Could the USA Network change Roman Reigns’ WWE booking?
The WWE Universe is in a weird place right now.
For one, the company’s booking is drawing rave reviews from across the wrestling world, with fans already calling Triple H a late entrant for Tony Khan’s Booker of the Year award. But then again, just because the weekly additions of former NXT stars like Dakota Kai, Karrion Kross, Dexter Lumis and *rumored* Top Dolla have gotten fans hooked, doesn’t mean the excitement has grown. translated to the highest ranks. Partner networks of WWE, USA and FOX. No, according to Fighterwith some additional reports from Fight Inc., the former is actually less than enthralled with how often WWE Champion Roman Reigns is on their network. Here’s what the two companies sandwiched in their respective stories about Kross’ return to the WWE Universe.
“According to a new report from ‘Fightful,’ Kross’ return to WWE could ultimately have long-term implications for WWE’s Universal Title image in the coming months of programming. Reports from earlier Friday on the Kross’ re-signing with the company have obviously been confirmed, and it’s been noted that a specific creative pitch could be one of the big reasons.The idea is “to insert Kross into the Drew McIntyre-Roman Reigns feud.” to be involved in a match” for one or both of Roman Reigns’ WWE Undisputed Universal Title belts. It also allows for a fresh take on the Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre feud that has already taken place in WWE, culminating to a match at WrestleMania 35 which Reigns won.
The report states that USA Network specifically discussed with WWE the idea of returning a top title to “WWE Raw” more often since Reigns is rarely seen on the red brand. An internal US pitch also mooted the idea of making an interim world title appear on Monday nights until something bigger is set in stone; however, it’s unclear if the company has ever considered the idea.
If so, it would be an interesting smoke without too much fire, as Kross re-debuted on Smack down and probably wouldn’t be part of an interim world title picture on BELIEVEDbut in the August 15 edition of The Wrestling Observer, Meltzer backed up the claim, calling Kross the heel number 2 on the Smack down side of the list with the potential for a Drew McIntyre-KK program to headline house show schedules in Reigns’ absence. While having programs not directed by Reigns isn’t new, as the “table boss” has only worked one non-TV show since June, it’s a big deal that people with l Money want to see more money angles on their weekly TV, especially now that Miz and Ms. are done for the season.
—WWE (@WWE) November 22, 2021
USA Network changing WWE’s plans is far from unprecedented.
There’s no way a company as big as WWE would jeopardize its booking at the behest of a network, even a network as big as NBC, who paid the company. $1 billion for the rights to their tape library, right? I mean, sure, they’re gonna throw a “Zombie Lumberjack Match” at Backlash to promote former champion Dave Bautista army of the dead movie or have a very weird red notice– a Cleopatra Egg-themed segment that eventually, reluctantly, brought Austin Theory’s “Spring/Summer” into the WWE Universe in hopes of placating Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but they would never compromise their integrity for the sake of making more money, right?
Well, fans don’t have to look too far to find an example of that, as WWE had to admit defeat to AEW in the Wednesday Night War largely due to the USA Network’s desire to draw more attention to NXT. by moving it to Tuesday evenings. Of course, at the time, some suggested his move was tied to the addition of the NHL, which, as Meltzer pointed out on The Wrestling Observer Podcast, was certainly one of them, but it’s hard to see a network wanting to keep one wrestling show booked versus another fighting for the same fan base when Tuesday was filled with nothing but old scripted reruns. With their contract set to run out, USA lobbied to move to Tuesday before signing a three-year extension to keep NXT on the network until Spring 2024.
Could the US network push for similar changes to BELIEVED moving forward, whether it’s an interim championship, more matches with Roman Reigns, or even just a few silver angles with wrestlers like Dexter Lumis and maybe, eventually, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt calling the show at home? Only time will tell, but historically speaking, it’s entirely possible.