On the latest edition of After 83 Weeks, Eric Bischoff talked about how he has watched a few episodes of AEW Dynamite and how Vince McMahon asked him about the first episode. Highlights are below.
On if he watched the first few episodes of Dynamite: “I’ve dropped in on a couple of episodes. I watched the first episode, I actually watched the first episode three times in a row. And I watched the second episode. I dropped in on the third for a little bit. And I may or may not try to drop in on some of it tonight (October 30th).”
On who has stood out to him from Dynamite so far: “Nobody in particular. They all stand out, I mean, it’s a hell of a roster, and I’m kind of taking a wait and see perspective of it. I’m more anxious to see what they’re going to look like three months from now then how they look now because it still has a new car smell. They are still the new kid on the block. And this is by no means, I’m not suggesting this is a challenge for them, I think they’re going to do extremely well, but I think it’s going to take them awhile to settle into a groove and for us all to get to know the characters.”
On Vince McMahon asking him his thoughts on the first episode of Dynamite: “I was pretty honest with him. I thought the action was good, but I thought what made that show really stand out to me was how engaged the audience is. I mean, the audience to me made their show so much better than the NXT show, not that there is anything wrong with the NXT show, the action in the ring was great, the characters were great, there’s a lot of great things about it, but when you put a live event inside a small confined studio, kind of like TNA, I don’t care how great the action is, it just doesn’t have that big event feel to it, you don’t get the energy you get from the audience. That energy in the arena that we see on the screen translates to the viewer, and when you don’t have that energy, like I say, no matter how great the stuff is in the ring, it just feels less than.”
On if he suggested any of this to people at NXT: “No, I’m pretty sure they know that. They aren’t going to learn anything from me at this point, believe me, but you know the business model, they’re not set up right now. Now maybe they’ll tour in the future, that was a problem with TNA. When I got to TNA, there were a lot of things that we tried to get them to do, and once they actually took the show on the road, now it’s an expensive proposition, there’s no mistaking it, it’s a very big commitment to go out and take your show on the road and televise it. It’s much more cost effective to produce two or three or four shows inside of a sound stage then it is to produce one show or maybe two shows while you’re touring it around the country. But when you go back and look at TNA, look at all the great talent they brought in and out of there, between Sting, and Rob Van Dam, and Booker T, and Hulk Hogan, and Ric Flair, and Jeff Hardy, and Matt Hardy, and you name it, TNA brought them through there, and it never really moved the needle. And I think the reason for that had nothing to do with the talent, necessarily, is it just didn’t feel big. And I use this kind of analogy before, imagine tonight the World Series is going on right, can you imagine taking the same game, the Astros and the Senators, and putting them in a little league ball field and there would be 50 or 60 people in the bleachers, no one would care. And I think it’s kind of the same thing. Unless it feels big, the audience at home doesn’t feel a need to care about it. That’s just my point of view. It was the same problem TNA had, and it’s the same problem NXT is going to have in the long term. If AEW continues to tour, which is a big financial commitment, it’s a long term proposition, you’re not going to get a return on that investment anytime in the first two or three or four years, but if they are looking beyond two or three or four years, and are looking at a five year plan or a 10 year plan, and continue to tour that model, they’re going to be tough to beat.”
On if anyone from AEW has reached out to him: “I have not spoken with anybody from AEW. Not one conversation. Last conversation I had with anybody that is currently in AEW, was probably Cody Rhodes and that was about two years ago, and I was just in LA, it was right after he left WWE, and I called him, just to congratulate him, and let him know how much I respected his decision, it was a big decision, he was leaving a solid paycheck every two weeks, and a great opportunity, and he was doing it because he believed in himself, and he wanted to do it his way. And I called him to tell him how much I respected that, and I haven’t had a conversation with him, or anybody else at AEW, since.”
If using any of the above quotes, please credit After 83 Weeks with an h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.