Eric Bischoff thinks Tony Khan and All Elite Wrestling are on shaky ground.
In recent weeks, the NWA has been mired in controversy after a spot depicting James Mitchell using recreational drugs on a pay-per-view appears to have cost the promotion a TV deal. The company looked set to join CW, but many of the details about the deal now appear uncertain after the network announced a new deal with WWE.
On his 83 Weeks podcast, Eric Bischoff was asked what he’d do to take the NWA forward. The WWE Hall of Famer explained that without running live events the promotion would never progress, however, if more money was put into running it, and its philosophy was tweaked it could be a success as AEW is vulnerable.
“The only thing that Billy Corgan could do is to sit down with his financial team and determine how much money he personally has invested in NWA at this point. Maybe add to that a little bit, throw a couple million more in, have enough of your own skin in the game, and then go out and raise a boatload of money. Because until and unless he takes that show on the road and you create the live event, which is where the rights fees are, there’s no question about it.
WWE is getting the money that they’re getting. AEW potentially is going to get whatever money they’re gonna get because they’ve established themselves as a live-action destination with a significant audience each and every week. That’s what Billy needs to do. Billy can bring in all the talent in the world he wants to. It’s not a talent issue. It’s a scale issue.
As long as NWA is produced in these little tiny venues with little tiny audiences, you’re never going to be able to have an adult conversation with someone in programming or some executive studio or network, about making this a real thing. It’s gotta tour, and it’s expensive. That’s where the investment is.
TNA learned in. TNA could have and should have been in business to this very day. They wouldn’t make the move. They wouldn’t make the move to invest long-term in touring the television show and establishing the fact that this was a live-action attraction each and every week in primetime.
Had they done that with Spike TV, now Viacom, it would be a different world today. But they refused to do it for whatever their reasons were. That’s what Corgan has to do.
He has to be able to put together a group of investors, and they’re out there. They are out there, folks. I wouldn’t want to be doing it at this stage of my life.
But if I was 20 years younger and I was looking at the state of the industry the way it is right now and the opportunities that still exist as a result of it, I would find a way to raise $100 million, or more, knowing that it’s gonna take five-to-seven years to get a return on that investment, but the return on that investment would be substantial, and I would go out there and become a legitimate number two or three. Because Tony Khan’s vulnerable. AEW as content is vulnerable.
If somebody were to come out and put together a program that you could produce in front of three-or-four thousand people, because that’s all Tony Khan’s doing. They’re lucky to get 4,000 people at a live Dynamite, and even less for Collision and Rampage. So it’s not like it can’t be done.
But you have to have the balls and the money and the patience to do it. Other than that, it’s a vanity project for Billy Corgan, and he’s gonna have fun in his little hamster wheel until he’s not having fun, and it’ll go away. But it’s never gonna be worth anything unless it scales up.”
Jim Cornette Tells Tony Khan To Bow Out
The comments from Bischoff come after Jim Cornette called on Tony Khan to step away from AEW altogether. Cornette suggested the company needs to get back to basics and focus on building younger stars, with someone else booking shows.
H/t to Eric Bischoff