NXT Going to an “Edgier” Product?!

A week ago WWE rebooted NXT into a colorful product known as NXT 2.0. It was a throwback to WWE programming of yesteryear with many comparing it to the classic WWF Superstars of the 80’s and early 90’s.

It was a 180 from the dark, edgy classic pro wrestling presentation of the black and gold brand. Different but fun.

Now comes word that NXT might be changing again! Into a more “edgier” product…pal.

Continue reading → NXT Going to an “Edgier” Product?!

SportsBiz: AEW Dynamite Defeats WWE Raw in Key Demographic

The post-All Out edition of AEW Dynamite was a rousing success for AEW and TNT. As first reported by Wrestlenomics, AEW Dynamite drew 1.319 million viewers for last night’s broadcast on TNT. That is a MASSIVE increase from the previous episode which drew 1.047 million viewers.

The viewers are fantastic but what’s really trending well for AEW was another demographic rating success. It’s the demo ratings, in this case 18-to-49, that drives TV ad revenue and future TV deals. In this case they bested the incumbent pro wrestling sports entertainment competition WWE Monday Night Raw.

AEW Dynamite‘s 18-to-49 demo rating for Wednesday came in at 0.53 or 681,000 viewers a significant increase from the previous Wednesday, 0.38. Monday Night Raw was watched by 678,000 viewers in the same demographic. The top segment on Dynamite was the showdown between Bryan Danielson and AEW World Champion Kenny Omega. Over 1-million viewers stayed for this segment.

Gable Steveson Signs NIL with WWE

WWE has announced that it has “signed” Olympic Gold Medalist and college wrestling champion Gable Steveson. But the deal isn’t what most would expect. The deal is taking advantage of the NCAA’s new “Name, Image, Likeness (NIL)” rules and will allow the champion amateur wrestler to return to college and defend his title.

NIL deals have been all the rage but this is a first for a major company to hire an athlete and still allow them to compete as an amateur. WWE being an entertainment company most likely makes the deal possible but it will be interesting to see if other professional sports leagues, such as UFC or the big four, will follow suit.

More as it becomes available…

Report: Olympic Gold Medalist Gable Stevenson Signs with WWE

Talk about a Saturday news drop in the world of combat sports. Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Dave Maltzer is reporting that Olympic gold medalist Gable Stevenson is off the market and he’s signed with WWE.

Stevenson, a NCAA National Champion, two-time All-American, two-time Big Ten champion at Minnesota, is a huge WWE fan and was present at SummerSlam in Las Vegas. The UFC was also pursing the services of Stevenson.

Gable Stevenson at WWE SummerSlam

WWE has not confirmed the signing.

CM Punk Retires…from MMA

CM Punk is stepping away…from the Octagon. Punk, who returned to pro wrestling at AEW Rampage: The First Dance, removed his name from the USADA testing pool and notified the UFC of his desire to step away from fighting.

Punk famously left the WWE in 2014 and expressed his desire to take up the sport of MMA. The “Second City Saint” was a long time Brazilian jiu jitsu practitioner and took up training at Roufusport in Milwaukee. Give credit where credit is due, Punk took the time but the work in and train for a sport that he had a passion for.

His official MMA record will stand at 0-1-1 with a loss to Mickey Gall at UFC 203 and “no contest” to Mike Jackson at UFC 255. The Jackson fight was originally a unanimous decision loss however the fight was changed to a “no contest” when Jackson tested positive for a banned substance.

Punk won’t be walking completely away from MMA however. He will still be the color commentator for the New Jersey based Cage Fury Fighting Championship (CFFC).

The news was confirmed by MMA Fighting.

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DOC’s DIAGNOSIS: Five Ways to “Fix” NXT

This is Part III of a “Doc’s Diagnosis” special on WWE’s NXT brand. 

Part I: Vince is Making the Right Move with NXT | Part II: Blame Vince McMahon for NXT’s “Failure”

I have praised Vince McMahon for his decision to change the approach with NXT and blamed McMahon for putting NXT in its current situation.  Now it’s up to McMahon and his cronies to fix the “issues” created with NXT.  How do they do it?

Here’s my five-step plan to changing the NXT product for the better:

Keep Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and Road Dogg in Charge and Make them the Creative Heads of SmackDown!

That’s right DeGeneration-X just got themselves a promotion! Go back to Part I and there’s indisputable evidence that Triple H and Klique know what they’re doing when it comes to developing talent.  Give them the ability to run it right up the ladder to another WWE brand.  Raw is the “flagship” but SmackDown is the product that connects better with NXT talent from a wrestling perspective.  This will also allow for characters to continue to develop on the main roster.  In theory, there will be no fall off because the right hand knows what the left hand is doing.

Continue reading → DOC’s DIAGNOSIS: Five Ways to “Fix” NXT

Watch: Keith Lee Explains His WWE Absence

Pro wrestling fans were enraged earlier this year when Keith Lee went missing from WWE programming. Conspiracy theories raged about his whereabouts. Was it creative issues? Was it health related? Was it because Vince “hates” NXT?

Why?

Lee answered all of those questions today on his YouTube channel. The star explains his absence and where he’s going moving forward.

Watch:

Continue reading → Watch: Keith Lee Explains His WWE Absence