POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: More on WWE cuts, WWE viewership

Originally published at POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: More on WWE cuts, WWE viewership


**With no episode of AEW Dynamite, we are doing a double review on Friday night when we go live at Midnight ET. Wai Ting and I will review both Friday Night SmackDown and AEW Dynamite. The show will be live for all POST Wrestling Café members and we will upload the show free for everyone for Saturday morning.

**We have an interview posted with Colt Cabana discussing his new podcast ‘Wrestling Anonymous’ and how he came up with the new format. We also spoke about the independent scene, interesting notes regarding the production side of Being the Elite, filming etiquette backstage at AEW shows, and how young talent are navigating social media and getting their presence out in the digital space.

**Following Monday’s discussion on Rewind-A-Raw, I wrote an editorial on Wednesday looking at the Speaking Out Movement as we approach the one-year mark. I wanted to take a look at the next steps to take and where things stand currently.

**On Thursday, Bushby & Thompson’s Wrestling Adventures features a review of the 1999 documentary Beyond the Mat produced by Barry Blaustein. The popular film focused on wrestlers at different stages of their careers with rising stars Michael Modest and Tony Jones, the popularity boom of Mick Foley, and the aging veteran Terry Funk.

**On Friday, we have our special interview with Academy Award-winning director Bryan Fogel to discuss his new documentary “The Dissident” covering the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018. We will have a full review of the doc available for members of the POST Wrestling Café.


**Brandon Thurston at Wrestlenomics reports that the total number of employees cut by WWE this week is approximately 60. Thurston adds that Susan Levison, the head of WWE Studios (who was named the head of the division in March 2019) was among the cut that included executives Jayar Donlan, James Rosenstock, Markham Nolan, and Brian Pellegatto. Thurston has a detailed report available on the Wrestlenomics Patreon feed with details of a meeting held on Thursday that was led by Nick Khan speaking to employees. In the wake of the cuts, the television department, advanced media group, and WWE Studios will be under one umbrella identified in the report as “WWE media” and run by Kevin Dunn.

**Mike Johnson at PWinsider.com reported that at the same meeting it was announced that employees would return to the Stamford, Connecticut offices beginning in July. Johnson added that some departments would return full-time and others may rotate between working at the office and from home dependent on their role.

**Due to the NBA playoffs, there is no episode of AEW Dynamite tonight meaning it’s the first Wednesday night without a wrestling card from either WWE or AEW since September 2019. A live edition of Dynamite airs this Friday at 10 p.m. ET from Daily’s Place with the go-home edition of the show for Double or Nothing this Sunday.

**Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer is reporting that Jimmy Smith will be added to the Raw broadcast team with Byron Saxton and Corey Graves beginning this Monday. The news comes one day after WWE announced they had mutually parted ways with outgoing announcer Adnan Virk. WWE has confirmed the news with Smith beginning on this Monday’s episode.

**Chris Jericho announced on Busted Open Radio that Eric Bischoff will be on Friday’s episode of Dynamite to host the “Celebration of the Inner Circle” segment.

**The PW Torch site reports that Monday’s episode of Raw averaged 1,620,000 viewers with a 0.45 in the 18-49 demographic. The numbers were impacted significantly by the NBA and NHL playoffs with Raw scoring its lowest overall viewership since July 27, 2020, and the second-lowest demo rating ever. The show started off poorly with 1,661,000 viewers in the first hour (its lowest opening hour of 2021), there was a small dip to 1,655,000 in hour two before falling to 1,547,000 in the third hour. The final hour was the least-watched hour of Raw since December 21, 2020.

**Monday’s episode of Raw averaged 178,000 viewers on Sportsnet 360 in Canada. The number is down from 212,900 last week but this week’s Raw went against Game 3 of the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens playoff game, which is doing massive numbers in the country.

**Brandon Thurston at Wrestlenomics reported that Friday Night SmackDown averaged 1,933,000 viewers on Fox, but we don’t have a demo figure for the show.

The state of Showbuzz Daily is a serious blow to this aspect of the business that provided important data but also comparative tools through their charts of what each week’s number meant. It blows my mind that all this data was concentrated on one website that people relied on so heavily. Showbuzz Daily’s archives went back to 2014 and while they’ve restored the archived content they have an inability to post anything new. We were already going in this direction with streaming and the lack of transparent data that are withheld by the company, but television viewership still gave a detailed view of a show’s performance.

**AEW has announced they have put additional tickets on sale for the July 7th episode of Dynamite at the James L. Knight Center in Miami, Florida. While the state is generally open, Miami does have restrictions in place. The company noted that they are following local government guidelines as they proceed with more tickets being put on sale.

**Cody Rhodes spoke with Connor Casey at Comicbook.com to promote Double or Nothing. Rhodes said he is 99 percent sure the TNT Championship will not undergo a name change despite AEW moving Dynamite and Rampage to TBS in 2022. On the subject of his theme music, his old version is set to return this Sunday:

Yeah. I’m going to switch back to it at the pay-per-view. I think we indicated that to a degree on social. Well, Brandi’s got her opinions. Brandi is a fan of the Snoop Dogg version of Kingdom. And I am a fan of both versions. Of course the Snoop version, but this version was something that’s actually been tweaked to a degree by Mikey Ruckus. The original version will play this weekend, live in front of a full capacity crowd at Double or Nothing.

**WWE added three more locations for its 25-city tour. After the three dates in Texas, they will be going to Cleveland on July 23rd for SmackDown, Kansas City on July 26th for Raw, and Minneapolis for SmackDown on July 30th.

**The AEW Ticket Information account (which is not an official AEW account) that takes information straight from Ticketmaster to gauge tickets sold lists this Sunday’s Double or Nothing at just under 4,000 at Daily’s Place.

**Stephanie McMahon was interviewed as part of the Leaders Business Conference and discussed the licensing deal of the WWE Network’s domestic rights to Peacock. One interesting note she shared was that the company is receiving less data than the prior in-house version of the network:

From a benefits perspective, it allows us to focus on what we do best, which is really the content production and storytelling. It’s consistent with that, we’re still getting our data – not as much data, so maybe that’s a little bit of a downside there. But when you think about the economics, scale, and reach and of course, the added value for our fans. Our fans were paying $9.99 per month for all of WWE Network and now on Peacock they have the opportunity – if they want to continue to pay $9.99 they certainly can for the ad-free model, they also then get all the additional content across Peacock including the Olympics, The Office, really premier content and in addition that, they can also do the $4.99 model which is the ad-supported model, or there’s even the free model as well. So, it’s added value for our fans, economic, scale & reach for WWE and really reaching more people and bringing them into the fold.

**New Japan Pro Wrestling finished its third straight night at Korakuen Hall drawing 329 fans for Wednesday’s Road to Wrestle Grand Slam event. It was the best attendance of the three nights after figures of 280 and 274 on Monday and Tuesday. The major note was Kazuchika Okada making an unannounced appearance to address the audience and indicate he is going for the vacant IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. Thus far, the company has not made any announcements for the Dominion event in Osaka on June 6th. Prior to Dominion, they are scheduled for two more events at Korakuen Hall next Tuesday & Wednesday and Ota Ward Gymnasium next Friday. The current state of emergency is set to expire on Monday but could also be extended.

**Ring of Honor broadcaster Ian Riccaboni is featured in The Gay Journal for a story on combating homophobia within professional wrestling.

**After leaving long-time representation at First Round Management, Jon Jones has announced that he will now be represented by former Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer. Jones issued the following statement on his new representation:

I have retained Richard Schaefer as my Advisor. Richard has been in the combat space for over 20 years and has put together some of the biggest global Pay Per View events over that period. The likes of Mayweather, De La Hoya, Canelo, Hopkins, Barrera, and Marquez have headlined the exciting events that Richard has promoted and produced. His knowledge and experience of the Pay Per View industry and combat sports are second to none. I am excited to embark on this next chapter of my career as I continue to cement my place in history as one of the greats with Richard as my advisor. I can’t wait to give my fans and the sport the fights they want to see.

**Jon Moxley’s upcoming biography is available for pre-order on Amazon. The bio is titled “Mox” and is scheduled to be released in November.

**The WWE stock closed at $56.88 on Wednesday.

**Quinton Jackson won the UFC light heavyweight championship on this date in 2007. Jackson stopped Chuck Liddell in the opening fight of their fight at UFC 71 and ended Liddell’s giant run as champion that began in April 2005 with the company exploding in popularity. Jackson had come over from the WFA and debuted in February that year beating Marvin Eastman by unanimous decision before fighting Liddell for the championship. Jackson would hold the title for over a year losing the title to Forrest Griffin in July 2008.

John Pollock & Wai Ting speak with AEW wrestler Colt Cabana about his new ‘Wrestling Anonymous’ podcast, creative etiquette within AEW, Being The Elite, social media skills for young wrestlers, interviewing Orange Cassidy on Art of Wrestling, and much more.
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