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   Mon, October 3, 2005



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SLAM! Speaks - USA A-O-K?
By SLAM! Wrestling Staff


Tonight, WWE will begin the latest chapter in its televised saga, as Raw returns to USA in the States.

The move has been carefully analyzed from several parties over the last few months, ever since the Fed announced it was leaving Spike TV. Since then, the ring wars world has been filled with speculation as to what will happen on USA.

With just a few hours left before some questions are answered, the SLAM! crew will take their own cracks at answering the pressing question of whether the move to USA is a smart change for World Wrestling Entertainment.


Greg Oliver
The return to USA Network is only part of the story for WWE. The key to this deal is the return to network TV with a couple of NBC specials down the road. That wasn't something that Spike TV could offer, though it is owned by Viacom (which owns CBS). So while being on NBC is a huge benefit, the USA deal itself is a bit of a mea culpa, with WWE going back to their old haunts, where it will again be pre-empted by the Westminster Dog Show and U.S. Open tennis every year.

Ryan Nation
Both. It's costly for WWE since they will lose a few million in ad revenue to USA. WWE will have to counter the loss by strengthening ticket and merchandise sales. With the popularity of their video games and DVDs, I don't think they'll have a problem overcoming the loss in the long term, especially as WWE 24/7 becomes available in more markets.

As far as the move being beneficial, USA is currently available in more homes than Spike TV, which is always a plus. Also, you have to keep in mind that NBC and Universal (which owns USA) merged together not all that long ago. Therefore, I'm assuming we'll probably be seeing more of a WWE presence on NBC in terms of appearances on Conan and possible special shows on down the line. Exposure is the key.

Jason Clevett
It will cost WWE a lot of money, as has been discussed in ad revenue. WWE has cost themselves more with their terrible storylines and booking, which has caused even some of the most hardcore fans to not care about catching their show. It has little to do with USA, and is entirely about the company themselves - if they can't get out of the rut then they could be on NBC every week and it wouldn't make a difference.

Andy McNamara
The initial move for WWE to USA will cost them in the ratings. Most likely, not in the Homecoming episode with all the mega stars returning; however, with WWE not promoting the fact that they are moving to USA from Spike TV on RAW, casual fans may not know where to find them initially.

After a few weeks of the transfer I'm sure the WWE will make sure that fans nation-wide know loud and clear where to find RAW. I don't see the ratings having any real long term impact based on this move.

Jon Waldman
Well, this will go one of two ways. Either it will be the move that re-ignites WWE, thanks to the exposure on NBC, or this will be the first chapter in the slow death of World Wrestling Entertainment. I tend to lean more towards the latter.

WWE is going back to USA with very little in terms of anything beneficial for the company. They're losing ad revenue and headed back to a network with a series of pre-emptions. Spike, TNA and UFC have all of those dates circled in red on their respective calendars, and they'll pull out all the stops. When that happens, WWE may lose parts of their audience they won't be able to recover.

Do you think WWE will benefit from their move to USA? E-mail us with your thoughts. Results will be posted next week.

-- compiled by Jon Waldman