WWE Hall of Famer Eric Bischoff recently spoke with Renee Paquette on her “Oral Sessions” podcast and was asked to compare AEW to WWE in the current pro wrestling landscape.
Bischoff, who last worked behind-the-scenes for WWE in 2019 and has made multiple special appearances for AEW, said WWE and AEW aren’t promotions that can really be compared, but he favors AEW’s production more than WWE’s, and believes AEW has been very successful.
“I don’t think you can really compare them. It’s not apples to apples,” Bischoff said. “Obviously AEW has been really successful over the last two years. They’ve gone from ‘what AEW? Is that like a plumbers union?’ to being a very successful program in primetime television on a major network? That alone is a major accomplishment. But how do you compare that to the billion dollars a year that WWE is making and returning to its shareholders? It’s two different things, so I don’t want to compare them that way.
“I’ll just say what I like about AEW. I’ve been saying for the last fifteen years that WWE is too overproduced. It’s too perfect, it’s so perfect it no longer feels real. I can’t connect to it. In my opinion, this is just my opinion based on 30-some-odd years of being in the industry, I think wrestling works as a TV product for a lot of reasons. But one of the core reasons and wrestling has been around since the beginning of TV time. It was one of the most successful TV programs at the beginning of TV history. And the reason for that, and it’s a lot of the reason why live sports works as well as it does, is it allows the viewer to feel like you’re in the arena. You’re not. You’re sitting in the comfort of your own home.
“But live TV, live-action TV, especially wrestling, allow the home viewer to feel like they’re in the cheap seats. Not at ringside necessarily, but in those seats just above. You feel like you’re there. And when you start feeling like you’re there, it makes it easier for one to enjoy the story that’s playing out in front of them or the characters that are playing out in front of them. AEW does a great job of creating that sense, allowing the viewer to feel like they’re there even when they’re not. When I watch WWE, I feel like I’m in a movie theater watching the producers of Disney on Ice. It’s too glitzy. Let me see something I shouldn’t see. Don’t shoot around every little imperfection. Don’t spend quite as much money on all those lights. This is making me feel like I’m in a movie theater and not in an arena. I’ve never been in an arena that looks like that unless you’re watching a wrestling event from WWE. I don’t like that.”
(H/T to WrestlingInc for the quotes)