POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Hell in a Cell moved, AEW vs. NXT analysis

An analysis of AEW vs. NXT and what the future holds, a new date for HIAC, AEW re-schedules events for 2021 & Bellator to CBS Sports Network.


**Tonight on our LIVE edition of Rewind-A-SmackDown, we will back on video using Zoom with all members of the POST Wrestling Café receiving a link to join for tonight’s show beginning at 10:15 pm Eastern. Wai and I have a lot of news to get through, then we’ll review SmackDown and take plenty of calls throughout the show. Tune in tonight if you’re a Café member and the podcast version will be available for Café members right after the show.

**On Saturday, WH Park & I will have our monthly edition of POST PURORESU with a big preview of the G1 Climax, as well as previews of the Champion Carnival and NOAH’s N-1 Victory tournament. We will also chat about GLEAT, Dragon Gate’s big show next weekend, an update on Stardom’s 5 Star Grand Prix, and more.

**On Sunday night, our guest will be author Keith Elliot Greenberg as he discusses his latest release Too Sweet: Inside the Indie Wrestling Revolution that is available now through ECW Press.


Tonight: Rewind-A-SmackDown (LIVE at 10:15 pm ET for Café members)
Saturday: POST Puroresu with John & WH Park (G1 Climax Preview)
Sunday: POST Interview – Keith Elliot Greenberg, author of “Too Sweet: Inside the Indie Wrestling Revolution”


The next chapter of the Wednesday Night War, if that’s the appropriate term, comes with the knowledge that both programs would have a larger audience without running against each other.

AEW averaged 1,016,000 viewers on Wednesday without a first-run episode of NXT to oppose it. It was their first show to top one million viewers on TNT since October. What is more impressive is that if you factor out the NBA and SportsCenter that followed, AEW was #1 among males 18-49 for the night. The figures alone for AEW were impressive given they went against a big playoff game where the Toronto Raptors were facing elimination and went to double overtime against the Boston Celtics.

The focus of the past several weeks has been on NXT and whether to forego a losing battle on Wednesday and enhance its viewership by moving nights. If the purpose of NXT is to grow that show, create new stars, and put yourself in the strongest position when your television rights come up, then moving the show is a no-brainer. If the primary purpose is capping the growth of AEW then you’re playing a different game where WWE can begrudgingly accept NXT losing to AEW weekly, but it stops the narrative of AEW being on the heels of Raw, which is a bigger story.

In business, you have your competitors and when you’ve been the top wrestling company by a landslide for two decades, it’s hard to check that hubris but there’s also strategy with that pride.

A move by NXT would provide the immediate effect of increasing not only their audience and 18-49 figure also the USA Network’s prime-time average. But also comes with the fear that removing NXT from Wednesday opens the floodgates for AEW to grow that much quicker and this Wednesday’s show was evidence of how fast that growth would be. Once the NBA playoffs are over, AEW without NXT competition would be doing its strongest numbers ever. After four unopposed episodes of NXT, the absence of AEW has led to an average increase of 25 percent viewership and a 33 percent jump among 18-49s.

The other side of the coin is whether AEW would be better off moving nights? They have already won Wednesday nights and now have clear evidence that their audience will follow them to Saturdays or Thursdays and that running without NXT with a big NBA game produced their third-highest audience ever.

The problem with AEW is that there are several factors that make them less nimble to simply move nights. AEW President Tony Khan has repeatedly stated he won’t run against the NFL due to his family’s ownership position in the Jaguars eliminating Monday and Thursday nights. The candidates from the onset were Tuesdays and Wednesdays with TNT deciding to put them on Wednesdays due to other commitments and that leaves the option of staying on Wednesdays or moving to Fridays, which would be a tougher night. There is no upside to moving to Saturday nights, the one-time airing was only noteworthy that they pulled in a good number on an unfamiliar night that coincided with a TakeOver special.

Both Raw and AEW are going to face heavier competition as Monday Night Football returns next week while the NBA gets deeper into the playoffs and more important games are played. The wild card this fall is the impact that the U.S. Election coverage has on programming with cable news dominating viewership in the fall of 2016. It had an impact on WWE and many theorized it was a cause for the NFL’s numbers being affected that year as well.

NXT appears to be in a unique circumstance as it’s gone from the identity of being the company’s third brand with pushback when they would be labeled as the feeder system into something in-between. If its function is to curtail AEW’s growth, what is the level of resources you put into this show? Over the past few months, it’s moved to the model of stars reaching their ceiling and moving to the main roster. Personally, I saw that as a hidden advantage for NXT where you never allowed top talent to overstay their welcome, and when they’ve had their big run, they move on and it opens slots for new stars to fill. Now, there’s also the period where NXT was gutted, and the core of its women’s division was uplifted but they rebounded. The goal should be a happy medium.

One year later, would WWE be willing to take Finn Balor off the main roster today to bolster NXT? One argument is strengthening NXT’s side with bigger stars, the opposite is that these bigger stars on Raw and SmackDown are making a lot more money and rather than fortifying NXT, you’re moving a star and depleting Raw and SmackDown of a name you’ve invested in for years. Again, it goes back to what NXT’s prime function is and how best to execute that strategy.

Over the next few two months, we have the draft and it will be notable if NXT stars are plucked from the brand. Secondly, is the Survivor Series where NXT were the winners last year, and adding them to Raw and SmackDown programming for a few weeks in the build-up could represent that month’s shot in the arm for viewers.


**The Hell in a Cell pay-per-view was moved over the past week from November 1st to October 25th, no reason was given to us for the change. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter was the first to report the move, which we have confirmed at POST Wrestling. That weekend includes both UFC 254 and Bound for Glory the day prior on Saturday, October 24th.

**Friday Night SmackDown airs at 8 pm Eastern on Fox tonight from the Amway Center. The show is promoted around the fallout of Bayley’s attack on Sasha Banks and the announcement that Jey Uso will challenge cousin Roman Reigns at Clash of Champions. The show has been on a good streak with the ThunderDome bump, but more sustaining is the return of Reigns in a different role alongside Paul Heyman, and the Bayley feud with Banks is also a contributor. Last week’s show was their best in a long time and the show has some much-needed momentum. Below is what they have announced for tonight:
*Jeff Hardy vs. AJ Styles for the Intercontinental title
*Bayley addresses the attack on Sasha Banks
*A new addition to the Firefly Funhouse
*Legado Del Fantasma vs. Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan on 205 Live

**Thursday was a tough day in WWE with many cuts involving those in behind-the-scenes roles. Two sources informed POST Wrestling that the total number was around 70 that were cut, although WWE has not responded with confirmation of that figure or several other questions we had asked.

**Anthony Benigno, who was a staff writer with WWE confirmed his departure from the company:

SOME PERSONAL NEWS: Today was my last day at WWE. Way too many memories and thank yous for almost 9 years, suffice it to say it’s about the most challenging, rewarding place I could have imagined starting my career with the best people I could have hoped to meet along the way. It has been a hell of a ride. Thank you to all the employees and Superstars who made it a dream come true. If you’re looking for an experienced writer/editor/producer/Mario Kart champion, DMs are OPEN!

**AEW has moved four fall television tapings to the new following dates:
*Wednesday, June 16th, 2021 in Rochester at the Blue Cross Arena
*Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021 in St. Louis at the Chaifetz Arena
*Wednesday, June 30th, 2021 in Houston at the Fertitta Center at the University of Houston
*Wednesday, July 14th, 2021 in Milwaukee at the UWM Panther Arena

**New Japan has released the full list of matches for every G1 Climax card.

**Tonight’s Fighting Spirit Unleashed edition of NJPW Strong airs at 10 pm Eastern on New Japan World with the following card:
*KENTA vs. Jeff Cobb for the contract to challenge for the IWGP U.S. title
*Guerrillas of Destiny vs. David Finlay & PJ Black
*Rocky Romero vs. Danny Limelight
*ACH & TJP vs. Logan Riegel & Adrian Quest

**Ring of Honor returns with its first new episode since the shutdown in March. This weekend kicks off the Pure Title tournament that will take up the next eight weeks of programming from their recent tapings in Baltimore. This weekend’s show features Jay Lethal vs. Dalton Castle in Block A and Jonathan Gresham vs. Wheeler Yuta in Block B.

**All Japan begins its Champion Carnival tournament on Saturday in Nagoya and will run until October 5th with the finals at Korakuen Hall. All the shows will run on AJPW.tv with the following matches scheduled for Saturday’s card:
*Jiro “Ikemen” Kuroshio vs. Jake Lee – A BLOCK
*Suwama vs. Kuma Arasgi –  A BLOCK
*Shuji Ishikawa vs. Yuma Aoyagi – B BLOCK
*Kento Miyahara vs. Yoshitatsu – B BLOCK

**The Champion Carnival continues Sunday with Zeus vs. Kuma Arashi and Suwama vs. Jiro Kuroshio in the A Block. The B Block matches are Yuma Aoyagi vs. Shotaro Ashino and Shuji Ishikawa vs. Yoshitatsu.

**Stardom’s 5 Star Grand Prix resumes on Saturday with two cards from Fukuoka with the following matches from the Red & Blue Stars blocks on the afternoon show:
*Giulia vs. Starlight Kid (Red)
*Mayu Iwatani vs. DEATH Yama-san (Red)
*Himeka vs. DEATH Yama-san (Red)
*Tam Nakano vs. Saya Kamitani (Red)
*Jungle Kyona vs. Natsuko Tora (Blue)
*Syuri vs. AZM (Blue)
*Utami Hayashashita vs. Saya Iida (Blue)
*Momo Watanabe vs. Hanan (Blue)
*Riho vs. Maika vs. Saki Kamitani vs. Konami in a non-tournament match

The evening card has the following line-up:
*Mayu Iwatani vs. Himeka (Red)
*Konami vs. Starlight Kid (Red)
*DEATH Yama-san vs. Saya Kamitani (Red)
*Momo Watanabe vs. Utami Hayashashita (Blue)
*Jungle Kyona vs. Maika (Blue)
*Syuri vs. Saya Iida (Blue)
*Tam Nakano vs. Giulia vs. Hanan in a non-tournament match
*Riho & AZM vs. Natsuko Tora & Saya Kamitani in a non-tournament match

**Ring of Honor COO Joe Koff spoke with Kenny Herzog on his Outside Interference podcast on ROH’s recent tapings that begin airing this weekend. ROH went dark in March right as they were about to hold their Anniversary pay-per-view followed by the Past vs. Present show in Las Vegas, which were both canceled due to the pandemic. Several ROH performers have noted that they have been paid throughout the pandemic by the company. Koff gave the following answer regarding the protocol in place at the recent tapings in Baltimore:

I think this whole COVID pandemic is really about controlling what you can control. And there were so many different ways we could have wrestled. We could have wrestled in Florida where the other two major promotions wrestle, where there seems to be no real rules. The governor says, you know, just be careful.

If there were more than three positive tests, we were going to shut it down. We knew the risks. Fortunately, everybody was good. Everyone was healthy. Everyone took care of themselves. And I think that’s because we took care of our talent [during the shutdown], so they weren’t forced to do other things to maintain whatever lifestyle we provided them. [The taping] was one match at a time, cleaned the entire ring, changed the mats.

**Nick Hausman at Wrestling INC spoke with Kurt Angle and asked if appearing on AEW programming is a possibility for him:

Right now, I would say it’s off the table. I’m OK where I am. The thing is, when I came back to WWE, I wasn’t expecting what I got, and I was very grateful. I got the Hall of Fame. I wanted the Hall of Fame, but I didn’t want it first. I wanted it last, and I wanted to wrestle first. I took a year off from TNA. I was wrestling Rey Mysterio, Cody Rhodes, Alberto Del Rio, Joe Coffey from the UK, Zack Sabre Jr. [and] a lot of great athletes, and I was ready.

When I was inducted into the Hall of Fame, that night Vince McMahon told me I was going to be the general manager, and I was like, ‘aw man, I wanted to wrestle. Now they’re going to have me inactive, and I was inactive. I only probably wrestled three matches in the next year and a half. So being inactive and not bumping in the ring and not really training, my body got arthritic, and by the time I was wrestling for Vince, for WWE, I looked like an old man.

**MLW CEO Court Bauer spoke with DAZN about their partnership and explained how MLW is attempting to differentiate itself from its competitors:

Major League Wrestling is a sports centered league. I think there are wrestling leagues that are like a variety show, or a circus or over the top. For those wrestling leagues where it’s like you’re in on the joke. That’s kind of silly. I think that’s all great in a way that works for them.

But for us, we really try to approach this as a combat sports league. It’s just like you’d see something in MMA or boxing. But in addition to the fight, there’s some weird s— that goes down. We’re grounded in reality. Yet we have these unique twists and turns that we can play with that you maybe would see in other sports where we can control the outcome a bit better. That’s kind of how I — as the creator of this league have — developed this.

It’s very much grounded in the world of combat sports where strange things happen with these very unique characters.  But it’s centered around different fighting disciplines. If you were a fan of the early UFCs, you see there’s a little bit of that in the DNA. We like to try introducing style versus style fights. You might have a Mexican luchador who has a very different style where it’s more of aerial combat, versus Tom Lawlor — a 10-year UFC veteran who can strike, grapple and tap you out. Then you have the heavy hard-hitting style of Japanese wrestlers. It’s a convergence of styles and larger than life personalities but very much centered in the real world. We want that real edge to the product.

**Zelo Pro Wrestling has announced a card for Saturday, October 17th at the Turner Ballroom in Milwaukee, Wisconsin titled “The Show Must Go On”. They have announced that masks are required for those planning to attend, they are limited capacity at 20 percent, there will be temperature checks & a questionnaire, socially distanced seating, sanitation stations on-site with measures being enforced.

**Greg Oliver at SLAM Wrestling has a story on the passing of Stevie Lee Richardson, who wrestled as “Puppet the Psycho Dwarf” and passed away on Wednesday. His brother Jim has set up a Go Fund Me campaign following his death.

**The United Wrestling Network launches its Tuesday night pay-per-view series next week on Fite TV. The first show will feature the following matches:
*Nick Aldis vs. Mike Bennett for the NWA title
*Alex Hammerstone vs. EJ Sparks
*Kamille vs. Heather Monroe
*Dan Joseph vs. Levi Shapiro for the UWN Television Title
*Chris Dickinson vs. Dick Mayor
*Will Allday vs. Jordan Clearwater
*The Tribe (Hawaiian Lion & The Navajo Warrior) vs. The Wolf Zaddies (Bad Dude Tito & Che Cabrera)

**Homicide has been announced for Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport on Sunday, October 11th as part of GCW’s The Collective series of shows. The card streams that night at 8 pm Eastern on Fite TV. Homicide joins Josh Alexander as the first names listed for the show.

**GCW’s For the Culture has added a match between JTG and Trey Miguel for its event on Friday, October 9th at the Marion County Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, Indiana.

**The WWE stock dropped 2.5 percent on Friday closing at $41.40.

**Dominik Mysterio may be having a great introduction to a national audience, but the son of AJ Styles is giving him a run for his money.

**Paul Heyman turns 55 years old today.

**Below are the complete list of results from the final show of the New Japan Road tour held at Korakuen Hall on Friday:
*Satoshi Kojima, Yuji Nagata & Tomoaki Honma over Yota Tsuji, Gabriel Kidd & Yuya Uemura in 8:44
*Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr. & Douki over Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato in 11:09
*Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & Shingo Takagi over EVIL, Yujiro & Dick Togo in 9:50
*Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi over Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano & SHO in 18:55 to retain the NEVER Openweight Six-Man tag titles
*El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru over Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI in 17:12 to win the vacant the IWGP junior heavyweight tag titles


**Bellator confirmed its move to the CBS Sports Network on Friday with this weekend’s cards being their last on the Paramount Network. They will launch on the CBS Sports Network beginning Thursday, October 1st with a live broadcast of Bellator 247 from Milan, Italy airing at 4 pm Eastern. In the promotional release, they were heavily emphasizing that all Bellator cards will now air live including its international shows. Its first U.S event in prime time is Bellator 249 on Thursday, October 15th with Cris “Cyborg” vs. Arlene Blencowe for the Bellator featherweight title. It appears that the promotion will be running more Thursday night shows with cards already scheduled for October 1st, October 15th, and October 29th.

**As first reported by ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, Bellator has announced that they will be going to France for a card on Saturday, October 10th at the Accor Arena in Paris. The card will be a mix of MMA fights with three boxing fights. The only fights they have officially revealed are Cheick Kongo taking on Tim Johnson in a heavyweight fight and Michael “Venom” Page vs. Ross Houston at welterweight.

The card will be open to a limited number of fans with Bellator operating under the French Boxing Federation. In the press release, they trumpeted that they will be the first “major” promotion to run an MMA card in the country. ESPN reported it first, which was confirmed by Scott Coker on a conference call with the media that up to 5,000 fans will be able to attend.

**Bellator has back-to-back shows this weekend and will be their finals shows on the Paramount Network before moving to the CBS Sports Network while continuing to air on DAZN. Below is tonight’s line-up from the Mohegan Sun:

MAIN CARD (10 pm Eastern on DAZN & Paramount Network)
*Lyoto Machida (205.3) vs. Phil Davis (205.7)
*Cat Zingano (145.9) vs. Gabrielle Holloway (150.7*) – Holloway missed weight by 4.7 pounds
*Ed Ruth (185.1) vs. Taylor Johnson (185.7)
*Raymond Daniels (169.7) vs. Peter Stanonik (166.6)

PRELIMINARY CARD (8:15 pm Eastern)
*Rafael Carvalho (205.8) vs. Alex Polizzi (203.6)
*Jack May (259.8) vs. Tyrell Fortune (251.1)
*Leslie Smith (145.7) vs. Amanda Bell (149*) – Bell missed weight by three pounds
*Keith Lee (140.7) vs. Vinicius Zani (143.2)

**The following night’s card has seven fights including the main event for the vacant Bellator bantamweight title that was vacated by Kyoji Horiguchi due to injury. Below is the line-up for Saturday:

MAIN CARD (10 pm ET on DAZN & Paramount Network)
*Juan Archuleta (134.6) vs. Patrick Mix (135) for the vacant bantamweight title
*Jon Fitch (170.5) vs. Neiman Gracie (170.8)
*Liz Carmouche (125.5) vs. DeAnna Bennett (131.7*) – Bennett missed weight by 5.7 pounds
*Derek Campos (154) vs. Keoni Diggs (157*) – Diggs missed weight by one pound

PRELIMINARY CARD (8:45 pm on Bellator’s YouTube channel)
*Daniel Madrid (185.6) vs. Pat Casey (184.4)
*George Tokkos (186) vs. Ty Gwerder (184.2)
*Ras Hylton (245.5) vs. Davion Franklin (264.7)

**The UFC continues its nonstop schedule of fight cards with a show at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas on Saturday. This card was originally headlined by Glover Teixeira and Thiago Santos but was moved to October 3rd due to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis for Teixeira. The new main event sees Michelle Waterson and Angela Hill square off. The two were already booked on the card but it’s now a five-round fight after training for three. Here is the full card and results from Friday’s weigh-ins:

MAIN CARD (8 pm Eastern on ESPN+, TSN 5 in Canada)

*Michelle Waterson (115) vs. Angela Hill (115.5)
*Khama Worthy (155.5) vs. Ottman Azaitar (156)
*Andrea Lee (125.5) vs. Roxanne Modafferi (125)
*Ed Herman (205.5) vs. Mike Rodriguez (205.5)
*Bobby Green (156) vs. Alan Patrick (156)

*Julia Avila (135) vs. Sijara Eubanks (135)
*Roosevelt Roberts (155.5) vs. Kevin Croom (154.5) – Croom replaced Matt Frevola due to an injury
*Roque Martinez (258.5) vs. Alexandr Romanov (261)
*Jalin Turner (163.5) vs. Brok Weaver (164)
*Anthony Ivy (169.5) vs. Bryan Barberena (170)
*Justine Kish (125.5) vs. Sabina Mazo (125.5)

**Marc Raimondi of ESPN reports that Saturday’s flyweight fight between Matt Schnell and Tyson Nam is off the UFC Fight Night card. Raimondi cited “weight-management issues” for Schnell as the cause for the fight to be removed.

**LFA 91 takes place tonight at 9 pm Eastern on UFC Fight Pass headlined by Chidi Njokuani taking on Cristian Torres in the middleweight main event. The card also features Kyle Stewart vs. Tim Caron, Jamal Pogues vs. Tim Hiley, Hailey Cowan vs. Kelly Clayton, Nate Richardson vs. Darius Estell, and Josh Quinlan vs. Pete Keepers on the main card.

**The PFL announced an international distribution deal with Eurosport India on Wednesday. The network will air the PFL regular season, playoffs, and championship fights along with access to its archive of fights.

REWIND-A-DYNAMITE 9/9/20: “Miro, Miro On The Wall”, G1 Climax Participants
John Pollock and Wai Ting review AEW Dynamite following All Out, discuss Miro’s debut, WWE Raw ratings on Labor Day, and New Japan reveals the blocks for G1 Climax 30.
upNXT 9/8/20: “Super Twosday”
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review WWE NXT’s Super Tuesday II featuring Finn Balor vs Adam Cole for the vacant NXT Championship, Mercedes Martinez vs Rhea Ripley in a Steel Cage Match, and more!
John Pollock & Wai Ting review Rocky II (1979) featuring a rematch between Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed. Written by, directed by and starring Sylvester Stallone.
REWIND-A-RAW 9/7/20: “The Locusts of Contempt”, Ivar Update
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE Raw with Retribution’s speech, an update on Ivar, more on WWE’s third party restrictions & more.
THE LONG & WINDING ROYAL ROAD: Tsuruta vs. Misawa (June 8, 1990)
WH Park and JP Houlihan from the Grappl Spotlight podcast discuss one of the most famous matches in the history of both All Japan Pro Wrestling and the entire industry: Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Jumbo Tsuruta from June 8, 1990.
John Pollock & Wai Ting review AEW All Out 2020 featuring Jon Moxley vs. MJF for the AEW World Title, Kenny Omega/Hangman Page vs. FTR for the AEW Tag Titles, and a very controversial handling of a stunt gone wrong in Sammy Guevara and Matt Hardy’s Broken Rules match.
Martin & Benno are joined by Shane of Wrestle Wipe to talk about the past few weeks in European wrestling including a review of RevPro’s comeback show, Epic Encounters 1.

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About John Pollock 5664 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.