How Mountain Dew Pitch Black Got in the Ring at WWE's Royal Rumble

A blacked-out match—and an impromptu press conference swig—resulted in a win for both brands

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The WWE wanted to bring back brooding superstar Bray Wyatt for the first time since July 2021. PepsiCo sought to resurrect its Pitch Black flavor of Mountain Dew, which had been dormant since 2019. Tag teams have formed under far flimsier premises.

Almost a year before WWE’s Royal Rumble on Jan. 28, WWE and PepsiCo began talking about what a Pitch Black comeback could look like at a WWE event. During one of Craig Stimmel’s first meetings at WWE last year as its new svp and head of global sales and partnerships, he sat across from Paul “Triple H” Levesque and his WWE creative team as they devised a plan for a glow-in-the-dark painted and LED-illuminated match in a blacked-out Alamodome in San Antonio.


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