POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: USA Network President to leave NBCU

USA Network president leaving, original Hollywood Blond Jerry Brown passes, Cormier confirms he had COVID-19 & Will Hobbs signs with AEW.


**We will have a new edition of Rewind-A-Dynamite and upNXT on the site tonight. For Rewind-A-Dynamite, we will chat about a lot of today’s news including Chris McCumber leaving NBCUniversal, the Raw ratings, Daniel Cormier, and much more. Plus, if you’re a member of the POST Wrestling Café you are automatically entered in a draw on tonight’s show to win a prize from the POST Wrestling Store.

**The deadline to submit your picks for the POST Wrestling G1 Climax Contest is Friday night at 11:59 pm Eastern. It is free to enter and the winners will be announced at the end of the tournament.

**Rewind-A-Wai #70 is out with Wai Ting and I reviewing the Great American Bash from July 1990 headlined by Ric Flair vs. Sting for the NWA heavyweight title as selected by Espresso Executive Producer Cody Staples. We discussed where WCW was in the summer of 1990, the delay putting the title on Sting, the reaction at the time, who was booking this era, the veterans that were used, the experiment of using El Gigante, a phenomenal match with The Midnight Express vs. The Southern Boys, and all the news from this week in July 1990. The show is available to all members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**We have released the Fall 2020 POST Wrestling Schedule including the addition of Bushby & Thompson’s Wrestling Adventure that will be a monthly series.


*Tonight: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
*Tonight: Rewind-A-Dynamite
*Friday: Best Match Ever on Stan Hansen with Braden, Davie & John Pollock
*Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (LIVE at 10:15 pm ET for Patrons)
*Saturday: G1 Climax Day 1 Podcast (Patreon)
*Sunday: G1 Climax Day 2 Podcast (Patreon)


**Chris McCumber, who served as the President of the USA Network and Syfy will be leaving NBCUniversal after 19 years. McCumber was considered the point person in the relationship between the network and WWE.

McCumber had been with the USA Network since 2001 and was named its president in 2011. Deadline noted in its story that he spearheaded the negotiations with WWE with their latest deal for Raw believed to be worth $265 million annually for the five-year pact that went into effect last October.

Susan Rovner is expected to run the Entertainment Programming unit with The Hollywood Reporter reporting that Rovner is expected to join NBCU next month. Rovner would be overseeing all the entertainment channels including NBC and the USA Network. The Wrap adds that Jeff Bader will be in charge of program planning for NBCUniversal’s six cable properties that would include the USA Network.

The Hollywood Reporter story said that McCumber is expected to stay on board for an undetermined period to help with the transition.

McCumber informed the company of through a memo, which Deadline has posted:

Friends and Colleagues –

I’ve always promised to be open and transparent – and it is in that spirit that I wanted you to be the first to hear that I have decided to leave NBCUniversal, following a period of transition.

After nearly 20 years at this tremendous company, this has not been an easy decision. Yet I believe wholeheartedly that NBCUniversal is taking the right steps by creating a new organization built for the future.

It’s difficult to encapsulate two decades into one note. Together as a team, we helped make USA Network the #1 cable entertainment network for a record 14 years, rebooted SYFY with a fan-first perspective, won a slew of awards, and created some of television’s most popular programs of all time. But beyond all the successes and accolades, what I’ll remember most is the special bond that we had as a team. A bond built on trust, mutual respect, and of course, having a lot of fun making great content.

I know that change is not always easy, but I believe that periods of disruption always open new doors. I encourage you all to seize every opportunity that comes your way. You’ve got a front row seat to the evolution of the television business… what a gift!

I’m forever grateful and proud to have had the privilege of working alongside each and every one of you, and to call you my teammates and friends.

**Jerry Brown, who was a member of the earlier incarnation of The Hollywood Blonds, has died. Greg Oliver has a great obit on Brown at SLAM Wrestling speaking with Brown’s former Alabama Chain Gang tag partner Ron McFarlane. Brown teamed with Dale Hey (later wrestling as Buddy Roberts) as the original Hollywood Blonds and was managed by Sir Oliver Humperdink while the Chain Gang of Brown & McFarlane were managed by J.J. Dillon. It was Bill Watts that paired Brown and Hey together after Brown’s initial partner Jack Donovan broke his ankle and they inserted Hey and would team for seven years during the ‘70s.

Beyond Watts’ territory, the two went to Montreal, the Maritimes, Florida, and Los Angeles among their stops before splitting in 1977. Future incarnations of The Hollywood Blonds include Rip Rogers & Ted Oates, Larry Sharpe & Jack Evans, and Steve Austin & Brian Pillman.

Ron McFarlane spoke to SLAM Wrestling and said Brown’s heart began failing him several months back and doctors said there was nothing that could be done.

Brown was 83 years old and leaves behind children Penny, Mark, Rex, and Roxanne.

**Daniel Cormier spoke with Justin Barrasso of SI.com regarding a potential future with WWE and gave the indication the two sides are talking and threw out his own ideas:

We’ve been talking. We’ve spoken to some of the people over there in very, very early conversations. WWE is a company I’ve watched and loved my entire life. Put me at the commentary table. Let me call the matches for six months and tell you how great these wrestlers are in the ring. I would love that, and I wouldn’t be faking it. WWE is something I’ve loved my entire life.

Then, after those six months, what if I’m sitting next to Michael Cole, and Roman comes over and smacks the microphone out of my hand? But I’m an announcer. Will I hit him back? Then you’re asking if this will happen or not. That’s what I want, that slow build, the type of story you want to see, and your heart feels like it’s going to explode while you’re waiting for it. Give me the slow build, let it simmer.

**David Bixenspan has an extensive rundown of the latest involving the case between Matt Riddle and Candy Cartwright (real name Samantha Tavel). Bixenspan has obtained documents that outline Riddle and his lawyer Daniel J. Rose had filed a complaint against Tavel making numerous claims including committed stalking, threatening Riddle and his family, and destroying personal property. Last week, just three days before a hearing was scheduled, Riddle and his lawyer filed a notice for a voluntary dismissal to close the case.

Bixenspan analyzed the allegations in the complaint and whether they hold up based on the public evidence that is out there. One allegation was that Tavel posted Lisa Riddle’s (Matt’s wife) phone number and their home address, which public tweets show had the phone number covered in a screenshot post with no evidence that Tavel herself posted the Riddle’s home address.

Bixenspan later posted an update & correction stating he found tweets of people alluding to Tavel tweeting and then deleting an untouched screenshot of text messages displaying Lisa Riddle’s number. This would give credence that it was originally sent unredacted with people alluding to it, although it doesn’t appear there is evidence of an unredacted tweet to support the claim beyond these tweets from other people online. Bixenspan’s update stated:

After being hipped to the right keywords—the obvious ones weren’t bringing anything up—I did find tweets talking about Samantha Tavel/Candy Cartwright having tweeted and then deleted the untouched screenshot of the text messages from Lisa Riddle that included her phone number. But those replies appear to mainly be concerned with the full screenshot having a “remove ads” button at the bottom, with some of those objecting to the tweet alleging it was proof that she was using an app to fabricate the screenshots. (With Riddle alleging that she was using “burner” phone, it’s more likely a secondary phone number app.)

In the documents, it states the affair began between Riddle and Tavel in November 2017 and didn’t end until July 2019. There was a claim by Riddle that Tavel showed up at Full Sail University this past February and was escorted out, although Full Sail University has not issued a response regarding the incident when asked by Bixenspan.

**WWE has confirmed that the next NXT TakeOver special will be on Sunday, October 4th, and therefore, have three episodes of NXT to promote the event including tonight’s show. The news of the TakeOver date was first reported by Mike Johnson at PWinsider.com several weeks ago. It continues the pattern of TakeOver events airing on Sundays as they have gotten away from Saturday night specials.

**Wade Barrett confirmed to SI.com that he has signed a one-year deal with WWE and will be a permanent member of the NXT broadcast team. It states in the report there is an option attached to the one-year deal to extend it.

**We mentioned in the Raw ratings report that Monday’s episode averaged 223,400 viewers on Sportsnet 360 in Canada with 129,000 in the 25-54 demographic (which the key demo measured in Canada). The top sports broadcast of the night was the NHL playoff game between the Dallas Stars and Las Vegas Golden Knights that did 814,700 (272,400). Immediately following Raw, Sportsnet 360 aired WrestleMania’s Legendary Moments that did 94,500 (55,100) and was the ninth most-watched sports broadcast of the night.

**For the first time since August 12th, AEW Dynamite and NXT go head-to-head tonight. Both have the benefit of avoiding the NBA playoffs with no games tonight and therefore, should expand the audience reach. AEW is coming off a big show where they topped one million viewers last week while NXT has not aired on its traditional night in weeks. While they did air promos, I think generally, Raw could be better served by promoting that week’s NXT program during the body of the show where attentiveness is higher than the commercial sets.

The last head-to-head figures in August saw AEW with 792,000 viewers and a 0.32 among 18-49s while NXT averaged 619,000 and a did a 0.16 rating in the demo.

Below is the line-up for AEW Dynamite airing at 8 pm Eastern on TNT & TSN2 in Canada:
*Santana & Ortiz vs. Best Friends in a Parking Lot Fight
*FTR vs. Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy in a non-title match
*Chris Jericho & Jake Hager vs. Private Party w/ Matt Hardy in their corner
*Thunder Rosa vs. Ivelisse for the NWA women’s title
*Hangman Page vs. Frankie Kazarian
*MJF in action
*Jon Moxley to appear
*Kip Sabian and Miro will speak
*Lance Archer interview

Here is the line-up for NXT at 8 pm on the USA Network:
*Damian Priest vs. Timothy Thatcher for the NXT North American title
*Breezango vs. Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel for the NXT tag titles
*Io Shirai vs. Shotzi Blackheart in a non-title match
*Killian Dane & Drake Maverick vs. Roderick Strong & Bobby Fish

**WWE is also advertising two major announcements from William Regal on NXT tonight.

**Will Hobbs has signed with AEW with the company announcing the news on Wednesday. Hobbs is from Northern California and started his career over a decade ago wrestling as Will Rood for All Pro Wrestling (APW) out of Hayward. APW was his home promotion and is where he wrestled most of the past decade until this past year. He started appearing regularly on AEW Dark back in July during the empty arena shows at Daily’s Place. Hobbs got a prominent spot in the recent Casino Battle Royale at All Out that was won by Lance Archer. His appearance in the battle royal was followed by his first AEW win on Dark last week against Sean Legacy and beat Jessy Sorensen this week.

**Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows announced on Wednesday’s edition of Talk is Jericho that the sequel to Talk ‘N Shop-A-Mania will air on Saturday, November 13th. They revealed the main event will feature Chad 2 Badd vs. Sex Ferguson in a Ball-for-a-Ball match as a play off the Eye-for-an-Eye match the WWE promoted in July. The first event got a decent buzz the night it aired with lots of engagement on social media channels as it aired on Fite TV. The event was pre-taped in Gallows’ backyard featuring a wide assortment of personalities in a tongue-in-cheek style of wrestling presentation.

**The United Wrestling Network ran its first “Primetime LIVE” on Tuesday launching its weekly pay-per-view series. Unfortunately, the first week was marred by streaming problems that made the show nearly impossible to watch. On my end, there was constant buffering for the first thirty minutes and a complete crash of the stream twice. After a half-hour, I knew I couldn’t properly review this show and hopefully, can find some time to watch the replay. David Marquez said a master file would be added to Fite TV for replay viewing. Marquez had stated it was a problem on Fite’s end, which a rep from Fite responded to an inquiry stating it was a problem stemming from the venue.

Regardless of the problem, it’s tough to accept in 2020 when the landscape is vast with options and you had fans that set aside their evening and willing to pay for your show. These problems did a lot of damage for Ring of Honor a decade ago when streaming issues plagued their events around 2011-12. The minimum standard these days is a clean stream and in the absence of that ability, I would make the call to shoot the shows earlier in the day and upload the show as a VOD on Fite to mitigate those issues similar to what Talk ‘N Shop-A-Mania did. Going live means nothing for most fans especially in this environment without fans inside Thunder Studios. If someone bought last night’s show and had all these problems, are they going to give the product a second chance next week?

Fite TV was offering a bundle where you could pay $23.99 and receive the first four shows and that may give some upset customers the push to come back and watch again. But, UWN needs a flawless broadcast next week or this project won’t get off the ground.

Nick Aldis posted after the show:

All I can say regarding the issues with the ppv tonight is @nwa fans deserve better, and you will get it. Also we busted our asses in what time we had to deliver a main event and Mike Bennett is a quality professional and he deserves your respect.

**Next week’s episode of “Primetime LIVE” will including Thunder Rosa vs. Priscilla Kelly for the NWA women’s title and Eli Drake vs. Watts.

**ESPN spoke with Chad Johnson, who is the SVP of sales and development for the Jacksonville Jaguars about TIAA Bank Field being open to 25 percent capacity this past weekend for their opener. In researching a safe protocol, Johnson said they leaned on AEW’s presentation of shows next door at Daily’s Place to observe how fans acted and responded to the measures. Johnson said:

We’ll have at least 10 dry runs of watching fan behavior, compliance, how they congregate, how they move. AEW, I sat there and filmed and watched how everybody moved. How long they took from the time they entered to the time they got to their seat. Where did they go? Where did they not go? We were studying that all along so we could adapt to their behavior.

When they were lining up and queueing, even when they were past where we had signage, people were following the 6-foot rule. It was perfect. They were so respectful of the process. I was really pleased. I was really pleased with how they kept their masks on. I was really pleased that they spent most of their time in their seats. They didn’t just go get a beer and hang out in open spaces. They really were respectful.

**Jake Lee pinned Triple Crown champion Suwama on Tuesday’s Champion Carnival show at Korakuen Hall, which should set up a future title match. Lee is now tied with Zeus on top of the A Block but with the win over Suwama doesn’t need to win the Carnival. Shuji Ishikawa and Yuma Aoyagi are tied with four points atop the B Block. They don’t have another show until Monday and it’s an abbreviated tournament with the finals on October 5th.

**The finals of Stardom’s 5 Star Grand Prix will be this Saturday at Korakuen Hall with all participants having their final matches followed by the finals with the Red and Blue block winners. Syuri and Maika will have to wrestle twice on the show due to prior matches that were canceled and means they could end up wrestling a third time if either wins the blue block.

**A match between Kimber Lee and Susie has been added to next Tuesday’s edition of Impact Wrestling.

**A match between ACH and Lee Moriarty has been added to GCW’s For the Culture on Friday, October 9th as part of The Collective shows that weekend from Indianapolis, Indiana.

**Spring Break 4 has released four-match announcements for the card on Saturday, October 10th:
*Matt Tremont vs. Alex Colon – billed as Tremont’s final GCW match
*Jonathan Gresham vs. Lee Moriarty
*Alex Shelley vs. Tony Deppen
*Dezmond Xavier & Zachary Wentz vs. Ironbeast

**The latest additions to Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport are “Grizzly” Kal Jak and Chris Dickinson joining Homicide, Josh Alexander, Deonna Purrazzo, and Calvin Tankman. The show will stream live on Sunday, October 11th.

**SHIMMER is also part of The Collective with a show on Sunday, October 11th. They have announced SHIMMER champion Kimber Lee, tag champions Delmi Exo & Ashley Vox, Priscilla Kelly, Nicole Savoy, Hyan, Zoey Sky, Deonna Purrazzo, Elayna Black, Marti Belle, Holidead, Nevaeh, and Thunderkitty so far for the event.


**Daniel Cormier has confirmed that he tested positive for COVID-19 weeks before the fight with Stipe Miocic. Speaking to ESPN’s Marc Raimondi, Cormier credited the use of an Oura ring for indicating health issues he was experiencing.

One of his training partners tested positive on July 1st and his team subsequently tested negative, however, Cormier started feeling sick on July 8th. The Oura ring, which is a smart ring that gathers data showed an increase in his resting heart rate, a big increase in his heart rate variability, and a rise in his temperature. Later, he tested positive for COVID-19 and limited training to his garage with one other person (who was previously positive), who was willing to hold pads for Cormier. The fighter said he spent $5,000 on testing for him and his team and set up his garage like a bubble and was not breaking any rules as he quarantined and trained.

Cormier tested positive three additional times before testing negative on July 25th, which was three weeks before UFC 252. Cormier was adamant that the virus did not impact his training and didn’t want to make it an excuse for the loss to Miocic stating he was the better man that night.

**Dana White’s Contender Series is going on hiatus with the UFC’s upcoming move to Abu Dhabi for the next five weeks. Their last show before the break took place last night with the following results (bold denotes those offered contracts):
*Kyle Driscoll def. Dinis Paiva by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Danyelle Wolf def. Taneisha Tennant by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Michael Lombardo def. Korey Kuppe by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Collin Anglin def. Muhammadjon Naimov by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-28)
*Jordan Williams def. Gregory Rodriguez by TKO at 2:19 of Round 1

**The light heavyweight fight between Glover Teixeira and Thiago Santos that was re-scheduled due to Teixeira testing positive for COVID-19, is off again. This time, it’s Santos who has tested positive for the virus, which was first reported by Combate. The fight was postponed by several weeks with the new date of October 3rd until the news of Santos’ positive test. UFC president Dana White confirmed the fight was off when asked on Tuesday night. The card on October 3rd on Fight Island will be headlined by Holly Holm vs. Irene Aldana.

**Here is the card for Thursday’s Invicta FC 42 card from Kansas City, Kansas and streaming on UFC Fight Pass at 8 pm ET:
*Ashley Cummins (7-5) vs. Alesha Zappitella (7-2)
*Lisa Verzosa (5-1) vs. Raquel Canuto (5-5)
*Jessica Delboni (9-1) vs. Herica Tiburcio (10-4)
*Victoria Leonardo (6-2) vs. Liz Tracy (5-3)
*Auttumn Norton (1-1) vs. Brittney Cloudy (2-2)
*Jennifer Chieng (0-0) vs. Flore Hani (0-0)




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About John Pollock 5646 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.