POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: McMahon on WWE's changes during pandemic

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/07/22/pollocks-news-update-mcmahon-on-wwes-changes-during-pandemic/


**The latest edition of Rewind-A-Wai focuses on Pro Wrestling NOAH’s “Destiny” event from the Tokyo Dome in July 2005. This show was selected by Espresso Executive Producer Bruce Lord, who stops with his thoughts on the card fifteen years latest and going through the Trivia Gauntlet. We go deep into NOAH circa 2005 with a discussion on the final match between Mitsuharu Misawa and Toshiaki Kawada and the first-time meeting between Kenta Kobashi and Kensuke Sasaki. Plus, a phenomenal GHC junior heavyweight title match, a discussion on Takeshi Riko as Kobashi’s successor as GHC champion, the promise of Takeshi Morishima, a 17-year old Katsuhiko Nakajima, and lots more. This show is available for all members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**We are back with two shows tonight as Wai and I will have a new edition of Rewind-A-Dynamite while Braden Herrington & Davie Portman present upNXT with reviews of both AEW Dynamite and NXT.

**This week’s edition of the British Wrestling Experience will be released Thursday night with Martin Bushby hosting the show and will be joined by Sam West and Claire Warden of the Wrestling Resurgence Project.

**This Friday, Wai Ting will be joined by Kristen Ashley from the Bell to Belles site for Rewind-A-SmackDown. The two will be going LIVE at 10:15 pm Eastern on Friday for all Café members.


Tonight: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John & Wai
Tonight: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Thursday: The British Wrestling Experience with Martin Bushby & guests Sam West and Claire Warden of the Wrestling Resurgence Project
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown with Wai Ting & Kristen Ashly (LIVE at 10:15 pm Eastern for all Patrons)
Saturday: The Rocky Maivia Picture Show with Nate Milton & guests Joey Lewandowski & Joe Two (Fast & Furious 6)


**Here are the matches for tonight’s episode of AEW Dynamite, taped last week at Daily’s Place and airing at 8 pm Eastern on TNT:
*Cody vs. TBA for the TNT Championship – the opponent is being advertised as a “top independent wrestler” (PWinsider.com notes that this match will open the show)
*The Young Bucks vs. The Butcher & The Blade in a Falls Count Anywhere Match
*Chris Jericho & Jake Hager vs. Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy
*Diamante vs. Ivelisse Velez
*Hangman Page vs. Five (Alan Angels)
*MJF in action
*Jon Moxley speaks
*Taz to appear

**AEW Dynamite will be airing on TSN2 and TSN5 in Canada tonight.

**NXT’s episode tonight was also taped last week and will air at 8 pm Eastern on the USA Network with the following advertised:
*Karrion Kross vs. Dominik Dijakovic
*Dexter Lumis vs. Killian Dane
*Shotzi Blackheart vs. Aliyah
*An announcement from William Regal

**Stephanie McMahon-Levesque spoke with Jeanine Poggi of AdAge on a series of subjects related to WWE’s handling of their business during the pandemic and adjustments they have made since March including testing procedures. She also went into details regarding social changes that the company is addressing internally, below are some notes from the discussion:
-They considered it a responsibility to continue with their programming and brought up their job as “putting smiles on faces”
-Adjustments during the pandemic have included how to shoot from different camera angles and also encouraging their announcers to fill more with their words rather than layout for an audience to react
-They have placed a virtual ceiling into their programming as an example of augmented reality noting that the ceiling fan in the WWE PC doesn’t look the best and enhanced the audio with crowd sweetening and have taken feedback when they’ve overdone it with the canned audio
-She said something very interesting about learning during this period that people want to connect with the individual and see them “less polished”, which has often been a criticism of WWE
-McMahon repeated that the shows are voluntary noting that some wrestlers and crew did opt-out and they support that. They are doing more advanced testing rather than the rapid testing along with pandemic-level cleaning every night as well as mentioning the spray they are using that Paul Levesque brought up recently during a conference call
-After people pass their test, they still have to go through temperature checks and fill out a form before they enter
-She said that 21% of their audience is African-American and mentioned different initiatives that have been launched by talent including New Day wearing armbands, Montez Ford & Bianca Belair launching their site, and other examples adding that representation is important and said 40% of their current champions are African-American across their brands
-They have had examples of African-American talent telling them something didn’t feel comfortable to them and they are willing to have those conversations and take that feedback
-They don’t provide medical insurance for their independent contractors but cover all injuries and take care of those with alcohol and substance abuse issues
-They have experimented with “cinematic matches” and noted that the usage of Metallica for the Boneyard Match was because the band’s music was going to be part of The Undertaker’s entrance at WrestleMania in its original planning
-WWE Network consumption is up 67% during this period and an increase of their YouTube consumption by 70%
-Joked that Vince McMahon was the only one that was still going to the office when discussing employees working remotely
-They delayed the move to their new headquarters and are re-evaluating what they need as a company in this new reality

**Chris Jericho’s Rock ‘N Wrestling Rager at Sea: Triple Whammy has been postponed from its original dates in February 2021. The company they work with, Sixthman, is postponing all cruises from January through March 2021 with the Jericho Cruise being moved to the new dates of October 21-25, 2021 from Miami to the Grand Bahama Island. Those that purchased cabins on the cruise for February have the option of transferring to the new date in October 2021 and keeping the same cabin, receiving a cruise credit for a future Sixthman festival or non-charter Norwegian sailing between September 2020 until December 31, 2022 – or you can apply for a full refund. On the site, they noted that refund requests made by August 5th will be processed and received within 45 days. For those making requests after August 5th, they will be processed in November.

**The new dates for the Jericho Cruise in October 2021 would begin on a Thursday and they return that Monday meaning they wouldn’t be able to do a live episode of AEW Dynamite, but they could always tape a show and run it the following Wednesday.

**WWE had a break from tapings until next Wednesday when they return to Fill Sail University to tape the July 29th and August 5th editions of NXT. The next Raw tapings are Monday, August 3rd and SmackDown tapings take the place Tuesday, August 4th with two episodes of each brand per taping date.

**The New York Times had a profile on Nikki & Brie Bella as the two approach their respective due dates while also filming the newest season of Total Bellas. The article noted that a skeleton crew is living nearby in Airbnb rentals and must always wear masks while filming, have regular temperature checks, and maintain social distancing on set. They wrapped most of the season earlier this month, but two production members will remain in Arizona until the babies are born. They are not allowed into the delivery rooms so any footage shot will be done by their partners, Artem Chigvintsev and Bryan Danielson. While the Bellas do not wear masks during filming they have relied on themselves for their hair and makeup throughout filming, although their makeup artist did return to the set by the end of the season’s filming. Season six is set to premiere this fall on E!

**ESPN has a feature on Orange Cassidy and his unique connection along with winning over skeptics since joining AEW. The article features comments from Cassidy, as well as Tony Khan, Chuck Taylor, Trent Beretta, and Jim Ross. Khan admitted he wasn’t too familiar with Cassidy and didn’t have big plans for him when AEW until he started spending time with Cassidy after his appearance in the Casino Battle Royal at Double or Nothing in May 2019. Khan added that’s he has become a big merchandise mover and that TNT is big fans of the character. Khan wanted to prolong Cassidy having his first “real” match when he faced PAC at the Revolution event this past February. The piece also discusses how it’s been more difficult for a character like Cassidy without a live audience during the pandemic.

**The highlight of Impact Wrestling was the main event that featured the Motor City Machine Guns defeat The North to become the new Impact tag champions. It ends the reign of Ethan Page & Josh Alexander that began on July 5, 2019, when they defeated Santana & Ortiz for the titles. The main event of Impact took up the last twenty minutes of the show and was on par with the main event at Slammiversary in terms of quality. The show featured an appearance by EC3 (who attacked Moose), Heath sneaking into the building, Eric Young confronting Eddie Edwards, and a promo piece for Brian Myers (the former Curt Hawkins). Edwards is doing the open challenge concept with the Impact title and will defend it each week beginning with Trey on next week’s episode. Next week’s show also featured Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows taking on Reno Scum.

**On Tuesday’s episode of AEW Dark, Darby Allin defeated Robert Anthony and was attacked by Brian Cage after the match. Following Cage’s attack, Ricky Starks came out and attacked Allin. Cage and Starks bumped fists after their attack with Taz noting on commentary that it was “business” and he would explain on tonight’s episode of Dynamite.

**Mustafa Ali appeared on Raw Talk this past Monday and addressed the need for change within the criminal justice system.

**PWinsider.com noted that FS1 will be airing SummerSlam 1992 on Tuesday, August 4th at 7 pm Eastern. The show was to air next Tuesday but was moved due to Major League Baseball programming. In a statement to POST Wrestling, Fox Sports stated that WWE programming would be airing in that slot until at least August 11th.

**Ring of Honor has posted the entire episode of their tribute for the late Hana Kimura, which aired this past weekend.

**Cody spoke with Justin Barrasso at SI.com prior to tonight’s airing of Dynamite and noted the TNT title challenger would be outside of the AEW locker room. He also spoke about his history with Rey Mysterio and how influential he was on his career.

**Sky Sport in Italy has announced that All Elite Wrestling is coming to the network.

**Becky Lynch described his first trimester and the process of learning she was pregnant while appearing on The Bella Twins podcast.

**On Thursday night, Synergy Pro Wrestling is holding its Garden State Invitational Tournament on Fite TV at 7 pm Eastern. The card features an eight-man tournament with Simon Gotch, KTB, Gregory Iron, Tony Deppen, Gary Jay, Matt Cross, Myron Reed, and Jordan Oliver along with a triple threat match for their Cruiserweight title between Kasey Catal, TJ Crawford, and Ellis Taylor.

**Mike Mooneyham has a lengthy feature on Ed Farhat a.k.a. The Sheik, who was one of the most successful heels in the history of the industry.

**Mike Bennett & Maria Kanellis are the guests on this week’s edition of the ROH Strong podcast. The two discussed their releases from WWE two months after the birth of their second child. Bennett also described his battle with addiction.

**Pro Wrestling NOAH has a small show on Friday at Korakuen Hall with the following five matches announced:
*Kenoh vs. Haoh
*Masa Kitamiya vs. Daiki Inaba
*Shuhei Taniguchi vs. Manabu Soya
*Yoshiki Inamura vs. Masaaki Mochizuki
*Shiryu vs. Nioh

**This Friday’s edition of Lion’s Break Collision will feature the following four matches at 10 pm Eastern on New Japan World:
*Jeff Cobb vs. Karl Fredericks
*Rocky Romero & Rust Taylor vs. TJP & Clark Connors
*Misterioso vs. Danny Limelight
*Tom Lawlor vs. Alex Coughlin

**Destiny Wrestling announced its Summer Heat BBQ Party earlier this week for Sunday, August 16th at the parking lot of the Battle Arts Academy in Mississauga, Ontario. There were 100 spots available and they have already sold out with the announcements that RJ City, Anthony Carelli, Aiden Prince, and Alexia Nicole would appear.

**The WWE stock closed at $45.93 on Wednesday.

**Major League Baseball begins its shortened season on Thursday as several leagues get ready to launch or resume their season.

**The NHL is set for a series of exhibition games and then begin its 24-team playoff format on Saturday, August 1st, and immediately go into the Stanley Cup Qualifiers. The Stanley Cup Finals are set to begin on September 22nd and end no later than October 4th.

**The NBA resumes its season on Friday, July 30th with 22 teams returning to play with the NBA Finals going no later than October 13th. The first round of the playoffs begins August 17th, the conference semi-finals start August 31st, the conference finals will begin September 15th, and the NBA Finals start September 30th.

**To get a sense of the response from advertisers, Fox Sports executive Seth Winter tells SBJ that 90% of its regular-season MLB package is sold. In the piece, Winter noted that they moved a lot of the advertisers who had paid for spots in the spring into the shortened season at the same rate. Among new advertisers, Fox is seeing a 5-10% increase with lots of spending from political parties ahead of the U.S. election, financial services, soft drinks, the retail & tech sectors have also been strong while areas like airlines, casual dining, automotive service, hotel, and travel have been softer.

**On this date in 2001, the WWF presented its most successful non-WrestleMania pay-per-views ever with the Invasion card from the former Gund Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. While the storyline was a disaster both in hindsight and at the time, the novelty of a pay-per-view built around inter-promotional matches was gigantic for the fanbase.

After initially targeting a WWF vs. WCW dream scenario following the former’s purchase of the company in March 2001, it was quickly extinguished with a horrendous main event between Booker T. and Buff Bagwell in Tacoma, Washington on the July 2, 2001 episode of Raw. There was such negativity to the segment that Vince McMahon second-guessed everything to the extent of giving up on WCW as a standalone entity that they had booked tour dates for.

The following week, they rescued the angle by injecting ECW into the invasion with Paul Heyman revealed as the mastermind working alongside Shane & Stephanie McMahon. They blew through months of ideas in one memorable episode of Raw ending with the formation of “The Alliance” as ECW’s intellectual property was not controlled by the WWF this early.

A forgotten aspect to the hype surrounding the pay-per-view was the go-home episode of Raw that built to the climax of Steve Austin coming to the aid of Team WWF and signaling a return to his babyface character after months of forcing his heel persona on television that negatively impacted business without a strong babyface foil. The pop for Austin’s run-in during the final segment of Raw was monstrous and I’ve always credited a portion of the success of that pay-per-view to that closing angle with Austin. Six days later, they turned Austin back as a heel joining The Alliance and the invasion fizzled throughout the summer and fall before finally yanking the plug at that year’s Survivor Series.

The following year, the company tried its own spin of the promotional war by splitting Raw and SmackDown for the inaugural brand split. This concept received more time and patience than the invasion but still showed the weakness in the company’s ability to execute a true split and create their own competition. However, all the key components that would have enhanced the invasion angle slowly made their way to the WWF afterward. Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Scott Steiner, Eric Bischoff, Ric Flair, and Bill Goldberg would arrive over the next 18 months after ending the invasion. It was part of the problem that WWF didn’t see any big stars on the WCW roster they had at the start with The Alliance propped up by established WWF talent.

The Invasion card featured a five-man Alliance team of Diamond Dallas Page, Booker T., Rhino & The Dudley Boyz vs. Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho & Kane. The card drew a reported 760,000 buys and displayed a massive demand from the audience for the concept of WWF vs. WCW, even with a watered-down version of who fans saw as WCW’s franchise stars. The conclusion to the dream scenario of WWF vs. WCW at the Survivor Series in 2001 was 450,000 buys and an Alliance teams consisting of Austin, Angle, Booker T., Rob Van Dam, and Shane McMahon that says everything right there.

**Shawn Michaels turns 55 today, Akira Tozawa turns 35, and both Kenny King & Fandango are 39.



REWIND-A-WAI #66: NOAH Destiny 2005
John Pollock and Wai Ting review Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Destiny 2005 from the Tokyo Dome featuring Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Toshiaki Kawada and Kenta Kobashi vs. Kensuke Sasaki.
REWIND-A-RAW 7/20/20: RK-Show, Ric Flair Off Raw, BTE
John Pollock and Wai Ting discuss WWE Raw and the fallout from The Horror Show at Extreme Rules, the NY Post’s story on Ric Flair, and your feedback.
John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE The Horror Show at Extreme Rules featuring Braun Strowman vs. Bray Wyatt in a Swamp Match, Asuka vs. Sasha Banks for the Raw Women’s Championship, and Seth Rollins vs. Rey Mysterio in an Eye for an Eye Match.

John Pollock is joined by Nate Milton and Davie Portman for a review of Impact Wrestling’s Slammiversary pay-per-view as they crowned a new Impact champion and had multiple surprises.
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 7/17/20: Bro-Home Show, AEW/NXT, Horror Show Preview

John Pollock & Wai Ting review Friday Night SmackDown, discuss the AEW vs. NXT ratings, the NY Times covers Hana Kimura and a preview of Sunday’s Extreme Rules.

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Is it not The Young Bucks vs The Butcher and The Blade rather than FTR @johnpollock?

1 Like

Man, Stephanie can bullshit with the best of them. “Putting smiles on faces” as an excuse to endanger employee wellbeing, Paul’s magic spray, walking around health coverage. It’s honestly impressive.

Like John noted, I think her speaking of WWE being “less polished” is interesting. I think it’s BS to the highest degree. But, if they made small changes to make everything not corporate-speak or something that sounds like it was corroborated by 10 writers, it’d make a difference. Not right away, but you’d win back more ardent fans who dropped off. I wish they’d genuinely take something from that, but it’s clear they don’t.

Maybe they do for veteran talent? Seems Edge/Christian/Show/Orton/Flair have all really excelled. But then you see Baszler be given the most inauthentic script you could ever hear. Bianca Belair now needs to explain in every promo what EST is. Or you hear WWE brand Matt Riddle as the Bodacious Barefoot Bro (he doesn’t wear shoes, how wacky!) and he becomes a lame brand that’s a parody on his true self. Think Road Dogg said it a while ago that they basically trust nobody on their own. And that stuff will cripple them every week if talent can’t be themselves.

1 Like

Will Osprey!

It won’t happen, but it’s nice to dream.

James Ellsworth.

Nobody will ever say “A positive of the pandemic…” but AEW has taken advantage of spoilers not getting out. I’ve watched Dark the last month, in all of his previous appearances Ricky Starks went to the announce table and gave Taz a fist bump while leaving Xcalibur hanging, This wasn’t done for an empty reason when Starks showed up aligning with Taz it made me so happy as a viewer knowing that I was rewarded for paying attention to something, obviously that angle couldn’t be done in front of fans

1 Like

I think Zoom and Twitch might.