Eric Bischoff didn’t mince words as he lambasted Tony Khan for publicly admitting he’s working to win one of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s year-end awards.
For those that may not know, the WON has several year-end awards that are voted on by readers. Dave Meltzer doesn’t choose the winners; however, his suggestions and match star ratings, for example, may influence what his readers decide in the end. The WON awards are similar to the Pro Wrestling Illustrated annual awards except for PWI’s take storylines and ‘kayfabe’ into consideration while the WON’s do not.
Although the WON’s reputation has changed somewhat in recent years, no one outside AEW has openly acknowledged it, Meltzer, or its awards. Speaking on his 83 Weeks Podcast, Bischoff said that Khan making such comments make it easy for people, not just himself, to call Khan out.
“Tony, in particular, says so much stupid sh-t it’s hard not to call him out about it. Like, wanting to win the ‘Dave Meltzer dirt sheet booker of the year’ award, three years in a row. Are you f-cking kidding me? That kind of stuff makes it hard, not only for people like me who have been in the industry, but even fans start to go ‘What?’ Meantime, my locker room is beating the sh-t out of each other, I got to fire people every week, and those that I’m not firing, I’m suspending. I don’t know, ‘Dirtsheet Booker of the Year?’ Is that something I’d be talking about? I don’t think so.”
For many years the WON wasn’t something to be acknowledged by wrestlers or others within the industry. Few people wanted it known they read it and many former wrestlers and wrestling figures criticized Meltzer for discussing wrestling despite “not being part of it”. However, this latter point was later debunked as Meltzer did at one point work for WWF/E.
The Booker of the Year Award is dedicated to whichever creative force does the best work in generating interest in a wrestling product. It isn’t the same as Promoter of the Year, which focuses on marketing and promoting for the sake of generating profits. Previous Booker of the Year award winners include:
- Giant Baba for All Japan from 1989 to 1991;
- Jim Cornette in 1993 for Smokey Mountain Wrestling;
- Paul Heyman for his work in ECW from 1994 to 1997 and his 2002 stint as booker for SmackDown;
- Vince McMahon for booking WWE between 1998 and 2000
- Gabe Sapolsky for booking ROH between 2004 and 2007
- Gedo and Jado for booking New Japan between 2011 and 2014, and then Gedo won it by himself from 2016 to 2019; and
- Triple H along with Ryan Ward for booking NXT in 2015.
h/t WrestlingInc for the transcription.