POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Cody on Tyson-AEW, Mysterio, Free Agents

Notes from Cody's interview with ESPN, AEW & NXT matches, Kairi Sane's farewell video, analysis of WWE's ratings, Stephanie McMahon interview & more.


**The August 2020 edition of the ASK-A-WAI mailbag show is available for all members of the POST Wrestling Café. This month, Wai Ting and I chat about the NWA’s relationship with Jim Crockett Promotions in the ‘80s, wrestlers seeking health insurance, mask policies for different companies, the Montreal Expos team from 1994, the national coverage the Toronto Blue Jays received, Canada’s Wonderland, the city of Montreal, and lots more on this two-hour show.

**Wai Ting and I are back with Rewind-A-Dynamite to go through tonight’s show, all the latest news, and take your feedback & questions at the end. All members of the POST Wrestling Café are automatically entered in our weekly draw to win an item from the POST Wrestling Store with the winner announced weekly on this show.

**We have a review of Tuesday night’s episode of Impact Wrestling with a rundown of the show, The Good Brothers’ first match at Impact, the “Wrestle House” segments, Heath having his first match next week, and more.

**Braden Herrington & Davie Portman will have a new edition of upNXT coming your way tonight to run through NXT.

**On Friday, I’ll be joined by Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics to go through WWE’s second-quarterly report and the earnings call that will take place Thursday evening. We will have coverage of the Q2 report and call on the site Thursday evening.


Tonight: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John Pollock & Wai Ting
Tonight: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Friday: WWE Q2 Analysis with John Pollock & guest Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (LIVE at 10:15 pm ET for all Café members)


**Here are the matches and segments advertised for tonight’s episode of AEW Dynamite at 8 pm Eastern on TNT:
*The Inner Circle vs. Best Friends, Orange Cassidy, Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy
*Cody vs. Warhorse for the TNT Championship
*Jon Moxley & Darby Allin vs. Brian Cage & Ricky Starks in a Tornado Tag Match
*Kenny Omega & Hangman Page vs. Evil Uno & Stu Grayson for the AEW tag titles
*Hikaru Shida vs. Diamante in a non-title match
*State of the Industry Address from MJF

This is a loaded show with most of the key names wrestling with Moxley, Jericho, Cody, and Omega all having matches. The show is on a roll following Fyter Fest and is coming off a dominant week. I would suspect this week’s show is going to continue that momentum with AEW is good shape as they start to get the major programs in place for All Out over the next five weeks.

**NXT is back at Full Sail University to tape the episodes for tonight and next week. Below are the advertised matches with the show airing at 8 pm Eastern on the USA Network:
*Finn Balor vs. Dexter Lumis vs. Timothy Thatcher to qualify for the ladder match at TakeOver
*Johnny Gargano vs. Roderick Strong
*Io Shirai & Tegan Nox vs. Dakota Kai & Candice LeRae – this match will open the show
*Shotzi Blackheart vs. Mercedes Martinez
*Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs. Jake Atlas
*Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner in action
*Keith Lee responds to Karrion Kross

The three-way match is a unique blend of three vastly different styles and characters. Lumis has been a tough fit into the NXT product but this is a company that has greatly adjusted its presentation and become way more liberal with the cartoonish elements that are now part of the show. The winner of the match joins Bronson Reed in the five-way ladder match at TakeOver for the vacant North American title. Gargano vs. Strong has the potential to be the strongest match of the night between shows. Their work in the three-way with Reed last week was fantastic and hopefully, they have the chance to have a killer outing tonight. The last two weeks have been terrible for NXT’s ratings and it will be interesting to see with the benefit of reflection to see if they come out of the gate tonight with any new ideas or solutions to address those issues.

**Cody was interviewed by ESPN’s Marc Raimondi to promote tonight’s match and discuss numerous topics associated with AEW. He said that he’d have a better answer in 4-6 weeks on the rumored third hour or second show for AEW to add and that it could feature talent both on and off the roster but designed to showcase people that aren’t always featured on Dynamite. Regarding Mike Tyson, he said there is a relationship with Tyson and AEW but only said that something would likely happen “if not now, then in the future”. Cody said they were at the finish line to sign Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows last year but the two made a business decision and denied there was any heat with them over what they did. He seemed high on the idea of pushing for AEW to sign Matt Cardona and Rusev noting the two have drawn money and have TV experience but did note the limitations of a two-hour show with so much talent already on the roster. He gave the following cryptic answer regarding the prospect of attempting to sign Rey Mysterio:

To me, the greatest luchador ever, of all time — hands down — is Rey Mysterio Jr. And he’s got friends here. Jericho and him are friends. Mysterio is not afraid to travel out there, either. He’s not a one-company individual. And I think Rey still has a lot left to give in terms of wrestling. That might be something that someone else is currently discussing with him at this point. You never know.

**Johnny Gargano spoke with Justin Barrasso at SI.com about tonight’s match with Roderick Strong and the competition with AEW for eyeballs on Wednesday nights:

I am very much a wrestling fan and very much of the belief that competition makes everyone better. I think both shows are great in their own ways, and I’m super happy that there is so much great content out there. As a wrestling fan, it’s a cool thing to be part of.

I know a lot of people are very excited to see me and Roddy one-on-one. We are two guys that have been scratching and clawing for a very long time, and competition is going to bring out the best in us. We’re not tone-deaf, we know the stakes. We want to put out the best product possible, I want to put out the best product possible, and we’re going to go out there and put on a match you want to see.

**Lightshed Partners, which is a technology, media, and telecommunications research firm, has put out a piece arguing that WWE’s media rights will decline if viewership continues to drop. It’s impossible to predict what the media landscape will be like come 2024 when the rights are set to expire with NBC Universal and Fox.

While viewership erosion is always a concern, it will come down to how valuable WWE is viewed by the players at that time, which may as well be multiple lifetimes from now and again, impossible to predict. If the USA Network falls at the same level and Raw is propping up its prime-time viewership average, then Raw will be considered as valuable as it was in 2018 when they received the enormous contract. Conversely, SmackDown is still #1 most Friday nights in the key demo for a show that runs year-round and at a cheaper cost than a drama or comedy with fewer episodes per year.

**WWE officially announced that Kairi Sane was returning to Japan following this past week’s write-off on Raw. They have released footage from Sane’s final appearance with comments from Asuka, Shinsuke Nakamura, Akira Tozawa and Sane saying goodbye:

**It was two years ago today that Brian Lawler a.k.a. Brian Christopher died and his father Jerry posted the following message on Wednesday:

Today is a sad anniversary. Two years ago today we got the horrible news that my son Brian had died. I miss him every day. We are headed to his gravesite now to visit.

**Friday’s New Japan card at Korakuen Hall will be headlined by Minori Suzuki vs. Yuji Nagata in a rematch from the New Japan Cup, which was one of the stand-out matches of the tournament. Hiromu Takahashi is off this show due to a left shoulder injury as he was scheduled for a six-man tag. In its place is a tag match with Tetsuya Naito & Bushi taking on EVIL & Taiji Ishimori.

**Stephanie McMahon was a guest on the Fluid Fan podcast with host Angela Ruggiero discussing her role as Chief Brand Officer and how WWE has responded during the pandemic. This wasn’t as in-depth or newsworthy as McMahon’s interview with AdAge last week. McMahon spoke of her performance background on television as a key to understand what the fanbase wants and made the point repeatedly about listening to its audience through their platforms. McMahon described their “ecosystem” of traditional terrestrial television that builds to their pay-per-view events that are anchored by “the big four” tentpole shows of the year with the ultimate one being WrestleMania. She added that due to the success of “The Last Ride” on the WWE Network, they are exploring opportunities to find a second window for the series, which I’m still surprised an outside network didn’t come and make a deal for that series given the subject matter and the need for fresh content during the pandemic. McMahon said today’s performers don’t always need to stay in-character and fans want to know the people behind the characters and they help the performers grow their brands. She said at the end that they tabled the idea of having their fans appear virtually on the WrestleMania broadcast but the feedback they got was people didn’t want that and shelved the idea and have also taken constructive criticism regarding the crowd sweetening on matches being inauthentic when they have gone overboard with it.

**New Japan is launching NJPW Strong on Friday nights in August to in the slot that Lion’s Break Collision had held. They will be staging a press conference this Friday night at 10 pm Eastern on New Japan World with additional details.

**Hiroshi Tanahashi spoke with the New Japan site about his relationships with Riki Choshu and Keiji Muto, packing on the weight while in the Dojo prior to his debut in 1999, and believing he was in better shape than anyone in the company by the time he made his debut.

**Here are the results from Wednesday’s New Japan card in Hamamatsu in front of 599 fans as part of the Summer Struggle tour:
*Yoshi-Hashi, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & Hirooki Goto over Satoshi Kojima, Tomoaki Honma, Ryusuke Taguchi & Gabriel Kidd
*Sanada & Shingo Takagi over Togi Makabe & Yota Tsuji
*Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado over Yuji Nagata & Yuya Uemura
*Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Master Wato over Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Douki
*Yujiro & Gedo over Kazuchika Okada & SHO
*EVIL & Taiji Ishimori over Tetsuya Naito & Bushi

**Game Changer Wrestling returns with another card at the Celebration Plaza Amphitheatre this Sunday at 5 pm Eastern airing on Fite TV. The card will be headlined by Joey Janela vs. ACH along with Nick Gage vs. Cole Radrick, AJ Gray vs. Chris Dickinson, Nate Webb vs. Mance Warner, KTB vs. Calvin Tankman, and Tre Lamar vs. Blake Christian. They have also announced that Ace Austin and Kylie Rae will make their GCW debuts on the show.

**PWinsider.com reports that FS1 will be airing last year’s SummerSlam card on Tuesday, August 11th following their coverage of Major League Baseball that night. The show from Toronto included a rematch between Brock Lesnar and Seth Rollins for the Universal title, Kofi Kingston defending the WWE title against Randy Orton, Charlotte Flair vs. Trish Stratus, and Bill Goldberg vs. Dolph Ziggler.

**WWE’s The Bump held its first-ever “Bumpy Awards” on Wednesday’s show with a long list of awards handed out but they included the following at the midway point of 2020:
*Tag Team of the Half-Year: Bayley and Sasha Banks
*Best Rivalry: The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles
*Best In-Ring Match: Edge vs. Randy Orton at WWE Backlash (the nominees included Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley at WrestleMania, Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens at WrestleMania, Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles on SmackDown in June, and the men’s Royal Rumble match)
*Best Cinematic Match: The Boneyard Match (The Viking Profits vs. The Ninjas was actually nominated)
*Superstar of the Half-Year: Drew McIntyre

**The WWE stock closed at $44.56 on Wednesday.




**The UFC Fight Night card from Saturday night in Abu Dhabi was #1 on cable that night with the main card pulling in a 0.35 rating (458,000 viewers) in the 18-49 demographic and 908,000 viewers. The card was headlined by Robert Whittaker’s decision victory over Darren Till and featured a third fight between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. They did have sports competition with Fox’s Major League Baseball coverage with the 7:30 pm ET game averaging 2,790,000 viewers and a 0.7 rating in the demo.

**The UFC prelims did 483,000 viewers and a 0.15 (199,000 viewers) in the 18-49 demo, which was eighth for the night on cable. The featured bout of the prelims was the controversial fight involving Francisco Trinaldo and Jai Herbert where announcer Dan Hardy voiced his displeasure that Herb Dean didn’t stop the fight early enough. In total, ESPN’s coverage of the card lasted from 5 pm until 11:14 pm Eastern.

**As a comparison, last weekend’s UFC prelims did 509,000 viewers while the main card aired on ESPN+ for the card headlined by Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Joseph Benavidez. The last Fight Night card to air completely on ESPN was the Wednesday night card on July 15th with Calvin Kattar vs. Dan Ige that 536,000 for the main card and 434,000 for the prelims, which can be blamed on the night of the week. The last Saturday Fight Night to air fully on ESPN was on June 27th with the main card headlined by Dustin Poirier vs. Dan Hooker averaging 1,070,000 (0.43 in the 18-49 demo) and the prelims doing 635,000 viewers (0.24 in the demo).

**This past Friday’s edition of Friday Night SmackDown finished with a 1.22 rating and 1,924,000 viewers on Fox. The show did 618,000 viewers in the 18-49 demographic and was the top network program for the night.

**Last Wednesday’s episode of AEW Dynamite did a 0.47 rating with 845,000 viewers and 409,000 viewers in the 18-49 demographic.

ASK-A-WAI: Ask Us Anything! (August 2020)

John Pollock and Wai Ting answer their patrons’ questions from the POST Wrestling Forum in the August 2020 edition of Ask-A-Wai.
REWIND-A-RAW 7/27/20: Kairi Sane’s Farewell, McIntyre vs. Orton, DDT/NOAH

John Pollock and Wai Ting discuss WWE Raw including Asuka vs. Sasha Banks and a farewell to Kairi Sane, lots of WWE business notes, and the announcement of DDT and NOAH’s merger.
NJPW Sengoku Lord POST Show with Wai Ting & Mike Murray
Wai Ting and Mike Murray review NJPW Sengoku Lord 2020 as Bullet Club’s EVIL makes his first IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Title defense against former LIJ stablemate, Hiromu Takahashi.
TRMPS #19: Fast & Furious 6 (2013) w/ Joey Lewandowski & Joe Two
Nate Milton takes another trip to the “Fastiverse” with Joey Lewandowski & Joe Two (2 Fast 2 Forever). The guys sit down in the theater (six feet apart, of course) to review the 2013 box-office blockbuster, “Fast & Furious 6”!
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 7/24/20: Sheamus-Hardy Bar Fight, Naomi on MizTV
Wai Ting is joined by Kristen Ashly (Bell to Belles, Association of Women in Wrestling) to review this week’s WWE SmackDown featuring Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus in a Bar Fight, Naomi addresses #NaomiDeservesBetter on MizTV, and Alexa Bliss vs. Nikki Cross for a shot at Bayley’s championship.
BRITISH WRESTLING EXPERIENCE: Wrestling Resurgence w/ Dr. Claire Warden & Sam West
Martin is joined by Dr. Claire Warden & Sam West of the theatre-led professional wrestling and arts organization, Wrestling Resurgence. They chat about the origins of the project, their backgrounds as academics, the ethos behind the company, and the highlights of the promotion.

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About John Pollock 5412 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.