Eric Bischoff is a big believer that live content will always be more valuable.
With WWE and AEW each broadcasting multiple live shows every week, airing the show as it happens has now become the norm across the sports entertainment world. With the world being more accessible than ever thanks to the internet, any taped content is frequently published online for all to see.
Speaking on 83 Weeks, Eric Bischoff was asked about the importance of live wrestling content in the modern day compared to the 90s. Bischoff revealed that the WCW show was the first to go live every week and that WWE had no choice but to do the same:
“I think it definitely matters more now. I think it always mattered. But clearly, they just look at the values of WWE content because it’s live. It’s not sports, but it’s as close to sports as you’re going to get on television because sports are generally live and so is professional wrestling. And I think that moved to the live format consistently weekly because WWE had done Raw. They’d had one live show, one tape show, one live show, one tape show. So it wasn’t like we were the first [and] Nitro was the first live show.
We were just the first live show 52 weeks a year. And changing that paradigm and making that standard operating procedure. It’s one of the reasons why the values for and the values for WWE today are what they are. Had it not been for Nitro going live every week and then WWE in order to compete, going live every week until it became the standard? That’s what you do if you do professional wrestling and you want to be successful at it. It is one of the reasons why professional wrestling content today is worth what it’s worth.
Knowing the results of the taped Raw beforehand, WCW announcers would frequently attempt to spoil the counter-programming in an attempt to keep viewers watching Nitro. While this strategy was effective at times, it went catastrophically wrong on January 4th 1999 when Mick Foley won the WWE Championship.
Bischoff continued to explain his reasoning for constant live programming, stating that there is a bond with the audience on a live broadcast that is missing on a taped show:
But even back then, 25 years ago, a quarter of a century ago, life still had. There is an urgency to it that a tape show just didn’t have. And it’s hard to explain. I think some of it is subconscious in the minds of the viewer. They’re there. They’re watching as if it’s really happening. It’s not that the show is necessarily any better creatively or in terms of the talent performance, but the connection that you’re making to the audience, however conscious or subconscious that may be when it’s live. it matters.
I believed it back in 95 when we launched Nitro, which is why I wanted to do it live every week. Even though it was more expensive, it was a bigger investment to go live every week. It would have been cheaper to do what WWE was doing and go live tape or even just tape the shows. But I wanted it to have that energy conscious or otherwise subconscious of being a live show. It reinforced the message I was trying to send to the audience, which was that you have to be there. You don’t want to watch it after the fact. You want to be a part of the event as it’s happening. And it clearly worked.”
Eric Bischoff Voices Opinion On AEW
Being involved in the behind-the-scenes side of professional wrestling during the boom period, Eric Bischoff knows the frustrations of producing a weekly TV show while also competing with WWE all too well. Frequently asked about some of the decisions made by AEW on his podcast, Bischoff has revealed why he is honest with his opinions and doesn’t sugarcoat his thoughts and feelings.
H/t to Wrestling Headlines.