Backstage News & Notes on WWE’s Relationship With NBCU & USA Network

— WWE’s relationship with each of their network partners remains an interesting and unique story. Last month, we posted a summary of WWE’s dealings with FOX and this week, has some notes on how the USA Network – WWE partnership. Below are some highlights of their story:

  • Sources at the USA Network felt that they enjoyed the unique rosters that are created from a brand split and the consensus was that they would prefer distinct rosters to continue rather than have stars appear freely on either brand.
  • On the topic of WWE deciding which network will get which superstars via the draft, WWE sources compared the situation to the NFL balancing their games across multiple broadcast partners.
  • One example of WWE trying their best to work with both USA and FOX was earlier this year when the company held Hell in a Cell matches on both Raw and Smackdown.
  • The USA Network has been very pleased with the changes with the NXT brand and have “responded favorably” to NXT 2.0, pointing to a “massive” jump in viewership as a result of the re-brand. The network also was pleased with the increased attention to production and the overall direction of the brand. The network seemingly has no reservations about sponsor pushback due to the nature of the content as they were quick to point out that many of their other shows have the same elements that make up the new NXT.
  • The USA Network sources noted that the network is very aware of the dwindling viewership figures as compared to when the two sides signed their TV deal and they are looking for WWE to address those drops by starting with improving the quality of Raw. One source stated that there were some people within the network who have grown tired of “scapegoats and shortcuts” in the two years preceding the pandemic and are looking for that to change now that fans have returned to live events.
  • Some examples of changes that the network isn’t necessarily opposed to but would like to see them not used scapegoats include: superstar shakeups, Raw Underground, commercial-free matches that led to restarts or two-out-of-three falls matches, turning the lights out for the third hour of the show among other things.
  • The network ultimately recognizes their relationship with WWE goes back decades and decades and the network continues to be vested in the direction of WWE as well as aware of all the viewership trends. Stephanie McMahon is said to be a major force in keeping the relationship between the two sides strong.

Follow Us


Most Popular