POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: Reaction to Warner Bros. Discovery earnings, analyst comments on AEW

Originally published at POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: Reaction to Warner Bros. Discovery earnings, analyst comments on AEW


**Rewind-A-SmackDown is live at 11:05 p.m. ET tonight for POST Wrestling Café members. Kate from Montreal will be joining me this month on Friday nights to review SmackDown & AEW Rampage. We will also be taking your calls after the reviews. If you are a Café member, the podcast version will appear in your feed late tonight.

**On Saturday, WH Park is joined by Karen Peterson for The Long & Winding Royal Road. This month’s review will focus on Satoshi Kojima vs. Toshiaki Kawada for the Triple Crown in February 2005. The show will premiere at Noon ET on the POST Wrestling YouTube channel.

**I will be doing a solo show on Saturday night covering Battle of the Belts III and discussing any other pressing news items for POST Wrestling Café members.

**The next G1 Climax show will be released on Sunday night with WH Park joining me to review both shows in Osaka this weekend.


Day 11 (Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. EVIL)
Day 10 (Will Ospreay vs. David Finlay)
Day 8 & 9 (Tanahashi vs. ZSJ, Naito vs. EVIL)
Day 7 (Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tama Tonga)
Day 6 (David Finlay vs. Juice Robinson)
Day 4 & 5 (White vs. Ishii, Naito vs. Tanahashi)
Day 3 (Hirooki Goto vs. Tetsuya Naito)
Day 2 (Shingo Takagi vs. Juice Robinson)
Day 1 (Kazuchika Okada vs. Jeff Cobb) – FREE


**Warner Bros. Discovery held its second-quarter earnings call on Thursday to go over its performance which saw the conglomerate report a loss of $3.42 billion over the quarter. The results were not met favorably with the stock falling under $15 on Friday and down 16 percent since the opening bell today.

During its earning call, CEO David Zaslav confirmed reports that its streaming services – HBO Max and Discovery+ – will be merged into one platform next summer with a belief that its streaming business will break even in 2024. They are also looking at a free ad-supported streaming option.

In the wake of the merger, the company has outlined its strategy to cut $3 billion in costs over the next two years. Major moves have included the shelving of CNN+ just after it launched and the announcement of the nearly completed “Batgirl” and a Scooby Doo film will not be released.

This is a major story to follow with the fate of AEW’s programming, which is up for renegotiations with the expiration of their deal at the end of 2024. For AEW’s sake, having the most bidders for their programming is optimal and will drive up their rights, which currently sit at an average annual value of $44 million. WBD has a lot invested with live sports through the NBA and Major League Baseball and outside of the NBA playoffs, AEW has frequently been the top show on cable on Wednesdays this year. Unlike other professional sports, AEW currently costs them a fraction of other major sports rights and runs 52 weeks per year providing three hours per week of programming, quarterly specials on TNT, and the ability to add more programming is on the table through Ring of Honor and other non-scripted programming.

**John Ourand of Sports Business Journal spoke with CNBC reporter Alex Sherman on the state of Warner Brothers Discovery and their thoughts coming out of Thursday’s earnings report.

**Noah Kinsey and Indie Wire reporter Tony Maglio were on The Coffee Time podcast discussing the WBD earnings report and the potential impact on AEW.

From Maglio:

It’s not that I hope AEW doesn’t get re-upped. I hope they get re-upped; I really do. But right now, it feels like the absolute worst time to be seeking a major contract renewal from Warner Brothers Discovery – and it seems like being on lineal Turner channels is absolutely the worst position to be in to trying to command some major contract – again, not like WWE level money, not NBA money, not baseball but a significant amount of live sports money. It just doesn’t feel like the right time, it feels like the right time for both parties to move on, which is unfortunate because I want to reiterate that AEW is successful on Wednesdays, it really truly is, now the ratings are slipping, all that stuff. But it is a successful property especially for Turner as a successful cable TV show, the Friday show not so much.

I would not be feeling very comfortable in my position right now if I were Tony Khan or a huge AEW fan that wishes it would stay on that platform. Again, do I think AEW will find another TV home, if it’s not Turner? Yes, I do. I think they have proven themselves as a brand and as a quality alternative to WWE but man, every time I check in it really truly feels like it isn’t even on their radar. There are such bigger fish to fry and if you didn’t think (CEO David) Zaslav was not interested in scripted programming you can just imagine how disinterested he is in scripted/unscripted programming.

**Cain Velasquez pleaded not guilty in Santa Clara County court on Friday, according to the latest report from ESPN. Velasquez has been in custody since February and is facing a charge of attempted murder along with ten gun-related charges for his alleged role in chasing down Harry Goularte and opening fire in public. Goularte has been accused of molesting a younger relative in Velasquez’s family and was released from custody days before the shooting on a charge of a lewd or lascivious act to a child under the age of 14. Marc Raimondi of ESPN reports that a pre-trial hearing for Velasquez is scheduled for September 26th in an effort for Velasquez’s attorney to get the case dismissed. If that does not occur, the case will go to trial. In the ESPN story, it states that the prosecution will not be calling on Goularte to testify at the pre-trial hearing or the trial, which Velasquez’s attorney is attempting to change. Velasquez is accused of participating in a high-speed chase back in February and opening fire at a vehicle containing Goularte, his stepfather, and his mother with a bullet striking his stepfather, who sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

**Friday Night SmackDown takes place from the Bon Secours Wellness Center in Greenville, South Carolina coming off SummerSlam, and the company riding a wave of momentum. They have announced the following matches and segments for tonight:
*Roman Reigns to address Drew McIntyre
*Gauntlet Match: Natalya vs. Shotzi vs. Sonya Deville vs. Shayna Baszler vs. Aliyah vs. Xia Li vs. Raquel Rodriguez (the winner challenges Liv Morgan at Clash at the Castle)
*Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Ludwig Kaiser

**AEW has a live edition of Rampage as well as the Battle of the Belts III being taped at the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan tonight. Rampage is coming off one of its lowest numbers ever and it’s a more loaded show than usual between Jon Moxley wrestling on the show and a Street Fight for the tag titles. Below are the matches listed for Rampage at 10 p.m. ET on TNT:
*Title Eliminator Match: Jon Moxley vs. Mance Warner
*Street Fight for the AEW Tag Team Championships: Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee (champions) vs. Tony Nese & Josh Woods
*Madison Rayne vs. Leila Grey

**WrestleTix reports that over 5,900 tickets are out for the Rampage & Battle of the Belts taping tonight at the Van Andel Arena.

**Battle of the Belts III airs Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET on TNT with Claudio Castagnoli vs. Konosuke Takeshita for the ROH title (this should be incredible), Wardlow vs. Jay Lethal for the TNT Championship, and Thunder Rosa against Jamie Hayter for the AEW Women’s Championship.

**The G1 Climax holds two cards in Osaka this weekend with shows at the Edion Arena on Saturday at 4 a.m. ET and early Sunday morning at 1 a.m. The big match of the weekend is Saturday’s D Block match between Will Ospreay and Shingo Takagi, which could be among the best matches this year given their history. Technically, no one has been eliminated but several are hanging by a thread. With four shows in the next five days, the eliminations are going to be fast and furious and the tournament starts to wind down and there are only six round-robin matches per wrestler, instead of nine in past years.

Saturday at 4 a.m. ET in Osaka:
*D BLOCK: Shingo Takagi vs. Will Ospreay
*B BLOCK: Jay White vs. Great O-Khan
*C BLOCK: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Hirooki Goto
*A BLOCK: Lance Archer vs. Toru Yano
*D BLOCK: El Phantasmo vs. YOSHI-HASHI
*Kazuchika Okada & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. JONAH & Bad Dude Tito
*Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI vs. KENTA, Juice Robinson & Bad Luck Fale
*Jeff Cobb & Aaron Henare vs. Tom Lawlor & Royce Isaacs
*Tomohiro Ishii, Tama Tonga, David Finlay & Ryohei Oiwa vs. EVIL, Chase Owens, Yujiro & SHO

Sunday at 1 a.m. ET in Osaka:
*A BLOCK: Kazuchika Okada vs. JONAH
*B BLOCK: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Chase Owens
*D BLOCK: Juice Robinson vs. El Phantasmo
*A BLOCK: Tom Lawlor vs. Bad Luck Fale
*C BLOCK: EVIL vs. Aaron Henare
*Will Ospreay, Jeff Cobb & Great O-Khan vs. Jay White, KENTA & Gedo
*Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, SANADA & BUSHI vs. Lance Archer, Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi & Taka Michinoku
*Yujiro & SHO vs. Tama Tonga & Jado
*Hiroshi Tanahashi, David Finlay & Yuto Nakashima vs. Hirooki Goto, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI

**IMPACT Wrestling averaged 115,000 viewers and 0.03 in the 18-49 demographic on Thursday, per Showbuzz Daily. The show finished #123 among cable originals and compares with 96,000 viewers and 0.03 the show posted last week.

**David Bixenspan has an article on FanByte assessing the coverage of Vince McMahon and why this latest scandal was the one that ultimately saw his fall from his own company. Bixenspan and his podcast co-host Kris Zellner have just completed a four-part series on Titangate with a thorough breakdown and analysis of the multitude of scandals in the World Wrestling Federation in the early ‘90s. One of their conclusions was the mishandling of the ring boy accusations and conflating it with other stories of steroid and other drug use. It all became too difficult to process given the volume of stories and the mainstream media’s attempt to navigate the professional wrestling industry. It is impossible to deny how Vince McMahon and his company have come out of certain scandals unscathed because of the minimal real-world scrutiny reserved for pro wrestling. In Bixenspan’s article, he notes that the New York Times began reaching out to people after the #MeToo movement began regarding a story on McMahon. One wrestler told Bixenspan that the reporter contacted several female wrestlers, who didn’t receive a good vibe from the reporter regarding their understanding of the pro wrestling industry, and ultimately, the story never saw its completion. The question is also posed on the Titangate special and in the article regarding the breaking point for McMahon in this current scandal. If the WWE was still a private company or a public one where corporate governance issues were not at the forefront, would McMahon have survived? If the company is private and absent a board of directors and shareholders, I cannot imagine this would have led to McMahon stepping down. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but the reality is that McMahon was held less accountable for the actions he committed as opposed to his handling of them and tying his actions to corporate disclosure protocols.

**Kurt Angle appeared on Busted Open Radio and spoke about the handling of TNA in his A&E Biography and noted that a more complete documentary of his life and career will air on Peacock next year:

We did my life documentary and WWE purchased it from us and they decided to edit a lot of stuff, so they took out a lot of the TNA stuff. They only left in there that I went to this smaller company and I got the shit beat out of me, you know, made it look really bad like I made the wrong move. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t think I made the wrong move, whether it’s true or not, they took out that stuff. So, what is happening now is we got picked up by Peacock – my documentary. Its going to air in 2023 and it’s the one that we actually made from the beginning. WWE changed our documentary into making it more pro-WWE, which I totally understand, and I get it. I agree with them, they should have done that but the documentary that we actually made is going to air on Peacock in 2023.

**Glenn Jacobs a.k.a. Kane was re-elected as the mayor of Knox County, Tennessee on Thursday. Jacobs defeated Democratic opponent Debbie Helsey but Jacobs’ margin of victory was less than his first election. Jacobs won the election on Thursday with approximately 55 percent of the votes compared with 66 percent of the votes when he was first elected in August 2018.

**Kinya Okada defeated Yoshiki Inamura on Friday’s Pro Wrestling NOAH card to secure a sport in the N-1 Victory tournament. Okada replaces Timothy Thatcher, who is off due to visa issues. The tournament starts on August 11th with Okada part of the B Block with Masakatsu Funaki, Kaito Kiyomiya, Katsuhiko Nakajima, Takashi Sugiura, Masa Kitamiya, Satoshi Kojima, and Jack Morris. The A Block includes GHC champion Kenoh, Kazuyuki Fujita, Go Shiozaki, Masato Tanaka, Masaaki Mochizuki, Hideki Suzuki, El Hijo de Dr. Wagner Jr., and Anthony Greene.

**Keiji Muto’s retirement tour will continue on September 3rd with his final match scheduled for Osaka with Pro Wrestling NOAH.

**WWE has a house show on Saturday in North Charleston, South Carolina, and is advertising Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus in a Street Fight, Bianca Belair vs. Asuka vs. Carmella, The Usos vs. Street Profits, and Seth Rollins vs. Riddle as the top matches. On Sunday, the same crew is in Fayetteville, North Carolina

**NXT has live events on Saturday in Largo and Sunday in Gainesville, Florida.

**Matt Cardona is set to return to action on the first night of the NWA’s 74th-anniversary cards in St. Louis this month. Cardona suffered a torn biceps in May at a Game Changer Wrestling event and underwent surgery days later to repair it. The NWA is promoting that Cardona will have a “hand-picked opponent” on Saturday, August 27th.

**WrestleTix reports that IMPACT’s Emergence event next Friday at Cicero Stadium is set up for 392 seats and are seven tickets shy of that mark.

**The WWE stock closed at $70.85 on Friday.

**IMPACT has announced two dates in Nashville next month. The promotion will run its Victory Road event at Skyway Studios on Friday, September 23rd, and hold television tapings the following night. In the release, IMPACT noted the shows were originally set for the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia but stated that “the famed 2300 Arena is having limited major events past the end of August, thus the location switch was required”.

**Greektown Wrestling returns to the Ted Reeve Arena on Saturday, August 20th with a hardcore match between Channing Decker and Eddie Kingston and Trey Miguel vs. Ortiz announced for the show.

**Maki Itoh will be wrestling for National Extreme Wrestling in Vancouver on September 16th. The promotion tweeted the announcement and indicated that Itoh would be involved in a match with Chelsea Green.

**Shun Skywalker, who is one of the top performers in the world, is coming to the U.S. in October for Game Changer Wrestling. Skywalker is scheduled for October 8th and October 9th in Atlantic City and October 22nd in Detroit.

**West Coast Pro and Pro Wrestling Revolution have announced that Naomichi Marufuji will be part of its King of Indies tournament on November 19th in San Francisco at the United Irish Cultural Center.

John Pollock is joined by Davie Portman & Braden Herrington of upNXT to review Dynamite featuring the return of The Undisputed Elite.
SHOT IN THE DARK: Parker Boudreaux-AEW Dark, Killer Kelly returns to IMPACT
John Siino reviews this week’s editions of AEW Dark, AEW Dark: Elevation, NXT UK, IMPACT Wrestling, NXT Level Up, NJPW Strong, NWA USA, NWA Powerrr, and WWE Main Event in under 15 minutes on Shot In The Dark.
upNXT 8/3: Street Champion
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review NXT 2.0 from August 2nd, 2022 headlined by Solo Sikoa vs Von Wagner in a Falls Count Anywhere match!
John Pollock & Andrew Thompson review the fallout from SummerSlam on WWE Raw from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
WRESTLENOMICS: Triple H takes over WWE creative, Vince McMahon under federal investigation
“Triple H” Paul Levesque is the new head of creative for WWE. Vince McMahon is under investigation, not just by WWE’s Board of Directors, but by the SEC and federal prosecutors.
Phil Chertok and Eric Marcotte review Saturday’s UFC 277 card featuring the rematch between Julianna Pena and Amanda Nunes.
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE SummerSlam 2022 featuring Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar in a Last Man Standing match for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship.

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Yikes, between this and WWE having a new direction in creative, Tony must be a little nervous right now. Don’t get me wrong, AEW will be fine, but I have to imagine they aren’t going to score the deal they thought they would be scoring 6months ago.

I really dont know if they will be fine, if they dont get a great tv deal. I said when Cody left, if he is booked well, I think it is bad for AEW. These guys all grew up on WWE.

The combination of Cody going back and being booked well, a new regime taking over and now AEW possibly not getting as strong of a tv contract, it isnt looking good for their future.

In 5 years are they going to be closer to WWE or more like a larger version of TNA? I am not so sure.

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I don’t really watch AEW. So this is a genuine question. Since you bring up Cody. Other than MJF, who are you realistically worried about AEW losing to WWE? Someone that could make an impact to the product like Cody did and we know MJF can.

For all that has been said about WB / Discovery in the last few days, it all seems to be centered around properties they own.

The Batwoman / Scooby Doo situation. The cancelation of DC shows. The 90 Day Fiance “Universe”. Etc.
I haven’t seen any talk at all, or maybe I am missing it, around sports properties. I haven’t seen plans for those laid out. Until I do, I don’t think that there is any reason for alarm bells to be ringing.

AEW is a unique property that walks the line between their unscripted series and sports. And I think that will benefit it.

As well, in terms of if they need to find a new home, one thing AEW has proven - that a TNA NEVER managed to show - was that they have a solid base of between 800-1M fans who seem to be loyal and will follow them on a bouncing schedule. As well, they have a fan base who will SPEND MONEY to support them. They will pack arenas. They will buy PPVs. They will buy merch. Etc. Any streaming service or broadcasting entity will be all over them if they find themselves on the market again - because their fans will follow and pay to watch.


So, I think it was always inevitable that no matter what, Jericho and Danielson are ending their careers in WWE. If the booking is better, I see Moxley eventually returning too and FTR.

People like Starks, MJF, Wardlow, Guevara, Jungle Boy, Jade Cargill. Not to mention some former NXT talents.

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I hope you’re wrong, but I could very well see you being right.

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You also have to think Hunter is chomping at the bit to get Adam Cole back. I could easily see Hunter making him “the guy”, and you just know Cole would love to be in that role. I see him and Britt jumping down the road.

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I don’t see Moxley and FTR willingly returning to WWE. I do see Malakai Black returning after/before his AEW deal ends, as he was another Triple H guy. Adam Cole I’m iffy on: He’s another Triple H favorite, but AEW has his girlfriend and some of his best friends.

WWE could to look a whole lot different when those guy’s contracts are up in three or four years (Black and Cole.). Assuming there is no sale / Triple H remains in charge, who knows what the landscape is.

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Moxley is the iffy one I see, because he likes a different style. But FTR, you dont think if HHH starts a renewed focus on the tag division, theyd jump at the chance to go back?

Adam Cole also has friends in WWE. The Womens division seems to be getting a bigger focus now too. Brit could easily want to give it a shot over there, if she could still be able to be a dentist.

It is all about growing up on the product. When you dream of something, you dream of being the best, at the top. Whether that is a basketball player in the NBA, a football player in the NFL, or a wrestler in the WWE.

Of course I want AEW to be right up there and be a 1A and 1B with WWE, but WWE just has time on their side.

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Keep in mind that Khan recently said that Cole and Black are signed till 2027. So neither guy is going anywhere.

I can definitely see Andrade going to WWE. Also Santana, Kip Sabian and Penelope Ford.

The rest I just don’t see it. Jericho and Danielson have already done everything there is to do and I don’t think HHH values either guy that much. The younger stars just makes no sense because they go to WWE at a lower position.

I wonder if because of the Vince stink and lack of belief in HHH that we see Cena or Rock in AEW. Remember both guys have deals in the Warner family

I think you are dreaming man. I hope it plays out like that, because I want 2 top companies. I want to love both WWE and AEW and see both striving. I see absolutely 0% chance that Rock or Cena ever show up on AEW.

HHH is also a guy that seems petty and he knows people say he lost to AEW. So if he can do something to stick it to them, I think he absolutely would by bring in their younger guys. But I do think he is smart enough to not have them low on the card.

I think you are speaking with your heart and what you hope happens. I hope I am wrong and you are right, but I fear the worst.

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Oh I think it’s pretty unlikely but there will be some people who had loyalties to Vince and now no longer feel obligated to stay aligned with WWE.

HHH also has to justify all his signings to Nick Khan - the same guy who loves the NIL program and cut all the indie talent in the first place. That will not be easy because WWE’s main goal is to please shareholders and not put on good wrestling shows.

Add in the fact that Khan has more money than the McMahons and can match/exceed any offer, wrestlers are allowed to do outside projects and it’s a lot less work and I don’t think AEW will have any trouble finding and keeping talent.

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It’s a business for the wrestlers, not just the companies. There’s always somebody who’s going to jump for more money, even if it means working house shows, a lower place on the card, etc. And for 99% of guys, the relative size of Tony and WWE’s bank accounts means nothing. They can both afford pretty much any realistic contract if they think it’s a worthwhile investment, and there will be instances of both sides winning a “bidding war“ over time.

This is actually a bit of a false narrative created by fans. Of course Tony’s dad personally has more money than his WWE counterparts and both can technically afford anyone, but it’s been confirmed that Tony does not have access to an unlimited cheque book. I believe it was Meltzer last week speaking to @johnpollock who cited Kevin Owens as an example of a guy who AEW was not able to match the offer made by WWE. At the end of the day these are businesses, and their budgets for talent will depend on their respective revenues. If AEW gets a massive TV contract, they can probably get into some more bidding wars, if they don’t, they won’t. Khans are not idiots, they are going to spend like WCW and just throw money at talent without guaranteed revenues to justify it.


Oh yeah, it doesn’t seem like Tony Khan is about to make any Bischoff-style deals with talent, even if he can. My intended point was that AEW and WWE can both afford to offer a fair contract to 99% of the guys out there. And as contracts begin to expire on both sides, sometimes AEW’s final offer will be better, and sometimes WWE’s final offer will be better. And if there is more restrained/calculated spending in place than there was between WWF and WCW 25 years ago, it’s a good thing for the final product that companies might actually need to justify signing a guy and have a creative plan for them, instead of just stashing them so the other side doesn’t get them first.

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