Eric Bischoff: AEW Is Definitely Closing The Gap On WWE
Easy E is impressed by AEW’s momentum
Whether you’re a fan or not, it’s hard to deny the fact that AEW is arguably the hottest wrestling promotion on the planet right now.
Riding the crest of the wave that started with CM Punk’s signing, and including the additions of names like Bryan Danielson and Adam Cole, it seems like the only way is up for AEW, and Eric Bischoff agrees.
“They already are in some ways [competition to WWE],” Bischoff mentioned on the 83 Weeks Podcast “I don’t know how you measure any of this, some of it is anecdotal but we’re talking about the buzz. There is a tremendous amount of chatter about AEW on social media, and I’ve seen more and more mainstream media attention, more and more celebrities hanging out [in AEW], not being in the ring. When you’ve got notable people and celebrities across different platforms in sports, media, celebrities getting involved in your product and enjoying it, that bodes well.”
But Bischoff thinks we’re some way off a renewing of the 'Monday Night Wars':
“Let’s be realistic, I know the emotions are running very high when it comes to AEW in a good way and I’m happy to see that, but realistically, if you compare viewership here in the United States, we’re not going to talk about international because AEW is not even in the same universe as WWE when it comes to their international footprint. When you look at domestic viewership, AEW delivers about 50% of Monday Night RAW on average, maybe 55%-60%. AEW’s highest rated show compared to WWE’s highest rated show delivers about 50% of the audience, so it’s not like they’re taking market share. As much as everybody wants it to be ‘The Monday Night Wars’, it’s not, and it won’t be unless and until AEW goes head to head. Now, that’s a real war, now we’re talking about market share.
“But when you look at AEW’s viewership, Friday nights, they’re getting a million, million plus, and Wednesday nights they’re getting a million, million plus the last couple of weeks. That’s still half of what WWE is getting. For all of the people, especially those who are ardent AEW supporters and hoping for a Monday Night War and hoping that we’ll have that same kind of vibe that we had during the Monday Night Wars, we’ve got a long way to go, folks.
“You can kid yourself and dilute yourself into thinking were there, we’re not. If you look at 2 years after we launched Nitro, a year or so after we launched the nWo, WCW was trouncing head-to-head, trouncing, humiliating WWE. AEW is not even close to that. I’m not saying that because of my ego necessarily, I’m just looking at real numbers. Today, much more so than back in the Monday Night Wars, people that write about wrestling, peripheral news networks, everybody’s focusing on demos. That’s cool, I get it, but it’s a fraction of the equation. It’s not the whole of the equation.”
Bischoff does believe AEW are closing the gap on the WWE though: “The flip side of that conversation is AEW is definitely closing the gap, they’re growing, their audience is growing. If that trend continues, I think my quote was they’re going to be legitimate competition. I’m not sure I said anything about closing the gap, although, I didn’t write the headline. I think what I was referring to is AEW is on their way to becoming legitimate competition. When I say legitimate competition, I’m talking about for market share, not for online hype and peripheral news headlines because 90% of that is bulls*** anyway.
“They’re trying to create a war where one doesn’t exist because wars create interest and interest creates clicks and clicks create money. But what I’m seeing in AEW is a legitimate competitor, and if they continue on that trend that they’ve established, that competition is only going to get closer and closer, and then it’s about market share. Nobody is taking anything away from anybody. Raw or SmackDown are not taking anything away from AEW and AEW is not taking any market share from WWE. It’s just a duplication of the audience. That’s not bad, it’s just reality.”
H/T: Wrestling Inc.