Former WCW executive producer Eric Bischoff is no stranger to controversy — it’s in the title of his book. While he’s no longer an on-screen performer, Bischoff has continued to dish out controversy via his podcast platform, “83 Weeks“, which he uses to disseminate his views on the past, present, and future of the wrestling industry.
Originally noted for Bischoff’s takes on everything from WWE’s lack of compelling storytelling to WCW’s missed opportunity with the Cruiserweight division, “83 Weeks,” alongside Bischoff’s other podcast, “Strictly Business,” has recently become home to critiques of All Elite Wrestling. Among other things, the WWE Hall of Famer has called out the Blackpool Combat Club for trying to “replicate the success of the nWo” and stated that AEW and its owner, Tony Khan, have put storytelling on the back burner.
Bischoff had been largely positive about AEW during its first few years, stating numerous times he was rooting for the company’s success and even appearing on the show on several occasions. Since late 2021, however, Bischoff has been more critical of the company, has yet to appear on another show, and has exchanged words with AEW President Tony Khan. And while there could be other factors at play, Bischoff’s change of heart toward AEW seems to center primarily around one man: reigning AEW World Champion (and former WWE Champion) CM Punk.
Eric Bischoff and CM Punk have never worked together in wrestling, but the former had nothing but good things to say about the latter when he showed up in AEW in August 2021. A month later, former WWE superstars Bryan Danielson and Adam Cole made their AEW debuts, making the crowd go wild when they appeared at the end of AEW All Out. The two stars jumping from WWE to its closest competitor immediately drew comparisons to Scott Hall and Kevin Nash defecting from the WWF to Bischoff’s WCW in 1996 — the two men were ultimately joined by Hulk Hogan to form the legendary New World Order. After the show, Punk acknowledged the comparison, but said that “To me, this is bigger.” The comment, along with others made by Khan around the same time, didn’t sit well with Bischoff, who said in October that Punk had “sh*t the bed” and underdelivered in the ratings department since his arrival.
Then, in November, Punk responded to criticisms that AEW wasn’t doing enough to bring in casual wrestling fans by saying “I don’t think there’s casual wrestling fans anymore.” Bischoff again took umbrage at the statement on “Strictly Business,” saying “It makes no sense to me, I don’t believe it’s true” and specifically calling out Punk, who “never spent five minutes in the television business.”
Courtesy of Wrestling Inc