POST NEWS UPDATE: Nick Khan discusses WWE potentially returning to Australia, shares details of Fanatics agreement

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** WWE CEO Nick Khan spoke at MoffettNathanson’s Inaugural Technology, Media and Telecom Conference. He touched on the possibility of WWE running another event in Australia. He mentioned that a government subsidy for that is something ‘folks are working on’. He brought up their partnership with Foxtel and said finding a date and month that works best for them will kickstart their relationship on the right foot.

So look, they’ve (UFC) done a number of successful shows in Australia. We did an Australian stadium show that wasn’t televised pre-pandemic. So we didn’t monetize it properly. So, a government subsidy for that show is something that folks are working on. So to get that, which obviously decreases our cost risks on that and to do a show in Australia where we have what we think is a pretty big, new deal with Foxtel which is a FOX/News Corp company. To do a show there on a date or a month that is good for them, it’ll kickstart that relationship off the right way.

In March 2022, WWE and Fanatics reached a deal for e-commerce, licensed merchandise and collectibles. That was expanded on when Fanatics began to sell merchandise at live events such as WrestleMania. Khan said when they began to outsource to Fanatics for in-venue merchandise, those who lost their jobs at WWE because of the deal were offered jobs at Fanatics for the same or more money without having to relocate. Khan added that 90-to-95 percent of those people took the offer.

So Scott Zanghellini and Alex Varga… are heads of revenue at WWE. They were also agents with me at C.A.A. and the good folks at C.A.A. were gracious enough to let them come with me to WWE. So when the conversation was about the China tariffs, if you remember that, literally Scott and Alex came in one day and they said, ‘Instead of us figuring out how we’re gonna make WWE Championship belts in India which none of us know how to do, what if we just outsourced this whole thing?’ Because again, to the point of we’re not trying to be the best technology company with WWE Network. We’re not trying to be the best merchandise company. We want our merchandise to appeal to our fans, but the quality of the t-shirts, the cost of those, that’s not what we focus on. So Michael Rubin is as dynamic and as brilliant as people believe him to be. So we did a deal that we thought was equitable to both sides with a minimum guarantee that protected our downside for our e-commerce. E-commerce up significantly since we did that deal. They’re penetration is just farther-reaching than we had on our own. So that worked quite well. As the relationship continued to progress, the guys who, again, run new revenue did a deal to expand that into our venue merchandise. So that kicked in a month or so ago and by the way, one thing that they paid, our guys paid close attention to and that we all paid attention to is that the people whose jobs would be eliminated at WWE because of this outsourcing to Fanatics, each and every one of those individuals were offered a job at Fanatics for same or more money without having to relocate and I think 90-to-95 percent of them took that so it’s the small things too that matter. It helps with the partnership.

** Guest appearing on The Corner Podcast was Saraya. The idea of being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame was brought up and Saraya said she’d gladly accept the honor. She added that there are women who deserve it before her.

I would — I mean, Twitter would be very mad but I would accept it and post it all over Twitter (if WWE decided to put me in their Hall of Fame). But I would be like, absolutely, yes I do. I will be a part of the Hall of Fame, thank you. I would love to be in the Hall of Fame one day. I would love it. I feel like I’ve done a lot, I feel like I have. A lot of women have done a lot though. You look at A.J. Lee and you know, all these women, they deserve to be in it too before me so, it’s awesome.

In 2019, the Fighting with My Family film was released. Saraya said if another movie that she’s a focus point in is made, she would want it to cover her career after that WWE Divas Championship on Raw. She says it can’t be P.G. so the film can cover what she went through after that high point in her life.

We need another one (Fighting with My Family). It needs to not be just PG. It needs to go up a level because the stuff that we went through, you know, yeah. It gets weird. It gets very weird. So I feel like it cannot be PG. It needs to be up a level. If it had to be about me, I would definitely want it to be the darker version, the part two of what happened after I won the Divas Championship and then the rock bottom and all that kind of stuff.

On a February episode of Dynamite, Saraya went one-on-one with Skye Blue. In the match, there was a callback to Saraya’s Divas Title win over A.J. Lee. That was added in because Skye told Saraya she used to watch her and A.J. growing up.

Even Skye Blue, she was like, ‘Oh, I used to watch you and A.J.’ and that’s why we incorporated, when we had that match, where she goes for The Black Widow and I reverse it into the old Paige Turner because that’s what I won the Divas Championship with.

** At the age of 79, ‘Superstar’ Billy Graham passed away. Stone Cold Steve Austin guest appeared on Busted Open Radio and expressed his thought that Graham should’ve been the ‘first Stone Cold’ in terms of popularity.

I was a huge fan of ‘Superstar’ and I remember when WWE made that DVD or whatever you wanna call it about him, 20 Years Too Soon: Superstar Billy Graham and he really was ‘Superstar’ Billy Graham. When he was working heel and trying to get heat, he had legit heat and he was all about the showbiz, right?… When you go to Japan, the veterans, they wouldn’t work light but those young guys in there, the ones going through the dojos, I mean, they’re damn near shooting. But Billy was all about that and putting on a show. He was a true showman, one of the greatest physiques, probably the best physique in the game at that time. Promos, just light years ahead of his time and I don’t mean this to be — he should’ve been the first Stone Cold because I was a heel and turned babyface but ‘Superstar’ was in those shows and Vince (McMahon) Sr., for some reason, whatever it was when he had that monster heel run, because he started becoming so popular, all they had to do was work that angle to turn him baby and it would have been freaking massive so, it would have been interesting to see what Vince Jr. would have done with the guy because I don’t know what happened there. Yeah, he was very influential, very charismatic, a complete showman and yeah, I loved the guy. I called him a couple times, this was way back in the day, talking to him about his career and he was certainly at a different level mentally than a lot of the guys were.

** During the 2023 WWE men’s Royal Rumble match, Kofi Kingston was knocked off the apron and attempted to land in a chair but his momentum brought him to the floor. It is the second year in a row that Kingston did not land his avoiding elimination spot and while he was speaking to Dylan Postl on the Going Postl podcast, Kingston said he wonders what the future of that spot is. He said he knows he’ll have the mentality that he has to complete it and maybe it becomes a thing of him continuously missing the mark until he finally executes. 

This past year (in the men’s Royal Rumble match), I was like, you know what? Let’s make this easy money. This should be simple, you know what I mean? I’ll jump to a chair. This is gonna be easy, especially after the year before. We gotta just get back on the board and sure enough when I got knocked off, I came off so hard that when I turned around, I didn’t have time to adjust. So I’m like uh-oh, let me try to adjust in the air. So ironically, if I would’ve jumped up like I jumped the first year, I might’ve had a chance to adjust in the air but this time, I jumped out and had no time. So then I was like, oh, and then hit my head on the table and everything. Just get me out of here man. Get me the hell out of here. It’s over, it’s done.

I’ve been in that position for so long that I try to think about things to do and it’s almost like reiterations of the older ones or trying to one-up the older ones. Then I’m thinking like, man, well risk-reward, is this worth it to try it and not do it? Or maybe that’s the deal, maybe that’s what I do now is like try it and then fail at it for the next 12 years and then have a… So I don’t know. I’m on the fence about where it’s gonna go, but there’s part of me too that wants to be like, oh no, F you. I’m gonna do it. I’m just gonna do it… Yeah, I can’t go out like that, can’t go out like that, that can’t be the last one. But I don’t know. It is what it is. We’ll see what happens.

Continuing with the topic of attempts to avoid elimination in Royal Rumbles, Kofi spoke highly of Sol Ruca and Katana Chance’s athleticism.

And I give a lot of credit to the people who I’m involved with doing those (Royal Rumble) spots. Most people when they walk on their hands… Sol Ruca, in NXT, she is probably one of the most impressive athletes that I’ve seen in real life. Katana (Chance) she goes by now, also, the way that they’re able to move around like actual gymnasts and walk around on their hands as if it is their feet. You see them and they’re walking and they walk with their backs moving forward. So I was trying to do that and I couldn’t do it and I kept walking the other way.

** While speaking to ‘Counted Out’, PCO recalled his first go-round in TNA in 2003. He believes it’s a blessing in disguise that the run did not pan out. When he returned to IMPACT Wrestling in 2022, Executive Vice President Scott D’Amore continuously said he’s glad to have ‘X’ back, which is what PCO went by during his first run.

Yeah, of course, of course it was (first TNA/IMPACT run not working out being a blessing in disguise). It was and it’s so funny because when I did ‘X’, Scott (D’Amore) was there. Well I think it was a financial… the company had just started not too long ago when I was there and I was in Montreal and my flights were expensive and for a new company and my salary and everything so, I just think it was the financial things. That’s my take on it. I never asked anybody. But I can tell you when I started almost two years ago, a year-and-a-half ago with Honor No More, back in IMPACT, Scott D’Amore, every time he would see me and, ‘So glad X is back. I’m so glad X is back’ (PCO laughed). That was his main liner, you know, so that was pretty cool, that was pretty awesome.

** As Tiffany Stratton was speaking to Sam Roberts on the Notsam Wrestling podcast, she responded to comments made by Maxxine Dupri about wanting to work with Stratton on-screen. Tiffany said she’d be up for working with Maxxine on the main roster.

Of course (Maxxine Dupri’s comments appeal to me). I would love for Maxxine to take me to the tippy top. I feel like we would blend so well together, we could possibly tag in the future. I love her. She’s awesome.

** In conjunction with Maryland Championship Wrestling, Mickie James is hosting three seminars from July 20th to July 22nd.

** Due to Shotaro Ashino suffering a fractured ulna, he was pulled from his scheduled Triple Crown Heavyweight Title match against Yuji Nagata on May 29th. A new number one contender was determined when T-Hawk bested Ryuki Honda.

** To promote NXT Battleground, NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes appeared on Boston 25 News.

** Sonya Deville participated in the Beau Doherty Unified Sports Cornhole Invitational in Connecticut.

** WWE N.I.L. athlete Jaiden Fields did a Q&A with the Georgia Bulldogs website.

** It is official that at NOAH’s 5/21 event, Kenoh and Manabu Soya are defending the AJPW World Tag Team Championships against Suwama and KONO.

** Episode #213 of the Grilling JR podcast covers Jim Ross’ time in Mid-South Wrestling.

** Joining Ryan Satin on his Out of Character podcast was Trish Stratus.

If any of the quotes from the following podcasts or video interviews are used, please credit those sources and provide an H/T and link back to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.