Eric Bischoff's stint as executive director of WWE SmackDown didn't last long as he was hired in June 2019 and replaced by Bruce Prichard in October 2019.
Bischoff was never able to implement his ideas on WWE programming but wishes he could have brought some storytelling to WWE TV.
"One of the things where I am disappointed in myself is, I really think what's missing, this goes for WWE and everyone else producing professional wrestling for content is the deemphasis of story," Bischoff told Renee Paquette on Oral Sessions.
"At a time where the audience is watching so much great compelling story and so much story structuring, great characters, on so many other platforms -- scripted entertainment is probably more successful now than it's ever been -- in wrestling, rather than gravitating towards a more sophisticated storytelling structure, not an angle that turns into a wrestling match because that's what wrestling does and has almost always done. Every once in a while, they'll stumble into a good story that will really resonate, but it's more by accident than design. If wrestling today would reemphasize and introduce a more sophisticated storytelling formula -- I told Vince, 'here is where the opportunity lies. The audience is getting smaller and smaller, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that the stories suck.' They're not stories, there is no structure to them. Beginning, middle, and end is thrown together haphazardly, that's not how stories are generally created. They weren't when I was there last time and I don't think they are anywhere else. There is a way to do it and that's where I'm disappointed in myself is, I wasn't able to play the game or manage myself well enough to be there long enough to try to effect that change," he said.
Bischoff said he went into WWE overly concerned about how people perceived him and it was more important for him to fit in and eventually implement his ideas. He said he didn't do think Vince wanted that and was maybe looking for the alpha personality Bischoff had been known for.
Later in the interview, Bischoff said that he believed AEW was also suffering from a lack of storytelling.
"I would really like to see a more structured story formula because I see a lot of the same flaws in AEW's approach to what is referred to as storytelling, but really isn't in terms of structure and discipline. It's leaving money on the table. you're running through matches, but you're not throwing any story on the wall that is sticking in a way of growing the audience. That's the hard part, how do you grow the audience? Not how to do you satisfy an existing audience, that's called preaching to the choir, you want to expand the congregation and attract people who otherwise aren't attracted to you. The only way to do that is with great stories and great characters," he said.
Renee mentioned that Hangman Page storyline as AEW doing storytelling well and perhaps more subtly compared to WWE's method, where everything is hammered home.
Bischoff replied by saying, "I don't think WWE beats you over the head with storylines, they beat you over the head with narrative that is supposed to replace the storyline. A story has to create a certain emotion at a certain point within the arc of a story in order for it to be a true arc. Putting up matches from week to week and pushing a narrative to try to camouflage the fact that there isn't that architecture that hits those beats at the right time to create the maximum emotion, no, what you're really doing is just telling the announcers what to say and covering what is going on in the ring with a narrative that you hope is going to stick."
Bischoff has made appearances on AEW television since being fired by WWE. He has also gotten into a war of words with Tony Khan regarding AEW going head-to-head with WWE.
Elsewhere during the interview, Bischoff discussed WWE production meetings. You can find his full comments by clicking here.
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