Why Eric Bischoff Says AEW Is Losing The 'Good Will' Of The Wrestling Audience

Following its inception in 2019, everyone in the pro wrestling business, Eric Bischoff among them at the time, was rooting AEW on, knowing the value of competition and its benefit to the business as a whole. This, according to Bischoff, has a shelf life, however, and AEW is in danger of losing ground without course correction.

During the latest episode of "83 Weeks," Bischoff, who served as executive director of "WWE SmackDown" when AEW was established, detailed that early era, and how those across the wrestling landscape were virtually all in AEW's corner.

"In the beginning, everybody, hell, WWE writers in the room that were watching the premier episode with me were cheering them on," he said. "Everybody was so excited and that has value."

The fostering of this sort of "good will," as Bischoff called it, carries tremendous importance, especially for a newly established entity in any particular industry. "But you can wear it out," Bischoff warned, sharing a lesson he learned from another television executive long ago. "Gary Considine, Executive Producer for 'The Tonight Show With Jay Leno' at NBC, said to me, 'Eric, once the audience decides to vote with their remote, it's almost impossible to get them back.'"

That warning from Considine is something that Tony Khan and AEW should be aware of now, according to Bischoff, who seems most concerned with dwindling ratings for "Dynamite" and "Collision," primarily, as well as gate numbers for many of AEW's events of late.

A downward trend?

What Eric Bischoff sees, at this very moment, are leading indicators that AEW is headed in a potentially irreversible direction, at least according to the advice he received years back.

"What I'm seeing in terms of ratings [and] ticket sales [is that] you're losing the good will," he explained "The audience is voting with their remotes and they're voting with their pocketbooks and they're losing ground."

As with any valid critique, if you're going to point out the perceived negatives, it's only fair to offer potential solutions in turn and Bischoff didn't shy away from as much. As AEW approaches television rights negotiations, he advised Khan shifts his focus from expanded content to the quality of their creative, and to use that very effort openly in the negotiation room.

"I think it's critical," Bischoff opined. "If I was Tony and I wasn't feeling secure in my renewal position, my negotiation position, I'd be cutting back on content and beefing up my creative, and coming to those meetings with a plan of how I'm going to grow my audience."

Failure to make such an adjustment could be catastrophic according to Bischoff, who closed out his point with a fitting analogy of AEW to a piece of real estate.

"The trajectory that they're on right now is a beach house on a beautiful piece of property and the foundation is cracking," he said. "The house is starting to tilt. It hasn't collapsed yet but fewer and fewer people are interested in renting that piece of property or in this case, watching that property. Not good."