Originally published at POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: Analysis of AEW's business, Netflix, ROH
POST IT NOTES
**Rewind-A-Dynamite is live at 10:05 p.m. ET tonight with Wai Ting and I reviewing the show from Pittsburgh and taking your feedback from the POST Wrestling Forum. You can watch the show live on the POST YouTube channel.
**We got a great response to this week’s Rewind-A-Wai covering the Elite XC Primetime show from May 2008. Phil Chertok and Eric Marcotte stepped in this week to review the show with me and we discussed the promotion’s first card on CBS. The card was headlined by Kimbo Slice and James Thompson at a time when MMA and Thompson’s ear were exploding. We go through the major news from the event and goings-on that week in 2008, how the show performed in the ratings and a review of the card itself. This show is available to all POST Wrestling Café members.
**Damian Abraham will join Wai Ting & Jordan Goodman on The Wellness Policy on Thursday at 3 p.m. ET for their cannabis episode. The show will be live for Café members and available to everyone later in the day.
**Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics will join me on Friday’s POST Daily News Show.
POST DAILY NEWS
Wai Ting returns to chat about NXT 2.0, Joey Gacy’s Spring Breakin’, Raw ratings, Netflix, Taichi vs. Shingo Takagi, and tonight’s Dynamite.
**AEW Dynamite takes place from the Peterson Events Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with Dr. Britt Baker’s first appearance on the program since losing the women’s title to Thunder Rosa one month ago. Baker has encouraged people to bring their “terrible towels” to the show tonight and is clearly aimed at a massive hometown response for Baker.
As of Sunday, there were over 5,400 tickets out for tonight’s show according to WrestleTix with a set-up of approximately 6,000.
The show will include the latest major announcement from Tony Khan that often does make a difference in the interest level in the show. The major factor is the NBA playoffs which are in full swing with three games airing tonight (we previously stated there were four games and have made the correction). The big one is the Boston Celtics vs. Brooklyn Nets at 7 p.m. along with Toronto vs. Philadelphia at 8, and Chicago vs. Milwaukee at 9:30. The NBA is undoubtedly going to hurt the number and we saw the impact the NBA had on Raw this past Monday.
Here are the matches and segments advertised for tonight’s show:
*Coffin Match: Andrade El Idolo vs. Darby Allin
*Owen Hart Qualifying Match: Jungle Boy vs. Kyle O’Reilly
*Owen Hart Qualifying Match: Dr. Britt Baker vs. Danielle Kamela (Vanessa Borne in NXT)
*CM Punk vs. Dustin Rhodes
*Wardlow vs. The Butcher
*Hook vs. TBA
*Tony Khan’s major announcement
**For those in Canada, TSN 2 will be airing the two-hour episode of Dark Side of the Ring covering the Chris Benoit murder/suicide tonight at 10 p.m. ET immediately following Dynamite.
**Brandon Thurston has an excellent breakdown of AEW’s business covering television viewership, pay-per-view buys, YouTube views, and Google web searches as a means to gauge its popularity growth and declines.
Is AEW's business growing?
— Brandon Thurston (@BrandonThurston) April 20, 2022
In overall television viewership, Dynamite is up 29 percent in the first quarter of 2022 compared with the same quarter last year while its 18-49 audience has improved by 28 percent. This coincides with the move to TBS and the stronger lead-in from Big Bang Theory and is enhanced by the return of full arenas compared to the Daily’s Place crowd last year, and an improvement in overall star power with the additions of CM Punk and Bryan Danielson, although losing Cody Rhodes, who last appeared in late January.
Pay-per-view business has been an increasing metric for AEW with each event compared to the same show the year prior. According to Thurston’s data – in 2021, Revolution (Omega vs. Moxley in the Exploding Barbed-Wire match) was up 50 percent from the prior year, Double or Nothing (Stadium Stampede II, Omega vs. Pac vs. Orange Cassidy) was up by 10 percent, All Out (CM Punk’s first match back vs. Darby Allin) was up 128 percent from the prior year and is the company’s most-purchased show in history with 205,000 buys, and Full Gear (Omega vs. Hangman) was up 71 percent. Last year’s Double or Nothing did 115,000 buys and I would feel very confident this year’s show will outdo that, especially if you have Punk going for the AEW title. The major test will be this year’s All Out and whether they have a match or grow its floor to such a degree that they can threaten 205,000 buys.
In Thurston’s findings, it would appear that from a popularity standpoint, the highest period of the company’s history was last summer for CM Punk’s return where PPV business, and Google searches skyrocketed – although, this did not correlate to an increase in YouTube views, which fell 23 percent in that quarter. AEW had a very small presence on YouTube in 2019 and those numbers exploded in 2020 but leveled off in 2021. It’s an area that WWE is several leagues above in terms of engagement and strategy.
**PWinsider.com was the first to report that Tammy Sytch and her boyfriend James Pente are being sued by the estate of Julian L. Lasseter, who was killed in March when struck by a vehicle driven by Sytch. The family is suing over negligence by Sytch and includes Pente due to allowing her the use of his vehicle. They are seeking “in excess” of $30,000 that will cover funeral expenses, sustained medical costs, and the pain and suffering from the loss of Lasseter. The Ormond Beach Police Department is investigating the case and awaiting the toxicology results for Sytch to determine if she was under the influence when the crash occurred. Eyewitnesses stated to the police that she struck the car at a high rate of speed and does not possess a valid driver’s license.
**An interesting story to follow is Netflix failing to meet its projections of subscriber growth over the last quarter seeing a steep decline in its stock on Wednesday. After initial forecasts of growing its subscriber base by 2.5 million, the streaming giant posted a loss of 200,000 subscribers with an expectation of a larger drop of two million subscribers in the next quarter. This came despite a 10 percent growth in revenue with Netflix reporting revenue of $7.87 billion this quarter. Netflix cited inflation, the war in Ukraine, and its competition as reasons for the decline. As of this afternoon, Netflix’s stock was down over 36 percent at $222.24 while Roku, Walt Disney, and Discovery Warner Brothers also saw their stock decline. It is a relevant story because it’s going to generate many opinions and analyses over the growth of streaming, whether that’s a premature stance or not, when the industry giant is displaying slowed and negative growth. We will be speaking about this subject on Friday’s edition of the POST Daily News Show with Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics Radio.
**Tony Khan was interviewed by Robbie Fox on My Mom’s Basement on Barstool to promote tonight’s episode of Dynamite. Khan was asked to isolate a few of the next round of “pillars” and mentioned Daniel Garcia, Wheeler Yuta, and Jade Cargill among those to watch as they develop. He stated that you could expect to see more appearances by the ROH champions on AEW programming to keep those titles and performers in the spotlight.
About ROH, he said that he is working on getting weekly television distribution and is working with WarnerMedia regarding the future of ROH. Khan said they “shattered” expectations for Supercard of Honor and are awaiting the cable/satellite numbers for the event, but they could be more than 25,000 buys, which is an astounding figure. Khan says the data shows that there were a lot of dormant ROH fans and that the value of ROH was not at its all-time high but noting the great video library and trademarks that come with it. He did not have a timeline when asked about the ROH library being available to fans. CM Punk was one of the first people he told when he was in talks to buy the company and Punk was extremely happy that Khan was getting the company as he indicated at the post-event media scrum after Revolution in March.
**The pre-sale for SummerSlam at Nissan Stadium in Nashville began today with the public on-sale set for this Friday. It will be the company’s second stadium event in the U.S. within a four-week period following Money in the Bank at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on July 2nd.
**In a digital segment from Tuesday’s NXT 2.0, Kacy Catanzaro confirmed that her name is now Katana Chance and trying to explain it. She said that the people now get to see the real version of her (by using a fake name instead of the real one) that drinks straight whiskey and can dance. Chance & Kayden Carter will face Valentina Feroz & Yulisa Leon on next week’s show.
**Zack Gibson and James Drake are now simply ‘Gibson’ and ‘Drake’, which is a minor change.
**Congratulations to Killer Kross (Kevin Kesar) and Scarlett Bordeaux (Elizabeth Chihaia) who recently got married in Alaska and have shared the footage from the ceremony.
**MVP is a guest on Damian Abraham’s Turned Out a Punk podcast discussing his recent music releases, his desire to start a hardcore band, and returning to WWE in early 2020 as a one-off for the Royal Rumble and the role it has grown into.
**Warren Hayes of Bell to Belles spoke with Maria Kanellis-Bennett on the Women’s Wrestling Army project she is working on with Bobby Cruise, which is an all-women’s promotion. Her plan is to present two to three episodes per month on a streaming platform on Brand Army and wrestlers will share in the profits. The group is running its first event on May 1st at the Fete Music Hall in conjunction with Drew Cordeiro of Beyond Wrestling. Kanellis-Bennett told Hayes that she expects that there will be a second event happening in Chicago.
**New Japan held a card at Korakuen Hall on Wednesday in front of 509 fans, which is not a great number but much better than Tuesday’s card that drew 374. Today’s show was headlined by Kazuchika Okada & YOH defeating Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi with YOH pinning Takahashi. The rest of the show featured Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tama Tonga over EVIL & Dick Togo, Taichi & El Desperado over Shingo Takagi & BUSHI, Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI & Togi Makabe & Toru Yano over Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens & Taiji Ishimori & Gedo, Yujiro & SHO over Tanga Loa & Jado, Zack Sabre Jr. & Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taka Michinoku & DOUKI over Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato & Tomoaki Honma & Tiger Mask, and Yuto Nakashima over Kosei Fujita.
**The New Japan tour continues Friday in Osaka with Kazuchika Okada, YOH, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI in the main event. The next show to stream on New Japan World is Monday’s card in Hiroshima.
**MLW has announced that The Sandman will appear at the Kings of Colosseum event at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia on Friday, May 13th. The show includes Alex Hammerstone vs. Richard Holliday for the MLW world heavyweight title and a Weapons of Mass Destruction match between Mads Krugger and Jacob Fatu.
**The PFL begins its 2022 season tonight with a live card on ESPN and streaming on ESPN+ from Arlington, Texas at the Esports Stadium. The venue will be home to the first three events this season with follow-up cards on April 28th and May 6th. After a well-received season last year, the company is poised for its strongest exposure this season with a new deal with ESPN that will see several of the cards air on the main event network and others on ESPN 2 with the added streaming option. The company has spent a lot of money in attempting to establish an alternative but has also been strong in raising capital to fund the project. We don’t know the financial details of the deal with ESPN, which is a major question regarding its viability.
Their major off-season coup was re-signing its top star, Kayla Harrison, who had interest from the UFC and Bellator but can make a lot of money fighting with the PFL despite a lack of competition in the promotion. She is scheduled to fight on May 6th against Marina Mokhnatkina, who is a world champion in Sambo with a 6-2 record and fought for the promotion last August.
The card tonight will feature last year’s lightweight tournament winner Raush Manfio and light heavyweight winner Antonio Carlos Junior in action.
For the seasonal format, all wins are worth three points with an additional three points for a first-round finish, two points for a second-round finish, and one point for a third-round finish.
Below is the card for tonight’s event featuring light heavyweights and lightweights:
MAIN CARD (9 p.m. ET on ESPN & ESPN+ and TSN 3 in Canada)
*Jeremy Stephens (28-19) vs. Clay Collard (20-9) – Stephens makes his PFL debut after fighting for the UFC since May 2007. He is 0-5 with 1 no-contest since 2018 and is seeking his first win in over four years.
*Raush Manfio (15-3) vs. Don Madge (10-3-1)
*Antonio Carlos Junior (13-5) vs. Delan Monte (8-1)
*Olivier Aubin-Mercier (13-5) vs. Natan Schulte (21-4-1) – Schulte won the lightweight tournament in 2018 & 2019
PRELIMINARY CARD (5:30 p.m. on ESPN+)
*Cory Hendricks (8-4) vs. Emiliano Sordi (23-9-1) – Sordi won the light heavyweight tournament in 2019
*Alex Martinez (8-2) vs. Stevie Ray (23-9)
*Teodoras Aukstuolis (5-2) vs. Mathin Hamlet (8-3)
*Viktor Pesta (12-4) vs. Omari Akhmedov (21-7-1)
*Rob Wilkinson (11-2) vs. Bruce Souto (15-3)
*Simeon Powell (4-0) vs. Clinton Williams (7-4)
**UFC bantamweight Miles Johns has been issued a six-month suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, according to ESPN. The substance was not revealed by NSAC executive director Jeff Mullen to the outlet, but reporter Marc Raimondi noted it was listed as Adderall during a hearing on Tuesday, which is banned under the WADA code. The positive test was produced during Johns’ last fight in February when he lost to John Castaneda with the suspension retroactive to that date. Therefore, Johns will be eligible to compete in early August and must pay a fine of $3,450.
ON THIS DATE
In 1998, Bill Goldberg defeated Raven to become the United States champion in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This came as Goldberg was on the rise and could see the momentum that had built. He would only hold the title for a few months before winning the WCW championship in one of the great moments in Nitro history at the Georgia Dome in July, and thus, vacated the U.S. title.
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