Eric Bischoff recently shared some harsh comments about CM Punk’s return to wrestling in AEW. The former WCW President stated that Punk has “sh** the bed” since joining the company and has not lived up to the hype that his return created with AEW.
On the latest episode of the 83 Weeks Podcast, Bischoff continued his stance on Punk and revealed why he was so critical of the former WWE Champion. WCW’s former Executive Vice President stated that Punk has “way under delivered” in AEW and only responded to his comments because of the AEW superstar’s remarks about Scott Hall and Kevin Nash.
“When Punk came out and said that the AEW signing of him and Daniel Bryan was more significant than Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, well I kind of disagree with that,” Bischoff said. “Yes CM Punk was at a high level, 7 fricking years ago when he was at his peak performance role in WWE. That was 7 years ago, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were fresh off of WWE TV so you can debate significance because it’s another subjective term that’s unquantifiable and I’m not going to bother to do that. I’ll defer to the court, I’ll submit Punk’s position but what I found interesting is after Punk showed up with all his significance, far more significance than Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, only to see AEW lose viewership over the course of the next two or three weeks.
“Over that two-three week slide, Punk comes out and says ‘It’s going to take five years before anybody really notices,’ hahaha. That to me was like okay dude. And let’s go back a little further, when CM Punk felt the need to come out in his debut and disparage Hulk Hogan the way that he did, CM Punk doesn’t know Hulk Hogan. Never worked with Hulk Hogan, doesn’t know anything about Hulk Hogan. But he’s trying to get himself over with that dirt sheet/anti-Hogan community and then comparing himself above Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, categorizing himself as more significant and then to come out and when it’s time to deliver, way under delivered. Way under delivered, it bears pointing out. If you’re going to talk s--t and talk smack, then you have to be prepared for others to talk s--t and talk smack back. “
On top of his criticism towards Punk, Bischoff called out Tony Khan for his tweets about WCW and his former boss, Ted Turner. Bischoff said the reason he took what Khan and Punk said so personally is because they tried to “disparage others in an attempt to get themselves over”, which he believes shows signs of weakness.
“It’s the same thing with Tony, when Tony came out and said what he said about WCW and me and the mistakes I’ve made and all the happy dirtsheet horse s--t that gets repeated so often, I’m going to respond to that,” Bischoff said. “Why would anybody be surprised that I would respond to that? Why would anybody think I wouldn’t? I have nothing against CM Punk, I’m looking forward to watching him grow and build the AEW brand, I hope he does. What I’ve seen so far, I’m not going to bet all my money on it but I’m hopeful. When people come out and they disparage others in an attempt to get themselves over however elegant they think they may be doing it, it’s a cry.
“To me, it’s a sign of weakness so I’m going to do my best not to react too much. This stuff is two weeks old now, unless somebody comes out with some new s--t and says some other stupid things that I feel the need to react to, I’m jus going to watching Dynamite on TV and Rampage on TV and Monday Night RAW on TV and SmackDown when I can and I’m going to enjoy the show and hope for the best.”
On this past Friday’s AEW Rampage, Punk and Eddie Kingston got into a scuffle while Punk was speaking to Tony Schiavone backstage. Kingston got in Punk’s face saying he does whatever he wants to which Punk replied, “Do you want to go to sleep again?”.
Bischoff watched the promo on Friday night and spoke about why he wasn’t a fan of it. The WWE Hall of Famer said there was too much backstory in the conversation that casual fans wouldn’t pick up on that most diehard fans would.
“Good promo, I got the promo, we lit the fuse but I wasn’t clear why we are lighting that fuse,” Bischoff said. “Why did Eddie react the way he reacted? What I said to [Conrad] was all of the really hardcore fans, the audience that AEW already has probably knows the backstory just like [Conrad] did. [Conrad] had to explain it to me but if the other 98 million people that are floating around out there looking for something to watch on TV don’t know that and they just happen to pop in because they wanted to see what all the noise is about. They used to watch wrestling 5-25 years ago and now man I heard about this big thing, I want to see what it’s all about.
“If AEW doesn’t do a great job of telling that story to the uninformed as opposed to just assuming that those that know know, it probably won’t live up to its potential. That’s my advice is man tell stories, don’t just put on matches for the sake of matches, do not just entertain the hardcore dirt sheet community or the internet wrestling community. They’re an important part of the community, no doubt about it but they’re not the only part and you’ve got to tell stories that appeal to the masses, not to the few if you want to be popular with the masses.”
Bischoff highlighted what he believes is the key reason as to why AEW has yet to feel the full effect in the ratings of the signings of Bryan Danielson and CM Punk. Bischoff said he ultimately believes the key mistake AEW made was believing CM Punk was somebody he’s not and put him on a pedestal that he can’t live up to.
“No story,” Bischoff said. “Because you had all this anticipation, Punk’s coming, Bryan Danielson is coming, this guys coming, this girls coming, everybody’s coming, this is going to be great. They came, they saw, nothing really happened, you got a big pop, yay, the crowd reacted, that was awesome, sold a bunch of t-shirts that was awesome, now what? There’s no now what. It’s not episodic. Come on. That’s the example. How many people tuned into Rampage when Punk showed up? 1.3 [million]? 1.3 showed up and how many showed up three weeks later? 500,000. Why’s that? Because you didn’t give them a reason to come back! That’s why!”
“I think it’s a mistake to put Punk on such a pedestal that you think he’s so over that all he has to do is show up and sprinkle Punk dust on his opponent and that Punk dust is going to elevate his other opponent and not take anything away from Punk. I think Punk, the way he’s being used now, this is constructive criticism, I think that they diminished the perception. There was a ton of perception, great equity in that perception and then he shows up, does a great promo, gets a great reaction and then does kind of pretty much nothing. I’m not putting myself over but compared to Scott Hall and Kevin Nash because I’m not the one who did it first, Punk did, but Scott Hall and Kevin Nash showed up immediately in the story and s--t went through the roof and stayed that way for a long time. Showing up and getting that big pop and then having nothing for two or three weeks in a row doesn’t help Punk, doesn’t help the product.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.