POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: Tony Khan - "I expect big increases in the rights for the AEW programs"

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2023/02/08/pollocks-news-update-tony-khan-i-expect-big-increases-in-the-rights-for-the-aew-programs/

POST IT NOTES

**Rewind-A-Wai #125 has been released and features a review of two episodes of Monday Night Raw from Feb. 15 & Feb. 22, 1993. These shows are highlighted by the return of Hulk Hogan to WWF programming and setting up the tag match with Brutus Beefcake against Money Inc. at WrestleMania 9 along with Beefcake’s return to the ring after the parasailing incident in 1990. We go through both episodes and discuss a bizarre in-studio interview that Vince McMahon conducts with Hogan, who addresses the steroid scandal and how the media has been covering Hogan. Plus, we look back at the news headlines from these weeks, the state of the WWF in 1993, early impressions of Raw after one month on the air, the hidden talents of Brian Knobbs, and much more. This show is available for all POST Wrestling Café members.

**The video version of Rewind-A-Wai #125 is available for YouTube members.

**Rewind-A-Dynamite will be streaming live at 10 p.m. ET on the POST YouTube channel. Wai Ting and I will discuss the latest updates regarding Jerry Lawler, SummerSlam being announced for Detroit, the Bellator on CBS numbers, MLW’s debut on REELZ, and a review of Dynamite from El Paso, Texas.

**John Siino joined Braden Herrington for this week’s edition of upNXT covering the episode after Vengeance Day that saw Jacy Jayne attack Gigi Dolin in the closing segment, the show-long celebration for Kiana James & Fallon Henley, and Thea Hail is abducted.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John Pollock & Wai Ting (10 p.m. ET)
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (Patreon)
Saturday: POSTmarks with guest Martin Bushby
Sunday: UFC 284 POST Show with John Pollock & Eric Marcotte (1 p.m. ET)
Sunday: Wrestlenomics Radio

WRESTLING NEWS

**AEW president Tony Khan was interviewed by Uproxx and spoke about various business dealings within the company. Following last week’s Bloomberg Business story on Khan, the subject of a pending streaming service was revived and Khan was asked about the potential of the company launching one:

We’ve done 174 episodes of Dynamite, 80 episodes of AEW Rampage, our 17th pay-per-view event will be March 5 in Revolution, so we’ve done hundreds and hundreds of hours of AEW content in our library. I also purchased Ring of Honor last year, which is a great promotion with over 20 years of history, thousands of hours of video in their library. So overall, AEW has access to so many great wrestling events, including some events that are widely considered to be some of the best wrestling events of all time. There’s a lot of interest in this library as well as the new weekly content we continue to produce each week, and I do think there’s a lot of demand for the library and it makes a lot of sense for us to try to make that AEW library available to fans all over the world on demand.

Khan commented on the pending U.S. domestic rights deal that is coming due with Warner Bros. Discovery and his optimism for the company securing a greater deal:

I expect big increases in the rights for the AEW programs and we’re on a good pace to make a very lucrative deal for the AEW media rights going forward.

When Khan spoke with POST Wrestling last June, he noted he would be the one leading the negotiations on behalf of AEW as opposed to an outside agency or third party. The current deal has an average annual value of approximately $45 million making AEW very under-compensated for its performance, especially on Wednesday nights when it contends with the NBA.  That said, there are so many factors at play from the financial hardships WBD is experiencing and whether that makes AEW a tougher sell or more viable given its relative cost compared to other major sports leagues, and how WWE’s negotiations shape the marketplace and demand for additional professional wrestling at a greater value than AEW presently holds.

**AEW Dynamite is in El Paso, Texas tonight from the County Coliseum with WrestleTix reporting nearly 3,900 tickets distributed. While below the number of recent Dynamite events, the crowds have been incredibly heated for Texas shows and the company is back in the state next week in Laredo. We pretty much have the entire lineup for tonight’s show at 8 p.m. ET on TBS and TSN 2:
*AEW Trios Championship: Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks © vs. AR Fox & Top Flight
*AEW Tag Team Championships: The Acclaimed © vs. The Gunns
*Title Eliminator: MJF vs. Konosuke Takeshita
*Title Eliminator: Jamie Hayter vs. The Bunny
*Bryan Danielson vs. Rush
*The Garcia-Guevara Gauntlet with Ricky Starks

**A match between Mustafa Ali and Bronson Reed has been added to next Monday’s edition of Raw at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

**The REELZ documentary on Chyna (Joanie Laurer) that premiered this past Sunday averaged 91,000 viewers and 0.02 in the 18-49 demographic. Immediately following the Chyna doc, was a new episode of ‘Autopsy’ covering the death of Owen Hart that averaged 90,000 viewers and 0.02.  

**The WWE stock closed at $89.15 on Wednesday.

**IMPACT Wrestling has announced the following lineup for Thursday’s episode airing on AXS TV at 8 p.m. ET:
*Mickie James & Tommy Dreamer vs. John Skyler & Jason Hotch
*Digital Media Championship: Joe Hendry © vs. Matt Cardona
*Jordynne Grace vs. Steph De Lander (the former Persia Pirotta in NXT)
*The Death Dollz vs. Killer Kelly & Taylor Wilde
*#1 Contenders Qualifier: Brian Myers vs. Dirty Dango
**#1 Contenders Qualifier: PCO vs. Shera
*Before the Impact: Speedball Mike Bailey vs. Raj Singh

**Anthony Carelli a.k.a. Santino Marella spoke with PWMania.com on signing with IMPACT Wrestling and his openness regarding competing in the ring when a story calls for it:

I can wrestle from time to time. I can’t endure a full-time schedule as my body won’t allow it nowadays. From time to time I will lace it up in there and show these kids how it’s done.

Carelli also shared his opinions of performers he would like to see at IMPACT:

I’d love to see JTG in IMPACT, I think he has a lot of fantastic years ahead of him. PJ Black (Justin Gabriel) he is another one I would love to see join us as what he can do is incredible. Tim Thatcher has everything, I think he would be great here. (JR) Kratos in NWA, I’d love to see him and work with him. There’s a lot of people out there I’d love to see come in.

**Vickie Guerrero spoke with KFOX 14 in El Paso about being back in the city for tonight’s edition of Dynamite.

**KUSHIDA is scheduled for House of Glory on 3/10 at the NYC Arena in Jamaica, Queens, although his opponent has not been announced yet. The card will include Jacob Fatu, The Mane Event, Charles Mason, Ultra Violette, and Mighty Mane.

**Paul Wight turns 51 years old today.

MMA NEWS

**Bellator’s debut on CBS finished with 1,068,000 viewers and 0.18 in the 18-49 demographic on Saturday night and 0.11 among adults 18-34. The numbers are slightly higher than the overnight figures, which only counted the 9-11 p.m. ET portion. (Source: Showbuzz Daily)

Among the big four networks on Saturday night, Bellator finished behind Saturday Night Live, the NBA on NBC, a replay of SNL prior to the live episode, Dateline Mystery, Fox college basketball, and was tied with Night Court and Lopez vs. Lopez in prime-time programming. Bellator did top the lead-in programming from CBS that night, which jumped from 0.13 for the lead-in to 0.18 for Bellator in the key demo.

Bellator did finish last among total viewers among the big four networks and it was a far cry from the numbers Elite XC and Strikeforce posted on CBS, but that’s an unfair comparison when you’re going back to 2008-10 and those numbers were never going to be achievable for Bellator.

They also aired against ESPN’s college basketball coverage, and the NBA on ESPN 2 on Saturday night.

I would categorize the numbers as being at the level I expected, which are disappointing but not to the degree that I’d rule out CBS giving them another card, although it’s possible they land in an afternoon slot instead of prime time.

As mentioned, UFC prelims have aired on ABC multiple times and averaged fewer viewers than Bellator but are also simulcast on ESPN and ESPN+. For Bellator, the card also streamed on Paramount Plus and we don’t know what the streaming figures were.

There is also a lesson to be learned for spokespeople with a company when it comes to projecting numbers. You should always be realistic rather than throwing out inflated expectations as it puts you in a corner and paints whatever number you draw as a disappointment. Scott Coker was on The MMA Hour last week and said he would be happy if they could attract three million viewers, which was never feasible, nor should it have been a standard being set for the show’s success. It is why many figures don’t throw out numbers before they arrive because it sets the expectation unreasonably high. Bellator’s popularity has declined since leaving Spike TV years ago to the re-branded Paramount Network and now airing on Showtime (which is a network going through its own identity crisis now. It would be for Bellator’s best outlook to get back on CBS and expose its rising stars with A.J. McKee being the biggest one they have along with some great fighters that just need more exposure beyond the numbers Showtime commands.

**The next Bellator card is 3/10 in San Jose, California with the main card airing on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET. The top fights will include two opening-round fights in the Lightweight World Grand Prix including champion Usman Nurmagomedov defending against Benson Henderson (in the Grand Prix, the title is defended throughout the tournament), along with Tofiq Musayev taking on Alexander Shabily in the other Lightweight World Grand Prix bout. In a heavyweight fight, Valentin Modavsky will face Linton Vassell, and they have just added a welterweight bout between Michael “Venom” Page against Goiti Yamauchi as the fourth and final main card fight.

**UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev spoke with Mike Bohn about the promotion of Saturday’s fight with Alexander Volkanovski, defending the lightweight title for the first time, the upcoming fight between Charles Oliveira and Beneil Darius, and the potential of Conor McGregor receiving a title fight if he beats Michael Chandler.

**The UFC 284 broadcast team will consist of Jon Anik calling the action alongside Michael Bisping and Dominik Cruz in Perth, Australia.

**Reporter John Nash breaks down some significant changes to recent UFC contracts after consulting with various managers and seeing excerpts and full contracts from various individuals.

**Episode 2 and Episode 3 of UFC Embedded going into UFC 284.

ON THIS DATE   

A very memorable speech on WWE Raw in 2016 when Bryan Danielson stated he was retiring and would work for two years to seek clearance before returning at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans.

*****
upNXT: Toxic Attraction Break Up
Braden Herrington and John Siino review WWE NXT featuring Vengeance Day fallout and Toxic Attraction on Bayley’s “Ding Dong, Hello!”
*****
REWIND-A-WAI #125: Monday Night Raw (Feb. 15 & 22, 1993)
John Pollock & Wai Ting travel back to February 1993 to look back at two editions of WWF Monday Night Raw highlighted by Hulk Hogan’s return ahead of WrestleMania IX.
*****
REWIND-A-RAW
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE Raw from Orlando with a steel cage match between Becky Lynch and Bayley.
*****
WRESTLENOMICS: WWE could be sold in 3 months…or not
Brandon Thurston, Chris Gullo, and Jesse Collings talk about Nick Khan’s assurance that Vince McMahon will accept a deal that keeps him out of WWE.
*****
upNXT
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman talk all about WWE NXT Vengeance Day 2023 from the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
*****
New Beginning in Sapporo POST Show
John Pollock & Karen Peterson go over the highlights of New Japan’s back-to-back nights in Sapporo with Tetsuya Naito vs. Shota Umino, and Hiromu Takahashi vs. YOH in the two main events.
*****

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