During an episode of the 83 Weeks’ spin-off Podcast Strictly Business, former WCW President Eric Bischoff spoke about Cody Rhodes’ return to WWE.

Bischoff talked about the mistake he perceives Tony Khan making, and continuing to make, in allowing talent to create ideas and execute them on television without following WWE’s model of trademarking those ideas.

“I use Chris Jericho for example, he’s out there applying for trademarks on intellectual property that is created while Chris is under contract to AEW and being positioned on AEW but Chris Jericho owns the trademark or he’s applying for it,” Bischoff said. “There’s an example of somebody who’s not focusing on intellectual property as it relates to the value of his brand, being AEW, [Tony Khan’s] company.

“When you’re allowing talent to create ideas that are then executed on television and you don’t own those trademarks or ideas, that’s not smart. Want an example? The American Nightmare. How could it be that somebody as high profile as Cody Rhodes and The American Nightmare brand are able to establish that brand in AEW and then take it with them and use it as leverage to negotiate a deal somewhere else?

“There’s an example of what happens when you don’t control your intellectual property. And if I’m Tony Khan, I’m kicking myself in the balls all day long over that. If I’m WWE, that’s a choice, do I want to take advantage of the fact that I can utilize a trademark that was established somewhere else and I can bring it over here and build upon it, instead of it being worth $10, it’ll be worth $100? Or do I want to give him a new name so I can own it?”

Not only did Rhodes come to WWE with The American Nightmare gimmick, Cody also had his theme song and attire, with the former AEW talent not changing a single thing about his presentation.

Although Rhodes did create The American Nightmare character prior to the creation of AEW, Eric Bischoff explains how Khan could have purchased the rights to the trademark and forced Rhodes to have to change things up when he debuted in WWE.

“That would’ve been something that was negotiable when AEW first started,” Bischoff said. “Maybe he came up with it on an indy show somewhere but it wasn’t being monetized. It was just something cool that he did with the logo and the tattoo. That is something that Tony Khan, I believe I could be wrong, but that could’ve been negotiated and Tony Khan could’ve owned that trademark.”

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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