- Bischoff believes that the impact of showing blood in a wrestling PPV has changed in modern times due to social media and the potential negative effects on advertisers and sponsors.
- Bischoff explains that wrestling still carries a stigma with the advertising community, and excessive violence and blood can turn off a mainstream audience and make advertisers hesitant to invest in the product.
- Despite his criticisms, Bischoff recognizes that personal choice is important when it comes to signing with a promotion, and understands why talents like Will Ospreay might prefer to work with AEW for more control over their character and direction.
On the November 20 episode of Eric Bischoff’s 83 Weeks podcast he discussed headlines coming out of AEW Full Gear. The topic of the Texas Death Match between Swerve Strickland and Hangman Page came up—a bout many fans and pundits considered the best match of the night.
Bischoff openly stated he hadn’t watched the PPV itself, but the conversation nonetheless turned to the broader implications of a match like this. That included co-host Conrad Thompson bringing up that Bischoff typically doesn’t advocate for blood, but that that might be different on PPV rather than broadcast television. Bischoff’s response may have surprised some fans.
Eric Bischoff Thinks The Impact Of Blood On A Wrestling PPV Is Different In Modern Times
Eric Bischoff acknowledged that, historically, there was a meaningful difference to showing blood on PPV rather than free TV because of the relatively limited audience that footage would reach, mostly consisting of fans who were hardcore enough about the product to have invested money in getting to watch the show. He explained that there’s not as much of a difference anymore, though, because of the nature of modern branding.
“With social media, it’s just not the same as it used to be where you could go to an extreme or do some things that you can get away with on pay per view because of broadcast standards,” Bischoff said. “You used to be able to do that and get away with it, and it really wouldn’t have much downstream impact on you, but now with social media and people clipping videos … that kind of thing is going to land on an advertiser or a potential sponsor’s desk at some point, and it’s going to slow you down.”
Bischoff went on to recall FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch’s explanation for the network letting WWE SmackDown go because it wasn’t as effective with advertisers as they’d hoped. Bischoff articulated that “wrestling still has that advertising community stigma attached to it, and things like excessive violence and blood” both turn off a mainstream audience and make advertisers wary of investing in such a product.
Eric Bischoff Wasn’t All Negative About AEW Coming Out Of Full Gear
Fans have come to expect Eric Bischoff to be critical of AEW. Nonetheless, after implicitly condemning the company’s use of blood, he was more balanced in his discussion of their signing of Will Ospreay. Bischoff openly acknowledged that Ospreay’s choice may well have been the right one for him.
“When you have two companies that want your services and both of them are offering you a substantial amount of money,” Bischoff said, “then it’s about personal choice and what you want to do with your career.” Bischoff went on to discuss the value of personal freedom—“being able to do the things you want to do with the people you want to do those things with”—and how if Ospreay values having more control over his character and direction, AEW may be a more appropriate fit for him than WWE.
It’s clear Eric Bischoff will never fully see eye-to-eye with some of AEW’s practices, particularly when it comes to booking decisions and allowing for action that might turn off a segment of the fan base. His comments on the use of extreme violence on PPV bespeak this disconnect, and while fans may disagree with Bischoff’s aesthetic, his business perspective does make sense on this point. Regardless, the Will Ospreay discussion signaled Bischoff does also recognize why some talents would prefer to ply their trade under the AEW banner relative to an environment like WWE.