During a special edition of the 83 Weeks Podcast, Eric Bischoff was asked what the most important metric is today to measure the success of a pro wrestling company. Since the inception of AEW, Bischoff has been openly critical of the way the wrestling media uses the 18-49 demographic to grant AEW a win in the ratings war. The former WCW President stated there’s only one thing that matters at the end of the day and it’s not any demographic.
“Dollars, that’s it,” Bischoff said. “It’s just dollars. Everything else is incremental measurements that may suggest or indicate some level of performance or lack thereof. What f***ing difference does it make if you’re dominating 18-49-year-old demos but nobody is buying your ads, who cares? It all comes down to dollars, there’s only one metric. There’s only one measurement that at the end of the day actually matters and that’s dollars.
“Everything else is just entertainment value or public relations value, or more than anything, it’s clickbait for the online wrestling community to create an engagement and discussion of something that most people who are discussing it have no f***ing clue what they’re talking about. If you’re growing your revenue and growing your profit margin, that’s what it’s all about. All those other little metrics, which is a fun word to use now, that you can use and analyze are nothing more than a little road map to get you to the real road map which is dollars.”
Eric Bischoff also spoke about the recent influx of WWE talent that’s been released this year, hitting the over 80 mark, and how many of them have ended up in WWE. Being the former WCW President, Bischoff mentioned whether or not Tony Khan is going down the path he did with hoarding WWE talent. He also spoke about if he thinks that will be an issue for the company given that they have several former WWE stars atop their card.
“I don’t know Tony Khan well enough, but let’s talk about history a little bit,” Eric Bischoff said. “One of the biggest criticisms that I got from the dirt sheet community was ‘he’s signed too many WWE guys. Got too many people on the roster. Not letting the young talent get a shot because it’s bloated with ex-WWE guys.’ Okay, guess what? Some of that was true and some of that I deserved. Is history repeating itself? I don’t know, maybe? Maybe not? We don’t know what AEW’s strategies are, we don’t know what their plans for growth are… That being said, if there is no strategy and if you’re simply loading up your roster for the sake of building a big roster because having a big roster is your measure of success, then yeah there’s a chance it could backfire.
“You bring in all these people, it’s great but guess what all those people want? Put money aside, they want to be on television, they want to perform, and live their dream of performing in front of a live audience in a meaningful way. That’s what drives them, that was their dream and reason for getting into the entertainment business, specifically professional wrestling. So if you’re just loading up a roster to say, ‘I’ve got one of the best rosters in the business,’ big f***ing deal. If you’re not using those people to the extent that they feel like they’re getting their part of that dream, then ultimately, you can have a challenge and that challenge can become malignant and dangerous. We don’t know, do we? Let’s see what the future holds. Ask me a year from now, we’ll have a better idea.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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