POLLOCK’S UPDATE: Breakdown of CM Punk situation, the success of All In & more

Photo Courtesy: AEW

POST IT NOTES

**I wanted to thank everyone who shared or provided feedback on the story on Terry Funk, which can be read on the site. It’s the largest story I’ve put together on one subject and it was such a fascinating career and life to research and write about. If there is a conclusion, it’s that his legacy and experience are never going to be replicated given the inherent changes in the industry and someone is as diverse in the places and people he worked. From someone who held the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship in the era of the touring champion, headlining the first All Japan show, wrestling Hulk Hogan in front of millions of people on NBC, wrestling stadium events with FMW, the star of the first ECW pay-per-view, and helping to train some major figures, it not possible to recreate a career like Funk’s. There are so many tributes and memories out there and breaking down Funk’s legacy cannot be done adequately with one story, so do your best to learn as much as you can as that was the key to his longevity in the industry – always learning.

**Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful will be joining Brandon Thurston and I on Wednesday’s show at Noon ET on the POST Wrestling and Wrestlenomics YouTube streams and available to download on both podcast feeds.

**John Siino and B Detroit are live Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET on the POST YouTube to review tonight’s edition of NXT.

**Our SummerSlam weekend, I interviewed Finn Balor on the rise of Judgment Day, the changes to the group after Edge left, their impact on television numbers, and his thoughts on his contemporaries in New Japan:

POST SCHEDULE

Wednesday
: upNXT with John Siino & B Detroit (11 a.m. ET)
Wednesday: Pollock & Thurston w/ guest Sean Ross Sapp (Noon)
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite (10 p.m.)
Thursday: ASK-A-WAI Mailbag Show with John & Wai (POST Wrestling Café)
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John & Wai (POST Wrestling Café)
Saturday: Collision Course with John Siino & Kate from Montreal (POST Wrestling Café)
Saturday: WWE Payback Review
Sunday: AEW All Out Review

CM PUNK AND JACK PERRY PLACE CLOUD OVER CHICAGO SHOWS

The latest AEW saga places its top star CM Punk under a reported suspension along with Jack Perry for their physical altercation at All In and puts into jeopardy Punk’s involvement all All Out with three nights in Chicago this week for the company.

No one can dispute that these problems have ceased being manageable and it is having a sizable impact on the company’s business if its top star cannot perform in Chicago this week because of a second suspension in less than one year.

It is not as easy as observing the facts and seeing CM Punk as the common thread in most of these stories and it’s a tale as old as the industry, that top stars are going to going to be given endless chances. It is imperative for AEW to make Collision a success and with a 0.20 average over the first ten weeks, that’s a respectable number. But, this week the show was down to 0.16 (for a taped show) and the fall season is going to be a whirlwind of competition and Collision without CM Punk poses a lot of problems for a Saturday night television property and booking the size of venues Collision is attempting.

Jack Perry certainly deserves his share of the brunt for his decision to go rogue and get his line in during the biggest show in the company’s history and minutes before the intended target of the line was set to open the pay-per-view. There appears to be a catharsis for all these performers to get their aggressions out through cryptic lines and veiled references in front of an audience. It stokes the flames rather than addresses the root problems and has been disastrous. From Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks doing all of the mockery spots aimed at CM Punk when they returned to Chicago last year, CM Punk’s digs at the “Counterfeit Bucks” and Hangman Page promo (which he apologized for), and Perry is just the latest one to use the airwaves as his forum to vent. It is counterproductive when there is no storyline being devised, and no one could have been shocked that the line poked the bear and blew up backstage.

It’s beyond this level of analysis, but the line was also counterproductive in the sense of Perry giving off the impression that they were using “real glass” as if to infer that usually they use fake glass – on a show that had a major promoted match where glass was not only a big weapon, but the cause leading to the finish for Stadium Stampede with Orange Cassidy pinning Claudio Castagnoli. That’s so minor in the grand scheme of things but is a line that belonged on an episode of WCW Thunder in 2000.

There is no winning choice here for Tony Khan. Either you provide the top star the leeway that top stars are typically afforded and it infuriates the others who see the obvious double standard, or you suspend and harm your own business this week including a pay-per-view that was already a major risk coming so close after All In. You also risk the Chicago fans turning on the shows like the WCW audience did in 1991 only it’s chants for CM Punk instead of Ric Flair.

Khan is going to have to pull a major ace out of his sleeve on Wednesday’s Dynamite to sell the pay-per-view and divert attention from the elephant in the room. He will likely never admit to it, but how he could not be furious kicking off the press conference on Sunday after the most successful business accomplishment of his life, and his first order of business was revealing another investigation?

MJF spoke at the press conference and indicated he was going on vacation and there is no obvious match for him coming out of Sunday’s one with Adam Cole. With five days to promote, the current lineup is Kenny Omega vs. Konosuke Takeshita, Orange Cassidy or Penta El Zero Miedo vs. Jon Moxley for the International title, Kris Statlander vs. Ruby Soho for the TBS title, Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Miro, and Luchasaurus vs. Darby Allin for the TNT title.

THE SUCCESS OF ALL IN

AEW All In was a seismic event for the company and the industry and however you view the product, this event will be remembered throughout the company’s history as a major leveling-up moment.

With an announced paid attendance of 81,035, it likely does hold the record for most verified paid fans for a pro wrestling event, although final figures will likely be reported through Pollstar as our best indicator for third-party verification, but there is nothing to dispute the number announced by AEW. The other events that can be discussed come down to what you attribute as legitimate such as the WCW & NJPW shows in North Korea in 1995, which have never been verified and by all accounts were not paying fans but under orders/encouragement by the government for citizens to attend. WrestleMania 32 at AT&T Stadium in 2016 had a turnstile count of 80,709 with the paid attendance limited to a range that Brandon Thurston estimates is between 78,000 and 83,000, so we cannot accurately say what the paid figure is even though the turnstile count was lower. WrestleMania 3 is a great debate that has been exhaustively researched by Thurston and David Bixenspan. Khan felt confident in stating All In was the largest paid attendance in history and would put the show up against any other claims and until proven otherwise, All In will likely be credited as the largest paid show in history.

It’s a departure from almost any other pro wrestling attendance figure by the promoter, who in most cases would always count every person in the arena (and WWE goes to extreme lengths of counting everybody behind the scenes, working in the building, and beyond) to create the largest number possible. AEW easily could have announced the number of total fans entering the building but was clever in announcing a paid figure, which if accurate, is a tougher number for WWE to counter if they don’t legitimately have a larger paid figure for either the 1987 or 2016 WrestleMania shows. It also makes it difficult for WWE to break that number of paid tickets for a show given the size of the stadiums they run, the amount being blocked off for its staging, and the fact that that’s a ridiculously high number of tickets to sell even when WWE was red hot for this year’s WrestleMania that sold 63,243 and 64,288 for the two nights at SoFi Stadium.

All summer long, AEW has had Wembley Stadium at the forefront and a major achievement unlocked. The event has camouflaged softer ticket sales in North America with few exceptions. While All Out this Sunday is going to perform well at the United Center with the last ticket distribution count from WrestleTix topping 9,100.

If you tune into this show, there is a lot of momentum coming out of it and seeing all their top stars on such a gigantic stage. MJF feels like he is crossing over to become the top star in a babyface capacity, and the program with Adam Cole has clicked in a way few anticipated when the first vignette aired. There is plenty of juice left in that program. Will Ospreay felt like a superstar at Wembley and felt like a callback to the ‘70s when a big star would come to the territory to work the big show of the year. It is amazing to see how strong he was booked as a non-contracted talent and has to be a sign that AEW is extremely confident of continuing its working relationship with New Japan or just outright signing Ospreay when his deal is up in several months. On paper, his worth has increased that much more and while he’s adamant about not moving to the U.S., he could be receiving giant offers from both major companies and it’s a different level when you see those numbers and truly life-changing money being presented for your services.  

AEW has confirmed a return to Wembley Stadium for August 25, 2024, as it coincides with the U.K. Bank Holiday and one of Khan’s major initiatives is establishing traditions with big events. London is an incredible tourist destination and the success of this show solidifies All In as “the” show of the year for the company and its version of WrestleMania above all other pay-per-views. You could argue it’s a brand that could tour as the annual major stadium show but after selling this many tickets, it’s hard to fault coming back one more year and giving plenty of lead time for fans to plan trips around the show.

How this show is viewed in history is left to time. It is easily the biggest day of business in the company’s history drawing comparisons to their WrestleMania 3 moment of a company that reached a steady and successful state, and this solidified their placement in the industry. What All In grows to from here will add to the mystique of this stadium show and no matter how big it gets, the title will always be a nod to the specialness of the show on September 1, 2018.

WRESTLING NEWS

**TMZ had additional details on the passing of Windham Rotunda reporting that the performer died during a nap last Thursday. According to the law enforcement records the outlet obtained, Rotunda’s alarm went off and when he didn’t respond to the alarm, his family members discovered him, and CPR was attempted as they called 911. The report adds that he contracted COVID-19 back in March (coinciding with his sudden removal from television and the WrestleMania program being dropped) and developed heart complications with a “weak lower heart.” Rotunda had been hospitalized the prior week due to a heart issue and was told to continue using an external heart defibrillator. From the TMZ report:

Though it’s not known if the device would have saved his life, investigators determined Windham was not wearing the defib at the time of his death … they later located it inside his vehicle parked in the driveway.

**Tonight’s edition of NXT features a four-way match to determine the next challenger for Tiffany Stratton. The NXT Women’s Champion was shown on screen multiple times on Raw while seated in the crowd with her championship with the announcers promoting tonight’s four-way match. It’s also the start of the Global Heritage Invitational for a shot at Noam Dar’s Heritage Cup at No Mercy on September 30 and includes Butch of the Brawling Brutes being involved. The steel cage match is set to kick off the show at 8 p.m. ET. Below is the announced lineup for tonight:
*Global Heritage Invitational – First Round: Butch vs. Charlie Dempsey
*Global Heritage Invitational – First Round: Joe Coffey vs. Nathan Frazer
*#1 Contenders Match: Kiana James vs. Roxanne Perez vs. Blair Davenport vs. Gigi Dolin
*Eddy Thorpe vs. Dijak
*Steel Cage Match: The Dyad vs. The Creeds

**For Dynamite on Wednesday night at the NOW Arena, the only match announced is Orange Cassidy vs. Penta El Zero Miedo for the International Championship. The winner will defend the title against Jon Moxley at All Out. Given the situation with CM Punk, you would think major changes are being made and hopefully, all the key matches will be known by the end of Dynamite to try and sell its audience on a second pay-per-view this week. Coming off All In and the largest event in company history, there should be a carryover effect to Dynamite, and added Punk and Jack Perry drama should enhance that interest to see how/if it is addressed in any substantive way. This is one situation where they do need to make it clear Punk is unavailable and not mislead its audience into buying tickets or expecting Punk if he is not going to be present for Collision and the pay-per-view at the United Center.

**Texas Monthly has a lengthy feature on the passing of Terry Funk and the wrestler’s connection to the state throughout his life and traveling the world.

**Steve Fall interviews former WWE head writer Brian Gewirtz including working with Bray Wyatt and The Rock for their promo segment at WrestleMania 32 at AT&T Stadium.

**Starrcast VI begins this Friday with the three-day convention and stage shows streaming on the Premier Streaming Network. Live shows will include ones hosted by Eddie Kingston with Toshiaki Kawada, Renee Paquette & Saraya, Jim Ross & Conrad Thompson, RJ City, Danhausen, Jeff Jarrett, Rob Van Dam, Effy, Ryan Nemeth, Swerve City Podcast, The Music of Wrestling with Dale Oliver & Mikey Rukus, Jake Roberts, Colt Cabana, Powerhouse Hobbs, Grapsody Live including former co-host Will Washington being part of the panel & more.

**NJPW World will be streaming the first night of the Road to Destruction tour for free on September 8 from Korakuen Hall. The top matches are SANADA & Taichi vs. EVIL & SHO and Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Boltin Oleg for the NJPW Television Championship. It includes the NJPW debut of Callum Newman in an eight-man tag team with United Empire’s Jeff Cobb, Great O-Khan & Henare against LIJ.

**The UFC has petitioned the 9th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals in order to appeal the recent class certification of fighters in the ongoing Cung Le vs. UFC antitrust suit. The suit, filed in December 2014, has gained significant movement this month through Judge Richard Boulware’s judgment to certify it as a class action suit and expanding the fighters involved from six to more than 1,200 fighters who fought for the UFC between December 2010 and June 2017. Boulware has recommended a trial to begin as early as March 2024 pending the ruling of the UFC’s attempt to appeal which could delay the case moving toward a trial. The basis of contention by the UFC side is that there is no precedent for a company violating antitrust law because they didn’t increase fighter compensation at the same rate as company revenue grew which opens up claims for many industries and their workers to make the same claims. UFC also argues that the estimated damages the plaintiffs are seeing of up to $1.6 billion is “illogically excessive” and would be tripled if it’s ruled that they violated antitrust law. (Sportico)

**John Nash of Bloody Elbow looks at the UFC’s business practices and compares them with the PGA-LIV Golf merger.

**The first SummerSlam event took place on this date in 1988 at Madison Square Garden with WWF Champion Randy Savage & Hulk Hogan teaming up to beat Andre the Giant & Ted DiBiase with Jesse Ventura in the special guest referee role (the same position he held at the 1999 event when he was the Governor of Minnesota). It was the expansion to the company’s third pay-per-view after adding the Survivor Series the year prior and adding the Royal Rumble to pay-per-view in January 1989. It is also remembered for the commentary of Gorilla Monsoon and Superstar Billy Graham as the company was seeking a role for Graham, who was one of the great promos of his generation but none of it translated well to commentary.

**The WWE stock closed at $115.34 on Tuesday.

*****
REWIND-A-RAW
John Pollock and Wai Ting review the final WWE Raw before Payback as Becky Lynch takes on Zoey Stark in a Falls Count Anywhere Match in Memphis.
*****
AEW ALL IN REVIEW
John Pollock and Wai Ting review AEW All In 2023 from Wembley Stadium in London, England featuring MJF vs. Adam Cole for the AEW Championship.
****
COLLISION COURSE
John Siino & Kate From MTL review the final AEW Collision before Sunday’s All In. Featuring an 8-man tag with CM Punk, Darby Allin, Sting & HOOK vs. Jay White, Swerve Strickland, Luchasaurus & Brian Cage
*****
POSTmarks: Mark Pollesel
C*4 Wrestling co-promoter Mark Pollesel talks about working with Cody Rhodes and MJF, his new feature film, and what it’s like to go from wrestling fan to wrestling promoter.
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN
John Pollock & Wai Ting discuss WWE SmackDown featuring tributes to the late Terry Funk and Windham Rotunda, a.k.a. Bray Wyatt.
*****

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About John Pollock 5617 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.