Many have labeled this current era of NXT vs. AEW as the Wednesday Night Wars which plays off the Monday Night Wars of WWE Raw vs. WCW Nitro. Eric Bischoff was a captain during those wars with WCW and he talked about these new wars taking place on Wednesdays and if they are comparable to Mondays.
“I don’t think that’s a fair comparison. I don’t mean to sound disrespectful to NXT or AEW but it’s kinda hard to compare the Monday Night Wars to the Wednesday Night Wars,” Bischoff said in a media scrum at Starrcast. “I don’t really feel that’s a fair comparison to anyone, them or the Monday Night Wars.”
What Bischoff does like about AEW is the way they present Dynamite on TV. He talked about what they do well that makes their product appealing to the home viewer.
“An example of what AEW is doing right is the way they lit the crowd. The first episode or two I saw of AEW, they did a fantastic job of lighting the audience. The audience became a character in the show itself and created a ton of energy that translates to the home viewer,” Bischoff said before noting that the people who work on AEW’s lighting also worked for WCW.
Before AEW Dynamite premiered, Cody stressed that the company wasn’t going to be reactionary in terms of being compared to NXT. If NXT beat them in ratings, which hasn’t happened after six weeks, then they wouldn’t throw out their script and change course. Bischoff weighed in on those comments.
“I think it’s very smart and astute of Cody to feel that way. They’ve gotta be their own brand, have their own vision and have to distinguish themselves from NXT in order to be successful,” stated Bischoff. “Otherwise they’ll end up just being another version of a WWE product. If Cody has that observation and vision, it’s a healthy one and it’s a vision and observation that will serve them well.”
Despite the surge in online popularity in wrestling, the ratings haven’t felt that surge as ratings aren’t what they once were 20 years ago. Bischoff talked about that and why TV ratings haven’t benefitted quite like online interest.
“It’s a very good question and I don’t have the answer for that. I’m not sure too many in the TV or digital community really does,” said Bischoff. “We all have a tendency to make comparisons ? such as the Wednesday Night Wars to the Monday Night Wars ? it was a different time and different industry. TV was a different property than it is today. With all of the different means people have a way to engage their favorite entertainment, it’s having an effect on traditional TV.
“I don’t think you can look at ratings to make a valuation on if something is successful.”
He then noted that AEW and NXT are getting numbers in the 800-900K range and that’s what TNA pulled 4-5 years ago.
“The industry is changing. The platforms are evolving and changing and the challenges are evolving and changing. I just don’t think it’s fair to make comparisons like that,” said Bischoff.
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