Mar 13, 2024 - News

SummerSlam adds to Cleveland's rich history of pro wrestling

Cody Rhodes spreads his arms in the wrestling ring.

WWE superstar Cody Rhodes. Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Finally, SummerSlam is coming back to Cleveland.

Why it matters: It will be — in terms of fanfare and attendance — the biggest wrestling event in the history of Northeast Ohio.

State of play: WWE, Haslam Sports Group and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission announced Tuesday that SummerSlam will take place at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Aug. 3.

The intrigue: Rumors of SummerSlam taking place in Cleveland heated up last month when the Ohio Department of Development awarded WWE $1.6 million in TV and film production tax credits for an unspecified project.

  • In addition to SummerSlam, WWE will host events in Cleveland throughout the week, including SmackDown at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Aug. 2.

By the numbers: Last year's SummerSlam generated $8.5 million from nearly 60,000 people at the gate at Detroit's Ford Field and drew 2 million viewers on Peacock.

  • Both figures were records for a WWE non-WrestleMania event until the 2024 Royal Rumble eclipsed them in January.

The big picture: Professional wrestling is arguably the biggest it's been in more than 20 years, as evidenced by a $5 billion streaming deal with Netflix and next month's WrestleMania 40, which will feature Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's first match since 2016.

  • Johnson joined the board of WWE's parent company TKO Group in January and could appear at multiple WWE events this year, including SummerSlam.
  • The Aug. 3 event also fits with the timeline of superstar CM Punk's return from shoulder surgery.

Flashback: Northeast Ohio has a rich history of wrestling events dating back to the Richfield Coliseum, which hosted WWE's Survivor Series on pay-per-view in 1987, 1988 and 1992.

  • Cleveland has hosted several pay-per-view events over the decades, including SummerSlam 1996 in front of roughly 17,000 people at Gund Arena (now Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse).

What's next: WWE said it will announce ticket information in the coming months.


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