Eric Bischoff knows what it is like to be involved in a ratings war in professional wrestling. As the executive vice president, and then president of WCW, he launched WCW Monday Nitro in the same timeslot as Monday Night Raw to directly compete with WWE. He then tried every underhanded tactic to boost his show’s ratings, including broadcasting Nitro from 7:57 p.m. so he could tell viewers what was going to happen on Raw.
Now the wrestling world finds itself embroiled in the Wednesday Night Wars between AEW Dynamite and WWE NXT. Bischoff recently appeared on the WINCLY podcast, in which he discussed both shows ratings. The former Raw general manager admitted that he didn’t want his comments to be seen as “a left-handed shot,” but he said that both promotions should be concerned about their TV ratings. He elaborated that the most important thing for any TV show was to attract advertisers, and having a viewership of under one million viewers that wasn’t growing was a “tough sell,” to those in the advertising world. He added that the ratings for both shows would have been embarrassing to IMPACT a couple of years ago, and unless both Dynamite and NXT started growing their audiences, they would eventually be cancelled.
Bischoff said: “You look at NXT right now and AEW, and yes they’re going head to head, but both of those shows are only delivering numbers that were embarrassing to TNA a couple of years ago. I don’t know how you can look at those numbers and not be concerned. […] It’s the television industry; if you’re not building your audience you’re killing your audience, you’re dying.
“When you’re delivering under a million viewers in a product that for the most part is a tough sell to the advertising world, and now you’ve got less than a million viewers on a week to week basis, that’s not a big piece of business for a television network, especially for prime time. When they could run a rerun and have an easier time selling ads and get as much money for it as they are spending on a live action wrestling event […] If I was only delivering 800,000 viewers in prime time and my numbers weren’t showing signs of growing, even incrementally […] and you’re for the most part flat, or worse, you’re losing the audience. If you’re not paying attention to that red flag you’re going to fly into an iceberg.”