On the latest edition of Wrestlenomics Radio, Brandon Thurston and Chris Gullo gave their pro wrestling predictions for 2022. Thurston and Gullo gave their predictions to 11 questions that they listed. These questions range from who will be the top men’s champion in WWE and AEW to average viewership numbers.
1. Will NXT be on the USA Network at the end of 2022?
Brandon Thurston: “I’m going to guess they made a two-year deal, which would run from September 2021 through September 2023. Given that the relationship between WWE and NBCUniversal is so deep, it’d be very easy to move NXT to Peacock and then spin it as a lateral or upward movement because, ‘Wow, it’s such a big deal to be on Peacock, and it’s so important to be on Peacock. That’s where the future is, and we’re targeting a younger audience, even though we’re not capturing them.'”
Chris Gullo: “I’m gonna agree with you, but I think moving to Peacock is definitely something that’s going to happen in the future. I don’t think it happens next year.”
2. Will Ring of Honor run an event in 2022?
Gullo: “I don’t think so, and here’s the thing, even though the social media is acting like nothing happened, the Ring of Honor social media, now that Sinclair doesn’t have to put a lot of focus on it, and they got so much more things going on, I think it’s gonna be one of those things like, ‘Oh, I know we’re gonna reboot in April, but we’re coming back in June,’ and then it’s gonna fade away in obscurity.”
Thurston: “I guess it depends on what Sinclair really wants for content. I will say yes. Does Sinclair feel like it’s worth it to have to do something very cheaply to produce some sort of weekly content? Do they want new content, because you can get it done more cheaply than they were doing it.
“I think there’s still money to be made in these occasional Fite TV or traditional operators too, these PPVS, but I think they will at least run one show. I don’t know that there’s going to be a Ring of Honor ongoing promotion, but I bet there’ll be a Ring of Honor show in 2022 that may or may not resemble anything like what Ring of Honor has looked like over the last few years.”
3. Will a wrestle currently in NXT 2.0 be in a show-closing match for a main roster PPV in 2022?
Thurston: “Towards the end of the year, yes. Who would it be though? Bron Breakker, I guess. Is he going to get called up and develop quickly enough to be in the main event of a PPV? I will say yes, if nothing else, because Vince McMahon sort of has to validate his own decision here and give it a try, at least.
Gullo: “I’m gonna say yes because I think Bron Breakker or Von Wagner, and it might be Elimination Chamber or something like that. I think both of those guys are going to be in some type of main event program, one of those guys, if not both, by the end of the year.”
4. Who, if anyone, will beat Adam Page for the AEW title?
Gullo: “I will say MJF.”
Thurston: “It’s probably not Kenny Omega. They probably don’t go backwards to Omega. They probably don’t go backwards to Jon Moxley or Chris Jericho. Bryan Danielson? Probably not. Probably Adam Page has got to get a win over Danielson now, even though Danielson would maybe make a great champion at this point. Maybe Punk and then somebody takes it off of Punk. MJF is a good guess though. I will go with CM Punk.”
5. Who, if anyone, will beat Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal title?
Thurston: “It’s Lesnar or no one. That’s the answer. Big match John Cena’s got more important things to do. I’ll say Lesnar.”
Gullo: “I think he has to lose it eventually. I guess Brock Lesnar would be the best guess. I can’t think of anybody else. If Rock wanted to at least be there for a month or two, maybe.”
Thurston: “I don’t think Rock is committing to anything more than one match, though.”
6. Will Windham Rotunda sign with AEW, Impact, WWE, or another company?
Gullo: “We’ve been having a lot of chatter these last few months about, can there be a third wrestling company that has huge financial backing, and I think this year, you’re gonna see somebody probably say, ‘Hey, we’re starting a new wrestling company. Let’s get on this TV rights train,’ and Windham Rotunda will be the guy. That’s my prediction.
Thurston: “I hope it’s Robert Rodriguez relaunching some Lucha Underground type approach. I would say WWE would be likely. Anything’s possible.”
Gullo: “They’re selling Fiend holiday merchandise.”
7. Will New Japan get a weekly TV show on a network in >30 million U.S. households?
Thurston: “No. No. No.”
Gullo: “At this point, no. I think a couple of years ago would have been to strike when the iron is hot. I don’t think it happens now.”
Thurston: “I put the the threshold at 30 million households because that’s roughly AXS. That would be about a little less than half of U.S. households. Vice is about 50 million.”
8. How many times (in the same week) will Dynamite have a larger P18-49 audience than Raw?
Gullo: “I don’t really see wrestling ratings moving a lot in 2022, but I think this will probably happen, let’s say, three times.”
Thurston: “It’s happened twice this year. I don’t think it’s going to happen in the remaining few weeks of the year. January 3, there is Monday Night Football, so it could happen then. It came close before Monday Night Football. I will say five, five times in 2022.”
9. How many times (in the same week) will Dynamite have a larger P2+ than Raw?
Gullo: “I concur, zero.”
10. Who will buy WWE’s next-day VOD rights currently held by Hulu?
Gullo: “I’m going to go with the surprising candidate Tubi TV. Been seeing a lot of advertising for Tubi, and I think Tubi TV needs programming. Tubi TV will be buying VOD rights. Fox owns Tubi TV.”
Thurston: “The Fox connection does make sense. Peacock and Amazon, I think it’s got to be one of those two. I’ll take a lower revenue deal with Amazon just just to scare the crap out of my TV partners, but does Amazon really want to play there? I don’t know if Amazon really wants to play any U.S. sports rights outside of the NFL. I will say Peacock.”
11. Predict their average viewership (P2+ and P18-49) for 2022:
WWE Smackdown: 1.977 million, 0.52
WWE Raw: 1.587 million, 0.45
AEW Dynamite: 893,000, 0.34
AEW Rampage: 485,000, 0.18
WWE NXT: 525,000, 0.13
Impact Wrestling: 80,000, 0.02
WWE Smackdown: 2 million, 0.48
WWE Raw: 1.6 million, 0.42
AEW Dynamite: 900,000, 0.35
AEW Rampage: 450,000, 0.17
WWE NXT: 550,000, 0.13
Impact Wrestling: 97,000, 0.02
Excerpts from Wrestlenomics Radio were edited for clarity.
Jason Ounpraseuth has covered pro wrestling since 2019. He co-hosts the Gentlemen’s Wrestling Podcast.
Brandon Thurston has written about wrestling business since 2015. He’s also an independent pro wrestler and trainer. For more, see our About page.
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