WWE executives held an investors’ call today to discuss the company’s financial results for the first quarter of 2021.
WWE President Nick Khan was asked about NXT’s move to Tuesday nights, and if WWE is concerned with AEW as competition. Khan pretty much doubled down on Triple H’s dismissal of AEW as being no different a competitor than anything else that takes up time, like sleeping or video games.
“Honestly, everything is competition for everything. So movies are our competition, people sitting and deciding just to text all night is our competition. All we’re focused on is attracting eyeballs to our content...We’re pleased with the increase in NXT ratings and not focused on anyone other than ourselves.”
This man somehow didn’t burst out in laughter while confidently declaring that texting is competition for WWE. I must say, that’s quite an impressive feat. I would have cracked in seconds.
And “everything is competition for everything” is the epitome of saying absolutely nothing of substance, while offering zero insight into the matter. It reminds me of how I never used to consider wearing shirts on my lower body, but thanks to the wisdom of Nick Khan, I realize now that everything is competing with my pants for that space. Maybe I’ll try out my jacket as my pants next time, or maybe I’ll wear a tie in place of my underwear. The best choice might be to forego the pants altogether and just text all night. Because everything is competition for everything. Who has time for wearing pants when I have a smartphone?
Khan goes a step further than Triple H and states that the NHL had nothing to do with NXT’s move to Tuesdays:
“So part of the reason for the move to Tuesday night… the last time we all were here, we were specifically asked about, ‘Well, what about the NHL and the impact of Wednesdays with the NHL on your content. NXT on Wednesday nights in particular?’ It’s our belief that NBC and the NHL are not gonna continue to be in business together. That was our belief months ago, so that had absolutely nothing to do with our decision-making process.”
Khan also echoed Triple H’s view on the importance of airing WWE programming on consecutive nights.
“If you look at the efficiencies of Sunday night pay-per-views, Monday night RAW, and Tuesday night NXT, it made sense for us for myriad reasons to do consecutive nights. Obviously Sunday night is a 15 to 20 time premium event type of thing, but those efficiencies to us is what really drove it.”
I applaud this man for including multiple unnecessary uses of the word ”efficiencies” in his answer to really add that soulless corporate flavor to the whole thing. Now I understand why WWE ran programming on nine consecutive nights from Apr. 5 to Apr. 13 - it was clearly all designed to boost the rating for NXT’s Tuesday debut show on Apr. 13.
Moving on, Khan did provide some interesting insight as to what WWE’s international plans are right now. A lot of WWE’s content may be locked down to licensing agreements in the USA, but there is a whole untapped world of money out there that is ripe for a squeeze:
“It’s part of the reason why our focus is so international based right now. In terms of the existing content in the United States, yes that is licensed through October of 2025 on Raw and SmackDown. In terms of new content that is not, in terms of licensing that existing content and the WWE Network internationally, that is what we’re deeply involved in right now. So a lot of upside in that, obviously. It’s a good time in our opinion to be a seller of these rights, and we think the proof will be in the pudding on that in the not too distant future.”
During the call, Khan wouldn’t offer any specific numbers related to how WrestleMania 37 did on Peacock other than saying Peacock is extremely happy. He sounded quite optimistic about WWE’s foray into NFT. He also mentioned that WWE has signed a deal with CrunchyRoll for an anime series.
But most importantly of all, Nick Khan is still obsessed with saying the word ‘eyeballs.’ Please note that he already said it in one of the above quotes. So I’ll just end this post by giving you two more eyeballs from Khan, independent of context, to really emphasize how strange it sounds:
“So the folks who have delivered eyeballs in the past are gonna benefit from it. The folks who are trying to prove that they can deliver eyeballs, it’s gonna be challenging.”
Well I guess Seth Rollins will do just fine then.