POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: Brandi Rhodes on AEW's Women's division

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/08/12/pollocks-news-update-brandi-rhodes-on-aews-womens-division/


**First off, I want to thank Jamesie for all his work here at the site through POST Wrestling. After a lot of thought, Jamesie has decided he won’t be continuing with the British Wrestling Experience and the show will move forward with Martin Bushby and Benno. Jamesie’s contributions are too vast to list but his analysis and opinions were invaluable as an authority on the Irish and by extension, European wrestling scene. Over the past year, he expanded his role on the show to conduct numerous interviews and obtained a level of candor and insight that few have with the subjects. I took many notes from him in terms of his research, preparation, insight, and ability to properly contextualize a topic. Personally, I will miss hearing his voice every other week but respect his decision and there will always be an open microphone for him at POST Wrestling.

**Wai and I have launched our latest set of movie reviews as we will be going through all the Rocky films. Our first review covers ROCKY 1 from 1976 as we analyze the first film, the casting choices, how they operated under a minuscule budget and the enormous return the film generated, as well as the deeper themes explored. We will continue with Rocky II in September and these movie reviews (as well as our archive of every MCU film) are available to all members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**Wai Ting and I will be back with Rewind-A-Dynamite tonight following the show and go through Dynamite, all today’s news, and take your questions & feedback. As always, we will hold our weekly draw for POST Wrestling Café members to win an item from the POST Wrestling Store.

**Braden Herrington and Davie Portman will have a new edition of upNXT late tonight covering the show.

**On Thursday, our UFC 252 Preview Show will be coming out as I welcome MMA analyst & reporter James Lynch to chat about Saturday’s card and several other news items.


Tonight: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John Pollock & Wai Ting
Tonight: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman


**AEW Dynamite has a loaded show tonight billed as “Tag Team Appreciation Night” with several tag matches and appearances. In addition, the big rematch between Chris Jericho and Orange Cassidy takes place, and a TNT title match between Cody and Scorpio Sky.

It is always hard to predict numbers ahead of time but AEW has been on a roll and coming off one of their best weeks of the year. Last week’s episode of Dynamite topped this week’s Raw in the 18-34 demo. It’s become clear that the race isn’t between AEW and NXT any longer, it’s a fight for the younger audience between AEW and Raw. While WWE will have a stranglehold on the older audiences and still have a comfortable distance in the 18-49 demo (Raw did a 0.47 this week and AEW did a 0.36 last week), the gap among teenagers and young adults is closing. Last week, had the added competition from the NBA and it didn’t bear any impact on AEW or NXT, who were also up.

Here is the line-up for AEW Dynamite tonight at 8 pm Eastern on TNT:
*Chris Jericho vs. Orange Cassidy
*Cody vs. Scorpio Sky for the TNT title – Cody has said the completed TNT championship will be unveiled
*Kenny Omega & Hangman Page vs. Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy for the AEW tag titles
*The Young Bucks vs. Evil Uno & Stu Grayson
*Appearances by Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, and The Rock ‘N Roll Express

**Below are the matches and segments announced for NXT, who are taping two episodes at Full Sail University leading into TakeOver. Tonight’s show airs at 8 pm Eastern on the USA Network:
*Karrion Kross vs. Danny Burch
*Damian Priest vs. Bronson Reed
*KUSHIDA vs. Cameron Grimes vs. TBA in a Qualifying Match for TakeOver
*Santos Escobar vs. Tyler Breeze in a non-title match
*Johnny Gargano & Candice LeRae segment in their home

**Obviously, one of the concerns going into these AEW tapings was the risk presented by Chris Jericho and Fozzy performing several shows over the past week. This included a show in South Dakota in conjunction with the Sturgis Rally. Yes, Jericho will be tested but it doesn’t eliminate all risk even with a negative test result. It would have made sense that if Jericho was adamant about performing the shows that the rematch with Cassidy should have been taped two weeks ago or delayed two weeks so that Jericho could miss this cycle of tapings. If it was so important for the match to occur this week given the proximity to the pay-per-view, then a line needed to be drawn in the sand forcing Jericho to choose one or the other. This option, while it may turn into nothing, seems like one that presents too much potential for problems and sends a mixed message about being cautious when home between tapings.

**Brandi Rhodes spoke with Scott Fishman at TV Insider on the launch of the AEW Women’s Cup tournament and the allotment of television time for the women’s division. On the decision to launch the tournament as a property for YouTube:

With YouTube, it’s its own show. That means we are trusted enough to carry our own show and don’t have to be compared to men. We were also not restricted on time. So it’s really the dream scenario. Better than finding out when we are live and something went long, you may only have four minutes to put it out there. That’s really hard, especially when you are trying to introduce new women and put that kind of pressure on them. Being it’s our own show without the restraints and to be able to tell these stories how we want to is a really great situation.

Rhodes gave the following answer regarding the time the women receive on AEW Dynamite and stating that those decisions don’t come down to her:

It’s an interesting question because I don’t feel it really applies to me considering it’s not something week-to-week I discuss or plan. I took this tournament on as a side project. Of course, in doing the tournament I know what the criticisms have been. I know what they are and thought this would be really great for that, especially those who are die-hard women’s wrestling fans. As far as the week-to-week goes, unfortunately that’s a burden that lies elsewhere. Thankfully, it’s not one I have to navigate so frequently.

Finally, she spoke about the launch of AEW Heels and the subscription fee attached to it, which did garner complaints over the last week:

Another thing for people to know out of the gate is that “Heels” is not ever going to be something I look to as a super profitable thing. It’s not intended to be. It’s intended to be something they can count on and grow with and learn with and get something out of. In order to run a multi-faceted platform like that, it costs money. It’s not cheap by any means. This is not going to be a huge cash grab for AEW. But it’s something fans will love and appreciate, so it’s worth all the work and effort. Not everything is about a dollar. Some things are about what’s right.

**New Japan has stated that this year’s G1 Climax will be adjusted for safety measures and will keep the two blocks separate throughout the tournament. Unlike previous years, the cards will not feature undercard matches involving talent from the opposite block. On days where there are A Block matches, that means no B Block participants on the show and vice versa. They did not state whether there would be undercard matches or who would fill those spots. A positive with this change beyond the safety measures is that G1 participants will get additional rest and only need to focus on their tournament matches and do half the matches over the nineteen G1 dates. To fill out the cards, you can always rely on the young lions that aren’t figured into the G1 with a squad dedicated to the A Block shows and a squad dedicated to the B Block shows. If they have most of the foreigners back, that also leaves numerous members of the roster in the same boat where they could strictly work undercard matches with a prime example being Yuji Nagata, who wrestled his final G1 in 2017.

**The WWE stock closed at $45.51 on Wednesday.

**Last Friday’s episode of SmackDown didn’t crack the top ten sports broadcasts in Canada, although it was a loaded night of competition. The tenth-ranked program was a Toronto Blue Jays vs. Boston Red Sox game on Sportsnet One that did 317,000 viewers, meaning SmackDown was under that number. The top sports program was the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Columbus Blue Jackets that did 1,621,000 million viewers.

**Long-time independent performer Vanessa Kraven has announced she won’t be returning to the industry. The 38-year old began wrestling in 2004 after being trained by Ron Hutchison and Zaquary Springate. She was a regular with the Quebec-based International Wrestling Syndicate (IWS) and would later tour Japan for NEO Japan Ladies and Joshi Puroresu. In 2016, she won the SHIMMER tag titles with Tessa Blanchard and held the titles for a year with the company. In 2018, she lost in the opening round of the second Mae Young Classic and only wrestled a handful of matches after that. Kraven has not wrestled since October 2018.

**On Monday, the NWA announced its partnership with Thunder Studios and the United Wrestling Network (which encompasses Championship Wrestling from Hollywood and Championship Wrestling from Arizona) to launch a weekly pay-per-view series beginning Tuesday, September 15th at 9 pm Eastern. The shows will be billed as “United Wrestling Network’s Primetime LIVE” and stream on Fite TV, along with traditional pay-per-view and satellite TV. It represents the first live shows the NWA will be involved with since the shutdown earlier this year. The shows will take place from Thunder Studios’ Long Beach Studios.

In the press release, Executive Producer David Marquez said there will be possibilities to have talent from other promotions appear and specifically identified New Japan’s L.A. Dojo, Freelance Wrestling, and West Coast Pro Wrestling.

This does represent a test for the time commitment of wrestling fans and asking them to pay for more content. On Tuesday alone, there are options from Impact Wrestling and AEW Dark and that comes after three hours of WWE programming on Monday and four hours on Wednesday night from WWE & AEW. To that end, if costs are kept minimal, it could be a profitable venture by attracting a small number willing to pay for the weekly shows, although no price point has been revealed. It would seem like a smart strategy to offer a season’s pass or allow viewers to pay a monthly fee with a discount to get the four shows per month rather than rely on an impulse buy weekly.

**The semi-finals of AEW’s Women’s Tag Team Cup tournament will air next Monday on YouTube. The semi-finals will feature Big & Lil’ Swole (Nicole Savoy) vs. Brandi Rhodes & Allie and Ivelisse & Diamante vs. Tay Conti & Anna Jay.

**David Arquette spoke to PEOPLE Magazine about his November 2018 match with Nick Gage and what he was going through in his life:

There was a certain carefree, daredevil aspect about the way I lived life previously But I didn’t want to die. With the death match, I was doing it on purpose. I was feeling pain to numb pain. Afterwards, I realized I needed to be kind to myself.

**GCW has added a match between Jimmy Lloyd and Elayna Black for their “Jimmy Lloyd’s Jersey Shore” card on Sunday, August 23rd at 5 pm Eastern on Fite TV.

**Independent wrestler Ariel Dominguez played the security guard confronting Retribution on Raw this past Monday prior to the cinder block being thrown through the window.

**Impact Wrestling’s Ethan Page outlined his daily workout routine and diet that has helped transform his body over the past two months.

**Here are the results from Thursday’s NJPW Summer Struggle tour card in Ehime:
*Ryusuke Taguchi & Satoshi Kojima over Yota Tsuji & Gabriel Kidd
*Yoshi-Hashi, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano over Yuji Nagata, Tomoaki Honma & Yuya Uemura
*Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado over Shingo Takagi & Bushi
*Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Master Wato over Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr., Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Douki
*Kazuchika Okada, SHO & Hirooki Goto over Yujiro, Gedo & Jado
*Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi & Sanada over EVIL, Taiji Ishimori & Dick Togo

**New Japan has another show in Ehime on Thursday headlined by EVIL, Taiji Ishimori &Dick Togo vs. Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi & Bushi.

**The following matches have been announced for Friday night’s episode of NJPW Strong at 10 pm Eastern on New Japan World:
*Jeff Cobb vs. KENTA in the semi-finals of the tournament
*Tama Tonga vs. David Finlay in the semi-finals of the tournament
*ACH, TJP & Alex Zayne vs. Blake Christian, PJ Black & Misterioso
*Clark Connors & Jordan Clearwater vs. Logan Riegel & Barrett Brown

**All Japan holds its Atsushi Aoki Memorial show this Saturday at Korakuen Hall headlined by Suwama, Shuji Ishikawa & Shigehiro Irie vs. Kento Miyahara, Jake Lee & Yuji Okabayashi. Aoki died in June 2019 at the age of 41 following a motorcycle accident. He started his career with Pro Wrestling NOAH in 2005 after being trained by Jun Akiyama, who will be wrestling in a six-man tag on Saturday’s show.


Wai Ting & John Pollock kick off their look back at the greatest combat sports film franchise of all time with a review of Rocky (1976), written by and starring Sylvester Stallone.
REWIND-A-RAW 8/10/20: Kamala Passes Away, Flair Punted, G1 Schedule
John Pollock and Wai Ting discuss WWE Raw featuring the return of Raw Underground and Randy Orton vs. Kevin Owens with a big angle to end the show. Plus, we discuss the passing of Kamala, Fozzy performing this past weekend, and NJPW’s G1 Climax 30 schedule.
THE LONG & WINDING ROYAL ROAD w/ guest Daniel Makabe
WH Park and independent wrestler Daniel Makabe discuss a hidden gem tag match as Kenta Kobashi & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi take on Jumbo Tsuruta & Akira Taue from AJPW’s January 26, 1992, Korakuen Hall show.
POST PURORESU: G1 Climax, Stardom’s 5 Star Grand Prix, Mailbag Q&A
John Pollock & WH Park are joined by Dylan Fox to chat about the G1 Climax schedule, Stardom’s 5 Star Grand Prix, and a mailbag Q&A segment.
John Pollock and Wai Ting review this week’s WWE SmackDown featuring RETRIBUTION! Plus, Kevin Reilly is out at WarnerMedia and a big week for AEW Dynamite ratings.
POST PROFILE: Silva vs. Sonnen – Ten Years Later
John Pollock documents one of the biggest feuds in MMA history that led to Anderson Silva defending the UFC middleweight championship against Chael Sonnen in August 2010 at UFC 117.
BWE Retro Edition: WWF Rebellion 2001
Martin is joined by Cristen Brinkerhoff, Florence Bullock & Liv Heller (formerly of the “No Sell It” podcast) to take an irreverent look back at the UK-only PPV, WWF Rebellion 2001.

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In regards to AEW’s women’s division, I wish they’d just be more forward about it. At the end of the day, what you are confident in goes on TNT, while Dark is more of a training ground or extra reps for talent who aren’t normally on TNT. Yes, once in a while they put their champions or important matches on there - but it’s rarely mentioned on TV. There’s a disconnect. People on Dark aren’t “trusted with their own show,” they’re simply getting reps in to get better because there’s only so many minutes of time on Dynamite.

They aren’t confident in their women’s division. It’s that simple. They are using Dark as a platform to give them time to work and an opportunity to learn in front of a fraction of their television audience. I mean, this women’s tag tournament was fairly hyped up, wasn’t it? To put several rounds on Dark and not really mention or promote it on Dynamite says it all. A lot of their women are green, and that’s totally fine. But, it’s not a division that’s a focal point of their presentation.

I think you can do both in AEW. I’m not ultra familiar with the landscape of North American women’s wrestling - but are Ariana Andrews and Dasha the best you can find? One is an announcer and the other hasn’t wrestled in four years. They don’t have enough bodies (seemingly) for this tournament. So why do it? And then hide from your decision? But here’s the kicker, you can utilize green performers and give them time on Dark, while bringing in more experienced names for TNT,

Again, I’m unfamiliar with the landscape today - but I’m thinking of people along the lines of a Gail Kim or Victoria. That level of name. Bring in a vet with some name value, who’s performed at a higher level, and at least keep the division prominent as your green talent gains reps on Dark. Is there nobody they can use from NWA, MLW, etc? They only need 2-3 people for short term stints to really just make it a little more competitive. You can’t convince me the best they can do is Dasha and Ariana.

I don’t think Brandi is the booker, so I place the blame on the whole management team as a whole. If you’re too insecure to put your women on TNT, there’s a problem. The reality is most of them get next to no TV time. The whole division has to get under 10 minutes total on average a week. And segregating an entire tournament you promoted to YouTube isn’t the “dream scenario.” It’s an indictment. But, if they can just bring in a few veterans to feud with the handful of seasoned performers they do have, it’d be a pretty significant boost in the short-term as the likes of Swole or Abadon or Anna Jay refine themselves a bit. As is, it’s sort of embarrassing.

Also, to touch on the Heels thing. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but the problem is you’re charging your consumer’s who desperately need a safe space. The idea of this all-inclusive space for female fans is a great concept. And I’m not saying it should be entirely free. But $50 is steep. I’m all for a general wrestling fan club where all fans can pay for a service and get a few perks for $50-100 a year. That makes sense. But, if you’re trying to be inclusive for a group of people, it’s not the best look to immediately discriminate to those who can’t pay a premium. Especially during a pandemic.

I do want to commend AEW on showcasing, and hopefully working further with Nicole Savoy. Definitely one of the best unsigned female talents on the scene.

1 Like

Dark is not just for green talent. You sometimes have good matches and veterans on it.

It’s anywhere from 5-12 matches an episode that are all either pointless or don’t intertwine with their main product on TNT. It’s rarely advertised or promoted.

As I said in my first comment - they sometimes feature a top guy or an important match to pop a number, but at the end of the day you’re not seeing Cody, Mox, Baker, etc there too often.

That’s beside the main point I was trying to make anyways. This tournament is on Dark because it doesn’t meet their standard and most of the names are too green for TNT.

It’s also what you do when you can’t feature everyone you have signed on your main show. They keep on signing people and they don’t have the timeslots for them.

I’m failing to understand where or if you disagree with me.

Rookies gotta get their reps somehow. Especially seeing as there is no indie dates for them. So put them on you tube. Ratings don’t matter as much


I think people are discounting the importance of a strong online/social media presence in 2020. AEW has all these people signed. Putting them on YouTube serves to not only give younger, less-established talent an outlet to showcase themselves, but it also helps establish and bolster the company’s online presence. Tony Khan is a smart guy. There’s a lot of money to potentially be made if he can somehow carve out a big market share of viewers from YouTube’s massive user base, but it’s not going to happen over night. AEW is playing the long game here.

They’re currently getting like 300-400k views per Dark episode. That’s nothing to shake a stick at. But I’m sure Tony envisions a scenario where that becomes 3-4M per episode, and that could just be a baseline. As a result of increased interest, all their extra YouTube content gets a big boost as well. All of a sudden sponsors start lining up to get a piece of this new YouTube sensation. It sounds crazy, but the internet is a crazy place.

1 Like

I don’t disagree that social media is important, but Dark is on YouTube because they have yet to finalize details to get a second show/third hour placed on TV. I don’t think of it as some revolutionary move by Tony Khan.

Dark, like you said, is a platform for less-established names to get reps in. And they throw in Mox/Bucks/etc in here or there for the YouTube numbers. All these companies do well on YouTube and AEW is no exception. My point more so is that I don’t think the long-term plan is to keep this specific content as is on YouTube for long, They probably want more ad revenue that comes with TV. NWA was pretty adamant about that as well. It’s a good place to start.

Personally, I think YouTube with wrestling/sports is best for ancillary content. Highlights, character profiles, original content that’s presented in shorter bursts, post-game shows, etc. The current Dark structure is so ill-defined, in that it can have 12 matches one week with a tournament, or half that the next. I think having a one hour format with some wrestling is a great idea for them. They should keep it online in some capacity. Do 3-4 Dark matches and throw in character vignettes.

Either way, the show on TNT needs to promote it. My whole point with the women’s division is they hide it on Dark. They rarely reference it. Brandi said Dark is some perfect scenario for the women’s division, but in reality it’s a veil to hide talent they are more insecure about from being on the main show. Which is fine and totally understandable, but TNT TV time is what matters, and the lack of women’s wrestling on the main show displays their confidence/lack thereof in the division.

When it comes to a new AEW show, I’m hoping for something like the old "Superstars of Wrestling " type format. The jobber matches from Dark, some highlights from Dynamite, a main event for the show, with some interview/ backstage segments throughout. It would be difficult to have 2 shows of top tier matches.