POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE 1/12 - WWE executive Michelle Wilson on WWE Network Growth & Strategies

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/01/12/pollocks-news-update-1-12-wwe-executive-michelle-wilson-on-wwe-network-growth-strategies/


**Our second edition of REWIND-A-WAI is now available for all members of the POST Wrestling Café at https://www.patreon.com/posts/16353951/. This is our first “Espresso Executive Producer” show as John Taylor made the selection for us to review the April 8th, 2013 episode of WWE Raw from the night after WrestleMania 29. This show was highlighted by Dolph Ziggler cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase, the crowd revolution during Randy Orton’s match with Sheamus and the start of “Fandango-ing”. We also have a quick segment with Executive Producer John Taylor following our review as he explains his reasoning for choosing this episode. All Café members can listen right now at the link above and you can become a member at Patreon.com/POSTwrestling.

**This Sunday, I will be joined by MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani for the 2018 MMA Predictions Show. The two of us will go back and look at the predictions that Helwani made for 2017 and then we will put together a brand new “Likely / Unlikely” list for 2018. This is always a very fun show and is POST Wrestling’s first MMA themed show since our launch. For “Double Double” members and above, we have posted a video of the first ten minutes of this show up at https://www.patreon.com/posts/mma-prediction-16362820.

**We are happy to announce that Martin Bushby, Oli Court, and Benno will be coming to POST Wrestling next week with the British Wrestling Experience.

**All the details for the POST Wrestling “Royal Rumble Pool” will be announced Monday night on Rewind-A-Raw.

**Keep it 2000 can now be found on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play. You can catch up on all of their shows that cover the episodes of WCW Monday Nitro from January – May 2000. New shows are coming in the near future from Brian Mann and Nate Milton.

**Our POST Wrestling “Worst of 2017” picks from the panel of Wai Ting, Jason Agnew, Dan Lovranski and myself.


**The Raw crew begins their weekend house shows in Amarillo, Texas tonight with Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins advertised as the top talent. Samoa Joe is still listed for the shows this weekend in the advertising, but his recent injury will obviously prevent him from working any shows. The Raw crew heads to Wichita Falls, Texas on Saturday evening and Waco on Sunday.

The SmackDown Live crew is doing something different this weekend and will run back-to-back nights in Hidalgo, Texas. The crew will run Saturday night and return on Sunday for the second show with combo tickets available from the venue. Hidalgo has always been a strong market for the company and it will be interesting to see how these shows draw and have the added benefit of the talent having less travel this weekend than usual. They will continue Monday night with a house show in Corpus Christi, Texas.

**Impact Wrestling continues their television tapings in Orlando, Florida tonight for their third of six consecutive nights. Last night’s episode of Impact was still from the Ottawa set of tapings that were shot back in November.

**A cruiserweight title match between Enzo and Cedric Alexander has been added to the Royal Rumble event on Sunday, January 28th in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Below is the updated card for the show:
*Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman vs. Kane for the WWE Universal title
*A.J. Styles vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in a handicap match for the WWE title
*30-man Royal Rumble
*30-woman Royal Rumble
*Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan vs. Sheamus and Cesaro for the Raw tag titles
*The Usos vs. Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin for the SmackDown tag titles
*Enzo vs. Cedric Alexander for the Cruiserweight title
*Bobby Roode or Mojo Rawley vs. Jinder Mahal or Xavier Woods for the vacant United States title

**The WWE’s chief revenue and marketing officer Michelle Wilson, recently spoke to Business Insider at the annual CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas about the growth of the WWE Network and maintaining all their platforms. The story was a very positive one on the growth of the WWE and positioning the company as head of the curve in 2014 with so many outlets now branching out to streaming platforms. One area that Wilson went through was the exponential amount of data they have access to through their own streaming platform without a middleman such as various cable providers. Wilson stated in the past they got very little in the way of data or analytics beyond the number of buys a pay-per-view would generate and they have 40 members on staff dedicated to data analysis (there was one person responsible when they launched the network in February 2014). Wilson reiterated their commitment to paid television (and without their enormous television contracts, the WWE would be a completely different company).

In the top of the story, it lists some highlights from the discussion and they include the fact that the WWE has “built a successful subscription streaming product without undercutting its traditional channels”. This is just not the case as any story regarding the business of the WWE Network should include their abandonment of pay-per-view at a time when the biggest fights in the world are doing enormous on that medium. It isn’t an argument that the WWE should have kept all shows as pay-per-views because the WWE Network would not have the subscribers it does today without the monthly shows but there is a far greater argument that WrestleMania should have remained a pay-per-view entity and that pay-per-view business for that show would have only grown since 2014 rather than trend downward. In addition, the WWE has seen significant drops in their home video department, which was probably an area that was going to see big drops regardless of a streaming network, but the WWE Network has accelerated it with the minimal incentive for their subscribers to purchase DVDs or digital downloads. In closing, by no means was the WWE Network a mistake and for the long-term, this was a necessary tool to have and the company was ahead of the curve when it came to the launch and building a healthy subscriber base but there were sacrifices made in 2014.

**Earlier this week, a statement was put out by Michael Elgin regarding past incidents involving Moses Malone, a woman who has alleged that Sean Orleans, a wrestler Elgin employed for his Glory Pro promotion, sexually assaulted her. This past week, Malone spoke to the Pro Wrestling Ponderings website and provided details regarding the story, the allegations and her relationship with Elgin: http://www.pwponderings.com/2018/01/11/speaking-out/.

**TMZ is reporting that WWE talent David Otunga will not face charges stemming from an investigation involving Otunga and Jennifer Hudson. Allegations of domestic battery were made last November with Hudson filing a report within the state of Illinois. Following the investigation, authorities have concluded they will not be pursuing any charges against Otunga. When the story first became public, Otunga was removed from WWE programming back in November and returned in December as part of the kickoff panel at the Clash of Champions show.

**Gabe Sapolsky has confirmed that he has signed a deal with the WWE to serve as a creative consultant for the NXT brand. Sapolsky issued the following statement on the news:

I am beyond excited about what the future will bring. I need to give my most heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported me on this 24 year journey. I truly wouldn’t be here without you. I never forget that and will always work my hardest to bring you the best product possible. I want to make it clear that I am still committed to doing the same job I have always done for WWN and EVOLVE. I go 100% in everything I do and will never let up. In fact, I feel that 2018 will be the will be biggest year in WWN history with the launch of the Club WWN subscription service at WWNLive.com. I can’t wait for EVOLVE this Saturday and Sunday in New York City. EVOLVE will be the place for talent to make and improve their reputations. It can be new players like Darby Allin, Austin Theory and Priscilla Kelly, who really began getting noticed in 2017. It can be established players like Zack Sabre Jr., who raised his game and staked his claim as being one of the best in the world with his EVOLVE Championship reign, or Keith Lee, who had a rep going into 2017 but became THE MAN in 2017 as a singles star. I am highly anticipating seeing more talent develop up and down the card in 2018. It has the making of a special year.

**EVOLVE is running their first two events of the year this weekend with a show on Saturday night at 6 pm Eastern from Queens, New York, and another live show Sunday night at 7 pm from Brooklyn, New York. Both cards will be airing live at WWNLive.com for $9.99 (live viewing only) and $14.99 to have the event on demand. Saturday’s EVOLVE 98 will feature Zack Sabre, Jr. defending the EVOLVE championship against Darby Allin and a non-title match between Keith Lee and Jaka.

**The WWE has announced the complete list of charities that will be represented in the upcoming “Mixed Match Challenge” series. Each team will have their charity they represent and the winning team contributing $100,000 to their charity and the other charities all receiving $10,000.

**It was announced earlier this week at CES in Las Vegas, that the WWE will be launching their own virtual reality channel on the NextVR app. The channel will consist of ten-minute experiences that are added to specific events with users placed in the perspective of a member of the live audience. The app is available through Samsung’s Gear VR, Google’s Daydream View, Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality and on VR headsets for the Sony PlayStation.

**CES also had Stephanie McMahon appear for a 10-minute panel chat and that can be watched here.

**Destiny Wrestling out of Mississauga, Ontario has a unique main event on their January 21st card at the Don Kolov Arena. WWE U.K champion Pete Dunne was scheduled to face Austin Aries on the show and the match is still scheduled but with the added element that Aries is now the Impact Wrestling champion. The promotion is advertising the show with both men and their respective titles displayed on the poster. The same show will feature a match between Matt Sydal and Petey Williams with Impact taping the match for a future episode. The show takes place Sunday, January 21st at 7:30 pm and tickets are available at www.destinyworldwrestling.com.

**Impact Wrestling has confirmed that Brian Cage has been added to the roster. The promotion put out a photo on their social media teasing Cage and later revealed his arrival. Cage was briefly used by TNA back in 2013 as part of their “Gut Check” challenge where Cage lost to Jay Bradley. Cage has been working with Lucha Underground since the series launched in 2014 and had become one of the popular characters within the series.

**The Great Khali (Dalip Singh Rana) spoke to The Indian Express about the growth of professional wrestling within India. Khali was critical of some of the native talent relying on performance enhancing drugs to improve their chances and cited their mentality as being “weak”. On the WWE’s expansion into the country, he stated that they have failed and that he had wanted to leave the company for a long time but kept being offered new deals before his departure in 2014. The WWE returned to India last month and was scheduled to run back-to-back shows but scaled back to hold one show in the country and featured Triple H vs. Jinder Mahal.

**This past Wednesday’s episode of Total Diva averaged 516,000 viewers on the E! network. The series was coming off a season-high of 684,000 viewers last week and saw a big decline this week.


**Former Bellator analyst Jimmy Smith has quickly found a new home following the expiration of his deal with Bellator MMA two weeks ago. It was announced on Friday that the UFC had signed Smith and will join their broadcast team for FOX and pay-per-view assignments. Ariel Helwani at MMA Fighting added that Smith is expected to be working on the desk for FS 1 during the coverage of UFC 220 on January 21st. Smith is a former fighter and transitioned into broadcasting as an analyst for the Affliction organization as well as M-1 Challenge with Bellator being his home since 2010. This is a great hire by the UFC as Smith is one of the best in the industry and is extremely versatile for shoulder programming that the UFC will have him be a part of.

**The UFC has a Sunday night card that will be airing on FS 1 from St. Louis, Missouri and is a very loaded card by television standards.

MAIN CARD (10 pm Eastern on FS1, TSN 5 in Canada)
*Jeremy Stephens vs. Dooho Choi
*Vitor Belfort vs. Uriah Hall
*Paige VanZant vs. Jessica-Rose Clark
*Kamaru Usman vs. Emil Meek

PRELIMINARY CARD (8 pm ET on FS1, Fight Network in Canada)

*Michael Johnson vs. Darren Elkins
*James Krause vs. Alex White
*Marco Polo Reyes vs. Matt Frevola
*Thiago Alves vs. Zak Cummings

*Jessica Eye vs. Kalindra Faria
*Irene Aldana vs. Talita Bernado
*Danielle Taylor vs. J.J. Aldrich
*Guido Cannetti vs. Kyung Ho Kang

**Bellator is producing a series of countdown videos for next weekend’s Bellator 192 card on the new Paramount Network (formerly Spike TV). The card will feature Douglas Lima defending the Bellator welterweight title against Rory MacDonald and the Heavyweight Grand Prix will kick off on this card with Quinton Jackson fighting Chael Sonnen. The first two episodes of the series can be watched below:

**Bellator president Scott Coker spoke to Steven Muehlhausen of The Sporting News on Friday and stated that the Chael Sonnen vs. Quinton Jackson fight will go on last with the Douglas Lima vs. Rory MacDonald title fight serving as the co-main event of the free broadcast.

**Fight Network has announced a broadcast agreement with the UFC for the country of Italy through Fight Network’s partnership with DTT Channel 62. The deal will include Fight Network’s ability to broadcast live preliminary fights from UFC pay-per-view cards, Fight Night prelims, pay-per-view cards on a 30-day delay, new seasons of Ultimate Fighter and the UFC’s shoulder programming. The deal goes into effect immediately with the airing of the preliminary card of this Sunday’s Fight Night event from St. Louis and will air Monday on DTT.

REWIND-A-WAI – Night After ‘Mania Raw 2013
(John Pollock and Wai Ting review Raw from the night after WrestleMania 29 featuring Dolph Ziggler’s cash in, birth of “Fandango-ing”, revolt during Orton vs. Sheamus and we welcome Espresso Executive Producer John Taylor at the end of the show)

REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 1/9/18 – John Pollock & Wai Ting review SmackDown Live, Wai catches us up on this season of Total Divas, Pollock chats Brian Pillman book and we take your feedback

REWIND-A-RAW 1/8/18 – Balor Club vs The Shield, Strowman Attempts Murder, Woken Mat In-Ring Debut

POST WRESTLING’S “WORST OF 2017 SHOW” with John Pollock, Wai Ting, Jason Agnew and Dan “The Mouth” Lovranski

WRESTLE KINGDOM 12 REVIEW (Patron-only show)

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GOD DAMN YEAH KEEP IT 2000 IS BACK!!! I’m so excited. @PodFatherSOH you have no idea how happy I am to see that show in a single podcast feed for the express purposes of binging. I started on the “gizimick” episode so I got some catching up to do!

Also, John (or anyone else for that matter), for a relative MMA newbie who will be tuning in to the fight night as I happen to be, what are some of the match ups I should look out for? I do have access to the whole show incl. the fight pass card and the prelims, but I only really know Vitor Belfort from his early UFC appearances and I’ve heard of Uriah Hall.

This is a very strong television card if you’re tuning in for the televised prelims and main card, hard to imagine it not being a strong card. Stephens vs. Choi should be stellar with two strong action fighters, Usman and Meek is a big fight at welterweight as the winner will catapult in that division and for a sleeper fight - Krause vs. White could be very good. I’m really looking forward to this one on Sunday, enjoy the show.

Lost a fight