Originally published at POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: GCW sells out Hammerstein Ballroom
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**The feedback thread is open for next Tuesday’s edition of Rewind-A-Wai covering WCW Starrcade 1997.
GCW SELLS OUT HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM
Game Changer Wrestling has sold out the Hammerstein Ballroom for its show on January 23, 2022, with the company announcing the achievement on Friday morning.
The show is expected to have over 2,000 fans in attendance as the promotion scaled the building to break prior sell-out marks for pro wrestling in the building. It is a huge accomplishment for the group given no matches have been announced and it’s based on the buzz of the company and the idea this will be a historic event for the promotion that fans want to be part of – which has traditionally been a major factor when it comes to drawing.
The next question will be the promotion and what it can generate on pay-per-view through Fite TV as this event would have to be in contention for GCW’s most purchased of all time.
The story of GCW is an interesting one that has catered to the most astute and diehard wrestling fan. It has cultivated an environment that transcends the screen while putting together a mixture of the hottest undiscovered talent, violent deathmatches, and unique names thrown into the world of GCW to attract curiosity along with some of the best promotional content regardless of the company.
They have successfully woven themselves into the role of the “underdog”, which is a great place to be in this marketplace that has not abandoned its core identity despite significant growth. 2022 will be an interesting year for GCW, which is going to emerge above other companies that have national television that doesn’t run nearly the schedule or draw the number of fans as GCW.
It’s a question of whether a major television outlet, seeing the successful numbers that pro wrestling draws, would find GCW compatible. The idea of GCW having regular television would likely be a difficult compromise as it would seem nearly impossible for that transition to occur without taking away elements that have distinguished the promotion. A more interesting outlet would be a streaming service that would have far more leeway than cable television and could see pro wrestling as a gateway to more eyes and subscriptions.
It feels like the company is at the crossroads of being too big to be small and too small to be big like ECW in 1999, which invited lots of problems with its TNN deal.
Regardless, while many companies struggled through the pandemic or have lost market share due to the rise of GCW. 2021 does have a few success stories and GCW is one of them as they end the year with a significant accomplishment of selling out a venue in the New York market and truly finding an identity and a fan base in a crowded market space.
**Due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S., television viewership figures will be delayed by several days. The AEW Dynamite numbers from Wednesday will be released on Monday afternoon and tonight’s figures for SmackDown and Rampage will be out on Tuesday. Monday’s figures for Raw will be delayed until Wednesday morning.
**In Canada, this week’s edition of AEW Dynamite averaged 133,000 viewers and 86,000 in the 25-54 demographic on TSN 5 (not the usual airing on TSN 2). It was a very competitive night for sports programming where the cut-off number among the top ten sports programs was 185,700. It was a very good number for Dynamite considering it was on a different channel and was their highest audience since September 8th following All Out. While Dynamite’s overall audience didn’t make the top ten sports programs for the night, its 25-54 number placed seventh among them.
**Friday Night SmackDown takes place from the historic Greensboro Coliseum tonight, which was the Thanksgiving hotbed for Jim Crockett Promotions. WWE revived the tradition in 2017 running a house show billed as ‘Starrcade’ at the Coliseum, which was a great idea. They continued with the Starrcade concept in 2018 and 2019 but didn’t bring it back this year with the scaled-down schedule of live events. It was proven by the success of NXT’s version of Halloween Havoc that the name draws with modern viewers and it would have been a smart idea to promote tonight’s episode of SmackDown under the name Starrcade, which plays well to the local market but would also mean something for television interest.
Tonight’s episode at 8 p.m. ET is built around the idea of someone new stepping up to become the next challenger to Roman Reigns. Below are the matches announced:
*Drew McIntyre & Jeff Hardy vs. Happy Corbin & Madcap Moss
*Cesaro vs. Ridge Holland
**AEW Rampage is a taped edition from Chicago with the following matches airing at 10 p.m. ET on TNT:
*Eddie Kingston vs. Daniel Garcia
*Black Friday Deal Match: Dr. Britt Baker vs. Riho (If Riho wins, she gets a title shot against Baker)
*Adam Cole & Bobby Fish vs. Orange Cassidy & Wheeler Yuta
**205 Live airs at 10 p.m. ET tonight on the WWE Network with the following card:
*Solo Sikoa vs. Andre Chase
*Amari Miller vs. Erica Yan
*Valentina Feroz vs. Elektra Lopez
**Stardom has its “Tokyo Super Wars” card airing late tonight at 2 a.m. ET. The pay-per-view is available to order on the Pia site and we will have a report on the site from Karen Peterson this weekend for an extensive review. Below is the card:
*World of Stardom Championship: Utami Hayashishita (champion) vs. Maika
*Wonder of Stardom Championship: Tam Nakano (champion) vs. Mina Shirakawa
*SWA World & World of Stardom Title Challenge Match: Syuri (champion/holder) vs. Konami
*High-Speed Championship: Starlight Kid (champion) vs. Koguma
*Saya Kamitani vs. Natsupoi vs. Himeka
*Mayu Iwatani, Hanan & Hazuki vs. Saki Kashima, Fukigen Death & Rina
*Future of Stardom Championship: Ruaka (champion) vs. Mai Sakurai vs. Waka Tsukiyama
**The Best of the Super Juniors tournament continues on Saturday in Kanagawa that will be streaming at 4 a.m. ET on New Japan World and has the following card:
*Hiromu Takahashi vs. Taiji Ishimori
*El Desperado vs. Robbie Eagles
*BUSHI vs. El Phantasmo
*Master Wato vs. YOH
*SHO vs. DOUKI
*Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
*Non-tournament: Yuto Nakashima vs. Ryohei Oiwa
The current standings feature SHO and Kanemaru tied with eight points on top, Hiromu Takahashi (7), Taiji Ishimori (6), El Desperado (5), DOUKI/BUSHI/Taguchi/Eagles/Wato/ELP (4), and YOH (2).
**The World Tag League continues Sunday with the show streaming on New Japan World at 6 a.m. ET. The show is headlined by Minoru Suzuki & Taka Michinoku against Yuji Nagata & Tiger Mask.
**The major show of the weekend is NOAH’s card this Sunday featuring GHC heavyweight champion Katsuhiko Nakajima facing GHC National Champion Kenoh with both titles on the line. The two met in the finals of the N-1 Victory tournament and was a terrific match, so the expectation is high for the rematch. Wrestle Universe is airing the show, which is free for the remainder of 2021 but you must commit to paying for the month of January at the end of the trial.
**The Wrestling Observer site clarified that The Young Bucks have signed two-year extensions to their deals through 2026 and not brand new contracts.
**The animated film “Rumble” starring Will Arnett, Roman Reigns, and Becky Lynch will premiere on Paramount+ on December 15th. The film was a co-production of Paramount Animation along with WWE Studios and Walden Media and Reel FX Animation Studios. From the release:
Produced by Paramount Animation in association with WWE Studios and with Walden Media and Reel FX Animation Studios, the film features an all-star voice cast, including Geraldine Viswanathan, Terry Crews, Stephen A. Smith, Jimmy Tatro, Tony Danza, Susan Kelechi Watson, Tony Shalhoub, Bridget Everett, Greta Lee, Ben Schwartz, Roman Reigns, Becky Lynch, Michael Buffer and Charles Barkley.
In a world where monster wrestling is a global sport and monsters are superstar athletes, “Rumble’s” teenage Winnie seeks to follow in her father’s footsteps by coaching a loveable underdog monster into a champion.
**Congratulations to Kofi Kingston, who announced the birth of his daughter, Selene Sarkodie-Mensah, who was born on Tuesday night:
Witnessing my wife give life to our precious baby girl left me in awe…Our tribe grows larger as our familial bond grows even stronger! 🙌🏾
Lotus Selene Sarkodie-Mensah was born at home late Tuesday night, weighing 6lbs 2oz & 19.5” long.
Welcome to the world, my little love! 🥰 pic.twitter.com/SDqSLLct66
— ⚔️ Sir Kofi Kingston, Hand of the King ⚔️ (@TrueKofi) November 26, 2021
**A.J. Francis reintroduces himself with a new name and a message:
“Black Friday // 82 Days”
— A.J. Francis aka FRAN¢ (@AJFrancis410) November 26, 2021
**Dustin Rhodes is a guest on The Way of the Blade podcast with Phil Schneider discussing his move to AEW and the match he had with Cody Rhodes at Double or Nothing in May 2019.
**WWE is holding an online vote where fans can choose a member from each team for the men’s War Games match to have a ladder match next Tuesday. The winner of the match will gain the advantage in the War Games match on the 12/5 special. This means there will be two ladders matches this Tuesday with Dakota Kai and Kay Lee Ray having one to determine the numbers advantage in the women’s War Games.
**On this week’s edition of NXT UK, several upcoming title matches were announced. NXT Women’s Champion Meiko Satomura will defend the championship against Xia Brookside on the December 2nd edition of the show on the same show where Ilja Dragunov will defend the NXT UK Championship against Rampage Brown. The following week will see Pretty Deadly defend the tag titles against Tyler Bate & Trent Seven.
**A match a lot of people are raving about came from DEFY Wrestling last weekend where Joey Janela took on 16-year old prodigy Nick Wayne (the son of Buddy Wayne). I have yet to see the match in full but it has received high praise to the extent that DEFY has uploaded the match in its entirety:
**WWE has posted a preview clip for the next edition of ‘Ruthless Aggression’ focusing on OVW with comments from John Cena, Batista, and Randy Orton.
**The WWE stock closed at $51.37 on Friday.
**West Coast Pro has announced Bandido vs. ACH for their card on December 10th from South San Francisco and streaming at 10 p.m. ET on IWTV.
**Mission Pro Wrestling has a show set for December 11th in San Antonio, Texas, and has announced a match between Madi Wrenkowski and Lady Frost.
ON THIS DATE
One of the most significant dates of the WWF vs. Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP) battle occurred on this date in 1987 with the inaugural Survivor Series airing the same day as Starrcade.
JCP took a major gamble by moving the signature event out of its home of Greensboro and taking it to Chicago at the UIC Pavilion. It was a blow to the market where live pro wrestling on Thanksgiving had been a staple going back to Jim Crockett Sr.’s running of the operations.
To seize control, the WWF was riding high after the third WrestleMania and expanded its pay-per-view schedule by adding the Survivor Series to compete with Starrcade on the same day with a card from Richfield, Ohio.
Initially, cable operators saw this as a great concept where fans could buy the JCP show in the afternoon and then watch WWF that night and market it as a day filled with professional wrestling. Playing well with others was not in Vince McMahon’s handbook and presented an ultimatum to the providers that anyone who carried Starrcade would be unable to carry the following year’s WrestleMania. It was enough of a scare tactic that all but five carriers dropped Starrcade and greatly affected the promotion’s biggest show of the year and led to a financial windfall where the money expected from the show was not realized.
The results were detrimental for JCP as the Wrestling Observer reported that the show only managed 16,500 buys on pay-per-view while drawing 9,000 to the UIC Pavilion and 41,000 on closed-circuit.
The first Survivor Series event, built around five-on-five elimination matches including Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant on opposite sides following WrestleMania – drew a sell-out of 21,000 to the Richfield Coliseum and generated 350,000 buys on pay-per-view.
The financial hit sped up the bleeding for JCP, which ultimately sold to Turner one year later with this date in history going down as a powerplay orchestrated and carried out by McMahon that left debilitating scars on his competitor.
McMahon would operate from the same playbook two months later when he staged the first televised edition of the Royal Rumble to go against the NWA/JCP pay-per-view in January. They returned fire airing a free Clash of the Champions special on March 27, 1988, featuring the famous match between Ric Flair and Sting on the same day as WrestleMania 4.
MCU L8R: Hawkeye Ep. 1 & 2
Wai Ting & WH Park return to discuss Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye Episodes 1 and 2, the latest trailer from Spider-Man: No Way Home, Shang-Chi: Assembled, and Marvel’s many announcements from Disney+ Day.
POST News 11/25: AEW Battle of the Belts, Austin Gunn apology
John Pollock & Wai Ting discuss AEW’s Battle of the Belts, Austin Gunn’s apology over 2013 tweets, GCW Hammerstein, NXT 2.0 ratings, and more.
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Martin Bushby & Andrew Thompson are joined by SP3 of Tru Heel Heat to revisit ROH Final Battle 2005 for this month’s Wrestling Adventure.
REWIND-A-DYNAMITE: PG Punk vs. My Jealous Fan
John Pollock & Wai Ting review AEW Dynamite on Thanksgiving Eve from Chicago featuring an incredible promo battle between CM Punk and MJF.
SHOT IN THE DARK: Suzuki vs. Alexander, New ROH TV Champion
John Siino reviews this week’s editions of AEW Dark, AEW Dark: Elevation, NXT UK, IMPACT Wrestling, 205 Live, NJPW Strong, NWA Powerrr, Ring of Honor, and Main Event in under 15 minutes on Shot In The Dark.
upNXT: 1.0 vs. 2.0
Braden Herrington and Andrew Thompson talk about the November 23rd, 2021 edition of WWE NXT 2.0 headlined by Carmelo Hayes vs Pete Dunne vs Johnny Gargano for the NXT North American Championship!
POLLOCK & TING: TALK (Vol. 3)
John Pollock and Wai Ting return for the third installment of Pollock & Ting: TALK, recorded in-person for the first time at Wai’s house.
REWIND-A-RAW: Who Stole Vince’s Egg?
John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE Raw with the mystery behind the disappearance of Cleopatra’s Egg coming off the Survivor Series.
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