POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: SmackDown & Rampage see growth on Friday night

Photo Courtesy: WWE


Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting
upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
POST Interview – Chris Hero
Pollock & Thurston
Rewind-A-Wai – NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 10 (POST Wrestling Café)

**Monday’s audio news update is available for ALL patrons today including comments from Chris Hero on his return to the ring this Friday night for West Coast Pro. We will have a lengthy interview with Hero coming out on Tuesday at POST Wrestling.

**Wai Ting and I will be back tonight for Rewind-A-Raw at 11 p.m. ET with a recap of a busy weekend and going through Raw from Washington, D.C. You can leave feedback and questions on the POST Wrestling Forum.


**Friday Night SmackDown averaged 2,195,000 viewers and 753,000 (0.57) in the 18-49 demographic on Fox this past Friday, according to Wrestlenomics. It was up 4% in viewership and 8% in the demo from last week’s taped edition. There was a steady increase of male viewers with men in the 18-49 demo growing from 458,000 to 516,000 and males 18-34 going from 150,000 to 193,000. Females were down 2% in 18-49 and down 27% in 18-34. Adults 35-49 were up by 9% from 440,000 to 480,000. SmackDown aired against the Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics (1,408,000 viewers and 0.5 in the demo) and Arizona vs. Duke (1,193,000 and 0.3), per Sports Media Watch.

**UPDATE: We received the updated Canadian numbers and the show averaged 188,200 viewers and 60,400 in the 25-54 demographic on Sportsnet 360, so the show was only down 20% in viewership from the previous week.

**The live edition of AEW Rampage averaged 322,000 viewers and 155,000 (0.12) in the demo on TNT this past Friday, which represented increases of 8% and 5% respectively from the previous week. Adults 18-34 grew 18% to 58,000 including a 29% growth among men in the demo. Adults 35-49 were down 1%. It was Rampage’s largest 18-49 audience since October 13. The show was highlighted by a great tag match between FTR and El Hijo del Vikingo & Komander. (Wrestlenomics)

**Tonight’s edition of Raw is at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. The show goes against the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos on ABC & ESPN. WWE has announced several matches for the show tonight:
*Undisputed Tag Team Championships: Finn Balor & Damian Priest © vs. Cody Rhodes & Jey Uso
*Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Otis
*Piper Niven vs. Tegan Nox
*The Miz vs. Ivar
*Ludwig Kaiser vs. Tommaso Ciampa
*Xia Li vs. Indi Hartwell

**This Friday is a packed evening as WWE and AEW will air five hours of live programming including the first head-to-head between SmackDown and Collision. AEW will air from 8-11 p.m. ET on TNT with a Friday night edition of Collision followed by Rampage from the Kia Forum while SmackDown airs on Fox from Evansville, Indiana.

**Game Changer Wrestling has announced that Andrade El Idolo has been added to several shows. The AEW performer debuts for GCW on December 9 in Los Angeles and returns on January 12 in Chicago and January 26 in Tampa.

**Chelsea Green shared that she is filming a movie in Canada, although didn’t provide any further details.

**DDT drew 4,785 to Sumo Hall for its Ultimate Party event on Sunday featuring Chris Jericho’s first match for the company. Jericho and Konosuke Takeshita had an incredible match that went over 23 minutes and Jericho had the star aura you would assume he’d bring and even the English broadcasters appeared in awe that Jericho was in a DDT ring. It was interesting that while these two are having a blood feud in AEW going into a major street fight on Wednesday, the two shook hands and displayed mutual respect when the match ended. There was no angle or setup for Wednesday’s street fight and it will be interesting to see how this is covered on AEW programming, if at all. Jericho did promote the match on Rampage, which is a break from tradition when an AEW performer has a match outside the company. The match was second from the top underneath Chris Brookes and Yuki Ueno for the KO-D Openweight Championship.

**DDT announced a return to Sumo Hall on July 21, 2024.

**Two Young Lions will be debuting for New Japan next week when the World Tag League begins. On November 20, Shoma Kato will have his first match against Oscar Leube. Kato, 20, played baseball throughout high school and got involved in MMA before training to become a wrestler and was featured on the reality show “The Spirit”, which was Kazuchika Okada’s produced show. The next night, Katsuya Murashima will debut against Yuto Nakashima. Murashima, 23, was an amateur wrestler who competed at 190 and 202 pounds.

**The TKO stock closed at $79.97 on Monday with a slight uptick during trading throughout the day.

**Speaking on his podcast, Kurt Angle shared a story that in 2002 he pitched Vince McMahon on the idea of being added to the WrestleMania X-8 main event between Chris Jericho and Triple H. Angle said he reached out to McMahon about two weeks before the show and suggested he be added to make it a triple threat due to his own history with Stephanie McMahon, who became the focus of the program. Angle said he never heard back but didn’t blame them for keeping it a singles match. Instead, Angle was thrown into a throwaway match with Kane that year as Angle didn’t have a big program that year and they relied on Kane, who had a tremendous singles match with Angle the prior year on television.

**Becky Lynch will be participating in “Celebrity Jeopardy” this week to raise money for The V Foundation. She will be competing against Macaulay Culkin and Rachel Dratch.

*NXT on Tuesday night will feature two more qualifying matches for the Iron Survivor Challenge as Lita has chosen Trick Williams vs. Joe Coffey and Roxanne Perez vs. Lash Legend. The show will include Andre Chase & Duke Hudson against The Family in a rematch for the NXT tag titles and Ridge Holland & Butch against Bronco Nima & Lucien Price. The show is coming off one its best numbers to date where they finished #1 on cable without the aid of any major main roster names and edged out Wednesday’s AEW Dynamite in the 18-34 demo including very strong female viewership numbers last week.

**AEW Dynamite is in Ontario, California on Wednesday heading into Full Gear weekend. The show includes a street fight with Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi & Paul Wight against Konosuke Takeshita, Kyle Fletcher, Powerhouse Hobbs & Brian Cage, a tag match with Jon Moxley & Wheeler Yuta against Orange Cassidy & Hook, and Skye Blue vs. Red Velvet.

**Eddy Guerrero died on this date in 2005 at the age of 38. Guerrero had been scheduled to wrestle Dave Batista that night on a SmackDown taping in Minneapolis for the World Heavyweight Championship. WWE went ahead of the tapings and turned both Raw and SmackDown into tribute episodes for Guerrero before the company had to fly overseas for a European tour. In April 2006, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.


**Dana White was asked about the idea of co-promotion with the PFL to stage a fight between Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou given the relationships both promotions have with ESPN. White scoffed at the notion and turned it around to attack the media member, even though it was a perfectly fair and reasonable question.

The reality is that the fight would likely be the largest one you could make in MMA currently outside of a major Conor McGregor fight – especially with UFC 300 as a potential return. That said, UFC could negotiate the most favorable of terms for such a fight, both sides would profit and PFL would be like Cinderella with the clock striking Midnight after the fight and PFL would go back to a distant #2 in the U.S. marketplace. The negative for UFC would be placing Jones in a situation where he could lose and PFL can market the greatest heavyweight being on their roster, but they already could promote that fact and it’s a credible argument. No one is touching the UFC’s dominance in the market regardless of a co-promotion and there are millions to be made by promoting such a fight that the UFC could control the broadcast of, negotiate a favorable percentage of the revenues, and steer the entire promotion. It won’t happen but it was absolutely fair to be asked by the reporter and it was hardly a “dumb question”.

**Bellator Lightweight Champion Usman Nurmagomedov has been suspended for six months and fined $50,000 after testing positive for a banned substance after his fight with Brent Primus last month. Nurmagomedov has issued a statement that the substance entered his system due to a medication he was prescribed that the fighter failed to disclose prior to the fight. He tried to get a TUE afterward but was denied. The fight with Primus was the semi-final fight of the ongoing Lightweight Grand Prix with Nurmagomedov advancing to the finals as the champion but due to the drug test failure, the fight was a no-contest. Bellator has not addressed how this will affect the finals or Nurmagomedov’s standing as its champion.

The results of my test revealed a prohibited substance that entered my body through medications, prescribed to me by a doctor. A few months before my fight, I was undergoing treatment, but unfortunately I did not notify the athletic commission in advance. I would like to note that the California state athletic commission conducted its own full investigation, where I provided all the necessary documents, doctor notes and medical certificates, thanks to which the period of my disqualification was reduced to 6 months, instead of longer suspensions accepted in such cases.

**UFC CEO Dana White stated at the press conference on Saturday that The Sphere in Las Vegas will host the Noche UFC 2 event next September to coincide with Mexican Independence Day. The state-of-the-art facility just opened in September and cost $2.3 billion to construct. White said they have begun the creative for the show and labeled it “a massive challenge” and stated, “I’m going to put on the greatest live combat sports show anybody has ever seen.”

**It will be a somber week for Bellator MMA as it approaches its final event on its calendar with Bellator 301 this Saturday at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago. With Showtime Sports shutting down at the end of the year, it is the final Bellator broadcast on the network with the future of Bellator left unknown amid year-long rumors of a purchase by PFL. The loss of Showtime affects the value greatly because without distribution in the U.S., what is an entity purchasing as opposed to acquiring specific fighter contracts? Bellator has a 14-year tape library but outside of Fight Pass, where is the value of that library realized?

The main card airs at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime and airs against both Friday Night SmackDown and a live edition of AEW Collision followed by Rampage. It’s a solid card from Bellator headlined by Yaroslav Amosov (27-0) defending the Bellator Welterweight Championship against Jason Jackson (16-4), a bantamweight title unification fight between Sergio Pettis (23-5) and Patchy Mix (18-1) with the main card rounding out with Danny Sabatello (14-2) vs. Raufeon Stots (19-2), A.J. McKee (18-1) vs. Sidney Outlaw (17-5), and Patricky Freire (25-11) vs. Alexander Shabily (23-3) in a Lightweight Grand Prix Semi-Final fight.

**The UFC is back at the Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday for a Fight Night headlined by Brendan Allen (22-5) and Paul Craig (17-6-1) in a middleweight contest. Allen is 10-2 in the UFC and has won his last five fights. Craig rebounded from back-to-back losses at light heavyweight by defeating Andre Muniz by TKO in July when he moved down to 185 pounds.

**John Kavanagh was on The MMA Hour on Monday and stated that Johnny Walker is booked for a rematch with Magomed Ankalaev at the Fight Night card on January 13. The two fought on at UFC 294 in October and ended in a no-contest after it was ruled that Ankalaev threw an illegal knee in the first round of their light heavyweight fight.

**Last week, the UFC confirmed its return to Toronto for the UFC 297 card on January 20 at Scotiabank Arena which coincides with Rogers Sportsnet regaining the programming rights in the new year. The card will be headlined by a pair of championship fights with Sean Strickland vs. Dricus du Plessis for the UFC Middleweight Championship and Raquel Pennington vs. Marya Bueno Silva for the vacant Women’s Bantamweight title. On the broadcast this past weekend, they officially added Aleksandr Rakic vs. Jan Blachowicz (a rematch from May 2022 when Rakic sustained a knee injury during the fight) and Dominick Reyes vs. Carlos Ulberg among the fights. The Canadian contingent on the card is led by Mike Malott, who has won his last six fights by stoppage and has the biggest fight of his career against Neil Magny. There is a terrific featherweight fight on the main card between Arnold Allen and Movsar Evloev. Allen’s twelve-fight win streak ended against Max Holloway this past April while Evloev is 17-0 and 7-0 in the UFC including wins against Dan Ige and Diego Lopes.

UFC 295: Procházka vs. Pereira, Pavlovich vs. Aspinall
John Pollock and Eric Marcotte review the UFC 295 card with Jiří Procházka vs. Alex Pereira and Tom Aspinall vs. Sergei Pavlovich.
Rich Fann and WH Park are joined by Nate Milton to review Loki Season 2’s finale, Episode 6 “Glorious Purpose”.
John Siino and Kate From MTL review AEW Collision featuring Sting, Darby Allin & Adam Copeland in trios action, while Tony Khan announces the Continental Classic tournament.
Bruce Lord and Karen Peterson join forces once again for the NJPW Lonestar Shootout featuring Shingo Takagi vs. Trent Beretta.
John Pollock and Wai Ting review Friday Night SmackDown featuring major changes within LWO and Damage CTRL following the events of Crown Jewel.

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About John Pollock 5646 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.