It’s now official as WWE is now under the Endeavor umbrella and no longer simply a Vince McMahon owned company.
That is good, bad and undecided as this company is going to be going in different directions. Wrestling fans may not like it but its now no longer Vince being the guy making all the decisions but a company that owns WWE and UFC.
Well let me get straight to the point and pop the proverbial balloon that every fan is thinking. There will not be any crossover fights between UFC and WWE as that is just nonsensical and not profitable. Its like mixing pizza with ice cream and saying its going to be a great dish. Pro Wrestling is a beast all to itself and their fans expect a different kind of action that is scripted and coordinated.
Mixed Martial Arts is brutal, grinding, and unpredictable and sometimes it can be boring as both competitors want to win rather than look good. No way Endeavor is going to risk screwing up two properties they have just for fantasy booking. Just bad business.
Here is what you can probably expect now that Endeavor has both UFC and WWE under their fold.
1) More Synergy between the two companies
Expect to see more UFC PPV plugs on WWE programing from time to time and vice versa. Both divisions are on several networks and want to get as many eyeballs on their shows as possible. What better way to do that than use two companies to promote every PPV event, PLE or other big show.
Hardcore fans and journalists might not like it but too bad, Endeavor is in this to make money. And they are going to ride this puppy all the way to the bank in every creative way possible. Using shows on currently FOX, ABC, ESPN, USA Network and ESPN2 is sensible business.
2) Expect contracts to be “testier”.
Don’t expect drunken spending at times or for WWE to sign CM Punk or any other older stars to big deals. FACT… Endeavor has been keen on lowering salaries in UFC for several years. Don’t take my word for it just ask former UFC champion Francos Ngannou who they let walk in free agency WHILE HE WAS CHAMPION.
Dana White and the company have bragged how the revenue split is great for them at 85-15 percent split. They don’t want to just overspend for talent they deem as not worth the investment. (BTW expect certain journalists and pro wrestling stans to lose their minds.)
Back in the day you could count on WWE and even WCW when it was around to spend like drunken sailors on talent. Endeavor is going to start probably even trimming the roster or even letting guys walk. Depending on their analytics (yes, that nasty word) they have assigned values for guys from Brock Lesnar, LA Knight, Roman Reigns and even Otis.
Once again, Endeavor is a business that prides itself on making maximum profit and not overspending. And in their eyes, it’s the brand WWE and UFC that is the star, not the wrestlers. Gone will be the days of signing some Impact, MLW, AEW or even New Japan talent and just paying him to do nothing. And even superstars currently on the roster whose contracts are coming up might be in for a fight.
You may hate it but Endeavor will have no problem letting Edge or Drew go to AEW. Remember they let the current UFC Heavyweight champion at the time go to PFL because they didn’t want to pay him 2 million dollars per fight. They will just suck it up and move on to the next person because the analytics and business model say so.
3) Bigger Global footprint
Remember the days when it was a pipedream for WrestleMania or Royal Rumble to be hosted in the United Kingdom or even Germany; expect that to happen in the next few years as Endeavor want bigger things. Once again check the UFC schedule and you can see that this summer alone, UFC had major fight cards in Canada, Australia, Singapore and will be having another big PPV in Brazil. Hey, money is good in any currency once you figure things out and if London or Sydney want to pay big bucks for WrestleMania… Get your passports ready.
We are in an age where sports in the US are trying to expand as the NFL is currently exploring how to put two teams in Europe. Endeavor has been ahead of that curve for a while and the best part for them is that a lot of countries will have the government pay them huge sums of money to get them.
You thought the Saudi Arabia deal was too much, hell Endeavor will be more than willing to extend that deal. They want WWE on every billboard, online ad, newspapers to probably even park benches.
To them, WWE is a product you can bring anywhere in the world and people will understand and like it. Its not American Football which to some parts of the world too weird. And the best part is pro wrestling is scripted that anyone can be pushed as a superstar.
Remember when Mansoor got the big wins in Saudi Arabia and got huge pops in his home country? Endeavor will do that in Brazil, China, Germany and every other country that they can bring in a national star and put him over to generate millions of dollars.
Fans might hate having to pay an arm and a leg to travel to London for WrestleMania, but they will pay. And Endeavor is going to get all that international money that they can generate.
4) More product placements.
If you thought the Mountain Dew match was bad, or the Pizza Hut Battle Royal sucked, well you’re not going to like this. But get ready for more branding events, product placements and any big sponsors to have their names all over WWE.
In an interview with MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin, Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel said. “All 21 UFC events with live audiences sold out, continuing a 29 event sell out streak since returning from the pandemic. UFC posted its best sponsorship year ever in 2022, unlocking new categories and inventory to reach a fan base that grew double digits over 2021 in the U.S.”
This is an organization that has ties to massive companies that want to do business with their brands. BT Sport, Monster Energy Drink, Timex, Modelo, Oscar Mayer, Mattel and Draft Kings are some of the bigger sponsors that are doing business with UFC right now. And expect more as both WWE and UFC are doing record business right now in a time where others are suffering.
Instead of the Grayson Waller Effect show, get ready for the Draft Kings Presents Grayson Waller Picks. Hey, check out Bobby Lashley and Profits are they are styling the new Timex watches on their way to the ring.
If you don’t think it’s possible, you have not paid attention to the world of sports for the last twenty years. Billboards, online ads, product placements during half time shows and more are the rage. If you can find a way to pitch it, you will do it and cash those big checks.
Plus, for WWE/Endeavor, it’s a way to make yourself look more “reputable” in the eyes of shareholders and other big companies. It’s like moving into the posh neighborhood and showing your new rich and powerful neighbors how classy and worldly you are.
5) The Smackdown TV deal is going to be “Best for business.”
Anyone who says anything about where WWE Smackdown is going to be next year is straight up guessing. The only people who truly know are either Nick Khan, Ari Emanuel or Vince McMahon. They are going to take offers from everyone and anyone and you can bet they will shop it to everyone and anyone.
From Warner Bros Discovery, Apple +, Amazon Prime, Disney or even Paramount, all parties are going to be contacted and will be interested in getting WWE Smackdown and even WWE Raw. Business is open and WWE is a top get. It’s a brand that features guaranteed millions of eyeballs, weekly guaranteed content and is something that even the kids can watch.
In an era where streaming can make or break a TV company, WWE is the golden goose that has more content than you can shake a stick at. Peacock Channel can vouch for that as they have benefitted from that partnership.
If you don’t think Amazon or Apple are going to throw big money to get Smackdown and its worldwide viewers, you’re lying to yourself. Everyone wants in and TKO is going to go for the best deal financially.
If you have to purchase Amazon Prime or Apple + to watch WWE Smackdown; well that is your problem. They are going to take that big check and laugh all the way to the bank. If the contract meets the parameters they have set, they will go streaming, traditional or even sell everything to everyone.
Bottom line is that TKO is now both the UFC and WWE under one banner and things are going to become more corporate and fan friendly. Gone are the days of wrestlers drinking with the boss, rowdy fights and other stuff that was already being phased out. If anything, expect to see more wrestlers fired if they do stupid things. In the past there were ways they could get around if it they were a Triple H guy or Vince McMahon guy.
Not anymore as Endeavor wants to have things go smooth and drama free. You want CM Punk or Chris Jericho to come back to WWE? Probably not happening as Endeavor’s model is they don’t want any headaches or drama.
Expect more TV/PG friendly product on TV with a bigger global audience, more international events and for more ways to make money.
Will the storylines, wrestling or feuds get better? Don’t know as Endeavor has always made it a point to avoid getting involved in that. Dana White basically is the Shield/Face of UFC and is happy to be the bad guy for the company. And they will happily let Paul Levesque and Vince McMahon be that for WWE under TKO.
But the concern fans should have is that this is now full on corporate and best for the brand. If Seth Rollins (Who I am a fan of) wants more money then Endeavor thinks he is worth, they will let him go. Same with LA Knight or Drew McIntyre or Edge or Kofi Kingston as the analytics are going to determine things. You don’t have to like it but it’s a reality as analytics are keys in sports for business model. Endeavor has always viewed UFC brand as the star and you can bet they will do the same for WWE.
For better or worse, TKO is here and its going to be strictly about money!
You can check out more interviews with athletes and sports reporters on www.lastcallpodcast.com or Follow me on Twitter.com/LastCallwChrisC