Multiple sources are reporting that USA Network officials were not happy with FOX getting the big Hell In a Cell match for the WWE Universal Title on Friday’s SmackDown episode.
Friday’s Hell In a Cell match saw Roman Reigns retain the WWE Universal Title over SmackDown Tag Team Champion Rey Mysterio, in the first Cell match ever to air on network TV. WWE had originally announced the match for last night’s Hell In a Cell pay-per-view, but the decision was made last Thursday to move it to SmackDown.
In an update, Andrew Zarian of the Mat Men podcast reported that USA Network officials were unhappy with the Hell In a Cell match taking place during SmackDown on FOX.
“I can tell you for a fact that USA Network is very unhappy that the Hell In a Cell match is happening on SmackDown. I’m not going to say they are fuming, but they are very unhappy about it,” he said.
Furthermore, Dave Meltzer noted on Wrestling Observer Radio that FOX officials aren’t thrilled with Peacock constantly being promoted on their network, which they see as another rival streaming service. NBCU obviously has no issue with Peacock being pushed on RAW, but they were not happy with the Hell In a Cell match being given away on FOX.
The big issue with the Mysterio vs. Reigns bout had to do with NBCUniversal’s Peacock losing the match as it was nixed from Sunday’s pay-per-view on Peacock and the WWE Network. NBCU is also the parent company of the USA Network, and as NBCU lost the match because it was pulled from the pay-per-view, FOX picked it up.
WWE ratings have been down and the company is under some pressure to pick the ratings back up due to the big money TV rights fees they receive from NBCU and FOX. This is why there have been recent pitches to hold more special themed TV shows.
Stay tuned for more.