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Daily Update: Nick Khan, Nia Jax, ROH TV


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WON NEWSLETTER: February 8, 2021 Observer Newsletter: WWE breaks revenue records, AEW/NJPW deal

Our lead story in this week's Observer covers WWE finances.  We look at the direct numbers of WWE, revenue, profits, value of the company on Wall Street,  what was up and why, what was down and why, exactly how much WWE took in on TV rights, network and merchandise.  We look at what the company's top priorities are for 2021, why the stock price is down, plus Vince McMahon, WWE President Nick Khan, CBO Stephanie McMahon and CFO Kristina Salen comment on the company.

They talk the Peacock deal, the Indian and Latin American markets, new television products, how much COVID cost the company in revenue and costs of the Thunderdome set-up as compared to the old way of doing things.  

The issue also covers:

Ratings, as well as what USA would be doing without WWE, and WWE's declines as compared to cable and network TV as a whole, how much money WWE has taken in and profited, or lost, every year since 1994.

Update the New Japan/AEW relationship, the different steps over the past few years from New Japan blowing off AEW to them doing business with the KENTA vs. Jon Moxley program, why it happened and where things stand now.

Royal Rumble, including how everyone did, stories behind the matches, age of men's talent in WWE vs AEW and the message loud and clear, two of the main events scheduled for WrestleMania, match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results.

New Japan deal with Roku and what this means both short and long-term, as well as other people who had interest.  We look at the keys to the deal decision going the way it did.

Viewing experience for fans from Peacock, John Cena WrestleMania notes, NXT Takeover card, update on the Dusty Classic shows, two top WWE stars talk their recent positive tests for COVID, details behind the firings of Lars Sullivan and Steve Cutler, update on Vince McMahon/Oliver Luck lawsuit, Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley talk Undertaker remarks, International TV ratings, how wrestling does in comparison to other sports in the ratings, Bill Goldberg talks MMA, background of Reginald, Cesar update, new WWE signing and most watched shows of the past week on the WWE Network.

NJPW New Beginning in Nagoya, with match-by-match coverage, poll results, and where things are going next.

Giant Baba Memorial show.

Television ratings of the past week, including segment-by-segment numbers for the past two weeks on Wednesday, who was watching in different age groups, how different segments did on Raw & Smackdown and more.

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  • WWE president and chief revenue officer Nick Khan spoke to Forbes about how WWE can attract younger viewers: “That’s a lifelong, career-long desire. No matter when people start watching, they’re always going to obviously get older, so you always have to figure out a new way to get young people in. So what we’re in the middle of -- the bad Bunny thing ... that’s obviously tailored towards a young audience. We’re in the process now of developing a number of different animated properties, some with the desired demographic of 2 to 6 years old, so the thought is to get kids in young. We’re also reevaluating our entire gaming strategy. So I’m not convinced that there are a group of 15-year-olds watching linear television who just don’t happen to be watching us. They’re finding our content elsewhere, and we have to get to them before they’re even 15, to make sure we have a chance to win over new fans so when the other fans start to phase out and get older, we always have a new population coming in.”
  • Khan also discussed WWE partnering with Bad Bunny and wanting to work with Cardi B: “Yes, and specifically the two that you just mentioned. Obviously, there is no touring right now, so the ability to get Bad Bunny for however long this run is going to be -- and you’re going to see a lot of him -- I don’t believe that would have existed in a world where Bad Bunny was on tour. That’s going to be a continual effort, so we’re always going to watch Bad Bunny, Cardi B to get involved. It made it a touch easier to get a deal done this time because they weren’t -- over the course of however long the deal is -- is not in 25 different cities during that time. The bulk of concert money is made in the summertime. It doesn’t appear as if there are going to be big tours during the summer, even we’re all hopeful, so we’ll see what other folks we’re talking to and who you’ll see in the mix.”
  • Khan said there haven’t been any discussions of WWE selling the company to NBCUniversal: “We haven’t discussed it once. At all. By the way, thrilled with being on network TV at Fox. I think I sort of pushed on the emphasis [during the earnings call] on broadcast television, and how important that is, so love that, love what we’re doing with NBC, but no, there has been no dialogue internally or externally on anything like that.”
  • After “My hole” trended on Twitter due to Nia Jax yelling that when Lana moved out of the way as Jax went for a leg drop on the apron on Raw last night, bidet company TUSHY sent out a press release offering Jax free TUSHY products and a role as a TUSHY brand ambassador.
  • Jax tweeted today: “I’ve been receiving a HOLE lotta love, much obliged #myhole”
  • In an interview with TV Insider, Damian Priest spoke about meeting Bad Bunny: “People know me as a rock and heavy metal guy, but there are many times on Spotify I’ll put Bad Bunny radio on. I know his music and dig it. I really dig the person, too. We’re so similar. I was raised in the same town [Vega Baja] he was born in [in Puerto Rico]. We come from really tough upbringings. He’s done things his way and doesn’t care what others might say about him. I’m the same way. He loves wrestling. We hit it off immediately when we met. There was a bond. Not just because we’re both entertainers, but because of heritage and things we like, and our personalities. It’s cool to be around him.”
  • Priest was asked if Bad Bunny will wrestle in a match down the line: “If he wants to. He’s a pro and a performer. Look at his success — he’s at the top of the Billboard charts in the U.S. with a full Spanish song, it just doesn’t happen all the time. If he wants to get physical and dedicates himself to it, I don’t see why not.”
  • Sports Illustrated also has an interview with Priest.
  • Christian will appear on tomorrow morning’s episode of WWE’s The Bump.
  • Paul “Triple H” Levesque spoke to The Wrap about WWE sending title belts to sports teams that win championships.
  • WWE’s YouTube channel uploaded Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus from the February 12, 2018 episode of Raw, Randy Orton vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship from No Way Out 2008, and Alexa Bliss vs. Naomi for the SmackDown Women’s Championship from Elimination Chamber 2017.

Other Wrestling

  • The episode of ROH TV that premieres this weekend will feature Jay Lethal, Rhett Titus & Wheeler Yuta vs. Jonathan Gresham, Tracy Williams & Fred Yehi. The match was announced on today’s edition of ROH Week By Week, with it being said that The Foundation’s Lethal, Gresham, Williams, and Titus wanted to compete in a match that defines what ROH is about to them and are teaming with young wrestlers who share their vision. The Foundation were shown looking disgusted after La Faccion Ingobernable & Flip Gordon vs. Brody King, PCO & The Briscoes was thrown out and ruled a no contest as both teams fought in the main event of the latest ROH TV episode.
  • It was also announced that Tony Deppen vs. LSG will take place on the ROH TV episode that airs this weekend.
  • Shaul Guerrero announced that she’s withdrawing from all scheduled wrestling appearances: “Official today I am withdrawing from all performances and appearances scheduled in conjunction with wrestling. After a very scary mental illness crisis I am no longer advised by loved ones and professionals to participate in high stress events at this time. I deeply apologize to the fans who have been respectful and supportive of me and who continue to do so. I will be using this time to seek the help I need, re-establish my eating disorder treatment and hopefully get answers and solutions to reach a healthy mental state. I apologize for the inconvenience and disappointment this may bring.”
  • Guerrero’s husband Matthew Rehwoldt (formerly known as Aiden English in WWE) wrote in support of her: “I’m so proud of my wife. Knowing when something is wrong is not a failure or weakness. It takes strength to know it and face it. Change is ok if it brings a healthier you from inside to out. I love you”
  • NJPW’s English-language website has an interview with SANADA.
  • Brandi Rhodes appeared on today’s episode of Renee Paquette’s Oral Sessions podcast.
  • Nyla Rose will debut for Thunder Rosa’s Mission Pro Wrestling on March 20.
  • AEW will be releasing two albums on March 5, one featuring women’s themes and the other being an 8-Bit Mayhem album.
  • Shimmer noted that they won’t be running shows during WrestleMania week: “With some groups beginning to announce their Mania weekend plans, we're getting a lot of questions. The answer is: We've decided it would be best to WAIT to run more live events until later in the year, when it's possible to return to our home base in the Chicago area.”

Daily Pro Wrestling History: The Midnight Rider defeats Ric Flair