WWE: Update on WWE Not Renewing Drew Gulak’s Contract & Bullying NXT Talent Allegations, More on NXT May 7, 2024 Viewership, More News

Update on WWE Not Renewing Drew Gulak’s Contract & Bullying NXT Talent Allegations

As noted before, Drew Gulak was released from WWE earlier this month as part of a larger batch of talent releases. Gulak’s release status was a source of contention with WWE CCO Paul “Triple H” Levesque who stated in the Backlash 2024 post-show press conference that Gulak was not among those released but his contract was not renewed for the reason for his departure, which was later revealed to not have been the case and Gulak is still under contract with the company. Gulak has been dealing with accusations of him inappropriately touching Ronda Rousey backstage during her time in the company and bullying and purposely injuring NXT talent during his time in WWE’s NXT brand.

Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that one source spoken to stated that more stories regarding Gulak’s backstage conduct might surface in the future.

This same source reportedly also stated that the allegations made by Rousey against him was the original reason for WWE’s decision to not bring back Gulak to WWE television and it “opened the flood gates” for their decision to let him go from the company.

In regards to the bullying allegations against Gulak, Meltzer reported that a number of other stories regarding Gulak’s backstage conduct in NXT was told after it had been made official that he was gone from the company.

More on NXT Viewership for May 7, 2024

The May 7th episode of WWE NXT saw NXT gain a very large increase in overall viewership and a small increase in key demographic ratings and key demographic rankings.

NXT drew 659,000 viewers and a 0.19 key demographic rating on USA Network. NXT’s key demographic ranking was 10th place.

Detailed key demographic viewership breakdowns were not available in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

Dave Meltzer reported that the main reasons for NXT’s increases this week was due to the large gains from their overall key demographic viewership group, which was up 31.4% compared to last week’s show. This reportedly offset the stiff sports competition that night from the 2024 NBA and NHL Playoffs.

In terms of head-to-head competition, the 2024 NBA Playoffs Game 1 of Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics drew 2,946,000 viewers on TNT and 567,000 viewers on TruTV, the 2024 NBA Playoffs Game 1 of Dallas Mavericks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder drew 3,223,000 viewers on TNT and 456,000 viewers on TruTV, the 2024 NHL Playoffs Game 2 of Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Rangers drew 1,930,000 viewers on ESPN, the 2024 NHL Playoffs Game 1 of Colorado Avalanche vs. Dallas Stars drew 1,136,000 viewers on ESPN, the MLB game of Houston Astros vs. New York Yankees drew 241,000 viewers on TBS, Vanderpump Rules drew 1,018,000 viewers on BRAVO, The Valley drew 695,000 viewers on BRAVO, Curse of Oak Island Drilling drew 835,000 viewers on History Channel, and Catfish drew 262,000 viewers on MTV.

In terms of key demographic viewership, NXT had 251,000 viewers.

In terms of peak viewership, NXT’s peak overall viewership was at 692,000 viewers for the quarter hour featuring the Meta-Four & Trick Williams in-ring promo segment. NXT’s peak key demographic viewership was at 271,000 viewers for the same quarter hour. NXT’s overrun reportedly was 596,000 overall viewers and 217,000 key demo viewers for the bulk of the NXT Women’s Championship match of Chelsea Green vs. Roxanne Perez (c) and the D’Angelo Family & No Quarter Catch Crew NXT parking lot segment. Meltzer reported that NXT’s show this week had the rare occurrence where the overrun lost viewers compared to their eighth quarter hour.

In terms of yearly comparisons, NXT was up 9.7% in overall viewership and up 12.6% in key demographic viewership.

WWE News & Notes

As noted before, WWE currently has plans for Bo Dallas and the Uncle Howdy character’s return to the company. Friday’s WWE SmackDown show in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania featured a new video teaser for Dallas and Uncle Howdy’s upcoming return. During the Queen of the Ring 2024 Tournament First Round match between Naomi and Nia Jax, the screen briefly glitched again and flashed a new QR code. When scanned, this code leads to a new video with the message of “They put us in the cave. Told us behold the glory. We watched in awe. Consumed their lies. We were never the chosen ones. Left in a cave to rot. To be forgotten. But he set us free. Now we understand. We follow the prophecy. The words of the red. Soon you will understand. The tears we shed watered our antipathy and blossomed a garden of revulsion. There is no safe space. Only my family.”

Friday’s WWE SmackDown show in Wilkes-Barre also featured former New Japan Pro Wrestling talent Tanga Loa being given a new ring name in WWE. During a backstage segment involving The Bloodline, a group nameplate aired on the screen revealing that Loa will now be known as “Tonga Loa” going forward in WWE. This is the same name as a trademark that was recently filed by WWE.

Friday’s WWE SmackDown show in Wilkes-Barre also featured NXT ring announcer Alisha Taylor making her official call-up to WWE’s SmackDown brand as SmackDown’s new ring announcer. Following the show, WWE held a digital exclusive backstage interview with Taylor discussing her thoughts about her first night on SmackDown. Taylor stated “Incredible. I’m glad that I got through one of them. [Laughs] I couldn’t tell if it was my caffeine intake or anxiety or what it was, but before the show, I was like, ah, let’s do it. Let’s go. Let’s f’n go. [Laughs].” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)

PWInsider’s Mike Johnson reported that his sources stated that former ECW legend Mikey Whipwreck was in attendance backstage at Friday’s WWE SmackDown show in Wilkes-Barre. Johnson reported that the reason for Whipwreck’s visit was due to the show taking place close to where he lives in the area.

Friday’s WWE SmackDown LowDown show featured the official announcement for the schedule of the remaining First Round matches for the King and Queen of the Ring 2024 tournaments. It was announced that tonight’s house show event in Chattanooga, Tennessee will feature a Queen of the Ring tournament match of Michin vs. Tiffany Stratton and a King of the Ring tournament match of LA Knight vs. Santos Escobar. It was also announced that this Sunday’s house show event in Macon, Georgia will feature a Queen of the Ring tournament match of Shayna Baszler vs. Zelina Vega and a King of the Ring tournament match of Kofi Kingston vs. Rey Mysterio.

2K Games recently released a new trailer focusing on the upcoming ECW Punk DLC pack that includes CM Punk, Bubba Ray Dudley, D-Von Dudley, Sandman, and Terry Funk being added to the game’s playable roster. In an interesting note, Punk’s character was rated one point higher than Drew McIntyre playing up Punk’s current storyline feud with McIntyre in WWE.

Nikki Cross announced on Twitter that she recently completed her master’s degree in history and is currently working on her PhD degree that she currently expects to finish in 2029.

The BBC reported that WWE is currently dealing with some negative fan backlash in the United Kingdom over the “extortionate” high ticket prices for their Clash at the Castle 2024 event on June 15th in Glasgow, Scotland. It was reported that tickets for the upcoming event at the OVO Hydro start at £300 ($323.19) and reach as high as £2,000 ($1,154.39) for premium seating resulting in some fans feeling that they have been priced out. Several fans spoken to who were interested in purchasing tickets stated that the prices were too high for the event and they would stay home and watch the broadcast instead.

WWE recently announced one new match for the card of next week’s WWE RAW show on May 13th in Greenville, South Carolina:

  • Becky Lynch vs. mystery opponent

WWE also announced four new matches for the card of next week’s WWE SmackDown show on May 17th in Jacksonville, Florida:

  • King of the Ring 2024 Tournament Quarterfinal Round match – Tama Tonga vs. Winner of LA Knight/Santos Escobar
  • King of the Ring 2024 Tournament Quarterfinal Round match – Carmelo Hayes vs. Randy Orton
  • Queen of the Ring 2024 Tournament Quarterfinal Round match – Jade Cargill vs. Nia Jax
  • Queen of the Ring 2024 Tournament Quarterfinal Round match – Bianca Belair vs. Winner of Michin/Tiffany Stratton