POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: WWE & AEW head-to-head breakdown

Originally published at POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: WWE & AEW head-to-head breakdown


**The latest edition of Rewind-A-Raw is on the site and available to download as Wai Ting and I review WWE Raw from Sacramento. On the show, we had a lengthy discussion about the outcome of Friday’s head-to-head battle between Friday Night SmackDown and AEW Rampage and what the figures meant in the short and long-term picture. Plus, a discussion about the end of the A Block, AAA’s announcements for TripleMania Regia, and lots more.

**Braden Herrington and Davie Portman are back with another edition of upNXT tonight. The show will be available for download late tonight and you can watch it live at Twitch.tv/upNXTpodcast at 10:15 p.m. ET.

**Wai Ting and I are back on Wednesday with another G1 Climax show covering the final night of the B Block from Budokan Hall and previewing the finals. Wednesday’s podcast will be available for all members of the POST Wrestling Café. On Thursday night, we will have a free show with a review of the G1 Finals and WWE Crown Jewel.


Tonight: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Wednesday: G1 Climax – Day 18 B Block Final (Patreon)
Wednesday: Shot in the Dark with John Siino (upNXT feed)
Thursday: G1 Climax Finals/WWE Crown Jewel POST Show
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (LIVE at 11:15 p.m. ET for all Patrons)
Sunday: Bound for Glory POST Show with Davie Portman & John Siino
Sunday: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John & Wai


**Brandon Thurston at Wrestlenomics posted a chart breaking down all the major demographics during the 10-10:30 p.m. ET head-to-head between SmackDown and AEW Rampage. SmackDown aired commercial-free during that block with Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks and the contract signing for Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar. AEW Rampage opened with a commercial-free match between CM Punk and Matt Sydal followed by Ruby Soho vs. The Bunny (with six minutes of commercial time during the second quarter of the show).

In overall viewership, it was the one area WWE controlled with 878,000 viewers while Rampage averaged 602,000. However, Rampage topped SmackDown in 18-49 (328,000 to 285,000), 18-34 (122,000 to 89,000), 35-49 (206,000 to 196,000), Males 18-49 (225,000 to 184,000), Females 18-49 by a narrow margin (104,000 to 102,000), Males 18-34 (69,000 to 54,000), Females 18-34 (53,000 to 36,0000), Males 35-49 (156,000 to 130,000), while SmackDown won in Females 35-49 (66,000 to 52,000), and Non-18-49, which is mainly 50+ (593,000 to 274,000).

There is no other way to categorize this move by WWE than one that severely backfired and AEW walking out of Friday night with proof of what can happen running head-to-head with the WWE’s top program. There are the caveats of SmackDown airing on a different station this week but that also comes with the disclaimer that they loaded up the show and went commercial-free for 30 minutes for the sole purpose of harming the other program. While AEW added the Buy-In, which doesn’t show any evidence of affecting Friday’s numbers positively or negatively, AEW kept the line-up intact for Rampage that it intended to air without any competition.

The story is not about the micro but the macro of what it means. AEW is aggressively trying to establish the story that WWE has a competitor for the first time in 20 years (realistically, WCW stopped being a competitor by mid-1999, so it would be 22 years) and are proving themselves as significant adversaries in talent recruitment and development, live event ticket sales, and television figures. The game for AEW is not to kill WWE’s television revenue, it’s to bring AEW up to the same level and was the very reason AEW was launched in the first place once Tony Khan saw the numbers WWE stood to gain during their 2018 negotiations. TNT are looking like geniuses for signing this product and even with the renewal in January 2020, it’s a steal to be spending approximately $44 million per year for programming that is competitive with the industry leader that is being paid $265 and $205 million per year respectively for Raw and SmackDown.

The best scenario for the industry is that WWE maintains its placement over their next set of negotiations and grows on the television revenue they currently receive while AEW receives a large increase and you have both companies thriving as hot television products. The negative outcome would be if the television industry sees WWE as a declining property that USA and Fox overpaid for. I don’t sense that outcome but it’s impossible to predict. The pattern of television rights fees is that of growth and WWE ranks strongly each Monday and Friday that if their placement remains in that range, they will have suitors and likely many with the addition of streaming options looking for franchise programming with established audience retention.

The next subject is what happens on October 29th? On that night, SmackDown airs on FS1 due to the World Series on Fox with FS 1 currently listing a one-hour version of “Talking Smack” from 10-11 p.m. ET against Rampage. The outcome of Friday would suggest it’s in SmackDown’s best interest to avoid another public defeat and simply focus on presenting a strong episode in the regular timeslot. Regardless of their move, it’s a statement whether they opt to extend SmackDown again, or if they don’t, either way, it says something.

One topic I have not seen raised is how AEW reacts to October 29th? Does AEW become the aggressor and decide to run from 9-11 that night? It’s a different dynamic because Rampage is not scheduled to be live that night and Tony Khan has really pushed his doctrine of “Watch Your Wrestling” with the idea that when challenged, he will respond but isn’t looking to be the one that fires first. Khan really put himself out there with the initial tweet last week about looking forward to beating the WWE’s top show and received a lot of flack for it, but in the end, he didn’t come off badly but I don’t know too many people that could have predicted Friday’s head-to-head outcome.

Regardless, AEW has to be aware of the possibility of SmackDown pulling something out for October 29th and potentially waiting until we are much closer rather than providing extra lead-time for AEW to respond. But again, all of this gamesmanship and singular focus on one night here or there misses the bigger picture that AEW is already winning as it’s reinforcing the perception that the new hot product is AEW and they are gaining significant traction on WWE on television and other areas.

In the end, October 15th was a great lesson and we will see who learns from the outcome, who denies reality, and who can apply those lessons for the future.


**David Bixenspan has done some exhaustive legwork covering the U.S. government’s case against Pat Patterson in the ‘60s through the Justice Department’s Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The now-defunct unit of the Justice Department is believed to have made several attempts to prove that Patterson was a homosexual and deport him back to Canada, where he left home at the age of 18 to pursue a career in pro wrestling and ventured to Boston.

Bixenspan learned of this case through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and obtained documents on the case the government attempted to build against Patterson that originated in 1962 when Patterson was working for promoter Don Owen in Portland. Attempts by the INS included a claim that he provided a fraudulent itinerary when wrestling in San Francisco for Roy Shire in 1966 that led to the INS initiating deportation proceedings and later, filing a notice to Patterson that he was to return to Canada by a specific date in January 1967, although it is unknown if Patterson ever did return, if he did, it was very quick and he would have returned within a week.

It’s a heavily researched story that is astounding given Patterson never spoke of this during his life. Even close friend Gerald Brisco, who was interviewed, claimed not to know of the case but acknowledged that Patterson would periodically state he was “being watched”.

Patterson died last December at the age of 79 due to liver failure and did not publicly announce his homosexuality until the final episode of “Legend’s House” even though it was hardly a secret in the wrestling industry.

**Bianca Belair spoke with The National News about Crown Jewel and was asked about the wardrobe alterations that will be required for the women this Thursday on the card:

I already wear long pants as it is, though we’ll definitely be having long sleeves and just making sure that we’re within the bounds of everything, but I’m definitely going to still show up and look like the EST that I am. We’ll definitely customise our gear, but I’m excited for it. It’s not something that’s an inconvenience, plus I get a new look.

**Below is the lineup for tonight’s edition of NXT 2.0 from the WWE Performance Center airing at 8 p.m. ET on the USA Network:
*Tommaso Ciampa & Bron Breakker vs. Grizzled Young Veterans
*Andre Chase vs. Odyssey Jones
*Triple Threat: Io Shirai or Zoey Stark vs. Indi Hartwell or Persia Pirotta vs. Gigi Dolin or Jacey Jayne
*LA Knight vs. Grayson Waller – The winner will host Halloween Havoc next week
*Tony D’Angelo in action

**Here are the matches scheduled to air on AEW Dark tonight at 7 p.m. ET on the AEW YouTube channel:
*Daniel Garcia, 2point0 & Serpentico vs. Stu Grayson, Colt Cabana, Alan “5’ Angels & Preston “10” Vance
*Nyla Rose, Emi Sakura & Diamante vs. Thunder Rosa, Red Velvet & Kris Statlander
*Frankie Kazarian vs. Aaron Solo
*Lance Archer vs. O.T. Fernandez
*The Gunn Club vs. Diamond Sheik, Dean Alexander & Alex Chamberlain
*Jamie Hayter vs. Tiffany Nieves

**The B Block of the G1 Climax wraps up Wednesday morning with a card at Budokan Hall streaming at 4:30 a.m. ET. Unlike the A Block, this outcome is very simple and comes down to the outcome of Kazuchika Okada vs. Jeff Cobb. If Cobb wins or they go to a time limit, he advances and if Okada wins, he meets Kota Ibushi in the final. Cobb has run the table throughout the G1 with an 8-0 record while Okada lost his last match to Tama Tonga and enters 7-1 but will advance with a win. Throughout the tournament, Okada has teased going the distance several times with the most effective and dramatic being his win over SANADA with 45 seconds remaining. Odds are, they will tease the time limit for maximum drama and should make for an incredible closing stretch before the finish. The rest of the matches on Wednesday are just to sort out the rest of the standings and have no bearing on the winner of the block. Below is the lineup and point totals going into the final day:
*Jeff Cobb (16) vs. Kazuchika Okada (14)
*EVIL (12) vs. SANADA (8)
*Hiroshi Tanahashi (8) vs. Taichi (4)
*Hirooki Goto (4) vs. Tama Tonga (6)
*Chase Owens (4) vs. YOSHI-HASHI (4)
*Non-tournament: Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI vs. Ryohei Oiwa & Kosei Fujita

**NXT North American Champion Carmelo Hayes spoke with SI.com about his rise in the promotion and shared the following story of speaking with Shawn Michaels after wrestling KUSHIDA on the program:

We have PC Live matches, which are live events in front of the coaches. I performed in front of Shawn once or twice, and then he saw me wrestle Kushida on TV.

After the match, we spoke. I told him I didn’t want to be on 205 Live—I wanted to be a top guy. So I shot my shot and asked him to help me. And then I put the pressure on myself to be that top guy.

**Dark Side of the Ring has released a trailer for this Thursday’s penultimate episode of the season covering Rob Black’s XPW promotion. The show airs Thursday night at 9 p.m. ET on Vice TV and the season wraps up next week with a special episode on the WWF steroid trial that includes an interview with Jerry McDevitt, who represented Vince McMahon and the WWF along with Laura Brevetti in the 1994 trial.

**The next set of tapings for AEW Dark will be this Sunday at Universal Studios with two sessions. The first taping will be from 1-4 p.m. local time and another from 5:30-8:30 p.m. In the promotional material, AEW is advertising Bryan Danielson, Adam Cole, FTR, Wardlow, Jade Cargill, and Tay Conti. The tapings will also feature the debut of Too Fast Too Fuego with Fuego del Sol teaming with Cody Rhodes under a mask.

**wXw is touring in Eastern Germany this week with shows on Thursday in Limbach-Oberfrohna, Friday in Gotha, Saturday in Dresden, and Sunday in Leipzig. The big wXw title match will see Marius Al-Ani defend against Axel Tischer (the former Alexander Wolfe) in Tischer’s hometown of Dresden. There will also be a best-of-three series between Stephanie Maze and Iva Kolasky over the course of the shows to determine the new wXw women’s champion after Amale had to vacate the title due to her NXT UK commitments. The four events will be uploaded to wXwNOW beginning October 28th and will include English commentary from Dave Bradshaw.

**Shane Taylor, Kaun & Moses will defend the ROH Six-Man Championship against PCO, Danhausen & Sledge on Ring of Honor TV over Halloween weekend in syndication.


**MMA Junkie has obtained a memo that the UFC has distributed to its foreign-based fighters regarding guidelines for competing in the U.S. The memo was issued by the promotion’s chief business officer Hunter Campbell alerting fighters attempting to enter the U.S. for fights that they will need to be fully vaccinated and provide a negative COVID test within three days of traveling into the country. The memo clearly states that it is not a UFC policy but rather, the U.S. guidelines that will be enforced for entry into the country with the policy beginning November 8th. The following is an excerpt from the memo:

Foreign national air travelers to the United States will be required to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of their vaccination status to fly to the United States. Fully vaccinated travelers will also be required to show a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of travel prior to boarding their flight. This policy also applies to foreign nationals crossing the land borders with Canada and Mexico or arriving in the United States by passenger ferry.

**ESPN reports that neither Chuck Liddell nor his wife Heidi Northcott will be charged after last week’s domestic violence arrest at their home in Hidden Hills, California. Marc Raimondi obtained a document from the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office that states that prosecution will not be pursued due to a lack of evidence. Each side had accused the other of being the aggressor with the document noting that Heidi had no visible marks while Liddell had a slight red mark on his cheek and a red mark near his chest. Liddell issued a statement last week stating he was the victim and volunteered to be arrested rather than his wife and cited it being a mental health issue that was made public through the arrest. Last week, Liddell filed for divorce, as reported by TMZ.

**One of the major stories coming out of the UFC Fight Night card was the handling by coach Jim West of his fighter Aspen Ladd between rounds of her main event featherweight fight with Norma Dumont. Ladd was extremely tentative throughout the fight and West, who is also Ladd’s boyfriend, was aggressively instructing Ladd between rounds as he was not satisfied with her lack of activity and giving away rounds. There were some that applauded the tough love approach and others that felt it was too much. BT Sport has released the audio of the dialogue between rounds from Saturday:

“Please tell me what you’re doing.”

“Sit on your ****!”

Listen in on what was said by Aspen Ladd’s corner during her loss to Norma Dumont at #UFCVegas40.

What did you make of it? pic.twitter.com/V9dQZSWoHK

— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) October 17, 2021

After the fight and Dumont’s unanimous decision victory, West issued the following statement:

Tonight was not our night. It’s been our night many many times at the highest level but not tonight. I blame myself. Though it may not be my fault. it’s not up for debate. I take all the blame. Yes after the first couple rounds I may have been a little harsh but i know aspen and at that time technical conversation was not in the cards being down 3 rounds. Nonetheless i own it and i am sorry @aspenladd from the bottom of my heart I will continue to be better each time.

**The following fights are scheduled for tonight’s episode of Dana White’s Contender Series at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN+ and TSN 2 in Canada:
*Jonny Parsons vs. Solomon Renfro
*Piera Rodriguez vs. Valesca Machado
*Caio Borralho vs. Jesse Murray
*Armen Petrosyan vs. Kaloyan Kolev
*Pedro Falcao vs. James Barnes

**UFC and Bellator will be airing cards this Saturday afternoon. The Bellator main card from Moscow, Russia will be carried by Showtime beginning at 3 p.m. ET and headlined by Fedor Emelianenko fighting Tim Johnson, which has the noteworthy aspect of Fedor fighting in Russia but it’s Fedor in 2021, and Johnson is going to be a tough opponent for him to handle. Former Bellator heavyweight champion Vitaly Minakov is fighting Said Sowma and Usman Nurmagomedov takes on Patrik Pietila among the featured fights. The UFC Fight Night card begins at 1 p.m. and the main card at 4 with ESPN+ carrying the event that is headlined by a middleweight fight between Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori, who have both challenged Israel Adesanya for the 185-pound title during his run as champion.

**Jessica Eye has withdrawn from her November 13th fight with Cynthia Calvillo after being hospitalized over the weekend due to illness. MMA Junkie reports that Andrea Lee is expected to take Eye’s spot and that verbal agreements are in place for the new fight. The November 13th card is a Fight Night event from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas that is scheduled to be headlined by a featherweight fight between former champion Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez.


Day 17 – Kota Ibushi vs. KENTA
Day 16 – Kazuchika Okada vs. Tama Tonga
Day 15 – Shingo Takagi vs. Great O-Khan
Day 14 – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jeff Cobb
Day 11-13 – Ishii vs. O-Khan, Okada vs. Taichi, Ibushi vs. O-Khan
Day 10 – Kazuchika Okada vs. SANADA
Day 9 – Shingo Takagi vs. Kota Ibushi
Day 8 – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. SANADA
Day 6 & 7 – Shingo Takagi vs. KENTA, Okada vs. YOSHI-HASHI
Day 5 – Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Kota Ibushi
Day 4 – Kazuchika Okada vs. EVIL
Day 3 – Shingo Takagi vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Day 2 – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada
Day 1 – Shingo Takagi vs. Tomohiro Ishii

REWIND-A-RAW: SmackDown vs. Rampage ratings, Flair vs. Belair
John Pollock & Wai Ting are back to chat about the final WWE Raw before Crown Jewel and the results of the SmackDown vs. Rampage Friday night ratings fight.
REWIND-A-DYNAMITE: “Cowboy Shit” explained
John Pollock & Wai Ting review Saturday’s AEW Dynamite from Miami featuring Bryan Danielson vs. Bobby Fish. Hangman Page explains the meaning of “Cowboy Shit” in one of the year’s best promos.
The Long & Winding Royal Road biography episodes continue with a look at the life and career of Akira Taue as WH Park is joined by Dave Musgrave, who has written for the Wrestling Observer, Slam Wrestling and is the former co-host of the Wrestling Culture podcast with Dylan Hales.
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN: WWE Supersized SmackDown vs. AEW Rampage
John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE Supersized SmackDown featuring Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks going up against AEW Rampage/Buy-In featuring Bryan Danielson vs. Minoru Suzuki.
THE WELLNESS POLICY: “Music” (w/ Dan Lovranski)
Wai Ting and Jordan Goodman are joined by Dan “The Mouth” Lovranski for a deep dive on music for this month’s episode of The Wellness Policy.
BWE: RevPro High Stakes, Zack Sabre Jr. in G1, Progress 122
The BWE reviews RevPro’s return to York Hall in London with ‘High Stakes’, Progress Chapter 122, Zack Sabre Jr. in the G1 and more.
THE WELLNESS POLICY: Music w/ Dan Lovranski
Wai Ting and Jordan Goodman are joined by Dan “The Mouth” Lovranski for a deep dive on music for this month’s episode of The Wellness Policy.
The BWE reviews RevPro’s return to York Hall in London with ‘High Stakes’, Progress Chapter 122, Zack Sabre Jr. in the G1, and more.

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