Monday, December 30, 2019

End Of An Era

It's going to be an end of an era in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

This is because - at 1:00AM GMT - Sky Sports will air its last ever showing of WWE Monday Night Raw.

This is because Sky has not renewed its TV contract with World Wrestling Entertainment. Instead, WWE will move to BT Sport. I believe starting with WWE Smackdown in the early hours of Saturday morning.

As I wrote earlier this year, when the move was first reported, this is the end of a thirty year partnership between the wrestling company and the broadcaster.

I was there for every year, so it's going to feel quite weird for a while having to watch WWE's major TV shows on a different station.

The WWF first entered my life one Saturday morning while watching British wrestling on ITV. It was a bout featuring Hulk Hogan wearing a helmet with a fist on. From there, I noticed Hogan in Rocky III.

A few years passed and then - while spending a half-term holiday at my aunt and uncle's home in west Wales - a commercial for WrestleMania V aired on TV.

The ad had the same guy I had seen on ITV and in Rocky III so I knew from there that I wanted to see Hogan in this big event.

The roadblock to this plan was the fact that I didn't have satellite TV at home. I didn't get to watch the original airing of WrestleMania V on Sky. However, things worked out for me. My family arrived home from Malta that summer. Waiting for us was a letter from The Sun newspaper to inform my father that he had won a satellite dish in a competition he had entered.

Once we had it all set up it was WWF all the way.

I watched EVERYTHING I could. I recorded EVERYTHING I could.

Thirty plus years on, I'm still doing the same thing. I didn't stop. Following WWE - through Sky - has been a routine I've kept since my childhood.

I'll have so many fond memories of watching live - and not so live - WWF/WWE content thanks to the Sky deal. I probably wouldn't still be interested in professional wrestling to this day were it not for this broadcast partnership.

We don't know what will happen in the future with WWE on British TV, but - for now - I'm following the company to BT.

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