POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: NXT’s move to Tuesday, Jon Jones vs. UFC

Assessing NXT's move to Tuesday and what it will mean for AEW, Jon Jones vs. UFC, Bella Twins comment on HOF speech, new WM matches & more.

Photo Courtesy: WWE

POST IT NOTES

**Rewind-A-Dynamite is LIVE at 10:15 pm ET tonight for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso Café members. Wai Ting and I will have a complete review of AEW Dynamite, a rundown of the news including NXT’s move to Tuesday, and read your feedback.

**Braden Herrington & Davie Portman will be LIVE tonight at 10:15 pm ET at Twitch.tv/upNXTpodcast reviewing tonight’s episode of NXT.

**Rewind-A-Wai #83 features a big look at the career of Brian Pillman as we review the “Brian Pillman – Loose Cannon” DVD that the WWE released in 2006. It’s a big discussion on his career, the obstacles that were consistent throughout his life, the struggles he endured, and the circumstances of his death in 1997 at the age of 35. Plus, we look at how WWE told his story, interview subjects included in the documentary, and names that could have added further context, as well as how WWE handled his passing the night after on Raw.

**Davie Portman and Andrew Thompson have a review of IMPACT discussing James Storm’s 1,000th match and more on DEEP IMPACT.

**On Thursday, we will have an interview on the site with Dr. Alex Patel.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: Rewind-A-Dynamite (LIVE at 10:15 pm ET for Dbl Dbl+ Patrons)
Tonight: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman (LIVE at 10:15 pm ET on Twitch.tv/upNXTpodcast)
Tonight: Shot in the Dark with John Siino (upNXT)
Thursday: POST Interview – Dr. Alex Patel
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (LIVE at 10:15 pm ET for all Patrons)
Saturday: POST PODCAST DAY at Noon ET for all POST Wrestling Café members
Sunday: MCU L8R with Wai Ting & WH Park (Patreon)

WRESTLING NEWS

**WWE and USA Network made it official that NXT is moving to Tuesdays beginning April 13th (first reported by the Mat Men Podcast) while adding a multi-year extension for the program on the network. It signals the end of AEW and NXT running head-to-head, which began on October 2, 2019. NXT only managed to top AEW once in the demo for the December 18, 2019, episode where Rhea Ripley defeated Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women’s Championship.

The move was considered necessary after the news of the pending shutdown of the NBC Sports Network with the USA Network absorbing a portion of the NHL games for the remainder of NBC’s current deal, making it untenable for NXT to remain a Wednesday night property.

POST Wrestling confirmed through a spokesperson from Rogers that NXT will also be moving to Tuesday nights in Canada on Sportsnet 360.

The obvious question is what the move means for both products and what gains each experience without a direct competitor? We have limited data to lean on from last summer when this experiment was tested for two weeks with NXT airing its Super Tuesday specials allowing AEW to have Wednesday to themselves (although SyFy aired a replay of NXT for one of those weeks head-to-head).

For both programs, I took the data from the previous four head-to-head episodes on Wednesday to compare with the two unopposed weeks. NXT on Tuesday saw an increase in viewership by 25 percent (673,000 to 843,000) and the 18-49 demographic was 33 percent higher (0.18 to 0.24). Conversely, AEW running unopposed saw its viewership jump by 17.4 percent (828,000 to 972,000) and the 18-49 demo up by 12 percent (0.33 to 0.37).

It’s a small sample size but that data suggests a healthy amount of crossover that could benefit both, with NXT standing to gain more running unopposed than AEW. The experiment hurt NXT’s “cool factor”, which was a heavy part of its marketing in the preceding years. While we don’t know the terms of the deal extension, it has made NXT profitable as the brand was a loss leader on the WWE Network given the amount spent on contracts, production, and the running of the Performance Center being viewed as an investment for the creation of its next stars. Along the way, it became something different with the ability to run major arenas and compete for the best talent on the independents and elsewhere.

Of the intriguing questions, is whether the 50+ audience is more open to sampling AEW’s product with NXT moving nights? That has been the demo that has never embraced AEW, and NXT has routinely owned those viewers on Wednesday nights. That is the audience that carries NXT and quite frankly, Raw, as evidenced this week by most of its demos being up but the 50+ demo falling 13.5 percent led to Raw’s lowest viewership average this year. If AEW can siphon a portion of that demo, it would raise their profile in overall viewership that is largely a status symbol to some, of hitting a million viewers live each week (AEW regularly tops that figure when DVR viewers are figured in).

With the changes taking effect post-WrestleMania, the new wrestling schedule is as insane as ever with the following programs:

Monday: WWE Raw, AEW Dark: Elevation, Ring of Honor on FITE (syndicated on the weekend)
Tuesday: WWE NXT, AEW Dark, NWA Powerrr
Wednesday: AEW Dynamite, MLW Fusion
Thursday: IMPACT Wrestling, NXT UK
Friday: Friday Night SmackDown, NJPW Strong, 205 Live

**Mike Johnson of PWinsider.com was the first to report that Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler will defend the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship on the second night of WrestleMania. The challengers will be determined through a multi-team match on the first night of WrestleMania with the teams to be made official on next Monday’s episode of Raw (which was taped on Tuesday).

**Here are the matches for tonight’s edition of AEW Dynamite airing at 8 pm ET tonight on TNT and taped last week at Daily’s Place:
*Arcade Anarchy: Orange Cassidy & Chuck Taylor vs. Miro & Kip Sabian
*Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers vs. The Lucha Brothers & Laredo Kid
*Christian Cage vs. Frankie Kazarian
*Exhibition Match: Cody Rhodes vs. QT Marshall w/ Arn Anderson as the referee
*Hikaru Shida & Tay Conti vs. Nyla Rose & The Bunny
*Jon Moxley vs. Cezar Bononi

**Below are the matches for tonight’s episode of NXT airing at 8 pm on USA and the final show before next week’s two-night TakeOver event:
*Battle Royal: Roderick Strong, Pete Dunne, Dexter Lumis, Austin Theory, Leon Ruff, KUSHIDA, Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, Jake Atlas, LA Knight, Tyler Rust, Bronson Reed, and Cameron Grimes
*Roderick Strong vs. Cameron Grimes
*Tian Sha (Xia Li & Mei Ying) vs. Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter
*Zoey Stark vs. Raquel Gonzalez
*Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell in action

**MLW presents its “Never Say Never” special tonight at 7 pm ET on Fubo Sports and the promotion’s YouTube channel with the following card:
*MLW World Heavyweight Championship: Jacob Fatu (champion) vs. Calvin Tankman
*Myron Reed vs. Daivari
*Grudge Match: Jordan Oliver vs. Simon Gotch

**The first night of Hall of Fame tapings occurred Tuesday night at the ThunderDome at Tropicana Field. A photo has circulated featuring Vince McMahon and Paul Levesque standing alongside Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Sean Waltman, Titus O’Neil, The Bella Twins, JBL, and the family of Davey Boy Smith (Diana, Harry, and Georgia Smith). Both 2020 and 2021 Hall of Fame classes will be featured in next Tuesday’s broadcast on the WWE Network.

**Nikki and Brie Bella spoke about preparing their Hall of Fame speech on the latest edition of their podcast. They stated they had a speech written for fifteen minutes and then learned it would have to be “three to five minutes”, and it was very difficult to condense their speech from people to thank and stories to share. Nikki said they were told to speak more about themselves but felt they had made it to the Hall of Fame and wanted to thank those that helped them and equated it to winning an Oscar.

**Tuesday’s episode of “Young Rock” averaged 2,583,000 viewers on NBC with a 0.55 in the 18-49 demographic finishing second among network shows behind ABC’s “Pooch Perfect”. Neither IMPACT Wrestling nor Dark Side of the Ring: Confidential were listed among the top 150 cable programs on Tuesday.

**NJPW had two very bad houses at Korakuen Hall this week drawing 388 people on Monday and 345 on Tuesday. They have burnt out the Tokyo market this year with so many shows but haven’t had the same outcome in other parts of the country due to less frequency. It comes at a time where the cards lack depth and it’s a lot of recycled matches. Yet, the company is moving forward with an ambitious schedule over the next few months with Sumo Hall this Sunday, the two Wrestling Dontaku cards in Fukuoka in early May, and then running Yokohama Stadium on May 15th, the Tokyo Dome on May 29th, and Sumo Hall on June 6th for Dominion.

**WWE’s PC channel has released a video on Brian Kendrick and his role as a producer at NXT with comments from Isaiah “Swerve” Scott and Mansoor. Kendrick, 41, has not wrestled since the October 28, 2021 edition of 205 Live.

**Luchablog has a great recap of Andrade’s recent media interview discussing his exit from WWE, his upcoming plans, and more.

**Stephanie McMahon-Levesque spoke with the Wall Street Journal and touched on the company’s strategy towards emerging apps and platforms along with their attention to data and analytics:

The bottom line is that we want to be where our audience is. We keep an eye on up-and-coming platforms and test them. For example, my husband (Paul “Triple H” Levesque) and I have gone on Clubhouse, an audio chat app, and experimented with that. Digital and social media have always allowed brands to test and learn quickly, but especially in this COVID era, brands are feeling the permission to do that even more. You can’t be afraid to fail—try something, and if it doesn’t work, that’s okay. Now more than ever, consumers want to be a part of your brand, and social media allows them to do that very easily. If they are willing to spend their time and money—their most valuable resources—on your brand, they want to feel connected to it. Ask your consumers questions, and listen to them. Then thank them for helping you.

They play a huge role. We currently have close to 60 data scientists working at WWE, constantly analyzing our data and synthesizing it. The team can, for example, track the impact a performer or story line has on viewership and social media activity and tie increases in engagement to content that was airing at specific times during one of our TV programs. Merchandise sales are also a key indicator of how popular our stars are and whether they’re resonating. There’s a whole “cosplay” side to our business, where people want to dress the part of their favorite performer, so merchandise sales are an important metric. WWE Network, our streaming content platform, also provides data points that are helpful. Like many brands, we’re getting great at data collection. Where we can improve is in the analysis piece—determining which data is most meaningful and pulling out themes to apply across our business.

**Scott Fishman at TV Insider interviewed Charly Arnolt about her new full-time role at ESPN and the recent reports of her exit from WWE:

There is always going to be chatter. The contract was coming up. Instead of renewing, I’m moving on. Everyone is going to have their own opinions regardless. I never had any issues while I was at WWE. Nothing bad happened. As far as I’m concerned, I’m leaving on a positive note and beginning what I believe to be the next step in my career.

**Rhea Ripley was interviewed by the New York Post and shared her experiences the past few weeks prior to her arrival on Raw the night after Fastlane:

So, it’s actually kind of funny. My last few weeks have actually just been in catering. I’ve just been going to the Raw shows and I’ve just been chilling in catering, not really knowing what was really going on with me or what they had planned. I just was eating too much (laughs) and that’s pretty much how it went for like weeks and then last week I found out, I want to say around 4 p.m., what was going on. Man, it was a shock to me as much as it is to everyone else. I was super surprised, super excited.

I guess, Asuka has been putting over in few interviews that she wanted to wrestle me for a long time and vice versa. I’ve also been saying she’s someone I’ve watched for a long, long time and always looked up to and thought was amazing at what she did. I’m very happy that this match is being planned because I think it’s gonna be a great one.

**Writer Yaz Jung has a great feature on Scott Hall after interviewing him last year and discussing his career prior to his second induction into the WWE Hall of Fame.

**The pre-show panel for both nights of NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver will feature Sam Roberts, Mickie James, former UFC & Bellator broadcaster Jimmy Smith, and reporter Arash Markazi.

**The WWE stock closed at $54.26 on Wednesday.

**WWE will be releasing a new episode of WWE Playback next Tuesday where Trish Stratus and Mickie James re-watch their match from WrestleMania 22 in 2006.

**Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods spoke about New Day honoring the late Brodie Lee (Jon Huber) with their gear at the Royal Rumble in January.

**A&E has released another trailer for the documentary on Steve Austin, which airs on Sunday, April 18th.

**Today is a significant day in history with a combination of events that took place. The inaugural WrestleMania emanated from Madison Square Garden in 1985 and aired across the country on closed-circuit. It is not hyperbole that it was a giant gamble by the company, which had spent a lot of money on talent and getting television in markets around the United States that they needed WrestleMania to be a success. Reportedly, 70 of the estimated 200 closed-circuit locations were canceled prior to the show with tickets underselling. However, they had a strong final week including Hulk Hogan and Mr. T appearing on Saturday Night Live the night prior, and the rest was history. It is arguably the most important show because a failure could have been catastrophic or at least greatly limited WWF’s national expansion and changed the course of the industry over the decade. There would be many larger shows and in scale, WrestleMania 3 will blow the first one away but it was inherent that the first be a successful show for the others to follow.

**In 2006, the famous Do Fixer (Dragon Kid, Genki Horiguchi & Ryo Saito) vs. Blood Generation (CIMA, Masato Yoshino & Naruki Doi) six-man tag match took place at Ring of Honor’s Supercard of Honor event in Chicago Ridge, Illinois. I was at the Frontier Fieldhouse that night and the building was electric for this match where everyone knew they were watching something out of this world and where the future of the industry was headed. It was unbelievable. Case Lowe at Voices of Wrestling has written a feature on the legacy of the match after fifteen years.

**Also, on this date from 2008 is one of the greatest segments in Raw’s history with Ric Flair’s retirement ceremony following WrestleMania 24. It was the ultimate send-off with his family, stars from the past, and the current era stars surrounding Flair and was a super-emotional segment, which made it difficult for many to accept when Flair decided to wrestle again because we’ll probably never see a retirement like this one again.

MMA NEWS

**Jon Jones is being public about his negotiations with the UFC for the proposed fight with Francis Ngannou. Jones is stating that $8-10 million for the fight is “too low” and argues he was underpaid throughout his ‘20s and is standing firm in these latest talks. It becomes an intricate game of chess given the knowledge that is out there regarding the UFC capping its share of revenue that is paid out to the fighters and not wanting to upset the pay structure, which could cause if Jones is successful. Complicating this for the fighters is that the UFC is less incentivized than ever to create big fights that come at a higher cost given the deal with ESPN+ that guarantees them a certain amount every pay-per-view regardless of how it sells. For ESPN+, there is a large incentive as they will profit greatly but they are not tasked with paying the fighters. Not to mention that there isn’t a heavyweight in existence that wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to fight Ngannou for a fraction of what Jones is stating is too low, with Derrick Lewis stating as much and further adds to the issue of fighters trying to get better terms while not having a united stance.

From Jones on Wednesday:

I had a brief phone meeting with UFC‘s lawyer Hunter a few days ago. As of right now I expressed to him that anywhere around eight to $10 million would be way too low for a fight of this magnitude. That’s all that has been discussed so far. I’m supposed to be waiting for what their offer is going to be. Really hoping the numbers are nowhere near that low. I guess we will see what happens. One thing I’m sure of, I’ve never had more people excited to see A fight than they are now, I literally can’t walk to my mail box without someone asking me about the fight.

I’ve been working my ass off for years, concussions, surgeries, fighting the Toughest competition UFC had to offer throughout my 20s for right around 2 million per fight. I’m just trying to have my payday, the fight that all of us fighters Believe is one day possible. I tweeted show me the money and that evidently pissed off the boss. What a learning lesson. I feel like if Connor would’ve sent that same tweet there would have been whiskey night.

I believe I was grossly underpaid throughout my entire 20s. I’m not even here bitching about that. I just want to see the future done right.

**The main event between Darren Till and Marvin Vettori is off the UFC card for April 17th on ABC. Till suffered a broken collarbone in training on Monday and issuing a lengthy statement on the matter. ESPN reports that Kevin Holland has been offered the fight and the middleweight is willing to take the fight, but it is not official yet. Holland just fought on March 20th where he lost by decision to Derek Brunson over five rounds.

**Showtime Sports and Bellator are making this Friday’s Bellator 255 card available for free for non-Showtime subscribers. The event will be distributed on Pluto TV, Hulu, YouTube, and Fubo Sports beginning at 6 pm ET. The main card begins at 9 pm with the following fights:
*Featherweight Championship, Grand Prix Final: Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (champion, 31-4) vs. Emmanuel Sanchez (20-4)
*Neiman Gracie (10-1) vs. Jason Jackson (13-4)
*Jack May (11-6) vs. Tyrell Fortune (9-1)
*Usman Nurmagomedov (11-0) vs. Mike Hamel (7-4)
*Alejandra Lara (9-3) vs. Kana Watanabe (9-0-1)

**The Bellator 255 card will be available live in Canada on YouTube and the Bellator app, per Aaron Bronsteter of TSN.

**Combate Americas is rebranding itself to Combate Global following the news of a five-year media rights agreement with Univision. The agreement will call for 30 live events per year beginning with their next event on Friday, April 9th. All cards will air on Univision’s platforms including Univision and TUDN (their Spanish sports station) along with the TUDN Radio Network, TUDN.tv, and the TUDN app. Past fights and events will be available on-demand through Univision’s ad-supported streaming service PrendeTV. The following was stated in their press release about the rebranding and their year-end one-night tournament:

Effective immediately, Combate Americas has re-branded to Combate Global to reflect its international expansion that will include the addition of athletes from territories outside of the U.S. and Latin America, to support the company’s electrifying country vs. country style of competition, similar to that of international soccer competitions.

Combate Global concludes each calendar year with the “COPA COMBATE” – a one-night, eight-man, six-figure grand prize event, widely regarded as one of the toughest competitions in the world of MMA and combat sports.

**Miesha Tate spoke with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani about the decision to return to fighting after more than five years since announcing her retirement. Tate also discussed how circumstances are different now after breaking up with her long-time boyfriend and coach Bryan Caraway back in 2016. Tate will fight Marion Reneau on July 17th. Tate was already locked into a UFC contract and it was her only option for a return and reached out last summer to Dana White and met in September. Tate has also put in her thirty-day notice to leave her role as an executive at ONE Championship.

**Anderson Silva is set for a boxing match later this year against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Silva shared the news in an interview with TMZ with the fight scheduled for Saturday, June 19th at Jalisco Stadium in Guadalajara, Mexico. The 45-year old former middleweight champion ended his tenure with UFC after his last loss to Uriah Hall last October and only managed one win in his previous nine fights going back to 2013. Silva has two boxing fights on his record with the first in May 1998 and another in August 2005.

ON THIS DATE

 

 

*****
DEEP IMPACT 3/30/21: “Sorry About Your Damn Luck”

Davie Portman and Andrew Thompson review IMPACT Wrestling from March 30th, 2021, where James Storm celebrates his 1000th match in IMPACT Wrestling by facing Eric Young in the main event!
*****
REWIND-A-WAI #83: Brian Pillman – Loose Cannon (2006)
John Pollock & Wai Ting review Brian Pillman: Loose Cannon, WWE’s 2006 documentary profiling the life, career and death of one of wrestling’s most innovative performers.
*****
REWIND-A-RAW 3/29/21: Hurt Business break-up, Andrade speaks
John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE Raw as The Hurt Business breaks up and Drew awaits his bounty hunters. We discuss Andrade’s first post-WWE interview and news from the weekend.
*****
UFC 260 POST SHOW: Miocic vs. Ngannou 2 
John Pollock and Phil Chertok are back with the UFC 260 POST Show where Francis Ngannou knocked out Stipe Miocic to become the UFC heavyweight champion.
*****
MCU L8R: “The Star-Spangled Man”
Wai Ting & WH Park review The Falcon & The Winter Soldier Ep. 2 as we meet John Walker, the new Captain America. Bucky’s meeting with a former Korean War opponent reveals a horrifying secret to Sam.
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 3/26/21: Bryan Added to WM Title Match
John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE SmackDown featuring the fallout from Fastlane, Daniel Bryan’s attempt to get into the Universal title match at WrestleMania & all the day’s news.
******
POST PURORESU: New Japan Cup Finals, AJPW, GLEAT 
On the first of several bonus episodes of POST Puroresu, WH Park is joined by puroresu aficionado Joey Bay to talk about recent happenings in the Japanese wrestling scene including New Japan Cup Finals, AJPW, and GLEAT.
*****

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About John Pollock 3944 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.