Saturday, July 20, 2024
EditorialMatt Riddle's Future? Raw & NXT to Amazon? Adjustments to No Mercy...

Matt Riddle’s Future? Raw & NXT to Amazon? Adjustments to No Mercy & WrestleDream (Monday Morning Q&A)

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Welcome back to another Monday Morning Q&A where I toss out some questions to get a feel of how you guys and gals are feeling about certain topics.

So here are 5 questions I’d like to toss out for this week. I’ll give my answers, too, but the key here is that I want to know what YOU think! So make sure you chime in!

1) How do you think WWE will change the NXT No Mercy card after Mustafa Ali’s release?

The simplest, easiest thing to do is to just swap him out for Dragon Lee. Dominik Mysterio was already set to face Lee on Monday Night Raw. I’m assuming Ali was going to be there to cause some sort of distraction and cost Lee the match, possibly to set up a Triple Threat match at No Mercy. After all, Mysterio is a heel, Ali was more of a tweener in that he was a heel masquerading as a babyface, and Lee would have been the full-blown face of the match.

If that’s anything remotely close to what was planned, then it would just be Lee vs. Mysterio without Ali involved. Even if that wasn’t the plan, it’s still the easiest rebooking strategy, rather than setting up an entirely new opponent for Mysterio.

Just have the match on Raw end in some sort of dodgy way where Lee got screwed. Then, either Adam Pearce announces on Raw that a rematch will take place at No Mercy, or the storyline continues to NXT on Tuesday night where that’s established.

2) Do you think AEW will be forced to change the ROH World Tag Team Championship match for WrestleDream following Adam Cole’s injury? If so, what would you like to see them do?

Frankly, I’m annoyed that MJF and Adam Cole were scheduled to face The Righteous to begin with. That just seems like such a waste. I’m not paying $50+ to see that match when the match with The Kingdom has been dragged out, or, I don’t know, MJF could have had his match with Samoa Joe defending the AEW World Championship on this card instead.

These companies are way too used to the idea of doing television matches on pay-per-views these days. I couldn’t care less about The Righteous to the point that if MJF and Cole against them were on an episode of Dynamite or Collision, I’d fast forward until the end.

So here’s what I’m hoping happens. If Cole is indeed not able to wrestle (which I hope for his sake isn’t the case), I want to see MJF have to defend the titles on his own in a handicap match to further that uber babyface ride he’s on. Alternatively, I’d want the match to be thrown out entirely and replaced with MJF against someone for the world title, OR, if they have to relinquish their titles, put the vacated belts on the line in a Casino Tag Team Royale match so we can get a wider variety of teams involved.

3) SmackDown will be moving to USA in 2024. No word on Raw or NXT yet, though. Do you think they will ultimately stay on USA or change to a different network or streaming service?

Ultimately, I do think NBC is going to retain Raw and NXT. I’m surprised they didn’t settle on a deal already, to be honest, in order to announce the full trio would be packaged together with NBC. But then again, maybe WWE just figured “FOX isn’t going to pick us up, so let’s settle on where SmackDown goes and we can sort out renewing Raw and NXT after.” Or, maybe they DO have something in mind for Raw and NXT with NBC, but want to have 2 announcements to boost the stock, instead of just lumping it all in. That might be a better strategy to have 2 upticks.

There’s a chance they go to Amazon Prime, but considering the overall amount of years that Raw has been on USA in particular, I just don’t see that fully happening.

I could see, however, NXT becoming a Peacock-exclusive show. NBC might not want to use that Tuesday time slot for NXT if it isn’t getting good enough ratings, and they might even want to move SmackDown to that slot and then, NXT to Fridays, or maybe NXT to Peacock on Fridays.

If I were a betting man, though, I would say Raw and NXT stay exactly where they are full stop and SmackDown just stays 8-10 on Fridays, but on USA rather than Fox.

Now whether Main Event is renewed with Hulu, or if WWE negotiates that to be part of a Peacock-exclusive like NXT Level Up, or if that goes away entirely, remains to be seen. Nobody gives a shit about that show even within WWE, so it flat out will not be produced unless someone pays WWE for it. It won’t be a ratings type thing.

4) Assuming Max charges $20 per month for its Ultimate Ad-Free tier, $10 for the Bleacher Report add-on and then, may charge you an extra fee for AEW and ROH pay-per-views, what would be the maximum amount of money you’d be willing to spend per event on top of that $30?

Here’s the problem. Their direct competition is WWE. With the Peacock setup, it costs around $10 for the ad-free (lol, it still has ads) tier that gives you access to WWE events. Already, Max is going to be charging $30 for the same service IF the AEW pay-per-views are free.

I’m doubting that that is going to be the case. I do think Warner Bros Discovery probably won’t offer AEW enough money outright to justify them NOT charging for the pay-per-views. But the catch is that AEW can’t just expect people to pay $30 for ACCESS to BUYING the pay-per-views at the regular $50 price tag. There would be a considerable drop-off of people not ordering these events if they suddenly go from “4 events per year at $50 a pop” to “8+ events per year at $80 each”. That’s asking way too much.

But even more of a catch is that AEW can’t really just say “Okay. I guess we’ll eat the $30 price tag loss and charge just $20 per event so that people are still paying the same $50 they did originally.” Even that is asking too much in my mind, ESPECIALLY if it goes up to 8-12 events per year. WWE couldn’t get $50 per event for 12 per year and they’re the more popular company. AEW can’t expect to get people paying $400-600 per year. No way. And they can’t really afford to take that price cut, either.

So the question becomes whether AEW is in a financial spot where they can negotiate a deal with Warner Bros Discovery to pay them for hosting their PPVs for free, and they just hope that being $10+ more than Peacock doesn’t dissuade people already. But if AEW does need to charge extra on the side, then I think they’re in for a rude awakening, as most people probably wouldn’t be willing to spend more than $20. After all, how many people are going to say “Well, an extra $30 sucks, but I’m getting so much more by paying for that $30 on Max, so I’m okay with $80!”

Bottom line, what would I pay? I would pay the $30 for Max with the B/R add-on and the AEW events. Other than that, you’re pretty much asking too much from me, as I don’t see any real value for my personal expenses to tack $30 a month onto a bill just for what Max has to offer, and I don’t follow any other sports, so the B/R add-on is useless other than AEW events.

5) Following his release, where do you think we’ll see Matt Riddle pop up next?

Ugh. That guy really had a lot going for him and just couldn’t get out of his own way, could he? If he had just stayed drama-free, he would have probably been a world champion and a main-eventer for years to come. But nope. Gotta get bogged down in backstage issues of all different kinds.

First and foremost, I want him to get help before anything else. Clearly, he has issues that need to be worked on for him to find a proper balance in his life and be happy without all this drama. Nothing else is going to work out for him until he sorts that out. Otherwise, he’s going to be in the same position we find Jeff Hardy on a perpetual cycle, or what happened with Velveteen Dream.

Once Riddle gets on the right track, I’d actually like to see him back in WWE. I do think he still has quite a bit to offer the business. But if he’s going to be elsewhere and not coming back to WWE, then I think the best fit for him would likely be the indies, working promotions like GCW.

Let us know your thoughts about these questions by answering them in the comments!

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