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FOX Reportedly Wanted Raw Instead Of SmackDown

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A new report has shed light on the monster deal to bring WWE SmackDown to network television on FOX and how the media giant originally had its eyes on Monday Night Raw.

In June 2018 WWE made headlines when it announced that it had signed a billion-dollar deal to bring SmackDown to Friday nights on FOX. The first episode of SmackDown on FOX was the show’s 20th anniversary spectacular and is best remembered for Brock Lesnar obliterating Kofi Kingston in seven seconds for the WWE Championship.

Speaking on Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer commented that back before the deal was done FOX actually had its eye on Raw but a clause in WWE’s contract with the USA Network stopped that from happening:

“It was a unique situation because it was multiple bidders. The deal was FOX wanted Raw, not SmackDown. USA [Network] had the right to match any offer, and so they matched the offer that FOX bid for Raw. FOX, at that point, wanted SmackDown.”

“At that point, USA had spent so much money on Raw, it was just kind of like, ‘We’re not going to match you for SmackDown,’ but that’s how the numbers went way up.”

Since the deal, SmackDown has become the most widely watched wrestling show on television in the United States with the blue brand frequently attracting over 2 million viewers.