Last week, TNA's expired TV deal with Sport1 sparked rumors that they could debut on Tele 5 in April, as Tele 5-CEO Kai Blasberg teased a few weeks back.
Instead it's WWE returning to German free TV with a 2 hour version of the newest episode of Monday Night Raw every Thursday night at 10:15 pm on Tele 5, beginning with the episode after WrestleMania.
25 years after Tele 5 was the very first TV channel WWE debuted on German TV, it's a bit like WWE returns home. The original Tele 5 aired WWE from 1989-1992 and 2003-2007.
"Monday Night Raw is an entertainment phenomenon, which hooks an audience around the world", Kai Blasberg said in today's press release. "Now we're giving the German free-TV audience an absolute highlight of entertainment back."
"WWE is excited about its partnership with Tele 5", said Stefan Kastenmüller, WWE General Manager in Germany. "Our teams in Germany will join the programme with a lot of activities to deliver the best in live events, PPVs, consumer products and digital platform."
This is instead a huge deal for WWE in Germany. Ever since April 1998 when falling apart with DSF (now known as Sport1) Raw just returned with 1-hour-international versions on the German.
Since February of 2011 Sky airs Raw in its full version and live. However, the situation on the pay-tv market is struggling, too. Sky and WWE are negotiating a new deal, as their current 3-year-deal is about to expire before WrestleMania XXX. Sky hasn't even advertised WrestleMania officially yet. So it'll be interesting to see if the deal on Sky stays the same - especially now since a 2-hour version of Raw will debut on the free TV market, while this version regularly airs Wednesdays on Sky Sport.
WWE returning to free TV with a 2 hour version of Raw is indeed huge news over here in Germany and a great opportunity.