POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: AEW's three-year anniversary, Tony Khan speaks on state of company

Originally published at POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: AEW's three-year anniversary

This is one of those days where only one story matters.

Another mass shooting, another inside of a school, with lives lost and others forever shattered because of the loss they woke up with today.

Nineteen children and two adults were murdered in cold blood.

We mourn, we cry, we scream, we argue, and nothing changes.

Whether it’s Orange County or Buffalo or Robb Elementary School – we are living in a world where mass shootings are becoming routine with 213 in the United States alone this year and 27 known school shootings in 2022.

There is literally no defense of a system that sees such routine carnage much less 500 inside schools over the past fourteen years.


There was a time when schools implemented fire drills because the gravest concern was that a fire could begin and you were taught how to exit in an orderly manner. Today, children are taught lockdown procedures and the fear of an active shooter becomes a reasonable cause for daily fear.

Elimination of guns in the United States will never happen. The bare minimum should be stringent measures to become a gun owner and to go through as thorough a vetting and training process as we place on teenagers and adults to obtain a driver’s license with the understanding of the dangers those responsibilities come with.

It’s one of those days – and I’m both sad and angry that we can only say “one of”.


**Rewind-A-Dynamite will be live at 10 p.m. ET tonight with a review of Dynamite from Las Vegas and we will also take your feedback.

**The May 2022 edition of the ASK-A-WAI Mailbag Show is available for POST Wrestling Cafe members covering a wide-range of subjects including growth of the site, changes over the past five years, and many F1 questions.

**On Thursday, Bushby & Thompson’s Wrestling Adventure will cover RevPro & New Japan’s Global Wars show from 2016. The two will review the second night of the event that included Katsuyori Shibata facing Chris Hero. This will be available on The British Wrestling Experience feed.


**AEW stages its first of three events from Las Vegas beginning with tonight’s Dynamite from the Michelob Ultra Arena as the promotion celebrates its three-year anniversary. The show will be airing against Game 5 between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics and Game 5 between the Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues. The outcome of the NHL game is important because if the Avalanche win, it clears the schedule for Friday night and would mean no NHL conflicts on TNT for Rampage. If the Blues win, it extends the series of a sixth game and will be played on Friday night and moving Rampage outside its slot. There was the potential of having two NHL games on Friday night but Tampa Bay eliminated Florida in four straight games.

Below are the matches and segments scheduled for Dynamite at 8 p.m. ET on TBS and TSN 2 in Canada:
*Steel Cage Match: Wardlow vs. Shawn Spears w/ MJF as the special referee
*Owen Hart Cup: Samoa Joe vs. Kyle O’Reilly – the winner faces Adam Cole at Double or Nothing
*Owen Hart Cup: Dr. Britt Baker vs. Toni Storm – the winner faces either Ruby Soho or Kris Statlander at the pay-per-view
*ROH Tag Team Championships: FTR (champions) vs. Rocky Romero & Trent Berretta
*Jungle Boy vs. Swerve Strickland vs. Ricky Starks
*Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston vs. Private Party
*Thunder Rosa speaks

It was on this date that the company ran its first event, ‘Double or Nothing’ from the MGM Grand Garden Arena that garnered an instant sellout and was a precursor to getting weekly television that began in October 2019.

The story of AEW is already a remarkable one fueled by one of the deepest rosters in years, a booker that is under the age of 40 and grew up as a super fan as opposed to years of working inside the business, several key stars becoming available at the same time, and several lucky breaks along the way. While the pandemic proved costly for many companies and in the case of Ring of Honor, contributed to its demise under the Sinclair banner, AEW was extremely fortunate to sign a new agreement with WarnerMedia just weeks before the shutdown.

The initial deal for Dynamite called for TNT to pay for the production costs, which is not insignificant, and the rest dependent on advertising splits in a deal not dissimilar to the XFL that launched several months after Dynamite. It was the idea of establishing an audience and biting the bullet on the first deal, so you cash in on the follow-up. Instead, WarnerMedia ripped up the original contract in early 2020 and signed a new multi-year agreement worth $175 million over four years and saved the company. With the terms of the original agreement, AEW was living off live gates and pay-per-view revenue as its major income and without fans having the ability to attend the shows, it could have been disastrous.

The ability to grow its audience and make Dynamite a top cable show on Wednesday nights with a younger audience should make them an attractive property, but in the world of television and pro wrestling, numbers don’t always correlate with higher rights fees. While it was another era, WCW still had strong weekly viewership per the standards of cable, and yet had no suitors when its programming was dropped from TNT and TBS. Today, you have a lower bar on cable when it comes to viewership expectations than 2001 along with the advent of streaming that should bring more bidders to the table, in theory. Professional wrestling is also viewed in a better light than decades ago, although it still battles a stigma.

The immediate effect AEW had on the industry was a higher floor for WWE talent who had deals coming up and were offered incredible contracts to stay. That came with massive cuts throughout the pandemic and some of those talents not seeing anywhere close the total agreed upon value of those contracts because of how contracts are structured. You can sign for $5 million over five years and be cut after one and all WWE owes you is 90 additional days.

The next chapter for AEW is its U.S. media rights deal. Where they land, how much they can command, the potential of expanded programming or extension of current offerings are game changing questions for the young outfit. With a substantial increase – how much does that change the game with AEW’s ability to grow its budget?

Every talent should be rooting privately for AEW to get a substantial increase because of the leverage it will provide for talent that have minimal amounts.

AEW also lacks a streaming deal and could certainly find success expanding its current offering of four pay-per-views annually. The addition of ‘The Forbidden Door’ will show how hungry its audience is when they’re asked to buy an additional show four weeks after Double or Nothing. The concept of AEW vs. NJPW has already been a proven winner given the advance ticket sales at The United Center.

There are plenty of questions for AEW’s future such as the roster size and keeping so many driven individuals happy, the obvious potential of ‘booking burnout’ for Tony Khan, how Ring of Honor fits into this complicated puzzle, and entering their next round of negotiations post-merger with Warner Bros. Discovery.

While it was presented as a “war” on Wednesday nights, AEW ended that fight the second they signed their new deal and ensured they would be around for several years. If you exclude UFC, it’s the strongest competition WWE has faced since 1999 and become a viable option for many tenured performers both financially and artistically – the latter proving to be of great importance for a wider number of talent that strive for creative excellence.

**Tony Khan was a guest on the Sports Media podcast with Richard Deitsch to promote AEW Double or Nothing. Some notes from their discussion:
*Khan expects to have executives from Warner Bros. Discovery at The Forum in Inglewood, California next Wednesday for Dynamite and holding a party after the show with the executives.
*AEW is going to structure its pay-per-view around the potential Game 7 between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics. Khan related it to 2012 when Manny Pacquiao fought Timothy Bradley and they made the call to hold the main event until the basketball ended. Khan said they would do the same if the game is still going on, and holding back on the main event between Hangman Page vs. CM Punk.
*He distinguished AEW from WCW stating that they are owned and operated by themselves whereas WCW was owned by Time Warner without the ability to control their own fate. Khan stated you are only as good as your last show citing the incredible business WCW was doing by the end of 1998 and early 1999 with multiple stadium events for Monday Nitro and were out of business in 2001.

**Warrior Wrestling confirmed that Will Ospreay is off this Saturday’s card due to his kidney infection that forced him with withdraw from the RevPro card over the weekend. Davey Richards will now be facing a mystery opponent and the promotion has added Lance Archer to the card. The show will stream on FITE TV on Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET.

**The Best of the Super Juniors has another show at Korakuen Hall on Thursday and streams live at 5:30 a.m. ET on New Japan World. The remaining dates for the tournament will feature ten matches per show from the BOSJ with additional cards on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday before the finals on Friday, June 3rd. Below is the card for Thursday:
*B BLOCK: Titan vs. Master Wato
*A BLOCK: Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Clark Connors
*A BLOCK: Alex Zayne vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
*A BLOCK: YOH vs. Francesco Akira
*B BLOCK: El Lindaman vs. Wheeler Yuta
*A BLOCK: Taiji Ishimori vs. Ace Austin
*B BLOCK: El Desperado vs. BUSHI
*A BLOCK: Hiromu Takahashi vs. SHO
*B BLOCK: Robbie Eagles vs. El Phantasmo

The A Block is led by IWGP junior heavyweight champion Taiji Ishimori and IMPACT X Division champion Ace Austin with eights points each. Hiromu Takahashi, Alex Zayne, and YOH have six points. The rung below features SHO, Clark Connors and Yoshinobu Kanemaru with four points while Francesco Akira & Ryusuke Taguci have two points.

The B Block is led by El Desperado & El Phantasmo with eights points each. El Lindaman, DOUKI & Wheeler Yuta have six points. TJP, Robbie Eagles & BUSHI have four points, and Master Wato & Titan have two points.

**Marc Raimondi of ESPN has signed a book deal with Simon & Schuster. Raimondi will be writing a book on the history and influence of the New World Order with the working title For Life: The Inside Story of Pro Wrestling’s New World Order, and how it changed America.

I’ve never been more excited about a project ever — and I am going to try like hell to do the source material justice. So, without further ado, I have an announcement.

I’ve signed a deal with @simonschuster to write a book about the nWo, pro-wrestling’s most influential faction pic.twitter.com/dd4LDkrM9i

— Marc Raimondi (@marcraimondi) May 25, 2022

**Pro Wrestling NOAH is set to run a major card from the new Ariake Arena on October 30th. The arena was built in conjunction with the Olympic Games that were staged last year. NOAH’s previous home base was located near the arena with Differ Ariake serving as its home arena that also contained its dojo and offices. Differ Ariake shut down in 2018.

**Congratulations to Veda Scott and “Speedball” Mike Bailey on their recent wedding.

**The second season of ‘Young Rock’ concluded with back-to-back episodes on Tuesday night. Dwayne Johnson lost in his bid to become U.S. president, so yes, he booked his own defeat. The season finale fast-tracked Johnson through Memphis where he was introduced as ‘Flex Kavana’ and had quite the liberal handling of facts for his departure from the USWA. On the show, the booker was bullying Downtown Bruno in the ring and led to Johnson storming the ring and cutting an unscripted promo running down the booker. This led to Jerry Lawler challenging Johnson to an impromptu match and designed as a shoot challenge where Johnson would have to leave the territory if he lost. Johnson accepted the challenge and thought this was revenge by the booker, who was kicking him out of the USWA (while he’s under a developmental deal with WWF). But instead, Lawler informed him mid-match that he’s getting called up and everyone was happy. They re-enacted his on-screen debut at the Survivor Series at Madison Square Garden and winning the Intercontinental title from Hunter Hearst Helmsley on ‘Thursday Raw Thursday’ in Feb. 1997, as well as the match with The Sultan at WrestleMania 13. The season ends with the fans rejecting Johnson as a babyface while present day Johnson loses the election as your lingering issues for season three. The series is moving to Friday nights at 8:30 p.m. ET in November with the WWE segments focusing on the Attitude Era as Johnson rising to super stardom.