POLLOCK'S UPDATE: AEW fans await word on CM Punk's status for Collision

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2023/05/22/pollocks-update-aew-fans-await-word-on-cm-punks-status-for-collision/


**Rewind-A-Raw is live at 11 p.m. ET with a review of the final Raw before Night of Champions, our thoughts on NJPW Resurgence, the injury to Mercedes Mone, and all the top news stories. We will be streaming live on the POST YouTube channel.

**The NJPW Resurgence review with Bruce Lord & Karen Peterson is available for all POST Café members with a 90-minute review of the card from Long Beach and reactions to the main event and Willow Nightingale becoming the first NJPW Strong Women’s Champion.

**Wrestlenomics breaks down the AEW Collision announcement, why tickets for Double or Nothing have not sold at the same level as previous editions, and a look at the WWE gate figures from Puerto Rico.

**The ASK-A-WAI Mailbag Show returns this Thursday and all POST Café members can submit their questions on the POST Wrestling Forum thread.

**Journalist Karim Zidan will be on Pollock & Thurston this Friday at 1 p.m. ET to speak about WWE’s return to Saudi Arabia and assess the deal after five years of regular events.


Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting
Tuesday: upNXT with Davie Portman & Braden Herrington
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite
Thursday: ASK-A-WAI Mailbag Show (Patreon)
Friday: Pollock & Thurston – Karim Zidan
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (Patreon)
Saturday: WWE Night of Champions review
Sunday: AEW Double or Nothing review


**The site of the first AEW Collision episode will be revealed on Wednesday during Dynamite and will play a big role in determining the strength behind the show’s launch. Essentially, the question is whether the 6/17 debut will be in Chicago, or not. By announcing the United Center, every AEW fan is going to draw the conclusion that CM Punk is back, and if Chicago is the location, the company should be announcing Punk rather than leaving that as a surprise due to the lack of demand for the first set of Collision dates. This past weekend, Dave Meltzer reported soft ticket sales for Collision events on 6/24 in Toronto (approx. 1,600 tickets out), 6/29 in Hamilton (600), and 7/22 in Newark (3,500, which is respectable but a far cry for the New York & New Jersey market expectation level). Running on 6/17 at the United Center means two shows in the city within five nights as they have Dynamite & Rampage on 6/21 at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago heading into Forbidden Door.

Collision’s launch will be determined by the television audience more than it will the ticket-buying public, but it correlates with fans uninspired by the buzz for Collision and names mentioned in the press release sans CM Punk, who is the difference maker between engagement and indifference for the Saturday night program. For the best interest of all parties, an amicable agreement serves all from AEW having its main bullet in the chamber for the Collision launch, and Punk can save the day and no doubt, spike ticket movement after an announcement. We would also have the first true indicator of Punk’s popularity after all the headlines and problems from last summer. Punk would be expected to move tickets, but by how much? If the United Center sold 8,000 tickets out of the gate, it would be a strong sign, and anything above that tells you that whatever problems and dirty laundry have aired, the public still sees Punk as the head-and-shoulders star above all others.

Without Punk, the strategy for Collision will need a major re-think and opens the idea farm to any available stars that can instantly make a difference. That list grows shorter by the year of contractually available talent that has not aged out from a physical contribution standpoint and relevance to the public. The available names that come to mind for a shot in the arm to establish Collision would be Bill Goldberg and Mercedes Mone. The former is a short-term option but as seen in 2016-17, when booked properly, can still mean something, and having Goldberg walk onto television, win a match or two on TV to establish Collision and build to something at All In, could at least set the table for Collision to be must-see for the first two months, although Goldberg would come at an exorbitant fee. Mone is injured and presents more questions than if this scenario was proposed 24 hours ago but it’s unknown what her goals are and if she had not committed to AEW earlier this year, why would she go there now?

If they are this close to the goal line for a CM Punk return, hopefully, both sides can acquiesce and give a little bit to cross the line and have that news on Wednesday. For maximum impact, the announcement should be the United Center and CM Punk speaking on an AEW broadcast for the first time since All Out with a live microphone in Chicago.

**There is no update yet regarding the status of AEW Collision in Canada. We have inquired with officials at both TSN and AEW and will report any updates we hear.

**NJPW Resurgence was a great show that was derailed by an injury in the main event to Mercedes Mone, although managed to find a silver lining with a reported audible call to have Willow Nightingale win the match and NJPW Strong Women’s Championship. PWinsider.com reported that Mone was scheduled to win the match but was derailed when Mone slipped off the top turnbuckle and suffered an ankle injury (there have been reports she broke her ankle, but Mone has not confirmed the extent of the injury). It led to an awkward scene where Nightingale hit a Doctor Bomb and Mone didn’t kick out, but the referee held up his arm and did not count three, which immediately turned the crowd amid the confusion. Nightingale hit a follow-up Doctor Bomb and this time the three-count was made. To her credit, Nightingale did a phenomenal job selling the victory and was in tears over the win, which was accentuated by a terrific call by the broadcast team of Ian Riccaboni, Veda Scott, and Alex Koslov (Riccaboni did not know the finish of the match and therefore, just called it as he saw it). The crowd in Long Beach was exceptional throughout the show and came across as heated for all the major stars and matches.

**WWE Raw is at the GIANT Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania for the go-home show prior to Night of Champions. The show is sold out with over 8,900 tickets distributed, per WrestleTix, and has the following matches and segments promoted:
*Gunther, Giovanni Vinci & Ludwig Kaiser vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn & TBA
*Zoey Stark vs. Candice LeRae
*A contract signing between Becky Lynch and Trish Stratus
*Cody Rhodes and Brock Lesnar to appear

**The sports competition tonight includes Game 4 of the L.A. Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets where the Lakers are down 3-0 in the series. If the Lakers win, Game 5 would be on Wednesday night against Dynamite. Tonight also features Game 3 of the Florida Panthers vs. Carolina Hurricanes.

**Nick Khan is participating in the JP Morgan Global Technology, Media & Communications Conference on Tuesday. Khan will be speaking at 10:50 a.m. ET in Boston with his portion streaming on the WWE corporate website. Khan made a lot of headlines last week when appearing at the MoffettNathanson conference and speaking about the various possibilities for Raw & SmackDown as they explore their next domestic rights deals. The WWE stock took a hit last Wednesday (the day before Khan spoke), which was puzzling the day it happened but made more sense by the end of the week. Brandon Ross noted on the LightShed Partners podcast that a meeting was held earlier in the week among investors and there is a concern that Fox is not going to offer a meaningful increase for the rights to SmackDown, it scared the investment community and led to the stock decrease. On Thursday, Khan essentially established that the ‘floor’ for the renewals is a 1.5x increase (Raw has an average annual value of $265 million per year and SmackDown at $205 million), which would mean approximately $705 million per year for Raw and SmackDown, at minimum. Khan also spoke highly of Amazon Prime during last week’s speech and the flexibility of SmackDown being able to move nights for any entity looking to program a new night of the week.

**The final round-robin matches in the A Block of the Best of the Super Juniors take place Tuesday at 5 a.m. ET from Osaka. The B Block matches wrap up Wednesday with the top two finishers in each block advancing to meet in Friday’s semi-finals. Below is Tuesday’s card:
*A BLOCK: Hiromu Takahashi (12) vs. Titan (10)
*A BLOCK: Lio Rush (12) vs. Speedball Mike Bailey (12)
*A BLOCK: DOUKI (6) vs. SHO (6)
*A BLOCK: KUSHIDA (4) vs. Ryusuke Taguchi (0)
*Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taka Michinoku vs. YOH, Master Wato & Kevin Knight
*Clark Connors & Gedo vs. Francesco Akira & Dan Moloney
*El Desperado & Ryohei Oiwa vs. Robbie Eagles & Kosei Fujita
*Great O-Khan & TJP vs. Yuto Nakashima & Oskar Leube

Based on the points, it would seem likely that Hiromu Takahashi beats Titan and will advance along with the winner of Speedball vs. Lio Rush to the semi-finals. Hiromu lost to both Bailey and Rush in the round-robin, but would still advance if he’s only tied with one of them.

**Being the Elite Ep. 348: ‘Heart, Soul, Spirit’.

**IMPACT is holding a press conference this Friday at the London Brewer Co-op in London, Ontario to promote Under Siege that night. Brian Myers, Santino Marella, John Skyler, and Jason Hotch will be speaking at the press conference, which will stream at 3 p.m. ET on IMPACT Plus, YouTube for Ultimate Insiders, FITE, and Facebook.

**The next set of Ring of Honor tapings is scheduled for Sunday, June 4 from 4-7 p.m. ET at Soundstage 19 at Universal Studios in Orlando.

**Bellator 298 on 8/11 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota will be headlined by a welterweight fight between Logan Storley (14-2) and Brennan Ward (17-6) on Showtime. The main card will include Valentin Moldavsky (11-3, 1 NC) vs. Steve Mowry (10-0-1, 1 NC) in a heavyweight fight, Dalton Rosta (8-0) against Aaron Jeffrey (13-4) in a middleweight bout, and Sidney Outlaw (16-5) takes on Islam Mamedov (22-2-1) in a lightweight fight.

**The UFC is off for Memorial Day weekend, which used to be one of their signature weekends of the year. The promotion returns on 6/3 with another Apex card and is headlined by Kai Kara-France (24-10) against Amir Albazzi (16-1). The following weekend is the UFC 289 pay-per-view on 6/10 in Vancouver with Amanda Nunes (22-5) vs. Irene Aldana (14-6) for the bantamweight title.

NJPW Resurgence 2023 Review
Karen Peterson & Bruce Lord review NJPW Resurgence with the NJPW STRONG Women’s Championship Tournament featuring Mercedes Moné.

This week on Wrestlenomics Radio: Did AEW get a renewed TV deal? AEW Collision was introduced at WBD upfront. WWE stock hit amid investor belief Fox doesn’t want to give Smackdown a raise.
Nate Milton, Andrew Thompson and Kris Ealy return to chat about the month in wrestling including WWE Backlash, Trinity in Impact Wrestling, and a preview AEW’s upcoming events including Collision & All In.
John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE SmackDown featuring Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn going face-to-face with Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa.
POLLOCK & THURSTON: Tony Maglio, IndieWire
John Pollock and Brandon Thurston chat with reporter Tony Maglio of IndieWire after covering this week’s upfront presentations.
REWIND-A-WAI #131: AJW Dream Slam II
John Pollock & Wai Ting are joined by Karen Peterson to review AJW All Star Dream Slam 2, featuring the 1993 WON Match of the Year: Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada vs. Mayumi Ozaki & Dynamite Kansai in a 2-of-3 Falls Match.

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