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The Third Ever Year End Mitchell Medal Mania!

Let’s say good-bye to 2022!

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Mitchell Medal Mania Special

Thank you, 2022, for being just so wild!

There were some obvious things that stuck out these last twelve months, and those will be discussed. But as I have said for the last couple years, these medals aren’t outright for “The Best [category]” winner or even “The Worst [category]” winner. These will be for the people, moments and more that I felt were worth honoring, and I hope you agree with some.

 

Mitchell Medal for Awesome First Impression:
SummerSlam under Triple H

The Game leveled up the WWE in August with how he booked this year’s SummerSlam live in Nashville. He gave us truly exciting matches, and compelling stories to go with them. He brought back Dakota Kai & Io Shirai as Bayley’s crew, Damage CTRL, he started us on the road to the great stuff we’re getting right now like with Judgment Day and The Bloodline, he gave us a really good match out of Liv VS Ronda with the surprise “controversial” win for Liv, and Brock Lesnar got to use a tractor’s front loader to TIP THE RING!

And we all know from the last five months of weekly TV that HHH’s booking can be more entertaining than the latter days of Vince’s booking. I hope HHH gets to continue on just like this (though he probably needs to help HBK just a bit with NXT’s weekly programming), so that WWE really can be the top of pro-wrestling again.

 

Mitchell Medal for A Brand Gone Too Soon:
NXT UK

NXT UK will always have a special place in my heart. January of 2017, I covered that inaugural WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament where Tyler Bate became the youngest champion of any kind in WWE history. I kept with it all the way until the end just back in September, right before Worlds Collide 2022. In a great bit of full-circle storytelling, Tyler Bate got to be the final NXT UK Champion before ultimately losing to Bron Breakker at Worlds Collide in the title unification match. Wouldn’t have been my choice but it’s not my choice.

NXT UK had great characters, great stories, great matches, great concepts like the British Rounds Heritage Cup Championship (Where is Noam Dar, anyway?), but I feel like it got hurt the most by the pandemic and its shutdowns. Some NXT UK stars have been slowly showing up on NXT Prime, from Gallus and Kay Lee Ray (now Alba Fyre) to Aoife Valkyrie (now Lyra Valkyria) and Isla Dawn (still Isla Dawn). Pretty Deadly has proven themselves a great act, even under their new names of Kit Wilson & Elton Prince, and they had an amazing match with The New Day at NXT Deadline.

I hope we get more stars to show up, and that those stars get booked as strongly as they should (where is Blair Davenport, anyway?), but I’m sure once NXT Europe starts in 2023, we’ll get a lot of those names and many more back on our screens.

 

Mitchell Medal for Courageous But Maybe Crazy Performance:
Cody Rhodes

The American Nightmare, a founding member of All Elite Wrestling, now back in the WWE, made a big return at WrestleMania as Seth Rollins’ surprise opponent. They had a great match, they had a great feud, but it was the Hell in a Cell match that really earned Cody, Cody, Cody Effin’ Rhodes his medal. He tore his pectoral muscle from the bone during training for the HIAC match with Rollins. Cody, and I believe the doctor that cleared him, figured that the damage was done and the show must go on. The picture was Cody at the start of that match and it looks nasty, and it only got nastier as they made the match’s story all about the torn pec!

And yet, Cody got to win again! Cody won, putting what we thought was the punctuation on the story, only for Rollins to beat him down on the Raw after HIAC, giving Cody his kayfabe reason to be out of action. So whether you think it was brave or you think it was crazy, I still commend Cody for trying.

 

Mitchell Medal for Surprisingly Entertaining Story:
Elias & Ezekiel

Pro-wrestling history has been full of brothers, both kayfabe and bloodline, but never before was there quite the comical mystery as Elias and his younger brother, Ezekiel. At first, it seemed like commentary on WWE renaming people and rebranding them for their purposes. And perhaps on some level, it was. But then it morphed into mind games on Kevin Owens and that was hilarious stuff. And Zeke was a great wrestler, too, with speed and strength and some “shared” moves with Elias.

Kevin did write Zeke off with a brutal beatdown as he went through a Heel phase, but he’s even kept continuity alive as a Face by telling Elias he will NOT help him because of the Zeke saga. We never did get to see Papa Ernie go after Kevin, but for now, Elias is back to a solo act, maybe he’ll finally break through and go gold in 2023.

 

Mitchell Medal for Amazing Crossover:
AEW & NJPW Forbidden Door

Pro-wrestling crossovers are always fun, and after a few months of using the term “forbidden door” to represent NJPW stars showing up in AEW and AEW stars showing up in NJPW, we got the event known as Forbidden Door back in June. AEW and NJPW made the smart decision to NOT do it in a company VS company series because then one side would have to win. Instead, it was about Faces VS Heels, mixing and matching big names, and then after that just going with what would make sense.

There were some changes but adjustments were made smoothly, but unfortunately there was an injury in the IWGP World Championship Fatal 4. Adam Cole was concussed, and since then, we haven’t seen Adam Cole around. That is a shame for Cole and his fans, but the event was otherwise a great success, and I wouldn’t mind seeing the two companies go for Forbidden Door 2 next year.

 

Mitchell Medal for Top Guys:
FTR

Okay, as you can see, I put this one together when Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood were in fact Top Guys on top of the tag team world. They had three different tag titles, all from three different companies. But as the end of the year approached, so did the end of FTR having all the gold. They didn’t get to add the AEW tag titles to the collection, which from a business standpoint is for the best these days. They lost the ROH tag titles, but it was in an epic and bloody battle with The Briscoes to top off that year-defining feud. And as of writing this, they’ve ended up in a feud with Austin & Colten Gunn, who have already cheated one win off them.

NJPW WrestleKingdom 17 is just days away, and FTR will be facing Bishamon, aka Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi. Goto & Hashi have had the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships before, having won World Tag League both last year and this year. There’s a very good chance NJPW’s titles come home with the NJPW team, leaving FTR with just the AAA World Tag Team Championships. FTR are still Top Guys, but where 2022 was a banner year, 2023 might be them having to scratch and claw to get back up.

 

Mitchell Medal for Historic Individual Performance:
Hiromu Takahashi in the Best of the Super Juniors

Again, as you can see in the picture, the Ticking Timebomb once again won the Best of the Super Juniors tournament. Hiromu made history this year by appearing in four consecutive tournament finals, and winning the last three. Now, cashing in that title opportunity from BOSJ didn’t go Hiromu’s way, which was a surprise. But Hiromu has always been relevant in the Junior Heavyweight Division, and again, WrestleKingdom 17 is just days away. Hiromu is in an IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Fatal 4 Way, where he, El Desperado and Master Wato are all going after Taiji Ishimori. A Fatal 4 means it could go any which way, but it’d be awesome for Hiromu to get that title for a whopping FIFTH time.

 

Mitchell Medal for Incredible Improvement:
Liv Morgan

As you can see in the picture, Liv Morgan was SmackDown Women’s Champion. She had been working so hard for so long that finally in this year, she won the Women’s Money in the Bank and then cashed-in on the same night to take the title from Ronda Rousey. And as mentioned earlier in talking about SummerSlam, she got to retain against Ronda, but then lost at Extreme Rules. But even in that loss, we got a great character development out of Liv as she decided to #LivExtreme. She’s still fairly popular, she’s only going to keep getting better, there will surely be big things for her in 2023.

 

Mitchell Medal for Holy Crap, Man:
Wheeler Yuta

Much like FTR, The Decoder had a hot summer for 2022 that has cooled off with the winter. Blackpool Combat Club was founded and named Yuta among the young and hungry wrestlers on the AEW roster. Lo and behold, Yuta was the one of those three names, the others being Daniel Garcia and Lee Moriarty, to join BCC. But as pictured, it wasn’t without brutal and bloody battles against the “teachers,” Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley. Yuta left Best Friends behind to get serious, and as a member of BCC, Yuta became a two-time ROH Pure Champion in a great feud with Daniel Garcia within the larger and crazier feud of BCC VS Jericho Appreciation Society.

The BCC itself has cooled off with the departure of William Regal, but Yuta has now been accepted as a core member while it feels like Bryan is on the outside looking in. Yuta and Claudio are ROH Pure and ROH World Champion, respectively, right as ROH is reviving Honor Club, which will be the closest thing ROH has to a weekly TV spot right now. Yuta will help lead this new chapter of ROH, but it’s hard to say how that will go.

 

Mitchell Medal for Uciest Uce Who Ever Did Uce:
Sami Zayn

Saving the best for last! Sami’s entire 2022 has tied together so well to bring him to where he is now. He lost the Intercontinental Championship. He lost the celebrity feud with Johnny Knoxville in their honestly hilarious and incredible WrestleMania No Disqualification match. He lost the kayfabe respect of the SmackDown roster. But in trying to find that respect again, he kissed up to The Tribal Chief, the Head of the Table, the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, Roman…! Reigns…!

Sami called himself the Honorary Uce, he did everything and anything to help The Bloodline, and slowly but surely, they all accepted Sami, even naysayer Jey after the great WarGames 5v5 they had at Survivor Series. And throughout Sami’s story with The Bloodline, Kevin Owens has tried but failed to snap Sami out of it. Kevin going after The Bloodline pushed things to the New Year’s Eve SmackDown tag match of Kevin and the returning John Cena VS Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn. We saw that match go against The Bloodline, and it would seem that things could be falling apart for Sami, but we’ll have to wait and see with the first SmackDown of 2023.


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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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