Some news & notes (most courtesy Dave Meltzer)
The big news:
- Anthem (parent of Impact Wrestling and owned by Winnipeg's own Leonard Asper) bought AXS & HD Net Movies channels. Former owner Mark Cuban and new partner Steve Harvey are minority partners but Anthem controls the channels.
- Anthem promptly cleaned house, including removing the VP who brokered the deal and was the driving force behind bringing New Japan to AXS (which has been big for them as New Japan has increased its viewership every quarter even as AXS was reduced in terms of availability in the US). That VP, Adam Swift, became producer of the New Japan show and made it more modern for US audiences, including hiring Mauro Renallo (until WWE hired him away) and then Jim Ross (until WWE banned him from doing the show). This was a major reason for New Japan doing well in the US Market and they are now under the control of Anthem (contract expires Jan. 2021.
- The deal includes HD's library of wrestling (including some ROH, New Japan) and MMA. ROH was on HD Net for years, a deal that likely saved them from closing before Sinclair Broadcasting bought the company a few years ago. AXS financed a lot of smaller MMA shows.
- Given the ratings, its doubtful Anthem would want to cancel New Japan but who knows...they might want a strategic partnership (as Impact did previously, but New Japan did not). Impact really wanted to work with New Japan but New Japan has been loyal to their relationship with ROH and has been hot at Impact ever since Okada was sent there and not treated well. Don Callis works for both, though.
- Impact has basically iced Killer Kross. He wanted to re-negotiate his deal (I think its like $40,000 per year and with the new wrestling landscape he could get a ton more). Impact offered him a raise but not what he wanted and they want him to work his contract. They feel he's violated the non-disparagement deals in his contract as well. Kross is popular and a bunch of talent isnt happy with the situation. Kross was asked to blade recently and declined, though Impact said they had no issue with that and used fake blood. His gf Scarlett asked for her release when he did and her's was granted.
- RVD signed a new deal with Impact. Ken Shamrock is in. Johnny Swinger is also in. Joey Ryan is also in which I think is a solid get for them.
- AEW's next PPV "Full Gear" (Im not crazy about that name) is Cody vs Jericho for the World Championship, Kenny vs Mox. Probably PAC vs Page. And more not yet announced.
- All Out was up in the UK but down in the US compared to DoN. Somewhat significantly down. Generally blamed on losing Mox.
- TSN is the station AEW has been talking to about wrestling. WWE had angered TSN back when they had the deal and key people at TSN didnt like wrestling. But its a different down and they have the multiple channels now. I'd have to think its a no-brainer with Jericho and Kenny. I know they are planning a Canadian tour.
- California passed a bill that could impact Wrestling & MMA that classifies independent contractors as employees under certain conditions (that would apply to most wrestling/MMA right now). WWE (and others) could just choose not to run Cali but I think this is just the beginning of this issue and other states will follow suit. Someone is going to eventually make the move of classifying their talent as employees.
- Flair is suing WWE over the term "The Man." Flair has the trademark for "To be the man" and thinks that covers "the man" as well. Apparently, WWE blew him off. And Charlotte is hot at Ric over it.
- Shane McMahon missed time due to jury duty.