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Mishal’s Top 5 Takeaways: WWE Backlash 2020

Mishal is here with the Greatest Top 5 Takeaways Ever! (This is totally unrelated to the Backlash tagline…promise.)

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WWE Backlash 2020 Viking Profits

Mishal is here with the Greatest Top 5 Takeaways Ever! (This is totally unrelated to the Backlash tagline…promise.)

Another month, another WWE show in the books!

Since days are simply longer than they seem due to the climate we live in it feels like the last major WWE show I covered was well over two months ago, but we’ve only had roughly five weeks to recover since last months Money In the Bank event, which is no time if we really think about it.

WWE had a pretty heavy task carrying a show that can follow up how fun & eventful Money in the Bank ended up being compared to what was expected. Despite the circumstances, it was a show filled with creativity, stellar storytelling, good action, dozens of surprises & a clear sign of WWE finding their footing while performing in front of an arena without their traditional fanbase. And to follow up that show, the creative team (and everyone’s favourite, Vince McMahon) went all out, some would say too far out.

On a night of not built up of not just a solid match card but an endless amount of potential, we were promised a match billed to be ‘The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever’, a tagline so absurd that every corner of the wrestling community has written about it at this point in time. It was a tagline so absurd that the hype was likely never to be met, and with this match following up the incredible finals of the Intercontinental Title tournament between AJ Styles & Daniel Bryan on SmackDown, the weight this match carried was heavier than ever.

I, along with most fans, can say this was a show that defied my expectations on most levels. It was an evening packed with entertainment value & some steps that showed the product going in a direction I’d be on board with should they continue. That doesn’t mean it was a show without its problems, of which it had many in retrospect.

After doing the same for NXT Takeover: In Your House last week I thought the same should be applied to last nights show, and listing my five biggest takeaways from WWE Backlash would only be suitable.

Let’s take a dive into the biggest takeaways from WWE Backlash!

5. Jeff Hardy & Sheamus need to stop pissing around

Heading into a show marred with controversial decisions, the build to Jeff Hardy vs Sheamus holds the title for the most controversial build to a match in a long, long time. Not just a match billed as Hardy’s big comeback following a series of injuries that hindered the momentum of his singles run with the company, but one built on personal struggle & his need to bounce back from all the personal trauma he’s been through in real life over the last decade or so.

On paper, this could work under the right circumstances & careful booking, but this is WWE we’re talking about.

In all honesty, the match itself was quite solid for what it was. Despite the length resulting in things taking a bit of time to really get interesting, both rivals put on a solid contest with enough action, nearfalls & selling to invest you, for the most part, but the one pivotal factor that held this back was everything that had come before it in the weeks prior.

As hard as the commentary team and both men tried to sell this as a deeply personal, bitter grudge match, it’s incredibly difficult to buy into a match where the biggest selling point either heat or tension between the two was the fact that a jar of pee was hurled at the other just two nights prior. Completely undercutting the seriousness they tried to evoke.

Not only does a segment like we saw on the SmackDown prior hinder the investment of the feud, but it also makes the entire scenario difficult to take seriously, at least to the extent we were being told through all the hype leading into it. Should this feud continue, as most signs point to, WWE needs to ensure that they treat the feud in the manner it deserves & focuses on actually building the heat between the two rather than aiming to deliver the highest level of controversy possible.

4. The blandest babyface in all the land

It’s no secret that I’m no fan of the direction they’ve taken the Braun Strowman character. As talented as the big man is when given the right material, WWE’s handling of ‘The Monster Among Men’ has been underwhelming at the very best. Following a random start to the year as Intercontinental Champion, Strowman found himself receiving a Universal Championship Match against Goldberg at Wrestlemania following the abrupt exit of Roman Reigns due to health concerns, a match in which he finally ascended to the top of the mountain to become a big-time champion under the company banner.

All of this is fine in theory, as well as his follow-up feud with Bray Wyatt which ended up better than I wanted to give it credit for, the main issue with the new direction of this giant is simply how stale he’s become as a character, especially one that is meant to be the face of an entire brand.

Sunday at Backlash only re-affirmed my stance on the current Universal Champion, as he slogged his way to a title defence over The Miz & John Morrison that meant nothing to any of the men involved by the time the bell rang. Putting aside the match quality, which was sub-par at best, Strowman has clearly been deprived of the very traits that once made him so imposing. Rather than be a gigantic, unstoppable (at times hilarious) force of nature that tears through the competition regardless of their size, it seems like Strowman is your standard babyface champion in a 7-foot frame. He admittedly did flip a car over two weeks back in the build-up to his match at Backlash but beyond that brief stint, what does he have to offer besides his size at this stage?

Strowman has never been known for his long-form promo work & his in-ring ability is based more on him bulldozing opponents rather than actual wrestling, something that babyfaces in this day & age generally don’t do based on the current formula, and is something he executed far better as a heel back in the day. I’m all for Braun Strowman as the leading brand in the company, it’s just never been more clear that the longer his reign goes, the blander his character becomes as he morphs into your prototypical big man holding a championships belt. My main concern is what happens to the man once ‘The Fiend’ makes his inevitable return to WWE programming, which will require Strowman to be at this very best, something I can’t for the life of me say is on display right now.

3. Bobby Lashley is back!

It’s taken WWE’s creative team a staggering two years. A painful, annoying, confusing two years. But at long last, I think we can restore some level of faith in the companies creative team, as they’ve finally found the formula to making Bobby Lashley as dominant as he once was not too long ago.

Backlash was the ultimate chance for Bobby Lashley to make his comeback in the company, whether through a victory or another untimely defeat if there was one night where performance mattered it was this faithful evening in the WWE Performance Centre with the world watch. And much to my own delight, we got the Bobby Lashley we were promised upon his return back in 2018. This wasn’t the Lashley we’ve seen over the last 24 months, this was a new man. This man wasn’t resorting to complementing his ‘sisters’ to garner a reaction, show off his abs, pose as if wrestling fans care about aesthetic, steal another man’s wife or get shoved into a meaningless stable that amounted to nothing, or arm wrestle, this was the Lashley that resurrected himself in TNA (the 2nd time around), a true obstacle to overcome on any roster.

To add to the improvements in his character work, his match against Drew McIntyre over the WWE Championship was incredibly physical, exactly what these two men need with their in-ring styles. It was a contest with the biggest of moves, a breakneck pace & the good ol’ fashioned hoss fight we were expecting & thankfully received. Even in his loss, Lashley’s character is finally being pushed to a place where he seems comfortable, displaying cracks in the dreadful on-screen tandem with Lana, instead shifting his managerial efforts towards MVP in hopes of further success under the RAW brand. A move that virtually everyone is getting behind. Some of the shenanigans outside the match itself were a bit irritating since I wish they would just reboot the character on the spot rather than briefly prolonge it, but any change for the man is a positive one at this point. It was the first time since his return that he’s actually come across as a threat to anyone, a feeling I also give major props to MVP for helping to convey with his fantastic facial expressions at ringside.

While I seem to give the company a hard time in their portrayal of particularly newer or returning talent on a consistent basis, seeing them finally notice the strengths within previously mishandled characters is something I’ll always get behind as opposed to continuing to tarnish their records.

2. Another cinematic masterpiece

This point won’t be as long as the others, simply because it’s a shorter point that a good chunk of the online community has already beat to death well before I write this down.

If there is one major positive, one aspect of WWE programming that I’ll never criticize considering the circumstances, it’s their masterful cinematic storytelling as of late. In an attempt to diversify its program beyond the ring the company has fully embraced ‘cinematic matches’ to not just keep the momentum of their shows alive but offer fans at home something entirely different. And while it is different, I think the one thing people fail to touch on is how useful these matches are in helping acts that simply aren’t as popular or rivalries that aren’t clicking (such as The Street Profits vs Viking Raiders in this case) develop beyond being a feud purely set in the ring.

Sunday’s show was easily the most bizarre cinematic match to date, and that’s saying something. This could be due to it being completely out of the blue & unannounced prior to the event itself, giving off a shock value that was really needed for a show many (myself included) deemed as predictable. Their match was a completely fresh experience as opposed to what the company has done before it, rather than being a sophisticated platform of character work or character building, this was simply insane. All four competitors flew everywhere, used weapons to their advantage, were slammed through vehicles, off of platforms & even battled an army of ninjas lead by Akira Tozawa of all people. It made absolutely no sense and that was the best thing about it, it embraced the bizarre nature of wrestling by simply having a blast doing its own thing, and remains one of the funniest segments I’ve seen this year.

Whatever the company has planned for these matches next, consider me sold.

1. I was wrong (for the most part)

Let me first say, I take back most the criticism I gave this match in the weeks leading up to it.

On Sunday, Edge & Randy Orton exceeded every expectation I had going into the ”Greatest Wrestling Match Ever”. That’s not to say I don’t have my issues with it, because despite trying to enhance certain elements of the match, not all of those enhancements worked for me.

Certain additions such as the chimed in crowd noises, the overly edited style of some moments in the match & the overall length which went upwards of 40 minutes did drag this down from being an absolute classic, but still ended up being a pretty great match that I wasn’t expecting in the slightest. Clearly the company, as well as the wrestlers involved had seen the ‘mixed’ reception their marketing strategy received across the board and made it a point to excel beyond what we expected, and they did just that in spades.

Beyond being what it was meant to be, this felt like a glorious tribute to the industries greats. From The Rock, Bret Hart, ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair, Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat, Christian, Triple H & even ‘The Fink’ Howard Finkel of all people, this was a gigantic nod to the inspirations that lead both Edge & Orton to this point in their legendary careers. As a wrestling fan, you couldn’t help but be moved by what was on display, the levels of passion & knowledge on display were incredible sights to see, coming across as almost a wrestling fans wildest dream match. A small part of me thinks of this match as what I would have come up with playing with my action figures at a young age with my toy wrestling ring, a match with every big move you could muster until absolute exhaustion, and I couldn’t be happier with the result.

If you remove the tagline of this aiming to be ‘The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever’, I’d go as far to call this a classic in its own right, but sadly it just can’t compete with the matches I deem worthy of holding that actual tagline in my own mind, but it was fantastic nonetheless. My favourite thing is to be proven wrong when my mind is made up, and Sunday night was a humbling feeling of how cool wrestling can be when you least expect it to be. Hats off to Edge & Randy Orton.


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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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