After touting very impressive financial results for the third quarter of 2021, WWE held a call with investors to discuss their numbers and future outlook.
During the call, WWE President Nick Khan was asked about how the NXT rebrand is going. He sounds quite happy with NXT’s new vision, while reiterating that they are looking to recruit young athletes who aren’t currently wrestlers:
“We think it’s all starting the way that we wanted it to start. So we wanted a younger, fresher, in-ring approach. We think we have it. You’ve already seen some talent from the new NXT elevated to the main roster. There’s gonna be more of that. Our recruiting efforts, which you know, we can go through at a later date, which are spear-headed by Paul Levesque and Bruce Prichard and a number of other folks here, are focused on young athletes who may not at this moment in time be in the ‘wrestling space.’ And we think all of those results will come to fruition in the right way, and that NXT will continue to build the way it’s already building.”
I suppose he’s correct about describing the call-up from NXT to the main roster as an elevation in general terms, but tonight’s news that WWE fired 18 wrestlers, including names like Keith Lee and Karrion Kross, is the latest reminder that plenty of wrestlers are fast-tracked for the cut list as soon as they are moved up to the main roster and Vince McMahon immediately loses interest in them.
Khan suggested there will be more NXT stars coming to the main roster. Does anybody want to place their bets on when Bron Breakker will get the inevitable call up to Raw or SmackDown?
Moving on, I always know the word “eyeballs” is going to pop up when Nick Khan is talking. Here’s his latest eyeball drop, which occurred when discussing how WWE chooses which content will go on which platforms, such as television, Peacock, third parties, etc.
“It’s a fine line. It’s something that we’re in constant dialogue about. What is best on WWE Network, on Peacock in the United States...and what’s better to sell to third party companies? It’s all about eyeballs and exposure, and of course, over-delivering for our partners. So there’s not a science to it, but there’s certainly a lot of dialogue behind all the decisions that are made.”
Thank you for delivering the eyeballs to me right there, Nick.
Here are a few other notes about the call:
- WWE’s second-day rights for Raw with Hulu expire in the second half of 2022, and Khan expects an “intense and fun” battle over those rights due to the changed landscape compared to three years ago when the Hulu deal was signed.
- WWE sounds all-in on packing big stadiums for each of their cornerstone pay-per-view events going forward, including Money in the Bank. Focusing on these stadium shows and scheduling some of those events on Saturdays rather than Sundays all came about after they re-examined their pay-per-view model last year.
- One of the factors in choosing the date for Royal Rumble 2022 was to avoid competing against the Winter Olympics, which will be aired by their partner, NBCUniversal.
- WWE is optimistic about the future of NFT’s as well as the trading card market. The catastrophic failure of the John Cena NFT drop was not mentioned on the call.
- AEW was also never mentioned on the call.