Eric Bischoff Comments On If CM Punk Joining AEW Will Impact Pro Wrestling

WWE Hall of Famer Eric Bischoff recently discussed CM Punk possibly signing with AEW during an episode of his 83 Weeks podcast. Below are a few highlights:

Bischoff on if AEW should reveal Punk’s signing in advance or have his first appearance be a surprise: “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.”

Bischoff on Punk’s AEW signing possibly having a major impact on the landscape of pro wrestling as a whole, if AEW handles it right: “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*** 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 on how he would debut Punk in AEW: “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.”