POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: SmackDown sellout in Chicago, U.S. cable homes decline

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2022/12/16/pollocks-news-update-smackdown-sellout-in-chicago-u-s-cable-homes-decline/


**A reminder that the deadline to submit your POST Wrestling Christmas Jingle is next Wednesday for our annual Christmas Show that comes out next week. You can submit your jingle on the POST Wrestling Forum thread or send it to john@postwrestling.com. We will play all the jingles on the Christmas Show, which comes out next Friday.

**Rewind-A-SmackDown is live at 11 p.m. ET tonight for POST Wrestling Café members. Wai Ting & I will be reviewing SmackDown & Rampage and taking calls from patrons throughout the show. We will also chat about the Wrestle Kingdom 17 card and new cheering guidelines, the latest on Sasha Banks, Dynamite’s ratings & more.

**On Saturday, WH Park will be joined by Damian Abraham on The Long & Winding Royal Road to discuss Atsushi Onita vs. Hector Guerrero and get into a big discussion on the legacy and career of Onita.

**David Meyers & Bruce Lord will be releasing the December edition of POSTmarks on Saturday (available for free on the POST Wrestling Café feed) and chatting with Scrump from the PWT Cast.

**One of the funniest shows of the year:


Tonight: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John Pollock & Wai Ting (11 p.m. ET on Patreon)
Saturday: The Long & Winding Royal Road with WH Park & Damian Abraham (Atsushi Onita vs. Hector Guerrero)
Saturday: POSTmarks with David Meyers & Bruce Lord with guest Scrump
Sunday: Wrestlenomics Radio with Brandon Thurston, Chris Gullo & Jesse Collings


**WWE has a double taping of Friday Night SmackDown tonight at the Allstate Arena in Chicago. Tonight’s show includes the return of Roman Reigns, who has not appeared since Survivor Series last month. Below are the matches announced for tonight’s show at 8 p.m. ET on Fox:
*Intercontinental Championship: Gunther (champion) vs. Ricochet
*Women’s Tag Team Championship: IYO SKY & Dakota Kai (champions) vs. Liv Morgan & Tegan Nox
*Viking Raiders vs. Hit Row vs. Cruz del Toro & Joaquin Wilde

**WrestleTix reports that SmackDown is sold out tonight with 12,369 tickets distributed for the double taping.

**AEW Rampage is a taped show from Garland this week and continues the attempt to boost the show’s profile. For the second week in a row, Jon Moxley is wrestling on the show and they have added a sit-down interview involving Jim Ross and Preston Vance. Last week’s number was encouraging after the show hit its all-time low in the demo two weeks ago. Last week’s number wasn’t strong but a realistic goal over the next two months would be hitting 200,000 viewers in the demo on a routine basis. Over the past ten weeks, the show has averaged 162,000 in the 18-49 demo as a comparison.

Below are the matches and segments for tonight’s show at 10 p.m. ET on TNT:
*Orange Cassidy, Best Friends & Dustin Rhodes vs. The Butcher, The Blade, Kip Sabian & Trent Seven
*Dr. Britt Baker vs. Skye Blue
*Jon Moxley vs. Sammy Guevara
*Wardlow in action
*FTR to appear
*Jim Ross interviews Preston Vance

**The WWE stock closed at $73.76 on Friday. The stock was trading over $76 as of Tuesday morning prior to the latest Wall Street Journal report that included the news that McMahon was telling others he wanted to return to the company and felt he received bad advice by stepping down over the summer.

**Over the past year, homes with cable in the United States have dropped 4.7% with the current number at 78,970,000. Of those homes, USA Network is in 74.363, TBS is in 73.739, and TNT is in 73.595 of the major cable networks carrying professional wrestling programming. Homes with access to network television increased 1% over the past year with 123.8 million homes having access to Fox and therefore, giving Friday Night SmackDown a giant advantage over its cable contemporaries. It is also worth noting that Neilsen has incorporated out-of-home viewing into its tabulations and has been cited as a boost for NFL viewership this season. (Data from @SportsTVRatings, Wrestling Observer Newsletter)

**After the two live events this weekend and Raw on Monday, the WWE crew has a full week off for the holidays. They resume touring on 12/26 with the post-Christmas tour seeing stops in New York (9,770 tickets out, per WrestleTix), Columbus (4,960 tickets out), Atlanta (5,858 tickets out), Cleveland, Greensboro (4,593), Hershey (4,163), Toronto (6,555) and Miami (3,460) that week.

**NXT has live events in Fort Pierce tonight and Tampa on Saturday, which are its final shows of the year. The brand held a double taping on Wednesday for the episodes that will air on 12/20 and 12/27.

**AEW’s third annual Winter is Coming event was a success finishing third on cable that night behind the NBA. The strongest performance was among adults 18-34 where the show posted its highest mark since Grand Slam in September. Specifically, Dynamite edged Raw in male viewers 18-34 and topped Raw among males 12-34. Raw had the edge in males 18-49 and 35-49 but both categories were competitive.

**Ric Flair spoke about his relationship with Jim Ross on his podcast this week. Flair said that Ross lost all credibility with him after appearing on Dark Side of the Ring on the Plane Ride from Hell episode. Flair was critical of Ross., stating he is trying to stay relevant and how that episode affected his family. The episode focused on the allegations by Heidi Doyle, who was one of the flight attendants on the May 2002 flight where she alleged that Flair took off his clothes and forced Doyle to touch his penis, which Flair has denied stating he has never forced himself on anyone. A suit was filed with a settlement eventually reached involving the parties and was covered on this week’s 9 Lives of Vince McMahon documentary that aired on Vice TV. Flair has his own documentary coming out in a few weeks that will be streaming on Peacock.

**The New York Times has two professional wrestling stories this week. The first is a profile on Satnam Singh and his transition from the NBA to professional wrestling. The second looks at WOW (Women of Wrestling), which is consistently doing the highest non-WWE, non-AEW viewership of any wrestling program in the U.S. with a higher skewing female audience. Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics was interviewed for the piece on WOW. It is a unique case with WOW as they have a tremendous syndication package with clearance across the country and yet it doesn’t generate any significant attention.

**The Athletic has named Pat McAfee its Sports Media Person of the Year. In the story by Richard Deitsch, he spoke with Michael Cole about working with McAfee on SmackDown:

Pat helped reinvigorate my love for our business. I have been sitting in that chair at ringside for 25 years calling live sports entertainment every single week. I have missed two television shows over that period. As one can imagine, that amount of repetition can become tedious after time. Pat changed all that, and each week became a new adventure and a new chapter in my career. Pat also gave me the confidence to open up and have fun out there. One of my career highlights was calling Pat’s match at WrestleMania. He deserves all his success.

**GCW presents Amerikaz Most Wanted from the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Los Angeles tonight and streaming on Fite+ at 11 p.m. ET. The card has Nick Gage vs. Tony Deppen for the GCW Championship, Los Macizos vs. RockNES Monsters for the tag titles, Joey Janela vs. Pagano for the Extreme title, Dark Sheik vs. Masha Slamovich, Matt Cardona vs. Starboy Charlie, Charles Mason vs. Effy, Hunter Freeman vs. Sawyer Wreck, Jack Cartwheel vs. Cole Radrick vs. Titus Alexander vs. Nick Wayne vs. Jordan Oliver vs. Alec Price, and a Trios match with Komander & ASF & Arez vs. Gringo Loco & Los Vipers (Latigo & Toxin).

Hijo del Vikingo takes on Blake Christian but per the stipulations by AAA, Vikingo’s matches cannot be streamed and therefore, only those in attendance will get to see that match. It’s a tricky predicament for promoters to book Vikingo but not be able to maximize his value by offering his matches beyond those buying tickets. Given his recent visa approval, there will be an initial buzz to book him but it’s unknown if that will be sustained given the restrictions. It was noted by thecubsfan that Vikingo’s match(es) at Battle of Los Angeles will be included on the DVD and it’s an edict by AAA specifically regarding live streaming.

**AAA has a card at Domo Madero in Tamaulipas on Saturday night headlined by Rush, Cibernetico & Dralistico against Komander, Pagano & Taurus along with Sammy Guevara & Tay Melo taking on Abismo Negro Jr. & Flammer, and a AAA Trios title match with Cuatrero, Forastero & Sanson defending against Willie Mack, Aramis & Octagon Jr. in the main matches.

**CMLL’s Gran Alternativa tournament begins tonight at Arena Mexico with an established star teaming with a rookie in a tag tournament over the course of two weeks. The announced teams are Atlantis & Arkalis, Volador Jr. & Panterita del Ring Jr., Titan & El Suicida, Soberano Jr. & Halcon Suriano Jr., El Valiente & Valiente Jr., Blue Panther & Cachorro, Stuka Jr. & Neon, and Gran Guerrero & Raider.

**AAA has posted the Hijo del Vikingo vs. Laredo Kid match from 10/23, which was just given five stars in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. It was the match where Laredo Kid was injured and discovered he had a ruptured intestine after being taken to the hospital and has not wrestled since.

**The Undertaker’s next 1deadMAN Show will take place in Montreal on 2/16 prior to SmackDown and Elimination Chamber over the following days in the city. The event will take place at L’Olympia and tickets going on sale next Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET. Friday Night SmackDown on 2/17 and Elimination Chamber on 2/18 will both take place at the Bell Centre.

**For anyone seeking out the Action Andretti match with QT Marshall from AEW Dark, it begins at the 38-minute mark of the 10/11 episode.


**UFC president Dana White spoke with Brett Okamoto of ESPN for a year-end discussion and one line got a lot of attention. White was explaining the mentality behind taking the steps to run a card in Africa and noted that he isn’t thinking about retiring but “can see the light at the end of the tunnel” noting that he’s been doing this since he was 30 and is now 53 and time goes by so quickly and that if he doesn’t make a move to go run in Africa that another ten years will be up. It is difficult to read too much into that line other than it’s on his mind and he volunteered the information. After the sale in 2016, White was in a different financial sphere that would never require him to need work but has been the face of the brand since Zuffa purchased the company in 2001 and was considered integral when the transition occurred. White has won the race with his brand of MMA so far ahead of the pack with an incredible deal through ESPN with their next round of U.S. media rights probably taking them much higher. The next major initiative for White is getting Power Slap off the ground and has already achieved what Tony Khan could not with ROH by getting a television deal on TBS.   

**Deron Winn was scheduled to fight Julian Marquez on Saturday’s UFC card in Las Vegas but was removed after fainting at the Performance Institute. Winn announced that his fight was off the card after fainting at the PI and suffering a mild concussion after hitting his head and neck when he fell. After being taken to the hospital, he said his tests came back normal. The UFC opted not to find a last-minute opponent for Marquez.

**The UFC holds its final event of the year at the Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday night and is headlined by a middleweight fight between Jared Cannonier and Sean Strickland. Cannonier, 38, is coming off a loss to 185-pound champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 276 this past July. Strickland, 31, fought on the same card in July where he was knocked out by Alex Pereira and ended a six-fight winning streak for the contender.

MAIN CARD (7 p.m. ET on ESPN+)
*Jared Cannonier (15-6) vs. Sean Strickland (25-4)
*Damir Ismagulov (24-1) vs. Arman Tsarukyan (18-3)
*Amir Albazi (15-1) vs. Alessandro Costa (11-2)
*Julian Erosa (28-9) vs. Alex Caceres (19-13)
*Drew Dober (25-11) vs. Bobby Green (29-13-1)
*Michal Oleksiejczuk (17-5) vs. Cody Brundage (8-2)


*Cory McKenna (7-2) vs. Cheyanne Vlismas (7-2)
*Matt Semelsberger (4-2) vs. Jake Matthews (17-5)
*Saidyokub Kakhramonov (10-2) vs. Said Nurmagomedov (16-2)
*Rafa Garcia (14-3) vs. Hayisaer Maheshate (6-1)
*Rinat Fakhretdinov (21-2) vs. Bryan Battle (8-1)
*David Dvorak (20-4) vs. Manel Kape (17-6)
*Sergey Morozov (18-5) vs. Journey Newson (10-3)

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