POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Raw posts lowest viewership figure of 2018

Raw posts lowest viewership of 2018, update on UFC's pay-per-view negotiations, Vince McMahon sells stock, Natalya update, notes on the NXT UK contracts, and more.


**We have this week’s Rewind-A-Raw show up on the site with Wai Ting and I reviewing Raw and going through all the notes from the show. We also discussed the news that TakeOver and Hall of Fame are switching nights over WrestleMania Weekend, the signings of PCO and Brody King by Ring of Honor, New Japan’s major shows for the first three months of 2019, and Jack Swagger’s MMA debut for Bellator in January, plus your feedback and questions.

**We are back tonight with Rewind-A-SmackDown to review tonight’s show from Austin, Texas along with Wai’s review of the Mixed Match Challenge and the news of the day. We will also have the Double Shot out for members of the POST Wrestling Café with reviews of the season finale of Total Divas, Being the Elite and the second episode of the Edge & Christian Show.

**We have discussed on our shows, that our annual “Best of” and “Worst of” shows will be opening to listener voting this year. The panel will feature Wai Ting, Braden Herrington, Davie Portman and myself and we will be reading the listener picks on the shows as well. You can vote now at this link. The “Best of” show will be out Friday, December 21st and the “Worst of” show will come out Friday, December 28th.

*Tonight: Rewind-A-SmackDown
*Tonight: Double Shot (Patreon) covering Being the Elite, season finale of Total Divas, Edge & Christian Show Episode 2
*Thursday: upNXT with Braden Herrington and Davie Portman
*Thursday: Café Hangout with John Pollock and Wai Ting (Live at 3 pm for Double Double, Iced Capp, and Espresso members)
*Friday: Rewind-A-Wai covering WWE’s SummerSlam 2013, as chosen by Espresso Executive Producer Jay Scaife
*Saturday: EGGSHELLS Podcast Companion with Chris Charlton – 2013 with John Pollock
*Saturday: UFC 231 POST Show
*Sunday: NJPW World Tag League Final POST Show (Patreon)



**Monday’s episode of Raw was the least-watched episode of 2018 with an averaged of 2,286,000 viewers on the USA Network going against the Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles game. The first hour of Raw did 2,262,000 viewers, which was a major drop for the first hour to do such a low number. The second hour increased to 2,399,000 viewers and dropped in the third hour to 2,196,000 viewers. It was the first hour that dragged the show down big time and that came even with the tease of Ronda Rousey wrestling at the beginning of the show, which likely led to viewers tuning out when they realized the match wasn’t happening and would take place later. The Monday Night Football game did 11,237,000 viewers on ESPN.

**The SmackDown, 205 Live and Mixed Match Challenge tapings are in Austin, Texas tonight with the following announced:
*Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton
*Cesaro vs. Xavier Woods vs. Jey Uso
*A contract signing for the TLC match with Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and Asuka
*Daniel Bryan appears on Miz TV
*Drew Gulak vs. Brian Kendrick on 205 Live
*Mike Kanellis and TJP vs. Lucha House Party on 205 Live
*The Miz and Asuka vs. Jimmy Uso and Naomi on the Mixed Match Challenge
*Charlotte Flair and Jeff Hardy vs. R-Truth and Carmella on the Mixed Match Challenge

**The angle from Raw on Monday involving Natalya was just storyline and she is not actually injured. She is scheduled for a match at TLC coming out of the angle involving the table. She also worked a match today at the Tribute to the Troops shows.

**A correction from Monday’s Rewind-A-Raw, I had stated that Joey Janela’s Spring Break III card is taking place after TakeOver over WrestleMania Weekend, but the show is scheduled for 8 pm on Friday, April 5th and will be head-to-head with TakeOver. Spring Break sold out the White Eagle Hall immediately in Jersey City.

**The WWE is taping the annual Tribute to the Troops special today in Fort Hood, Texas prior to SmackDown in Austin, Texas. The company announced Tuesday that the Tribute to the Troops special will air on Thursday, December 20th at 9 pm Eastern on the USA Network with a two-hour special.

**Right after Tribute to the Troops, the Raw crew is headed to Latin America with shows in Chile and Argentina from Wednesday through Friday and have the rest of the weekend off before next Monday’s Raw in San Diego.

**There are two new episodes of NXT UK this Wednesday airing on the WWE Network. The 3 pm episode will feature Jordan Devlin vs. Flash Morgan Webster in the main event and the 4 pm show will have Wolfgang taking on Travis Banks.


**Several U.S. Senators met on Tuesday with CIA director Gina Haspel and left the meeting convinced by the evidence presented that Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was complicit in the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

**On Friday, Vince McMahon sold 306,000 shares of his Class A common stock, which was converted from Class B common stock. The shares represent $22,866,524 in value and the second major stock sale by McMahon over the past year. Last December, McMahon sold 3,340,000 shares of his Class A common stock for just under $96 million to launch Alpha Entertainment. It shows you the difference in the WWE stock as McMahon sold his shares last year for $28.68 per share and if he sold the same amount today, those shares would be worth $243,586,000. The Wrap contacted the WWE to ask if the sale of the stock was to fund the XFL and the WWE stated that Vince McMahon “doesn’t disclose why” the stock was sold.

**The XFL is set to hold a press conference Wednesday to formally announce the eight cities will house XFL franchises when the league re-launched in 2020. The press conference will take place at Noon Eastern with Vince McMahon, XFL commissioner and CEO Oliver Luck, and New Jersey Governor Philip Murphy scheduled to speak. The press conference will be stream on the XFL’s website, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.

**On a recent edition of the BritWres Roundtable on the Voices of Wrestling network, the hosts reported several new details on the NXT UK contracts and what effect they will have on the UK marketplace. They reported that the NXT UK contracts are broken down into three separate categories. The top-level contracts are reserved for the main talent being pushed and would include most of the performers that are part of TakeOver in Blackpool next month. These deals would be allowed to work dark matches for WWE-affiliated promotions (Progress, ICW, wXw, Fight Club Pro, Attack! Pro Wrestling, OTT, and Futureshock). The second-tier of contracts would allow those NXT UK performers to work on VOD platforms, but only for the promotions listed above that have an affiliation with the WWE with the show noting that this would include “semi-regulars on the weekly show without a feature on the upcoming TakeOver: Blackpool.” The final tier of contracts is the least restrictive as talent can work for any promotions, except for those they deem competitors (Revolution Pro, Defiant Pro Wrestling, NJPW, ROH, Impact Wrestling, MLW, Lucha Underground, and All Elite Wrestling). The third-tier performers can work any other promotions, although not against talent from the above-listed promotions. They also noted that Walter is signed to a unique deal that doesn’t fit into any of the three categories and they categorize him more as a freelancer.

**There is a documentary on Kenny Omega that is in production and was confirmed by Toronto-based composer Joseph Shabason on the Kreative Kontrol podcast. We did confirm this documentary with another member of the production team and had been aware it was being developed. The production team has followed Omega to many places, including filming at All In back in September. Shabason stated that the documentary would be airing on HBO in 2019.


**PAC won the Dragon Gate Open the Dream Gate championship on Tuesday morning defeating Masato Yoshino with the Black Arrow at Korakuen Hall. This had been Yoshino’s fourth reign as champion and had held the title since June when he defeated Masaaki Mochizuki. PAC becomes the 14th champion in its history with the title dating back to July 2004.

**Revolution Pro Wrestling announced they had the fastest sellout they have ever had at York Hall when tickets went on sale for the Will Ospreay vs. PAC match on February 15th.

**Progress Wrestling has announced that Walter will defend the Progress title against Shigehiro Irie this Sunday at “Chapter 81: Pour Some Progress On Me” card at the O2 Academy in Sheffield, England.

**A new promotion in the UK called Fight Forever is launching this week with four shows from December 6th – 9th. The promotion was launched by brothers Simon and Jonathon Kay and the two have signed several big names for the events, including Cody (who will not be wrestling), Jimmy Havoc, Flip Gordon, and NXT UK performer Zack Gibson. The promotion has stated they will be lucky to break even on these shows but do have plans for additional shows in 2019 and running monthly pay-per-views, which should eliminate any future NXT UK talent being involved. The shows this week take place on December 6th in Birmingham at the Pryzm Nightclub, December 7th in London at York Hall, December 8th in Bristol at the Action Sports Arena, and December 9th at the Olympia in Liverpool.

**The WWE stock dropped 2.76% on Tuesday and closed at $71.56.

**New Japan’s World Tag League tournament resumes Thursday with three more shows left. The final three nights will be streamed on New Japan World and feature English commentary from Kevin Kelly and Excalibur. Here are the point totals for the teams: Guerrillas of Destiny (18), Killer Elite Squad (16), EVIL and Sanada (16), Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano (16), Michael Elgin and Jeff Cobb (14), Juice Robinson and David Finlay (14), Zack Sabre Jr. and Taichi (12), Best Friends (12), Minoru Suzuki and Takashi Iizuka (10), Hangman Page and Yujiro (8), Togi Makabe and Toa Henare (8), Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan (6), Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi (4), Ayato Yoshida and Shota Umino (0).

**Here are the matches for All Japan’s Real-World Tag League tournament on Wednesday in Hiroshima:
*Kengo Mashimo and KAI vs. Tajiri and Gianni Valletta
*Shuji Ishikawa and Suwama vs. Takao Omori and Manabu Soya
*Jun Akiyama and Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Zeus and The Bodyguard

The Real-World Tag League wraps next Tuesday with a show at Korakuen Hall. Below are the point totals: Parrow and Odinson (12), Shuji Ishikawa and Suwama (10), Joe Doering and Dylan James (10), Kengo Mashimo and KAI (8), Takao Omori and Manabu Soya (8), Jun Akiyama and Daisuke Sekimoto (6), Kento Miyahara and Yoshitatsu (6), Jake Lee and Ryoji Sai (6), Zeus and The Bodyguard (6), Tajiri and Gianni Valletta (6), Yuma Aoyagi and Naoya Nomura (2).

**Pro Wrestling NOAH’s last big card of 2018 takes place December 16th at Korakuen Hall. The show will feature Takashi Sugiura defending the GHC heavyweight title against Kaito Kiyomiya, Kotaro Suzuki defending the GHC junior heavyweight title against Daisuke Harada, and the GHC junior heavyweight tag champions Hi69 and Minoru Tanaka defend against Hajime Ohara and Hitoshi Kumano.

**MLW has added a match between Barrington Hughes and Ace Romero to their December 14th card in Miami, Florida at the Scottish Rite Temple.

**Ring of Honor has announced that Rush will face TK O’Ryan at the television tapings on Saturday, December 15th at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.

**The NWA is partnering with Tried-N-True Pro Wrestling out of Tennessee for a “Pop Up Event” on Saturday, January 5th in Clarksville at the Wilma Rudolph Event Center. They have not announced matches but have stated that NWA champion Nick Aldis, women’s champion Jazz, and National champion Willie Mack will be defending their titles and they will hold a qualifying match for next year’s Crockett Cup tournament.

**Alpha-1 Entertainment out of Hamilton, Ontario has announced the hiring of Duke Interactive Media as their new production outlet to handle the shooting and editing of their shows. The promotion runs their next card on January 20th in Oshawa, Ontario and has announced a return to Hamilton on February 3rd.

**Hiromu Takahashi turns 29 years old today and we keep him in our thoughts as he attempts to recover from the injury he sustained back in July during a match with Dragon Lee.



**Sports Business Journal recently reported a major increase in the UFC’s split of the pay-per-view revenue with cable and satellite providers. Dave Meltzer at MMA Fighting reported Monday that the SBJ story was premature and the UFC is amid negotiations with inDemand and DirecTV on new deals. The original story stated that the UFC was able to negotiate new terms that could change their 50/50 split of the revenue to a breakdown closer to 70/30 for the UFC. The deals are still being negotiated but it was categorized that a 70/30 split would be a very optimistic conclusion.

The deal points will reveal how much leverage the UFC has with the cable and satellite providers and comes when the UFC is the dominant leader in pay-per-view events. With HBO removing themselves from the boxing industry (although, have said for the right fight they would be open to future events), major deals being cut with DAZN, and the WWE transitioning away from pay-per-view since 2014, it leaves the UFC in a strong position. The flip side is that the UFC would be leaving a lot of money on the table if they were to walk away from pay-per-view and go to a digital platform for their major events. While the UFC has a larger split on digital buys, which Meltzer reports is 70/30, I cannot see a major Conor McGregor fight that is only available through ESPN+ and/or UFC Fight Pass coming anywhere close to the revenue a McGregor fight can generate on traditional pay-per-view.

In Meltzer’s report, he stated that 480,000 digital purchases were made for UFC 229 with McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov of the estimated 2,400,000 total buys to outline the difference.

**Anthony Getschel, the 26-year old responsible for the death of Ryan Jimmo, has been sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter. Getschel was sentenced on Monday in Edmonton. Getschel hit Jimmo with his truck on June 26th, 2016 and fled the scene, hiding his vehicle and reporting his license plate stolen prior to turning himself to authorities on June 28th. Jimmo had pulled over when he thought the driver behind him was aggressive in his driving and confronted the man, as Jimmo walked back to his vehicle he was run over and dragged. Jimmo died of blunt force trauma at the hospital. Getschel will serve eight years in prison and will also face an eight-year driving ban when he is released.

**The UFC’s viewership over the weekend saw Friday’s TUF 28 Finale only average 399,000 viewers for the main card featuring Kamaru Usman’s dominant win over Rafael dos Anjos. The preliminary card Friday averaged 353,000 viewers with both on FS 1. Saturday’s Fight Night card from Australia did better with 702,000 watching the main card headlined by Junior dos Santos stopping Tai Tuivasa and the prelims averaged 471,000 viewers.

**Bellator did not fare well running back-to-back nights on the Paramount Network. Friday’s Bellator 210 card was a minor show from Thackerville, Oklahoma and averaged 270,000 viewers for a card headlined by John Salter and Chidi Njokuani, which is a terrible number. Saturday’s card aired on Paramount at 4 pm from Italy and only did 207,000 viewers with Kent Kauppinen defeating Alessio Sakara. Bellator finishes the year with shows December 14th and 15th in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Friday card features Brent Primus defending the lightweight title against Michael Chandler in a rematch from June 2017 and Frank Mir takes on Javy Ayala. The Saturday card has Ilima-Lei Macfarlane defending the women’s flyweight title against Valerie Letourneau and the Bellator debut of Lyoto Machida against former middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho.


**The UFC has announced that Joseph Benavidez will receive a quick turnaround fight against Deiveson Figueiredo at the UFC 233 card on January 26th at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Benavidez defeated Alex Perez this past Friday at the TUF 28 Finale and has won seven of his last eight fights. Figueiredo is 15-0 and has four wins inside the UFC since his promotional debut in June 2017. Figueiredo is coming off stoppage wins over Joseph Morales and John Moraga this year.

**Jon Anik will be calling this Saturday’s UFC 231 alongside Joe Rogan and Paul Felder.

**ESPN was the first to report that Kron Gracie, the son of Rickson, has signed with the UFC and will debut at UFC 233 on January 26th in Anaheim, California. Gracie had his first professional MMA fight in 2014 and has a 4-0 record. He has not fought since New Year’s Eve 2016 when he submitted Tatsuya Kawajiri for Rizin. Gracie is scheduled to fight UFC veteran Alex Caceres in his promotional debut. Caceres has been fighting for the UFC since 2011 and last fought in July where he earned a split win over Martin Bravo.

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About John Pollock 5598 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.