The tension between Domino’s Pizza and All Elite Wrestling regarding the “bloody pizza cutter” spot in the Nick Gage/Chris Jericho match from this past Wednesday’s Dynamite has been a major story for the past few days. The spot, which included Gage carving Jericho’s forehead with a pizza cutter, was juxtaposed with a Domino’s commercial while in picture and picture.
According to a report from Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports, the pizza chain “disavowed” the violence displayed in the match, and would be “assessing [their] advertising presence on [Dynamite] going forward”.
McCarthy’s report goes on to say that WarnerMedia, the parent company of AEW Dynamite’s host network TNT, and their ad sales team attempted to smooth things over with their frustrated sponsor. The WarnerBros. affiliate allegedly told Domino’s that the pizza commercial following the spot was an “unfortunate coincidence”.
In an exclusive report from David Bixenspan of Babyface v. Heel.com, a “reporter from a mainstream publication” has confirmed to him, via a screenshot, that WWE had contacted them about running a story on the matter. The report was later confirmed in a tweet from the Voices of Wrestling Twitter account.
Not only that, but Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter has also strongly implied in the latest edition of the publication that there was a “concerted campaign” to give the story as much coverage as possible.
“There was one question about AEW, which was notable with the gap closing on the [ratings]. Vince McMahon blew them off as competition at the same moment behind the scenes they were trying to take advantage of the bloodbath the night before.” Meltzer wrote.
“Domino’s is a major sponsor of TNT and WarnerMedia programming, so this is a serious issue. There was a concerted campaign to contact sponsors but at press time Domino’s was the only one that has reacted to the match.”
It’s important to note that Meltzer did not directly say that it was WWE contacting sponsors to try and spark controversy over the Gage/Jericho spectacle, but the two quotes together do make it hard to believe that isn’t what was implied.
Bixenspan’s story also raises questions about Front Office Sports, the website responsible for running the story on Domino’s ire towards Wednesday’s main event. The story cites multiple “red flags’ in McCarthy’s report. As Bixenspan points out, the article is seemingly written with an anti-AEW slant, which doesn’t help quell the rumors of WWE’s involvement. On top of that, Front Office Sports has had a recent connection with the worldwide leader in wrestling. Just yesterday WWE’s official public relations Twitter account shared a pro-WWE article from the publication on their Quarter 2 earnings.
This past Wednesday, AEW Dynamite achieved a ratings milestone as the company’s flagship brand was the #1 show on cable for the third week in a row. It remains to be seen if the Jericho/Gage match will have any effect on the relationship between Domino’s Pizza and WarnerMedia.
(h/t to Bodyslam.net when using this transcription.)