Last week, WWE dropped a bombshell announcement for their upcoming HIAC pay-per-view.
Roman Reigns will defend his Universal Championship against Rey Mysterio. The tribal Chief taking on one half of the Smackdown Tag Team Champions and the ultimate underdog. Needless to say, it feels like a mis-match on paper. Made even more ludicrous is the fact that this bout will indeed take place inside the CELL! For wrestling fans, that means a brutal, barbaric, dangerous fight. It fits perfectly with the theme of the PPV.
However, the bombshell announcements were far from over. WWE took things one step further Thursday night and announced that the bout was NOT taking place at the pay-per-view after all. Nope, screw that. The company will instead hold the giant cage styled match Friday night on Smackdown. Live on FOX. TONIGHT! No pay-per-view, no Peacock special price tag, nothing. Live on FOX tonight: Reigns vs. Mysterio inside the cell for the Universal Championship!
Unbelievable. One of the few, rare times WWE has put a PPV main event match on free television days before the previously announced bout and certainly one of the only HIAC matches to take place on either Raw or Smackdown. That is 99% of the time reserved for pay-per-view. I don’t know why this is happening, but I do know that I will be watching FOX tonight to see this great showdown. With all major announcements, there is going to be fallout.
According to Andrew Zarian from Mat Men Podcast, the fallout if USA Network is upset about the news:
“I can tell you for a fact that USA Network is very unhappy that the HIAC match is happening on Smackdown. I’m not gonna say they are fuming but they are very unhappy about it.”
Andrew Zarian has been crushing it lately with scoops, so he is definitely a trustworthy source. This news it not all too surprising. USA Network is paying WWE over $1 billion for RAW. They obviously want big stuff to happen on Monday nights for THEIR network. At the same time, FOX is paying WWE $1 billion for Smackdown on Fridays. Obviously, they want big things to happen on THEIR network.
It’s tough. We often forget that WWE has to serve quite a few masters. Sometimes when there are creative changes or difficult decisions to be made, we never know why or how and instead just blame WWE. The company has three separate $1 billion deals and have to do their best to keep all their business partners happy. It must be a struggle but welcome to being a multi-billion dollar corporation!
In any event, Roman Reigns vs. Rey Mysterio inside the cell will be taking place tonight live on FOX, and I can’t wait!
*I reached out to NBCUniversal (parent company of USA Network) for a comment on the story.*