Former WWE executive Eric Bischoff recently expressed his disenchantment with All Elite Wrestling's (AEW) trajectory, indicating that the promotion's initial allure is dissipating. Serving as the Executive Director for WWE's "SmackDown" as AEW made its entrance into the wrestling world, Bischoff harbored high hopes for the new contender.
However, he now observes that AEW’s potential to dethrone WWE as the wrestling vanguard seems increasingly unlikely, a sentiment stemming from AEW's declining attendance figures at TV tapings. Speaking on "Strictly Business," Bischoff reminisced about his initial enthusiasm for AEW, rooted in the belief that robust competition enhances the industry.
His support was vocal and unwavering, especially when AEW announced its presence at Arthur Ashe Stadium. "I was all in, supporting the momentum I believed would exert pressure on WWE — an outcome I knew would be beneficial for wrestling," he stated.
Yet, this perspective has shifted over time. According to Bischoff, fans are becoming less forgiving of what they perceive as AEW's shortcomings, a change echoed by critical voices growing louder against the backdrop of a declining live audience.
AEW's PPV Strategy Questioned
Bischoff points to AEW's decision to adopt a monthly pay-per-view (PPV) model as a potential misstep, fearing it may alienate fans who craved a WWE alternative. He argues that the quarterly PPV model lent a sense of gravitas to each event, an element that may be diluted with increased frequency.
Despite challenges in markets like Kentucky and Ohio, AEW continues to draw crowds in larger arenas, particularly in California and New York. Bischoff attributes this resilience to the higher concentration of fans and dismisses poor performance as seasonal rather than indicative of deeper issues.
Adding to Bischoff's analysis, industry insiders suggest that AEW's future could hinge on its ability to innovate and retain viewer interest through compelling storylines and character development — areas where WWE has historically excelled. As AEW evolves, it might need to explore fresh narratives that can captivate the audience beyond the initial hype.