Originally published at Latest on situation in Saudi Arabia as WWE prepares for Crown Jewel
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**Rewind-A-Dynamite is live at 10 p.m. ET tonight with Wai Ting and I going over today’s news and discussing AEW Dynamite from Baltimore. We will discuss the Saudi Arabia conflict as it coincides with Crown Jewel, Monday’s ratings, GCW joining FITE+, and lots more. Tune in tonight on the POST YouTube channel and download the show by subscribing to POST Wrestling on your podcast app.
**It’s a new month on the POST Wrestling Café and we will have plenty of bonus content in November. For Café members, you can already download the Watch Along edition of Rewind-A-Wai where we watched the June 1992 World Bodybuilding Federation pay-per-view alongside Brandon from New Jersey, which people have enjoyed. This month will include another installment of “Small Talk”, a special Black Panther: Wakanda Forever review for MCU L8R, a review of an NWA TNA pay-per-view from December 2002, and the Ask-A-Wai Mailbag Show. Plus, Rewind-A-SmackDown every Friday, The Wellness Policy, and we’ll likely have some bonus content for Café members when we travel to Newark for Full Gear. It’s $6 U.S. per month for all the bonus audio content and $12 for Double Double membership that includes Small Talk. We also have two spots available at the Espresso level to become an Executive Producer to appear on Rewind-A-Wai and discuss your event.
**Brandon Thurston will be joining me on Thursday at 1 p.m. ET for a special show covering the WWE’s third-quarter earnings report and its call with media analysts. The two of us will go through all the major news from the Q3 report, the subjects covered and not covered, the remainder of 2022, the concerning story between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and lots more. We will be live on the POST Wrestling YouTube channel on Thursday and the podcast version will be available on both the POST Wrestling and Wrestlenomics feeds.
Tonight: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John Pollock & Wai Ting (10 p.m. ET)
Thursday: WWE Q3 Earnings Analysis with Pollock & Brandon Thurston (1 p.m. ET)
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown with Wai Ting & Kate from Montreal (Patreon)
Saturday: WWE Crown Jewel POST Show with John Pollock & Kate from Montreal (3 p.m. ET)
Saturday: The Long & Winding Royal Road with WH Park & Tom Lawlor (Masahito Kakihara vs. Yoshinari Ogawa)
Sunday: Wrestlenomics Radio with Brandon Thurston, Chris Gullo & Jesse Collings
**There is a very concerning situation involving Saudi Arabia with reports coming out Tuesday of a potential threat from Iran. Saudi Arabian officials have shared intelligence with the U.S. of a potential attack from Iran. The AP spoke with an official, who confirmed the intelligence being shared and called it a credible threat “soon or within 48 hours”. The AP story adds that no U.S. embassy or consulate in Saudi Arabia has issued alerts or guidance to Americans in the country or elsewhere in the Middle East.
On Wednesday, Nasser Kanaani, who serves as the spokesman for the foreign ministry in Iran, denied plans to launch an attack on Saudi Arabia and called the accusations “baseless”.
Obviously, this is a major story to pay attention to just days before WWE is set to stage its Crown Jewel event in Riyadh this Saturday. You already have the precedent from 2019 where many performers and their families were greatly concerned over the delay in getting back to the U.S. and the circumstances behind it. This is going to cause great anxiety for those involved over the next few days and families back here that are learning of this news. Drew Gulak noted in an Instagram post that he is flying to Saudi Arabia tonight from Florida.
**AEW Dynamite takes place from the Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena (rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?) in Baltimore, Maryland with four title matches scheduled and a title eliminator involving Jon Moxley. With three weeks until Full Gear, you are starting to see the key programs come together for that show, but the major topic is The Elite and what their roles will be on that show. Last week, there was a teaser involving the three and removing them from historical moments in the promotion’s history and that AEW would not be AEW without the group by eliminating the “E” in AEW. The match that would make sense is against Death Triangle, who hold the Trios Championships that The Elite never lost. Plus, you have the longstanding rivalry between The Young Bucks and The Lucha Brothers, and the history between Kenny Omega and PAC not to mention it would be a phenomenal match for Newark.
Below is the lineup for tonight’s episode at 8 p.m. ET on TBS, which is airing against Game 4 of the World Series and is the last time that either AEW or WWE will go against Major League Baseball this season:
*Title Eliminator: Jon Moxley vs. Lee Moriarty
*ROH Championship: Chris Jericho (champion) vs. TBA (Jericho has said it can be any former ROH champion regardless of title, so that widens the list of options. One of our callers suggested Colt Cabana, which would be a unique option. In my opinion, would be really well received by the audience and place AEW in a positive light as a public sign of support to both the audience and the locker room)
*All-Atlantic Championship: Orange Cassidy (champion) vs. Luchasaurus vs. Rey Fenix
*TBS Championship: Jade Cargill (champion) vs. Marina Shafir
*ROH Television Championship: Samoa Joe (champion) vs. Brian Cage
*Jay Lethal vs. Darby Allin
*Renee Paquette’s sit-down interview with Saraya and Dr. Britt Baker
*Daddy Ass Birthday Bash with Billy Gunn
**WrestleTix reports approximately 2,400 tickets distributed for tonight’s event in Baltimore. The last time AEW ran the building was this past May when they drew 4,535 and 4,300 paid, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that week, so it’s a big drop off from the spring.
**WWE will release its third-quarter earnings later today with a call at 5 p.m. ET involving its key executives. This covers the period from July 1 – September 30, which will be viewed as a seismic change where Vince McMahon stepped down in July, and Paul Levesque assumed his duties overseeing creative and becoming the chief content officer. There is a lot for WWE to hang its hat on over the past quarter given how well television viewership had held up, its performance against Monday Night Football, a successful international event with Clash at the Castle, and touting the success of the Bray Wyatt campaign and its effect on television numbers, social engagement, and WWE experimenting with unique ways to engage its audience with QR code strategy. Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics is estimating $293.7 million in revenue for the quarter and a net income of $24.5 million (Q3 of 2021 generated $255.6 million and $43.5 million in net income during the quarter where they returned to live events after leaving the ThunderDome). For the remainder of 2022, it would suggest another strong quarter given this weekend’s Saudi Arabia show and a very strong advance for the Survivor Series in Boston later this month. Some topics that would be of interest during the call with analysts would include the status of the second-day rights for Raw, NXT & other non-SmackDown programming on Hulu (SmackDown has a separate deal), Nick Khan’s assessment of the Thursday night NFL package on Amazon and its performance, other streaming options that are becoming viable over linear counterparts, future non-Saudi Arabia international events after the Clash at the Castle experiment, the PLE strategy of removing Day 1 and not holding a main roster show between November and January, any reaction from Mark Shapiro’s public comments regarding Endeavor’s interest in the company, and when negotiations will heat up for their domestic rights that expire in 2024.
**The WWE stock closed at $77.54 on Wednesday.
**Both Raw and Dynamite viewership shouldn’t be panicked over this week given the competition and Raw running on Halloween. The last time Raw aired on Halloween night was in 2016 and viewership dropped by 8% from the previous week, essentially the same as it did this week. Raw was hit hardest among males 18-49 where it fell 26% this week, although that audience did grow in the second hour before a big drop in the third hour. On an interesting note, Halloween and the NFL didn’t affect the Canadian viewership at all with Raw hitting its largest audience in the country since September 5th and having a Toronto Raptors game to contend with. Regardless, it’s not a number I would fixate on because of the circumstances even though it was among the lowest in the history of the show.
**Joey Janela shared his thoughts on AEW Dark and Elevation, critical of the squash match format and its lack of effectiveness in the modern era for a YouTube show. Janela didn’t disagree that it can be effective in certain instances on television but not for a weekly YouTube show and was responding to the highlights of a match between Rey Fenix and AR Fox that aired on Dark on Tuesday.
This is what dark should be, all around competitive action packed sprints, and maybe a one longer type storyline based match weekly. What that show does is nothing for anyone anymore, tbh it’s stale ass! Squash matches do nothing for anyone in 2022, especially on a YouTube show. No one wants to watch fucking squash matches on YouTube in 2022, I understand if you’re introducing a new wrestler on tv then I’m all for squash matches. This is the reason for talent degression doing nothing but pointless bullshit for the sake of it. I always made it a point to make my matches with local talents 60/40 or even 50/50, because I’m a fan myself and I know that I would never waste my time watching something presented like that & was constantly watching me get shittier in ring. That’s my Wednesday morning rant!
He did receive some pushback including a response from Dax Harwood, although the two didn’t have a contentious exchange but rather different philosophies, which is something anyone should advocate for in the current environment. Janela brings up salient points and what Dark/Elevation is truly accomplishing. The typical lineup is contracted wrestlers winning short matches against local independent stars and rarely gaining traction beyond the regular viewership with basically zero impact for the exclusive Dynamite/Rampage viewer. For my taste, I would want to make it an experimental stage for inexperienced talent to gain reps with promos, skits, matches, and other ideas that you don’t want to test on national television. It’s a locker room loaded with talent and many with endless ideas and that should be their proving ground, like the last sketch of the night on SNL. You can point to many performers that are lacking experience and without house shows, Dark and Elevation are the best outlets to put someone out there for a long match and see if they sink or swim. Beyond developing your talent, it can also be a go-to for the independent stars gaining buzz to stop by and do a unique match with one of your contracted stars and that speaks to what Janela is seeking. The shows could be a mix of WCW Saturday Night when Jimmy Hart was booking the show, and Velocity/Heat throughout the 2000s when it wasn’t uncommon to see a Low Ki or Bryan Danielson pop up on the program. I don’t see a gigantic ceiling for viewership as few fans are looking to add more hours to their weekly viewing but in terms of getting the most bang for your buck, there are definitely other ways that shows could be utilized beyond the current format.
**Stardom presents its Hiroshima Goddess Festival pay-per-view late tonight on the Pia service at 2:30 a.m. ET from Hiroshima Sun Plaza. Below is the lineup and we will have a report on Thursday from Karen Peterson, who is covering the event for POST:
*World of Stardom Championship: Syuri (champion) vs. Maika
*Wonder of Stardom Championship: Saya Kamitani (champion) vs. Mina Shirakawa
*Goddesses of Stardom Championships: Tam Nakano & Natsupoi (champions) vs. Starlight Kid & Momo Watanabe
*Utami Hayashishita vs. Natsuko Tora (Tora injured herself against Utami in July 2021 and just recently returned, this will be her first singles match in 15 months)
*SWA Championship Match: Mayu Iwatani (champion) vs. Alpha Female
*Himeka vs. Yuna Mizumori
*Gauntlet Match: Saya Iida & Momo Kohogo vs. Hazuki & Koguma vs. AZM & Miyu Amasaki vs. Waka Tsukiyama & Lady C vs. Ruaka & Saki Kashima
*MIRAI, Konami & Ami Sohrei vs. Mai Sakura, Thekla & Giulia
**AEW issued a press release on Wednesday promoting Mike Tyson’s appearance on Rampage this Friday in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Tyson will serve as a guest commentator with Jim Ross, Excalibur, and Taz. It will be curious to see what attention Tyson commands for an appearance as he is the biggest hook for Friday’s live episode. They are also promoting an All-Atlantic Championship match where the winner of tonight’s title match can defend the title against anyone of their choosing this Friday.
**Impact Wrestling has announced the following matches for Thursday’s program at 8 p.m. ET on AXS TV from the tapings in Las Vegas:
*Josh Alexander & Frankie Kazarian vs. Aussie Open
*Eric Young vs. Sami Callihan
*Moose vs. Ace Austin
*X Division Tournament: Kenny King vs. Speedball Mike Bailey
*X Division Tournament: Yuya Uemura vs. PJ Black (Before the Impact)
**MLW returns on Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET with Battle Riot IV streaming on Pro Wrestling TV. The 40-man battle royal was taped back in June at the Melrose Ballroom in New York and has become an annual event for the group.
**David Bixenspan, who has been a frequent guest on our shows, has joined the staff at Wrestling Inc. Bixenspan started last week and his first article features facts about Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat’s career that few would be aware of. Steamboat is set to wrestle later this month for Big Time Wrestling. Steamboat, 69, will be having his first match in over twelve years when he teams with FTR against Jay Lethal, Brock Anderson, and a mystery partner on the card.
**WWE will have an episode of The Bump this Saturday at 10 a.m. ET before Crown Jewel and featuring Logan Paul, The Brawling Brutes, and Sam Roberts. The show will be streaming on WWE’s social channels.
**NJPW drew 1,991 in Komatsu City on Wednesday as the Battle Autumn tour continued. The show featured Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI & Titan beating Aaron Henare, TJP & Francesco Akira in the main event, SANADA & Hiromu Takahashi over El Desperado & DOUKI, Hikuleo & Master Wato & Jado over KENTA, Taiji Ishimori & Gedo, Zack Sabre Jr. & Yoshinobu Kanemaru over EVIL & Dick Togo, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toru Yano & Alex Zayne over Jeff Cobb, Great O-Khan & Gideon Gray, Ren Narita & David Finlay over Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma, Taichi over Ryohei Oiwa, and Yuto Nakashima over Kosei Fujita. (Purolove.com)
**BetOnline has released the following odds for Saturday’s Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia:
*Roman Reigns (-5000) vs. Logan Paul (+1000)
*Bianca Belair (-160) vs. Bayley (+120)
*The Usos (-4000) vs. Butch & Ridge Holland (+900)
*Asuka & Alexa Bliss (-200) vs. Dakota Kai & IYO SKY (+150)
*Brock Lesnar (-450) vs. Bobby Lashley (+275)
*Drew McIntyre (-140) vs. Karrion Kross (+100)
*Braun Strowman (-700) vs. Omos (+400)
*The O.C. (-400) vs. The Judgment Day (+250)
ON THIS DATE
In 2018, WWE made the decision to hold onto its date in Saudi Arabia just one month after journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside a Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey. The worldwide controversy sparked numerous boycotts of Saudi Arabia with the belief that Khashoggi’s murder was ordered and the country received great scrutiny for its brazen action. WWE faced its own backlash with a drop in its stock price but opted to travel to the country during the first year of its ten-year deal with the General Sports Authority. The card featured Shawn Michaels coming out of retirement for one night after initially retiring eight years earlier:
Kurt Angle defends the WWF Championship against The Rock in 2000, which was taped two nights earlier in Rochester, New York:
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