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**Rewind-A-SmackDown is LIVE tonight at the regular time of 11:15 p.m. ET with Wai Ting and I reviewing both Friday Night SmackDown and AEW Rampage. After the reviews, we will open the phone lines to chat about any subjects you would like. The show is live and available for all members of the POST Wrestling Café.
**We want to send our best wishes to listener Rob Kaminski, who recently learned he has a brain tumor. There is a GoFundMe campaign that has been launched to assist with his medical bills and we are rooting for recovery for Rob.
**This week, we put out three G1 Climax podcasts coverings the shows from Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Wednesday’s podcast is a free show for everyone to get our thoughts on the tournament along with our picks for the top matches of the tournament, so far. Thursday’s show is a solo one where I review Day 16 and the elimination of EVIL from the B Block along with a discussion of the latest news items. Wai & I will be back on Monday with another G1 show for POST Wrestling Café members covering the A Block final.
**The latest edition of The British Wrestling Experience with Martin Bushby, Benno & Andy Ogden looking at the recent Rev Pro ‘High Stakes’ card featuring Will Ospreay vs. Ricky Knight Jr. and Aussie Open vs. Destination Everywhere, Zack Sabre Jr.’s performance in the G1 Climax, the state of Progress Wrestling, and the dramatic results from the World Transfer Window.
**Dan “The Mouth” Lovranski is the guest on this month’s edition of The Wellness Policy with Wai Ting and Jordan Goodman where the subject is music and its role in their lives.
FRIDAY NIGHT HEAD-TO-HEAD BATTLE
October 15th has escalated into an all-out fight between WWE and AEW for one of the rare nights of the year that SmackDown moves to FS1 and made the calculated decision to extend the program by 30 minutes, thus, going head-to-head with the first half of AEW Rampage.
The chess moves over the week have led to 2 ½ hours of programming between the two groups with AEW adding a one-hour “Buy-In” special on YouTube that will see Bryan Danielson take on Minoru Suzuki as a lead-in for Rampage. FS1 advertised that the final 30 minutes of SmackDown will be commercial-free, which was a frequent tool used for NXT programming in certain scenarios against AEW when both ran on Wednesdays.
The interpretation of tonight’s numbers will likely be all over the place from comparisons of the final 30 minutes with each other, 2 ½ hours of SmackDown vs. 60 minutes of Rampage, YouTube views being erroneously compared to cable viewership, and the perfect recipe for each side to argue its point.
The major number is the 18-49 figures with SmackDown on an unfamiliar network where it has done a 0.27, 0.25, and 0.30 over the last three episodes to air on FS1 since October 2019. Since September 17th, Rampage did a 0.28, 0.29, and 0.25 but fell greatly last week with a 0.17 in the key demo, which is discouraging when you factor in a commercial-free WWE competition and the Boston vs. Houston game on Fox given baseball’s impact on wrestling viewership this year for the playoffs.
In overall viewership, WWE should have a comfortable edge given its lineup including a Brock Lesnar appearance and Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks. The added 30 minutes should bring the overall average down even without commercials given the fact it’s opting to go against another wrestling product that invariably will take some of the SmackDown audience, even if it’s minimal.
For tonight, it will likely be WWE’s night but that opens the door for what is next? The immediate question is how WWE and FS1 handle October 29th when SmackDown returns to FS1 when the World Series airs on Fox. Beyond that, is the idea explored of adding WWE programming in the 10-11 p.m. ET hour on FS1 and a permanent counterprogramming measure against Rampage? If so, then it’s a different level of fight, and playing the long game would seem advantageous to AEW in many respects. It’s been outlined in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that the percentage of SmackDown viewers that tune into Rampage is not an overwhelming figure, but going head-to-head on FS1 every Friday night could expose a lot more WWE fans to the AEW product when it’s on at the same time with a lot of familiar stars.
The goal for AEW is simply to be on par or in the immediate sights of WWE’s top program and therefore, tonight is not make-or-break based on numbers but rather, the perception that comes out of nights like this. The media message of late is that WWE finally has a competitor and just seeing its response to Rampage backs up that claim. This is not about winning tonight, all is built towards the next round of television rights negotiations where AEW can make its case that it’s on an upward trajectory that is breathing down the neck of the industry leader that delivers a comparable audience for a fraction of the television revenue.
**Friday Night SmackDown takes place from the Toyota Arena in Ontario, California beginning at 8 p.m. ET on FS 1 and Sportsnet 360 in Canada (which will carry the entire 2 ½ hour program). WrestleTix reports that the event is virtually sold out with just under 7,400 tickets distributed as of Wednesday. Below are the advertised matches and segments:
*Brock Lesnar appearance
*Non-title: Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks
*King of the Ring Semi-Final: Finn Balor vs. Sami Zayn
*Queen’s Crown Semi-Final: Zelina Vega vs. Carmella
*Sonya Deville vs. Naomi
FS1 will also be replaying immediately after at 10:30 p.m. ET and therefore, will go against the remainder of Rampage.
**AEW runs the James L. Knight Center in Miami, Florida with back-to-back nights at the venue with a live Dynamite on Saturday night. The last time they ran this venue was in July and drew 3,700 for their first Dynamite outside of Daily’s Place since the pandemic began. Tickets sales have been less this time around. As of Tuesday, WrestleTix reported 1,725 tickets out for Rampage and 2,417 for Dynamite. The company is doing a Heritage Night promotion where you can get a discounted ticket if you bring a flag to the venue.
The one-hour Buy-In special begins at 9 p.m. ET on YouTube going directly against the second hour of SmackDown with the following matches scheduled for the pre-show:
*Bryan Danielson vs. Minoru Suzuki
*Bobby Fish vs. Lee Moriarty
*Tay Conti vs. Santana Garrett
Rampage begins at 10 p.m. on TNT and TSN Direct in Canada with the following matches announced:
*Chris Jericho, Jake Hager & Sammy Guevara vs. Junior dos Santos, Scorpio Sky & Ethan Page
*CM Punk vs. Matt Sydal
*Ruby Soho vs. The Bunny
CM Punk vs. Matt Sydal will start the show at 10 p.m. ET with Tony Khan announcing that the match will air commercial-free.
**The Young Bucks were interviewed by Justin Barrasso at SI.com about tonight’s edition of Rampage. Matt Jackson spoke about their current relationship with Twitter and experimenting with tweeting their thoughts in the bio section, instead.
Unfortunately, the days of gauging ideas or reading constructive criticism on Twitter are over. It’s mostly just hyperbole, or trolls trying to give their hottest takes so their tweets are the most liked. As a creator or someone in the spotlight, if you tweet something out, no matter what it is, you likely just created your own hate-thread.
Although social media has turned into an overcrowded cesspool of toxicity, there are still ways to use it as an effective tool. I wanted to figure out a way to do Twitter without actually having to do Twitter, so I started writing my thoughts in the bio. Most of the time I ‘post and ghost,’ and have no idea if people liked what I wrote. I knew I was on to something when the boys [in the locker room] would reach out and tell me.
**Tony Khan responded to a news article that compared him to Ted Turner. This comes from the latest issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter where editor Dave Meltzer noted that comments about “we beat Ted Turner and Ted Turner is smarter than Tony Khan” has circulated in WWE. Khan tweeted:
I’ve never met Ted Turner. It’s very possible Ted Turner is smarter than me, but he didn’t know 1% of what I know about professional wrestling or WCW would still be on TNT/TBS. @AEW is here to stay, watch #AEWRampage LIVE tonight on TNT or WatchTNT app on your phone or any device.
**Mike Johnson at PWinsider.com reports that the annual Tribute to the Troops special will air on Fox on Sunday, November 14th. The site adds that at least one match is scheduled to be taped tonight at the SmackDown tapings in Ontario, California for Tribute to the Troops.
**Tony Khan spoke to DAZN about the plans to run an AEW card at Craven Cottage in the U.K:
Both that place and AEW are very important to me so having our first U.K. event there in West London is something that can be worked on. That’s a perfect way to kick off a live event for our U.K. fans so watch this space in regards to that. It’s definitely something I’d love to do.
**Khan continued his media blitz with an appearance on Z100 in New York speaking with host Josh Martinez.
**Sasha Banks spoke with the New York Post’s Joseph Staszewski about tonight’s episode of SmackDown and her match with Becky Lynch. Banks gave the following in-character answer when asked why she didn’t wrestle at SummerSlam in August:
There’s no reason. I’m not telling you anything. (Laughs). You’re not Oprah. You’re not the WWE Network, you’re not getting me the views. I’m not telling you my secrets. You can read my book. You can read my documentary when I want to speak about it. Thank you very much.
In the same interview, Banks discussed Bayley’s knee injury and getting hurt right before they were to welcome fans back:
When I speak to Bayley it’s so hard and frustrating because, man, she got hurt (ACL injury) a week before we were going back to the fans. So she’s already telling me she hasn’t wrestled in front of fans for almost two years. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine that feeling? And after someone like her who has absolutely killed the game, is on top of her game right now, just to get taken out like that is so hard to see. Everything happens for a reason. I know she’s gonna come back better than ever. Her mind is more focused than ever and I just can’t wait for her to return.
**WWE is running a Supershow in Rio Rancho, New Mexico on Saturday night followed by El Paso, Texas on Sunday. Monday’s episode of Raw takes place from the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento before everyone flies to Saudi Arabia for Crown Jewel next Thursday.
**WWE has announced the following three matches for 205 Live tonight at a special start time of 10:30 p.m. ET to avoid airing against SmackDown:
*Roderick Strong vs. Odyssey Jones
*Boa vs. Jeet Rama
*Josh Briggs & Brooks Jensen vs. TBA
**Warrior Wrestling is running a card on Fite TV on Saturday night at 9 p.m. ET featuring an appearance by Bret Hart. The card includes Trey Miguel vs. Alex Shelley for the Warrior Wrestling Championship, Aramis vs. Rey Horus vs. Gringo Loco for the Lucha Championship, Josh Alexander vs. Calvin Tankman, Jonathan Gresham vs. KC Navarro, Moose vs. Sam Adonis, Davey Richards vs. Ace Austin, Buddy Matthews (formerly Buddy Murphy in WWE) vs. Chandler Hopkins, Lady Frost & Victor Benjamin vs. Janai Kai & Yoya, and Dan the Dad & KLD vs. Warhorse & Beast Man.
**The G1 Climax has a break until Monday when the A Block final takes place from Yokohama Budokan where Zack Sabre Jr., KENTA, Kota Ibushi, and Shingo Takagi are still alive with the following tournament matches set for Monday:
*Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Tanga Loa
*Shingo Takagi vs. Yujiro
*Tomohiro Ishii vs. Toru Yano
*Kota Ibushi vs. KENTA
I can definitely see Tanga Loa playing spoiler and beating Zack Sabre Jr., so he gets his signature win of the tournament and that removes Zack. I cannot fathom Yujiro beating Shingo Takagi and would be a terrible waste of a Takagi loss, so he should win. Ishii and Yano are eliminated, and the outcome doesn’t matter. So, that leaves Ibushi vs. KENTA. If Ibushi wins, he advances if Zack loses. If KENTA beats Ibushi, he wins the block if Takagi loses his match, which is unlikely, and therefore, Ibushi has to be the favorite to win the block.
Unlike previous years, they are not running three consecutive nights to close the tournament with Tuesday off and then the B Block final on Wednesday and finals on Thursday at Budokan Hall. The B Block is down to Kazuchika Okada and Jeff Cobb where the winner of that match advances. Cobb is 8-0 while Okada lost to Tama Tonga on Thursday and goes into the match 7-1 but will advance with a win.
**NJPW Strong is holding tapings at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia on Saturday and Sunday with Minoru Suzuki and Will Ospreay be working on both nights while Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston are on the Sunday tapings. Saturday’s show features Minoru Suzuki vs. Chris Dickinson, Juice Robinson vs. El Phantasmo, Jay White vs. Fred Yehi, Fred Rosser & Rocky Romero vs. Tom Lawlor & Danny Limelight, David Finlay & Alex Coughlin & Yuya Uemura vs. JR Kratos, Jorel Nelson & Royce Isaacs, Karl Fredericks & Brody King & The DKC vs. Bateman & Barrett Brown & Misterioso, Hikuleo vs. Kevin Knight, Will Ospreay & TJP vs. Ren Narita & Clark Connors, and Alex Zayne vs. Ariya Daivari.
Sunday night has Will Ospreay vs. Alex Zayne, Jonathan Gresham vs. Alex Coughlin, a 10-man tag with Tom Lawlor & JR Kratos & Royce Isaacs & Jorel Nelson & Danny Limelight vs. Fred Rosser & Karl Fredericks & Rocky Romero & Ren Narita & The DKC, Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston vs. Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer (a rematch from Arthur Ashe Stadium), Lio Rush & Ariya Daivari vs. El Phantasmo & Chris Bey, Jay White & Hikuleo vs. Fred Yehi & Wheeler Yuta, Clark Connors vs. TJP, Daniel Garcia & Chris Dickinson & Brody King vs. Bateman & Misterioso & Barrett Brown, and Juice Robinson & David Finlay vs. Yuya Uemura & Kevin Knight.
**Roman Reigns spoke with Muscle & Fitness about the pressure of being the top guy in WWE, his nutrition and cardio work, as well as the need for more discussion and actions regarding mental health awareness.
**Christian Cage and Josh Alexander had a very good segment on IMPACT Wrestling on Thursday to promote their title match at Bound for Glory on October 23rd.
**Kristin Ashly from Pro Wrestling Illustrated and the Bell to Belles site will be a guest on Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette next Thursday to reveal the top five of the PWI’s Women’s 150 list.
**SHIMMER is back with two shows on Sunday, October 31st at the Eagles Club in Berwyn, Illinois. They will be running cards at Noon and 4 p.m. local time. They are advertising SHIMMER champion Kimber Lee, Heart of SHIMMER champion Hyan, tag champions Ashley Vox & Delmi Exo, Mercedes Martinez, Nicole Savoy, Willow Nightingale, Zoey Skye, Nevaeh, Veda Scott, Queen Aminata, Janai Kai, Laynie Luck, Allysin Kay, Holidead, Skylar, Brittany Blake, Tesha Price, Marti Belle, Charli Evans, Ray Lyn, Davienne, Thunder Kitty, and Kayla Kassidy.
*C*4 Wrestling presents ‘Never Say Never Again’ on Friday, November 12th at St. Anthony’s Hall in Ottawa, Ontario. The promotion has announced the main event will be a Title vs. Title match between C*4 champion “Speedball” Mike Bailey and Underground champion Kevin Blackwood along with LuFisto facing Joshua Bishop.
**Fozzy is scheduled for a U.K. tour beginning November 29th and running until December 12th with twelve shows scheduled during that stretch and likely means Chris Jericho will miss at least two weeks of AEW programming. The group is also scheduled for four shows in Australia from February 22-26 next year.
**The WWE stock closed at $59.49 on Friday.
**I caught this week’s episode of MLW Fusion ALPHA and was a fairly strong episode with two very good matches. The overarching storyline is the power held by Cesar Duran and reporter Alicia Atout investigating his exodus from Boyle Heights, California (Lucha Underground) and how he has acquired all his money. There was a really well-produced video in the middle of the show as an “expose” on Duran with grainy footage, subtitles to capture what Duran said on a private phone call, and a mysterious woman searching Duran’s old office in The Temple (with the hint that it could be Catrina a.k.a. Karlee Perez). The matches included Davey Richards submitting Tom Lawlor in a very good main event and Calvin Tankman beating Lee Moriarty with the Tankman Driver. I thought both matches were very good, and Tankman is a great talent given his size and what he can do with it especially with someone the caliber of Moriarty. MLW is also getting its women’s featherweight division off the ground and had Delmi Exo defeat Brittany Blake, which wasn’t at the level of the other matches and the audience seemed restless. They are building towards the War Chamber Match on November 6th where Alex Hammerstone has recruited EJ Nduka and Richard Holliday and needs one more teammate to face CONTRA Unit in Philadelphia. The episode was Joe Dombrowski’s debut on commentary alongside Rich Bocchini and the two worked well together.
**Earlier this week, the UFC cut ties with fighter Luis Pena following an arrest in Deerfield Beach, Florida where he faces a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence and simple battery. Pena is alleged to have struck a female using a closed fist several times while also hitting a second woman, who was trying to stop Pena.
MMA Junkie obtained the following probable cause affidavit issued by the Broward Sheriff’s Office from arresting officer Steven G. Lees:
On the above date and time, the above defendant was involved in a physical altercation with (redacted) whom he had been in an intimate relationship with for the last 1 1/2 years. The defendant did actually and intentionally strike (redacted) in the face multiple times with a closed fist and continued to strike (redacted) while she was on the ground. (redacted) had minor abrasions to the top of her left hand, abrasions on the left wrist, and an alleged bite mark to her left knee region. While the above incident was occurring, victim (redacted) observed the altercation and attempted to step in and defuse the situation between the Defendant and (redacted). At that time, the defendant struck (redacted) in the left eye with a closed fist. The aforementioned strike caused a purple contusion to the eye region of (redacted). When struck, (redacted) fell to the ground causing a laceration to her right elbow. (redacted) and (redacted) both provided sworn statements that attested to the above information, and BWC was in use and injuries were photographed.
The UFC issued the following statement announcing his release:
UFC is aware of the disturbing allegations concerning the recent arrest of Luis Pena. Mr. Pena has been open about his struggles with mental health and substance abuse issues and the organization has on multiple prior occasions attempted to help him get professional treatment. At this time, UFC believes Mr. Pena needs to deal with the health and legal issues in front of him, and consequently has informed Mr. Pena’s management that his promotional agreement has been terminated.
Pena, 28, had been fighting for the UFC since 2018 after competing on the Ultimate Fighter. He has a professional record of 9-3 and last competed this past April defeating Alexander Munoz by split decision.
**Coach Mike Winkeljohn appeared on The MMA Hour this past Wednesday and stated that Jon Jones is not allowed at the JacksonWink MMA gym following his recent arrest in Las Vegas. Winkeljohn stated that it’s not a permanent ban but one of the requirements is that Jones refrains from drinking while the fighter will still have access to certain coaches off-site.
Jones addressed the decision through a post on Twitter:
Had a heartbreaking conversation over the phone with one of my longtime coaches last night, really hurts to lose the support of someone I respect so much. Sincere thank you to the rest of the coaches for staying in the fight with me. Our journey continues.
Jones is due back in court on October 26th after his arrest in Las Vegas last month where he faces a misdemeanor charge of battery domestic violence and a felony charge for injury and tampering to a vehicle. After police were called to the Caesar’s Palace hotel, they observed that Jones’ fiancée had a bloody nose and lip and stated Jones “got physical” with her. When Jones was confronted by the police, he allegedly slammed his head into the hood of the police vehicle leading to the felony charge.
Jones is denying that he struck his fiancé with the following statement issued Wednesday:
I love how people are imagining the worst possible situation in their heads and making it somehow factual. I never hit my fiancé and our daughters were woken up after our confrontation. My daughters didn’t see or hear us arguing.
That’s really the only thing I care to clarify.. outside of that, looking forward to moving forward without alcohol. It’s the first time in my life where I’m actually ready to quit. Glad to have the support of my fiancé, family friends and fans.
**The UFC Fight Night card on Saturday features a women’s featherweight main event as Aspen Ladd stepped in on short notice to replace the injured Holly Holm for a fight with Norma Dumont. Both fighters made weight, which comes after Ladd failed to do so for her bantamweight fight two weeks ago. It was somewhat concerning that she was coming back so soon after a scary scene on the scales on October 1st, but she is fighting at a higher weight this time and looked night-and-day at the weigh-ins. This card was also supposed to feature Miesha Tate fighting Ketlen Vieira but has been moved to November 20th after Tate tested positive for COVID-19.
Below is the full card that streams on ESPN+ on Saturday night at 7 p.m. ET:
MAIN CARD (7 p.m. ET on ESPN+, TSN 5 in Canada)
*Aspen Ladd vs. Norma Dumont
*Andrei Arlovski vs. Carlos Felipe
*Jim Miller vs. Erick Gonzalez
*Manon Fiorot vs. Mayra Bueno Silva
*Nate Landwehr vs. L’udovit Klein
PRELIMINARY CARD (4 p.m. ET on ESPN+, 5 p.m. on TSN 5 in Canada)
*Andrew Sanchez vs. Bruno Silva
*Ramazan Emeev vs. Danny Roberts
*Lupita Godinez vs. Luana Carolina
*Brandon Davis vs. Danaa Batgerel
*Istela Nunes vs. Ariane Carnelossi
**Julian Marquez was pulled from the UFC card on Friday due to “non-COVID related health issues” and his fight with Jordan Wright was pulled from the main card. The UFC has moved the fight between Nate Landwehr and L’udovit Klein to the main card, according to John Morgan of MMA Junkie.
**Bellator 268 takes place Saturday night with the main card airing on Showtime with the semi-finals of the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix including a title defense by Vadim Nemkov. The UFC main card begins at 7 p.m. ET and goes against the Bellator prelims but should be over by the time the Showtime portion begins. Here are the main card fights on Showtime airing at 10 p.m. ET:
*Light Heavyweight Championship, Grand Prix Semi-Final: Vadim Nemkov (champion) vs. Julius Anglickas
*Light Heavyweight Grand Prix Semi-Final: Corey Anderson vs. Ryan Bader
*Benson Henderson vs. Brent Primus
*Henry Corrales vs. Vladyslav Parubchenko
G1 CLIMAX PODCASTS
Day 16 – Kazuchika Okada vs. Tama Tonga [FREE SHOW]
Day 15 – Shingo Takagi vs. Great O-Khan
Day 14 – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jeff Cobb
Day 11-13 – Ishii vs. O-Khan, Okada vs. Taichi, Ibushi vs. O-Khan
Day 10 – Kazuchika Okada vs. SANADA
Day 9 – Shingo Takagi vs. Kota Ibushi
Day 8 – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. SANADA [FREE SHOW]
Day 6 & 7 – Shingo Takagi vs. KENTA, Okada vs. YOSHI-HASHI
Day 5 – Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Kota Ibushi
Day 4 – Kazuchika Okada vs. EVIL [FREE SHOW]
Day 3 – Shingo Takagi vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Day 2 – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada
Day 1 – Shingo Takagi vs. Tomohiro Ishii
THE WELLNESS POLICY: Music w/ Dan Lovranski
Wai Ting and Jordan Goodman are joined by Dan “The Mouth” Lovranski for a deep dive on music for this month’s episode of The Wellness Policy.
THE BRITISH WRESTLING EXPERIENCE
The BWE reviews RevPro’s return to York Hall in London with ‘High Stakes’, Progress Chapter 122, Zack Sabre Jr. in the G1, and more.
SHOT IN THE DARK: Suzuki debuts on NJPW Strong, Crowbar/Blue Meanie on AEW Dark
John Siino reviews this week’s editions of AEW Dark, AEW Dark: Elevation, NXT UK, 205 Live, NJPW Strong, NWA Powerrr, Ring of Honor, and Main Event in under 15 minutes on Shot In The Dark
upNXT 10/12/21: “Melo Don’t Miss”
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman talk about the October 12th 2021 episode of WWE NXT 2.0 featuring Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs Santos Escobar for the North American Championship and the first ever “cash-in” in NXT!
REWIND-A-RAW 10/11/21: King of the Ring, Queen’s Crown cont’d
John Pollock & Wai Ting are back to chat about WWE Raw and the continuation of the King of the Ring/Queen’s Crown tournaments, GCW’s big weekend, and more.
The N.W.A. Podcast: “Ettore De Force”
Nate Milton & Kris Ealy are joined by Chinyere Okafor (Notoriety Sports Network) to discuss Big E’s big win, the continuing conversation around AEW’s main event scene, and the ups & downs of being a Black woman in Pro-Wrestling/MMA media
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