AEW, by definition, is a challenger brand to WWE; Tony Khan had admitted it, Warner Bros Discovery has leaned into it, and even WWE has admitted to the fact, with the company using it in a lawsuit with MLW to prove they aren't a monopoly.

So, when the company was really getting off of the ground in 2018 and 2019, putting on big shows as a Pay-Per-View-only promotion before landing on TNT, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that Warner Bros Discovery looked at WWE's success and assumed that they could get a slice of the multi-billion dollar wrestling market too.

Discussing how WWE's success intentionally or not launched the company's first real challenger since WCW in a larger discussion about AEW's new, impending television deal on Strictly Business, WCW's Eric Bischoff laid out how success breeds imitators in the wrestling business.

“AEW is taking advantage of the success of a WWE, for example. It is because there is a company called WWE that is worth nine billion dollars that makes executives in the industry go, ‘Hm, we might be able to be worth $9 billion dollars, but we could be worth a lot because the market is here,’” Bischoff said via Fightful. “WWE has established a worldwide market for this product, more than anybody else. AEW is now in a position to take advantage of that. Look at it this way. If WWE would have been in the tank four years ago and would have flatlining and not selling out arenas and just stumbling through pay-per-views, do you think Turner would have jumped on AEW? I don’t. I think because WWE was so hot, that executives at Turner looked at the industry as a whole and the opportunity that Tony Khan was bringing to the table, and decided to take the risk. I don’t think they would have taken that risk in a deteriorated WWE back in 2019.”

Is Bischoff correct? Is AEW building its brand off of WWE, much like Bischoff built up WCW around the “Monday Night Wars” in the 1990s? Yes, and for Tony Khan's sake, let's hope things work out better this time around.

Eric Bishoff warns against AEW trying to match WWE in terms of content.

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Turning his attention to the rumors swirling around that AEW could begin producing content for Max, Warner Bros Discovery's streaming service now that Dark and Dark Elevation have come to an end, Bischoff warned his occasional co-workers about spreading their content too thin, as it can dilute the product in the long run.

“Let me tell you what I wouldn’t do. If HBO Max is going to repurpose content, meaning if they’re going to find a way to creatively utilize Dynamite or Rampage or whatever the Saturday show’s presumably gonna be, then I think that’s great,” Bischoff said. “Because now you’re just repurposing content, you’re not trying to create new content. To create yet another show, this makes three for AEW right now, I think they’re in way over their head. I think eventually, downstream, this is gonna prove to be a challenge for AEW, just like it was for WWE and certainly like it was for me. Diluting your brand and diluting your core story with ancillary programming, while financially viable and exciting, eventually comes back to bite you in the ass because you’re just diluting your own product. Eventually, you dilute it to the point where no one feels like they have to watch anything. I don’t have to watch Dynamite because I can watch Rampage. I don’t have to watch Rampage because I can watch Saturday night. I don’t have to watch Saturday night because I can watch Max. I don’t have to watch any of it because I can get it on my computer. So the more content you have, unless it’s really unique to each other, the chances of diluting your core product and your audience, is significant.”

So how does Bischoff feel about the prospects of AEW adding even more television, on Saturday nights, no less? Well, while he doesn't blame the company for taking the money and celebrating its success, he acknowledges that there will be growing pains, as Khan's company simply doesn't have the infrastructure that WWE has built up over the decades.

“It’s a new company. I wouldn’t expect a new company to have the infrastructure and the sophisticated staff and operations of a WWE, for example, Bischoff said. “This company’s four years old. It’s still going through growing pains. Clearly, we’ve seen it a lot in the last 12 months, in every way, shape, and form. It manifests, behind the scenes, on camera, wherever. They’re going through growing pains. To be expected. It would be bizarre if that wasn’t the case. But while they’re growing through these growing pains, to dump yet another show, on a Saturday night no less, when at least common sense suggests that there’s not a lot of 18-to-49 year-ones hanging out and watching TV on a Saturday night, particularly on the 18-to-35 spectrum of that demo, is gonna be a challenge. But in the meantime, what a vote of confidence. Back up the Brink’s truck, let’s have some champagne, and let’s embrace the opportunity. But let’s also know that it’s gonna come at a cost.”

Will AEW's new show, rumored to be called Collision, find the sort of success that really solidifies the brand as its own thing, instead of a challenger to WWE? Or will this show struggle to find the same success as Dynamite, just like Rampage did before it? Fans will have to tune in on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays to find out.