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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 1/19/2020

With a big WWE weekend on the horizon, what made the Top 5 this week?

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With a big WWE weekend on the horizon, what made the Top 5 this week?

With next weekend being Hard Times, Worlds Collide and Royal Rumble, this week managed to sneak in a few different promotions! Now being the fact that one match this week has more visibility, it might be an easy to guess kind of week. A nice surprise though is that MLW had a match make the Top 5 for the first time in a while.

Last week’s runaway vote getter was, NXT UK TakeOver Blackpool II: Tyler Bate vs Jordan Devlinand I have no complaints. Two great matches lead off 2020, now let’s get to this week’s Top 5!

Quick Top 5:

  1. NOAH New Sunrise: GHC Heavyweight Championship: Go Shiozaki vs Kaito Kiyomiya (c)
    Rating: *****
  2. Stardom 9th Anniversary: World of Stardom Championship: Momo Watanabe vs Mayu Iwatani (c)
    Rating: **** 1/4
  3. NXT: Pete Dunne & Matt Riddle vs South Wales Subculture (Mark Andrews & Flash Morgan Webster)
    Rating: ****
  4. NOAH New Sunrise: GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship: Yoshinari Ogawa vs HAYATA (c)
    Rating: ****
  5. MLW: Opera Cup Finals: Brian Pillman Jr vs Davey Boy Smith Jr
    Rating: ****

 

Honorable Mentions:

AEW Dynamite: PAC vs Darby Allin
Rating: *** 3/4
NOAH New Sunrise: GHC National Championship: Masa Kitamiya vs Takashi Sugiura (c)
Rating: *** 3/4
NOAH New Sunrise: Michael Elgin vs Katsuhiko Nakajima
Rating: *** 1/2
AEW Dynamite: #1 Contender Tag 4 Way: The Young Bucks vs Best Friends vs Santana & Ortiz vs Hangman Page & Kenny Omega
Rating: *** 1/2
NXT: Isiah Scott vs Tyler Breeze vs Lio Rush
Rating: *** 1/2
WWE Raw: Buddy Murphy vs Aleister Black
Rating: *** 1/2
NOAH New Sunrise: Daisuke Harada & Shuhei Taniguchi vs El Hijo de Dr. Wagner Jr & Hajime Ohara
Rating: *** 1/2
AEW Dynamite: Jon Moxley vs Sammy Guevara
Rating: *** 1/4
WWE Raw: AJ Styles vs Drew McIntyre vs Randy Orton
Rating: *** 1/4
MLW Fusion: MLW Middleweight Championship: El Lindaman vs Myron Reed (c)
Rating: ***
NWA Powerrr: Eli Drake, Tim Storm & Robert Gibson vs Wild Cards & Scott Steiner
Rating: ***
NOAH New Sunrise: GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: STINGER (Atsushi Kotoge & Kotaro Suzuki) (c) vs KONGOH (Hao & Nio)
Rating: ***
WWE SmackDown: Tables Match: Robert Roode vs Roman Reigns
Rating: ***
NXT: Time Splitters (Alex Shelley & Kushida) vs Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake & Zack Gibson)
Rating: ***
IMPACT!: TJP & Daga vs Dez & Wentz vs Reno Scum vs Rohit Raju & Mahabali Shera
Rating: ***
WWE SmackDwon: John Morrison vs Big E
Rating: ***
NOAH New Sunrise: Naomichi Marufuji & Minoru Tanaka vs Chris Ridgeway & Doug Williams
Rating: ***

 

5. MLW: Opera Cup Finals: Brian Pillman Jr vs Davey Boy Smith Jr

This tournament played out well, and was definitely another moment for building Pillman Jr as a future star. Davey resurrecting the Opera Cup, gave an easy storyline of him winning it for family pride and tradition. Pillman however overcame opponents considered better than he is, on top of a shoulder injury after Injustice tried to take him out before his last round match. Both respect each other being faction members (assuming the New Hart Foundation is still a thing with Teddy leaving), so there’s no real heat.

The crowd was quiet like a match in Japan (which commentary pointed out) and that allowed the viewer to take in the match and not the surround sound. Pillman wrestled most of the match from underneath with Davey throwing some offense at the injured shoulder. It was mostly just a great clean match, both men had spots where they utilized their father’s signature moves. Pillman did have a few nice hope spots, a good locomotion cradle spot, and just a generally enjoyable match.

Funnily enough, this tournament brought my attention back to MLW. It fell off my radar a bit, but a great tournament, capped of with a damn good match and some tangible emotional weight, helped to reignite my interest in the promotion.

Winner: Davey Boy via Crossface

 

4. NOAH New Sunrise: GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship: Yoshinari Ogawa vs HAYATA (c)

From My Analysis:
This was a clash of styles, but done very well. Ogawa is in his 50s, but a very proficient technical wrestler, where HAYATA is the young flashy typical junior style. This also continues the STINGER and RATEL’S rivalry, so there’s a lot of build here.

Ogawa does a good job at focusing HAYATA’s left leg. Ogawa proceeded to slap on a few Figure Fours and Indian Death Locks. HAYATA showed his resolve and championship pedigree by fighting through the pain and putting together most of his effective offense. The finish was great when HAYATA went for Headache (Snap Frankensteiner on a kneeling opponent), but Ogawa blocks it, crosses up the legs and pins HAYATA for the upset victory.

Winner: Ogawa via Figure Four Cradle

 

3. NXT: Pete Dunne & Matt Riddle vs South Wales Subculture (Mark Andrews & Flash Morgan Webster)

From Mitchell’s Coverage:
Andrews tags to FMW, then moonsaults onto Dunne for a TORNADO DDT! FMW is up top, 450 but he has to bail out! BRO SPEAR! Andrews is back, BRO SPEAR! Riddle has FMW, for the- NO! INSIDE CRADLE! TWO!! Riddle spins FMW for a Pele! Tag to Dunne, Riddle fireman’s carries FMW, Bro To Enziguri! Cover, TWO!?! FMW survived a ladder match, so he can surely survive a tag team com-bro-nation! Fans love “All These Guys!” because “This is Awesome!” Dunne and Riddle have FMW, X-Plex Bomb countered to a rana! Andrews springboards in to block Dunne! FMW with the cover, but Dunne DECKS Andrews and Andrews falls on the pin! Somehow, someway, Dunne saved the day!

Dunne goes back to the Broserweight corner as Riddle kicks FMW away. Hot tags to Andrews and Dunne! Andrews slides but Dunne BUZZSAWS! Then pump handles, but cradle counter! Dunne blocks the cradle, X-Plex STUN-DOG MILIONAIRE! FMW fakes Riddle out, HEADBUTT! FMW DIVES, but into Riddle’s BRO DEREK!! Andrews is up top, aims for Dunne, but shooting star into a FOREARM! Tag to Riddle, pump handle, BITTER FINAL FLASH!! Cover, Broserweights win!!

Winner: BROserweights via Bitter Final Flash

 

2. Stardom 9th Anniversary: World of Stardom Championship: Momo Watanabe vs Mayu Iwatani (c)

You gotta love when Stardom-World load up 1 match ahead of the full show, especially when it’s a big match. This is Momo’s third attempt at the World title, and she’s also had a great rivalry with Mayu over the years. Mayu is the last remaining of the Big Three (Io Shirai, Kairi Hojo and Mayu Iwatani), so winning the red belt off of her would solidify Momo’s ascent to the top.

This was a rough match, each time these two have a match, there’s a good bit of aggression. Mayu had her left shoulder visibly taped, and Momo went right after it. Momo pulled off numerous submission variations that work the shoulder joint. Arm Bar variations and Chicken Wings, but Mayu was resilient. Mayu managed to get some separation with a few well placed kicks, Moonsaults and suplexes. Momo stole the Dragon Suplex at one point to make a point, and even hit her finisher Peach Sunrise, but Mayu kicked out.

Momo went to attempt an Avalanche Peach Sunrise, but that’s when Mayu started taking advantage of positioning. Rocking Momo with multiple strikes, it set Mayu up for her finish, the Two Stage Dragon Suplex. With that, she retained, giving Mayu her first singles victory over Momo in 4 years.

Punctuating this as important, it was right after this match that Bea Priestley turned on Momo and joined Oedo Tai.

Winner: Iwatani via Two Stage Dragon Suplex

 

1. NOAH New Sunrise: GHC Heavyweight Championship: Go Shiozaki vs Kaito Kiyomiya (c)

From My Analysis:
Shiozaki earned this opportunity after a decent run in the N1, and a few key wins, most notably against Katsuhiko Nakajima during the 15th anniversary match. Kiyomiya has carried the belt for a little over a year, while establishing himself as the face of the new NOAH. From an emotional standpoint, Shiozaki is someone that many consider the true soul of NOAH. Student of Kobashi, came up while Misawa was still around, and still carries himself from the Golden Era. The biggest question mark with Shiozaki is; will the fans finally accept him as champion?

This was a fantastic match. Kiyomiya showed his determination to remain champion by going after Shiozaki’s bad elbow and trying to work whatever advantages came his way. Shiozaki on the other hand, summoned a lot of NOAH’s history to power him through points of the match. Kobashi’s Machine Gun Chops, Misawa’s Rolling Elbow to interrupt Kiyomiya’s offense, and Vader Hammers to disorient the young champion. Kiyomiya did his best to stave off the challenger, even using Misawa’s Emerald Flowsion for a near fall. Shiozaki pulled out plenty of tricks and tributes as the veteran challenger should, and this was fantastic to watch. Shiozaki winning with the Moonsault is great since it’s a tribute to Kobashi to begin with, and it was the move that got him this opportunity anyway.

Kobashi presenting him with the GHC Heavyweight Championship was just a nice moment to cap it all off.

Winner: Shiozaki via Moonsault Press

 

Thoughts:

Now my vote is insanely obvious since the, Go Shiozaki vs Kaito Kiyomiya, match was head and shoulders above other things this week. Again remember, even though the show was 1.4.2020, it didn’t air on TV until the 14th, making it available for the list. The GHC Heavyweight match had great callbacks, great historical references, on top of great wrestling.

Of course MLW and NXT have a better chance of being seen by a larger western audience, and they’re great matches as well. I’m aware I will probably be in the minority with my vote, but huzzah for subjectivity!!

Either way, remember to vote and make your opinion known!


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Opinion

Greg DeMarco’s 2024 WWE Royal Rumble Reaction

It’s the Royal Rumble! A favorite of many fans, the Rumble kicks off the Road To WrestleMania. Greg DeMarco is here with his live reactions to the event!

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WWE Royal Rumble 2024 Results

It’s the Royal Rumble! A favorite of many fans, the Rumble kicks off the Road To WrestleMania. Greg DeMarco is here with his live reactions to the event!

The WWE Royal Rumble is upon us, and while the Men’s Royal Rumble Match isn’t for the World Heavyweight Championship like I suggested, it’s still the most anticipated event of the year.

Why? The Unknown.

That’s right–in this age of the internet (usually incorrectly) telling us everything it possibly can about what is going to happen in the world of wrestling, the Royal Rumble stands out because despite what we’re told (or, more importantly, what we choose to listen to), the event is always full of fun and surprises.


Check out Steven Mitchell’s 2024 WWE Royal Rumble Results & Review!


Women’s Royal Rumble Match

  • They really are driving home the “main event WrestleMania” point this year–strengthens my thought that women will main event Night 1. Triple H would catch a ton of heat if he keeps women out for the third straight year.
  • NAOMI! Good to see her back, and the emotional response she had.
  • Love Michael Cole calling out Naomi’s time in TNA, and recognizing her as a former Knockouts Champion.
  • Entering #3 doesn’t bode well for Bayley. I honestly don’t think she is gonna win.
  • JORDYNNE GRACE! I saw the reports earlier today. This is a much bigger deal than Mickie James, because Mickie was a returning legend.
  • “TNA HAS A WEAPON!” So glad to have Pat McAfee on the call.
  • Honestly, Jordynne Grace belongs in WWE.

  • Asuka comes in, and they sell the surprise of Bayley. STORYTELLING, people!
  • Something tells me when we get Kairi Sane in there, The Kabuki Warriors will eliminate Bayley.
  • Ivy Nile enters, and I immediately want to see her go toe-to-toe with Jordynne Grace.
  • What if they pulled some crazy sh*t and had Jordynne Grace win???
  • Just step through the ropes next time, Bianca.
  • When I first saw the C4 clock, I thought I would get tired of it But I am already used to it.
  • Here’s Kairi Sane, time to set the plan into motion!
  • This crowd does not appear to like Tegan Nox.
  • Welp, there goes my idea o Asuka and Kairi eliminating Bayley.
  • That was a hell of a way for Jordynne Grace to go out.

  • I think Michael Cole secretly loves to call a Meteora.
  • There’s a reason Maxxine Dupri doesn’t wrestle much.
  • That tandem Code Red was very Young Buckish. And that’s not a compliment.
  • Hair,…gear…this might be the messiest Royal Rumble yet.
  • Ah, here comes the winner, Becky Lynch (I am calling Becky eliminates Bayley to win her second Royal Rumble).
  • LOVE the scoreboard of time in the Rumble for selected wrestlers.

  • R-TRUTH?!?! (Funny story, it was Truth’s spot that Nia Jax took in 2019.)
  • If you push Mia Yim, she’ll take it further than you could imagine.
  • “How is everybody the most athletic person on Earth?” – Pat McAfee
  • Surprising that Roxanne Perez, at #27, is the first NXT entrant. I don’t think we’ll be seeing Tiffany Stratton of Blair Davenport since we only have 3 more to come.
  • Amazing reaction for Jade Cargill. Give her time, she’s definitely going to be a huge star.
  • JUST GIVE HER TIME.
  • Seriously, Nia Jax had to help Jade eliminate her–A LOT.

  • Greg Was Wrong: It is indeed Tiffy Time in the Royal Rumble.
  • Back to Jade–she is insanely over.
  • I know it won’t be, but this should be Tiffany Stratton’s official main roster call-up.
  • Liv Morgan returns at #30, and good for Liv. She nearly went wire-to-wire last year.
  • Liv Morgan: “Thank you!” Pat McAfee: “No problem.”
  • Tiffany Stratton eliminating Roxanne Perez is, to me, an invitation for a match with them on Raw this Monday.
  • Still love the scoreboard as Naomi passes an hour.
  • The camera is catching a lot of in-ring communications right now.
  • And Jade Cargill eliminates my pick to win. Bye Becky.
  • Jade Cargill in the final three of the Royal Rumble (with Liv Morgan and Bayley) is huge for her.
  • Hell of a debut for Jade Cargill.
  • And a huge win for Bayley.

Winner of the 2024 Women’s Royal Rumble Match: Bayley (eliminating Liv Morgan to win)

Fatal 4-Way Match for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Randy Orton vs AJ Styles vs. LA Knight vs. Roman Reigns (champion, with Paul Heyman)

  • Glad to see AJ Styles got his tights back. Pants AJ Styles (but still with the football gloves) was not working. Not just bring the beard back to your face Allen–the think beard also ain’t working.

  • Pat McAfee campaigning for Roman Reigns to be given at least a 26% chance is amazing.
  • Say what you want about LA Knight, he’s a damn star and totally belongs in this match.
  • Roman completely sandbagged Randy on the table drop. I don’t think it was on purpose, but he definitely didn’t jump.
  • Roman Reigns is very much like Gunther in that he does the simple things SO WELL, like a jumping clothesline. That’s how you do it.
  • Yes, I compared Roman Reigns to Gunther. Don’t @ me, I’m right.

  • RKO City, Bitch.
  • Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand here’s Solo! (At some point, Solo will get tired of saving Roman’s ass.)
  • Solo ’bout to go through that barricade.
  • Solo indeed went through that barricade.

  • Yes, we had the Solo interference mid-match, but honestly in the end Roman won that clean.

Winner, #ANDSTILL your Undisputed WWE Universal Champion: Roman Reigns

WWE United States Championship: Kevin Owens vs. Logan Paul (champion)

  • Kevin Owens wearing Zubaz shorts in the Performance Center fight makes me very happy.
  • Logan Paul talking about a full time run, and now he’s putting on size.
  • Logan’s headband didn’t list very long.
  • I honestly hate it when modern-day wrestlers bust out a crotch chop.
  • If you were watching the Royal Rumble and didn’t know who Logan Paul was, you’d just assume he was a pro wrestler. That says everything you need to know about how good he is at this.
  • ANOTHER crotch chop. Now we’re at 2 too many.

  • Cue the “Better Buckshot Than Hangman” tweets. But they might be right.
  • I love the idea of a Logan Paul, Austin Theory, and Grayson Waller stable.
  • C’mon, there’s NO WAY Ryan Tran could see the knucks on Kevin Owens’ hand given his placement. It’s the little things.
  • Finish here tells me we’ll see KO vs. Logan Paul again. I’d guess on TV, if not in Australia.

Winner by disqualification, #ANDSTILL WWE United States Champion: Logan Paul

Men’s Royal Rumble Match

  • Jey Uso coming at #1 was expected thanks to the internet reports. But I still think Jimmy should be #1 and Jey #2, for the reaction shots on Jimmy.
  • Grayson Waller talking himself to the ring is perfect.
  • “No Yeet!” Grayson is a brilliant performer. I’d make a Roddy Piper comparison here, but y’all would get at mad at me.
  • Good to have Andrade back in WWE. Great reaction for him when the mask came off.

  • SmackDown superstar Carmelo Hayes! I really really really hope Trick is also in this match, just for the chants.
  • Melo pointed to the sign, C’mon, man.
  • Do you send Andrade to Smackdown, or do you send him to Raw and let him do his own thing?
  • Oh goody, Karrion Kross is here. Yay.
  • (Yes, that’s sarcasm you read.)
  • Dominik Mysterio is so good. Give him time, he’s going to be a huge star.

  • The Royal Rumble was a great place for the Apple Spot.
  • Here comes Bob Lashley–please just eliminate Karrion Kross.
  • Lashley wearing the WrestleMania white gear more than 2 months early.
  • Austin Theory still gets his concussion effect entrance, despite it being the Rumble.
  • What if–hear me out now–Finn Balor wins the Royal Rumble to get the shot at Seth Rollins, and Priest uses his briefcase to make that match a triple threat at ‘Mania?
  • I know he didn’t, but it sure looked like Jimmy was swerving while he drives in that interaction with Gunther.
  • Kofi did tell us the Rumble Magic wasn’t happening anymore.
  • Give me Ivar vs Gunther!
  • Bron Breakker is a star. It’s inevitable.
  • Of course Omos would be in the Rumble. Good to see MVP on my TV as well.
  • “I didn’t know humans came that big!” – Pat McAfee
  • I half think Pat McAfee didn’t know he was entering the Rumble.
  • Nice moment for Bron Breakker eliminating Omos. WrestleMania match?
  • R-Truth trying to get Dominik (Tom or Nick?) Mysterio to tag him in is brilliant.
  • DOM MADE THE TAG!!!
  • “And now R-Truth is the legal man.” – thank you Michael Cole.
  • Michael Cole delivers multiple TNA references tonight, along with a Dolph Ziggler reference. God Bless Michael Cole.
  • Imagine for a second that this was CM Punk’s actual WWE return.
  • The reaction to Drew McIntyre’s entrance is a reminder that they don’t actually need him.
  • Sami Zayn enters at #30, also known as “Not The Rock.”

  • In the ring, Drew McIntyre is amazing. Just keep the microphone away from him. (And stop the damn counting!)
  • And there goes my choice for the Men’s Rumble!
  • Love having both Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins in the press boxes watching to see who wins.
  • Punk kinda looks like Chris Jericho in there. Seriously.
  • Between Punk and Cody, Cody is the right choice. I really don’t want to watch Punk right now–he needs to hit the cardio, and hard. Given Seth Rollins’ injury and Punk’s conditioning, WWE would be smart to make the World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania 40 a multi-man match.

Winner of the 2024 Men’s Royal Rumble: Cody Rhodes


Overall thoughts on the 2024 WWE Royal Rumble

For at least the second straight year, the Men’s Royal Rumble Match was kinda disappointing. Not the result–that’s fine. But the match itself. It just wasn’t nearly as exciting as the Women’s. Of the four matches, I would place it 4th in terms of enjoyment.

Great moments for both Bayley and Cody Rhodes. Logan Paul continually shows that he deserves to be considered a pro wrestler, not a celebrity who is wrestling. Pat McAfee is a joy on commentary. Jordynne Grace is a WWE Superstar, regardless of what company she is signed to. Bron Breakker is a star.CM Punk is very out of shape. Cody Rhodes is about to become THE guy, and he deserves it.

Overall I give the event a thumbs up, but they have to do something about the Men’s Royal Rumble Match moving forward.


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Opinion

WWE Raw Heads To Netflix: What Does It Mean?

Monumental news drops as WWE RAW is moving to Netflix. Is it truly a game changing move? Greg DeMarco analyzes this shift for the TV wrestling business.

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WWE Logo Metalic

Monumental news drops as WWE RAW is moving to Netflix. Is it truly a game changing move? Greg DeMarco analyzes this shift for the TV wrestling business.

Being a wee little kid in the 80s, I am “lucky enough” to remember having 3 TV channels, and my dad explaining what an 8-track is, how shocked I was when I say a laser disc for the first time, when I bought a 6 CD changer, installed my own car stereo, and all the way up to the fact that I have now been watching WWE pay-per-view/premium live events on the WWE Network and Peacock for 10 years. Hell, in the same month (February 2014) I signed up for the WWE Network, cut the cord to drop cable and got Sling TV. I have since moved onto YouTube TV which is highly recommended.

Over the last two years the NFL has put Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime, simulcast to various streaming services, and less than 2 weeks ago put a playoff game exclusively on streaming when a Wildcard Weekend showdown between the Chiefs and Dolphins was only shown on Peacock.

And now it’s fully permeated into pro wrestling.

WWE and AEW are both in the midst of a very important time on the business side, with all of their TV rights up for grabs. The first domino fell when SmackDown On FOX became SmackDown on USA Network, and soon after we learned that WWE NXT was moving to broadcast television and joining The CW (which is also rebranding, but just to CW).

The AEW suite of programming that includes Collision, Rampage, and their most successful show Dynamite is up for renewal with Warner Bros/Discovery, and Tony Khan has been optimistic about the relationship and potentially an increase in rights fees.

That brings us to Tuesday morning, and the likely groundbreaking WWE announcement that Raw is moving to Netflix, starting in January 2025. Triple H tweeted that they’re changing the game, and TKO President and COO Mark Shapiro (who knows a thing or two about shifts in media consumption) used the word “transformative” in his statement, and I really think he couldn’t be more right.

But what does it all mean?

Wrestling Remains A Strong Media Product

I have been claiming this for over a year now. As many online will cite a decline in TV viewership for both WWE and AEW, the TV product has been a strong value to networks. Even in dropping SmackDown, FOX themselves said they didn’t pump enough resources into the show, and that the advertising return wasn’t what they wanted. That doesn’t mean the product (TV value, we’re not talking about creative here) isn’t strong. It’s so strong that USA Network picked up SmackDown for $280 million per year, giving WWE an increase over the FOX deal. CW is paying $20-$25 million annually for NXT, and now Netflix is paying $500 million for RAW.

Why? Because wrestling isn’t just a strong media product, it’s consistent. And that is key.

Look at this quote from Netflix Chief Content Officer Bela Bajaria:

“Raw is the best of sports entertainment, blending great characters and storytelling with live action 52 weeks a year and we’re thrilled to be in this long-term partnership with WWE.”

Now cross reference that with a comment from CW President Dennis Miller from back when the CW/NXT deal was announced:

“We are thrilled to welcome the WWE brand into the CW Sports portfolio as they play an integral role in our mission to bring live sporting events to the network year-round.”

What do those statements have in common? The year-round, 52-week nature of wrestling programming. It’s an unbeatable value for networks. It’s cheaper than a deal with a major sports league, and it’s not finite. Wrestling joins news, talk, and sports talk as the only year-round programming available to networks. And WWE and AEW have shows that essentially always land in the Top 5 after you factor out live sports. You can’t beat it.

What Does This Mean for Netflix?

Don’t get it twisted, this is also a huge leap for Netflix. Prior to the WWE Raw deal, Netflix has only experimented with live events, streaming the live Chris Rock “Selective Outrage” special, and showing The Netflix Cup live (a golf event featuring athletes from their F1 series “Drive To Survive” and their golf series “Full Swing).

WWE is the perfect partner for Netflix as it gets into live programming. It’s sports entertainment: sports like programming (which Netflix has done) that focuses on storytelling (which Netflix has obviously done). And no one does it better than WWE. It’s essentially plug-and-play for Netflix, the perfect solution for their live programming aspirations.

The perfect solution that they were willing to pay $5 billion for.

What Does This Mean for AEW?

The biggest risk to an AEW renewal with Warner Bros Discovery was WBD picking up WWE Raw–and that risk has been eliminated by Netflix. Don’t discount that fact–Netflix did Tony Khan a huge favor by throwing $500 million per at WWE. The path is clear for AEW to remain on the Turner networks.

But at what price?

I know I usually write as if I have all the answers, but I have zero idea either way on this one. WBD no longer has any other options if it wants to keep wrestling (except for TNA, who recently expressed a desire to be on a bigger network), and AEW (at least, Dynamite) is a weekly Top 5 program for them on Wednesdays, on cable.

On the other hand, AEW doesn’t exactly have another network begging for their services. The reason WWE could get a yearly increase for Raw, SmackDown, and NXT is because it was truly a bidding war. Unless Tony Khan gets another network involved, any threat of walking away from a deal doesn’t really hold water.

So if I were a betting man (and who would ever bet on this) I would expect an announcement of a renewal for AEW and WBD relatively soon. We may not know the terms of the deal, I will take a shot in the dark and say that AEW gets a small increase (not the “nearly double” that had been reported last year).

Regardless of the increase (or not), given AEW’s recent attendance challenges, this likely renewal would have to be viewed as a win for the company.


Personally, this is simply an amazing time to be a fan. We’ve seen WWE go from one live TV show per week with Monday Night Raw, through the Monday Night Wars, the addition of SmackDown and later NXT, to being this global juggernaut that is commanding half-a-billion dollars per year for Raw. I also think this makes Raw the flagship once again. All of this comes after Vince McMahon is largely out of power, Triple H has taken over creative (and holds a pretty good success rate so far), and the company was sold to Endeavor, and merged with the UFC as a business entity under the TKO banner.

If you know me, you know I am a huge follower of the business side of the wrestling business. I often care less about WHAT wrestling companies do, but HOW they do it. I have always gravitated towards that, since middle school. And for the past near 24 months, I have been like a kid in a candy store.

The Peacock deal for the WWE Network runs out in 2026, right? The fun never stops!


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