POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: SmackDown’s viewership up 12%, tops 2.2 million viewers

SmackDown's audience rises 12%, Chris Jericho announces second Rager at Sea, SmackDown thoughts, Capitol Wrestling signs deal with Anthem Sports, Walter vs. PAC and more.

POST IT NOTES

**This Friday, we will be releasing our BEST OF 2018 SHOW with the panel of Wai Ting, Braden Herrington, Davie Portman, and myself. This show will be free for everyone on Friday, however, if you are a Double Double or higher member of the POST Wrestling Café you can live stream the Best of 2018 show tonight at 9:30 pm Eastern from POST Office West. We will be providing our picks along with the results of the listener picks in the following categories:

*BEST WRESTLER (Male)
*BEST WRESTLER (Female)
*BEST TAG TEAM
*BEST PROMOTION
*BEST FEUD
*MEN’S MATCH OF THE YEAR
*WOMEN’S MATCH OF THE YEAR
*BEST ON THE MIC
*BEST CHARACTER
*BEST BROADCASTER
*BEST EVENT
*BEST WRESTLING SERIES
*BEST WRESTLING EPISODE
*BEST BOOK
*BEST DIGITAL SERIES
*BEST MUSIC (ENTRANCE OR PAY-PER-VIEW THEME)
*BEST PIECE OF MERCHANDISE
*BEST CELEBRITY INVOLVEMENT
*ANGLE OF THE YEAR
*MOST IMPROVED PERFORMER
*BEST SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT
*BEST PODCAST (NON POST WRESTLING)
*BEST INTERVIEW ON A MEDIA OUTLET
*BIGGEST STORY OF 2018

**We have a new edition of Rewind-A-SmackDown up on the site with Wai Ting and I reviewing Tuesday’s show in Fresno, California. On the show, we chatted about the main event finish with Mustafa Ali pinning Daniel Bryan, the removal of Paige as the General Manager, Asuka defending the women’s title against Naomi, the return of Sanity, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, and Andrade Cien Almas to television, and we went through the news of the day. The show can be downloaded directly or subscribe to POST Wrestling and you’ll never miss a show.

**The Double Shot is also out today with additional reviews of Being the Elite Episode 130: Leaving the Territory, a review of WWE Chronicle: Becky Lynch, and we chatted about this past weekend’s tag match with The Golden Lovers against Hiroshi Tanahashi and Will Ospreay from Korakuen Hall. This show is available for members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**A new edition of upNXT will be out Thursday with Braden Herrington and Davie Portman.

POST WRESTLING SCHEDULE:
*Tonight: LIVE stream of the BEST OF 2018 SHOW at 9:30 pm Eastern with John Pollock, Wai Ting, Braden Herrington and Davie Portman (available for Double Double, Iced Capp and Espresso members of the Café)
*Thursday: upNXT with Braden Herrington and Davie Portman
*Friday: THE BEST OF 2018 SHOW (free podcast version)
*Saturday: EGGSHELLS Podcast Companion with Chris Charlton: 2015 with John Carroll of the Wrestling Omakase Podcast
*Monday: The 2018 Christmas Show

WRESTLING NEWS

**Tuesday’s episode of SmackDown was up 12% from last week with an average viewership of 2,214,000 viewers on the USA Network. It broke the trend of episodes falling under the 2 million mark with the last two episodes producing the lowest viewership of 2018 for the series.

**Here are the matches for tonight’s episode of NXT at 8 pm Eastern on the WWE Network:
*Johnny Gargano vs. Aleister Black in a steel cage match
*Io Shirai and Dakota Kai vs. Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir
*Donovan Dijakovic vs. Aaron Mackey
*Heavy Machinery vs. TBA

**The following matches were taped in Fresno on Tuesday for next week’s episode of SmackDown on Christmas:
*Sheamus, Cesaro and Sanity vs. Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows and The Usos
*Andrade Cien Almas vs. Mustafa Ali
*Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe
*Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev for the United States title

**The major notes from SmackDown were that Paige is no longer the General Manager of the show, although it was explained she would still have a role. Of all the authority figures, she was one of the better ones and was very good in the role, so I think it’s a negative if she is being put aside with the McMahon family taking up time on the show, but that appears to be the direction. Mustafa Ali is now part of the SmackDown roster, so he won the lottery. They went all the way Tuesday having him pin Daniel Bryan in the main event tag match, which should set up a title match on television you would assume. We will see in six weeks where Ali is slotted, as we have seen this song and dance many times with the company deciding to go with someone new and then the push is dead within one month. The changes on SmackDown appeared to be getting fresh faces onto the show that has been neglected with Andrade Cien Almas in the main event, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows returning to television, and Sanity, who have had a frustrating year ever since being called up and never got going. It’s going to be so difficult to manage all the performers on the main roster as the call-ups continue from NXT, yet no main roster talent is leaving and it’s a mass number of performers with limited television time, more so with SmackDown than Raw.

**OTT has announced a big match for February 17th in Dublin with Walter defending the OTT championship against PAC at the National Basketball Arena.

**Chris Jericho has announced there will be a second Rock ‘N Wrestling Rager at Sea happening, although details won’t be released until January.

**The WWE’s next tapings will be on Friday, December 28th with Raw being taped in Detroit, Michigan to air on New Year’s Eve. The following night they will be taping SmackDown from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the New Year’s Day episode.

**Capitol Wrestling out of New Jersey has entered a deal with Anthem Sports and Entertainment that will see their archived content and new weekly television episodes added to the Global Wrestling Network. Capitol Wrestling’s programming also runs on Fite TV and they have run three live Twitch specials this year. The deal is not exclusive so will allow Capitol to continue airing content on Fite and their other platforms. Capitol Wrestling’s Executive Producer Matt Ryan informed us that their library of 89 episodes will begin showing up on the GWN app along with their new weekly programming, which is they shoot monthly. The company produces strong promotional material and their editor is Zane Decker, who I’m told is a name to keep your eye on as top-end video editors are becoming very important at the independent level to stand out. Capitol Wrestling is running their next card on Saturday, December 29th in Hoboken at the Capitol Auditorium located at 301 Garden Street with Matt Macintosh, Paul Jordane, Mike Law, Ariela Nyx, and others scheduled to appear.

**With their contracts expiring with Ring of Honor, SCU is now accepting bookings for 2019. Frankie Kazarian has been announced for Big Time Wrestling’s next card on Friday, January 25th at the Newark Pavilion in Newark, California where he will be part of the 2K19 battle royal. All three members of SCU will be appearing for DEFY Wrestling on January 19th in Seattle and February 1st for McAloon Productions in Atlanta at their “Come Hell or High Water” card at Espacio Discotheque.

**Johnny Gargano is set to wrestle for EVOLVE on January 18th in Brooklyn, New York and January 19th in Woodside, New Jersey. Gargano will be wrestling Austin Theory in a non-title match in New Jersey. It shows the extent the WWE is willing to allow their talent to work with affiliated promotions given that it’s one-week out from the TakeOver special in Phoenix.

**Jay Lethal will defend the ROH title against Dalton Castle on January 13th at Honor Reigns Supreme in Concord, North Carolina. They have also announced a Proving Ground match for the show with ROH six-man tag champions The Kingdom taking on Shane Helms, Delirious and Luchasaurus.

**The NWA has announced that David Arquette will be wrestling at their pop-up event on Saturday, January 5th in Clarksville, Tennessee. The card is headlined by Nick Aldis defending the NWA heavyweight title against James Storm, Jazz defends the NWA women’s title against Allie, and Willie Mack is defending the NWA National title against Matt Cross.

**The WWE has extended their deal with SKY in New Zealand that includes live broadcasts of Raw, SmackDown and the monthly pay-per-view events. SKY 5 airs Raw live on Tuesdays at 2 pm and replays Sundays at 1:30 pm, SmackDown airs live Wednesday at 2 pm and replays at 4:15 pm on Sunday with both shows available on SKY on Demand. The new deal will also include one-hour versions of Raw and SmackDown airing on PRIME, which is a free over-the-air channel in New Zealand. The pay-per-view events can be purchased monthly on SKY Arena.

**Smash Wrestling will be running their next Toronto card on Sunday, January 27th at The Phoenix Concert Theatre with Any Given Sunday 7. They have announced a Barbed Wire Hell match between Scotty O’Shea and Kevin Blackwood as well as a singles match between Rey Horus and Matt Cross. The show takes place at 3 pm and will be taped for Fight Network.

**Gene Okerlund turns 76 years old today.

**The WWE stock closed at $73.93 on Wednesday.

MMA NEWS

**MMA Junkie was the first to report that former featherweight champion Jose Aldo will fight Renato Moicano on February 2nd at the UFC on ESPN+ card in Fortaleza, Brazil. Aldo fought once in 2018, defeating Jeremy Stephens by TKO in July on Fox following two losses to Max Holloway in 2017. Moicano has emerged as one of the top featherweights in the division going 5-1 since entering the UFC with wins over Calvin Kattar and Cub Swanson this year. Moicano was scheduled to fight Mirsad Bektic earlier this month at UFC 231 but Bektic was forced to withdraw due to injury. Moicano was held onto the card as a reserve for the main event title fight between Max Holloway and Brian Ortega.

**Vitor Belfort appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday to announce he will be coming out of retirement in 2019. Belfort will be 42 years old in April and last fought in May where he was knocked out by Lyoto Machida in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Belfort has been fighting since 1996 and retired this past year with a record of 26-14 and 1 no contest. Belfort became UFC light heavyweight champion in January 2004 by defeating Randy Couture in bizarre fashion. Part of Belfort’s glove cut the eyelid of Couture and forced a stoppage to the fight and he was declared the winner and new champion. Belfort lost the title back to Couture that year. Belfort had several runs with the UFC, but his most high-profile year was 2013 where he scored wins over Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, and Dan Henderson, but not without controversy. This came during a time period when he was allowed a therapeutic use exemption for testosterone replacement therapy and while he was not breaking any rules, there was lots of disagreement to Belfort being allowed a TUE. When it was taken away, Belfort was not the same fighter as the 2013 version and went 1-3 with 1 no contest from May 2016 until May 2018. He unsuccessfully challenged for the middleweight title against Anderson Silva in February 2011 and Chris Weidman in May 2015 as well as taking a late notice title fight against Jon Jones at light heavyweight in September 2012.

**UFC welterweight Stefan Sekulic has been suspended for two years by USADA after a positive test for drostanolone and its metabolites, as well as metandienone. Sekulic was tested in-competition on September 15th where he was competing on the UFC’s Fight Night card from Moscow, Russia. Sekulic competed on that card against Ramazan Emeev and was defeated by unanimous decision. Sekulic’s suspension is retroactive to October 31st and will be eligible to compete after that date in 2020. Sekulic is 26-years old with a 12-3 record and was making his UFC debut at the card in Moscow.

**Prior to their rematch at UFC 232 later this month, the UFC has posted the first fight between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson from UFC 165 in September 2013, which is one of the greatest fights in the promotion’s history:

*****
DOUBLE SHOT 12/19/18: BTE, Becky Lynch “Chronicle”, Golden Lovers vs. Tanahashi and Ospreay
John Pollock and Wai Ting review the “Leaving the Territory” edition of Being the Elite, the Becky Lynch “Chronicle”, and Golden Lovers vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Will Ospreay.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/12/19/double-shot-12-19-18-bte-becky-lynch-chronicle-golden-lovers-vs-tanahashi-and-ospreay/
*****
RASD 12/19/18: The FresNO Movement, Mustafa Ali pins Daniel Bryan
John Pollock and Wai Ting review SmackDown from Fresno with Paige removed as General Manager, Daniel Bryan and Andrade Cien Almas vs. AJ Styles and Mustafa Ali, and more.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/12/19/rasd-12-19-18-the-fresno-movement-mustafa-ali-pins-daniel-bryan-paige-out-as-gm/
*****
RAR 12/17: Vince McMahon’s big announcement, Raw’s “Fresh Start”

Vince McMahon returns to the show to announce the new leader of Monday Night Raw, Baron Corbin receives a final chance to become Raw GM, Dean Ambrose and Ronda Rousey issue Open Challenges, and a number of NXT call-ups are announced on this “new” and “fresh” edition of Raw.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/12/18/rar-12-17-18-vince-mcmahons-big-announcement-raws-fresh-start/
*****
WWE TLC POST SHOW 

John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE TLC 2018 headlined by Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte vs. Asuka in the first-ever Women’s TLC match for the SD Women’s Championship.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/12/17/wwe-tlc-2018-post-show-w-john-pollock-wai-ting/
*****
POST PURORESU: WH’S Year-End Awards, Dynamite Kid, Tokyo Sports Awards
John Pollock and WH Park chat the legacy of Tom “Dynamite Kid” Billington, the New Japan & All Japan tag tournaments, WH’s Year-End Awards and more.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/12/15/post-puroresu-whs-year-end-awards-dynamite-kid-tokyo-sports-awards/
*****
EGGSHELLS PODCAST COMPANION: 2014 with Juan Torres of The Lion Marks
Episode 26 sees Chris Charlton and Juan Torres from The Lion Marks look at 2014. NJPW have a grandiose card with spectacular entrances, Great Muta has his last Tokyo Dome match, and a controversial poll sees Hiroshi Tanahashi and Shinsuke Nakamura edge out Kazuchika Okada and Tetsuya Naito to take the main event spot.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/12/15/eggshells-podcast-companion-2014-w-juan-torres/
*****
ROH FINAL BATTLE POST SHOW

John Pollock is joined by Mike Murray to review Ring of Honor’s Final Battle card featuring Jay Lethal vs. Cody for the ROH title and Ladder War VII for the tag titles.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/12/15/roh-final-battle-2018-post-show-w-john-pollock-mike-murray/
*****

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About John Pollock 1000 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.