Fox is reportedly requesting that SmackDown Live have a more sports-like feel when it comes to its network in 2019.
On the 1000th episode of SmackDown earlier this week, Vince McMahon appeared in front of the live crowd and saw an opportunity. The chance to remind the millions watching around the world that he doesn't own a wrestling business, he runs an entertainment company. Unsurprisingly, he didn't step back and also point out that one of the Ws in WWE stands for wrestling, but never mind.
That basically means Mr. McMahon effectively views Raw and SmackDown Live as variety shows. Yes, wrestling is the company's core, but he wants his Superstars to entertain. Why else do you think he followed up his speech with a dance break? Some fans enjoy the varying avenues that any WWE show can take at any time, while others just want to see rivalries and wrestling.
As it turns out, Fox apparently falls into the latter category. The Wrestling Observer reported this week that the network has requested SmackDown Live be more sports-based when it starts airing it next year. At the moment, everything from comedy and soap opera-like drama has a place on Tuesday nights. However, if Fox gets its way, Mr. McMahon may have to get all that out of his system on Raw each week.
If Fox has indeed requested that of WWE, it's not exactly something it can say no to. The network paid a little more than a $1 billion earlier this year for the rights to air SmackDown Live. That contract begins in 2019 and will see the blue brand move from Tuesdays to Fridays. It will be a part of Fox's sports block that will run Thursdays through Sundays, so wanting the show to feel more like a sporting event would make a lot of sense on the network's part.
Mr. McMahon is quickly discovering that with big money contracts come big sacrifices. Not only is Fox allegedly making demands despite its contract with WWE not starting for another 11 months, there is also the whole Saudi Arabia headache. WWE took the vast amount of money offered to them by the Saudi Sports Authority and now has to decide whether or not to break the deal and stage Crown Jewel elsewhere. We can't imagine the WWE chairman likes being forced into any decisions, so is likely having a pretty rough time of things right about now.