During this week’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling, PopTV ran an ad during the show that seemed to announce the debut of the Aro Lucha promotion on PopTV in 2019. With PopTV’s recent decision to move IMPACT Wrestling from its regular 8 pm timeslot to 10 pm – shortly after IMPACT announced the hiring of Andrew Whittaker‘s Kings Highway Media firm, a video distribution company. Whittaker previously held a high ranking and similar position with the WWE in the late 2000s and is generally considered one of the men that helped WWE achieve it’s highest international growth.
It featured many clips from an early sizzle reel from Aro Lucha, although some faces were noticeably absent – such as recent WWE returnee Rey Mysterio – although other WWE faces, such as recent NXT signee Lacey Lane and House Hardy cast member Reby Hardy, were still present. Puerto Rican superstar Mecha Wolf 450 is also seen in the spot.
So far there has been no actual announcement from Aro Lucha or PopTV of an impending deal – which has to lead many to speculate that perhaps Aro Lucha simply bought ad time on PopTV for its long-anticipated TV debut in 2019 – but one would find it odd that PopTV would allow another promotion to promote a potential TV show on a rival network if it wasn’t planning on airing said promotion themselves.
With Impact’s current TV deal with PopTV expiring at the end of 2018, it would only make sense that PopTV was perhaps considering to replace IMPACT – and most likely move Aro Lucha back into the 8 pm timeslot – with another wrestling show. And with IMPACT Wrestling bringing in a heavyweight negotiator like Andrew Whittaker, it’s almost assured that he’ll find a deal far better than the deal with PopTV over the past few years. It’s worth noting some of Whittaker’s key deals from his bio on his Kings Highway Media website:
His most recent accomplishments as CEO of GLORY Sports International were more than tripling media rights revenues in one year, and taking a brand from a virtual unknown to become the third-ranked combat sports competitor, behind only Bellator and UFC, in under one year. He improved every facet of the organization, from upgrading the marketing and public relations campaigns, to substantially improving the media production and content programming, which opened the door to negotiations with Viacom’s Spike TV, and resulted in a multi-year contract with Viacom.
As Executive Vice President, International he negotiated the largest Media Rights agreements in WWE International history with News Corp’s BSkyB (UK), Zee Networks Taj TV’s Ten Sports (India), Sumitomo’s JSports (Japan) and Samsung founder company CJ Media (Korea).
If Aro Lucha does end up on PopTV, it will be interesting to see what kind of allowances companies like IMPACT Wrestling, Major League Wrestling (MLW) and Lucha Underground provide with their contracted wrestlers. While so far those three have worked in somewhat of an open market sharing of characters – such as Pentagon Jr./Penta El 0M, Sami Callihan, Johnny Impact/Mundo, etc., there will come a saturation point. Many of these wrestlers appear on television three times a week as it is – adding a fourth show could result in oversaturation of the characters. Will people want to tune into four shows – up to 7 or 8 hours a week – of the same characters, when that’s their biggest complaints about the WWE? While they’re not the same stories or companies, the reliance of all four of many of the same principle characters can make people choose between the four companies rather than tune into all four.
And while Aro Lucha has taped several episodes already, how many are still able to appear on Aro Lucha TV? Rey Mysterio would appear to be out, with a new WWE deal in place. In a recent interview with Fightful.com, Aro Lucha CEO Jason Brown, in regards to the Rey Mysterio situation, stated that “At the time of our initial conversations, there was no discussions with the WWE or a timeline, so we all thought it could be 2 or 3 years before he decided to go back. Rey continues to hold stock in the company and we are a place that he can return to and help outside of WWE.” Some of Aro Lucha’s previous tapings have included current WWE/NXT stars like Mysterio, Lacey Lane, and rumored interest Garza Jr. Many IMPACT stars have also appeared, like Pentagon Jr., Fenix, Johnny Impact, Taya Valkyrie and Willie Mack, as well as MLW stars like Shane Strickland, Low Ki, and Sammy Guevara. An alliance with the likes of IMPACT, MLW and others would be beneficial as a whole, but again, it comes down to the oversaturation of characters on television competing for the attention of wrestling fans around the world.
We’ll continue to follow this story as it develops furthers.