Readers, some news: I’m into wrestling now. I’m writing this 10 hours after returning home from my first-ever WWE Monday Night Raw taping in Rosemont, Illinois. It was, without exaggeration, one of the best nights of my life. I entered that arena a casual layperson and left a crazed wrestling fan with a hunger for men in sequin-encrusted singlets. As a newly indoctrinated member of the wrestling community, I am spiritually obligated to report on an unusual saga involving two major wrestling organizations, a pizza cutter, and an unfortunately-timed Domino’s Pizza commercial.
The saga began on July 28 during a routine screening of All Elite Wrestling’s (AEW) weekly AEW Dynamite event on the TNT Network. Cageside Seats, SB Nation’s wrestling vertical, reports that wrestler Chris Jericho was fighting self-proclaimed “king of the deathmatch” Nick Gage. At one point in the match, Gage apparently “used a pizza cutter on Jericho’s forehead,” after which the program cut to a scheduled commercial break. The first ad that aired? A Domino’s commercial that featured a pizza cutter slicing into a hot, gooey pizza.
Per Front Office Sports, after the incident, Domino’s put out a statement indicating that the company might pull advertising from the program in the near future. The statement read:
“Domino’s was not involved, nor had any foreknowledge, of the gory scene on the ‘AEW Dynamite’ main event Wednesday night that showed wrestler Nick Gage apparently slicing Chris Jericho’s head open with a pizza cutter. We share the concerns expressed about this incident and the content of this TV-14 rated program, and are assessing our advertising presence on it going forward.”
Bad, right? But here’s where things get even more RKO-worthy: according to this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter (yeah, I subscribe!!!!), WWE may have boosted the controversy in an effort to sabotage AEW, the WWE’s major industry rival, and knock the organization’s sponsor funding down a peg. Per the newsletter, several industry sources caught WWE stakeholders “trying to take advantage of the [pizza cutter] bloodbath” by reaching out to journalists to boost the story, even as Domino’s was trying to sweep the incident under the rug. Rest assured that I will be following the impending smackdown closely.