On the latest episode of the 83 Weeks Podcast, Eric Bischoff spoke about the recent crop of WWE releases, namely John Morrison. The former WCW President spoke about working with Morrison when he first entered the WWE in 2004 as Johnny Nitro, the assistant to Bischoff as RAW General Manager. He mentioned how he was someone who understood the difference between the character on television and the real person he was portraying.
“Open-minded guy, easy to work with, had a great sense of wanting to create a great character,” Bischoff said. “He understood the difference between the real John Morrison and the character John Morrison, which, believe it or not, people struggle with from time to time. The talent themselves sometimes confuse the character they’re playing with the real person and I understand that because oftentimes the lines are intentionally blurred. But still, John didn’t have that, even early on breaking into the business. He saw the distinction between himself and the character. I’m really surprised. As far as his in-ring presentation, the guy is fluid, he can do so much so that one really surprised me this morning when I saw that and he’s an easy guy to work with, he’s not a pain in the ass, he’s a company guy. Curious what’s behind the scenes on that.”
In total, WWE has released over 80 superstars so far this year. Eric Bischoff continued to talk about the rest of the talent and what he thinks is the true meaning behind this influx of releases by WWE.
“The rest of the talent, here’s my impression from way outside the lines and being on the outside looking in: I think this is just a market correction,” Bischoff said. “I think WWE for whatever reason stacked a lot of talent, and I’m talking about developmental talent. These are not all big name, well established characters or personalities in WWE, a lot of these people I’ve never heard of before. Only because they haven’t been prominent on RAW or SmackDown. I think that for whatever reason the strategy over the last five or six years with NXT is being re-evaluated and as a result there’s just a lot of talent that’s looking for work today. That’s just a market correction.”
AEW President Tony Khan criticized WWE contracts on the latest episode of Busted Open Radio, mentioning how wrestlers aren’t signing “a real contract” in WWE. Eric Bischoff fired back at Khan for his comments dissing WWE, mentioning the key difference between the two companies and how Vince McMahon has people to answer to, unlike Khan does with AEW.
“Here’s the difference though,” Bischoff mentioned. “I understand what Tony is saying and I applaud him for caring as much about his talent as he does, how could that be a negative thing, it’s not. But here’s the reality, again: WWE is a publicly held company, AEW is not. WWE has a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to make decisions and manage their business in a way that will most benefit the shareholders. Would Vince McMahon personally prefer not to have to release this talent? I’m not saying he does or doesn’t, but he has no choice. Even if he did, he has no choice, he has to manage his budget and his business in a way that is most beneficiary to his shareholders.
“Tony Khan has to manage his business in a way that most suits himself. There’s a big difference between the two and I think criticizing WWE for exercising fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders, whether or not you believe it’s also setting them up for a potential sale, take that aspect out of it. To criticize WWE for managing their budget in a way that they’ve been entrusted to by their shareholders and by law have to manage said budget in a way that is beneficiary to their shareholders. To criticize WWE for that is understandable but not the whole story. It’s easy, especially only because these are emotional situations for the talents that are being released.”
Eric Bischoff continued to talk about WWE being criticized for the releases of a ton of talent, stating he doesn’t believe that criticism is fair. The former WCW President said he’s interested to see what happens in AEW in regards to releases in the next few years now that their roster is growing also.
“It’s emotional to a certain degree and with the fanbase right, because fans associate with a talent, they relate more with a talent than they do with Vince McMahon,” Bischoff said. “So I get it but I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to suggest because WWE is managing their talent budget in a new environment with new leadership in place in Nick Khan, new board members over the last year or 18 months.
“I don’t think it’s fair to contextualize that in a way that’s necessarily negative in terms of the company’s behaviour, it’s just a fact of life. Tony’s got the luxury of only being in business for two years. Let’s see what happens a year or two years from now with the amazing roster, but amazingly large roster that AEW has. If Tony Khan is never accountable to anyone but himself then he probably will keep that talent under contract for the rest of his life like he says. But if at some point he becomes accountable, maybe his view on that subject will evolve.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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