In this week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer reports that WWE's negotiating hand has been strengthened yet further ahead of the current USA Network contract running out in 2019.
The venerable journalist reports that FOX holds a serious interest in either picking up the TV rights or purchasing the company outright. This, in parallel with the upcoming Facebook Live Mixed Match Challenge experiment, indicates that the WWE product remains an incredibly lucrative proposition for a variety of minted platforms boasting major exposure.
FOX currently carries UFC - which Meltzer understands isn't necessarily a stumbling block to any potential deal - but is labouring over a decision to renew that deal, which UFC expected (or at least wanted) to be completed by now. Triple H held a summit with the head of FOX Sports last year. It seems those talks were productive, if still firmly in the territory of "preliminary".
Writing from a subjective fan (and layman) standpoint, the omens are both good and bad; should WWE use this interest to leverage a better deal with USA, we will remain firmly in the three-hour malaise. Essentially, nothing will change.
If this (incredibly speculative) FOX deal comes to pass, there is, per Meltzer, potential for the traditional network to broadcast WWE's flagship on its own flagship - necessitating a return to the two hour format, given the 10PM news cycle. In addition, with so many new eyes available to open on a traditional network, surely, WWE would run one or more major, progressive angles - perhaps even a philosophical creative sea change. Ultimately, they would have to try once again to capitalise on this new lease of life.
Exciting - or dispiriting - times ahead...