It is very clear that WWE expects to deliver an above average rating for FOX tonight after it was announced that the Rey Mysterio vs. Roman Reigns Hell in a Cell match was moved to tonight’s SmackDown.
It is also pretty clear that SmackDown has become the “A” show since more of the bigger angles happen on Friday night and Roman Reigns has been positioned as the top heel in the company with plans to eventually turn him face.
Andrew Zarian from the Mat Men podcast said that USA Network is not happy about FOX getting the Hell in a Cell match.
Zarian said, “I can tell you for a fact that USA Network is very unhappy that the Hell in a Cell match is happening on SmackDown. I’m not gonna say they are fuming but they are very unhappy about it.”
There has been pressure from all sides to get WWE to do more themed shows to get the ratings up because they’ve taken a hit due to the pandemic. As noted on Thursday, there are plans to revive the King of the Ring tournament and Raw Roulette is likely happening later this year. The WWE Drat is also penciled in for August and fans are being welcomed back in July so, in theory, ratings for both shows should start to go up soon.
UPDATE: We did not mention this earlier but USA is under the NBCUniversal umbrella and moving the match from the pay-per-view to Friday night essentially means that Peacock is losing out on that particular Cell match, unless the plan is to do an angle tonight and not actually deliver the match as advertised. Either way, NBCUniversal/Peacock is probably not too pleased about WWE giving away any part of that match for free on FOX since it would water down plans for the pay-per-view on Peacock.