WWE Going to Fox? – In a surprise move that actually works really well for WWE, apparently the Fox Network wants to bring the WWE on board. There is a lot of debate over this, as they seem to be an alternate option if they don’t bring back the UFC. It’s not surprise the UFC hasn’t been the ratings hit they were supposed to be, especially with a few down years, and the lack of star power. It’d make sense that they’d look elsewhere to a company that has a self sustaining ecosystem. It also makes sense when you realize that the Fox Broadcast Channel, soon to be known as New Fox will be outsourcing all of their content to third party outlets. Whether it’s on Fox Sports or just New Fox, RAW and SmackDown would be a nice ratings get, and would put the WWE on a bigger platform. NBC would never air WWE regularly on a prime time slot, now that Fox doesn’t have a studio to finance, one could argue that Fox would take a gamble on it. Here’s what Dave Meltzer the person who broke the story, via Uproxx, had to say;
Meltzer reports that Triple H met with the head of Fox Sports a few months back, and that the network is interested in WWE’s broadcast rights if UFC decides to head elsewhere with their programming. There is even speculation that Fox would be interested in buying WWE outright, as they attempted to do with UFC before the price got too high, ultimately selling for $4 billion last summer.
If Fox were to score WWE’s broadcast rights — or even buy the company outright — the feeling is Raw would be aired on Fox proper, which would be the first time Raw has ever aired on network TV, while Smackdown would be moved to Fox Sports 1, and more WWE-branded content could end up on FS1 or Fox Sports 2 in place of UFC content. If this all takes place, it would mean Raw would likely be moved back to two hours, from 8 to 10 p.m., as many local Fox affiliates air local news at 10.
The whole deal, however, is contingent on whether or not Fox re-ups their deal with UFC. Meltzer mentions their offer to UFC is a shade over $200 million, which is not much higher than what they’re getting currently, and that there is speculation WWE could command up to $400 million in a new deal, just for broadcast rights.
Opinion: I think the folks at Fox would be smart to bail on the UFC, who seem to be struggling to produce major fights these days due to a lack of notable and marketable names. Also, when you factor in the revival attempts for the XFL, the rising prices of NFL property and the declining ratings, and the partnership just works in theory.
More than likely, Disney and ESPN gets in the running for the UFC and their product. ESPN feels like a natural fit for UFC, which would certainly make things interesting. Plus it would mean NBC Universal goes looking elsewhere to replace those ratings that they just lost in the WWE; which could also shake things up.
The best news is the move back to two hours, which would be greatly needed, as it’s a product killer.
Eddie Edwards Injury Update – Eddie Edwards has tweeted out that he has a few broken bones in his face and head, with a couple of cuts and a black eye but that appears to be the extent of his injury. No mention of any brain injury, like a concussion. In a taped angle that would air later this spring, Sami Callihan walloped Eddie Edwards on a botched spot with a baseball bat. Edwards was supposed to cover his head with a chair but the bat apparently caught the top of Edwards head.
IMPACT Pay Per View Update – Lockdown won’t be coming back as of now for IMPACT Wrestling. Instead their first pay per view under the Scott D’Amore and Don Callis regime will be called “Redemption”, a fitting name. The show is set for April 22nd, and will feature Alberto El Patron vs. Austin Aries for the IMPACT Championship. This is when a new title is expected to debut for the companty
Quick Hits – UFC fighter Paige VanZant say she’s interested in going to the WWE eventually, claims to be a fan, and then said she’d make a great WWE “Diva”. Todd McFarlane claims that Image Comics has 22 properties optioned in Hollywood at this moment. Some fan…. WWE will be announcing the signings of Candice LaRae, War Machine, Ricochet and other NXT talent this week. Tom King is announcing a new project called “Sanctuary”, where heroes in the DC Universe will go to help battle PTSD. Yup, really. The Fight Network (sibling to IMPACT Wrestling) has acquired the UFC rights for Italy, as all programming will now air on the Fight Network Italy.