POLLOCK'S UPDATE: All the latest on the WWE-Netflix deal

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2024/01/24/pollocks-update-all-the-latest-on-the-wwe-netflix-deal/

POST IT NOTES

**Rewind-A-Dynamite streams live at 10:05 p.m. ET with Wai Ting & John Pollock chatting AEW Dynamite, WWE & Netflix, the passing of Harold Hogue (Ice Train), Kazuchika Okada’s match from Korakuen Hall & lots of other news.

**Dave Meltzer joined us on Pollock & Thurston to chat all aspects of the WWE-Netflix deal, Dwayne Johnson added to the board of directors, and the latest on Kazuchika Okada.

**On Thursday’s Rewind-A-Wai for POST Wrestling Café members, we are reviewing the “You Cannot Kill David Arquette” documentary as chosen by Tyler Crane.

**The Long & Winding Royal Road returns on Friday as Wai Ting is the guest to speak about the April 1995 match between Mitsuharu Misawa and Toshiaki Kawada.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: Rewind-A-Dynamite
Thursday:
Rewind-A-Wai #148 – You Cannot Kill David Arquette(POST Wrestling Café)
Friday:
The Long & Winding Royal Road with WH Park & Wai Ting (Misawa vs. Kawada, April 1995)
Friday:
MCU L8R – Echo Ep. 3 & 4 with WH Park & Rich Fann(POST Wrestling Café)
Friday:
Rewind-A-SmackDown with John Pollock & Neal Flanagan(POST Wrestling Café)
Saturday:
WWE Royal Rumble review
Sunday:
Collision Course with John Siino & Kate from Montreal (POST Wrestling Café)

WRESTLING NEWS

**Brandon Thurston at Wrestlenomics has an excellent breakdown of the WWE’s revenues domestically and internationally through various reports, disclosures, and analysis to try and best break down the relative increase of the Netflix deal on the domestic level for WWE. While analysts were expecting a 40% increase on Raw’s domestic rights, the figures cited would suggest the Netflix deal is closer to a 30% increase – strictly for the U.S. domestic rights of Raw. It is difficult because Netflix incorporates so much international content into that $500 million per year average annual value (AAV) and it’s not a fair comparison with the $265 AAV that Raw is making on its existing deal with NBC Universal.

From today’s Pollock & Thurston show, Thurston added that an NBC official informed him that the USA Network will not be carrying Raw after the expiration of this deal, which ends on September 30. The Netflix deal doesn’t go into effect until January 1, 2025, so there is the question of where Raw airs throughout the fourth quarter this this year. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter was on with us and was in touch with WWE, who told him that an announcement was coming shortly regarding those three months.

**There was some confusion today regarding the Royal Rumble in Canada. On some schedules, the Royal Rumble is not listed for Saturday night with an old TakeOver event listed instead. I was told there is no change regarding how to watch the event this Saturday and it is “business as usual” for Canadians who subscribe to the WWE Network.  

**LightShed Partners has an analysis of the WWE deal with Netflix, which he views as a win-win but also broke down the financials and attempted to separate the U.S domestic rights portion of the deal from the various international rights including WWE Network streaming rights in various international markets that are baked into the deal.

It is difficult to create an apples-to-apples comparison of the Netflix deal with prior deals, especially since it is a longer deal, encompasses many (but not all) international rights, as well as international WWE Network rights.  However, WWE did previously report total “core rights” and WWE Network revenue.  We believe that if you look at year 3 of the prior set of deals, versus year 3 of all the WWE media rights on the new set (including SmackDown but excluding the domestic Network deal which is nearing a conclusion) the step-up is in the 1.2-1.3x range, with the non-SmackDown rights up about 1.1x.  We believe the first year of the Netflix deal will be dilutive.  However, there are numerous strategic and de-risking elements to the deal which does make it more attractive.  Also, there will be cost savings of ~$20mm from shutting down the WWE Network as international markets move to NFLX.

**Netflix won the day on Tuesday with the combination of establishing a new footprint in live programming with the massive WWE deal while also reporting a very strong quarter that saw 13.1 million new sign-ups in the previous quarter. The worldwide number of subs has jumped to 260.8 million while reporting Q4 net income of $937.8 million and revenues of $8.83 billion. (CNBC)

**The TKO closed at $87.91 on Wednesday. It was over $95 at one point on Tuesday after the Netflix deal was announced, so it has cooled off a bit but is still well ahead of the $77 range it was trading at before the news.

**Research firm Antenna is estimating that Peacock added 2.8 million sign-ups due to the NFL Wild Card game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins on January 13. NBC Universal previously disclosed that the game averaged 23 million viewers (which does include television audiences in the local markets in Kansas City and Miami), which would be a new live sports streaming record in the United States. Peacock was reportedly at around 30 million subscribers at the end of 2023. While it’s still a question of how much churn will be felt from those new subscribers, the fact is, that they have the service for a month, and the availability of the Royal Rumble this Saturday is that many more additional homes with no added cost for those new subscribers. Given the increase in Peacock’s subscriber base over the past year, it is nearly certain that this will be the most-watched Royal Rumble (at least since the 1988 version that aired on the USA Network and did an 8.2 rating).

**Kazuchika Okada wrestled his last match at Korakuen Hall for the foreseeable future on Wednesday. Okada teamed with Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tomohiro Ishii and retained the NEVER Openweight Six-Man tag titles against TMDK’s Shane Haste, Mikey Nicholls, and Kosei Fujita in an emotional affair in front of an electric audience. The chants of “Okada” were deafening and one person who regularly attends shows told me it was one of the best atmospheres they have experienced at a show in years. The match was geared around Okada, but the focus was Fujita with New Japan trying to position it as Fujita’s next step in his career by taking the fight to Okada, although succumbing in the end to the Rainmaker. There will be criticism of Okada looking so strong on the way out, but it’s an incomplete assessment until you see how the final matches are handled in Hokkaido next month. If this all leads to a major win over Okada by one of the young stars, then it’s less effective to have Okada do a series of losses on the way and minimize their impact versus one big win by a young star. Fujita gained a ton in this match but you can also see the argument for a New Japan booking philosophy that is notoriously slow with pulling the trigger on young guys and the idea of a loss setting up something greater for tomorrow when the pressing focus is today.

This won’t be the best match of the month, but it will be among the most heated and emotional this year. It was captivating and Okada’s post-match speech was simply incredible as he broke down in tears before composing himself and addressing the audience.

Okada announced he was vacating his championship and ended one of the great runs for a Trios team, certainly the best in the history of the NEVER Openweight Six-Man titles, and a strong argument they were the tag team of the year in 2023 if you’re criteria includes six-man teams.

**We will have a story out later on the NXT viewership, but they did their new record viewership in Canada on Tuesday night with 142,000 viewers. This tops the previous record set earlier this month for the New Year’s Evil special on January 2.

**AEW Dynamite airs from the Enmarket Arena in Savannah, Georgia tonight at 8 p.m. ET on TBS. The show does not have a big advance and was under 2,000 as of several days ago. The lineup will include:
*AEW Trios Championships: The Acclaimed & Daddy Ass © vs. Mogul Embassy
*Adam Copeland vs. Minoru Suzuki (set to air commercial-free)
*Jeff Hardy vs. Swerve Strickland
*Hangman Page vs. Penta El Zero Miedo
*Thunder Rosa vs. Red Velvet
*Wardlow vs. Trent Beretta
*Samoa Joe speaks
*Face-to-face between Toni Storm and Deonna Purrazzo
*Sting & Darby Allin to appear

**John Ourand of Puck was on 106.7 The Fan in Washington to share his analysis of the Netflix deal with WWE. Ourand noted the major question regarding the monitoring of audience numbers where Netflix is typically concerned with the reviews and quality of programming versus sports leagues that are so closely aligned with specific numbers watching. That philosophy is changing, and Netflix has evolved its stance with more transparency regarding numbers.

**NJPW resumes their Road to New Beginning tour next Thursday. They return to Korakuen Hall for shows on February 4 and February 5, which stream on New Japan World. The first night at Korakuen sees Catch 2/2 defend the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight tag titles against Clark Connors & Drilla Moloney and the next night is headlined by a Faction Warfare Gauntlet match between LIJ and Just Five Guys.

**Rocky Romero defends the MLW World Middleweight title against Ichiban in a 2-of-3 Falls Match at MLW’s Superfight event that streams on February 3 on TrillerTV+.

MMA NEWS

**Paul Gift at Forbes has a breakdown of last week’s rulings regarding the UFC antitrust lawsuit and the last-ditch effort by the plaintiffs to avoid trial. Judge Richard Boulware did not agree, and the trial is set, although moved back one week and will begin on April 15 in Las Vegas, which is two days after UFC 300 in the same city. Theoretically, the only way this doesn’t get to trial would be a settlement between the two parties. There is also the second antitrust suit led by Kajan Johnson and covering fighters who fought in the promotion from July 1, 2017 onward whereas this case covers fighters from December 16, 2010, until June 30, 2017.

**UFC CEO Dana White announced the signing of two-time Olympic gold medalist and PFL champion Kayla Harrison on Tuesday night. Harrison will make her debut at UFC 300 against former bantamweight champion Holly Holm. The most interesting detail is that the fight will take place at Bantamweight, which is a weight that Harrison has never fought at. In Judo, Harrison competed at 172 pounds and most of her MMA fights have been at lightweight (except for one fight at featherweight in November 2020 when she had a one-off fight in Invicta FC). Harrison enters the division when it’s in desperate need of a star and Harrison could be that figure if she beats Holm and could be catapulted to a title fight after one win. It is assumed that new champion Raquel Pennington will be fighting Julianna Pena next and I can’t see Harrison having a long path toward a title fight, and she shouldn’t given her record in PFL of 16-1 and being a two-time champion when the division needs a shot in the arm. The early odds for the fight list Harrison as a -310 favorite, per DraftKings.

**The UFC 297 prelims from Toronto averaged approximately 73,000 viewers and 28,000 in the 25-54 demographic on Sportsnet 360 on Saturday night. This was the second week of the UFC being back on Sportsnet after airing on TSN since 2015. Saturday nights are going to be extremely difficult in this country with the NHL competition.

**Interim heavyweight champion Tom Aspinall claims that his management was contacted about fighting Stipe Miocic at UFC 300, which Aspinall stated he accepted. The UFC came back and told Aspinall that Miocic was only interested in fighting Jon Jones and therefore, the fight won’t be happening. Miocic has not fought since March 2021 and the fight with Jones was scheduled for UFC 295 last November but delayed after Jones tore his pectoral muscle.

**The “Road House” remake starring Jake Gyllenhaal and featuring Conor McGregor is set for release on March 21 on Amazon Prime Video. The film shot footage last March in conjunction with UFC 285 including a mock weigh-in and fight filmed in front of the audience. The original film from 1989 starred Patrick Swayze and a remake was in development in 2015 and was set to star Ronda Rousey, but the project was shelved.

**The UFC has announced that Alonzo Menifield is replacing Dominick Reyes against Carlos Ulberg at the Fight Night event on March 30 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. No reason was provided for Reyes’ removal from the card – the former title contender is coming off four straight losses going back to February 2020 when he lost to Jon Jones by a split decision in a fight that many people scored for Reyes. Menifield (15-3-1) is unbeaten in his previous five fights and coming off wins against Jimmy Crute and Dustin Jacoby. Ulberg (9-1) has won five straight fives and submitted Jung Da-un at UFC 293 last September. The March 30 event is headlined by a welterweight contest between Sean Brady and Vicente Luque.

**John McCarthy was a guest on MMA Junkie Radio and shared that he has a year left on his Bellator deal but will not be part of the commentary team in PFL after the recent acquisition. McCarthy will have a role in the PFL and shared his understanding of what that will entail:

I think it’s going to be more towards rules and regulations, scoring the fights and doing those things – making sure everyone understands what’s being done, if it’s being done in the correct way and what options do the officials have.

*****
POLLOCK & THURSTON
John Pollock and Brandon Thurston continue their discussion on the WWE deal with Netflix and welcome Dave Meltzer from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
*****
upNXT
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman are back to chat about WWE NXT from January 23rd, 2024, the WWE/Netflix deal and more!
*****
THE WELLNESS POLICY
Join Wai Ting, Jordan Goodman and Neal Flanagan for the first Wellness Policy of 2024 as they speak with each other and the POST Wrestling audience about faith and the beliefs we form through life.
*****
BREAKING NEWS: WWE Raw to Netflix
John Pollock and Brandon Thurston present a special breaking news show discussing the news of WWE Raw moving to Netflix in 2025.
*****
REWIND-A-RAW
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE Raw with Seth Rollins’ update on his status and a face-to-face with Cody Rhodes & CM Punk.
*****

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