Fair play to Cody & The Bucks for selling out ALL IN in half an hour. I'm not a fan of either, but it's great to see wrestling outside of WWE thriving more than anything right now, and ALL IN is the culmination of that. Add in UK companies like PROGRESS running Wembley Arena later on this year, and ICW running the SSE Hydro for a few years now, and New Japan having some of the best wrestling in the world (and the best wrestler in the world in ZSJ) and there's never been a better time to be a wrestling fan IMO.
Looks like Smackdown may be returning to Friday nights if the rumoured deal for it to move to Fox in the US comes off. Move wont happen until Autumn (Fall) 2019 though. I wonder what it will mean for Wrestlemania weekend and the UK tours. That is assuming that it is live on a friday night and not pre-taped. I would assume it will be live as pre-taped will surely kill the ratings worse than they already are.
Only that we’ll know before the year is out. The WWE looks like they’re going to get record rights fees in the US for RAW and SmackDown so that’ll easily offset the decreases you’d expect from Sky. I’d be stunned if Sky pay equal what they are now or more for it. Only positive is that WWE pads out Sky Arena and Action like nothing else. It replays over and over again all week long in 3 formats (1, 2 and 3 hours) but the ratings are atrocious. RAW ratings have increased a bit in recent weeks (70,000 combined for the two 3 Hour airings) but SmackDown is still as close to dead as you’d hope to get (around 40,000 across 3 airings).
I think it’s about time WWE moved back to Sky 1 myself or over to Mix. RAW 1 Hour and Main Event is already on there.
The Big Takeaway: Stephanie McMahon was back, dominating the show. She buried Angle. She kicked him out of his own office. She set up Finn Balor vs. Braun Strowman in order to make Balor take another step into midcard obscurity. She talked through 80% of the contract signing between Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey. She buried Kevin Owens.
If that wasn't enough, there was the 2018 version of "Bayley, This is Your Life," with Sami Zayn bringing out three imposters that he claimed to be Bobby Lashley's sisters. It turned out to be three guys in what was the worst segment of the year, and among the worst ever. It was one of those segments that could have only come from Vince McMahon and his outdated humor told at the speed of a knock-knock joke.
WWE have no clue what to do with Lashley and this segment will have only damaged him. I was at the Birmingham live event last week and the reception from the crowd when Lashley came out was non existent. No one gave a gooseberry fool about him.
Also an observation i didn't pass last week was that I noticed that Nia Jax hardly did anything in her match (a 6 person tag). All she did was run into people shoulder blocking them and then attempting some of the worst clothes lines i've seen (granted they were on Bliss so she may have struggled with the height difference). It was really odd. I've never really paid attention to how competent she actually is in the ring. I'm hoping that was just an off day.
I’m glad they start earlier, but I’d rather they ended at 3am. 5 hours in total for these things is just stupid. It’s now practically impossible for them to produce a show without it dragging somewhere, which sucks.