The coronavirus pandemic has caused major disruption to both WWE and AEW. Their programming is currently being broadcast from closed-set locations without an audience which has caused ratings to drop by between 10 percent and 15 percent. Some matches have also been criticised for being overly long while fans wish others could have been saved for when both companies can tape in front of a live audience again.
Eric Bischoff discussed the predicament WWE and AEW find themselves in on the latest episode of 83 Weeks. Bischoff said he would advocate for all new programming to be pulled off the air because he is worried that broadcasting an inferior product for the foreseeable future will cause both companies to lose their audience, and WWE and AEW might fail to get that audience back when they start running arena shows again.
The former Executive Director of SmackDown said: "If it were me, I would advocate pulling it. I would advocate not producing shows until we can get back in front of a live audience. And I know that's extreme. I know in some respects that could be playing Russian roulette with the company itself but it’s a matter of risking that one bullet… You've got six rounds potentially and there's only one round in the chamber, it gives you reasonably good odds of surviving it... If you don't make that decision, and it's a long term decision, and it's a painful one, what I would fear, what I would try to analyse in terms of risk and reward is what's the bigger risk? Convincing my audience over the next six months that my product sucks because I'm putting on a product that was never designed to be produced in front of no audience or would my odds be better if I pulled my programming?
"And in WWE's case, they've got just a treasure trove of classic materials they could still utilise to have content up. But would I be better off pulling the show until things normalise and coming back with a vengeance, with excitement and a live audience? Or should I spend the next six months convincing my audience that my product kind of isn't really that much fun to watch and they didn't make their own decision, they just don't really want to watch it any more... I would advocate pulling the plug and coming back with a vengeance once I could, as opposed to limping through the shows that we're seeing now."