Eric Bischoff has given his side of the story after AEW CEO Tony Khan called him “hypocritical” for his comments on AEW’s presentation in regard to storylines.
Tony Khan took issue with frequent AEW critic Eric Bischoff during a recent interview where he took issue with comments he called “incendiary, contradictory, and hypocritical” made by the WWE Hall of Famer in regard to matches happening on AEW television without much storyline surrounding them.
Speaking on his 83 Weeks podcast, Eric Bischoff has given his side of the story and began by referring to Khan’s comments on WCW:
“I’ve criticized myself plenty for things that I wish I would have done differently or things that I’ve learned subsequent to my time in WCW, that I wish I had the knowledge or instinct or insight that I have now, 25 years ago, it would have been a better show. There were certainly random matches that didn’t have any story in WCW, I’m not denying that. I’m also going to point out that I don’t think I ever said, in any of my commentary about AEW, that I believe that every match should have a story.”
“When you’re introducing new talent or when you have talent that you haven’t really matched up, storyline-wise, with an opponent yet, but you want to expose that talent and have the audience familiar with that talent and establish that talent, sure, put people in matches that don’t really have story.”
“Use that time, in non-storyline matches, to give us some real backstory and information about said talent. Make us care. It doesn’t always have to be in the form of a storyline, a traditional, structured, story. If I’ve ever given the impression that I thought every match on Nitro had a storyline, forgive me now. never meant to.”
Eric Bischoff continued by saying that he’s seen many matches take place in AEW where the only storyline considerations are ones he considers “excuses for a match”:
“My issue, and my comments about AEW and the creative behind it, is really about your top matches that don’t have sufficient story or structure, or at least a compelling one. There is always an excuse for a match or an angle, your exciting moment that creates a match or storyline, but your top matches, that’s different.”
“I’ve seen a lot of matches, a lot of storylines, what AEW considers a storyline, that I feel are nothing more than excuses for a match. They are not well-crafted stories. That’s my criticism. It’s not a shot. I’m not making fun of anybody or trying to belittle anybody. I’m pointing out that I believe, in today’s competitive environment, with television being what it is, pay attention Tony, if you want to build and grow your audience, you’re going to have to do it with well-crafted, compelling, well-structured storylines.”
“I don’t see it. I see excuses for matches and that’s not a storyline. That’s my critique, constructive is how I hope it’s interpreted, but clearly won’t be.”
Eric Bischoff finished by summarising that he believes main event matches should have a storyline attached and referred to AEW’s television ratings as his proof:
“I’ve never said every match on the show should have a storyline. That’s a false premise to start the conversation with. Tony is responding to a criticism that never happened. I don’t believe it, it’s impossible, really. It makes no sense that every match should have a story, but your main event, your top three or four matches, better have (a story). That is my comment.”
“Those stories are not compelling. I think ratings back me up. AEW is flat. You can spin in, turn it inside out, microwave it, whatever the f*ck you want to do, but Brandon Thurston puts up the graph and shows you and all you have to do is take a look at AEW’s record for the last six-eight months. It’s flat.”
“There is so much great talent in AEW, I really believe it. I was never really a fan of Jon Moxley in WWE and when he first got to AEW, I feel much differently now. Primarily because of the way he handled business and took ownership and control. He got over with me. I really respect people who stand up and act professional, over and above the call of duty, to be able to save a horrible situation. He’s a hero.”
“Chris Jericho, to this day, one of the better performers out there. There is a lot of great talent there. There’s just not a lot of great story. That’s what I would hope Tony would want to change. I never said, ‘I don’t like AEW because all the matches are random and none of them have story.’ I just don’t think the stories are compelling or committed enough or know how to craft a great story.”