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Andrew’s Top 5 Matches: Week Ending 10/4/2020

Japanese tournaments are still going strong, but there are a few North American matches that make it into the Top 5! Which match was your favorite of the past week?

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Well now, if you’ve been paying attention the last few weeks, you know the Japanese tournaments have done a good job at encompassing a lot of my time. So there’s not a ton of TV beyond Impact, because I cover Impact. This week is similar, but I capped off last week with NXT TakeOver 31, so some names may look more familiar!

Since this week is just a Top 5, let’s see how last week’s vote shaped the September pool!

September MOTY Pool:

  • NXT: Vacant NXT Championship: Finn Balor vs Adam Cole
  • AEW All Out: AEW Tag Team Championship: Hangman Page & Kenny Omega (c) vs FTR
  • AEW Dynamite: Parking Lot Fight: Santana & Ortiz vs Best Friends
  • G1 Climax 30 Day 5: Kota Ibushi vs Tomohiro Ishii

As you can see, even though AEW and NXT have taken a small backseat to my priority list, they still are decently represented in the September Pool. Even though I like Ibushi vs Ishii better as a match, my vote will go to the Parking Lot Fight, because it was actually well orchestrated and capped off the story solidly.

Now on to this week!

Quick Top 5:

  1. Victory Road: Impact World Championship: Eddie Edwards vs Eric Young (c)
    Rating: **** ½
  2. TakeOver 31: NXT Championship: Kyle O’Reilly vs Finn Balor (c)
    Rating: **** ¼
  3. N-1 Victory Day 6: A Block: Go Shiozaki vs Kaito Kiyomiya
    Rating: **** ¼
  4. G1 Climax 30 Day 8: Tetsuya Naito vs SANADA
    Rating: **** ¼
  5. G1 Climax 30 Day 6: Tetsuya Naito vs Hirooki Goto
    Rating: **** ¼

 

Honorable Mentions:

  1. G1 Climax 30 Day 8: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs YOSHI-HASHI
    Rating: ****
  2. G1 Climax 30 Day 7: Tomohiro Ishii vs Shingo Takagi
    Rating: ****
  3. Victory Road: Four Way Tag Rules: Ace Austin w/Fulton vs Karl Anderson w/Gallows vs Alex Shelley w/Chris Sabin & Josh Alexander w/Ethan Page
    Rating: *** ¾
  4. N-1 Victory Day 5: A Block: Masaaki Mochizuki vs Manabu Soya
    Rating: *** ¾
  5. TakeOver 31: North American Championship: Johnny Gargano vs Damian Priest (c)
    Rating: *** ¾
  6. G1 Climax 30 Day 6: Zack Sabre Jr vs KENTA
    Rating: *** ¾
  7. N-1 Victory Day 6: B Block: Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Naomichi Marufuji
    Rating: *** ¾
  8. G1 Climax 30 Day 7: Will Ospreay vs Jay White
    Rating: *** ¾
  9. UWN Prime Time Live: NWA National Championship: Trevor Murdoch vs Aron Stevens(c)
    Rating: *** ½
  10. TakeOver 31: NXT Women’s Championship: Io Shirai (c) vs Candice LeRae
    Rating: *** ½
  11. G1 Climax 30 Day 6: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Juice Robinson
    Rating: *** ½
  12. N-1 Victory Day 5: A Block: Go Shiozaki vs Masa Kitamiya
    Rating: *** ½
  13. G1 Climax 30 Day 7: Taichi vs Kazuchika Okada
    Rating: *** ½
  14. IMPACT!: The North vs Ace Austin & Madman Fulton
    Rating: *** ½
  15. N-1 Victory Day 6: B Block: Kenoh vs Takashi Sugiura
    Rating: *** ½
  16. Victory Road: Tenille Dashwood vs Jordynne Grace
    Rating: *** ½
  17. TakeOver 31: Kushida vs Velveteen Dream
    Rating: *** ½
  18. G1 Climax 30 Day 7: Jeff Cobb vs Kota Ibushi
    Rating: *** ¼
  19. TakeOver 31: NXT Cruiserweight Championship: Santos Escobar (c) vs Isaiah Scott
    Rating: *** ¼
  20. G1 Climax 30 Day 6: YOSHI-HASHI vs SANADA
    Rating: *** ¼
  21. G1 Climax 30 Day 8: KENTA vs EVIL
    Rating: *** ¼
  22. N-1 Victory Day 5: B Block: Naomichi Marufuji vs Shuhei Taniguchi
    Rating: *** ¼
  23. NJPW Strong Ep. 9: LBC Semi-Final: Logan Riegel vs Clark Connors
    Rating: *** ¼
  24. Victory Road: The Rascalz (Dez & Wentz) vs XXXL (Larry D & Acey Romero)
    Rating: *** ¼
  25. NJPW Strong Ep. 9: Misterioso, Rocky Romero, Jeff Cobb & David Finlay vs KENTA, Jay White, Hikuleo & Chase Owens
    Rating: ***
  26. N-1 Victory Day 6: A Block: Masa Kitamiya vs Masaaki Mochizuki
    Rating: ***
  27. IMPACT!: The Rascalz (Dez & Wentz) vs The Good Brothers
    Rating: ***
  28. NJPW Strong Ep. 9: LBC Semi-Final: Danny Limelight vs Blake Christian
    Rating: ***
  29. G1 Climax 30 Day 8: Hirooki Goto vs Zack Sabre Jr
    Rating: ***
  30. N-1 Victory Day 5: B Block: Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Yoshiki Inamura
    Rating: ***
  31. Victory Road: Brian Myers vs Tommy Dreamer
    Rating: ***
  32. UWN Prime Time Live Ep 3: United Tag Team Title: Real Money Brother$ vs SoCal Distancing(c)
    Rating: ***
  33. Victory Road: Knockouts Championship: Susie w/Kylie Rae vs Deonna Purrazzo (c) w/ Kimber Lee
    Rating: ***

2t. G1 Climax 30 Day 6: Tetsuya Naito vs Hirooki Goto

From My Results:
Combinacion Cabron gets countered again, but Naito has a counter for the counter. An interesting swing and miss from Goto, leads to Naito wrenching the arm, bringing Goto down and applying Puma Blanca. Goto breaks the Puma Blanca, and then wrestle toward the corner and up to the top rope. What looked to be a chance for Naito to hit an Avalanche Frankensteiner, turned into Goto hitting a Superplex followed up by a Plancha to the outside (okay, Goto doesn’t fly much).

Goto rolls Naito back in, hits the Flying Elbow, but only a two count. GTW is attempted, Naito slides out, then there’s a little rope run dodging, Naito tries to grab and arm, but eats a Lariat for his trouble. When Goto tries to continue, Naito grabs a hold of the head for a quick Swing DDT. They both struggle to their feet and Naito batters Goto with three sets Back Elbows and tries to keep Goto down. Naito takes Goto to the top turnbuckle again, hits the Avalanche Frakensteiner and looks for the Running Destino.

Goto counters the Running Destino with a Reverse GTR, into a hanging Reverse GTR, but only a two. GTR attempted, fought out of, Goto then tries for GTW, but Naito counters with a Destino, and both men are down. Elbow exchange that Naito gets the best of, Goto counters with Ushigoroshi, Naito counters the next with a short Destino, and then Goto counters another Destino with GTW. Goto looks for the Round Kick, but Naito hits Valentia, then the Arm Wringer version of Destino, for the pinfall!

Winner: Naito via Destino

 

2t. G1 Climax 30 Day 8: Tetsuya Naito vs SANADA

From Mitchell’s Coverage:
Sanada squeezes tighter on Skull End, Naito scoots around but is fading! Red Shoes asks him but Naito refuses to quit. Naito gets his head free again, Sanada sits him up to get the dragon sleeper back! Sanada drags Naito from ropes to drop back down with the body scissors! Naito is caught but he still endures as fans still rally! Red Shoes asks, Naito is slow to respond, so Sanada drops him to go up top! MOONSAULT! But Naito moves and Sanada flops! Fans rally up as Naito gets to the corner. Naito sits up, watches Sanada stir and the fans rally harder. Sanada rises, Naito runs in, tilt-o-whirl but no Destino! SKULL END, but Naito slips out fast to try again, DESTINO HITS!! Cover, TWO!?!? Sanada survives and the fans are thunderous again!

Naito drags Sanada up, wrenches and tilt-o-whirls, but Sanada blocks Destino to flip Naito into the dragon sleeper! Naito slips through to suplex, Sanada kicks back, Valentia is just a normal brain buster now! But that still has Sanada in a daze and fans rally up again. Naito and Sanada head for each other, Naito gets a leg to then throw elbows and an enziguri! Naito drags Sanada back up, tries Valentia again, Sanada steals DESTINO!! Cover, TWO!! Naito survives but Sanada fires back up! Sanada goes up top, MOONSAULTS Naito on the back! Sanada goes again, MOONSAULT to Naito’s chest!! Cover, Sanada wins!!!!

Winner: SANADA via Moonsault

 

2t. N-1 Victory Day 6: A Block: Go Shiozaki vs Kaito Kiyomiya

From My Results:

The Sleeper Hold transitions into the Neck Crank that Kaito started employing, and it’s all smart offense. He wrenches on Shiozaki’s neck, which softens things for the Neck Crank or possibly the Tiger Suplex, all finishers that put pressure on the neck and shoulders. Shiozaki breaks the hold, looks worse for wear, but gets some space after a desperation lariat.

Kaito charges the corner, but Shiozaki gets a foot up. Then he grabs Kaito and powers him up to the middle rope for an Avalanche Brainbuster. Shortly after that, we see Shiozaki pull off the Go Flasher, but only for 2. Kaito fights back and we see Go grab him and pull of the Limit Breaker to slow the momentum. Kaito no sells a little, they face each other, charge and Shiozaki levels him with a Lariat. Shiozaki goes to the ropes for a Moonsault, but Kaito stops that and we see some positioning struggles.

A near Avalanche Brainbuster, turns into an Avalanche Reverse DDT from Kaito to Shiozaki, only a near fall though. Kaito then hits an Emerald Flowsion, again only for 2, but the damage seems to have been severe to Shiozaki’s neck. Tiger Suplex gets locked in, held on with a bridge and Kaito wins!

Winner: Kaito via Tiger Suplex Hold

 

2t. TakeOver 31: NXT Championship: Kyle O’Reilly vs Finn Balor (c)

From Mitchell’s Coverage:
Balor is stuck, Kyle has the legs for a DRAPING DRAGON SCREW! Balor tumbles down but Kyle drags him up again, for another DRAGON SCREW in the ropes! Kyle hurries to a corner as Balor is stuck again! FLYING KNEE DROP! Balor is down now but Kyle heads up top!? ANOTHER FLYING KNEE! And the KNEEBAR!! Balor endures as Kyle has the Achilles Lock!! Balor hurries to pry the hold apart but Kyle just shifts to another angle! Balor endures, kicks at Kyle, but that leg gets caught! DOUBLE HEEL HOOK!! Fans are electric as Balor punches Kyle! Kyle just wrenches both ankles again! Balor turns over, crawls and reaches, ROPEBREAK! Kyle has no choice but to let go! The crowd chants for “NXT! NXT!” for another incredible main event!

Kyle throws off the wrist tape in frustration as he grits his teeth. Kyle KICKS Balor in the leg and Balor falls over! Kyle hobbles and Balor flounders up, but Balor drops down to avoid another kick! Balor suckers Kyle into a trip up and DOUBLE STOMP! Kyle clutches his stomach, but he still runs in to KNEE Balor in the corner! GERMAN SUPLEX! But Balor’s right up to DOUBLE STOMP again!! Both men are down and the crowd is still fired up! Balor hobbles over to a corner and he drags himself up the ropes. Balor leaps, COUP DE GRACE!!! Cover, Balor wins!!

Winner: Balor via Coup de Grace

 

1. Victory Road: Impact World Championship: Eddie Edwards vs Eric Young (c)

From My Results:

The champion maintains control for a while as he finds different ways to torque on the injured ankle. Eddie flips through a Backdrop, but the ankle gives him trouble, so it’s a nice struggle of Eddie trying to block and fight back, while severely hampered. Eddie and EY start a chop exchange, which Eddie seems to get the best of, before EY hits a Forearm. Then when it looks like EY’s got him close, Blue Thunder…Face Buster, Inverted Blue Thunder Bomb…not sure, but it’s effective for Eddie.

Another Blue Thunder bomb gets Eddie a near fall, a TKO followed by the Edge of Sanity from EY gives him a near fall, and we see both men trying to just throw haymakers. Eddie manages to hit a Tiger Driver on like one and a half legs, then he goes for the Boston Knee Party, but EY gets his arms up to block. The fight up to the top turnbuckle, EY looks for an Avalanche DDT, but Eddie turns it into an Avalanche Blue Thunder Bomb. Eddie looks for another big move, perches EY, but EY counters by twisting Eddie’s legs and just throwing him knees first back on to the mat. Spinning Toe Hold from EY makes him look like an opportunistic genius, but Eddie’s shoe comes off, Boston Knee Party…but too close to the ropes and EY drapes the leg. EY kicks the leg, Piledriver, into Spinning Toe Hold and Eddie taps out!

Winner: EY via Spinning Toe Hold

 

Thoughts:

Now even if Steve Cook wasn’t a fan of the Balor vs O’Reilly match, I definitely appreciated the story that O’Reilly was supposed to be “a secret”, so you couldn’t have him come out immediately looking equal to a decorated champion. With that said though, Eric Young proved a lot to me in the Victory Road main event. Eddie Edwards has always been known as a good worker, just lacking on charisma; but this match checked a lot of boxes for me. It focused on Eddie’s heart and being able to fight through the pain, and EY’s delight in causing pain. So EY’s sadistic side is what kept Eddie in the match sometimes, and Eddie shined with the ring work he’s known for.

So if you couldn’t figure it out, Eric Young vs Eddie Edwards, gets my vote because that was a great story, great match and just really helped everything along for Bound for Glory.


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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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