WWE released dozens of talent earlier this month. Some of the talent that were let go included Rusev, Erick Rowan, Kurt Angle, Sarah Logan, Heath Slater and Zack Ryder. Eric Bischoff discussed the releases on his podcast, 83 Weeks, and how tough the situation will be for those involved due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
“I felt bad for everybody involved,” Bischoff said. “I felt bad for the fans, I certainly felt bad for the talent, I felt bad for WWE as a company because I know that had to be an extremely difficult decision. Not just because so many of the talent that was released had been with WWE for a long time, they were obviously valuable or they wouldn’t have been there in the first place. When you developed a 5, 10, 15 year relationship or so with talent and then because of circumstances that have nothing to do with the talent themselves or the business in general, to have to make such a big cut across the board, they all had to take that hit.”
Bischoff noted how hard it is going to be for the talent who lost their jobs to find another place to work in this environment.
“It hits me a little differently,” Bischoff said. “From my perspective, so many of these incredibly talented people have spent so long developing their craft and learning the business and sacrificing so much to get into the WWE and at least for the immediate future, everything they’ve done is put on hold. It’s not easy, you have a family, you’ve got responsibilities financially. These people don’t have the ability necessarily to pick up and take their skill sets down the road to another company that easily, there’s only so much AEW could absorb in terms of talent.
“I know what it’s like to sit at home and fear the unknown and wonder what you’re going to do with your life. It’s overwhelming at first, but in a matter of days or weeks you start realizing that when the mental and emotional fog is clearing, there’s still opportunities out there. But man, that first couple weeks, month, month and a half are really challenging and I’ve been there more than once. I just feel bad for them, so many great talents.”
As for where some of the stars will end up, Bischoff is guessing that some of the talent that have been utilized on WWE television recently will end up in AEW.
“It’s hard to say,” Bischoff said. “Let’s be honest about it, there’s really only one other place to go which is AEW. I have no idea what the philosophy or strategy is inside AEW in terms of developing new talent or acquiring new talent, so I don’t know what their needs are or what they’re looking for. You look at a guy like Rusev who of the group, Erick Rowan could fall into this category as well, guys that had been used prominently in WWE most recently. Doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best talent available, but let’s face it, their equity is higher based on the fact that they’ve been visible on the biggest platform in the world most recently.
“By default, if I was betting, if I was in Las Vegas, I would probably put most of my money on guys who we’ve seen a lot of in the WWE in the last 6 months or a year. I’d be less inclined on certain people we haven’t seen a lot of who were let go. Those guys who have been on TV recently, involved in angles and storylines recently, will probably be the first to get opportunities. All of them will be, if not, looking forward to reinventing their characters will have to do so whether they want too or not to avoid litigation in the future.”
Bischoff noted that the entertainment business can be fickle and that most talent are aware of that.
“I think most of the talent that was let go has been around long enough to know that this stuff happens, it’s the entertainment business,” Bischoff noted. “It’s not like you’re working for the post office or the federal government for god sakes. The entertainment business can be fickle, you’re only as good as your last performance, your career is subject to the whims and fancies of an audience whose appetite can change. Most of the guys and ladies are probably a little used to this but it’s still a shock.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 weeks with Eric Bischoff with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.