Tonight: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John Pollock & Wai Ting
Thursday: Rewind-A-Wai #139 – The Last of McGuinness Documentary
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John & Wai
Saturday: Collision Course with Kate from Montreal & John Siino
Sunday: NJPW Destruction in Kobe review with Bruce Lord & Karen Peterson
We have a show posted today with Brandon Thurston and I interview Bill from WrestleTix and everything you want to know about AEW’s ticket sales, the movement for Grand Slam this week, the turnaround for WWE over the past eighteen months, trends he’s observed since the return to live crowds in 2021. Plus, Brandon & I go over the Vince McMahon feature in the L.A. Times, ABC simulcasting more NFL games, TV ratings from the week, and fallout from the TKO merger.
**Stacy Perman of The L.A. Times has a major feature on Vince McMahon and the investigations launched regarding his unreported payments.
It was a lengthy piece that covered the significant controversies throughout his life with his takeover of the WWF in 1982 from his father and national expansion that led to the WWF becoming the dominant player. There are mentions of the steroid distribution trial, the ring boy scandal in the early ‘90s, the death of Owen Hart, and the Montreal Screwjob (which was an important business story but not at the level of the prior cases listed).
The key portion was an on-the-record statement from former WWE board member Ignace Lahoud, who resigned after McMahon forced his way back at the beginning of the year.
“It wasn’t aligned with my way of seeing what governance is,” he said, adding, “There was a misalignment with what my values are.”
The Times also noted that a source close to the board of directors shared that McMahon stated on a phone call with the board that allegations of unwanted sexual advances were false and all the relationships were consensual. Another source close to one of the board members who left stated McMahon saw the investigation into his allegations as a source of disloyalty and that “He’s the kind of person who expects loyalty.”
While many might view McMahon as having skirted past this chapter of his life, he was served a subpoena and a search warrant in July by the SEC and Department of Justice, which keeps this story very much in the forefront.
It was also stated that McMahon was not happy about the decision to step down in July 2022 in the middle of the allegations but ultimately did with the announcement of his retirement.
**NXT was first among cable originals on Tuesday with 824,000 viewers and 0.24 in the 18-49 demographic on the USA Network. It was just slightly below last week’s numbers of 850,000 and 0.26. However, this week had a stronger 18-34 audience with more female viewers in both the 18-49 and 18-34 demos. The show was built around Becky Lynch taking on Tiffany Stratton & Kiana James with Lyra Valkyria coming to team with Lynch in the main event. (Sports TV Ratings & Wrestlenomics)
**AEW returns to Arthur Ashe Stadium for the third edition of Grand Slam with a hard promotional push over the past several days to move tickets. Tony Khan, MJF, Chris Jericho, and Swerve Strickland are among those doing media in the New York market. Coupled with the 2-for-1 ticket offers, and some price reductions, they have distributed almost 9,500 tickets as of Wednesday afternoon, per WrestleTix. This year’s show will not approach the 2022 numbers of approximately 12,600 paid with 13,800 distributed much less the first year at the stadium that drew over 20,100 fans.
On paper, it’s an excellent card and should be one of the better television episodes of the year for AEW. For all the focus on the ticket sales for the company, Dynamite numbers remain consistent with Dynamite averaging a 0.31 in the demo and 879,000 viewers, which will typically be the #1 show on cable on Wednesday unless there is a sporting event (which they will run into with the MLB playoffs starting next month).
The late movement would be indicative of AEW getting key people out in the biggest media market and doing effective promotion along with last-minute decisions of fans buying based on the ticket offers and the strength of the card. AEW has no shortage of great personalities to go out and do the media rounds and should be an area further exploited rather than Tony Khan being the one to do the biggest media tours.
Last year, the largest complaint was the length of the show with Dynamite followed by a two-hour Rampage and fans not leaving until 12:40 a.m. ET on a weeknight. The 2022 show occurred weeks after “Brawl Out” and saw four of the company’s biggest stars removed from the event and the uncertainty regarding their futures. This year, it’s the post-CM Punk era while the Young Bucks are in an ROH Six-Man Title Match and Kenny Omega is not advertised for either show after selling the impact of the knee strike and loss to Konosuke Takeshita at All Out.
The card for tonight’s show at 8 p.m. ET on TBS:
*AEW Championship: MJF © vs. Samoa Joe
*Title vs. Title: Eddie Kingston vs. Claudio Castagnoli
*AEW Women’s Championship: Saraya © vs. Toni Storm
*AEW International Championship: Jon Moxley © vs. Rey Fenix
*Chris Jericho vs. Sammy Guevara
They will also be taping a two-hour Rampage show for Friday night with the following listed:
*ROH Six-Man Tag Titles: Brian Cage & Gates of Agony © vs. The Young Bucks & Hangman Page
*AEW Trios Championships: The Acclaimed vs. John Silver, Alex Reynolds & Evil Uno
*Luchasaurus & Christian Cage vs. Sting & Darby Allin
*Kris Statlander, Orange Cassidy & Hook vs. Matt Menard, Angelo Parker & Anna Jay
**WWE Raw aired against two NFL games on Monday and led to another all-time viewership low for Raw (excluding the ‘Best of’ show last December). The Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints aired on ESPN & ESPN 2 and averaged 6,946,000 across both networks. ABC aired the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns game that had 15.4 million viewers (and was simulcast on ESPN+). Next Monday, it’s the same format with two NFL games airing on the same night and with ABC adding ten simulcasts for the season, it’s going to be a significantly tougher football season for Raw to contend with. October is going to be the toughest month with the combination of NFL games and the Major League Baseball playoffs, which will affect all wrestling programming as they go deeper and will be airing on TBS and Fox and will lead to several programming conflicts.
**Max (formerly HBO Max) is launching a sports tier for the service, which will include its sports content from TBS and TNT. The sports add-on will be branded as Bleacher Report and will be free to existing Max subscribers until the end of February 2024 and then require a monthly fee of $9.99. AEW is not currently part of this sports tier.
**Chris Jericho was interviewed by Josh Martinez on Z100 in New York promoting tonight’s show.
**New York Mets host Mike Janela interviews MJF about his match with Samoa Joe tonight and being a fan of the Mets.
**Dave Meltzer speaks about the career and legacy of Terry Funk on Talk is Jericho.
**The TKO stock closed at $104.73 on Wednesday.
**UFC flyweight Valentina Shevchenko revealed she had a fracture in her right hand that will require surgery. The former 125-pound champion believes the injury occurred in the first round of her five-round split draw with Alexa Grasso this past Saturday in Las Vegas. UFC president Dana White indicated on Tuesday night that a rematch made a lot of sense for the two flyweights, which would be their third fight in a row. The split draw decision has been roundly criticized due to judge Mike Bell scoring the fifth round 10-8 for Grasso when few believed it was a round that earned that score. If Bell had scored it 10-9 for Grasso, which most did, Shevchenko would have won the fight by split decision.
**The PFL has revealed the full card for its World Championship Finals, which stream on pay-per-view on November 24. The card will include six $1 million championship finals matchups and the return of Kayla Harrison after losing to Larissa Pacheco one year ago. PFL has not announced the price point for the show with the company’s lone pay-per-view from last year not doing any significant numbers with a $49.99 U.S. price tag. The main card will feature the following on ESPN+ pay-per-view:
*Lightweight Finals: Olivier Aubin Mercier vs. Clay Collard
*Heavyweight Finals: Denis Goltsov vs. Renan Ferreira
*Women’s Featherweight Finals: Larissa Pacheco vs. Marina Mokhnatkina
*Non-Tournament: Kayla Harrison vs. Julia Budd
*Welterweight Finals: Sadibou Sy vs. Magamoed Magomedkerimov
*Featherweight Finals: Gabriel Braga vs. Jesus Pinedo
*Light Heavyweight Finals: Joshua Silveira vs. Impa Kasanganay
The finals are all five-round fights and run the chance of being an extremely lengthy card with six finals and a three-round fight between Harrison and Budd.
POLLOCK & THURSTON
John Pollock and Brandon Thurston discuss ticket sales for AEW Grand Slam, the fallout from the TKO merger, and all the latest news with Bill from WrestleTix.
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman are back to review WWE NXT from September 19th, 2023 headlined by Becky Lynch & Lyra Valkyria vs. Tiffany Stratton & Kiana James.
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE Raw with Jey Uso vs. Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes vs. Dominik Mysterio in Salt Lake City.
THE N.W.A. PODCAST
Nate Milton, Kris Ealy, and Andrew Thompson return to discuss the month’s top stories including Jade Cargill’s expected AEW exit, the UFC-WWE merger, CM Punk’s AEW firing, the death of Bray Wyatt, and more.
Kate From MTL is joined by Bruce Lord to review AEW Collision featuring Kris Statlander vs. Britt Baker for the TBS Championship.
John Pollock & Wai Ting discuss WWE SmackDown featuring The Rock’s surprise return. Plus, a review of IMPACT 1000 and your calls.
THE LONG & WINDING ROYAL ROAD
Bruce Lord joins WH Park to discuss Kenta Kobashi challenging “Dr. Death” Steve Williams for his Triple Crown Championship from September 3rd, 1994.
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