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News From Cook’s Corner 6.29.20: Whatever You’ve Heard, It’s Worse

Cook brings us the highlights from the “slow news week”.



Hi, hello & welcome to News From Cook’s Corner! This column has had two previous runs, one lasting from until 2005 until 2007 and the second from 2009 until 2012. There was a phenomenon that would pop up from time to time during each of those time periods that we haven’t seen here in months.

It was called the “slow news week”.

Sometimes things just wouldn’t happen. Or stuff would happen that would be a re-run of something that happened before and I wouldn’t have much interest in writing about it. I would sit in front of my computer for hours at a time (I had nothing better to do, and if it wasn’t for streaming services I’d be saying “some things never change”.) wondering what in the blue hell I was going to write about this week. Writer’s block can be a mother.

That isn’t the problem anymore. Now, it’s trying to decide what I’m going to feature in this column and what’ll have to wait for another time. There’s also the fact that between the time I finish writing and the time the column gets posted here on The Chairshot, another fifteen major events end up happening. Things happen faster than ever now, and if you miss a day to try & do something else, you miss everything.

Much of it is worth missing, to be honest. But it’s my duty to be here yapping about it, which I’ll continue to do as long as the Chairshot brass wants me around. I assume they do. The point I’m getting at here is that now instead of wondering “What should I write about?” because there’s nothing going on, I wonder “What should I write about?” because everything is going on. And these aren’t the old days where five thousand words was a short news column. Or where I only had one column to write a week, for that matter.

So. Let’s start with something I wrote about in last Monday’s column that exploded days later.

Told ya there was a pandemic.

OK, I know that I wasn’t sounding alarm bells to anybody last week that didn’t already know the deal. I’ve always had a very intelligent audience during my time as a wrestling writer. People that read me regularly know what’s going on. I’m preaching to the choir when I tell people that THERE’S STILL A PANDEMIC GOING ON AND PEOPLE ARE DYING MAYBE YOU SHOULD WEAR A MASK OR STAY INSIDE OR AT LEAST NOT BREATHE ON ME. I know you all get it.

WWE does not get it. We’ve known this since the McMahon family bribed the Governor of Florida to hold events there. WWE cares about holding events for their networks and satisfying those contracts. The health of their independent contractors…well, that’s somewhere on the list of priorities, but it’s pretty low.

You wanna tell me it’s not? Ask Renee Young. She got one of those covid tests from WWE, was good, went home, felt ill and needed another one. Once she tested positive & let her husband & everybody else know, WWE couldn’t get farther away from it. Maybe they’ve contacted her by now, but it was at least three days when the news was broke. At least three days too many. Who do these people think they are? I read news bites about how WWE is mad at Renee for making her test public. Who in the hell are they to get mad about that? My blood pressure rises with my rage at these people.

Kayla Braxton let us know she’s got the virus twice. Adam Pearce has it now. WWE shut everybody down after that. Now we just have to guess based off of who isn’t currently on TV. AJ Styles vs. Drew Gulak didn’t happen on SmackDown? Well Drew must have the virus because AJ doesn’t think it exists. Daniel Bryan wasn’t on SmackDown? Well hopefully he flew the coop before getting it and doesn’t have it, since he has a baby on the way.

These are scary times. WWE isn’t making them any less scary by re-testing the Raw roster because they didn’t like the results the first time. Like…what? We’re just going to keep going until we get results we like is some right-wing nonsense. Listen, I don’t know how many people tested positive once WWE finally bothered to test people. I do know that WWE had its head in the sand for a long time, passed some money to the corrupt Florida Governor to keep that going, and now are trying to hide test results. Is there anyway somebody can spin this as good? Probably, but I’m not somebody capable of it.

Apparently “fans” were allowed to wear masks on Friday. Goody! After however many tapings they weren’t allowed to. Awesome.

WWE’s blame in this is undeniable. They followed their President, and they’re reaping what they sowed. It’s been a shambolic series of events. They deserve every ounce of blame they get. However, I do feel the need to pass blame on to other quarters, since there’s plenty to go around. For example, AEW felt pretty good about hosting parties with their talent posing with Mike Tyson, and they even let a WWE-contracted talent attend, even though WWE testing is much less stringent than AEW’s. AEW at least has a COVID testing site at their football stadium, so it’s easy to get their wrestlers & fans tested. I can’t deny that I feel a little worried when they have lumberjack matches and have everybody in the ring at the same time. Also, I feel like Britt Baker should be in a Popemobile until further notice.

However, it should also be noted that many wrestlers seem unconcerned. Perhaps it’s based off what Big Daddy Vince tells them. But we’ve all seen wrestlers violate social distancing guidelines. We saw Billie Kay’s big Vegas birthday, along with other social events. That’s the tricky thing when trying to pin everything on the company. You can lead the horse to water but you can’t make them drink. Wrestlers are bound to break the rules, its their nature.

Then there’s the fans. I’ve been doing ROH reviews for the past several weeks for 411mania. A common trend in their comments: when will ROH do shows again? As a lapsed ROH fan I’ve enjoyed the best ofs because it’s stuff I haven’t seen before. But the diehard ROH fans are asking for more. Understandable, especially since ROH avoided doing a Best of Dalton Castle show during Pride Month. Seems like an easy show to do, but somehow they missed it. Honestly, that’s the one reason Sinclair should be asking me to get on board, I would have seen that as an idea when apparently nobody else there did. Delirious & Marty had their minds on other things, obviously. They need somebody on staff concerned with entertaining the people.

Now I see & hear people wondering why this isn’t a bigger story. Certainly, we’ve reached the point where this whole WWE pandemic is bigger than wrestling media, right? Heck, throw in AEW if you want, and maybe some tabloid reporter can blow up the IWA Mid-South show and equate it with how the whole business works. That’s what they did all the time back in the late 1990s. 20/20 equated backyard wrestling with pro wrestling to make the business look bad. Why aren’t we seeing this sort of thing right now?

For one thing, most of the mainstream media doesn’t care. Let’s be honest, most of your TV news & newspaper folks have spent most of their lives looking down on pro wrestling. They don’t care if Vince is doing some other stupid thing, it’s just one of many stupid things that’s not their problem. It’s not even worth tearing down to them. A bunch of people get sick or die? Eh, they’re just wrestlers. Fortunately for these folks, wrestling is low enough on the totem pole and has such a poor reputation that they can get away with this malfeasance.

As for the mainstream media folks that are outspoken wrestling fans? Well, they’re not going to bring Vince down either. Either they’re fanboys for the product and wouldn’t dare say anything to cross the man that’s given them so much entertainment over the years, or they’re going to keep their heads in the sand because they don’t wanna hear about it. They’ve gotten enough crap from their peers over the years, right? Better just to ignore it and hope nobody notices. I hold these people in lower regard than their colleagues that just don’t care, because all they really care about is being entertained, and they won’t do anything to put that selfish need of theirs in jeopardy.

I’d like to be surprised, but it’s going to take even more than what’s transpired so far for the media to give a hoot. Or for the people in the media that care to use their platform & say something.

Impact Wrestling had an eventful week.

Tessa Blanchard’s contract was terminated and she was stripped of the Impact World Championship. Reasons that leaked out included her refusal to send in a pre-taped interview, or to travel across the border from Mexico to work for the company. While Tessa’s been the subject of multiple complaints from fellow workers & wrestling companies, there is one gaping hole in this whole narrative from Impact Wrestling: Tessa’s contract was set to expire on June 30. Impact was advertising her for a match on July 18 when they had to know that Blanchard had no intention of re-signing with their company. Whoops.

Perhaps they thought that she would go along with the flow & show up & drop the title anyway…but am I going to blame her for not wanting to travel from Mexico to Nashville and risk the possibility of being stuck in the country afterwards, far away from her fiance? Nope. She could have done an interview, sure. Impact could have also booked a match with her prior to her contract expiring. Plans go awry sometimes.

Personally, I like my idea of having everybody act like Moose’s TNA World Championship was the main title all along. It’s more likely they’ll just put the title up for grabs at Slammiversary in the King of the Mountain match.

As for Tessa, I was unsure where she would go at first, but after a day or two to think about it I know somebody will sign her. I know we hear all of these things about attitude problems, and there’s been some allegations of racism & bullying towards her, but she’s got talent and she’s young. She’s got plenty of time to figure it all out. I’m not surprised Uncle Dave is telling us that WWE has already reached out. Heck, if those allegations are true, that just might help her win WWE management over.

Michael Elgin also got released from the company and everybody thought it might have been due to some allegations that resurfaced last week. Nah, it had more to do with him & Sami Callihan getting into a fight backstage over a match they were planning. Joey Ryan’s dismissal, however, does seem to be due to the mounting allegations against him. As far as I know, he didn’t get in a backstage fight with Sami or his pals. I can see Elgin working in Japan for the rest of his career, and maybe Ryan’s best strategy would be to hope that nobody over there knows about his problems either.

Once you burn your Impact Wrestling bridge, there aren’t many places to go.

Speaking Out Fallout So Far

As I wrote about on Thursday, allegations against Mike Quackenbush & some of his trainers/wrestlers led to CHIKARA being shut down. Quackenbush promised to address the allegations, and boy did he ever. Quack posted a thirteen minute video on YouTube where he spoke out about each allegation, taking responsibility for some and denying others. He definitely put a lot of thought & work into it, you gotta give him credit for that.

If we’re ranking sincerity of apologies, I would rank Quack below Sammy Guevara, who I think has done the best job of expressing his remorse so far. He’d be ahead of Marty Scrull, who ripped off Kobe Bryant’s statement after Colorado for his apology. And everybody in the world would be ahead of Joey Ryan. Some compared Quack’s statement to the in-character diatribe that Kevin Spacey posted after his allegations, but I have to disagree because at least Quack admitted to some wrong-doing. We’ll see where it goes. I can’t see Quackenbush fronting an indy fed again. Can I see him training wrestlers again? Maybe.

Speaking of Marty, Ring of Honor announced on Thursday that they have launched an investigation into the allegations concerning their contracted talent. Some on social media have pointed out that ROH has launched a number of investigations in recent years that never led to anything. I mean…well…we’ll see what happens.

Matt Riddle continues to be featured on WWE television, and is being built up for a feud with King Corb-wait a minute, we’re supposed to believe feuding with Corbin is a good thing? Well, that’s news to me. While we’re on the topic, there’s no chance in hell that this news floating around with Corbin being mad at this Riddle feud is true. Somebody is getting worked, and frankly I’m here for that. While still hoping that the Riddle allegations aren’t true because if they are it’s completely ridiculous to push him the way they are.

David Starr hasn’t been heard from since, except possibly on Tinder? I doubt we that talk about pro wrestling will hear from him again. That boy got cancelled good enough that I doubt I’ll ever mention him again in this column. The guy didn’t even accomplish enough to be good joke material.

WWE has been acting on some of the NXT UK allegations, releasing El Ligero & Travis Banks. There’s been a lot of speculation on whether or not NXT UK will continue as a brand, and personally I’ve been wondering that since the pandemic started. I haven’t seen much evidence of NXT UK helping WWE grow their brand in the United Kingdom since it started. If anything, it’s hurt the brand. Why wouldn’t WWE just take Pete Dunne, WALTER and the rest of Imperium & call it a day? I feel like WWE always drew better in Europe on a limited basis anyway. Germany loved Bret Hart because they only saw him once every few years. Maybe Triple H sees it as a passion project and will keep it going beyond reason, but all logic tells me that we’ve already seen the last NXT UK live event. So WWE will probably book one pretty soon because that’s how they roll, amirite?

Jim Cornette did a podcast where he denied any and all allegations because that’s how he rolls. Corny’s smart enough to know he has that Donald Trump fanbase that loves him no matter what he does, and he makes enough money off of them that he doesn’t have to work for anybody else. So we’ll never know the truth there. I did see where somebody else confirmed the allegations after being silent, and I also saw a promo with that person, Synn & Jim Cornette where some of Synn’s lines felt like shoot comments. I take Jim’s commentary with 10,000 grains of salt, which is a shame because back in the day he seemed like the greatest wrestling historian I had ever heard.

David Lagana resigned from his position with the NWA, which has led to their programming on YouTube being suspended until further notice. The main thing I will miss from their YouTube content is Eddie Kingston promos. His last two at the start of Carnyland episodes on the status of the NWA, then about the #BlackLivesMatter protests made him seem like the conscience of the promotion. Very powerful stuff, as you would expect from the War King.

We’ll see whether or not Billy Corgan finds somebody to fill Lagana’s shoes. I think he will, there are a lot of diehard fans out there. Maybe not with the same television knowledge that Lagana has, but definitely a similar love for pro wrestling. And not the same baggage.

Dream Over?

Overused subtitle, I know. But every time Velveteen Dream appears in the news these days, it’s for nothing good. In addition to his name popping up with more sexual misconduct allegations involving minors last week, Dream was involved in a car accident on Friday. Fightful reported that he was released from the hospital after receiving treatment. I don’t know all of what’s going on with this guy, but as an outside observer it looks like a case of somebody self-destructing at a fairly rapid pace. If WWE isn’t going to release him, and I’m not telling them whether they should or not, somebody there needs to be doing something to help him out. Otherwise, this story is heading towards a really bad ending.

Or his friends should be trying to step in. I know some people are beyond help, and maybe this is one of those cases.

Who is the GOAT?

Downtown Bruno/Harvey Whippleman as the GOAT is something I can get behind. Maybe we can discuss that at a later date if things calm down, Until then, keep your stick on the ice,

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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!



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.
  • 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.
  • “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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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.



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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