POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: Owen Hart Cup, cable networks ranked

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2021/12/17/pollocks-news-update-owen-hart-cup-cable-networks-ranked/

POST IT NOTES

**Rewind-A-SmackDown is live tonight at 11:15 p.m. ET with Wai Ting and I reviewing Friday Night SmackDown from Chicago and the taped AEW Rampage card from Garland, Texas. At the end, we will also take your calls and feedback from the POST Wrestling Forum. The show is available exclusively for all POST Wrestling Café members.

**The POST Daily News show is free in both video and audio today. Wai Ting and I are joined by Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics to go through all the data from Winter is Coming and how the 60-minute draw performed, the card for the NJPW vs. NOAH card, tickets going on sale for AEW Revolution, and tonight’s shows.

**The final Wellness Policy of the year with Wai Ting and Jordan Goodman chatting with many listeners for 90 mins. This was a great show.

**Jon Pine will have a report on Saturday covering the GCW ‘Blood on the Hills’ event and Karen Peterson will be reviewing the Osaka Super Wars card from STARDOM. John Siino will be reviewing IMPACT’s Throwback Throwdown this weekend as well.

**This month’s edition of The NWA podcast will be released on Saturday with Nate Milton, Kris Ealy, and Andrew Thompson discussing all the latest news from the past several weeks as 2021 winds down.

**Wrestlenomics Radio comes out Sunday evening with Brandon Thurston and Chris Gullo.

WRESTLING NEWS

**The viewership averages of all cable networks have been released covering 2021. The rankings are according to total viewership (P2+). Fox News led the way among all cable networks with an average of 2,361,000 and was down 35 percent from 2020, which was boosted by the election year. They were followed by ESPN (1,658,000), MSNBC (1,547,000), CNN (1,097,000), and HGTV (1,089,000). Basically, cable news was hurt without an election to cover while sports programming returned in a big way this year after the pandemic-ridden 2020.

It is worth noting this doesn’t measure or isolate the 18-49 demo, which is going to carry more weight but does give an indication of the overall numbers watching a network.

TNT and TBS finished #5 and #6 respectively with TNT slightly ahead with 1,020,000 and TBS with 998,000, which bodes well for Dynamite’s move in a couple of weeks to a network that is nearly identical in viewership and will be retaining the same night and time slot. In total viewers, Dynamite is slightly below the average (which is helped by having the NBA). Dynamite has averaged 913,000 for Live+ Same Day viewership over the past six weeks including this week’s number. Rampage has averaged 517,000 viewers over the past six weeks.

USA Network was #11 with an average of 764,000 and shows the power of Raw on that network with three hours of programming that more than double that average with a six-week average of 1,614,000 over the last episodes. NXT on the other hand is underneath the average with 598,000 over the last six weeks.

VICE TV was #82 with 74,000 viewers on average. Dark Side of the Ring is a big hit on that network. The second half of season three that returned in September averaged 147,000 viewers and is huge for a network of that size. If you include the first half of season three from May-June this year, the overall average of the series this year was 177,000.

AXS TV ranked #99 with 44,000 viewers, which IMPACT more than doubles posting a six-week average of 93,000.

beIN Sports Espanol and beIN Sport are in the bottom five with beIN Sports ranking last at #124 with an average of 3,000 viewers.

**Additional details on the Owen Hart Cup will be revealed during tonight’s edition of AEW Rampage. Tony Khan appeared on Busted Open Radio on Friday noting the Owen Hart Cup will consist of two singles tournaments – for the males and females. Khan added that they have secured footage of Hart from New Japan Pro Wrestling and that his widow Martha will present the Owen Hart Cup to winners. Khan also said on the program that Bryan Danielson is still the #1 contender for the AEW Championship after Wednesday’s draw.

**Brandon Thurston was on the POST Daily News show today and went through data for the 60-minute draw on Winter is Coming from Wednesday. The match took up the entire first hour with the finish occurring in the fifth segment of the show after 9 p.m. ET. From 8:45-9, the match was averaging 1,035,000 and 428,000 in 18-49 and stayed at 1,035,000 with 418,000 in 18-49 from 9-9:15. The fifth quarter also contained the backstage promo with The Young Bucks, Adam Cole & Bobby Fish, and the start of Wardlow vs. Matt Sydal. The show did fall for the next two quarters with the low being 9:15-9:30 that averaged 855,000 and 348,000 in the demo. The main event with MJF and Dante Martin did recover somewhat growing to 936,000 and 420,000 respectively.

Thurston noted that in the minute-by-minute data, the peak in total viewers was at 9:04 p.m. (right as the match was about to hit the time limit) with 1,206,000 million. The peak in 18-49 came at 8:59 p.m. with 476,000 viewers.

**Regarding ‘Winter is Coming’ in Canada, the show finished with 132,200 and 70,200 in the 25-54 demographic on TSN 2. In overall viewers, it was the second most-watched sports program of the night behind the Washington Capitals vs. Chicago Blackhawks game (219,900 viewers) but AEW was #1 in the demo ahead of the NHL game, which did 63,400 in 25-54 on Sportsnet.

**We are hopeful of receiving updates on the status of the two WWE live events in Canada later this month. The company is scheduled for shows on December 29th in Toronto and December 30th in Laval. On Thursday night, the Montreal Canadiens played at the Bell Centre without fans in attendance after a request from Quebec public health officials amidst the latest surge of COVID cases although there is a boxing event taking place tonight in the arena. In Ontario, new measures go into effect Saturday with events holding more than 1,000 people being reduced to 50 percent capacity and would affect the WWE event at the Coca-Cola Coliseum. POST Wrestling is awaiting an official response from WWE.

**The final SmackDown taping of the year takes place tonight as WWE is taping two episodes of the show at the Allstate Arena in Chicago. Both tonight’s show and the Christmas Eve editions of SmackDown will be taped with New Year’s Eve to feature a ‘Best of’ program on FS1. Tonight’s show is promoted around the return of Roman Reigns after missing last week’s show and his reaction to Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman’s interaction. They have also announced a match between Cesaro and Ridge Holland for tonight.

**AEW Rampage has a three-match show, which was taped at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland on Wednesday night. The following matches and segments will air tonight at 10 p.m. ET on TNT:
*Adam Cole, The Young Bucks & Bobby Fish vs. Trent, Chuck Taylor, Orange Cassidy & Rocky Romero
*Eddie Kingston, The Lucha Brothers, Santana & Ortiz vs. 2point0, Daniel Garcia & TBA
*Submission Match: Tay Conti vs. Penelope Ford
*The return of Dan Lambert

**The next live edition of SmackDown won’t take place until Jan. 7th, so tonight’s tapings will cover everything leading into the Day 1 event on Jan. 1.

**A settlement hearing involving the City of Pontiac Police and Fire Retirement System against WWE, Vince McMahon, George Barrios, and Michelle Wilson is scheduled for next Wednesday at 11 a.m. with a Zoom hearing that is open to the public. A settlement to the suit was finalized this past summer after a rejection by the judge to dismiss the suit in 2020. The settlement was for a reported $39 million after several suits were consolidated. The cases alleged that the defendants misled shareholders on its media rights deal in Saudi Arabia. From the notice on the settlement hearing:

A hearing (the “Settlement Hearing”) will be held on December 22, 2021 at 11:00 a.m., before The Honorable Victor A. Bolden by videoconference to determine, among other things: (i) whether the proposed Settlement on the terms and conditions provided for in the Stipulation is fair, reasonable, and adequate to WWE and its shareholders, and should be finally approved by the Federal District Court; (ii) whether a Judgment, substantially in the form attached as Exhibit Eto the Stipulation, should be entered finally approving the Settlement and dismissing the Federal Action with prejudice; (iii) whether the application by Shareholders’ Counsel for an award of attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses should be approved; and (iv) any other matters that may properly be brought before the Court in connection with the Settlement.

**AEW put tickets on sale to the public for multiple events today including its next pay-per-view in March. Tickets went on sale to the general public for Dynamite/Rampage tapings on Feb. 9 in Atlantic City at Boardwalk Hall, Feb. 16 in Nashville at the Municipal Auditorium, Feb. 23 in Bridgeport, Connecticut (first event in the state), and the big pay-per-view weekend in Orlando with a live Rampage, Fan Fest and Revolution card at the Addition Financial Center from March 4-6. The location of the pay-per-view lists capacity at 9,500, although that will likely be affected by the production set-up. It is not a huge arena especially for one of four pay-per-view events next year where demand should be high. The positive is that it’s several days of events with one set-up and seems to be the trend for pay-per-view weekends.

As of 4 p.m. ET, the Revolution show was not sold out. WrestleTix reported that there were under 800 tickets available and that combo ticket packages had been sold out.

**Game Changer Wrestling presents ‘Blood on the Hills’ tonight at 11 p.m. ET from the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Los Angeles. The card has undergone several changes with the loss of Negro Casas, Bandido, Dark Sheik, and Jigsaw but has announced an ROH title match and several new matches scheduled:
*GCW Tag Team Championship: The Briscoes (champions) vs. Brody King & PCO
*ROH Championship: Jonathan Gresham (champion) vs. AJ Gray
*No Rope Barbed-Wire: Atticus Cogar vs. Jordan Oliver
*Matt Cardona & Chelsea Green vs. Effy & Allie Katch
*Blake Christian vs. Alex Zayne
*Jacob Fatu vs. Matthew Justice
*Tony Deppen vs. Nick Wayne
*Scramble Match: Jimmy Lloyd vs. Matt Vandagriff vs. Arez vs. Ninja Mack vs. Gringo Loco vs. Jack Cartwheel

**STARDOM holds its Osaka Super Wars event early Saturday morning built around a 10 million yen prize. There will be two separate Trios contests with the two winning teams meeting on the same card in a ladder match for the prize. The main event pits members of Queen’s Quest against Oedo Tai with the loser of the fall being forced to join the opposing group. Below is the line-up:
*Captain’s Fall Match, Loser Leaves Group: Utami Hayashishita, Momo Watanabe (captain), Saya Kamitani & AZM vs. Starlight Kid (captain), Konami, Saki Kashima & Ruaka
*10 Million Yen Prize – Semi-Final: Natsupoi, Himeka & Ruaka vs. Takumi Iroha, Rin Kadokura & Maria
*10 Million Yen Prize – Semi-Final: Mayu Iwatani, Hazuki & Koguma vs. Tam Nakano, Mina Shirakawa & Unagi Sayaka
*10 Million Yen Prize – Ladder Match Final
*Gauntlet Match:
Syuri vs. Lady C, Mai Sakura & Waka Tsukiyama

**STARDOM has one more card on 12/25 at Korakuen Hall before its huge event at Sumo Hall on 12/29 headlined by the rematch between Utami Hayashishita and Syuri for the World of STARDOM championship.

**Shane Taylor was a guest on the It’s My Wrestling podcast and spoke about the reaction to the news of ROH’s hiatus and how he has reacted:

I’m feeling fine. In moments like these I tend to be someone that gets very excited. I know that sounds weird, but I am someone who sort of enjoys chaos, enjoys that feeling of not knowing what’s going to happen. That feeling of finding that next thing. You know what I mean? That survivalist sort of mentality I’ve had my whole life sort of kicks in and I feel like I’m right at home. Because growing up, you never knew what was going to happen. You didn’t know if you live through the day, you know what I mean? So none of this comes as a shock. None of this comes as a surprise. None of this is something that I didn’t already see coming. So this is simply just par for the course. I mean me and the guys, with what we’ve been doing and the success that we’ve garnered organically damn near by ourselves. We were debating options anyway. So this sort of just kicks it into another gear, so it’s okay.

Taylor was also asked about whether he has recently spoken with his former tag partner Keith Lee:

I’ve spoken to him. We’ve talked. Keith is going to be just fine. He is, I’m sure, very excited about the future. A motivated Keith Lee with a chip on his shoulder is good for any wrestling fan, right. And he’s got of course his marriage. His wedding to think about this February which I will be at. So congratulations to the both of them. He will be okay. He’s gonna put all of his ducks in a row and we’re gonna figure out something extraordinary for the sport. As he always does. My reaction when I saw it, again, it was a little surprising, but not completely unforeseen. If you look, okay, you know, this happened, then this happened and then there was like legal battle. You know? So it was just me knowing the environment there the way that I do, Yeah, I was like okay, that could be a thing.

**GCW has announced a match between Jimmy Lloyd and Ho Ho Lun for the 12/31 event in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

**The WWE stock closed at $48.16 on Friday.

**Below are the matches for 205 Live tonight at 10 p.m. ET on the WWE Network:
*Joaquin Wilde & Raul Mendoza vs. Malik Blade & Ru Feng
*Lash Legend vs. Sarray

**John Lister has an early review posted for Brian Solomon’s book on The Sheik (Ed Farhat) that comes out in April.

MMA NEWS

**The big card this weekend is the rematch between Jake Paul and Tyron Woodley on Showtime pay-per-view from the Amalie Arena in Tampa. The fight came together quickly after Tommy Fury withdrew from the card due to a bacterial chest infection and a broken rib. Woodley stated he was already training for a fight in January and was staying ready with the hopes something would fall through, and it did. Regardless of the outcome, Woodley will likely have the most financially lucrative year of his career fighting outside of his sport. Prior to the first fight, Woodley stated the only fight he made more money for was the first one with Stephen Thompson at UFC 205 in Madison Square Garden on a giant card headlined by Conor McGregor and Eddie Alvarez. I don’t know how much buzz the fight has generated as the first fight was novel but not a giant fight, but this rematch was the best option they had on short notice to keep the show alive as losing Jake Paul’s fight would kill the show. Nate Diaz was in Tampa earlier this week and with one fight remaining on his UFC deal, lots will be clamoring for the potential of a Paul vs. Diaz fight in 2022 if everything aligns. It’s a major positive for fighters that the novelty of boxing Paul provides stars some leverage with the UFC and Diaz is a perfect example, who could make huge money fighting Paul next year.

**The UFC will hold its final show of 2021 on Saturday with a Fight Night card from the UFC Apex as it wraps the most successful year in the promotion’s history. It’s a standard Fight Night card that we have grown accustomed to with a name to headline and a few interesting fights but largely constructed to feature either fighters rising up without much profile or fighters on the way down outside of their prime and minimal marquee value.

The top fights see Derrick Lewis and Chris Daukaus in a heavyweight contest while Stephen Thompson takes on Belal Muhammad. Personally, I’d rather see the welterweight fight scheduled for five rounds instead of the heavyweight fight. The winner of Thompson and Muhammad isn’t getting a title fight but will be strong in the mix, especially for Muhammad.

Lewis had won four fights in a row until being stopped by Ciryl Gane at UFC 265 in August for the interim championship. Lewis will always have a good spot in the heavyweight mix, although the top end of the division seems to be a step above as seen in his fight with Gane, and few are going to clamor for a rematch with Francis Ngannou. Daukaus has won five straight and is 4-0 in the UFC and coming off a TKO win against Shamil Abdurakhimov this past September, so a win will propel him to beat a name the level of Lewis. In 15 pro fights, Daukaus has only gone the distance once in his career and had taken home a Performance of the Night bonus in his last three outings.

Below is the full card with results from Friday’s weigh-ins:

MAIN CARD (7 p.m. ET on ESPN+)
*Derrick Lewis (265) vs. Chris Daukaus (235.5)
*Belal Muhammad (170.5) vs. Stephen Thompson (170.5)
*Angela Hill (115.5) vs. Amanda Lemos (115)
*Raphael Assuncao (136) vs. Ricky Simon (135.5)
*Carlos Diego Ferreira (156) vs. Mateusz Gamrot (155.5)
*Cub Swanson (145.5) vs. Darren Elkins (145.5)

PRELIMINARY CARD (4 p.m. on ESPN+)
*Gerald Meerschaert (185.5) vs. Dustin Stoltzfus (185.5)
*Raoni Barcelos (135.5) vs. Victor Henry (136)
*Justin Tafa (267*) vs. Harry Hunsucker (238.5)
*Melissa Gatto (125) vs. Sijara Eubanks (127.5*)
*Charles Jourdain (145.5) vs. Andre Ewell (145)
*Raquel Pennington (145) vs. Macy Chiasson (148.5*)
*Don’Tale Mayes (256.5) vs. Josh Parisian (262)
*Matt Sayles (155.5) vs. Jordan Leavitt (155.5)

*Three fighters missed weight with Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie noting that Justin Tafa becomes the first heavyweight to miss weight in UFC history.

**ESPN+ released its year-end stats noting the streaming giant sits at 17.1 million subscribers and featured over 22,000 live events throughout the year. It noted that the most-watched UFC pay-per-view of the year was UFC 264 featuring the third fight between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor and that seven of the top ten UFC events to air on ESPN+ happened this year.

**Ariel Helwani hosted a face-to-face chat between Jake Paul and Tyron Woodley ahead of Saturday’s fight. Paul has made a custom championship for the fight.

**ESPN’s Marc Raimondi has a great feature on how the rematch between Jake Paul and Tyron Woodley came together after Tommy Fury had to withdraw from this weekend’s fight.

**Eagle Fighting Championships held a press conference this week in Miami to announce its plans for 2022. The company is run by former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and is set to hold its first U.S. event next month in Miami with Sergei Kharitonov taking on Tyrone Spong along with Rashad Evans coming out of retirement on the Jan. 28 event. The company made several announcements at the press conference (Courtesy: MMA Fighting):
*They will start with eight weight classes with 135, 145, 155, 165, 175, 185, 205, and heavyweight
*There will not be any women’s divisions at the beginning of their U.S. expansion but that could change in the future
*The broadcast team will feature Cyrus Fees, former UFC champion Henry Cejudo, and the recently retired Felicia Spencer
*They are hopeful of hosting ten events in the U.S. in 2022 with the first two set for Jan. 28 and March 11 in Miami

**Invicta FC will return with a card on Wednesday, January 12th in Kansas City, Kansas. The show will be headlined by atomweight champion Alesha Zappitella defending her title against Jessica Delboni. The two previously fought in May with Zappitella defeating Delboni by split decision to retain her title. The card will also feature Claire Guthrie vs. Lauren Mueller, Ramona Pascual vs. Courtney King, Monica Franco vs. Hailey Cowan, Emily Whitmire vs. Hilarie Rose, and Maria Favela vs. TBA. They have not announced where it will air but it will not be open to fans or media due to COVID protocols.

ON THIS DATE

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Xanta Claus debuts in 1995:

Everything changed in 2018 – this episode of Raw averaged 2,547,000 viewers and 0.86 in 18-49:

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