POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE 5/25 – WWE analyst suggests the company could be shopping streaming rights

A WWE stock analyst suggests the company could shop the streaming rights for Raw & SmackDown, AXS TV confirms they will air New Japan card from the Cow Palace, a review of Thursday's Best of the Super Juniors matches, TV reviews of NXT & 205 Live, documentary on Mauro Ranallo debuts tonight & lots more.

Photo courtesy: WWE


**It’s Rewind-A-Wai Day at POST Wrestling as Wai Ting and I have a new show up for Café members chatting Ring of Honor’s Global Wars 2014 event at the Ted Reeve Arena in Toronto. It’s a very interesting show to watch because of the massive roster turnover with approximately 16 people on this show working at WWE today. This was the first year that New Japan toured the U.S. with Ring of Honor with Shinsuke Nakamura, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, Jushin Thunder Liger, KUSHIDA, Jado, Gedo, Forever Hooligans, AJ Styles, and Karl Anderson among the New Japan talent on the show.

This show was chosen by Espresso Executive Producer “Brad the Archivist”, who has been a huge supporter of ours for years and the man behind the Fact Checking Thread, the video of my impressions and the statistical conscience of POST Wrestling. He joined us on the show to discuss why he chose this event, informing us how he met Wai and I in 2015, and his thoughts on this show four years later.

The card is headlined by Adam Cole defending the ROH title against Kevin Steen (in the same building Steen won the ROH title in 2012 from Davey Richards), AJ Styles & Karl Anderson face Kazuchika Okada & Gedo (one week after Styles defeated Okada for the IWGP title), Cedric Alexander vs. Roderick Strong, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Jado, The Young Bucks vs. Forever Hooligans vs. Time Splitters, and much more.

You can access the show at the POST Wrestling Café where $6 a month provides access to every bonus audio show we have done, including the full library of Rewind-A-Wai shows.

**Wai and I are also doing weekly POST Production videos for members of the Double Double and above levels. This week, Wai and I chat the UFC’s $1.5 billion deal with ESPN and contrast it with the WWE’s new deals with NBC Universal and Fox.

**Braden Herrington and Davie Portman have a new edition of upNXT discussing Wednesday’s show with the return of Johnny Gargano and his show-closing angle with Tommaso Ciampa, Lars Sullivan taking on Ricochet & Velveteen Dream and the build-up to TakeOver next month. They two also chat about their recent concert-going experience, Braden losing his belt (not a championship), and take your feedback & questions.

**On this week’s Keep It 2000, Brian Mann & Nate Milton review another horrendous episode of WCW Monday Nitro with a chat about the July 31st, 2000 show. This show features the infamous “Viagra on a Pole Match” as the company continued his rapid descent into financial and creative ruin. You can download the show at https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/05/23/keep-it-2000-ep-31-slapnuts-theater-july-31-2000/ and subscribe to Keep It 2000 on iTunes.



**There is a discussion that the WWE could have another card to play regarding their distribution rights. BTIG analyst Brandon Ross recently wrote that he believes the company might be able to split their rights and strike a separate deal for the streaming rights to Raw and SmackDown. This follows the reports that NBC Universal is expected to renew Raw with a significant upgrade in price with The Hollywood Reporter citing up to three times the current value. In addition, Fox has agreed to spend $205 million per year for the rights to SmackDown when the NBC Universal agreement expires at the end of September 2019.

In the current deal with NBC Universal, the streaming rights for Raw and SmackDown went to Hulu, which NBC Universal has a stake in and after 30-days the shows are added to the WWE Network.

The UFC was able to greatly enhance their domestic rights deal by signing a streaming deal with ESPN+ that would pay $150 million per year for 15 Fight Night cards, Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, a new series being developed by IMG Entertainment and other ancillary programming and UFC archived content. ESPN spent another $150 million for the domestic television rights of the UFC, which was announced earlier this week.

The BTIG report estimates that Raw itself could fetch $25 million per year in streaming rights and bring the WWE’s overall domestic rights total to $500 million per year. To put that figure into perspective, the entire WWE generated $800 million in revenue in 2017.

Ross has also set a target price of $75 on the WWE stock, which is currently trading at $58.42 so Ross is very optimistic that the growth potential has not been fully realized.

**AXS TV has confirmed they will be airing New Japan Pro Wrestling’s G-1 special from the Cow Palace in San Francisco on Saturday, July 7th at 8 pm Eastern. The card will be going against UFC 226 that night, which is headlined by two championship fights with Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier for the UFC heavyweight title and Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega for the UFC featherweight title. The New Japan card on AXS will feature Jim Ross and Josh Barnett calling the show. On past events, New Japan World has carried the event for those without AXS TV with Ross and Barnett also calling the New Japan World feed. New Japan won’t be able to announce any lineup for the card until after Dominion on June 9th. The Cow Palace is the largest U.S. venue that New Japan has ever run with a capacity of approximately 11,000, which is a big jump from the 4,700 seat Walter Pyramid they ran this past March.

**Showtime is airing Mauro Ranallo’s “Bipolar Rock ‘N Roller” documentary tonight at 9 pm Eastern and it will also air in Canada at 10 pm on TMN 2. Ranallo has done an incredible amount of media and is on the front page of the sports section in today’s L.A. Times. I have not seen the finished documentary, although I was interviewed and was told I am in the documentary. It is going to be a very heavy documentary especially for those not familiar with Ranallo’s struggle with bipolar disorder. The emotional lows caught on camera are stunning and it will put into perspective what the highs the lows reflect. There is also a screening scheduled for Sunday night in Toronto at the Regent Theatre at 7 pm.


**Tuesday night’s episode of SmackDown saw the show hits its lowest mark of 2018 with 2,195,000 watching the show on the USA Network. They went against the Houston vs. Golden State game that did 8,296,000 viewers, which started at 9 pm.

**On Thursday, the Best of the Super Juniors tournament hit Osaka and featured the following A Block matches:
*Tiger Mask over Bushi at 11:17 – Bushi attacked with a suicide dive before the bell rang and proceeded to attack Tiger Mask with a chair and choke him with his t-shirt as the referee showed an incredible tolerance. Tiger Mask came back with a double underhook suplex off the turnbuckle and won with a Tiger suplex. This was an average match and didn’t seem the audience was heavily invested.
*Yoshinobu Kanemaru over ACH at 14:04 – ACH has been working a shoulder injury since the start of the tournament and they based the entire match around the injury. ACH attempted a cartwheel and he collapsed from placing weight on the shoulder. Kanemaru attacked the shoulder for the rest of the match as ACH tried to fight back with one arm. All ACH’s offense incorporated the injury and if you’re a fan of great selling with attention to detail, you would have enjoyed ACH’s performance a lot. ACH missed a 450 splash and Kanemaru spit his whiskey into ACH’s face and won with Deep Impact off the turnbuckle. ACH was the standout in the match.
*Flip Gordon over Taiji Ishimori at 9:29 – There was something missing in this match and it never progressed to the type of match you would expect from these two. It felt rushed and back-and-forth trading of moves rather than building upon the moves. Gordon caught him with an O’Connor roll with a big bridge and Ishimori was stunned he lost.
*Will Ospreay over YOH at 16:29 – This was the best match of the show. An outstanding performance by YOH, who has been greatly overshadowed in this tournament by his tag partner. YOH blocked the OsCutter and hit a Final Cut for a two-count. There was an insane part where YOH scaled to the top to suplex Ospreay, he slipped on the top rope and still managed to adjust and hit the suplex, it was scary to watch but they were fine. Ospreay won after a standing Spanish Fly and Storm Breaker. After the match, Ospreay hugged YOH and gave his endorsement to the younger junior heavyweight and was YOH’s best performance of the tournament thus far.

**The Best of the Super Juniors tournament continues Saturday in Aichi. The tournament matches are being uploaded later in the day to New Japan World and there won’t be another live show on New Japan World until the A and B Block finals on Sunday, June 3rd followed by the finals on Monday, June 4th. Below are Saturday’s A Block tournament matches and the point totals:
*Flip Gordon (4) vs. Tiger Mask (6)
*YOH (2) vs. ACH (2)
*Taiji Ishimori (4) vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru (2)
*Will Ospreay (4) vs. Bushi (0)

**Pro Wrestling Guerrilla presents “Bask in His Glory” tonight at the American Legion Post in Reseda, California. This card was expected to be their final event at the venue, but over All-Star Weekend last month, they announced there had been a snag in the sale of the building, so it appears possible they could run it again. Here is the card for tonight’s show built around Keith Lee:
*WALTER vs. Sammy Guevara for the PWG title
*Keith Lee vs. Adam Brooks
*Robbie Eagles vs. Bandido
*Timothy Thatcher vs. Jonah Rock
*Jake Atlas vs. Rey Horus
*Tyler Bateman vs. Trevor Lee

**PWG’s next card is Friday, July 13th at the Globe Theatre in Los Angeles and that is the same arena where they will run the Battle of Los Angeles tournament September 14th-16th.

**Tonight’s episode of Major League Wrestling “Fusion” will feature Shane Strickland vs. Pentagon Jr. for the MLW title and Santana Garrett vs. Chelsea Green on beIN Sports at 8 pm Eastern.

**The WWE roster is off this weekend until Sunday night when the Raw crew has a house show in Hampton, Virginia. Raw takes place from Richmond, Virginia on Monday with Seth Rollins vs. Jinder Mahal for the Intercontinental title and the women’s Gauntlet Match for the final spot in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. SmackDown has a house show Monday night in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and television Tuesday in Raleigh.

**Lucha Underground and Impact Wrestling performer John Hennigan (Johnny Mundo, Johnny Impact) will be one of the cast members on the next season of “Survivor” on CBS.

**Shawn Michaels will be appearing at the NXT event at Royal Albert Hall on Monday, June 18th in London. NXT is running the building on two consecutive nights. The first night will feature the U.K. tournament matches and a six-man tag with Pete Dunne, Trent Seven & Tyler Bate vs. Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong. The second night features the finals of the tournament and the winner challenging Pete Dunne for the U.K. title.

**Pro Wrestling NOAH and Simon Inoki’s Toho Eiyuden are entering a working agreement to expand into China. According to Puroresu Spirit, Inoki split from his father-in-law Antonio’s IGF outfit to form Tho Eiyuden, which also goes by Oriental Heroes and runs out of Shanghai, China. NOAH helping to train performers for Inoki’s outfit and they will exchange talent. Toho Eiyuden performers are expected to perform on next week’s Korakuen Hall event and NOAH talent will be sent to China for shows in August.

**Full Impact Pro has a card streaming at WWNLive.com tonight at 9 pm Eastern with Austin Theory vs. Anthony Henry for the FIP heavyweight title.


**EVOLVE has announced Matt Riddle vs. Shane Strickland at EVOLVE 106 on Saturday, June 23rd in Queens for the EVOLVE title. That card will also feature WALTER vs. Darby Allin.

**Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW) and Firecracker Films are partnering together for a reality series on BBC. The series is similar to “Tough Enough” with an opening casting call to anyone regardless of prior experience as a pro wrestler. You can submit your resume to [email protected].

**New Japan performer Ren Narita recently suffered a concussion and has been taken off the shows through June 2nd. At that time, they will re-evaluate Narita and determine if he can be cleared to return.

**The FITE TV app has announced that they will be working with Jeff Jarrett and Global Force Entertainment.

**PROGRESS Wrestling has added Chapter 69 “Be Here Now” to their Demand PROGRESS streaming service. The recent card is headlined by Toni Storm vs. Jinny for the women’s title, a four-way match for the vacant Atlas championship with Doug Williams vs. Joseph Conners vs. Rampage Brown vs. Rob Lynch and Travis Banks vs. Jack Sexsmith for the PROGRESS title.

**OTT has posted the recent match between Matt Riddle and Will Ospreay from ScrapperMania 4 in Dublin, Ireland and people have been raving about it. I haven’t watched the match yet but these two had one of the best matches of WrestleMania weekend in New Orleans this year:


**Bellator 200 is going down as I type this and will air on tape delay tonight at 9 pm Eastern from the SSE Arena in London, England. There were many factors, but this event drastically fell beneath the expectation that a numbered event like “200” would have. Earlier this week, Mirko Cro Cop suffered a major knee injury and was removed from the main event with Roy Nelson, who was also removed due to the last notice. Below are the main card fights that will air on the Paramount Network tonight:
*Rafael Carvalho vs. Gegard Mousasi for the Bellator middleweight title
*Michael “Venom” Page vs. David Rickels
*Aaron Chalmers vs. Ash Griffiths
*Carl Noon vs. Mike Shipman
*Anastasia Yankova vs. Kate Jackson
*Linton Vassell vs. Phil Davis

**The UFC will be holding their first card in Liverpool, England on Sunday morning with a 10:30 am Eastern start time on Fight Pass. Below is the full card:

MAIN CARD (1 pm Eastern on FS 1, TSN 5)
*Stephen Thompson vs. Darren Till
*Neil Magny vs. Craig White
*Arnold Allen vs. Mads Burnell
*Jason Knight vs. Makwan Amirkhani
*Henrique da Silva vs. Nordine Taleb
*Eric Spicely vs. Darren Stewart

PRELIMINARY CARD (11 am on FS1, Fight Network in Canada)
*Daniel Kelly vs. Tom Breese
*Gina Mazany vs. Lina Lansberg
*Carlo Pedersoli Jr. vs. Brad Scott
*Gillian Robertson vs. Molly McCann

FIGHT PASS (10:30 am)
*Trevor Smith vs. Elias Theodorou



205 Live (May 22nd)
-Results: Drew Gulak over Gran Metalik, TJP over Christopher Guy, Hideo Itami over Akira Tozawa.
-This was a very good episode and highlighted by the main event between Hideo Itami and Akira Tozawa. They worked a level of match that would have been on par with any of the Best of the Super Juniors matches had they had an enthusiastic audience. Tozawa missed with a senton from the top and Itami hit his stunner into a knee strike for the clean win. Itami is a very effective heel, both guys worked very hard and it’s depressing to watch such a great match get such little response and imagine the reaction in other venues around the world.
-Cedric Alexander defends the Cruiserweight title against Buddy Murphy next week in Raleigh, North Carolina and Alexander’s family will be in attendance (so at least a few people will be making noise). They did a video feature on Murphy working out and looking insane, as well as a sit-down interview with Vic Joseph conducted with Alexander. I like that they have let this match build for a few weeks and has made next week’s 205 Live more important than your average episode.
-TJP destroyed “Christopher Guy” (who is Ace Steel’s real name, but this was not him) in a fun squash that highlighted TJP’s offense and was seamless throughout the match. After the match, he cut a promo stating he was the best Cruiserweight champion and is trying to leave the show and tweeting at Paige for a job on SmackDown. I can’t blame him.
-Drew Gulak defeated Gran Metalik with the Gu-Lock while Jack Gallagher and Brian Kendrick were on commentary. They were amusing screwing up Metalik’s name on purpose, with the highlight when Gallagher called him Gran “Metallica” and liked his first album but got too experimental later. Gulak, Kendrick, and Gallagher are trying to stop the Lucha House Party and their high flying, so it appears to be a 3-on-3 program.
-Overall, they had a great mix of in-ring wrestling, characters being showcased, a great set-up for next week’s title match and unfortunately, it’s on a show that many people don’t pay attention to.

WWE NXT (May 23rd)
-Results: TM61 over Heavy Machinery, Lacey Evans over Kairi Sane, Lars Sullivan over Ricochet & Velveteen Dream
-This week saw the return of Johnny Gargano from the Tommaso Ciampa attack. Gargano was in a neck brace with Candice LeRae by his side, he teased retiring, but tore off the neck brace and challenged Ciampa to another fight. Ciampa came out and gave warning to Gargano and it climaxed with LeRae being knocked down and going off the air with LeRae being tended to. It would seem logical they announced the rematch next week on television. It’s a simple story and you have a babyface the audience loves and a heel that they despise and makes for great television. It’s the top feud in the entire company.
-I generally dislike handicap matches, it’s a very difficult stipulation to pull off a compelling match but they managed to have an entertaining 2-on-1 match with Lars Sullivan defeating Velveteen Dream and Ricochet. After a miscommunication, Dream attacked Ricochet with his rolling Death Valley Driver and left Ricochet to be beaten by Sullivan after the Freak Accident. Velveteen Dream is in the perfect place at this stage of his career, working consistently with performers above his level that will pay off in the long run. He’s probably going to have another outstanding match when he faces Ricochet because of the skill set of the opponent but in time I feel Dream is going to improve and should be in NXT for a while.
-Next week’s episode will feature Shayna Baszler vs. Dakota Kai, they had a backstage interview segment and Kai finally talked back to Baszler and is going to stand up to her bully. I’ve enjoyed their feud the past month, Kai is very sympathetic, and Baszler is excellent as the bully.


REWIND-A-WAI #11: ROH/NJPW Global Wars 2014 (Patreon)

upNXT 5/24/18: Who Needs a Belt?
KEEP IT 2000: Ep. 31 – “Slapnuts Theatre” (July 31, 2000)
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 5/22/18: Daniel Bryan vs. Jeff Hardy, Nakamura reveals stipulation, Table or 3 review, and update on the Best of the Super Juniors tournament with recommended matches
REWIND-A-RAW 5/21/18: Lashley’s Sisters, Fox-WWE Deal, Total Bellas season premiere
POST MOVIE REVIEW – Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

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About John Pollock 5060 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.