POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Joe Rogan under fire, WWE in strong position for its rights

WWE appears to be in great shape as linear/digital business grows, Joe Rogan under fire with Spotify standing by him, Raw on Syfy & more news.


Monday: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting (11:15 p.m. ET)
Tuesday: Rewind-A-Wai #103 – WWF Greatest Hits 1991 (Patreon)
Tuesday: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Wednesday: Shot in the Dark with John Siino
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite (10:15 p.m.)
Thursday: The British Wrestling Experience with Martin Bushby & Benno
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (11:15 p.m. ET)
Saturday: UFC 271 POST Show with John Pollock & Phil Chertok (Live on POST YouTube)
Sunday: Wrestlenomics Radio with Brandon Thurston & Chris Gullo


Audio version for POST Wrestling Café members

-Bryan Danielson announced for the ROH Hall of Fame
-Lance Storm joins IMPACT as producer
-WWE Raw preview
-Review of Will Ospreay vs. Michael Oku from RevPro High Stakes


**WWE Raw airs on Syfy tonight due to the coverage of the Winter Olympics on the USA Network. Both Raw and NXT 2.0 will be airing on Syfy for the next two weeks. For Raw, it is not worth getting too concerned with whatever the audience retention is, but it would be a positive sign if Raw stays among the most-watched cable programs outside of the Olympics.

In the graphic promoting tonight’s “Quiz Bowl”, they included Randy Orton’s image indicating he would be part of it. He was only in the Rumble match for 2:21 and missed last week’s episode of Raw.

The first hour of the show will be commercial-free on Syfy.

The show takes place from the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado (which is the same arena where Bad Bunny has a concert this Wednesday). Below are the advertised matches and segments:
*Alpha Academy and RK-Bro have a “Quiz Bowl”
*Appearance by Lita
*Seth Rollins vs. Riddle

**Raymond McCain at Cord Cutters News has a synopsis of WWE’s earnings report from last week and the viewership stats on Peacock. The company was boasting of its increased viewership for the premium live events since the return of fans last July as compared to the 2019 events during the same period.

While the company and Peacock won’t release exact viewership, the percentages reflect that more people than ever are watching the specials. It comes with the caveat that they are also on a larger platform by multiples compared to the WWE Network.

From 2014 to 2020, the WWE Network peaked at WrestleMania 34 in 2018 with 2,124,000 total subscribers and 1,808,000 paid. Of those subscribers, you could assume a higher percentage of engaged viewers, but it doesn’t compare to the numbers that have Peacock with over nine million paid subscribers and seven million that receive the service through their bundle package from the distributor.

Like its domestic television rights, each deal is an audition for the next one with market conditions suggesting the company has strong leverage going into its next round of negotiations for both its TV rights (expiring at the end of September 2024) and U.S. streaming deal (where they have just completed the first of a five-year pact).

Many have forecasted that with the emerging war of streaming giants, the landscape in the long-term will be several left standing at the level of Netflix, Disney/ESPN, Amazon, Apple, etc. A service like Peacock has the backing to sustain enormous losses for years in the hopes they reach breakeven but it will be critical to have viable content that the other giants will aggressively bid for, or at least that is WWE’s hope that multiple suitors are knocking on their door for both linear and digital rights.

Thus far, AEW remains without a major streaming deal and could benefit from WWE’s heightened interest. If multiple bidders are after WWE’s rights, it would only make sense that they conduct their own due diligence and see a company in the same genre that has been on a growth curve that currently comes in at a gigantic bargain when compared to the industry leader in WWE. There is no question that WWE has greatly elevated its image over the past decade and become more palatable to the sponsorship and advertising sector while benefiting from the rights of live sports rights. The fact AEW is competing well with the NBA on Wednesday nights should be a strong point in their favor and be able to post year-to-year increases when it’s generally accepted that television is down, and declines are accepted.

**Below are the matches for tonight’s edition of AEW Dark: Elevation streaming at 7 p.m. ET on YouTube:
*Dante Martin vs. Aaron Solo
*Trent Beretta & Chuck Taylor vs. Serpentico & Luther
*The Gunn Club & The Acclaimed vs. Lee Johnson, Brock Anderson, Matt Sydal & Lee Moriarty
*Julia Hart vs. Arie Alexander
*Bobby Fish vs. Robert Anthony
*Scorpio Sky vs. Stephen Wolf
*Emi Sakura, Diamante & The Bunny vs. Skye Blue, Queen Aminata & Heather Reckless

**Dwayne Johnson will be appearing during the pre-game portion of this Sunday’s Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium in California and airing on NBC. Johnson wrote:

After all these years, my football dream of standing on the SUPER BOWL field has FINALLY….come true. This will [be] historic. This will be my honor. This will be ELECTRIFYING. I’ll see you THIS SUNDAY! LFG!!! #SuperBowlLVI #SuperGoldSunday 2/13 on @NBC

**During Friday Night SmackDown in Canada, they advertised the following matches for the WWE live event in Toronto on March 27:
*Bobby Lashley vs. AJ Styles vs. Seth Rollins
*Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair vs. Rhea Ripley

**EC3’s Control Your Narrative series have announced their first live events. The group will be holding a show on Saturday, March 5th at the Tin Roof at Icon Park in Orlando, Florida. Their second show will be held during WrestleMania week on March 31st at Gilley’s in Dallas They are promoting EC3, Adam Scherr (the former Braun Strowman), and Killer Kross for the events.

**Congratulations to Keith Lee and Mia Yim, who were married over the weekend.

**New Japan Pro Wrestling held a card at Korakuen Hall on Monday in front of 602 fans. It was their second show back after a short hiatus due to COVID measures that led to several show cancelations and one postponement. Below are the results from earlier today: (Courtesy: Purolove.com):
*The Great O-Khan over Yuto Nakashima in 5:54
*Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI over Ryohei Oiwa & Kosei Fujita in 7:12
*Yujiro & Gedo over Tomoaki Honma & Tiger Mask in 10:08
*Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, DOUKI & Taka Michinoku over Toru Yano, Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan in 10:24
*EVIL & SHO over Tomohiro Ishii & YOH in 12:00
*Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito & SANADA over Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Togi Makabe in 15:40
*Master Wato & Ryusuke Taguchi over El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru in 23:16

**Hirooki Goto, Taiji Ishimori, Jado, and YOSHI-HASHI missed the shows on Sunday & Monday due to COVID protocols. The company stated the removals were due to “high temperatures and close contacts, in accordance with COVID protocols.” All four are listed for Wednesday’s card in Saitama.

**NJPW returns on Wednesday & Thursday with small shows in Saitama and Yamagata. On Friday, they run the Xebio Arena in Sendai with the top three matches featuring members of the junior heavyweight division. The card will see Master Wato challenge El Desperado for the IWGP junior heavyweight championship in Wato’s most significant match yet. The top of the card also sees YOH vs. SHO in a rematch from Wrestle Kingdom, and Taiji Ishimori vs. Tiger Mask.

**This Sunday, they are in Osaka with Tanahashi & Okada vs. Naito & SANADA in the main event and Tomohiro Ishii defending the NEVER Openweight title in a lumberjack match against EVIL (another rematch from Wrestle Kingdom and was one of the worst singles matches involving Ishii in ages).

**Lavie Margolin has looked at the trends for New Japan’s U.S. live event ticket sales throughout 2021 and early indicators for shows in 2022. It has been a mixed bag with the article looking at when it’s viable for New Japan to send talent from Japan in hopes of strengthening its U.S. base. The company is gearing for events in St. Petersburg, Florida on March 20th, at WrestleCon on April 1st, and the Windy City Riot event has been announced for April 16th in Villa Park. Illinois. The Villa Park show has already moved close to 1,700 tickets which proves that the Chicago market continues to show a heavy demand for high-level wrestling. The Villa Park show will include Jon Moxley, Tomohiro Ishii, and Yuji Nagata.

**Ring of Honor has released a short feature on The Briscoes following the announcement of their induction into the company’s Hall of Fame.

**DEFY Wrestling has its fifth-anniversary card this Saturday at Washington Hall in Seattle. The card is headlined by Christopher Daniels defending the interim DEFY title against Nick Wayne along with Jonathan Gresham vs. Cody Chhun for the ROH Championship, The Bollywood Boyz challenge The Midnight Heat for the tag titles, and Trey Miguel defends the X Division title against Titus Alexander and Guillermo Rosas.

**Santino Marella (Anthony Carelli) is a guest on Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw.

**West Coast Pro has stated that Juicy Finau will be replacing Homicide at ‘The Art of Drowning’ show this Friday at The State Room in South San Francisco. Finau teams with Jacob Fatu against AJ Gray & Effy.

**Being the Elite Ep. 293: Incident Report.


**It’s a story that is much larger than an MMA one, but Joe Rogan is at the center of controversy regarding racist language the performer used on past episodes of his podcast. This includes frequent usage of the n-word and a comparison of being inside a movie theatre consisting of a mainly Black audience to being in “Planet of the Apes”, which was the movie they were watching in Philadelphia. Rogan has apologized while Spotify is standing by Rogan as the story continues to escalate in scrutiny towards both the host and the platform.

This began in recent weeks after artist Neil Young stated he did not want his music featured on Spotify if Rogan’s shows continued to be hosted on the service. This was in response to heavy criticism towards Rogan’s misinformation and COVID conspiracy theories that his show has delved into with questionable guests being brought on without being fact-checked or warnings attached to the specific episodes. The latter is a measure that Spotify is now instituting and one that Rogan has agreed is a good idea.

Many within MMA are voicing their support of Rogan and defending him with former fighter Brendan Schaub calling on other comedians to boycott Spotify if they drop Rogan.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek issued a memo to employees of the company on Sunday and condemned the usage of racial slurs by Rogan but was clear that the company was standing by Rogan, who is the streaming platform’s most popular podcaster.

In the spring of 2020, Spotify signed Rogan to a licensing deal that was reportedly worth over $100 million.

The Rogan controversy has allowed other artists to share their frustrations with Spotify and cite the lack of pay they receive, alleging that the lion’s share of revenue is distributed between Spotify and the record labels with little funneling down to the artist. This complaint by artists has been led by India.Arie, who brought more widespread attention to the usage of Rogan’s racist language by sharing a video compilation of him using the n-word over twenty times in the past on his show.

Rogan issued an apology over the weekend.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Joe Rogan (@joerogan)

Over the weekend, Spotify removed over seventy past episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was also linked to the story after posting a statement of support for Rogan last week after issuing a video regarding his attempt to do better when it comes to researching guests on his show. Once the racist language was brought up, Johnson issued a follow-up stating:

I was not aware of his N word use prior to my comments, but now I’ve become educated to his complete narrative. Learning moment for me.

Over the past week, Spotify has seen an impact on its stock. It was trading at over $200 as recently as last Wednesday and currently hovers around $173 per share.

**Sean Strickland earned a split decision win against Jack Hermansson in the main event of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card in Las Vegas. Judges Derek Cleary and Junichiro Kamjo scored it 49-46 for Strickland while Sal D’Amato had it 48-47 for Hermansson, which no one agreed with. The media scores on MMA Decision all had the fight scored for Strickland ranging from 50-45 to 49-47. It was Strickland’s sixth consecutive win, which propels his standing among the middleweight division but not into title territory.

**The middleweight division is the focus of UFC 271 this Saturday with champion Israel Adesanya defending the title against former champion Robert Whittaker, who is the clear top contender for the championship. On the main card, Jared Cannonier and Derek Brunson are fighting and it would seem likely that the winner would be next in line. If Whittaker wins the title and depending on how the fight goes, the rematch with Adesanya would trump the other options.

**The UFC has released the first episode of Embedded for UFC 271 this Saturday in Houston, Texas.

**UFC has posted the first fight between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker from UFC 243 in October 2019:


Triple H and Edge had a match on Raw in 2005 from the Saitama Super Arena in Japan:

On the same night, Shawn Michaels took on Ric Flair:

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About John Pollock 5519 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.