POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: Renee Paquette issues farewell to WWE

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/08/24/pollocks-news-update-renee-paquette-issues-farewell-to-wwe/


**Tonight, Wai Ting and I will have a new edition of Rewind-A-Raw as we review tonight’s episode coming out of SummerSlam and what is set up for Payback this weekend. Plus, we will go through all the news from today and take your questions and feedback.

**The ASK-A-WAI Mailbag Show returns Tuesday night and you can still submit questions for the show on the POST Wrestling Forum. The show will be released for members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**We have our WWE SummerSlam POST Show up on the site with a big rundown of Sunday’s event and taking your phone calls with reaction to the show.

**Braden Herrington and Davie Portman have their NXT TakeOver: XXX POST Show from Saturday with a review of the show.


Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting
Tuesday: ASK-A-WAI Mailbag Show (Patreon)
Wednesday: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Thursday: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John & Wai
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (LIVE at 10:15 pm Eastern for Patrons)
Saturday: Cruel Summer with WH Park & guest Stephanie Chase (G1 Climax 2019 Final)
Saturday: NJPW Summer Struggle POST Show (Patreon)
Sunday: WWE Payback POST Show (LIVE for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso Patrons)


**The main story from SummerSlam was the first appearance of Roman Reigns since March attacking The Fiend Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman after their Falls Count Anywhere Match. Reigns did one empty arena episode of SmackDown after the shutdown for the contract signing with Bill Goldberg before removing himself from the shows the week WrestleMania was being taped. Braun Strowman, who was not scheduled for WrestleMania, had left Florida for Wisconsin and received a call after twenty hours of driving that he was needed and the company sent the corporate jet to bring him back where he was inserted into the match with Goldberg and won the Universal title.

The return of Reigns is a welcome addition to SmackDown, which has been hurt in his absence, and regaining its biggest star should have some impact on numbers. It would seem logical to have Reigns’ first match back be with Strowman. Eventually, he should be attached to the Universal title picture with The Fiend Bray Wyatt, which was the plan for WrestleMania until they put the title on Goldberg. Last week, Goldberg revealed that he’s under contract to WWE for several more years and required to perform two matches per year, which means he’s hit his maximum for 2020. There is a novelty to doing Reigns vs. Goldberg one time after promoting the match and being unable to deliver it this past year.

The immediate priority is building a card for Payback in six-days but not coming out of SummerSlam with the immediate need for a pay-per-view so quickly. It makes you question why this show was added to the schedule.

On the Raw side, the Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton finish was designed to come back with a rematch but one week later feels rushed. McIntyre is clicking as champion and it doesn’t feel the timing is right to take the title from him nor would you want to beat Orton a second time so quickly. The alternatives are scarce as Seth Rollins feels reinvigorated as a top heel after the Mysterio program, but that match was done recently, and Rollins shouldn’t be a stopgap for McIntyre before the rematch with Orton. Another idea would be to hold a #1 contender’s match tonight and have Keith Lee win in his debut, establishing him as a top player and then having a showcase match with McIntyre this Sunday where Lee comes up short but still impresses by going toe-to-toe with McIntyre. I’m not a fan of beating Lee so fast but it can be done in a meaningful way, and you need something for Sunday’s show involving McIntyre.

The only advertising for Payback is Sasha Banks & Bayley defending the women’s tag titles, which makes sense for Shayna Baszler & Asuka to be the challengers after their win last week. The only other option I see is doing the worn-out “feuding partners” where Baszler is forced to team with Nia Jax and challenge for the tag titles. For the purpose of the story, they are telling, Bayley and Banks should lose the titles on Sunday and all the titles are gone except Bayley, who remains the SmackDown women’s champion causing Banks to break away from her.

For my money, Seth Rollins was the star of the show on Sunday and did a tremendous job with Dominik Mysterio. Other than Orton, he feels like the top heel they have on either brand. The story should continue as there needs to be some sort of revenge by the Mysterios whether it’s a tag match with father and son against Rollins and Murphy with a big stipulation, or Rey going for revenge on behalf of Dominik. Everyone was great in their role on Sunday. Long-term, it’s hard to say where Dominik goes as national TV isn’t the forum to be getting reps in and learning. Ideally, once shows return, he should be out working as much as possible but inside the WWE system that’s tough. NXT’s prime focus is producing a weekly two-hour show and not taking inexperienced talent and having them work full schedules on the road. There is a long line of NXT talent that aren’t working matches because they aren’t featured on television and don’t have the Florida house shows to work.

The last point is the obvious strategy WWE has taken with consolidating its pay-per-view length. With only eight matches and going off the air just after 10 pm Eastern, it made for a far easier viewing experience. Instead of maximizing the “number of minutes consumed” on the WWE Network, they have shifted during the pandemic to shorter events with lower match counts and it’s been a positive. SummerSlam was an interesting test because typically this would have featured a two-hour kickoff show and a near-four hour show and inevitably, matches suffer due to the burnout from the extended viewing time. This show featured a one-hour kickoff (which was advertised last week as one hour, then changed to two hours and reverted to the original length) and a three-hour show, and that’s for one of their major shows of the year. Perhaps a learning experience was how much more positive the feedback was to WrestleMania being spread over two nights. It’s arguable if this will remain the philosophy when crowds return but it’s undeniable the shows have been better received due to the length.


**Tonight’s episode of Raw from the Amway Center will feature the debut of Keith Lee on the show and hopefully, there is a strong introduction. There are a lot of factors in his favor from his size, speaking ability, and the endorsement he received last fall when he came the key talent from NXT that they focused on leading to Survivor Series, but no one is a slam dunk.

They are also advertising The Kevin Owens Show with Owens inviting Aleister Black to appear.

The other aspect of the show being advertised is the first episode of Raw in the ThunderDome. The focus of the show will be getting a card ready for Payback. If ever there was a week to remember the brand-to-brand invitational gimmick, it would be this week to have SmackDown talent on the show to shoot the key angles for Payback instead of waiting until Friday.

**Raw will be going against the first night of the Republican convention, which starts at 10 pm Eastern with news coverage preceding it on cable. With Donald Trump speaking each night of the convention this week, the third hour could be affected more than last week’s Democratic convention. In 2016, the first night of the RNC did 22.5 million viewers going against Raw that did 3,125,000 including 2.96 million in the third hour. For comparative purposes, Raw that night in July 2016 did a 1.13 in the 18-49 demographic. The NBA playoff competition features the Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat game at 6:30 pm followed by the L.A. Lakers vs. Portland at 9 pm.

**Brandon Thurston has done extensive research into WWE’s projected revenue for the remainder of 2020 on the heels of the ThunderDome, which increases the expenditures for the year between the residency fee at the Amway Center (approximately $450,000 for 60 days) and the added production costs of going live with Raw and SmackDown, and construction of the ThunderDome itself. Here are some notes from Thurston’s research, which I highly recommend reading as he had the most accurate predictions for the recent Q2 results:
-Thurston’s new estimate is $100 million for net income for the full year, which is on the lower end of previous estimates from analysts – although the analysts have not provided updated forecasts taking the ThunderDome expenses into account
-He discussed the potential of revisiting selling off the WWE pay-per-view, which was a major topic pre-pandemic. With Nick Khan installed as its new company president, he could become the point person on such negotiations and represents a large revenue opportunity
-Thurston also noted that AEW’s deal with TNT runs through the end of 2023 with an option for 2024. WWE’s deals with Fox and NBC Universal end in 2024 meaning that if the option is picked up by TNT it could create a scenario where both company’s television rights are being negotiated in proximity (UFC’s deal with ESPN runs through the end of 2025 and therefore, unlikely they’ll be negotiating at the same time like they were in 2018)

**After bidding farewell on the SummerSlam Kickoff, Renee Young (Renee Paquette) posted the following message:

This November would mark 8 years in WWE. 8 years!! An opportunity of a lifetime with a global company to learn, grow, make history and do things beyond my wildest dreams before I left Toronto for this adventure. I made friends, family- literally family- I met my husband here (what a fucking dreamboat) and people that will be a part of my life forever. I did things I couldn’t have even imagined or dreamt up. From backstage interviews, a reality show, Talking Smack, being the first woman to be a part of a WWE broadcast in Saudi Arabia, to being the first woman to sit at the commentary desk full time on Monday Night Raw, calling Wrestlemania, anchoring a brand new show with Fox Sports (which you guys will still be able to catch me on!) I’ve been so lucky. But it’s also been a lot of my hard work, drive and passion that’s landed me in these amazing spots. I’ve had such an incredible run with WWE. It’s changed my life. But that all leads me to now. What’s next? Do I stay satisfied with what I’ve done? Or do I go in pursuit of new barriers and goals in mind? I always choose the latter. I have no idea what that means or looks like, but it’s time for me to go. Time to roll the dice again and shake things up. Time to light that fire again and forge on. Time to say bye to Renee Young and reconnect with Renee Paquette and remember why I started this journey to begin with. And as the ride slows down- as the world slows down, I see it as my opportunity to make a move. So I just wanted to say thanks to WWE and to the all the fans that have been so damn cool to me over the years. And send a crap ton of love to all of my people. I’m excited for the future! Thanks for everything.

**Paquette wrote a lengthier goodbye for The Players’ Tribune going through her experiences at WWE. She shared the following about her time on the Raw broadcasting team and what she wishes she had done differently with hindsight:

If I’m being honest about my own experience as a trail-blazer in WWE, I’d say that my feelings looking back are kind of mixed. The history-making stuff, like being the first woman to ever call a full episode of Raw, those moments are untouchable and they’ll stay with me forever. But I also wish I’d done a few things differently — especially as it relates to my time in the commentary booth, as history-making as it was. I wish I’d stood up for myself a little more, in terms of the support that I was getting. I wish I’d fought for myself a little more, just in general, in those moments when I felt like I was drowning or even just treading water. And I wish I’d gone to more of the right people for more of the right advice, instead of letting my emotions or my insecurities get the better of me. I also think that’s the gift and the curse of going first, though, you know what I mean? No one said blazing trails was easy.

Paquette was not specific regarding her plans and ended the piece with the reasoning behind her decision to leave WWE:

Maybe I’ll find a new show, or a new platform. A podcast, TV, who knows. But one thing I do know — I won’t be happy unless I keep pushing boundaries. Unless I keep moving forward. I always used to joke that WWE was this sort of “entertainment boot camp”…. but now that it’s over, I actually think there’s some truth there. I’ve been at the corner of sports, entertainment and live events for almost a decade. I’ve written a whole freaking cookbook in my spare time (out soon!!!). I feel like I’ve finally reached this stage where I can not know what comes next — because I’ve finally reached this stage where I can handle what comes next.

And then as far as why I’m leaving…… it’s about as simple as it gets: It was time. Eight years doing anything is a while. But eight years in a business like ours???? It’s a lifetime. And you only get so many lifetimes, right? So I’m going to try a few new things, give them a fair shot, hope they give me the same, and we’ll see.

**Rev Pro posted its first Epic Encounters show on Sunday including Will Ospreay’s first match since March doing a tag with Michael Oku against Ricky Knight Jr. & Kyle Fletcher. The usage of Ospreay is going to be a polarizing one given the backlash to the public allegation from former wrestler Pollyanna that Ospreay had her removed from a show in 2018 after accusing a friend of Ospreay’s of sexual assault. The IWL promotion in London came out stating they booked Pollyanna and were contacted by the venue stating that Ospreay didn’t want her on the show and the venue sided with Ospreay and gave the IWL group the option of unbooking Pollyanna or losing the venue. In reporting from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer stated the reasoning provided by the venue to not use Pollyanna was because some of the female talents on the show would be upset if she was used. Meltzer added that the venue changed its tune giving the promotion the option of booking Pollyanna, but the promotion had already un-booked her and she didn’t work the show. After being removed from the IWL show, Pollyanna never worked another match.

**AEW Dynamite is listed for TSN2 this Thursday at 8 pm Eastern in Canada.

**RIPTIDE Wrestling announced they are leaving Pivotshare as their streaming partner to work with IWTV beginning September 1st. Regarding the hiatus of the company, they wrote:

With the #SpeakingOut movement shifting the landscape of wrestling so rapidly in June, we canceled shows indefinitely and went dark on social media. The priority for us was to allow us the necessary space for members of our team and roster who were directly affected time and support to heal and process.

In the last few weeks, we have been to start making steps forward. Our library has been edited to remove performers accused of illegal, sustained or serial abuses. From there, we have been making structural changes relating to new backroom personnel, training, and policies. These changes relate to safeguarding, whistle-blowing, codes of conduct, and diversity and inclusion.

We recognize that these changes must be finalised and published before planning any new shows. Nothing is more important than the safety of survivors and preventing further abuses in the wrestling scene.

**Sports Pro Media looks at how the major broadcasting corporations are holding up during the pandemic with analysis of Comcast, FOX, Disney, Sinclair Broadcast Group, and multiple streaming platforms. A key part is a drop in advertising spending throughout the pandemic, which hasn’t been discussed enough when it comes to the double whammy of television viewership dropping for WWE coupled with a decline in ad spending. Even if WWE, AEW, or any sports entity was producing the exact same numbers, it’s not a guarantee that those numbers are worth the same amount in ad dollars compared to eight months ago. Where AEW has shined is among younger audiences, especially young females during the pandemic. They had a massive number by their standards with adults 18-34 doing a 0.29 rating for the August 5th episode that beat Raw that week, but AEW did fall in that category the next week down to a 0.18.

**Inside the Ropes is launching a magazine in September with a big roster of writers including Kenny McIntosh, Bill Apter, Keith Elliot Greenberg, Brian Elliott, Findlay Martin, and Dan Richardson. The first issue will be released next month and there is also an option for an annual subscription on their website.

**Karrion Kross spoke to ESPN’s Marc Raimondi about his separated shoulder injury from TakeOver: XXX and not expecting to miss a lot of time.

**ROH has added Kenny King, Dalton Castle, and Rust Taylor to the Pure Title tournament joining PJ Black, Tony Deppen, David Finlay, Jonathan Gresham, Jay Lethal, Rocky Romero, Matt Sydal, Tracy Williams, Josh Woods, and Wheeler Yuta. There are three slots remaining in the 16-man tournament.

**Here are the matches for Tuesday’s episode of AEW Dark airing at 7 pm Eastern on their YouTube channel:
*Lance Archer vs. D3
*Penelope Ford vs. Heather Monroe
*Frankie Kazarian vs. Kip Sabian
*Red Velvet vs. Mel
*Sonny Kiss & Joey Janela vs. Jack Evans & Angelico
*Storm Thomas & Demetri Jackson vs. Best Friends
*Bully & Austin Gunn vs. Frank Stone & Baron Black
*Santana & Ortiz vs. The Metro Brothers
*Jake Hager vs. Marko Stunt
*Ricky Starks vs. Shawn Dean
*Nyla Rose vs. KiLynn King
*Luther & Serpentico vs. Brandon Cutler & Peter Avalon
*Shawn Spears vs. Jessy Sorensen

**Matt Riddle reacting to Roman Reigns’ return in real-time on the SummerSlam Watch Along.

**Vince McMahon turns 75 years old today.

**The WWE was up more than 5 percent on Monday and closed at $44.98.

**Once again, Dark Order were the stars on Being the Elite this week.




WWE Network released its latest edition of WWE 24 titled “WrestleMania: The Show Must Go On” documenting the lead-up and execution of the two-day event from the Performance Center.

The documentary piece included a “rally the troops” speech from Paul Levesque telling the performers that “this is what we do” and had been doing for generations and referred to them as “family”. I think those kinds of comparisons are well-intentioned but frankly, we have seen the actions of all wrestling companies throughout the pandemic and only one had the massive talent cuts, and it was the company with the largest available resources to stave off such cuts. If you’re going to argue that they acted in a prudent business manner, that’s well and good, but you can’t have it both ways and preach “family” and also be so bottom-line driven especially when the savings throughout the quarter were astronomical and had a gigantic second quarter.

The featured performers were Drew McIntyre, Rhea Ripley, Kevin Owens, and Braun Strowman revolving around their matches at WrestleMania.

For Ripley, it’s astonishing to watch where she was in March on the precipice of her first WrestleMania and how popular she had become after winning the NXT women’s title. I don’t think she’s at a point where she cannot be brought back to that level, but her popularity has been hurt greatly over the past several months. They shot footage of Ripley walking around an empty Raymond James Stadium prior to the shutdown and envisioning what that experience would be like noting her family was supposed to be there.

After the match with Charlotte Flair, Ripley was crying as Flair was extremely complimentary of Ripley. This was one of the best matches of either night at WrestleMania.

McIntyre had been stationed in Europe filming a commercial for BT Sport when they brought him back to the U.S. as the pandemic was affecting the U.S. McIntyre went through his process of being angry upon learning of the WrestleMania changes but came around to the new reality and looked for the positive out of the situation. There is probably no one that had a tougher pill to swallow among the performers than McIntyre. It was a legitimate story of a comeback involving someone fired in 2014 and poised to be anointed as “the guy” beating Brock Lesnar so emphatically. To do that without a crowd hurt, but it’s impossible to have predicted this year in any way, shape, or form.

There was EVOLVE and ICW footage of McIntyre during his time away from WWE prior to returning in April 2017.

Strowman had packed his car and set out on a 21-hour drive to Wisconsin when he received the call after 20 hours that he was needed for WrestleMania. The company sent the jet, he returned and said he was told about winning the title once he arrived. Strowman acknowledged that Roman Reigns made the right call because of his newborn twins but was extremely grateful he was being given the title because of Reigns’ decision.

Strowman also shared a story of meeting Mark Henry when he was competing in strongman competitions and it was Henry who paid for his flight to attend a WWE tryout in 2012.

The Firefly Funhouse portion was interesting to see as they filmed most of it at the WWE production studios in Norwalk, Connecticut. Both Shane McMahon and Bruce Prichard were on set directing. The day of shooting at the production studios was said to take 7 ½ hours with John Cena calling it “the most boldly creative thing he’s ever done” but was nervous before it aired.

They aired footage of Edge giving a speech after they completed the shooting of the match with Randy Orton, thanking them all for what they did and getting back to their families.

The clip that they used to promote the special was Vince McMahon showing Rob Gronkowski had to fall off the perch at the Performance Center with McMahon landing on the crashpad. There wasn’t much to the Gronkowski involvement other than a funny scene where he pretended to be on the phone apologizing to the city of Tampa for WrestleMania being pulled and he would make it up to them by playing for the Buccaneers.

The special ended with a dedication to sound mixer Tommy Uzzo, who died in April from cancer. He had worked for a lot of notable celebrities including Michael Jackson, Mary J. Blige, and LL Cool J. He was the mixer for many of the WWE Network specials including most of the 24s and 365s.


**UFC president Dana White will be speaking at the Republican convention on Thursday night. White spoke at the same convention in July 2016 speaking on behalf of Donald Trump.

**White spoke to the media after Saturday’s Fight Night card with the following notes:
*He thought it was a close fight between Frankie Edgar and Pedro Munhoz and wouldn’t have been surprised if the decision had gone to Munhoz. He added that Edgar still has work to do at bantamweight before they discuss a title fight for him.
*He was hesitant about the fight between Shana Dobson and Mariya Agapova. Going into the fight, Dobson was 3-4 and Agapova was 9-1 but matchmaker Mick Maynard made the case for Dobson and White trusted his judgment and Dobson stopped her in the second round.
*White thought Corey Anderson would be more competitive in Bellator than the UFC and that’s why he was let out of his deal. When asked to react to Scott Coker’s comment about Bellator having a better light heavyweight division, he smirked and called it “cute”. White has always had respect for Coker and won’t go after him like he would many other promoters.
*White said all the light heavyweights in Bellator were let go by the UFC and totally dismissed the idea of going any co-promotional fights with Bellator, which makes no sense for UFC today. The truth is that Phil Davis, Ryan Bader, and Lyoto Machida’s deals were up with UFC and they signed with Bellator when they became free agents. John McCarthy shared a story where Machida verbally agreed to a deal with Bellator, was offered more by the UFC to stay and turned it down because he gave his word to Bellator.
*He didn’t specify the exact reasons but noted they lost seven production people during the week
*Aljamain Sterling is next in line to fight Petr Yan for the UFC bantamweight title
*They have a fight planned for Tony Ferguson and when the media member guessed Dustin Poirier as the opponent, White said “probably”
*He is going to write a lot of bonus checks for some of the performances on Saturday
*Amanda Nunes is fighting Megan Anderson for the featherweight title in December and they aren’t looking at an interim title for Nunes’ title at bantamweight – given the lack of challengers, there is no need. The fight between Holly Holm and Irene Aldana could produce the next challenger at 135 pounds and they aren’t fighting until October

**Here are the results of today’s weigh-ins for Tuesday’s edition of Dana White’s Contender Series airing on Fight Pass at 8 pm Eastern:
*Jhonoven Pati (6-3, 186) vs. Jamie Pickett (10-4, 185) – Middleweight
*Rafael Alves (18-9, 146) vs. Alejandro Flores (17-2, 145.5) – Lightweight
*Jeffrey Molina (7-2, 125) vs. Jacob Silva (6-2, 126) – Flyweight
*Anthony Romero (7-0, 156) vs. Mike Breeden (8-2, 155.5) – Lightweight
*Collin Huckbody (7-2, 185.5) vs. Kyron Bowen (9-4, 180.5) – Middleweight

**This Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card is headlined by a three-round light heavyweight fight between Anthony Smith and Aleksandar Rakic along with Robbie Lawler returning and fighting Neil Magny.

John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE SummerSlam featuring the return of Roman Reigns, Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship, Braun Strowman vs. The Fiend for Universal Championship, and Asuka going for double gold.
John Pollock and Wai Ting review a special Saturday night edition of AEW Dynamite and share their thoughts on the NXT TakeOver: XXX card along with notes from Paul Levesque’s post-show media call. Plus, a full preview of WWE SummerSlam.
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review NXT TakeOver: XXX featuring Keith Lee vs Karrion Kross for the NXT Championship, Io Shirai vs Dakota Kai for the NXT Women’s Championship, Adam Cole takes on a debuting Pat McAfee.
BRITISH WRESTLING EXPERIENCE: Mark “Rollerball” Rocco, WWE Network, RevPro Return
Martin is back with Benno to chat the last month of news in Euro wrestling including Progress, ICW and wXw being added to the WWE Network. Wrestling historian John Lister also drops in to talk about the life and career of Mark “Rollerball” Rocco.
upNXT 8/19/20: “Talk Thirty To Me”
The BDE chat this week’s “Go Home” edition of NXT featuring Finn Balor vs Velveteen Dream and Johnny Gargano vs Ridge Holland to determine the last two spots in the North American Championship Ladder Match at TakeOver: XXX.
BONUS SHOW 8/19/20: Renee Young-WWE, NXT Media Call, Raw Ratings
John Pollock and Wai Ting present a special bonus show going over the news of the day including Renee Young’s pending departure from WWE, Paul Levesque’s call with the media, the latest on Sonya Deville & this week’s Raw ratings.
REWIND-A-WAI #68: WWF Royal Rumble 2001 (Patreon)
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWF Royal Rumble 2001 featuring a 30-Man Royal Rumble, Kurt Angle vs. Triple H for the WWF title, and Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho in an IC title ladder match.

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ESPN needs to pick Paquette.

1 Like

They already have Charly Caruso part time, who with all due respect is not as talented Renae (though I do like Charly alot), so I’m sure they would be open to working with Renae. In fact, they would be lucky to have her, shes much better then a larger percentage of their on air personalities.

Renee already has a deal directly with Fox for WWE Backstage which she confirmed she is still apart of in her post. I imagine that if she wants to stay in the sports world she would have lots of opportunities at Fox Sports.

But she should do whatever she wants and hopefully take a well deserved break from the nonstop WWE schedule.


For one thing, I hope her diagnosis with COVID-19 has been put to rest.

It’s difficult to concentrate on future matters knowing that you still have the virus and not certain if you can even be fit to go on with life.