WWE Raw returning to Louisville following repeal of state regulation

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Just one day after a controversial state regulation on pro wrestling in Kentucky was repealed, KFC Yum! Center general manager Dennis Petrullo told Insider Louisville that World Wrestling Entertainment is bringing one of its major live televised events to the arena next April — its first appearance in the state since 2010.

The general mangers of the Yum! Center and Rupp Arena have long decried a “cut rule” within Kentucky regulations as the main reason why WWE has avoided bringing their popular live television and pay-per-view events to the state over the past six years. The rule forced a pro-wrestling match to be stopped if one of the participants started bleeding, but the newly formed Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Commission changed that rule on Monday, with the administration of Gov. Matt Bevin citing the old regulation as unnecessarily stifling business opportunities.

Petrullo tells IL the WWE would only hold smaller and non-televised “house shows” in Kentucky due to this cut rule, but as soon as they heard this regulation would be scrapped, “we were on the phone with the WWE and they put in applications.” The Yum! Center is now holding two open dates in April to bring the WWE’s live Raw event back to Louisville for the first time since December of 2010, just after the arena first opened.

“All of that is because of the regulation being changed,” said Petrullo. “They’ve been wanting to come back into this state for a long time.”

Petrullo hopes the arena will now regularly be able to bring in two or three smaller WWE shows each year, along with one of their larger televised or pay-per-view events, which he expects will easily sell out and “bring in so many more fans that stay fans, and they’ll come back for the smaller cards in the remainder of the year. So it all works hand in hand.”

He expects that WWE Raw will bring in almost half of its ticket buyers from outside of the Louisville and Southern Indiana market, which will provide a welcome boost to the local economy and the arena’s own shaky finances, as “it clearly helps us with our TIF district, with hotels and restaurants.”