WWE closed out Survivor Series with the return of CM Punk, a moment that many didn’t think would be possible. If anything, Punk’s return to WWE proved that TKO isn’t afraid to pay big money for contracts. After all, they are used to shelling out a lot for UFC fighters.
WWE’s merger with the UFC under Endeavor’s umbrella created the new TKO Group Holdings company. Although cuts are expected after TKO’s recent 3rd quarter earnings call, that will not affect how much money they are willing to spend on talent.
During Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer noted that Endeavor is used to paying UFC talent a much larger percentage of the company’s revenue, and WWE doesn’t come close to that number. That being said, the idea that Endeavor won’t be offering huge deals is a moot point now.
“There is a lot of movement in WWE right now, as far as they don’t want anyone leaving, and there’s a lot of people being offered very big money that are, you know, besides just Punk, there are a lot of people being offered very big money to stay. A lot of people thought that with Endeavor that nobody would get big contracts, and it’s actually been different, and one of the things is, from an Endeavor standpoint, when you look at UFC, they’re used to paying 17%, roughly 17% to talent, and in WWE it’s way less than 17%.”
“If it was a legit 17%, then the average mid-level guy there would probably be making $2.5 million a year. That is not the case, so they’re not, you’ve got people saying, ‘oh, they’re gonna nickle and dime ya,’ and it’s like, you know they’re grossing more than $3 billion a year, and there are guys who are making a lot of money, and there are guys who are gonna be making a lot more money.”
It was also noted that WWE’s willingness to sign talent to big contracts may also benefit AEW wrestlers who have contracts coming up, especially for those who have deals that are going to run up after AEW’s 2024 television contract renewal period. After all, WWE is prepared to offer a lot of money to talent.
There are a lot of possible plans in the pipeline after the UFC and WWE merger. The idea of holding super weekend events hasn’t been dismissed, either. Obviously, things are still getting off the ground with TKO Group Holdings, and now CM Punk will be part of the WWE side of the business. It is also worth noting that Triple H stated during the press conference after Survivor Series that there were several TKO executives who were very surprised to see CM Punk’s return in Chicago.
We will keep a very close eye on this story, and many more in the pro wrestling world, right here at Ringside News. You never know what will break next, because 2024 could be a very busy year.
What are your thoughts on WWE’s willingness to offer big contracts to talent, and how do you think this might impact the wrestling industry, including AEW? Leave us feedback in the comment section below.