AEW President Tony Khan sparked heavy debate a few weeks back when he posted several tweets referring to WCW and Ted Turner and stating that if the billionaire had 1% of the knowledge he had about wrestling then WCW would still be around.
That comment caused former WCW President Eric Bischoff to come to the defense of Turner and stated that Khan’s tweets comparing himself to Turner were ignorant and uninformed. Khan responded to Bischoff when he appeared on Busted Open Radio and fired back at WCW’s former leader.
Khan responded to Bischoff telling him to just “shut up and wrestle” in regard to his comments about competing with WWE. The AEW President also mentioned how AEW beat WWE head-to-head for a 30-minute period in the key demographic (18-49) and that TNT was “over the moon” about it on Friday night.
Bischoff responded to Khan’s comments on the latest episode of the 83 Weeks Podcast, stating his view of the situation on Friday night. The WWE Hall of Famer spoke about Khan’s comments where he referred to having to position CM Punk at the top of the show to garner a better rating than WWE at that time to suggest he’s a big star. Bischoff also stated his belief that WWE’s move to have an extra 30 minutes of SmackDown was done so AEW would react and believes it having a negative effect on the show.
“Great anticipation about CM Punk right? I put it over, I was excited about it,” Bischoff mentioned. “And I’ve never met CM Punk, I’ve never had a conversation with Punk but I’m well aware of the equity and value in that character and the way it was teased and the anticipation that was created, I was so excited about that. It was the first time in a long time that I’ve seen a real orchestrated controlled build that really created the anticipation that I think is such a big part of what makes wrestling work. Since that time, they’re right back down to 500,00-600,000 viewers. Tony says ‘Well, they decided they were going to go head to head with us and I was going to put Punk and Sydal,’ and this is not negative to either but what did it do? Not much arguably but what did happen, and this is the art of war part of this, is WWE forced by doing that overlap into AEWs time slot, forced a situation where now CM Punk is opening up the show.”
“WWE made a move that was the catalyst for Tony Khan to take his highest profile piece of talent, arguably, and put him in that time slot and the show did less than a million viewers. How is that a f***ing win? Burning up talent, putting someone into a match with a storyline, with no angle. It was definitely an in-delicious move but you’re burning up resources and you walked away with less than a million viewers?”
“WWE delivered more viewers, which affects everything. Pay per view, merchandise, ticket sales, all the other metrics you want to identify. WWE delivered more viewers than AEW on a third or fourth tier cable outlet than AEW did with one their highest profile pieces and new fresh talent and WWE outperformed them. Now, if you don’t want to acknowledge that and you want to shift everybody on the internet’s focus to a key demo for a 30-minute period of time, hurrah for you. It’s not real, not when it comes to context. My point in this diatribe is that Vince caused you to make a big move that, in my opinion, was less than flattering.”
Several weeks back, CM Punk made a comment stating that AEWs talent acquisitions were bigger than when WCW brought in Scott Hall and Kevin Nash and stated that wrestling fans won’t see the affects of the big signings until “five years down the road”. Having been the President of the company at the time, Bischoff refuted those comments heavily and said “Punk has sh*t the bed” since coming into AEW with high ratings. Bischoff continued to talk about CM Punk and the fact that in his eyes, “The Best in the World” has not reached the level that was promised in AEW and needs to “be careful about what you say until you’re delivering” for AEW.
“Punk hasn’t delivered,” Bischoff said. “Punk was the guy that came out and his first comments were ‘The addition of this talent was more significant than Scott Hall and Kevin Nash,’ constantly making references to WCW because they want to be the company that WCW was back in the mid-90s. There’s these constant references to WCW. When Scott Hall and Kevin Nash came in, we took off. Punk, you came in and you sh*t the bed, in terms of ratings. It ain’t there and there’s nothing in reality to suggest otherwise. You just need to be careful about what you say until you’re delivering. That comment that Punk made about these guys being more significant than Hall and Nash in 96 and then two weeks after Punk made his big arrival the ratings dropped by 40-50%.
“This is what lit my fuse, I wasn’t going to comment on any of this until Punk came out and said ‘It’s going to take five years for the effect of this talent to really show up significantly in the ratings,’ are you f***ing kidding me? Does anybody other than an uninformed wrestling fan who loves CM Punk, is anybody going to believe that nonsense? It’s going to take five years? Dude, you’re going to be getting AARP mail, because it happens soon as you start getting close to 50 they start pounding you with this s--t. I let that one go but then to come out a couple weeks later, after in my opinion he should be embarrassed, and for the ratings to take the dive the way they did after his debut, suggests to me that he ain’t as hot as he’s trying to make people think he is. If he was, the numbers would be much bigger.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.