June 19, 2009: It a move right out of the World Wrestling Entertainment playbook: WWE chairman Vince McMahon on June 16 said that the Monday Night RAW franchise, which airs on USA Network had been sold to Donald Trump. "It was an offer I couldn't refuse," McMahon said in a statement. Now comes word that the deal never actually happened. In a statement on June 18, the cable network said, "USA Network and WWE issued a press release on June 16 that referred to Monday Night RAW's storyline of a 'sale' of WWE's RAW to Donald Trump. We intended the release to be promotional for that ongoing story arc on the series. There is no such actual 'sale'. We apologize for any confusion." However, USANetwork.com continues to promote the "transaction" as if it actually happened. "On Monday [June 22] the Donald Trump era begins on RAW," proclaims the voiceover on a promotional video running on the site. The "RAW presented by Donald Trump" promo has Trump himself featured throughout, claiming, "For the first time in its 17 year history, Monday Night RAW will be presented commercial free."
Trump and McMahon have a history of joining forces to stir up attention and controversy, including a much publicized "confrontation" in 2007 when a "Battle of the Billionaires" ended with Trump watching and assisting as McMahon had his head shaved. In the initial statement, USA Network gave no indication that the deal was another gimmick. "Donald Trump is one of the most entertaining personalities with one of the sharpest business minds of our time. He's always had the Midas touch, which will only add to the level of excitement for the loyal fans of WWE Monday Night Raw," said Chris McCumber evp-marketing, digital and brand strategy for USA Network in the statement.
Trump said he would make his first live appearance as the new owner of the RAW franchise on June 22. "The Monday Night RAW franchise has been one of the top cable franchises since its launch 17 years ago," Trump said in the June 16 statement. "I'm going to do things on the show that have never been done or seen before. As my first act as owner, I am doing something unprecedented. I am giving back to the people who have been loyal all these years. For the first time in more than 838 episodes of RAW, [the June 22] show will be live and commercial free." Back to Home Page