In an effort to control the landscape of pro wrestling outside of the United States, WWE has announced that highlights of RAW and SmackDown will be aired on Channel 5 in the U.K. for free. The one-hour versions of the shows will air on February 2nd, when RAW debuts at 10:30 am, with SmackDown following its lead the next weekend.
"Bringing highlights of our flagship programming to free-to-air television for the first time in the U.K. with Channel 5 is a significant step for the WWE brand, and more great news for our passionate fanbase in the U.K.," said Andy Warkman, VP and General Manager of WWE U.K. & Ireland.
In a press release, it was stated the deal will also see NXT UK airing on the Paramount Network every Wednesday at 12 a.m., with programming available on the My5 streaming service. Not only will wrestling be included, but full seasons of Total Divas and Miz and Mrs. as well.
"WWE has strong appeal throughout the U.K. and across generations, so we're very excited to be bringing their high-quality entertainment to an even bigger free-to-air audience in the U.K.," said James Tatam, Channel 5 VP of Commercial, Digital and Operations.
This new deal comes after WWE's move from Sky Sports to BT Sport at the beginning of the year. The new partnership, which includes airing Raw, Smackdown, NXT and NXT UK, ended a 30-year relationship with Sky.