POLLOCK’S UPDATE Over 11,000 to attend SmackDown, AEW’s three hour block on TBS

Photo Courtesy: WWE


**Rewind-A-SmackDown is live at 10:05 p.m. ET tonight. Wai Ting and I will go through the latest news, review SmackDown, and open the phone lines for all POST Café members.

**Karen Peterson and Bruce Lord have a review of the New Japan Cup Final along with Karen going through all the latest STARDOM news including the news of multiple departures and Hanan winning the Cinderella tournament.

**WH Park and Rich Fann have released a free edition of MCU L8R chatting about the first two episodes of X-Men ’97 and will be continuing their review of the series for POST Café members in the coming weeks.


**Wednesday’s three-hour block of AEW programming on TBS yielded interesting results. Dynamite was nearly identical to the previous week, averaging 800,000 viewers and 0.27 in the 18-49 demographic compared to 801,000 and 0.27 one week prior. The live Rampage at 10 p.m. averaged 541,000 viewers and 0.18 in the core demo. Those numbers contrasted with its competition with back-to-back NCAA basketball games on TruTV (1.45 million viewers and 0.43, 1.78 million and 0.62) and back-to-back NBA games on ESPN (1.39 million and 0.42, 1.24 million and 0.36). The AEW block from 8-11 p.m. averaged 716,000 viewers and 0.24 and topped everything on cable outside of basketball. (Wrestlenomics & Sports Media Watch)

While Tony Khan had stated years ago that he was opposed to an added hour of Dynamite, his stance softened when asked by Brandon Thurston last year following another three-hour experiment on a Saturday night with Collision and Battle of the Belts. The fact is, Rampage is a significantly stronger property with Dynamite as a lead-in compared to airing on its own each Friday with this past week’s live episode being one of the larger numbers the show has drawn.

As we saw with Raw, the erosion of its fanbase didn’t go into effect immediately but the three-hour commitment wore on fans and became a chief criticism, so it’s possible that the audience would be hurt over time. However, Rampage would be boosted greatly with the move, and would still perform above the show’s current average. Even if the Dynamite average is impacted, you are gaining a boost for Rampage and I would suspect a net positive. We have already seen that a notable percentage of fans cannot stay tuned for three hours with a similar pattern every week on Raw. As hot as the product is, there is always a drop in the final hour, but averaging 1.5-1.6 million viewers for the final hour is still very strong by today’s cable standards and we are coming up on twelve years since WWE and USA Network expanded Raw to its current three-hour format.

**The WWE TV sellout streak will continue (see below for clarification) with Friday Night SmackDown at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. WrestleTix’s report listed 11,005 tickets distributed and it will be WWE’s tenth consecutive sellout for TV. The number should extend with Raw in Chicago, SmackDown in Uncasville next Friday, the go-home Raw at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and SmackDown/Hall of Fame and Raw after WrestleMania in Philadelphia. The Rock is not scheduled to appear tonight but they are promoting a major segment involving Roman Reigns and Cody Rhodes with no members of The Bloodline except Paul Heyman present with Rhodes coming alone. The following is being advertised:
*Face-to-face between Roman Reigns and Cody Rhodes
*Santos Escobar vs. Rey Mysterio (L.W.O. and Legado del Fantasma are banned from ringside)
*#1 Contender Qualifying Match: AOP vs. Street Profits
*#1 Contender Qualifying Match: Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows vs. Austin Theory & Grayson Waller
*Non-Title Match: IYO SKY vs. Naomi

**In an update on the sellout streak, technically this past Monday’s Raw had approximately 200 tickets remaining for WWE’s set up at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. Most promotions would label that a sellout when it’s close enough but if we’re being specific, not all the tickets were sold that were made available.

**Adam Copeland announced that the Cope Open is returning on the March 30 episode of Collision in London, Ontario where he will defend the TNT Championship. The card will include FTR vs. The Infantry in the AEW tag title tournament.

**TNA has back-to-back television tapings at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia beginning tonight. Friday’s show includes Josh Alexander vs. Tracy Williams and Alex Shelley vs. Nic Nemeth. Saturday’s taping is advertising a non-title match with Eddie Edwards & Brian Myers vs. Motor City Machine Guns, PCO vs. Kon in a Monster’s Ball Match, Josh Alexander & Jordynne Grace vs. Hammerstone & Tasha Steelz, Steve Maclin vs. Kevin Knight, Ace Austin vs. KUSHIDA vs. Speedball Mike Bailey, and Ash by Elegance vs. Xia Brookside. These tapings will air on AXS TV for the lead-up to Rebellion on April 20 in Las Vegas.

**GCW returns to Harpo’s Theatre in Detroit on Saturday with Blake Christian vs. Sawyer Wreck for the GCW title, Violence is Forever vs. John Wayne Murdoch & Reed Bentley for the GCW tag titles, Joey Janela vs. Shane Mercer, Jacob & Zilla Fatu vs. August Matthews & Davey Bang, Matt Cardona vs. Danhausen, Microman vs. Dan the Dad, Parrow & Richard Holliday vs. Allie Katch & Dark Sheik, and Alec Price & Cole Radrick vs. Tommy Vendetta & Malcolm Monroe III. The show will stream at 8 p.m. ET on TrillerTV+.

**OTT has added Nic Nemeth to its ScrapperMania 8 events on August 9 at The Hangar in Wolverhampton and August 10 at the National Boxing Arena in Dublin.

**Matt Riddle will defend the NJPW World Television Championship against Kosei Fujita on Friday, March 29 at MLW’s War Chamber event in St. Petersburg, Florida. Riddle will also face Timothy Thatcher during the MLW TV tapings that night.

**Josh Barnett appeared on Under the Ring with Phil Strum and spoke about working with WWE to allow Shayna Baszler to appear on the Bloodsport X card over WrestleMania Week.

**WWE Raw is returning to the Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota on July 29 with tickets going on sale today.


**The big news is UFC’s pending settlement involving the two antitrust suits led by Cung Le and Kajan Johnson for $335 million. The Le suit covered a class of fighters that fought for the promotion from December 16, 2010, through June 30, 2017, and the Johnson suit for fighters from July 1, 2017, onward. There are many questions and unknowns, which will not be public until 45-60 days after Wednesday’s settlement announcement and require Judge Richard Boulware to approve the settlement. The only detail of the settlement is the monetary amount, and it remains unknown if there are any other concessions regarding fighter rights and language in contracts, which were key aspects being fought for when the suits were launched. This was immediately viewed as a win by TKO the stock price receiving an immediate bump and sitting around $87.

Among the questions are how much the fighters will individually receive, over how many years it will be spread over, and if it will be weighted based on the number of fights and/or relative value to the company (ie: Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey being paid more than a rank-and-file fighter). It is very hard to conclude with all these variables, but it is reasonable to assume that if the present-day structure remains, this is hardly a win for the next generation of fighters as UFC revenues will continue to increase and fighter pay will be suppressed at a 20 percent or lower rate.

There are always mechanisms in the form of a union/association, or a significant push for the Muhammad Ali Act to cover MMA but those feel like pipe dreams and the realities are that the top fighters with the most leverage are content with the current set-up even though they are the most underpaid given their value and revenue they generate. Few fighters are going to want to rock the boat and jeopardize the very small window they have to earn money in the sport but years down the road, will reflect on this period and see the money left on the table.

The UFC has structured its business where the suppression of fighter wages is a feature and not a bug. One of the benefits of both UFC and WWE is the lack of a union or need to participate in collective bargaining and the gulf between company revenues and what the fighters/wrestlers receive is massive. The UFC has its domestic broadcast agreement coming due and with its pay-per-views up for grabs, there is no telling what amount they will command, and fighters don’t share in any of that revenue. While we can’t make definitive statements on the settlement news, we can say with certainty that it will be viewed as a historically significant event where it’s hard not to see the UFC and TKO coming as big winners and avoiding the potential of a multi-billion-dollar penalty.

**John Nash goes over the settlement and fields questions regarding the antitrust cases on the Hey Not the Face! Podcast.

**Lawyer Jason Cruz goes over several issues regarding the antitrust settlements and factors that may have encouraged settling.

**Michael Chandler believes the fight with Conor McGregor is happening this summer. While speaking with TMZ, the lightweight stated there was an agreement in place but could not disclose the date. McGregor had previously released a video announcing their fight for June 29 but that was never confirmed by the UFC or released their promotional channels. McGregor and Chandler coached on The Ultimate Fighter last season but the fight never happened with constant questions on why there has been a hold-up including McGregor re-entering the drug testing pool after retiring. McGregor has been doing constant media over the past week promoting his role in the remake of “Road House”, which was released on Amazon Prime on Thursday, and co-stars Jake Gyllenhaal.

**The UFC Fight Night card on Saturday at the Apex is headlined by a women’s flyweight fight between former 115-pound champion Rose Namajunas and Amanda Ribas. This is Namajunas’ second fight at 125 pounds and lost to Manon Fiorot last September by unanimous decision. Ribas is coming off a TKO win at strawweight against Luana Pinheiro and competed three times last year including a decision win against Viviane Araujo and a TKO loss to Maycee Barber at flyweight. The women’s flyweight division is going to be on ice until Alexa Grasso and Valentina Shevchenko complete their season of The Ultimate Fighter, which airs in June, and have their rematch for the title. Erin Blanchfield and Manon Fiorot are fighting on March 30 and the winner should be receiving a title fight but it’s going to be a long wait as Grasso and Shevchenko won’t fight until later in the year.

MAIN CARD (10 p.m. ET on ESPN & ESPN+, Sportsnet 360 in Canada)
*Amanda Ribas vs. Rose Namajunas
*Karl Williams vs. Justin Tafa
*Edmen Shahbazyan vs. A.J. Dobson
*Cameron Saaiman vs. Payton Talbott
*Billy Quarantillo vs. Youssef Zalal
*Fernando Padilla vs. Luis Pajuelo

*Kurt Holobaugh vs. Trey Ogden
*Julian Erosa vs. Ricardo Ramos
*Miles Johns vs. Cody Gibson
*Steven Nguyen vs. Jarno Errens
*Montserrat Rendon vs. Darya Zhelenyakova
*André Lima vs. Igor Severino
*Mohammed Usman vs. Mick Parkin

**The next Bellator Champions Series on June 22 will feature Jason Jackson (18-4) defending the Bellator Welterweight Championship against Ramazan Kuramagomedov (12-0) in Dublin, Ireland at the 3Arena. Earlier this week, the promotion announced broadcast agreement for the Bellator Champions Series on the Max streaming service in the U.S., DAZN in the U.K., and The Fight Network in Canada. There will be eight Bellator cards in total this year with additional events on September 7 in San Diego, September 14 in London, October 12 in Chicago, November 16 in Paris, and a New Year’s Eve card with a location to be announced.

MCU L8R: X-Men ’97 Episodes 1 & 2 [FREE]
WH Park and Rich Fann are back in the MCU saddle covering the Marvel Animation series, X-Men ’97 — a continuation of the 90s Fox Kids cartoon featuring several members of the original voice cast
Bruce Lord & Karen Peterson review the finals of the NJPW New Cup Finals 2024 headlined by Yota Tsuji and Hirooki Goto.
John Pollock and Wai Ting attend AEW Dynamite & Rampage in Toronto featuring an “I Quit” match between Christian Cage and Adam Copeland.
John Pollock and Brandon Thurston discuss the legal questions surrounding the lawsuit against Vince McMahon, John Laurinaitis & WWE.
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review WWE NXT from March 19th, 2024 featuring Trick Williams vs Noam Dar!
REWIND-A-WAI #153: SHIMMER Women Athletes Vol. 68
John Pollock and Wai Ting discuss women’s wrestling promotion SHIMMER Women Athletes through a review of their Vol. 68 event from October 2014.

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About John Pollock 5610 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.