POLLOCK’S UPDATE: WWE’s U.S. Television Rights on Open Market, SmackDown & Rampage ratings

Photo Courtesy: WWE, Fox Sports

POST IT NOTES

**Rewind-A-Raw is live at 11 p.m. ET tonight immediately after WWE Raw. We will be making an announcement regarding this week’s guest on Pollock & Thurston and we will go through all the major news including the New York Post story on the WWE television rights, and the G1 Climax announcements. You can stream Rewind-A-Raw on the POST YouTube channel.

**Submit your feedback for this week’s edition of Rewind-A-Wai covering ROH’s Best in the World card from June 2011 including Eddie Edwards vs. Davey Richards, a four-way elimination tag title match, and the return of Kevin Steen to the company.

**We are launching a new AEW Collision review on the POST Café. We will reveal the hosts of the show this Wednesday on Rewind-A-Dynamite.

**Eric Marcotte and I review UFC 289 and discuss the career of Amanda Nunes, who retired after her win against Irene Aldana in Vancouver, British Columbia.

**The Poisonrana team spoke with AEW/ROH performer Mercedes Martinez for over an hour to promote her appearance on the Smash Wrestling x Femme Fatales card in Toronto on June 25 at the Rec Room:

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting (11 p.m. ET)
Tuesday: upNXT with Davie Portman & Braden Herrington (10:15 p.m. ET)
Wednesday: Pollock & Thurston (1 p.m. ET)
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite (10 p.m. ET)
Thursday: Double Shot – Dark Side of the Ring on The Grahams (Patreon)
Thursday: Rewind-A-Wai #133 – ROH Best in the World 2011 (Patreon)
Thursday: The Wellness Policy (4:30 p.m. ET)
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John & Wai (10 p.m. ET, Patreon)
Saturday: AEW Collision Review (Patreon)
Sunday: The N.W.A Podcast with Nate Milton, Kris Ealy & Andrew Thompson
Sunday: Wrestlenomics Radio

WRESTLING NEWS

**WWE’s U.S. domestic television package is on the free market with the exclusive negotiating windows expiring with NBC Universal and Fox. Several weeks ago, Nick Khan confirmed that the window had closed with Fox and Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported on Monday that the NBC Universal window has also shut. Marchand believes that Disney (for its FX cable outlet) and Amazon Prime are in the mix, even though he expects the shows to remain with the incumbents. Khan had forecasted “at least” a 1.5x increase from its average annual value of $470 million per year that ends in September 2024.

Brandon Thurston added that FX is currently in 75 million homes (USA Network is in 74 million) with a prime-time average of 462,000 viewers and 170,000 in 18-49. Either program would be a major boost to its prime-time schedule, which consists of original programming and re-airing of movies. Series regulars include American Horror Story, Fargo, American Crime Story, Feud, Welcome to Wrexham, and The Old Man. 

The reason Disney is earmarking FX as a possible destination is the inability of ESPN to dedicate a night of the week for WWE programming because of its vast sports commitments and overlap between varying nights, according to Marchand.

Khan has been doing multiple appearances over the past month and touting the nimble nature of its programming from moving to different nights of the week and adjusting its length for suitors. If there was a monetary incentive to increase SmackDown to three hours, Fox would be the most handicapped to acquiesce unless it got creative with an hour of SmackDown moved to FS1 due to Fox’s local affiliates that take over at 10 p.m. ET.

Amazon Prime is building out its service around the Thursday night NFL package, which didn’t replicate the television audience watching Thursday night games but did skew younger with emphasis on the 18-34 audience watching Amazon. WWE is not the NFL, but its selling feature is an audience that follows its programming with Khan constantly bringing up the audience retention when Raw moved to Syfy during the Winter Olympics last year.

Between NBC Universal and Fox, it is the latter that stands to lose more with WWE programming leaving and it’s for that reason that many don’t see it being realistic. A loss of Raw for the USA Network would plummet its prime-time audience while NBC still holds the streaming rights for the WWE Network until March 2026 on Peacock. 

**Friday Night SmackDown averaged 2,278,000 viewers and 0.60 in the 18-49 demographic airing against the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets, which did 10.4 million viewers and 3.23 in the demo on ABC. SmackDown beat everything besides the NBA. SmackDown fell 11% in viewership from last week’s big number and was down from 0.73 to 0.60 in the demo. Excluding last week, it was still SmackDown’s largest 18-49 audience since April 28. In Canada, the show averaged 125,700 viewers and 59,900 in the 25-54 demo and was sixth among sports with the top three being Toronto Blue Jays, CFL, and the NBA Finals in that order.

**AEW Rampage was down 18.5% in viewers with 291,000 (the lowest overall viewership in its regular time slot on Fridays) and 0.10 in the demo, which ranked #27 among cable originals. Rampage aired against the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets while also ranking behind On Patrol Live, Last Word on MSNBC, College Basketball on ESPN, and House Hunters in its time slot. The show was headlined by a four-way match with Skye Blue defeating Dr. Britt Baker, Nyla Rose & Mercedes Martinez to earn a title shot against Toni Storm. (Showbuzz Daily)

**WWE Raw airs from the Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas tonight at 8 p.m. ET. Raw airs against Game 5 of the Denver Nuggets vs. Miami Heat with the Nuggets one win away from securing the championship. Both WWE and AEW are in the clear if the series goes to a sixth or seventh game. WWE has announced the following for tonight:
*Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. Gunther & Ludwig Kaiser in a non-title match
*Cody Rhodes vs. The Miz
*Damian Priest vs. Matt Riddle

**WrestleTix reports just over 6,000 tickets have been distributed for Raw in Wichita.

**WrestleTix adds that tickets distributed for Collision at the United Center for this Saturday have surpassed 8,400, so that show is trending well even if it’s below past attendances drawn at the arena. The follow-up Collision dates in Canada for Toronto and Hamilton have been disappointing with Toronto under 1,900 for June 24, and Hamilton under 900 for June 29. The additional Collision shows in Regina have approximately 1,350 out and Calgary is at 3,500.  

**FITE has picked up the international streaming rights for AEW Collision in several countries. The service has announced that Collision will be available to AEW Plus subscribers in the U.K., Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia. Last week, it was revealed that Collision will be available in Canada on TSN+ (which is currently on a free preview for TSN subscribers) and costs $19.99 per month for non-TSN subscribers.

**IMPACT Wrestling on Thursday night will kick off with Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin following their respective championship wins at Against All Odds. Shelley defeated Steve Maclin in the main event to win the IMPACT Championship in a surprise outcome while Sabin defeated Trey Miguel to become the X Division Champion for the ninth time in his career. IMPACT is advertising Shelley vs. Nick Aldis for Slammiversary on July 15 in Windsor, Ontario.  

**Gable Steveson competed at Final X in Newark, New Jersey this past weekend. The Olympic gold medalist defeated Mason Parris in back-to-back contests to qualify for the world team. The two met in the heavyweight division with Steveson winning the first match by a score of 6-2 and following that performance with a 5-0 victory. Steveson had retired from amateur wrestling but returned earlier this year at the U.S. Open. It is unknown what his plans as regarding next year’s Summer Olympics. Steveson is under contract to WWE and has made sporadic appearances including an angle at WrestleMania 38 in Dallas last year and appearing with Kurt Angle on an episode of SmackDown last December on Angle’s birthday. 

**The New Japan Road tour resumes Tuesday in Fukushima headlined by a ten-man tag with SANADA, Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, DOUKI & Taka Michinoku against Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, Yota Tsuji, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI.  

**DEFY Wrestling has added Jon Moxley for the first night of its 8XGP on Friday, July 28 in Seattle, Washington.

**The WWE stock was up by 2.3% on Monday and closed at $100.79.

**ECW One Night Stand, which was one of the best pay-per-views in company history, took place eighteen years ago at the Hammerstein Ballroom. It was the brainchild of Rob Van Dam, who pitched it to Vince McMahon and received the greenlight given the former ECW stars under contract and the wildly successful ‘Rise and Fall of ECW’ DVD released the previous year. It was a memorable show with one of the best crowds you could ask for and opened the door for a subsequent pay-per-view in 2006 that begat the relaunch of ECW with a television deal on Syfy to coincide with it. The 2005 show was the subject of Rewind-A-Wai #26 in December 2018.

**WWE has not officially announced Seth Rollins vs. Bron Breakker since Breakker’s challenge was issued last week, but the audience was led to believe it was happening. If so, it could be another big week for the program, which has achieved its highest cable rankings since September 2019 over the past two weeks. The following matches are announced for Tuesday:
*Heritage Cup: Noam Dar © vs. Nathan Frazer
*Baron Corbin vs. Ilja Dragunov
*Wes Lee, Mustafa Ali & Tyler Bate vs. The Schism
*Roxanne Perez vs. Tatum Paxley
*Cora Jade vs. Thea Hail
*Edris Enofe vs. Malik Blade

**Being the Elite Ep. 351: ‘Spend It Now, Make More Later’.  

MMA NEWS

**UFC 289 was not a strong card on paper going in, but it will be remembered for Amanda Nunes’ retirement and a strong night for Canadian fighters on the card. Nunes thoroughly dominated Irene Aldana over five rounds before announcing her retirement at the age of 35 and leaving as a double champion. You never say never with retirements, but she has made very good money and she isn’t leaving that one major fight behind, she fought everyone she could and is most people’s consensus top female fighter of all time. Since 2014, her only blemish was a loss to Julianna Pena in a stunning upset but Nunes came back and dominated Pena last summer to avenge the defeat. Pena was set to fight Nunes in Vancouver, but an injury removed her, and Aldana was inserted. Pena did receive criticism for tweeting her displeasure regarding the announcement and the fight itself when it didn’t feel like the time or place. It opens the bantamweight division for all the challengers Nunes has beaten with the likely scenario of Pena fighting Raquel Pennington for the vacant title. Pennington has won her last five fights and Pena was scheduled to challenge Nunes. If either one of them isn’t available, Holly Holm could be an option given her name recognition and has won three of her last four fights.

**Canadian-based fighters Mike Malott, Marc-Andre Barriault, Jasmine Jasudavicius, Aiemann Zahabi, Kyle Nelson, and Diana Belbita were all victorious at UFC 289 and provided a big night for the sport in Canada, which has struggled after being a hotbed during the UFC’s explosion and led by Georges St-Pierre. Malott was one of the stars of the show with a stoppage against Adam Fugitt and delivering an exceptional speech to the audience at Rogers Arena. Malott did enough that he could probably headline a Fight Night event when the UFC returns.

**Conor McGregor received a lot of attention after a skit went awry during Friday’s Miami Heat vs. Denver Nuggets game. During the game, McGregor did a skit with the Heat’s mascot, Burnie, and delivered two punches to the mascot. McGregor hit the mascot with two punches and the person in the costume required medical attention and received pain medication.

**The UFC is back at the Apex this Saturday with a fight between former middleweight title challengers in the main event. Marvin Vettori (19-6-1) will take on Jared Cannonier (16-6). On June 24, they are in Jacksonville with Josh Emmett (18-3) against Ilia Topuria (13-0), and back to the Apex on July 1 with a main event between Sean Strickland (26-5) and Abusupiyan Magomedov (25-4-1).

*****
POISONRANA: Mercedes Martinez
Poisonrana chats with Mercedes Martinez about her love for pro wrestling (and women’s pro wrestling!) plus working the independents all over the world, being in the WWE “Mae Young Classic” tournament, and more.
*****
WRESTLENOMICS RADIO
Smackdown had its biggest rating of the year for the Roman Reigns 1000-day celebration segment, AEW Collision ratings predictions ahead of the debut of the show next week, and more in this week’s Wrestlenomics Radio.
****
UFC 289 REVIEW
John Pollock and Eric Marcotte review the UFC 289 card with Amanda Nunes dominating Irene Aldana and retiring from MMA.
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN
Wai Ting & Kate From MTL review WWE SmackDown as Jey Uso chooses between his twin brother Jimmy and Roman Reigns. Plus, Asuka gets presented with a new championship and MITB qualifiers.
*****
WATCH ALONG: Vanderpump Rules “Scandoval”
Join John, Wai & Brandon from NJ as they watch and learn about the ratings juggernaut known as Vanderpump Rules. 
*****
POLLOCK & THURSTON: Andrew Zarian, Mat Men Podcast
John Pollock and Brandon Thurston chat with Andrew Zarian of the Mat Men Podcast and Wrestling Observer Live.
*****

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About John Pollock 5441 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.