The WWE Universe is in a weirdly good spot at the moment.

On one hand, the company’s booking is drawing rave reviews from across the wrestling world, with fans already labeling Triple H a late entrant for Tony Khan’s Booker of the Year award. But then again, just because the weekly additions of former NXT stars like Dakota Kai, Karrion Kross, Dexter Lumis, and *rumor has it* Top Dolla have gotten fans going, doesn’t mean that excitement has translated to the higher-ups at WWE’s partner networks, USA and FOX. No, according to Fightful, with some additional reporting from Wrestling Inc., the former is actually less than enthralled with the frequency that the WWE Champion, Roman Reigns, is on their network. Here’s what the two companies sandwiched into their respective stories about Kross’ return to the WWE Universe.

“According to a new report from “Fightful,” Kross coming back to WWE may ultimately have long-term implications on the WWE Universal Title picture in the coming months of programming. Reports from earlier on Friday about Kross re-signing with the company have obviously been confirmed, and it was noted that a specific creative pitch might be one of the significant reasons. The idea is to “insert Kross into the Drew McIntyre – Roman Reigns feud to be involved in a match” for one or both of Roman Reigns’ Undisputed WWE Universal Title belts. This also allows a fresh approach to the Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre feud that has taken place in WWE before, culminating in a match at WrestleMania 35 that Reigns won.

The report indicates that USA Network has specifically discussed with WWE the idea of returning a top title to “WWE Raw” more often since Reigns is rarely seen on the red brand. An internal USA pitch also brought up the idea of having an Interim World Title appear on Monday nights until something greater was set in stone; however, it’s unclear if the company ever considered the idea.”


If that was that, it would be some interesting smoke without too much fire, as Kross re-debuted on SmackDown and likely wouldn’t be a part of any Interim World Title picture on RAW, but in the August 15th edition of The Wrestling Observer, Meltzer backed up the claim, calling Kross the number 2 heel on the SmackDown side of the roster with the potential for a Drew McIntyre-KK program to headline house show programs in the absence of Reigns. While having non-Reigns-led programs headline house shows is nothing new, as the “Head of the Table” has worked just one non-televised show since June, it is a big-ish deal that the folks with the money want to see more money angles on their weekly television, especially now that Miz and Mrs. is done for the season.

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USA Network changing the WWE’s plans is far from unprecedented.

There’s no way a company as big as the WWE would compromise their booking at the behest of a network, even a network as big as NBC, who paid the company $1 billion for the rights to their tape library, right? I mean, sure, they’ll run a “Zombie Lumberjack Match” at Backlash to promote former champion Dave Bautista’s Army of The Dead movie or have a very weird Red Notice-themed Cleopatra Egg-themed segment that eventually, unwillingly, brought onto the WWE Universe the “Spring/Summer” of Austin Theory in the hopes of appeasing Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but they would never compromise their integrity for the sake of making more money, right?

Well, fans don’t have to look too far to find an example of just that, as WWE had to admit defeat to AEW in the Wednesday Night Wars in no small part due to the desire of the USA Network to draw more eyes to NXT by moving it to Tuesday Nights. Now sure, at the time, some suggested that his move was related to the addition of the NHL, which, as Meltzer pointed out on The Wrestling Observer podcast, was certainly part of it, but it’s hard to see any network wanting to keep one wrestling show booked against another fighting for the same fanbase when Tuesday was filled with nothing but old scripted re-runs. With their contract about to end, USA pushed for a move to Tuesdays before signing a three-year extension to keep NXT on the network through spring of 2024.

Could the USA Network push to get similar changes to RAW moving forward, be that an interim championship, more matches featuring Roman Reigns, or even just some money angles with wrestlers like Dexter Lumis and maybe, eventually, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt calling the show home? Only time will tell, but historically speaking, it is very much possible.