Eric Bischoff, the former Senior Vice President of WCW, has voiced his concerns regarding the current state of the partnership between All Elite Wrestling (AEW) and Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD). On his "Strictly Business" podcast, Bischoff, a respected figure in the wrestling world, expressed surprise over the lack of a contract extension between AEW and WBD, suggesting this could indicate underlying issues in their relationship.
Recent reports have highlighted that the television deal for AEW's prominent shows, "AEW Dynamite," "AEW Rampage," and "AEW Collision," is approaching its expiration at the end of 2024. Bischoff's comments come amidst this backdrop, casting doubt on the strength of the bond between AEW and its broadcast partner.
Bischoff critically evaluated the situation, stating, "I think all of the 'rah-rah AEW, they're worth billions of dollars because of their media rights and sports' [is not true]. I'm surprised [the deal hasn't been extended].
It should have been done, and the fact that it's not been done I think is more of a clear indicator about the tentative situation at AEW and Warner Bros. Discovery."
Financials Over Friendships
He further emphasized the importance of financial outcomes over personal relationships in these negotiations.
"Despite all the, 'Oh, we have a really good relationship and we're friends and you're so excited about us and they did press releases talking about us,' it all comes down to math," Bischoff argued. In contrast, AEW President Tony Khan, at the recent ROH Final Battle media scrum, revealed his optimistic stance, mentioning that he's had positive conversations with Warner Bros.
Discovery regarding a new television deal for AEW. He expressed excitement about the future prospects. However, Bischoff also shed light on another potential development: Warner Bros. Discovery's interest in the WWE's "WWE Raw" brand.
He opined that a deal with WWE might present a more favorable option for WBD, compared to renewing with AEW. This speculation adds another layer of complexity to the ongoing discussions between AEW and WBD. As the deadline for the current contract nears, the wrestling community and media are closely monitoring developments.
The outcome of these negotiations will likely have a significant impact on the broadcasting landscape of professional wrestling.