In a move that shocked the wrestling world, Bray Wyatt was released by WWE due to reported “budget cuts”. Add the former 3-time WWE World Champion to the list of surprising “budget cuts” over the past year that includes Braun Strowman, The IIConics, Aleister Black and others. Many wrestlers reacted to the news of Wyatt’s release, with stars like Matt Hardy and Braun Strowman showing their love for their friend.
Eric Bischoff joined the discussion on the release of Bray Wyatt on the latest episode of the 83 Weeks Podcast, mentioning that the former WWE Champion being released was “shocking” and came at a weird time. Wyatt’s final appearance in WWE came on the Monday Night RAW after WrestleMania 37.
“I have no idea what Bray’s motivations are, state of mind is,” Bischoff said. “I couldn’t even begin to answer that. The fact that they let him go was surprising to me in a lot of ways because he’s a very talented, very, very talented guy. He gets it in the big picture from a storytelling and character perspective. This is not a guy pretending to be a wrestler, this is a guy who gets it and has demonstrated that. So that surprised me.”
Just prior to the news of Bray Wyatt’s release taking over the wrestling world, Vince McMahon was asked during a WWE investors call about former WWE talent ending up in AEW and stated that AEW isn’t on the same level of competition as WCW was to WWE. The former WCW President spoke about those comments in reference to Wyatt’s release, saying it seems very strange that McMahon would hand AEW a talent at the level of Bray Wyatt.
“I find it ironic that six or eight months ago people were thinking ‘Oh man, Vince McMahon is afraid to let anybody go because he’s afraid of AEW,’” Bischoff said. “For god sake, he’s like feeding people to AEW. I have no instinct on this, I have no gut feel on this but I’m fascinated with the fact that WWE is willing to not just let talent go, let marquee talent go with a high level of equity amongst wrestling fans at the point where AEW is making such solid progress. They got momentum in their corner now. I sent Tony [Khan] a text the other day and said ‘Hey man, I love watching your growth.’ When AEW launched, they had momentum and things kind of slowed down, they opened up with 1.4 million viewers and then they dropped down.
“Now they’re breaking a million, now they’re bringing in some big names. Once you create momentum over a long enough period of time, it’s almost impossible to f*** it up. It can be done but man you become somewhat bullet proof because that momentum behind you allows fans to look the other way when they see something they don’t like or a decision they don’t understand. They’re willing to look the other way because they’ve got something else to focus on and that’s how you maintain momentum, by positioning yourself that way. It’s very difficult to do, it’s not an easy task but AEW has done it. They’re on a roll now and what a weird time to release a talent like Bray Wyatt that has so much freaking equity with the audience and allow him to be in position to go to AEW. That is a phenomenally interesting scenario to me, makes me wonder what is going on behind the scenes in WWE. I’m just fascinated, it’s an interesting time to be interested in the business of the wrestling business.
Although Bischoff has stated several times on his podcast he doesn’t spend much time watching current wrestling, the former WCW President said the way things have shaped up in the business has made him interested. Bischoff spoke about being more interested about the business of wrestling now then at any point since the Monday Night Wars.
“I know listeners are probably disappointed that I don’t watch certain things or don’t have an opinion on certain things that happen on TV every week,” Bischoff mentioned. “Fear not, for I am more interested than ever in the business of the wrestling business because I don’t think it’s been this interesting in a long time.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.