Eric Bischoff On AEW Possibly Losing Domino's As A Sponsor

AEW took two risks, Bischoff believes

Eric Bischoff believes All Elite Wrestling took a risk by having a No Rules Match on national TV. 

Last week's edition of Dynamite was main evented by a No Rules Match between Chris Jericho and Nick Gage, during which they used light tubes, steel chairs and a pane of glass on each other. One moment of Nick Gage using a pizza cutter on Jericho also went viral as the broadcast cut to a Domino's Pizza picture-in-picture commercial while the former GCW World Champion was using the weapon.

Domino's announced following the match that they were assessing their "advertising presence" on the programme as a result of the match and former WCW President Eric Bischoff believes AEW took two risks by airing such a hardcore match on TV.

"It's much to do about something that is really important. These bloody hardcore matches, you do have two risks that are out there. The first risk is that you turn off your audience, I made reference that for every one person that may enjoy this bloody hardcore type of match, you run the risk of alienating two or three others that don't. I'm also the guy who has been saying, just because I don't like hardcore matches and generally I do not like hardcore matches unless motherf***ers, it's a logical part of a storyline, then I'm all in," Bischoff said on the 83 Weeks Podcast.

"But random hardcore matches for the sake of random hardcore matches, particularly when they get as gory as the AEW episode I saw when Moxley and whoever his opponent was were digging at each other with a fork. Okay, if you're going to go that far in your presentation of a hardcore match to satisfy whatever percentage of your audience that really digs that stuff, you're taking two calculated risks. You could turn off your audience and I will say a lot of people agreed with me by the way. You've got to service your audience, wrestling has to be a buffet. There has to be enough of everything for everybody to keep an entire audience happy so I get hardcore matches and why they're important because there's a portion of that audience that digs it. But, you could go too far with it.

"Then enter the second risk: you turn off advertisers or sponsors. The story breaks that Domino's was upset and I understand why they would be, I would be if I was a Domino's shareholder. I would be a little hot, I would question what the f*** is my advertising agency doing? How did this happen? Because it's not good folks, take it from the guy that wrote the book 'Controversy Creates Cash', there is some controversy that really works in your benefit. And particularly in the state of affairs that we find ourselves in today, there is a lot of controversy that can kick your ass and not be a benefit," Bischoff continued.

"You have this incident we're talking about, Domino's comes out and makes a statement and of course diehard wrestling fans and in particular, true blue hardcore AEW fans, are like 'oh it doesn't really matter. Another advertiser will come in and take their place.' Okay, maybe, probably but here's also what happens, and this is the part that nobody can understand because they've never been in the television business or the advertising business, here's what happens. You think Domino's Pizza is some guy that works in a cubicle, wherever Domino's is located, you think there's some executive somewhere whose job it is to buy ad time on television? The answer to that is no, Domino's has an advertising agency. Do you think Domino's is the only client that that advertising agency has? Do people not recognise that in the world of the advertising industry and media buying industry there are trades, there are newsletters, there are conversations, there is narrative. There are three levels above any executive in Turner that is going to have a much different perspective on this issue than a wrestling fan would because it can affect the bigger picture."

Bischoff then commented on Pabst Blue Ribbon potentially taking over Domino's advertising spot, adding: "You think AT&T gives a flying f*** about whether or not there should be a hardcore match or not? Probably not. Do you think they care that they have network sponsors, do you think they are concerned that there is something on their network in primetime on their most valuable network that is causing advertisers to threaten to pull the plug? You're damn right there is. Do you think there are not executives at Turner and Warner Media who are in charge of ad sales who are not concerned about the reverberation of the Domino's incident and how it could affect other potential advertisers to the network, not AEW?

"Then everybody got excited because Pabst Blue Ribbon decided 'Hey, I'll jump in.' Well, they're smart, they're taking advantage of the feeling and the wrestling fan and jumping right in, good for them. Guess what? They don't have a pot to p*ss in in terms of national advertising. Why is that? It's because Pabst Blue Ribbon isn't even a brewery, it's a brand. Pabst Blue Ribbon beer is produced and canned and distributed by independent bottlers all over the country. Therefore, they don't have nearly the advertising budget of a Domino's or a General Motors. For everybody to jump on that bandwagon and say 'Oh, it doesn't matter. f*** them, let them go, AEW will find another ad,' first of all, AEW isn't finding the advertisers, whoever's in charge of it [is]. It's a more complex risk and the fallout is more complex than the average wrestling fan will know. There's layers and levels to this that are not obvious to someone if you haven't been in this industry."

H/T to Wrestling Inc.

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Journalist/Editor-in-Chief of Twitter: @theaidangibbons