Tonight’s AEW Dynamite Fight for the Fallen episode will feature Chris Jericho vs. GCW wrestler Nick Gage, in a No DQ match. Gage, who will be making his AEW in-ring debut, is today’s top hardcore Deathmatch wrestler. WWE Hall of Famer Eric Bischoff discussed his criticism of Gage on his 83 Weeks podcast, saying the Deathmatch style is bad for the business.
Bischoff said he has zero interest in Gage’s wrestling style, and doesn’t believe there’s anything it provides for pro wrestling.
“I just don’t think that kind of thing [works],” Bischoff said. “Number one, it doesn’t interest me, that style of wrestling. I think it’s bad for the industry in general, I think it appeals to such a small portion of the audience that a larger portion of the audience is turned off by it. Those guys that love that, we saw it the other night with [Jon] Moxley and whatever his name was [Lance Archer]. They were digging at each other with a fork. Alright, cool, whatever. For me, I won’t watch that kind of stuff. Number one it’s not entertaining, there’s nothing magic about it.
“There’s no creativity in it, it’s just gore and blood for the sake of gore and blood. I recognize that that’s my subjective taste, they’re not trying to appeal to me so I’m not criticizing them being AEW for doing it. I’m just telling you how I feel in this case as someone who’s been in the business for a minute and as a viewer. As a viewer, there’s nothing there that makes me go ‘Wow, how did they pull that off? Wow, that was really creative. That created an emotion in me that nobody has in a long time.’”
Gage was featured on Vice’s Dark Side of the Ring series a few months back, and Bischoff believes the episode gave the entire pro wrestling industry a bad look.
“When Dark Side of the Ring focuses too much on that story, I think it gives the entire industry a bad name,” Bischoff said. “Passive wrestling audience, the advertising community, the television network executive community, when people see that kind of thing they walk away with a perception of what wrestling is. That perception becomes harmful in the long run.
“I get it, I love the storytelling I see out of the Dark Side for the most part, but when you get too dark like that, I just think it’s not good for the business long term overall. The Jake Roberts story for example was dark, that was hard to watch but I don’t think it hurt the business.”
(H/T to WrestlingInc for the quotes)