In 2018, FOX announced that it had signed WWE SmackDown to a five-year deal. SmackDown's first episode on FOX aired in October 2019. The episode marked the 20th anniversary of WWE SmackDown. This deal also shifted WWE SmackDown from Tuesday nights to Friday nights. Now that the Blue Brand airs on FOX, it needs to play by the network's rules and can't afford to rub the network the wrong way.
FOX's problem with WWE SmackDown segment
A week back, WWE SmackDown's segment that involved Sheamus and Jeff Hardy was censored for the West Coast of the USA. On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer noted the reason why FOX edited the segment for a part of the country.
“It aired on the east coast but not on the west coast. Fox decreed that it violated their standards and practices so they threw a commercial in so we didn’t get to see it on the west coast. That’s what that was all about.”
The video that was censored can be seen below:
Controversial segment on WWE SmackDown
WWE decided to blur the lines between storyline and reality in the last few weeks. At the beginning of an episode of WWE SmackDown, Elias was found lying on the ground, surrounded by medics. In the background was a banged-up car that was registered under Jeff hardy.
Hardy was found in the bushes not far away from the crime scene and had no recollection of what had transpired. It was later revealed that the suspect of the hit and run case had an orange beard and orange hair. Hardy returned to WWE SmackDown later that night to confront Sheamus. Hardy thought The Celtic Warrior was the one who had framed him and had fled the scene.
The two WWE Superstars were scheduled to clash at WWE Backlash. Before their match on Sunday, the two had to sign a contract to make the match official. During the contract signing, Sheamus wanted Hardy to undergo a drug test. After Hardy had his urine sample ready, he threw it on Sheamus and walked away. This scene was not taken kindly by FOX, and the network has reportedly made the company aware of it.