secured their footing as the biggest wrestling company in the world.
The Monday Night Wars came to a conclusive end when WWE Chairman Vince McMahon announced in March 2001 that he had bought WCW, bringing that promotion to an end.
Speaking to Adam Barnard on Foundation Radio, Bischoff said that if AEW really wants to dominate the wrestling world they have to take the fight to WWE.
“I know that everybody wants to talk about what was the Wednesday Night Wars, and comparing AEW to WWE, and here’s what has to happen for that to be viable, the AEW/WWE approach, AEW’s gotta go head-to-head. There’s gotta be a fight. There has to be a battle.”
“Going back to storytelling, what are the stakes? In a case where you’re laying down an AEW vs. WWE match, champion vs. champion, okay that sounds really cool if you’re a cosplay wrestling journalist and a fan of those people. But it only works if there are stakes. And the only stakes that matter are who turns out the biggest audience. That’s a fight that people will get behind. That’s a fight that people want to be a part of.”
Eric Bischoff believes it was that fight that got fans so invested in the ‘Monday Night Wars’ of the late nineties:
“That’s what happened during the Monday Night Wars. Why did it work? Because it was real, and because people were invested. They were invested in the characters, they were invested in the fight between the two companies. That actually was more important to them, whether they knew it or not, from a storytelling perspective, the battle between WCW and WWE was a more interesting story than the battle between the two people in the ring. That’s why it worked.”
“So until AEW gets to the point where they’re delivering a similar-sized audience and start trying to take some real estate…it’s a war. If you want a war, you gotta have a freaking war. You can’t just, you gotta do it. AEW needs to take away some WWE real estate. And when that starts happening, people will believe the war. And then they’ll be invested. But otherwise, it’s just cosplay.”
Eric Bischoff has also recently discussed the return of crowds to wrestling and says the shows haven’t been the same without fans in attendance.