WWE‘s new television deal with FOX commences in October 2019. As per the deal, FOX will be the new home of SmackDown Live with some big changes reportedly in line for the weekly show.
FOX wants SmackDown Live to consist of more sports and less comedy. Although that might come off as a surprise, FOX actually aims to promote the blue brand across different shows on its network. This has resulted in the broadcasting giant demanding reigning RAW Women’s Champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey on the blue brand, shall the product move in the new direction.
According to Wrestling Inc., FOX believes that Rousey’s MMA/UFC background, credibility in the sports industry and mainstream pop-culture popularity will help promote SmackDown Live on a totally different level. Rousey embracing the blue brand will also be a great marketing strategy to cross-promote between SmackDown and Fox’s other daily programmes.
With UFC moving to ESPN, it appears that FOX is firing on all cylinders to retain as many top MMA stars to their long-standing network as possible.
One such celebrated athlete is UFC Heavyweight and Lightweight Champion Daniel Cormier who is supposed to fight WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar at some point in 2019 (after early January and before March).
Cormier’s recent WWE commentary tryout was postponed due to his fight with Derrick Lewis at Madison Square Garden. “DC” is widely speculated to pursue a WWE career after retiring from UFC.
It remains to be seen whether WWE is able to accommodate FOX’s request given Rousey is RAW’s biggest draw and trading her to SmackDown Live may actually result in a big viewership drop on part of the red brand.
After all, Vince McMahon still considers RAW to be the flagship show and it would be quite difficult for him to see Rousey leave for SmackDown if that is what’s best for business.