Coming up on today’s episode: is WWE selling
WrestleMania 36? Sasha Banks confirms she’s
injured, and the recent major WWE firings
were supposedly over AEW!
Hello and welcome to the WrestleTalk STACKED
News! I am Chopper Pete Quinnell.
WWE held an investors call yesterday for 2019
Q4, and with the continued decline in ratings,
WWE not putting on so many live shows because
they were losing them money, and the recent
firings of George Barrios and Michelle Wilson,
there certainly was an awful lot to dive into.
But in fact it’s none of these things which
we’re going to talk about first, because
Vince McMahon is considering selling WrestleMania?
What the Dickens?
This all came from one part of the investors
call, where Vince McMahon laid out potential
plans for a major shakeup of content on the
WWE Network. One of the plans he spoke of,
was selling Network content to other streaming
services, which would increase revenue for
Now it’s all well and good if Table For
3 starts showing up on your local TV channel,
but you’d expect the big stuff, the PPVs
at least, to be secure and safe locked up
on the WWE Network, right?
Well, not exactly. After the investors call
was over, Bryan Alvarez on Wrestling Observer
Live revealed that he received a text from
someone with WWE that mentioned that they
were considering selling WrestleMania to Fox,
so it could be broadcast on their network
So get ready for your WrestleMania main event
to be laced with shrink screen ad breaks and
to miss most of the action, because Fox is
coming to town. I wonder if their war room
is celebrating like they did when they acquired
the services of Roman Reigns.
While this is just a rumour and not a confirmed
plan as of right now, McMahon seemed very
keen to get the ball rolling on any potential
“We also have an option right now, there’s
no more better time, to exercise the selling
of our rights to all the majors, quite frankly.
All the majors are really clamoring for our
content. So that could be a significant increase,
obviously, in terms of revenue.”
Vince would then go on to say that if they
went into business with any of these major
streaming platforms, that an announcement
could be made before the end of the first
quarter, which is in like, a month. If the
turnaround time is that quick, perhaps a deal
is already being worked out.
Does this mean WWE are abandoning the Network
entirely? Well ever since its launch in 2014,
it’s never quite reached the numbers that
WWE were hoping for and expecting, and while
it eventually picked up and has become a solid
platform, with the ever-declining ratings
numbers and public interest in wrestling waning,
the Network continues to be less and less
There was talk of the WWE Network becoming
a tiered system, with different pay options,
and they even did a soft launch of the tier
system, though free for now, and on the investors
call it was mentioned that once more data
becomes available about it, they would consider
launching it completely onto the Network.
Network subscribers have been dropping beyond
the expected rate as well. At the end of Q3
in 2019, the WWE Network had 1.585 million
paid subscribers, with that number expected
to drop to 1.43 million in Q4 of 2019. The
actual number provided for Q4 was 1.419 million
subscribers, which is the lowest that number
has been since 2016.
One other avenue of increased revenue McMahon
mentioned on the call would be to introduce
adverts onto the WWE Network as well. So get
ready for your WrestleMania main event to
be laced with shrink screen ad breaks and
to miss most of the action…again.
One of the other major talking points going
into the investors call was the recent firings
of George Barrios and Michelle Wilson, the
former WWE Co-Presidents. Interestingly enough,
they were barely mentioned on the call, being
simply a footnote on one of the slides of
During the time where people could ask McMahon
questions however, he was asked about the
departures of Barrios and Wilson in more detail,
and how that would affect the company moving
forwards. Vince responded with:
“Well, I think this is for sure, in terms
of changing or re-imagining our culture, the
way we do business, it’s going to be far more
inclusive and quite frankly, that’s in our
strong management team currently as well,
and going forward we’re attracting world class
individuals to our company. Who wouldn’t want
to work for WWE? I mean, come on. It’s exciting.”
Ah, the politician’s response I see.
Once again though, Vince was asked about why
Barrios and Wilson left the company, and if
the decision was based on disagreements on
“A lot of it was execution relation. A lot
of it was the focus as well, and as well as
reallocation of resources. Again, looking
at the way we do business, it’s going to be
different and more successful.”
Interestingly, there’s been a more expansive
insight into this particular comment by Dave
Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio. This
particular disagreement on the focus of the
company seemed to be one of the leading factors
in their dismissal, and it potentially seems
to have been about AEW.
According to Meltzer’s report, Barrios and
Wilson’s focus for the company was to try
and allocate resources to make the company
as profitable as possible, you know, like
a company tends to try and do. McMahon on
the other hand, wanted to invest in the wrestlers
themselves and pay them extra, so they wouldn’t
leave for the competition, namely AEW, but
also with New Japan and ROH’s talent war
going on too, they’ve also got to have been
It’s said that this disagreement was one
of the leading factors in Barrios and Wilson’s
dismissal, and it appears to have been backed
up by the actions of WWE as of late, offering
crazy amounts of money for talent to stay
in the company, including The Revival, who
we already knew had turned down offers of
$500,000 per year, but now according to Booker
T on his podcast, they turned down a new offer
of $700,000 per year, each. That is some bonkers
levels of money for a team they want to turn
into a comedy act.
But with alternative options springing up
across the wrestling world, Vince’s checkbook
can’t bank everyone, and it seems there
are some wrestlers that are just determined
to be on their way out, regardless of the
money offered. We’ve already seen it happen
with Jon Moxley, and now it seems to be happening
with The Revival and other talent too.
In general terms for WWE though, they recorded
record highs for revenue, increasing from
$930.2 million in 2018 to $960.4 million in
with the new TV deals from Fox and USA being
a prime reason for the increase in revenue.
Plus, you know Saudi Arabia. That little chestnut.
So despite everyone saying WWE is going down
the pan, and Raw and SmackDown are bad shows,
and it’s so boring and repetitive and uncreative,
which is basically everything I say every
week I review SmackDown, WWE are somehow making
more and more money every year. Credit where
credit is due.
All of this talk of competition and AEW has
got me thinking, how did the ratings go this
week for AEW and NXT?
Well in good news for both shows, they both
saw an increase in ratings, however AEW is
still ahead once again.
Dynamite managed to pull in an average of
928,000 viewers, an increase of about 100,000
viewers from this time last week, while NXT
managed to draw 770,000 viewers, an increase
of about 58,000 viewers.
Overall, that’s good news for Wednesday
nights, and it will be interesting to see
the ratings for both shows in the coming weeks,
with both brands putting on PPVs in the near
future, with NXT Takeover Portland next Sunday,
and AEW Revolution on February 29.
Phew, enough of the serious company talk and
numbers and all that nonsense, let’s talk
about the usual stuff. Sasha Banks hasn’t
performed on WWE television for quite some
time, with the reported reason for this absence
being an ankle injury.
The angle itself played out on SmackDown,
with an unseen backstage brawl between Banks
and Lacey Evans resulting in Banks picking
up the ankle injury.
Well Banks has seemingly confirmed the injury
as legitimate, though in her own, heelish,
kayfabe way. Appearing on Corey Graves’
After The Bell podcast, Banks spoke on her
“If you guys watch Friday Night SmackDown
a couple of weeks ago, the evil, un-role model,
terrible mother, Lacey Evans tripped me backstage
and hurt my ankle. I can barely walk! It’s
terrible. I’m a person that always wants to
be 125%. Right now, I’m just at 100%. So,
you guys have to wait. It’s unacceptable.
I’m taking my time so I can come back bigger
and better than ever.”
This seems like a way of covering up her legitimate
ankle injury and placing the blame on Evans
in order to further the story, but it’s
also worth noting that on the same podcast,
her WrestleMania goal this year was to wear
the best outfit, and to be on the pre-show,
so her word may not be exactly trustworthy.
Someone who may have slightly different goals
however, is Timothy Thatcher, who recently
signed with WWE following an extensive and
successful career on the indie scene.
With Thatcher’s links to RingKampf, the
former stable including Walter, which has
essentially been rebuilt as Imperium in WWE,
there were calls for Thatcher to join the
company for a long time, however I don’t
think people realise how long the offer for
him to join was there for.
According to Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer
Radio, Thatcher impressed WWE backstage officials
during WrestleMania 31 weekend back in 2015,
and he has essentially had an open offer to
join the company since then. Thatcher had
other goals in mind, but the offer was always
Those goals in mind seem to have also been
revealed, as the supposed reason why the 36
year old chose now to sign with WWE was because
he wanted to sign with a major promotion in
Japan, but that offer never came.
Damn you Gedo.
With Japan no longer an option, and the indie
scene already conquered under Thatcher’s
awesome time wrestling there, WWE was the
next step for the former RingKampf talent,
and now he might join Imperium in NXTUK, or
maybe he’ll just be awesome in NXT. Or on
the main roster. Or something else, I don’t
know. But he’s really, really good.
Now if you’ve somehow missed the news in
the last couple of days that Adam Blampied
is now part of the WrestleTalk team, well
there you go I just gave you the news. He’ll
be doing monthly Fantasy Booking videos, and
weekly videos starting this Sunday! But what
videos will they be? Well listen
in and Check. It. Out.
Vince McMahon wanted Chris Jericho back in
WWE! Press the video to the right to find
out more, and the video below that to find
out more about Samoa Joe potentially being
suspended! A special thank you to our pledgehammers
on Patreon, some of whom you can see scrolling
below me right now! I’ve been Chopper Pete
Quinnell, and that, was wrestling.