The biggest story in WWE right now seems to be where fans will be able to catch their programming after the current deal with NBC Universal expires. There is a lot of speculation of where Raw or SmackDown Live will end up when all is said and done. NBC Universal might have given WWE an offer they can’t refuse for Raw leaving SmackDown Live to be put out for open bidding.
It didn’t all happen overnight for WWE but they found themselves as a very valuable commodity. In a day and age where television ratings seem to be falling, the WWE Universe seems to be a constant audience a network can rely on.
Bryan Alvarez broke it down pretty well during Wrestling Observer Live where he pointed out some very important aspects which helped WWE land in the pretty position they’re currently sitting at.
“They’ve had two things occur that really helped in these negotiations. One of them is that they signed Ronda Rousey. It’s very much like in the mid-90’s when Hulk Hogan left and went to Japan for a full year he wasn’t raided by World Championship Wrestling. Vince McMahon said, ‘your time has come, you’re gone.’ They brought him into World Championship Wrestling and while Vince thought he was too old the reality was that Hulk Hogan was a huge star and there were network executives that knew of Hulk Hogan.”
“They could have a meeting with a television executive and bring Hulk Hogan and they were wowed. Hulk Hogan did so much for World Championship Wrestling in the mid-90’s because he was Hulk Hogan. Now eventually that train left the station so to speak. But Hulk Hogan was very valuable to them in a lot of ways. Ronda Rousey is Hulk Hogan for WWE right now. Not to the level that Hulk Hogan was, I don’t know maybe if they get three times maybe she is. But she is a very, very, very valuable signing for WWE.”
“Also, they’re waiting while there was a steady decline they have very much plateaued in the last year. They haven’t plummeted to that degree and a lot of other things on television are. That’s why they’re getting the deal they are.”
Ratings might not be the same as they were during the Attitude Era where 8.0 ratings were commonplace but they seem to be performing exceptionally well compared to the rest of the playing field.
Ronda Rousey’s involvement doesn’t hurt matters either but the most important part of it all could be the WWE fans who continue to tune in on a weekly basis unknowingly helping create a tentpole program in the process.