POST IT NOTES
**Rewind-A-SmackDown is live at 11 p.m. ET tonight with John Pollock & Wai Ting. In the news, we’ll chat about the Wells Fargo Summit that Nick Khan and Stephanie McMahon spoke at this week, the future of Kota Ibushi, Eric Young being written off IMPACT, and Dynamite’s ratings. Plus, your calls & feedback on the show, which is live and available to download at the POST Wrestling Café.
**I was a guest on MCU L8R with Wai Ting and WH Park to review the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. The three of us discussed this offshoot from James Gunn and the catch-up on the Guardians universe prior to Vol. 3, which comes out in May. Plus, Wai & WH discuss the trailer for Vol. 3, and we debate Kevin Bacon’s role, the musical numbers, and provide several recommendations.
**It is a new month at the POST Wrestling Café and we will have many shows coming to the Café including two editions of Rewind-A-Wai covering WWF Superstars from May 30, 1992, and The Undertaker’s appearance on the Broken Skull Sessions in 2020. Plus, we will be releasing the POST Wrestling 5-Year Anniversary Show from Newark, a new edition of TALK, and an ROH Final Battle POST Show for Café members. The bonus shows are available to all members of the Café beginning at $6 per month and come with access to the archives including 120 editions of Rewind-A-Wai.
**Feedback can be posted for next Tuesday’s edition of Rewind-A-Wai covering the May 30, 1992, edition of WWF Superstars.
**Braden Herrington and Davie Portman have successfully rebranded as Poisonrana and made some changes to their Patreon options under the new banner. upNXT will remain their weekly show on Tuesday nights here at POST covering NXT along with the addition of several new shows on their platform. All of the information can be found at Poisonrana.ca.
Tonight: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John & Wai (LIVE at 11 p.m. ET)
Saturday: The N.W.A Podcast (LIVE at 9 p.m. ET)
Sunday: Wrestlenomics Radio
Monday: Rewind-A-Raw with John & Wai
Tuesday: Rewind-A-Wai – WWF Superstars – May 30, 1992 (Patreon)
**Nick Khan and Stephanie McMahon-Levesque took part in the Wells Fargo 2022 TMT Summit this past week and covered several areas of their business. The focus on international was a big one with Stephanie McMahon reiterating their plans for global localization and coining their term “glocal” with the idea of expanding its footprint with more international Performance Centers and hopefully, building to a World Cup type of scenario down the road and having talent rotate throughout the world. Around fifteen years ago, there was an idea of WWE expanding and having various territories around the world and cycling talent around before those plans were shelved and this seems to resemble those plans. It’s unknown if they would plan to start from scratch such as NXT UK did, but McMahon did suggest the idea of buying smaller wrestling companies internationally which would seemingly tie in with the “glocal” strategy and take existing infrastructure and add its muscle behind it. WWE has been linked to rumors of numerous purchases over the years, but few have reached the finish line. In Japan, for instance, WWE is obviously on very good terms with Pro Wrestling NOAH to the point of allowing Shinsuke Nakamura to wrestle Great Muta next month. If this were several years ago, buying NOAH seemed more viable because now they are owned by a massive company in CyberAgent and similar to Stardom under the Bushiroad banner. Khan continued to emphasize the company’s plans of licensing the WWE Network on an international basis as they have done in Australia, India, Canada, and other regions to mirror the U.S. model with Peacock. Having boots on the ground in various regions would seem to be a long-term strategy of planting its flag on a worldwide level and producing content specific to that country’s audience.
McMahon also acknowledged their ads & sponsorships hitting a “pause” due to changes at the company this year (Vince McMahon’s exit) but believes they are past that and seem bullish on those areas in 2023. This is a part of WWE’s business that falls short when compared to UFC and has been brought up on various calls with analysts as an area of concern that WWE is not meeting its potential. We will talk about McMahon & Khan’s comments further on Rewind-A-SmackDown tonight.
**Showbuzz Daily updated Wednesday’s chart with AEW Dynamite ranking fifth among cable originals at 0.26 in the 18-49 demographic. Dynamite ranked behind two college basketball games, the World Cup, and The Challenge on MTV. After last week’s big male viewership, this week’s those numbers came down and they still performed poorly with women in the key demo. Adults 50+ grew from 0.36 last week to 0.41. The breakdown of this week’s viewership is on the site.
**Friday Night SmackDown will be airing on FS 1 tonight in the U.S. due to the college football game between USC and Utah on Fox. SmackDown takes place from the KeyBank Center in Buffalo and will include the final of the World Cup tournament between Ricochet and Santos Escobar. They have also promoted a segment where Sami Zayn is officially added to The Bloodline after WarGames.
**AEW Rampage returns to its normal time at 10 p.m. ET tonight on TNT and streaming on TSN in Canada. The show was taped this past week in Indianapolis and will include the following:
*All-Atlantic Championship, Lumberjack Match: Orange Cassidy (champion) vs. QT Marshall
*Jeff Jarrett & Jay Lethal vs. Private Party (Jarrett’s first match on TNT since February 2001)
*Darby Allin vs. Private Party
*Athena vs. Dani Mo
*Renee Paquette interviews Saraya
*The Acclaimed name their next opponents
*Swerve in Our Glory to speak
**The WWE stock had a good day rising nearly 2 percent and closing at $80.50 and giving the company a market cap of $5.99 billion. Year-over-year, the stock is up 63 percent as anticipation of the next U.S. media rights deal intensifies.
**AAA holds its card in Tempe, Arizona on Saturday night with Cain Velasquez wrestling in a Trios match. There is no indication if this card will be available to stream anywhere. Last Friday, WrestleTix reported 1,744 tickets out for the show, which was a big jump after Velasquez was announced for the show. Velasquez will team with Blue Demon Jr. & Pagano against Sam Adonis, Gringo Loco & Black Taurus. The rest of the show includes Hijo del Vikingo & Pentagon Jr. vs. Daga & Flip Gordon, Arez & Komander & Mr. Iguana vs. El Cuatrero, Forastero & Sanson, Lady Shani & Sexy Star vs. Maravilla & Chik Tormenta, and Dave the Clown & Willie Mack & Mascarita Sagrada vs. Latigo, Demus & TBA.
**Vice TV has released the trailer for the season finale of Tales from the Territories. Next Tuesday’s episode will cover Mid-South Wrestling with the panel of Jim Ross, Michael Hayes, Ted DiBiase, and Jake Roberts.
While the series has not had the same audience levels as Dark Side of the Ring, the episodes that I’ve seen have been enjoyable with a strong range of guests. I just saw the ones on Portland and Jim Crockett Promotions. Portland featured a lot of new stories and heavily focused on the late Buddy Rose and noting that he’s the reason footage from the territory exists as they would record over their footage each week and Rose was an early adopter of the VCR. The JCP episode was really solid and research on these episodes is strong from the various tales from the subjects being backed up by the clip in question or a newspaper headline detailing the story. They focused on Jim Cornette (who was interviewed separately and not on the panel) and destroying his knee at Night of the Skywalkers in 1986 in the scaffold match between the Road Warriors and Midnight Express after Ray Traylor didn’t catch him as planned. Arn Anderson recounted how dangerous the riot at The Omni was on the night they locked Dusty Rhodes in the cage and were escorted to the back by police after fans stormed the ring. It also covered the October 1975 plane accident that ended Johnny Valentine’s career and broke Ric Flair’s back, which David Crockett survived and was on the panel to recount. They credited Tim Woods with saving the territory as he was on the plane and they felt it would kill Mid-Atlantic if the fans learned the top babyface was on the plane with heel Valentine. So, Woods used his real name for the newspaper coverage of the accident and then checked himself out the hospital and worked that weekend to deflate any speculation that he was in a plane crash because it would be impossible for him to wrestle so quickly.
**Eric Young was written off IMPACT Wrestling on Thursday with his on-screen death at the hands of Deaner, who was positioned as the successor to lead Violent by Design. It had a heavy Sons of Anarchy feel to it with a well-produced video of the two inside of a prison and Young encouraging his student to “eliminate the sickness” and that only one of them could survive. Even ten years ago, this would have been roundly criticized in terms of an on-screen death in pro wrestling, but today, it’s much more accepted, and it’s been done several times in IMPACT alone including with The Bunny/Allie when she left. If you’re in that mindset and view this as a television show as opposed to a live sport, it was done well and had a story attached to it with the purpose of elevating Deaner to the next level and the exit of a character that’s been tied to TNA/Impact Wrestling on-and-off since 2004. Deaner was very proud of the segment and called it the coolest thing he’s ever done on TV in pro wrestling.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) December 2, 2022
**The Last Rodeo involving Mickie James looks to be culminating at Hard to Kill next month in Atlanta, Georgia. After beating Deonna Purrazzo on Thursday’s episode, James was challenged by Knockouts Champion Jordynne Grace for the January 13th pay-per-view, making it Title vs. Career. It is hard to determine if IMPACT can breakthrough with a show that has significant numbers buying a show, but they are building Hard to Kill very effectively between The Last Rodeo and Josh Alexander vs. Bully Ray and it feels like a big show with over a month left to promote it.
**SLAM Wrestling has an excerpt from Eric Bischoff’s new book Grateful discussing his brief role as Executive Director of SmackDown in 2019.
**New Japan’s World Tag League continues Saturday with a card in Hyogo that streams at 3 a.m. ET. The tournament matches will include Tetsuya Naito & SANADA vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toru Yano, Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer vs. EVIL & Yujiro, Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Great O-Khan & Aaron Henare, and Aussie Open vs. Gabriel Kidd & Alex Coughlin. Sunday’s card in Yamaguchi at 3 a.m. ET features the Super Jr. Tag League with TJP & Francesco Akira vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & DOUKI, El Lindaman & Alex Zayne vs. YOH & Lio Rush, SHO & Dick Togo vs. BUSHI & Titan, Robbie Eagles & Tiger Mask vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & Clark Connors, and Chris Bey & Ace Austin vs. KUSHIDA & Kevin Knight.
**In a big story, the Canadian province of Ontario is banning sportsbooks from allowing bets on UFC fights due to integrity concerns (TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter reports that Alberta has followed suit). The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) issued a statement citing its concerns over odds manipulation, match-fixing, and other integrity issues. It states that the UFC doesn’t prohibit all insiders from betting on fights including coaches, managers, handlers, trainers, medical professionals, and people with insider information (which UFC has attempted to clamp down on and recently issued a ruling informing fighters they couldn’t bet on fights nor anyone attached to them). This is the most sizable event to come out of the recent fight between Shayilan Nuerdanbieke and Darrick Minner that saw the line dramatically in the hours before the fight. Minner was finished in the first round and an investigation has been launched into the fight.
The following statement was provided by Tom Mungham of AGCO in the release:
The Standards exist to protect the betting public and to provide the necessary safeguards against odds manipulation, match-fixing and other integrity issues. This is not a decision we take lightly, knowing the popularity of UFC events in Ontario’s sports books. However, the risks of insider betting on event and wagering integrity should be highly concerning to all. It certainly is to us. We will continue to work with gaming operators, the OLG, iGaming Ontario and UFC to ensure that wagering on UFC events meets AGCO’s Standards.
**Earlier this week, Ariel Helwani reported that Nate Diaz is officially a free agent with no contractual ties to the UFC. There was a period where the promotion has an exclusive negotiating window, but that time has passed, and Diaz can sign with whomever he chooses. It is an interesting period to be a free agent with a following that Diaz holds. While not a singular attraction on his own, with the right opponent and promotional machine, he can be a big influence wherever he goes. Of the available options:
*Jake Paul: This would represent the most money for Diaz to do a boxing fight and Paul needs a dance partner that can draw with him after disappointing buzz for recent fights with Tyron Woodley and Anderson Silva. If Showtime were behind this in conjunction with Paul’s MVP Promotions, it could be a very big deal and likely represents the apex of the Paul experiment fighting MMA fighters in a different sport. Paul would likely be a heavy favorite in a boxing fight as Diaz would enter a different sport and there is a big difference between effective striking in MMA versus a trained boxer, which Paul has become. Boxing anyone but Paul seems too limited, although promoters would pay Diaz a lot. I can’t see the MMA audience following him to boxing unless the opponent was noteworthy because Diaz simply boxing for the sake of it has limited appeal.
*Bellator: I would have dismissed this option a month ago but with the promotion set for its network debut on CBS next February, it’s a more viable option. Without being in the pay-per-view business, it’s hard to imagine signing Diaz for what he would command would make sense on its own. However, if drawing a big number on CBS would be vital to Bellator’s trajectory then you bite the bullet and overspend. The main event of the CBS card will be a rematch between Fedor Emelianenko and Ryan Bader, which has some appeal but it’s a generation removed from Fedor’s previous fights on network television in the U.S. If Bellator could put together Diaz and a free agent like Eddie Alvarez, it would add a big attraction to that card. Bellator desperately needs a home run because its visibility has greatly diminished since leaving Spike TV years ago and the move from Paramount Network to Showtime has not proven to be a meaningful one to curb its popularity decline.
*PFL: Diaz isn’t doing a tournament at this stage of the game and fighting multiple times in a several-month period. But, with PFL entering the pay-per-view space and handing out $6 million annually to tournament winners, a fraction of that cost would be better served attempting to sign Diaz to do at least one fight in 2023 on pay-per-view and attach a rematch between Larissa Pacecho and Kayla Harrison to that same card and it would easily be the biggest show the company has ever promoted and worthy of $50 pay-per-view unlike last week’s effort (which was a well-received show but way too steep of a price).
*UFC: Ultimately, Diaz could make the most money in the UFC but has worked this hard to get to the finish line after fighting for the group for the past fifteen years. There are big fights left for Diaz even as he gets older and his peak years are waning. The obvious is the third fight with Conor McGregor that would draw well, the elusive fight with Dustin Poirier, and other fights among that crop of exciting lightweights or welterweights depending on whether Diaz wants to cut down to 155 pounds again. Diaz taking a fight or two on his own and returning to the UFC is possible, but it will depend on how he looks and how well he draws. The UFC is no position where they “need” any one fighter with guaranteed money from the ESPN deal and sitting on a powder keg when their domestic rights come due. They have soared over the past three years without Jon Jones fighting, with Conor McGregor not fighting throughout the pandemic, Ronda Rousey leaving the sport, Georges St-Pierre not returning after the Michael Bisping fight, Khabib Nurmagomedov retiring, and the train keeps rolling. It’s great for the promoters but fighters have never had less leverage and unless there was a sudden downtown and pressure was enforced by ESPN for stronger attractions, that dynamic isn’t changing any time soon.
**The UFC Fight Night card is on the road this weekend as they leave the Apex and run a card at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. The card has fourteen fights scheduled and will be headlined by a welterweight contest between Stephen Thompson and Kevin Holland. Thompson will be 40 years old in February and is coming off decision losses to Gilbert Burns and Belal Muhammad, so a loss here would signal the end of Thompson’s spot in the upper echelon of the division. Holland broke out in 2020, fighting five times within seven months and going 5-0, which was highlighted by a knockout against Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. He had a rough follow-up in 2021 going 0-2 with one no-contest before rebounding with wins against Alex Oliveira and Tim Means. In September, he was scheduled to fight Daniel Rodriguez but after Khamzat Chimaev missed weight for his fight with Nate Diaz, the top fights were shuffled, and Holland fought Chimaev on extremely short notice and was submitted in the first round. Many gave Holland a mulligan due to the circumstances and the fighter indicated he was paid a lot for the late switch to save the pay-per-view. Thompson is still a high-caliber opponent and would represent a big win on Holland’s resume while a loss will be a significant setback that ensures Thompson would still be a top ten-level fighter at welterweight.
Below is the full lineup for Saturday’s card:
MAIN CARD (10 p.m. ET on ESPN & ESPN+)
*Stephen Thompson (16-6-1) vs. Kevin Holland (23-8)
*Rafael dos Anjos (31-14) vs. Bryan Barberena (18-8)
*Matheus Nicolau (18-2-1) vs. Matt Schnell (16-7)
*Tai Tuivasa (15-4) vs. Sergei Pavlovich (16-1)
*Roman Dolidze (11-1) vs. Jack Hermansson (23-7)
*Eryk Anders (14-7) vs. Kyle Daukaus (11-3)
PRELIMINARY CARD (7 p.m. ET on ESPN & ESPN+)
*Niko Price (15-5) vs. Phil Rowe (9-3) – Rowe missed weight by 2.5 pounds
*Angela Hill (14-12) vs. Emily Ducote (12-6)
*Scott Holtzman (14-5) vs. Clay Guida (37-22)
*Michael Johnson (20-18) vs. Marc Diakiese (16-5)
*Jonathan Pearce (13-4) vs. Darren Elkins (25-10)
*Natan Levy (7-1) vs. Genaro Valdez (10-1)
*Marcelo Rojo (16-8) vs. Francis Marshall (6-0)
*Yazmin Jauregui (9-0) vs. Istela Nunes (7-3)
**Due to a medical issue involving Tracy Cortez, her fight with Amanda Ribas was removed from Saturday’s card.
Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special Review
Wai Ting & WH Park are joined by John Pollock to discuss Christmas movies, Dave Bautista and Kevin Bacon in our spoiler review of The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. Plus, their reactions to the Guardians of the Galaxy 3 trailer.
John Pollock & Wai Ting review AEW Dynamite from Indianapolis featuring Match #3 between Death Triangle and The Elite
SHOT IN THE DARK
John Siino reviews this week’s editions of AEW Dark, AEW Dark: Elevation, IMPACT Wrestling, Women of Wrestling, NXT Level Up, NJPW Strong, NWA USA, NWA Powerrr, and WWE Main Event in under 15 minutes on Shot In The Dark.
upNXT: Hottie Biscotti
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman chat all about the November 29th, 2022 edition of WWE NXT.
ASK-A-WAI: Ask Us Anything! (November 2022)
John Pollock and Wai Ting answer their patrons’ questions about anything and everything in the November 2022 edition of Ask-A-Wai.
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE Raw from Norfolk, Virginia coming off the Survivor Series.
WRESTLENOMICS: WWE Survivor Series business
Brandon Thurston is joined by Chris Gullo and Jesse Collings to talk WWE Survivor Series business, AEW brand strategy and the decline of Rampage ratings.
WWE SURVIVOR SERIES POST SHOW
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE’s Survivor Series event from Boston headlined by two WarGames matches including The Bloodline vs. The Brawling Brutes, Drew McIntyre & Kevin Owens.
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