Wrestling

Eric Bischoff On If CM Punk Will Change The Pro Wrestling Landscape With AEW Signing


AEW is dropping enough hints to let us all know that CM Punk is on the way. Ringside News also exclusively confirmed that he has signed with the company. This is big news for AEW, but will Punk move the needle?

Eric Bischoff has been keeping a keen eye on the pro-wrestling culture today, which is befitting the former WCW President. As the WWE Hall of Famer showed up on the 83 Weeks Podcast, he had a lot of things to say.

While on the topic of CM Punk’s signing with AEW, Bischoff acknowledged just how massive a deal it is for Punk to return from his hiatus at AEW. He also commented on the way this move will shift the dynamics outside of AEW as well.

Obviously [Punk signing with AEW] will be a massive shot in the arm, it will be a huge step forward. If it happens. I’m a big proponent of surprise, I have such a high level in the long term benefit of establishing yourself as a platform that creates surprises on a consistent basis and CM Punk would be a great opportunity had it been just a surprise. But, I’m also a big advocate of creating anticipation. What AEW has done a great job of doing is creating anticipation and we’re seeing the results of that manifest with ticket sales so good on them, as long as he shows up.”

I wouldn’t want to be in the office the next day if the CM Punk thing is not a reality. Now I don’t believe that it is not a reality, I do believe it is a reality, so the risk here I’m almost laughing about and talking about is because it is laughable. I don’t think that anybody, especially a guy like Tony Khan, who is a smart guy and surrounded by smart people, would walk this far out on the plank only to know they’re not going to deliver. I think what they’ve done has been pretty artful and pretty well done and I think it’s going to portend big things in the future.

As it has been reported that WWE’s business partners, FOX and NBCUniversal / USA Network, are unhappy with CM Punk’s deal with AEW. This is another wave of the tsunami that is Punk’s signing.

Will it change the landscape? I don’t know what the landscape means. Will it change the balance of power between WWE and AEW in terms of market share? Not in terms of subjective opinion because nobody gives a f*ck about that. Market share is what people should be considering and thinking about in this war and when we talk about things like landscape. Do I think it will change the landscape? I think it will for a while. I think it can in the long term depend on a lot of things. How do they use Punk? How often is he available, is he once a year, twice a year, four times a year attraction or is he part of weekly storylines? Those are all things we don’t know, none of us do.”

“In the short term it’s going to have a major impact because I think a lot of fans that are WWE fans are going to sample AEW who perhaps haven’t sampled AEW yet. Punk could be the solution and the silver bullet for the yet because if WWE audience crosses over to sample it because of a guy like CM Punk, provided you’re able to hold them and give them something they’re committed to in the long term, then yes I think it can have a pretty substantial impact on market share.”

Bischoff also has some creative ideas of his own. He revealed on the podcast what he thinks would be the ideal way for Punk to debut at AEW so that his entrance could have a life-long impact.

I wouldn’t put him in a hot angle right away. I wouldn’t hot shot it, I would want to continue to build on the successful anticipation element that AEW has built upon. I wouldn’t drag it out for 6 months but I like the idea of Punk, especially because he can talk, coming in on commentary, stirring the s–t and building upon that for a couple of weeks and then eventually have a spontaneous combustible moment and then leads to a wrestling storyline. That’s probably what I would do. Not because Punk needs to acclimate or ring rust, those things can all be addressed.”

If Punk wants to be ready for a main event match in 60 days or 30 days, he’ll get there. Will he be at his peak? Probably not but that’s okay, CM Punk if he’s 90% or 80% of his peak capabilities that will be just fine. There isn’t any risk of exposing him too soon in a hot angle, I just think that you’re squandering the value of anticipation and the story to create must see TV in the sense that ‘Will it happen this week?’ You’ve got 3 or 4 weeks of great build that will enhance his first major angle as opposed to hot-shotting it and satisfying the audience right out of the gate. I’d rather satisfy them over a longer period of time.

Punk’s heavy anticipation has already been creating a lot of waves. AEW’s United Center was completely filled with chants of his name after ‘The First Dance’ was announced, and even graced WWE’s RAW tapings in Chicago. While many AEW superstars have been dropping references, it seems that Punk’s appearance is inevitable. It’s just a question of when.

What do you think about Punk’s signing with AEW? Let us know in the comments!

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