On the latest episode of his 83 Weeks podcast, wrestling industry veteran Eric Bischoff sounded off on WWE’s recent decision to release dozens of wrestlers and other employees while also offering his predictions regarding which of these recently released superstars are most likely to join All Elite Wrestling in the days and weeks to follow.
As quoted by Wrestling Inc., Bischoff said that when he heard of the massive wave of releases, he felt bad for everyone who was affected, from the employees themselves to WWE fans to the company, which he believes needed to make an “extremely difficult” decision and let so many people go. He also predicted that it would be hard for these individuals to find work at the moment due to the coronavirus pandemic that has disrupted businesses around the world, including the broader professional wrestling industry.
Although he acknowledged that AEW could only sign so many wrestlers due to its own budget considerations amid the ongoing health crisis, Bischoff stressed on his podcast that the 1-year-old promotion is the only worthwhile company for recently released WWE talents to join. The former WWE, WCW, and TNA/Impact Wrestling executive also mentioned a few people whom he believes are more likely than others to sign with AEW, specifically naming Rusev and Erick Rowan because of the comparatively significant television exposure they got before they were released by WWE.
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) November 13, 2019
“By default, if I was betting, if I was in Las Vegas, I would probably put most of my money on guys who we’ve seen a lot of in the WWE in the last six months or a year,” Bischoff added. “I’d be less inclined on certain people we haven’t seen a lot of who were let go.”
While Bischoff didn’t mention any other names aside from Rusev and Rowan, he speculated that many of the wrestlers released by WWE earlier this month will have to debut new characters in order to “avoid litigation in the future.”
Toward the end of his WWE run, Rusev was involved in a divisive storyline where he and his real-life wife, Lana, were split up on camera, with Lana divorcing him and dumping him for Bobby Lashley. This angle, however, ended with little fanfare as Rusev was removed from television shortly after this year’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view, with rumors suggesting that he and WWE were stalemated on the terms of a new contract.
Rowan, meanwhile, was reportedly in line for a big singles push upon his move to Monday Night Raw late last year. However, the former Wyatt Family and Bludgeon Brothers member failed to make much of an impact in the months preceding his release. Cageside Seats noted that this may have been because of the “underwhelming” revelation that the creature in the cage he carried with him was just a “giant fake spider.”