AEW introduced the use of a weekly rankings system but they eventually stopped it back in 2022. Khan then announced the ranking system is coming back and now Eric Bischoff raised red flags over its comeback.
WWE Hall of Famer Eric Bischoff has been vocal about his disapproval of AEW, expressing the belief that the promotion isn’t making a significant contribution to the world of professional wrestling.
While speaking on the 83 Weeks podcast, Eric Bischoff shared his thoughts on AEW, specifically addressing Tony Khan’s announcement that AEW would reintroduce presenting rankings on TV.
Bischoff acknowledged the potential effectiveness of incorporating rankings on TV but warned about the challenges, stating that merging creative and math can be difficult. He noted the risk involved, as any flaws in the system could be quickly noticed by the audience, leading to a loss of faith.
“It can be effective. It can also see you painting yourself into a corner that you’ll never get out of. That’s probably why it didn’t work out the first time because you’ve got to really do a great job of merging creative and math because those two things generally don’t go together. Usually good creative is kind of void of good math. Good math isn’t very creative, but it can be done.”
Bischoff expressed initial excitement about the idea back in 2019, viewing it as a unique selling proposition that could differentiate AEW from WWE. However, he pointed out that AEW abandoned this approach quickly.
“It’s a big risk because if it’s not going well, if there’s a flaw in your system, your audience is going to see it and they’re going to let you know and they’re going to lose faith so fast. I liked the idea of doing it. I think it’s one of the things that I was excited about back in 2019 when I heard that this was going to be one of the things, this was going to be the unique selling proposition for those of you who have spent, I don’t know, 45 minutes in a marketing 101 class in junior college. That was the one thing that to me made AEW potentially feel different than WWE, but they abandoned it pretty quickly.”
Bischoff emphasized the importance of delivering on promises made to the audience during a brand launch, stating that failing to do so can create a dent in the brand’s credibility. He expressed concern about AEW’s creative direction, citing a lack of compelling and consistent storytelling over the past two years. Despite the challenges, Bischoff acknowledged that it can be done but emphasized the difficulty in achieving success with such an approach.
“One of the dots that created the pattern that I began to see early on is you make a promise to your audience when you launch a brand, your branding statement, your mission statement, call whatever the f**k you want. ‘We are going to be different because we’re doing this’ then you get everybody to rally behind you, and then you don’t do this. You do the same thing they’re doing. It’s a big dent. It’s a big dent on the side of that brand new shiny AEW car. Big dent. You kicked the door in yourself. Let’s see. It can be done, but it’s really fu**ing hard. Really hard.”
“I’m concerned that since there’s been a severe lack of creative horsepower in AEW, inconsistent all over the map, non-existent more often than not in terms of real story. I should say a compelling story, meaning a story that actually matters. The void comes to creative that I’ve seen out of AEW for the last two years doesn’t suggest to me that there’s a lot of hope that they’re going to figure out that formula.”
The identity of the person responsible for getting rid of the rankings was also revealed. It remains to be seen how AEW will be utilizing the rankings system this time around, as fans are excited for what’s next for the company in 2024.
What do you think of what Eric Bischoff had to say? Do you feel AEW rankings coming back is a good thing? Let us know in the comments section below!