POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: SmackDown posts second-lowest viewership of 2018 against World Series

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/10/24/pollocks-news-update-smackdown-posts-second-lowest-viewership-of-2018-against-world-series/


**We have this week’s edition of Rewind-A-SmackDown posted on the site as Wai Ting and I provide the latest updates involving the WWE’s Crown Jewel event, the comments from Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan about their findings in the Jamal Khashoggi murder case, U.S. president Donald Trump’s harshest statement to date regarding Saudi Arabia’s perceived cover-up and actions being taken by the U.S. government against the 18 suspects in custody. Plus, we review this week’s edition of SmackDown and the Mixed Match Challenge and a preview of this Sunday’s Evolution card and how well it’s been promoted.

**We also have the DOUBLE SHOT for all members of the POST Wrestling Café with additional reviews. On this week’s show, I run through the NWA’s 70th Anniversary show from Sunday in Nashville with the good and the bad on the show, plus I reveal my ballot for the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame. Wai has a review of last week’s edition of Total Divas and a recap of Being the Elite with thoughts on how the series has been going since “All In”. If you sign up for the Café, you get this show along with 100 bonus podcasts we have put out since December 2017.

**Braden Herrington and Davie Portman will be back Thursday with a new edition of upNXT chatting tonight’s episodes of NXT and the final Mae Young Classic. They will also be taking your feedback from the POST Wrestling Forum.

**Wai Ting and I will be back Friday with Rewind-A-Wai as we review the WWE’s Battleground show from July 2016 featuring Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE title. This show was selected by Espresso Executive Producer Jerry Kilgore. This show will be available for all members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**This Sunday, we will be doing a WWE Evolution POST Show immediately after the card wraps. If you are a Double Double, Iced Capp or Espresso member of the Café, you will receive a link to live stream the video of our POST Show. The podcast version will be available for everyone later that night.


**Coming off last week’s 1000th episode and going against Game 1 of the World Series, this week’s episode of SmackDown Live experienced a drop of 18%. It was SmackDown’s second lowest number of 2018 behind the July 3rd episode on the eve of a holiday. This week’s show averaged 2,087,000 viewers on the USA Network with major competition from the World Series. Game 1 between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers did 13,761,000 on Fox. If the series goes to a sixth game, they would play next Tuesday.

**Thursday is a big day for the WWE with their third-quarter earnings report and shareholders call. The focus will be how much or how little is dedicated to the upcoming Crown Jewel event and the company finding itself within the controversy of running the show. Wednesday was not a good day for the stock as it dropped almost 6% closing at $77.37. The S&P 500 was down 3%, so this was a bad day for the market.

**Samula Anoa’i, who wrestled as Samu and is the cousin of Roman Reigns (Joe Anoa’i), announced that he also suffering from cancer. He announced on Facebook Wednesday that he was diagnosed with stage four liver cancer and in need of a transplant. Samu is 55 years old and recently came out of retirement to wrestle for MLW. He participated in the Battle Riot match in July and followed with a tag match earlier this month with his son Lance against Barrington Hughes & Shane Strickland. Along with his cousin Fatu/Rikishi (Solofa Fatu, Jr.) they won tag titles together as the Headshrinkers in the WWF, in Puerto Rico for WWC, and in Texas for WCWA. He posted the following statement on his health:

I want to take a minute to address the situation with myself and that of my family.

I recently have posted I am selling shirts "Anoa’i Strong”

These shirts have been for sale for many years and in light of the current situation that has struck myself and my family, I have decided to change the shirts to various colors for cancer.

My cousins news has struck the world and we are all devastated at this time. What many of you may or may not know is I am also dealing with stage 4 liver cancer and am currently waiting for God’s grace to help me get a transplant.

I am an elder member of my family and in no way am I or my family attempting to profit from any serious sickness. Instead, I want to use our name in order to help doctors and researchers find ways to cure this evil sickness.

I do not endorse or will I ever endorse profit on the misfortune of others or myself or that of my family.

I want all of my friends, family and fans to know we will always remain “Anoa’i Strong.” and these shirts will remain for sale and we will be speaking with various cancer organizations on how we can help.

Until you can stand in the shoes we stand in you will never know the pain and the struggle we endure daily.

**Chris Jericho announced Wednesday that the Rock ‘N Rager cruise is now sold out. The cruise boards on Saturday from Miami and sails to the Bahamas and returns October 31st. There is a huge list of wrestlers and personalities that are part of the cruise, including a big tag match with Jericho & The Young Bucks vs. Kenny Omega, Cody & Marty Scurll, as well as the Sea of Honor tournament. Talent from Ring of Honor and Impact Wrestling will be on the cruise and the Bucks will have an inter-promotional match against Santana & Ortiz of LAX. Select matches will be airing on Honor Club and FITE TV on Saturday, November 3rd.

**Here are the matches on tonight’s episode of 205 Live at 7 pm Eastern on the WWE Network:
*Hideo Itami vs. Mustafa Ali in a Falls Count Anywhere match
*Mike Kanellis vs. Lince Dorado

**The focus of tonight’s NXT episode is the return of Aleister Black along with William Regal announcing the NXT title match for TakeOver next month in Los Angeles. The following matches are scheduled for the show at 8 pm:
*Mia Yim vs. Aliyah
*Adam Cole vs. EC3

**Tonight, is the final episode of the Mae Young Classic and airs at 9 pm Eastern on the WWE Network. The following semi-final matches will be on tonight’s show and the final is on Sunday’s Evolution card:
*Meiko Satomura vs. Toni Storm
*Io Shirai vs. Rhea Ripley

**There are three episodes of Lucha Underground remaining in season four. Tonight’s show at 8 pm on the El Rey Network will feature the seven-way match for the Gift of the Gods championship with Jake Strong vs. Aerostar vs. Hernandez vs. King Cuerno vs. Dante Fox vs. PJ Black vs. Big Bad Steve. Ultima Lucha begins next week and wraps the season on November 7th.

**A new episode of Total Divas airs tonight at 9 pm Eastern on E! The series is coming off its lowest viewership in its history last week.

**A SmackDown tag title match has been added to Crown Jewel with Sheamus & Cesaro defending the titles against New Day. They are advertising that Big Show will be in The Bar’s corner.

**The WWE has confirmed that Michael Cole, Beth Phoenix & Renee Young will be calling Evolution this Sunday. The kickoff panel will feature Young, Paige & Phoenix with Lilian Garcia appearing on the show to share ring announcing duties with Jojo Offerman and Kayla Braxton. The kickoff show will begin at 6 pm and the main show at 7. Below is the current card:
*Ronda Rousey vs. Nikki Bella for the Raw women’s title
*Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair in a Last Woman Standing match for the SmackDown women’s title
*Trish Stratus & Lita vs. Alexa Bliss & Mickie James
*Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler for the NXT women’s title
*The final of the Mae Young Classic
*The Riott Squad vs. Bayley, Sasha Banks & Natalya
*Women’s Battle Royal feat. Asuka, Naomi, Lana, Carmella, Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, The IIconics, Zelina Vega, Tamina, Dana Brooke, Nia Jax, Ember Moon, Alicia Fox, Maria Kanellis, Torrie Wilson, Madusa, Michelle McCool, Ivory, Kelly Kelly, and Molly Holly.

**The El Rey Network will be airing an all-day marathon next Wednesday Lucha Underground’s fourth season leading into the first part of Ultima Lucha at 8 pm Eastern.

**DDT held their annual Peter Pan event from Sumo Hall on Tuesday with a reported crowd of 6,259. In the main event, Daisuke Sasaki defeated Danshoku Dino for the KO-D Openweight championship to win the title for the second time. Dino won the title last month in a three-way over champion Meiko Satomura and Shigehiro Irie in Tokyo. The card also saw CIMA defeat Konosuke Takeshita second from the top, and Shigehiro Irie & Keisuke Ishii defeated Harashima & Yukio Sakaguchi in Irie’s farewell match.

**Joey Janela is scheduled for knee surgery on Friday to take care of the laundry list of injuries he suffered during a show with Game Changer Wrestling last month in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Janela executed a top rope crossbody to the floor onto Psicosis and immediately grabbed his left knee after landing the move. Janela has been told he will be out for at least a year following the procedure.

**Inside the Ropes has announced three speaking events with The Undertaker for 2019. The Undertaker will be doing shows on April 30th in London, England, May 1st in Glasgow, Scotland, and May 2nd in Manchester. Tickets for the three shows go on sale next Wednesday at www.insidetheropes.co.uk.

**Mike Johnson at PWinsider.com reported that Vince McMahon was not in Providence or Newark this week for the television. It was notable in the video following Roman Reigns that McMahon wasn’t present when Reigns walked backstage.

**The WWE has announced the opponents for Mustafa Ali at the upcoming EVOLVE shows he has been booked on. On Friday, November 9th in Livonia, Ali will be taking on DJZ at EVOLVE 115. The following day in Oak Lawn, Illinois, Ali will be facing Darby Allin at EVOLVE 116. They added that Kassius Ohno will be working for EVOLVE on December 15th in Queens and December 16th in Deer Park, New York. While the WWE has a working relationship with the promotion and lends out talent, their matches are only for the live audience and are not streamed on the broadcast.

**PAC and RED introduce the Dragon Gate Network and possibly the best promo you’ll hear for a streaming service.

**Next week’s edition of the Mixed Match Challenge will feature AJ Styles & Charlotte Flair vs. Rusev & Lana and Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox vs. Braun Strowman & Ember Moon.

**Matt Richards has announced he is stepping away as the ring announcer for Fight Club Pro out of the U.K. He cited mounting duties away from wrestling that has diverted him and cannot commit to his duties with the promotion.


What do you expect is the end results regarding the WWE’s handling of Crown Jewel?

The show runs as is in Riyadh – 49%
Move to another country – 28%
Cancel it altogether – 13%
Move to Survivor Series – 10%

861 votes


**The Nevada Athletic Commission ruled Wednesday that the temporary suspensions issued to Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor for their roles in the brawl at UFC 229 have been extended. Both men are required to appear in-person at their disciplinary hearing in December. The commission released half of Nurmagomedov’s $2 million purse for the fight and the remaining $1 million will be held until a decision at the disciplinary hearing.

**There is a big story developing involving the UFC and ONE Championship with the possibility of a trade between the two promotions that would see two fighters switch promotions. It was first reported on MMA Junkie Radio and since reported on by ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, that the promotions are close to finalizing a deal that would see former flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson let out of his contract and moved to ONE in exchange for Ben Askren, who has fights left on his deal with ONE.

Johnson is the greatest flyweight in the history of the division, becoming the UFC’s first champion at the weight class in September 2012 and held the title until this past August when he lost to Henry Cejudo. Johnson’s long-time coach is Matt Hume, who serves as an executive with ONE Championship and would be a relationship you would have to examine to see if it becomes a conflict of interest for a top fighter to have such close ties and be trained by one of the promotion’s executives. Askren has been the ONE welterweight champion since 2014 and is undefeated in his pro career. Askren has not fought since November 2017 where he announced his retirement but left the door open if there was a big offer to fight and prove he is the best welterweight in the world. Askren has angled for a fight with Georges St-Perre in the past.

If this deal goes through, it opens a unique development with the UFC’s willing to trade a fighter and not hold them to a contract if there is something they can obtain in the transaction. The next question would be the future of the UFC’s flyweight division with the top flyweight in history being dealt away. Henry Cejudo has expressed interest in going to bantamweight to fight T.J. Dillashaw with the division also losing Sergio Pettis, who announced he is returning to bantamweight after his recent loss to Jussier Formiga.

Regarding the ability for the UFC to transfer a fighter’s contractual rights, lawyer Erik Magkraken pointed out a clause within UFC contracts that came out in a court case years ago that lists Section 17.1:

ZUFFA shall have the absolute right to assign, license, or transfer any or all of the rights granted to it hereunder, including, but not limited to, the right to co-promote any Bout in association with any one or more persons or entities of its choosing. ZUFFA may assign any of its respective obligations hereunder without Fighter’s consent.

**The UFC has announced that a featherweight fight between Renato Moicano and Mirsad Bektic has been added to UFC 213 on December 8th in Toronto at the Scotiabank Arena. Moicano has gone 5-1 during his UFC campaign with decision victories over Zubaira Tukhugov and Jeremy Stephens before a submission loss to Brian Ortega in July 2017. Since the Ortega loss, he has defeated Calvin Kattar and Cub Swanson. Bektic is 13-1 with a 6-1 mark inside the UFC. His lone blemish was a knockout loss to Darren Elkins at UFC 209 in March 2017 and has wins over Godofredo Pepey and Ricardo Lamas this year. This is a great fight at featherweight.

**The UFC returns this Saturday with a Fight Night card from Moncton, New Brunswick in Canada. The show will feature light heavyweights Volkan Oezdemir and Anthony Smith in the main event slot. Since moving up from middleweight, Smith has scored two quick knockouts over Rashad Evans and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua this year in a combined 2 minutes and 22 seconds. This will be Oezdemir’s first fight since challenging Daniel Cormier for the light heavyweight title this past January at UFC 220. The main card will also feature Artem Lobov taking on new opponent Michael Johnson after Zubaira Tukhugov was removed from the show for his part in the post-fight brawl at UFC 229 involving his teammate Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor.

DOUBLE SHOT 10/24/18: NWA 70th Anniversary, WON Hall of Fame, Total Divas

John Pollock reviews this past Sunday’s NWA 70th Anniversary card featuring Cody vs. Nick Aldis. Wai Ting provides his weekly review of Total Divas. Pollock reveals his ballot for this year’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame.

RASD 10/23/18: Latest on WWE Crown Jewel, SD & MMC reviews, Evolution Preview
The final show before Evolution featured a segment shot at the PC with Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. Plus various pairings of World Cup participants with Jeff Hardy taking on Randy Orton and The Miz facing Rey Mysterio.

REWIND-A-RAW 10/22/18: Roman Reigns reveals battle with leukemia, relinquishes the Universal title
It was a very emotional edition of Raw with Roman Reigns relinquishing the Universal title with the news that he is battling leukemia. The show also featured a contract signing between Ronda Rousey and Nikki Bella, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose going for the Raw tag titles, the new title match at Crown Jewel, an appearance by DX and more on the “go home” show for Evolution.

John Pollock & Wai Ting review Season 2 of the Netflix crime mockumentary series, American Vandal. We discuss our thoughts on how this season compared to the first, choose our favorite cast members, and give our take on the series’ commentary on journalism and social media.

POST MOVIE REVIEW: Iron Man 2 (2010)
John Pollock and Wai Ting discuss the return of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, the controversy surrounding Don Cheadle replacing Terrence Howard as James Rhodes, the introduction of Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, the use of antagonists played by Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell, and the reasons why this movie might not be as fondly remembered as its predecessor.

upNXT MOVIE REVIEW: Halloween (1978)
Braden Herrington & Davie Portman from upNXT review John Carpenter’s 1978 horror classic, HALLOWEEN! They go through and share their views on the film, give their thoughts on the entire Halloween series itself, deliver some nerdy trivia, and look ahead to the new sequel coming out today!

upNXT & Forever Young 10/18/18: Back to Black
Braden Herrington & Davie Portman chat this week’s episode of WWE NXT featuring the War Raiders vs. Undisputed Era and the return of Aleister Black! Plus this week’s episode of the WWE Mae Young Classic and the Tegan Nox injury.

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I think Cole doing the commentary is stupid. (I actually like Cole and I feel he gets too much flack on some things.) But to have a Man take lead on saying how historic is and having his fingerprint all over the show takes something away from it being the first women’s event and they don’t need men to produce a great show. Renee Beth Lita Trish heck even Stephanie could all call different parts of the show. Maria Munoz would also be a good outside WWE to call a match. not saying she would be great but she has Hosting duty experience and knowledgeable on the product.

“Trading” arguably the greatest fighter of all time to ONE FC tells you all you need to know about the UFC since the ownership change.

Just one last slap in the face of Demetrious Johnson.

Also, the flyweight division is much better then LHW, or Woman’s featherweight/bantamweight. TJ Dillashaw and Tyron Woodley are just two notable champions who don’t do significantly better on PPV then DJ. Feels like it’s just mistake after mistake for WME-IMG. Hopefully they do good business to end the year, or who knows maybe they’ll trade away Max Holloway next.

I think this is the first time I’ve seen that Jericho’s cruise is officially a sell out. To me this guarantees that WWE does one within the next 18 months. Jericho has mentioned that he reached out to WWE trying to get a couple of guys or even a title defense on the cruise and they turned him down.

And to me it was obvious that thy would turn down Jericho so that they can do their own cruise and brand it as a WWE first with the first championship defense at sea. They are seeing dollar signs now/ :money_mouth_face:

Paul Burchill Can be the captain!
Tugboat can pull it to the the dock.

1 Like

Who’s the main title program of Smackdown? Thought so.

Trading two boring fighters isn’t a game changer, you just opt one guy people don’t know about for a guy people clearly didn’t care about.

Its a good trade DJ Cleared out the division there is no fights for him really. he would be a small bantamweight and would look more mortal against top BW. He doesn’t do any business for the UFC anyways if its the only way to get Askrin a great fighter in the Welterweight division one Division that Holds Value but not being utilized and needs a boost in the arm this would help.

He just lost his title in what’s considered the best flyweight fight of all time. I think there was interest in the trilogy fight with Cejudo. He fought the beginning of his career at bantamweight and I think he went 18-2 or something, getting to the number one contender position before losing to Cruz. In terms of business, less then 10 fighters are needle movers in the ufc today. Why do people single out DJ? It was a fair criticism a few years ago, but I don’t think it applies anymore now that 200k buys is about average.

As far as Askren goes, he’s teammates with Woodley and has stated before that he wouldn’t fight him, so where do we go with Ben Askren, who isn’t well known outside of the most hardcore fans?

I just don’t see the upside of getting rid of one of the most talented fighters in the history of the sport, for someone who won’t move the financial needle, or challenge for the title.

1 Like

You Bring up valid Points. And I do agree but…

Don’t get me wrong I am a huge DJ fan! Hell if he fought another 20 fights in UFC that would be great… A trilogy fight would be great but what do you do with DJ after that not much other then a BW run. I am not sure but the trade doesn’t seem permanent anywyas it seems like its a one or two fight deal. I am guessing UFC wants Askrin but ONE will only give him up if they get DJ. He will boost a welterweight division and Tyron wont be champ that much longer even DJ ran ended. It Seems like UFC wants more Asian fans ONE is pretty big over there defiantly move the needle in that market towards UFC if they get him. Besides this is greater then the deal itself its setting up a new system a trading system which opens up all kinds of possibilities. Why I think this is a good trade if it does happens it helps both brands out pretty good and its not UFC or WWE buying up the competition and adding a whole roster or cutting tons of guys. UFC is loosing one brick out a pile of bricks with potential coming back and ONE FC gets a pretty good brick.

1 Like
  • My issue with the trading is it’s a platform to get rid of fighters who speak out against the UFC (like DJ did) while avoiding the complications of just releasing them. I feel like this could be the beginning of a slippery slope in that regard.

  • as far as the trade not being permanent, a contract isn’t a life sentence. Both men will be free to do what they want when their contracts expire so you’re correct in that regard.

  • not sure about the conversion of ONE FC fans to UFC fans. I feel like most fans of ONE are likely already fans of the UFC. I think the asian MMA market that might be a bit more unfamiliar with the UFC are probably those who watch RIZIN, but I have no evidence to back that up.

  • I gotta ask, why do you think Woodley will lose the title soon? Man looked damn good in his last fight and 50-45’d Maia with one arm in his fight beforehand (as dull as it was).

Valid Points and did bring up a good point about trading away fighters that don’t tow company line thus making it even that much harder for there to ever be a fighters union. I Think he will lose it soon Other then DJ UFC belts are hot potatoes he already has had the title 2 years I don’t see him holding it another two. be other fighters coming up not to mention always injury even drug test or inactivity not sure if Tyrone still on the superlight trip but he could sit out long enough UFC just strips him. Not to mention there is an Interim title and always will be with UFC Askrin will need 2 fights mostly likely before he gets a title fight and that probably be interim title. Nothing against Woodley its just other then maybe 5 fighters UFC never Had a long run Rhonda and Joanna really wasn’t a long run. Funny with MMA everyone sees the current champ and he is the greatest MMA fighter never can be beaten all but a few are in 3 years time. 5 years plus is when you really start to be a dominant champ imo.4 oz gloves level the playing field and less skill can always overcome by a nice timed shot. They Don’t really need a title contender What UFC needs is Main Event Headlining Fighters for ESPN or Fight Pass Askrin Does that can dangle the undefeated storyline more people will watch then a DJ fight. I really Don’t know much about RIZEN But my Impression its big in Russia And Japan Asia. ONE FC is big in Indio Asia Philippines Taiwan China potentially that’s the markets UFC wants to make a dent in. UFC already has a nice Japan and Russian following. My Impression maybe wrong but in those Indio Asian markets Millions watch a ONE FC card. Which isn’t transferring over to UFC other then Hardcores. I am Optimistic about this Trade it is one of those time will tell if it happens and if it does it needs to be revaluated in a year or two time right now I don’t think it’s a bad deal and has potential to be a good one. But you do bring up some good cautious warnings.

  • Well perhaps we can’t speak much to the Asian MMA market without looking up statistics. But Eddie Alveraz and Demetrious Johnson are undoubtably big pickups for ONE.
  • I just don’t see Covington, Usman or Ponzinibbio being huge challenges for Woodley. I think he’ll hold that belt a while longer.
  • not sure if an interim title will come into play if Woodley stays healthy. Admittedly a big if, considering the amount of injuries in the post-USADA world of the UFC but I don’t think Ben or the UFC is banking on an interim championship lol.