wrestling / News

Eric Bischoff Talks Whether Mercedes Mone Will Be A Top Star In AEW, Impact On Business

February 12, 2024 | Posted by Andrew Ravens
Mercedes Mone NJPW Image Credit: NJPW

On the latest episode of Strictly Business, Eric Bischoff talked about Mercedes Mone’s expected arrival at the March 13th AEW Dynamite from the TD Garden. You can check out some highlights below:

On AEW’s Big Business Event announcement ahead of Mone’s arrival: “I’m kind of neutral on it. I mean, there’s been so much chatter about this, and little teases here and there, and an appearance here and there. What was it, on Ring of Honor she made an appearance, or whatever it was? So there’s been — there’s no reason at this point to try to orchestrate any kind of a surprise. Unless she’s going to make her entrance, vis a vis through the crowd, and get herself involved in something that’s going on in the ring. And have her introduction to the AEW audience vis a vis action in the ring as opposed to the traditional ‘Here comes her music.’ By the way, I’m not advocating one or the other, they’re both good. I would prefer to see you enter and have a big splash, do something impactful as a part of her entrance as opposed to the pageantry of what we’re going to see a million times anyway. That being said, yeah we’ll see. I’m happy for her. I don’t know Mercedes at all. We’ve never spoken, I don’t believe. If we have, it was very brief. But look, she’s a great performer. She’s accomplished a lot, she’s young. She’s got an amazing career ahead of her potentially, I think, in the ring and out of the ring. So nothing but support for Mercedes Mone.

If you’re asking me, do I think it’s going to have much of an impact? I think it’ll be a great event. I think people in the arena will react very positively. I think people watching at home will go ‘Finally, something we can get excited about and cheer for.’ And I think across the board in wrestling, it’s kind of cool to have that right now. I think everybody’s kind of starving for a feel-good moment. And this will be, in a way, a feel-good moment. So we’ll see. After the fact? I think in three weeks, we’ll be looking at the same numbers, and the same lackluster ticket sales in live events. Including picking their number one show Dynamite, struggling to do — really, much better than 3,000 or 4,000 people on a regular basis to come and be a part of that show, which is mind-boggling to me. Anyway, hopefully I’m wrong. Hopefully she’s gonna come in, and she’ll be able to do what so many others before her who came in with a lot of excitement, a lot of equity, fan support, and not have any positive impact on the final product.”

On the impact of Mone’s arrival: “I have no idea, because Tony is — there are no real patterns. He’s all over the board. So I think it will mean whatever it means to Tony at the moment. But I don’t think there are any predictions here. Could it be a sign that Tony — let me be glass-half full-ish on this one. Could it be a sign that Tony has recognized that — we’ve heard and read at the women’s Division is underserved, and he’s going to beef it up? Add some rocket fuel, build it out, make it better? Could! This could be a great indication of that. There’s some amazing talent, Britt Baker. Rebel! I mean, there is a personality and a character, and a talent that is just — because I don’t watch a lot of AEW as everybody knows. I tuned in a little bit last week. I drop in if I hear about something special going on that I feel like I should be aware of. But for the most part, it’s like ‘Eh.’ Not really part of my thought process to check out AEW. But there are so many great women there like Britt Baker and like Revel. And there are others, some newcomers on the block. So let’s do something to add another dimension to an otherwise stale product. Because it is at best a stale product.”

On whether Money is a top star for AEW: “That’s subjective. There are no standards. You know, if you asked me who’s a top star, I’ll tell you, ‘Whoever is in the main event the most times throughout the year and generates the most dollars.’ That’s who your top star is.”

On the signing not changing AEW’s existing problems: “There’s the problem, or there’s the issue, is — and I used to tell this to Dixie Carter all the time. She was just in one ear and out the other. But unless something changes in the perception of AEW, whatever that is. Something has to change in order to get fans excited about the product again. Because they’ve cultivated — they meaning AEW — has cultivated a significant amount of ill will amongst wrestling fans for a variety of reasons. So adding a talent is an interesting opportunity, but unless there is a strategic initiative to support the addition of a talent, it’s likely not going to matter in the midterm.

“You may get a short-term bump. Enthusiasm, chatter, maybe even a little blip in the ratings consistently for a couple — let’s say, three or four weeks. But unless there is a clearly articulated strategy that represents a shift in perception, or at least the potential for a shift in perception of the product. Adding any talent — it’s unfair to the talent to ascribe lack of AEW success to the talent. There is a tremendous amount of talent in AEW. None of which have had any significant impact on the overall health of the television program which drives the promotion. What does that tell you? Is it the talent’s fault? Or is it creative and management’s fault? I submit to you, Your Honor, that it’s management’s fault. And creative’s fault as a part of management. Because you have the talent, you’ve got the platform. You initially have the goodwill of the audience rooting for you, including me, and people like me. Even who were working in WWE at the time. But that’s different now. And that the shift in perception is one of the most critical things that Tony and company should be focusing on.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Strictly Business with an h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.