WWE News: Major Event Moved from May to June, Smackdown Touring Schedule Changing in Oct., MSG TV in Sept.

There is some new info about WWE’s schedule for the rest of the year and into next year based on a recent lawsuit filing that led to WWE releasing their schedule for the next year. There has also been a change with WWE’s next major event in Saudi Arabia. Per WWE’s deal with the General Sports Authority that was signed last year, the company will be running two major events (aired live on WWE Network) over the next decade.

Instead of a May 3rd date for the first of two WWE events in Saudi Arabia, it has been changed to Friday, June 7, according to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer (available via subscription). It hasn’t been officially announced by WWE yet. The explanation for it was “logistical reasons” meaning the date had to be changed. The changing of those dates could lead to some WWE live events being removed because they had events scheduled in the western United States from June 7 to June 9 in Denver, Boise, Oakland and Stockton.

The November 1st date at King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is on the WWE schedule. Last year’s Crown Jewel event (the worst PPV of 2018 in my opinion) took place on November 2.

There’s no word right now on the names of the events. They could go with Greatest Royal Rumble and Crown Jewel again. We also don’t know if women wrestlers will be allowed on the shows, but Renee Young was on commentary at Crown Jewel, so there was at least some progress.

What we don’t know right now is if some WWE superstars will choose not to go to the WWE events in Saudi Arabian like John Cena and Daniel Bryan last year when they chose not to go Crown Jewel last November.

That means the WWE Pay-Per-View schedule that we posted about one month ago has been changed a bit. It now looks like this.

WWE WrestleMania 35 – April 7, 2019 – East Rutherford, NJ
WWE Money in the Bank – May 19, 2019 – Hartford, CT
“International PPV” – June 7, 2019 – Saudi Arabia
WWE Backlash – June 16, 2019 – San Diego, CA
WWE Extreme Rules – July 14, 2019 – Philadelphia, PA
WWE SummerSlam – August 11, 2019 – Toronto, ON
WWE Hell in a Cell – September 15, 2019 – Atlanta, GA
WWE Clash of Champions – October 6, 2019 – Sacramento, CA
“International PPV” – November 1, 2019 – Saudi Arabia
WWE Survivor Series – November 24, 2019 – Chicago, IL
WWE Tables, Ladders & Chairs – December 15, 2019 – Minneapolis, MN

There is no all-women’s Evolution PPV on the schedule right now, but that could be added to the schedule later in the year.

* A big story for WWE in 2019 is moving Smackdown Live to the main Fox channel starting on Friday, October 4. It will be a live show every Friday night for two hours on the main Fox channel that is part of the company’s “Fox Sports” brand. There are rumors of a third hour going on FS1, but that’s not official yet.

The current touring schedule for the Smackdown brand most weeks is to run live events on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and then live Smackdown on Tuesday. The talent flies out on Saturday morning (WWE pays for all flights, by the way) and usually fly home on Wednesday morning unless they are on the West Coast, which means there might be red-eye flights home. In October, when Smackdown is on Fridays, the schedule will change.

The Smackdown brand schedule will see talent fly out on Thursday for a live event, Friday will be Smackdown on Fox, Saturday live event and Sunday live event. They would fly home on Monday mornings, but that schedule will also allow Smackdown stars to appear on Raw the next night if they need them to be there.

The first four Smackdown episodes on Fox will take place in Los Angeles on October 4, Denver on October 11, Columbus (Ohio) on October 18 and Kansas City on October 25.

The Raw brand schedule will remain on the same Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday Raw loop that they have been doing for many years.

A good point that Meltzer mentioned in the Observer is that WWE really doesn’t need to do as many live events as they did in the past because the money they make off them is minuscule compared to the TV money. With Fox and USA Network/NBC paying WWE over $2 billion for five years of Smackdown and Raw, WWE really doesn’t need to run as many live events. The positive of live events is that fans in cities all around the world can see WWE shows, but it’s not going to be a major factor in the company’s bottom line. When Steve Austin and The Rock were headlining shows in the Attitude Era where they sold out nearly every event, that really made a difference because TV money wasn’t what it is now. These days, though, some live events have as little as 2,000 or 3,000 people, so why keep doing as many of them? Another positive that can be taken away from it is that it gets wrestlers experience to have matches in front of a crowd and improve. Plus, a lot of wrestlers like live events more than TV because you can have fun and there are fewer time constraints on matches. That’s important too. Perhaps WWE will alter things into next year to give their talent more days off, but for now, the schedule that asks wrestlers to work four nights in a row (really five days per week if you include the travel) is what WWE will continue to use.

 

* The future WWE schedule has also revealed that WWE will air Raw and Smackdown live from Madison Square Garden in New York City on September 9 (Raw) and September 10 (SD). It would be the first time WWE has run their TV shows at MSG since the August 28, 2009 edition of Smackdown. That September 9 edition of Raw is against the first week of the NFL’s Monday Night Football on ESPN, which will draw a huge audience (around 15 million viewers) like they do every year whereas the Raw audience typically drops against NFL games.

The last televised WWE special in MSG was October 3, 2015, which was on WWE Network and built around Brock Lesnar returning to MSG. Normally when WWE is in the area, they run Brooklyn or Long Island because the cost of running MSG is more expensive.

A factor in WWE choosing to have Raw and Smackdown at MSG is because of the ROH/NJPW show that takes place in MSG this Saturday and the AAA promotion out of Mexico plans to run a MSG event this year too. Since WWE has been running events out of MSG going back nearly 60 years, it’s smart of WWE to return their “home” arena again this year.