POLLOCK’S UPDATE: Analyst prediction on UFC/WWE media rights

Photo Courtesy: @arielhelwani on X

POST IT NOTES

**Our Best & Worst of 2023 Show is now available for everyone on the POST Wrestling & Poisonrana feeds. The panel of John Pollock, Wai Ting, Davie Portman & Braden Herrington make selections in twenty-one categories, we play “Likely or Unlikely” for 2024, and review the predictions we made one year ago. This is always among our most popular shows of the year and clocks in at nearly three hours reviewing the good and the bad of the past year.

**Rewind-A-Raw is live at 11 p.m. ET tonight on the POST YouTube channel with a review of the show from Portland featuring CM Punk’s appearance and Cody Rhodes vs. Shinsuke Nakamura.

**This Thursday, Rewind-A-Wai #147 will cover WWF Breakdown from September 1998 headlined by Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker vs. Kane in Hamilton, Ontario. You can leave feedback and questions for our review on the POST Wrestling Forum.

**Poisonrana has part one of its look at the best matches of 2023.

POST SCHEDULE (Full schedule)

Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting
Tuesday: upNXT with Davie Portman & Braden Herrington
Wednesday: Pollock & Thurston
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite
Thursday: Rewind-A-Wai #147 – WWF Breakdown 1998 (POST Wrestling Café)
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (POST Wrestling Café)
Saturday: TNA Hard to Kill with John Pollock & John Siino
Saturday: Collision Course & Battle of the Belts with Kate from Montreal & Wai Ting (POST Wrestling Café)
Sunday: NJPW Battle in the Valley with Karen Peterson & Bruce Lord (POST Wrestling Café)

WRESTLING NEWS

**John Ourand of Sports Business Journal (soon to be Puck) wrote his annual media predictions column for the coming year. Ourand, who is as closely tied to sports media reporting as anyone, believes that ESPN will renew its UFC deal, which expires in 2025. Ourand states that ESPN has “prioritized” renewing the deal and believes it will happen “quickly”. He adds the possibility of Disney sewing up both UFC rights and possibly WWE Raw with that program placed on FX adding “That scenario would become likely if WWE is unable to find enough money from ‘Raw’ suitors. But it looks like one media company will step up for that property.”

**Nic Nemeth (the former Dolph Ziggler) was interviewed by Busted Open Radio about his exit from WWE and his recent appearance at Wrestle Kingdom 18.  Nemeth said he had been preparing for his WWE release for a while and said he had “sent emails to the boss” asking to go elsewhere over the past few months, so he wasn’t caught off guard being part of the cuts last September. He was incredibly positive about his nearly twenty years in the company and mentioned the Money in the Bank cash-in from April 2013 against Alberto Del Rio as one of the high points and thanking the fans for getting him to that point when he easily could have been booked to fail on the cash-in. When it came to his amateur wrestling background, he said he constantly tried to downplay it so he could stand out and become a top guy that WWE wanted and focus on the sports entertainment side but was encouraged by former WWE agents Arn Anderson, Mike Rotunda, and Dean Malenko to include it in his matches.

**Swerve Strickland has been cast in an upcoming horror film. Deadline reports that the AEW performer will be among the cast of the film Stiletto, which will star and be executively produced by Gigi Gustin and directed by Samuel Gonzalez Jr. The plot is listed as the following:

A year after the grisly murder of a local exotic dancer, the victim’s sister, Lyric, searches for the serial killer responsible as he stalks and kills his favorite dancers on the night of the anniversary.

**WWE Raw is at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon tonight. The show is airing against the College Football National Championship game between Michigan and Washington, which is going to do a gigantic audience and it gets no easier next week with the NFL Wild Card game. Raw will include an appearance by CM Punk with the performer still feeling fresh since his return in November and has been a difference-maker for television viewership and moving tickets at live events during the holiday tour in New York and Inglewood, California. Below are the announced matches and segments:
*CM Punk to appear
*Cody Rhodes vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
*Women’s Tag Titles: Katana Chance & Kayden Carter © vs. Piper Niven & Chelsea Green
*The Miz vs. JD McDonagh
*Finn Balor vs. Tommaso Ciampa
*Kofi Kingston vs. Ludwig Kaiser
*Sit-down interview with R-Truth

**The latest update from WrestleTix lists Raw as having 10,060 tickets distributed at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon.

**Eddie Edwards spoke with PWmania.com and spoke about his decision to re-sign with TNA and working for the promotion for the past decade:

I think a lot of people know that this is the place I want to be. I’ve been here going on 10 years now, and I’ve stayed here that long for a reason. I always believed in what we’ve been doing and the goal is we want to accomplish it. So, my relationship with the company has always been great. To me, it has always been a no-brainer. My contract wasn’t up until the end of February, so we were ahead of schedule. We got it all set, planned out, and signed on the dotted line. To me that gives me comfort and pleasure knowing that I will be a part of TNA going forward with all this momentum that we have. To me, it’s without a doubt what I want to be a part of. We have all this momentum going forward, and with this big TNA announcement of us being back as TNA, this is an exciting time, and I wouldn’t want to miss it.

**This Saturday will be among the busiest in a long time with multiple events. Pro Wrestling NOAH has a show at Korakuen Hall with Kenoh vs. Go Shiozaki for the GHC Heavyweight Championship and Shiozaki’s “I Am NOAH” moniker at stake. TNA rebrands itself for the Hard to Kill pay-per-view featuring Alex Shelley vs. Moose and Trinity vs. Jordynne Grace. AEW will have a three-hour block on TNT with Collision followed by Battle of the Belts IX with the latter including a tag title match with Ricky Starks & Big Bill vs. Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara. Plus, New Japan’s Battle in the Valley is taking place in San Jose with Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay and Shingo Takagi vs. Jon Moxley in the top matches. The UFC runs its first card of 2024 with a show at the Apex headlined by Magomed Ankalaev (17-1-1, 1 NC) vs. Johnny Walker (21-7, 1 NC) in the light heavyweight main event in a rematch from their no-contest last October. In addition, the NFL playoffs kick off on Saturday including a Miami Dolphins vs. Kansas City Chiefs game on Saturday night, which will have a sizable audience.

**Next Monday’s edition of Raw will be airing against the NFL Wild Card game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and will be free of football competition beginning January 22.

**The TKO stock grew by 2% on Monday and closed at $80.07. 

**AJ Francis announced that he and DJ Whoo Kid are debuting their music video “We Out$ide” this Saturday at TNA’s Hard to Kill pay-per-view in Las Vegas.

**NPR’s 1A looks at professional wrestling and America’s fascination with the industry. The panel features former WWE writer and historian Brian Solomon, professor and author Eero Laine, and WOW performer Foxxy Fierce.

**Oliver Bateman has a review of The Iron Claw on RealClear Books and wrote about the strengths and weaknesses of the film and approached the question of what audience the film was aiming at.

**GCW has uploaded the entire wedding segment involving Matt Cardona and Chelsea Green from its Homecoming show in 2022.

**House of Glory ran its Brace for Impact event this past Saturday with the entire show available for free on the Premier Streaming Network’s YouTube channel. The show was headlined by HOG Heavyweight Champion Mike Santana retaining his title against Josh Alexander, The Mane Event going to a 20:00 draw against Chris Bey & Ace Austin, Carlos Ramirez over Krule to retain the Crown Jewel title, Nolo Kitano over Gringo Loco, Idris Jackson over Raheem Royal, Joey Silver winning a four-way match against KC Navarro, Jay Armani & Darren Richardson, and Encore Moore beating JJ Boujji.

**House of Glory returns on March 2 with Mustafa Ali making his debut with the promotion.

**TNA returns to Windsor, Ontario on March 8 for its Sacrifice event, which streams exclusively on the TNA+ app. The following night they will hold television tapings with two nights at St. Clair College. Tickets for both shows go on sale this Saturday at 10 a.m. ET on the TNA website.

**Yoshitatsu has launched his own weekly podcast called Yoshi Unleashed with co-hosts Sean Ng and Lee Walker. In the first episode, the wrestler spoke about the news that Hiroshi Tanahashi has been named the new president of NJPW.

MMA NEWS

**Bloody Elbow continues to explore the internal UFC documents that have become public during the discovery phase of the antitrust lawsuit. Anton Tabuena of BE has a piece looking at correspondence between the promotion and Ronda Rousey’s representation in 2012 when Strikeforce was being dissolved and Rousey was moving over to the UFC. During this period, Rousey was the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion and came off notable wins against Miesha Tate and Sarah Kaufman that year with her star power greatly expanding and thus, Dana White changing his tune about females fighting in the UFC. The opening offer from UFC was to pay Rousey $35,000 per fight with a $35,000 win bonus with escalators with each win topping out at $70,000 and $70,000. Instead, her side countered with a starting amount of $100,000 to fight and a $100,000 win bonus with escalators topping out at $500,000 and $500,000 per fight. It is insane to imagine if Rousey had blindly accepted the initial offer and some of the biggest fights in the company’s history would see her disclosed pay top out at $140,000 per fight.  

**The UFC is back this weekend with their first card of the year and nearly a month off. The Apex card is headlined by a light heavyweight rematch between Magomed Ankalaev and Johnny Walker, who fought last October and ended in a no-contest. Ankalaev connected with an illegal knee and the fight was called off with Walker blaming it on a miscommunication with the doctor, who didn’t speak his native language and ruled Walker unable to continue. Ankalaev had won nine fights in a row before fighting Jan Blachowicz in December 2022 for the vacant 205-pound title, which ended in a split draw and neither was awarded the title. The card also sees the two fighters with the most fights in UFC history as Jim Miller (42 fights) will take on Gabriel Benitez, and Andrei Arlovski (40 fights) meets Waldo Cortes-Acosta on the prelims. Miller is hopeful of getting on the UFC 300 card in April after previously competing on the UFC 100 card in 2009 and UFC 200 in 2016.

**According to Pollstar, the UFC Fight Night card staged on December 2 in Austin, Texas drew a sell-out of 12,195 at the Moody Center with a live gate of $2,262,850. The card was headlined by Arman Tsarukyan defeating Beneil Dariush with a first-round knockout and Jalin Turner stopping Bobby Green in the first round in the top fights on the card. Former women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate headlined the prelim card beating Julia Avila by submission.

*****
POST’s Best & Worst of 2023 Show
John Pollock, Wai Ting, Braden Herrington & Davie Portman discuss the highs and lows of the past year in the Best & Worst of 2023 Show.
*****
POST PURORESU
WH Park and Karen Peterson review NJPW New Year’s Dash and chat about Wrestle Kingdom 18.
*****
COLLISION COURSE
Kate From MTL and guest host Bruce Lord review the first AEW Collision of 2024 featuring FTR vs House of Black.
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN
John Pollock and Wai Ting review this week’s WWE SmackDown: New Year’s Revolution special featuring Randy Orton vs. AJ Styles vs. LA Knight to determine Roman Reigns’ challenger at the Royal Rumble.
*****
MCU L8R: What If…? Season 2 Review (Part 2)
Rich Fann, WH Park and Scrump of PWTcast return to cover episodes 5-9 of Marvel’s What If…? Season 2.
*****
WRESTLE KINGDOM 18
John Pollock, Wai Ting & Bruce Lord review NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 18 in Tokyo Dome featuring SANADA vs. Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP World Heavyweight Title and Bryan Danielson vs. Kazuchika Okada.
*****

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About John Pollock 5568 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.