In October of last year, Eric Bischoff made headlines, while also probably making an enemy of AEW owner Tony Khan, when he told Khan that he should “Shut up and wrestle.” It started a bit of a war of words between the two men and, coincidentally, Bischoff hasn’t been seen on AEW TV since.
Many criticized Bischoff for his stance, while many others commended him. But now, Bischoff has clarified his statement and offered the reason as to why he said it in the first place.
Bischoff discussed the ‘Shut up and wrestle’ comment on the most recent episode of his podcast, 83 Weeks with Eric Bischoff, in which he compared Tony Khan to Diamond Dallas Page.
“Going back to my first kind of negative comment about Tony, when I basically said ‘Shut up and wrestle; quit comparing yourself to WWE and creating an illusion because in the process, you’re gonna lose goodwill,’” Bischoff stated. “That was my point. No, I didn’t make that point in my comment, but that was my reason for going ‘Shut up and wrestle, dude. Just put out a better product. Then let the audience put your product over. Don’t put your own product over.’”
Bischoff said Tony Khan’s penchant for calling out WWE from time to time reminded him of when Diamond Dallas Page was trying to become a star in WCW.
Bischoff Compares Tony Khan to Diamond Dallas Page
“I used to say that to DDP all the time,” Bischoff said. “Because when DDP was really starting to transition from that over-the-top, super gimmick character; trying to be a little bit of everybody – he was Superstar Billy Graham, he was Jake the Snake Roberts – he was like 15 different characters all rolled up into one, right?
“And once he started making that transition to becoming that blue-collar, all-American dude that anybody could relate to, I used to tell him in his promos ‘Man, don’t put yourself over.’ Because the minute you put yourself over, you’re taking away any need or desire by your fan base or your audience to do it for you. It’s you going out and getting the audience to put you over, because the audience putting you over makes all the difference in the world. Otherwise, you’re just another wrestling personality out there trying to get yourself over, and people tune that out. But when you quit trying to put yourself over, focus on your character and your work, all of a sudden, the audience is doing it for you. And the audience putting you over is worth tenfold you trying to do it yourself.”
It’s good advice, really. Even if Bischoff didn’t exactly make his intentions known with his original comments.
“That was my point when I made that comment about ‘Shut up and wrestle,’” Bischoff reiterated. “It’s just, ‘Quit putting yourself over and let the audience do it, because that creates goodwill.’ But the more you put yourself over – in this case, Tony – the more Tony put himself over or put AEW over and, in the process, belittled WWE who is a monster, you know? They’re Goliath and you’re not. But by constantly taking shots at them and trying to convince the audience that you’re better than they are, you’re not taking advantage of the goodwill that you have automatically. That was my point.”
Eric Bischoff: “Stephanie McMahon Would Kill Tony Khan” in a Fight
It’s a good point, and perhaps its advice that Tony Khan has taken, even subconsciously. Despite a brief, tension-fueled breakdown at the All Out press scrum, in which he said that he was ‘Tired of [WWE’s] f*ckin sh*t,’ he hasn’t really spoken too much about the company up north.