Quick News

Mauro Ranallo Leaves WWE

Dave Meltzer reports that Mauro Ranallo has finished up with World Wrestling Entertainment. Ending his tenure as NXT lead play by play announcer. The parting is on good terms. It is said to simply be that Ranallo wants to devote more time to his mental health advocacy and taking care of his mother. Who has been having health issues.

Business News

Brock Lesnar Is A Free Agent

Mike Johnson of has confirmed that Brock Lesnar is currently a free agent. His merchandise has been removed from the WWE websites. Both sides reached an impasse but are still in negotiations on a new potential deal.

The former UFC Heavyweight Champion re-signed with WWE in in 2012 to much fanfare shortly after his MMA carreer ended. Since then he has continued to remain a top star for the company since then..Winning multple WWE and Universal World Champions. Lesnar has consitantly been pushed as a top attraction in his current twelve year run with the company….Outside of a few planned sabbaticals and an isolated UFC returns.

Lesnar has been a free agent before many times during this run but in the end WWE Chairmen Vince McMahon has always offered the wrestler enough to stay. Outside of a return to UFC there is now another potential option in the over one year old All Elite Wrestling.

Brock Lesnar originally signed with the WWE developmental system in 2000 right out of his successful College Wrestling Carreer. After a few years of season in Ohio Valley Wrestling, Lesnar was called up to the main roster and immediately groomed for stardom. Winning his first World Title over the Undertaker at Hell In The Cell 2002. Lesnar would win is second WWE World Championship by defeating Kurt Angle at Wrestlemania XIX.

But overtime Brock Lesnar grew weary of the road and eventually asked for his release. His run ending in a controversy match with Bill Goldberg. After a brief flirtation with NFL Football and some appearances in Japan…Brock Lesnar sued to get out of the remainder of his WWE contract to persue a UFC career. After both parties settled Lesnar debuted for the UFC.

Brock quickly was moved to the top of the UFC Card and even became UFC Heavywieght Champion when he defeated Randy Culture. But after losing the title to Cain Velasquez his UFC carreer began to wane. Mostly due to a bad case of Diverticulitis that seemed to hinder his abilities in the Octagon. Brock’s retirement in UFC lead to his return to WWE.

Brock Lesnar is a former NCAA Heavyweight Champion during his Amateur Wrestling career at the University of Minnesota . A pedigree to that no doubt led to to WWE’s original recruitment of the decorated wrestler. And also made him a legit prospect going into his UFC Carreer. Brock never played NCAA Football despite once trying for a carreer as an NFL Guard for the Minnosta Vikings. Being cut before his lone training camp ended.

Business News

MLW To Officially Begin Taping New In Ring Content

Sports illustrated has confirmed that MLW will return to filming in October and will see the return of MLW first run programming in November.

MLW will tape from an undisclosed location on the east coast. The episodes will air first on the Fubo Sports Network in Primetime. With a later week run on DAZN and BeinSports. It has not been decided if the series will use the Fusion name or go back to the old Underground name. They have hired Covid Complaince Officer Mike Kitlas to make sure they follow the best guidelines possible to protect their talent.

MLW has been on a Covid shutdown from taping since the nationwide Covid-19 shutdowns began in March. Pre-taped episodes did continue to air for weeks after the final tapings. Since the shutdown MLW has been airing old episodes of the MLW Underground TV series. As well as producing character driven MLW Pulp Fusion series.

MLW relaunched in 2018 afterwell over a decade from its closure. MLW has produced shows for the BeinSports Cable Network. In addition to the English language channel, MLW has a presence on the Spanish version of the network. MLW also posts their weekly shows on their Youtube Channel. Recently Court Bauer has announcing deals to bring Fusion to the Fubio Sports streaming channel. As well as a deal to add content to DAZN combat sports streaming service.

Since the shutdown MLW has been airing old episodes of the MLW Underground TV series. As well as producing character driven MLW Pulp Fusion series. MLW originally ran in the early 2000s as a small indy that produced MLW Underground as a syndicated tv series before the promotions shut down in 2005. MLW returned as a podcast network several years before its 2018 relaunch as a  promotion.


Business Speculation

Impact Should Move To Monday Nights

A move to Monday Nights is just what Impact Wrestling needs to generate excitement for their program. The move is also something that wrestling fans desperately need.

Many critics of WWE feel that Raw is largely boring and not the destination it once was when it was at its peak. Wrestling fans. An alternative wrestling show could be just the think to make Monday Nights feel like wrestling night again.

A move to Monday Night would immediately put Impact back in the spotlight in a way it hasn’t been since the Spike TV years. It would excite the company ‘s fanbase while also givening something for general wrestling fans to get excited about.

Being on stations owned by their parent company gives Impact more leverage and more room to fail. Also AXS has a much smaller viewer audience then USA. So its possible there are enough of the people that would watch Impact live against Raw.

There is also the possibility wrestling fans disgruntled with Raw (or not willing to watch an additional night of wrestling ) will be willing to watch Impact its on the same night. Another perk of being on an Anthem owned station is the power to make your own schedule. Impact could air from 7-9 to get a one hour lead in on Raw. With a replay from 9-11.

There are many reasons why this would be different from Impact’s failed attempt at a Monday Night War in the past. There was far more less room for them to fail. Spike needed their million viewers and wasn’t going to take half of that to win some war they didn’t care about. Impact is also in a far better place creatively and seems to have moved on from trying to recreate the attitude era. The audience and creative energy of Raw is also for weaker then in was in 2010.

Impact Wrestling tried to go head to head with Monday Night Raw on January 4th 2010. They did so with the hope that Hulk Hogan could draw in a new audience that would recreate the original Monday Night Wars. The first week special drew Impact’s highest ratings and led to a permanent move in March. Despite having Hogan, and brining in names like Jeff Hardy,Ric Flair, RVD, Ken Anderson, and Impact’s existing stars…Ratings split in half after just a few weeks weeks. By the end of that summer Impact was permanently moved back to Thursdays.

From the time Impact first landed on regular tv the goal of Jeff Jarrett was to eventually get the company a Monday Night Slot to go up against Monday Night Raw. The belief was that it would excite the fanbase and bring Impact to new heights. The goal remained very much a part of Dixie’s plans even as Jarrett lost control of the company. Eric Bishoff and Hulk Hogan were big proponents of the idea when they came on board for 2010.

The original Monday Night War started when Ted Turner gave WCW an hour on Monday Nights to go head to head with Monday Nughte Raw. Despite scepticism from critics, WCW had a big enough audience to folkow them to Monday Night Nitro.Long term the ratings for born shows ended up going up. Nitro’s fresh approach by Eric Bischoff and the Star Power of the past ( Hogan, Flair, Savage, Sting, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall) eventually led to Nitro domonating the ratings for an 83 weak stress.

WWF battled back with the likes of Steve Austin, DX, The Rock, and Mick Foley. WWE would dominate Mondays again. Due to bad creative and numerous restarts WCW business would crator just as their parent company had sold to AOL. Executives who wanted nothing to do with wrestling now had an excuse to cancel what had become a huge money losing subsidiary to the company. Eventually the company shut down with all its tape library and trademarks sold off to WWF.

Business Speculation

Impact Will Be Competitive With AEW in 2024

Impact Wrestling is poised to compete with AEW in 2024. This is due to the efforts of their long rebuild and the synergy with parent company Anthem. They seemed poised to build a bigger following to rival the Spike TV days in the coming years..

All the building blocks they have put in place will continue to grow and the company will slowly become more popular. The company has spent years rebuilding from the loss of major tv deals. With the overhaul in creative and talent evaluation the fruits of their rebuild is starting to take shape. and Anthem’s overall portfolio should also grow the company.

The acquisition of AXS TV for the companies cable home and the station’s own potential to grow can not be understated in all this. Only this time they will be able to monetize much better. In time there demo will get younger and they will become competition to AEW. They will also be precieved by WWE as a potential threat once all this happens.

The launch of AEW wrestling and its effect on the wrestling business can only boast Impact’s chances of success. As it helps to disprove the notion that only WWE can be successful on a national level. While AEW has the ability to take a lot of premium talent off the market. They can’t sign everyone. Talent will need a strong third option besides WWE and AEW. Anthem has the resources to pay talent good money to sign with Impact. And as the company is more successful the more money they will have to bring i ngood talent.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Impact get a major tv deal ( possible major streaming deal instead) of their own by 2024. Or the value they are to AXS will make up for not having one. They could also have a little bit of both ( a show on a major network and another remaining on AXS) This will all have a ripple effect on the entire wrestling industry.

Impact Wrestling launched in 2002 founded by Jeff and Jerry Jarrett to fill the void left by the loss of WCW and ECW. The early model for the business was to produce weekly PPVs. After the losses quickly piled up the Jarrett’s sold to the family of Dixie Carter, who was working as their publicist the time. The Carter’s Panda Energy became the new parent company for the promotion. The promotion survived long enough to do a time buy on Fox Sports Nets. After this failed to be financially viable, they eventually found their way on Spike TV.

Ratings success on Spike led to a lucrative tv deal. This and several international tv deals helped to get the company solvent for a short time. They also had some early success with PPV and moderate success on house shows. But overtime it became harder and harder to monetize beyond TV rights. Critics often criticized the company for his nonsensical storylines and poor booking for much of its history. As well as there tendency to overpush stars from the past at the expense of their own homegrown talent.

A few years affer the failed attempt to go up against WWE on Monday Nights. Spike TV quietly cancelled Impact. By this point Panda Energy stopped funding Impact and gave it up in full for Dixie to run.

After a brief run on Destination America Impact wound up with a low paying tv deal on PopTV. The company began to lose massive amounts of money. Many core members of the roster began to leave for greener pastures.

As the company fell into dire straights financially Dixie Carter began to leverage stock in the company to many different companies and individuals. These included Aroluxe, Anthem, and Billy Corgan. While Corgan seemed poised to eventually buy the company whole, it soon became apparent that Anthem wanted control. A long legal battle between Corgan and Carter led to Dixie remaining owner of the company. But control soon ended up in the hands of Anthem.

The Anthem ownership featured a rocky start Impact lost its deal with Pop and had to sign with Pursuit TV. A cable station with far less clearances. Eventually Anthem was able to purchase a majority share in AXS TV, thus given Impact a stable new home owned by their parent company.

By this point the company had already begun a long rebuild. Which resulted in a creative overhaul and the development of homegrown talent. The company appears more financially stable then it has been in years.

Business Speculation

AOL Should Bid On WWE Programming In 2024

In a changiing media landscape AOL would be wise to place a major bid for Raw or Smackdown in 2024. A move that would also allow WWE to take advantage of the same changing media landscape.

It can be argued that AOL should invest in more live programming to take advantage of the streaming era . Bidding on Raw and Smackdown would make a lot of sense. Raw or Smackdown could be good anchor programming for the website.There is also the possibility of bringing over NXT much sooner,as there deal is up at the end of 2021. While Raw and Smackdown have until 2024 on there deals. Starting with NXT would be a lower cost experiment to see if it was worth it to path for the more expensive brands. NXT also has an exclusive of being a streaming only property.

While it would seem fool hard for WWE to seriously consider bringing one of there main properties to exclusive streaming. The world could be much different in 2024. Streaming has only become more prevalent and there is a race among programmers to acquire IP to push subs to their budding streaming services. In 2024, streaming could be close to surpassing Cable television as many predict it will long term. Placing it on AOL also doesn’t mean the show would be behind a paywall. As aol can offer the live stream for anyone to view. They would just ultize the ad supported model. And could even add a premium commerical free plan to get the best of both worlds.

By taking advange of streaming verizon could expand AOL’s profile in way it hasn’t had since the advent of Cable Internet. Transforming AOL into a streaming service would be the best way to make the brand one of the keading companies in the tech industry once again.

AOL made its name as a major ISP provider in the nintiess and early aughts. The company became the leader in Dial Up Iternet. And even expanded into the tv industry with the purchase of of Time Warner. But the value of the companies immediately dropped post merger. Things were made worse as AOL lost its market share to cable and dsl services.

AOL was spun off into its own company with a renewed focus as a web portal and news site. A major acquisition to cement this strategy change was the purchase of the Huffington Post… As well as the interation of its news asswets into the AOL website. This pivot in strategy did did help to give the company a new purpose and sustainability in the past decade..

Verizon eventually purchased AOL and paired it with Yahoo in the Verizon Media Subsidary ( originally known as Oath). Critics have said the buyout has not gone as well as Verizon hoped.

WWE made headlines in 2018 by signing lucrative tv deals for Raw and Smackdown which fully kicked in the fall of 2019. The deals tripled WWE domestic television revenue and helped land them there most lucrative quarter ever in the recent earnings report. The deal moved Smackdown from its long time home on USA Network to the Fox Network. Raw remained flagship programming for USA.

After the news of rival AEW’s new timeslot on TNT, USA ended up paying to bring NXT to the network for an alleged extra 30 million dollars. Fallimg ratings and changes in the television industry has led to speculation on just what the tv revenue will look like when WWE begins their nex major tv deals in 2024.

Business News

MLW Scouting Several Locations For Relaunch

Major League wresting is scouting various locations for its close set relaunch, as per the companies website.

MLW shut down as soon as the pandemic started. Court Bauer cited concerns in regards to the general health of his talents during the pandemic.

The recent return of professional sports in empty arena has given Bauer confidence the league can run again with proper Covid restrictions in place.

MLW started its Fusion hatius by claiming Contra has taking over the promotion. In a move that was obviously part of a wrestling angle to explain the the halting of MLW tapings.

MLW relaunched in 2018 afterwell over a decade from its closure. MLW has produced shows for the BeinSports Cable Network. In addition to the English language channel, MLW has a presence on the Spanish version of the network. MLW also posts their weekly shows on their Youtube Channel. Recently Court Bauer has announcing deals to bring Fusion to the Fubio Sports streaming channel. As well as a deal to add content to DAZN combat sports streaming service.

Since the shutdown MLW has been airing old episodes of the MLW Underground TV series. As well as producing tchearacter driven MLW Pulp Fusion series. MLW originally ran in the early 2000s as a small indy that produced MLW Underground as a syndicated tv series before the promotions shut down in 2005. MLW returned as a podcast network several years before its 2018 relaunch as a wrestling promotion.



Business Speculation

Walmart Should Buy Anthem

Walmart should maximize their potential growth by acquiring Anthem. The move would be a plus for Anthem subsidiary Impact Wrestling.

Walmart is looking to expand into the tech sector and compete with Amazon. They are currently trying to buy TikTok in a combined bid with Microsoft. And have already begun competing with Amazon when it comes to deliveries. Purchasing Anthem would be another step in becoming a multi-faceted company.

Such a deal would give then valuable ip in Impact Wrestling and everything in the Anthem video library. They would own a majority interest in AXS, which would give them there own tv channel. Owning Impact would give them Inpeact Plus which would allow them to get back into streaming.

Impact Wrestling would be a good sports property for Walmart to own and likewise they could really help Impact Wrestling continue to grow with their money and infulence. Impact would be a great investment if Walmart was able to turn them into a multi-million dollar operation. .But in the meantime it would continue to be content for AXS , like it has been since Anthem bought the station.

Anthem is a privately held company owned by former Canadian media mogul Leonard Asper. Which owns Fight Network, Impact Wrestling, and a majority ownership stake in AXS TV.

Walmart is a long term retail chain dealing in commerical products and groceries. The store has placed a hjgher emphasis on quick delieveries for online purchases as it looks to compete with Amazon. Walmart’s attempt to purchase a stake in TikTok is not theIr first foray into the tech industry. As the once owned the Vudu a la carte streaming service until selling it off.

TikTok is a popular social media website and is the subsidiary of the Bytedance Company based in China. The parent cotmoanye has cone under pressure from the US to sell their US operations to a American based company. In addition to Facebook and Walmart, Oracle ( a tech company itself) is also rumored to be in the running. Many of their international operations could also be part of any deal.


Pro Wrestling Central Opens!

This will be a blog to discuss the business of professional wrestling. My name is Chris Zunis. I am known as Tuxedo Dragon at the Wrestling Observer Board where I am known for posting wrestling merger ideas and other business moves. I suggested that Anthem buy AXS TV before it happened. I have decided to branch out and start this website to post my ideas and opinions. Please be patient as this stie grows and evolves. I have also been known as Chris Xtreme at other wrestling boards.