All Elite Wrestling Owner Tony Khan announced last week that AEW has purchased the intellectual property, video library and brand assets of Ring of Honor (ROH).
Former WCW President Eric Bischoff spoke about the news on the latest episode of the 83 Weeks Podcast, revealing why it made the most sense for Khan to purchase the company over WWE and Vince McMahon. It was revealed that WWE had talks to purchase ROH after the company announced its hiatus in November.
“You could argue that because of the power of Peacock and that platform that any additional content might be a good strategic move for them, but it makes more sense for Tony [Khan],” Bischoff said. “Given his roster, I would agree with that absolutely. If it made sense to anybody, it made sense to Tony Khan.”
Tony Khan spoke a little bit more about the signing during last night’s AEW Revolution Post Show Media Scrum, where Khan spoke a bit about his relationship with Sinclair Broadcasting and why they were excited to work with him. Although the podcast was recorded prior to AEW Revolution, Eric Bischoff gave his thoughts on the ROH/Sinclair relationship and why he doesn’t believe there’s value in that relationship.
“There’s not a lot of value there,” Bischoff said. “Optimistically, because there’s so much we don’t know, Tony could have an awesome plan in his back pocket that we don’t know about. Now we’ve got this amazing roster of talent and I don’t really have enough television on TBS to take advantage of it, let’s start another promotion on another television network. So you’re going to produce another television show, assuming it’s exclusive and that talent that’s assigned to that Ring of Honor show, now you can take advantage of a huge roster with some great talent. But you’ve got to pay to produce that show and there is not enough return on the investment on that show if you expect to monetize it on the Sinclair network because guess what, that’s why they sold it.”
Back in October, Tony Khan teased that AEW was in talks with WarnerMedia for a streaming deal. Eric Bischoff continued to talk about the ROH deal, ultimately revealing why he believes it was a good move for AEW, citing the video library and a potential streaming deal as the main reason. The WWE Hall of Famer also added some criticism about ROH, stating that in the short term this purchase doesn’t really mean much and said not many people in the United States know what Ring of Honor is.
“In the end of it, all the conversation about was it a good deal for Tony or not, I think it was a good deal,” Bischoff said. “If Tony’s goal ultimately is to build, independent of Turner, is to build his own streaming platform? Absolutely the acquisition of Ring of Honor makes sense. It’s not going to make financial sense in the short term, it’s just not. How many people around in the United States television viewing audience, how many of them even know what Ring of Honor is.”
“Short term, it is not going to be profitable but three years from now, five years from now, seven, 10 years out… Because streaming platforms are popping up every day. That’s getting bigger and bigger and bigger and guess what? Content becomes more and more valuable over time. Content that probably wasn’t worth anything five years ago conceivably is not worth quite a bit of money because the market has grown and the ability to feed it with content has not.”
“My opinion, short term that library is going to mean absolutely nothing and in a lot of cases it looks like s--t. You couldn’t do anything with it anyway, it looks like it was built on a phone in a high school gym. But there’s still some great content there.”
Bischoff also provided some insight into what he would do if he were in Tony Khan’s position right now. The WWE Hall of Famer spoke about using ROH to retell old storylines and use the backstory from wrestlers’ days in Ring of Honor to add to a storyline. Fans saw a first glimpse of that at AEW Revolution, with CM Punk coming to the ring for his match against MJF in his ROH gear and to his old ROH entrance theme.
“Here’s perhaps a short-term play that will matter with the Ring of Honor acquisition,” Bischoff said. “If Tony is able to, and his team, is able to figure out a way to use ROH and his legacy and the fact that some of its talent that’s in AEW got their start early on in ROH, there’s a lot of connective tissue between Tony’s current roster and the legacy of ROH. What if they’re able to use that and use Ring of Honor as a backdrop to launch stories from? Because now you’ve got a lot of people, much like they did with CM Punk and Eddie, which only lasted for about 45 seconds, it was still pretty f***ing cool.
“Well now you’ve got ROH, access to the library to use to help fill in the backstory holes that you need to tell a really good story in 2022. I think that’s a short term opportunity. I don’t know if it justifies what the cost was because we don’t know what that was but it doesn’t f***ing matter, you’ve got it now, use it to the best of your abilities. Again great stories have great backstory, creating a new story out of thin air is challenging, it’s obviously done all the time. Now you’ve got a real backstory that you can enhance to launch new stories from and that’s what I hope we see.”
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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