Afternoon News: Owens out with injury, major change to WWE’s MSG event, Impact’s Ed Nordholm opens up on struggles, WWE financial evaluation, Teddy Hart vs. Rich Swann in MLW

By Wade Keller, editor

Kevin Owens (photo credit Wade Keller © PWTorch)

SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

-The Dec. 26 WWE live event in New York City, N.Y. at Madison Square Garden has shifted from a Smackdown event to a Raw event. The line-up now features:

  • Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman for the Universal Title in a cage
  • Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre for the Raw Tag Team Titles
  • Ronda Rousey vs. Mickie James for the Raw Women’s Title
  • Plus: Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, Bobby Lashley, Elias, Jinder Mahal, Alexa Bliss, Bayley

-Kevin Owens has been pulled from the Mixed Match Challenge due to a knee injury. Bobby Roode will replace Owens in the team with Natalya. Owens may need surgery, and there are rumors of it potentially taking him out of action for a number of months, but nothing official has been determined or announced yet. WWE.com is attributing the knee injury to his match with B0bby Lashley on Raw earlier this week.

-Teddy Hart vs. Rich Swann is scheduled for tonight’s MLW Fusion telecast on BeIn Sports. The episode will be available on MLW’s YouTube page later. MLW Fusion on You Tube has drawn 55,000, 45,000, 36,000, and 75,000 view the last four weeks worldwide. The 75K viewership came for their War Games 2018 episode. On BeIn Sports, our Nielson ratings source charts their viewership tally in the 4,000 to 7,000 range weekly; the sample size for smaller networks with lower viewership is smaller and thus the margin for error is higher.

-SeekingAlpha.com published an overview of the WWE financial health, with the conclusion being WWE has peaked and is overvalued. The article headline reads: World Wrestling Entertainment Is A Short With 35% Downside. Excerpt:

The company is looking at the international market for growth for which I’m skeptical. Management includes the statement in the most current investor presentation stating,“Growth will be driven by closing the 75%-25% gap between engagement and revenue”.To me this sounds similar to the current challenge of some social media companies like Snap, Inc. (SNAP) and Twitter (TWTR) attempting to convert users into revenue. WWE is looking to translate ‘likes’ from its videos on ad supported media on platforms like Youtube and Snapchat into more paid WWE Network subscribers. …

The main risk for the stock is that WWE Network subscriber growth slows in the near term as I believe will play out as the company has already captured the low handing fruit over the past three years. …

Declining TV viewership is a larger trend facing media companies and could be a headwind for WWE growth, but helps explain the lucrative distribution deal with Fox Sports which paid a premium to secure a program bringing in a relatively stable audience. Still, in the future we could look back at the distribution deal as a mistake for Fox Sports and USA Networks if the audience for ‘Raw’ and ‘Smackdown’ doesn’t migrate or declines more noticeably.

-Chris Jericho’s Caribbean cruise live wrestling event has been picked up by FITE TV. A special titled “Streaming for Vengeance” will air Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. The featured matches of “Streaming For Vengeance” will be the “Alpha Club vs. Bullet Club” showdown featuring The Alpha Club: Chris Jericho & the Young Bucks vs. The Bullet Club: Kenny Omega, Cody & Marty Scurll, plus Ring of Honor’s “Sea of Honor” Tournament matches. “Ever since we announced Chris Jericho’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Rager At Sea, everybody who couldn’t make it onboard the cruise have been asking me if we are streaming the event,” says Jericho. “Now, after months of pondering, planning, and probing, I can proudly say the answer is YES!! Preorder “Streaming for Vengeance” now to see the biggest main event of the year, The Alpha Club vs The Bullet Club, and the entire Sea Of Honor Tournament on FITE TV! Stream it in, Maaan!”

-Ed Nordholm told former WCW ring announcer David Penzer on his latest “Sitting Ringside” podcast that there were aspects of the pro wrestling industry that he was naive to when he took control of Impact after Anthem purchased the company.  He said he learned quickly that “producing content is very different than just broadcasting it. It was an eye-opener as to how complicated the process is in getting the product done, the
number of moving pieces, the complexity of the moving pieces, the personalities involved, the management of those personalities to come to a successful outcome. There’s been a lot about the industry that we were, perhaps, naïve in thinking it would be as straightforward as we thought it might be. We learned all kinds of lessons, I don’t know where to start.” He said the early months in August and September 2017 were “the darkest period and we had to make some hard decisions on whether we could or should carry on.” Check out the full show with more on the state of Impact on Stitcher or Apple Podcasts.


NOW CHECK OUT THIS ARTICLE: Four U.S. senators now urging WWE to “pause” plans for the Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia next month


Send newstips and live event results to pwtorch@pwtorch.com.

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