During the latest episode of AdFreeShows.com’s Strictly Business with Eric Bischoff, the WWE Hall of Famer shared some criticism for IMPACT Wrestling while talking about trademarks and licensing in WWE and AEW.
While speaking about he and his brother Jeff’s return to WWE at WrestleMania 33, Matt Hardy spoke about his dispute with Anthem/IMPACT Wrestling in 2017 to keep the rights to the Broken universe and take it with him to WWE. Bischoff spoke about that topic and why IMPACT Wrestling ultimately tapped out when Hardy asked for the rights to his property back.
“It’s f*cking IMPACT, I can get more people to watch me cooking a burger on my big green egg on a Saturday afternoon than watch IMPACT,” Bischoff said. “They’re not in the wrestling business, they have a wrestling show but they’re not touring, they’ve got no licensing, they’re got no merchandising, hardly anybody is watching their show and it has nothing to do with the talent.
“They’ve got some really great talent but it is what it is, they shouldn’t even be in the conversation about televised wrestling because it’s silly. They’re not a wrestling business. If you enjoy that product, good for you and good for them but to have a conversation about licensing and merchandising with IMPACT Wrestling is [laughable]. Of course they gave [Matt Hardy’s Broken character’s licensing and trademark] up, because they don’t have any reason to hold onto it, they’re not in that business.”
Continuing to talk about licensing with AEW, Eric Bischoff spoke about All Elite’s lack of licensing deals outside of an agreement they have with Walmart to sell their action figures and why he does not believe that will change for a while.
The former WCW President mentioned how AEW can change that mindset with people in the business and how they will have to grow in order to do that.
“Nobody else out there that is manufacturing products is looking at the AEW brand right now or anybody in it and going, ‘wow, we can build our future on that,’” Bischoff said. “They’re looking at it and going ‘wow, this is interesting, let’s see where this tracks for the next year-three years.’
“And if there’s consistency and they see that the belt program that AEW has for example at Walmart, and is actually tracking and growing and creating revenue, that will give future licenses the interest in coming out and trying to build some of their product on AEW licensed properties.
“But that doesn’t happen overnight, it didn’t happen overnight in WCW. Providing AEW continues to grow, which arguably they’re not, they’re kind of flatlining at a million viewers a week, but if they can grow that industry in such a way that it gives confidence to manufacturers and distributors to go ahead and invest money in that licensing in hopes to increase sales off their products, that’s when you’ll start to see real growth in AEW.
“It’s not a knock against them, you can’t do that overnight. No one is going to take that risk until you’ve established yourself in the marketplace.”