Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2023/11/03/pollocks-update-how-did-wwe-viewership-fare-in-october/
Tonight: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John Pollock & Wai Ting (POST Wrestling Café)
Saturday: WWE Crown Jewel with John & Wai
Saturday: NJPW Power Struggle with Karen Peterson & Bruce Lord (POST Wrestling Café)
Saturday: Collision Course with John Siino & Kate from Montreal (POST Wrestling Café)
Sunday: MCU L8R with WH Park & Rich Fann (POST Wrestling Café)
Today’s audio update is available for ALL members of the POST Wrestling Café. If you enjoy, I am releasing these updates multiple times per week for Double Double & Espresso members.
The latest Rewind-A-Wai covers the April 26, 2000, episode of WCW Thunder where David Arquette won the WCW title. Brandon from New Jersey is on the entire show with Wai Ting & I as we review this awful episode just weeks into the return of Vince Russo & Eric Bischoff to the company. Highlights (?) include Arquette being held hostage, Kimberly Page seeking a divorce, Sting being possessed, Shane Douglas “shoots”, a sit-down interview with Bret Hart in his home for an angle that goes nowhere, and all the ratings notes from this period and story behind the title change. If you enjoy train wrecks, this one is for you.
WH Park & Karen Peterson will be on a regular schedule with POST Puroresu with a new show on the first Friday of every month. That begins today with their latest show covering the state of All Japan Pro Wrestling and Katsuhiko Nakajima wrestling Triple Crown holder Yuma Aoyagi this weekend. Plus, previews of Power Struggle & Lonestar Shootout, the injuries impacting Stardom, where NOAH is going after losing Nakajima, and lots more news & notes.
Karen Peterson is back on Saturday with Bruce Lord as they will be reviewing NJPW Power Struggle on the POST Wrestling Café.
Wai Ting and I will be going live on the POST YouTube channel immediately after WWE Crown Jewel on Saturday and we’ll have a preview of the show on Rewind-A-SmackDown tonight.
WWE VIEWERSHIP – October 2023
October 2022: 1,683,000
October 2022: 604,000
October 2022: 213,000
October 2022: 2,249,000*
October 2022: 698,000*
October 2022: 222,000*
*Excluding one episode that aired on FS1
October 2022: 689,000
October: 316,000 (289,000 without Super Tuesday)
October 2022: 200,000
October 2022: 68,000
WWE Raw numbers have seen a 12% drop in overall viewership over the past year while only falling 2% in the 18-49 demo (which is a win given fewer cable homes having USA compared to one year ago) and the 18-34 demo has increased by 9% over the past year. It’s a positive for Raw, which has attracted a younger audience at the expense of some older fans during a season where Monday Night Football is being simulcast on ESPN & ABC and therefore, tougher competition than one year prior. Raw is a major priority until the next television deal is completed as the TKO stock had a negative reaction to the SmackDown deal. There are many balls in the air with the potential of Raw moving networks and/or nights of the week if the right offer is presented. If you’re a streamer or network allocating significant licensing fees for Raw, do you want to program this property against the NFL for four months annually?
SmackDown grew 16% in the 18-49 demographic and 23% in the 18-34 demo while slightly down in viewership over the past year on Fox. There is a cautionary lesson with all of this data when SmackDown showed all this growth, frequently topping the 18-49 numbers on Friday nights and yet, Fox walked away from this deal citing the lack of advertising dollars to justify the asking price, and WWE lacking the pull regarding transmission fees that Fox can charge for with or without WWE programming. SmackDown will undergo a course correction next fall when it moves back to the USA Network – which is currently in about 71.1 million homes and could be closer to 65 million by the time SmackDown moves. Overall, this has been a hot period for SmackDown from both a ratings standpoint and even more defined by the run of 10,000+ attendances on Friday nights that have coincided with John Cena’s return at the start of September and has more than offset the absence of Roman Reigns for most of this period.
The story of NXT is an impressive one given that the NXT 2.0 brand had sunk and growing its audience on the strength of younger viewers in an economy of diminishing cable subscribers. Since December 2022, USA Network has dropped approximately 4% in cable subs with NXT boasting 22% growth in overall viewers and an astounding 81% increase among its 18-34 viewership. A partial assist from October 2023 comes with the “Super Tuesday” episode, which is not indicative of a normal week but also had the obstacle of a head-to-head wrestling program going against it.
**TKO submitted an 8-K filing to the SEC ahead of next week’s Q3 earnings report and broke down the revenues of WWE and UFC separately (which is how they will be reported rather than combined revenues). In 2022, UFC reported revenues of $1,114,100,000 while WWE reported a yearly amount of $1,291,500. The respective companies’ media rights make up the bulk of those figures with UFC earning $794.4 million in 2022 off its media and content deals while WWE pulled in $872.1 million. In live events, WWE grossed $223.5 million compared to UFC’s $125.3 million but consider, that WWE ran 423 events in 2022 (including NXT) while the UFC staged 41. In sponsorships, UFC greatly outpaced WWE with $166.8 million in revenue compared to $61.8 while WWE was well ahead in consumer product licensing at $134.1 million to $53.6. The Q3 earnings call takes place next Tuesday and we will have an extensive breakdown of the report and earnings call on Pollock & Thurston next Wednesday.
**It is a rare taped edition of Friday Night SmackDown, which was taped last week in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Most of the crew is in Saudi Arabia for Crown Jewel, although WWE is running domestic house shows this weekend. The show has a clear path tonight with the World Series wrapping up on Wednesday (had the Diamondbacks forced a Game 6, it would have aired on Fox and moved SmackDown) and the following matches were taped:
*Weigh-In between Rey Mysterio and Logan Paul
*Bayley vs. Bianca Belair
*Donnybrook Fight: Butch & Ridge Holland vs. Pretty Deadly
*Non-Title Match: Chelsea Green & Piper Niven vs. Shotzi & Charlotte Flair
*Kevin Owens vs. Austin Theory
**The talent that is not part of Crown Jewel will be on the road with live events in Rochester, New York, and Springfield, Massachusetts this weekend. Saturday’s show at the Blue Cross Arena is advertising Gunther vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Ricochet for the Intercontinental title, Becky Lynch vs. Natalya, Kofi Kingston vs. Ivar, and Carlito vs. Austin Theory. They are also advertising Ridge Holland, Butch, Street Profits, DIY, Imperium, Omos, and Akira Tozawa.
**AEW Rampage airs at 10 p.m. ET tonight on TNT from the tapings in Louisville with the following matches set to air:
*The Gunns vs. Christopher Daniels & Matt Sydal
*Daniel Garcia vs. Trent Beretta
*Marina Shafir vs. Skye Blue
*El Hijo del Vikingo vs. Komander vs. Penta El Zero Miedo
**AEW Collision airs live on Saturday night from the Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas. As usual, they will have multiple college football games airing against them including LSU vs. Alabama, Michigan vs. Purdue, USC vs. Washington, and Kansas vs. Iowa State. Unlike last week, there is not a marquee match advertised and the biggest segment they are promoting is the “69 Day Celebration” for The Acclaimed as Trios Champions. They have announced the following matches:
*Ricky Starks, Big Bill & Gates of Agony vs. FTR, Rush & Preston Vance
*Lance Archer vs. Darby Allin (Darby’s first match since injuring his arm at WrestleDream)
*Swerve Strickland vs. AR Fox
**NJPW presents Power Struggle early Saturday morning beginning at 3:30 a.m. ET on New Japan World from Osaka. Typically, the event serves as the scene setter for Wrestle Kingdom with one of New Japan’s last significant shows of the year. They have announced that if Shota Umino defeats Will Ospreay for the IWGP U.S. title, he will defend it against Jon Moxley at the Tokyo Dome with a student vs. mentor theme. After the Lonestar Shootout next Friday, New Japan begins its final tour of the year on November 17 with the World Tag League tournament that runs until December 10. Below is the lineup for Power Struggle:
*IWGP U.S (U.K.) Championship: Will Ospreay © vs. Shota Umino
*IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship: Hiromu Takahashi © vs. Taiji Ishimori
*Super Jr. Tag League – Final: SHO & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. TJP & Francesco Akira
*NEVER Openweight Six-Man Titles: Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tomohiro Ishii vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Mikey Nicholls & Shane Haste
*Jon Moxley vs. Great O-Khan
*David Finlay vs. Tanga Loa
*SANADA & Yuya Uemura vs. Tetsuya Naito & Yota Tsuji
*Shingo Takagi, Titan & BUSHI vs. Tama Tonga, KUSHIDA & Kevin Knight
*Non-Title, Four-Way Tag: Clark Connors & Drilla Moloney vs. El Desperado & Master Wato vs. Robbie Eagles & Kosei Fujita vs. YOH & MUSASHI
*Jeff Cobb & Callum Newman vs. Oskar Leube & Yuto Nakashima
*Pre-Show: Oleg Boltin, Ryusuke Taguchi & The DKC vs. Mochizuki Jr., Yoshiki Kato & Strong Machine J
**Former WCW performer Evan Karagias is facing a pair of misdemeanor charges. Karagias was arrested early Wednesday morning and facing charges of simple assault and injury to personal property. He was released shortly afterward on a $2,500 bond. Karagias wrestled for WCW from 1997 until the company went out of business. He won the Cruiserweight Championship in November 1999 at the Mayhem pay-per-view and lost the title to Madusa, who he was paired with as Madusa’s love interest. His most memorable role was as a member of 3 Count with Shannon Moore and Shane Helms. After WCW was purchased, he was one of many WCW performers sent to HWA in 2001 but finished up before the end of the year and wrestled sporadically while focusing on acting.
**SI.com spoke with Scott D’Amore on the pending changes to TNA in 2024 with the company attempting to further establish itself in the crowded market space through talent shake-ups, match types, and aesthetic changes to the look:
You will see some changes to our shows. The pacing is going to be quicker, there will be a shakeup talentwise, and you’re going to see us disrupt and change wrestling. We’re going to push the limits, like we did with Ultimate X and King of the Mountain. That might mean, every once in a while, we sometimes fall on our face in a reverse battle royal, but hopefully not too often. We owe it to our fans to take chances.
**IMPACT airs its taped Turning Point special at 8 p.m. ET tonight on FITE TV from last week’s show in Newcastle, England. The show features Will Ospreay vs. Eddie Edwards, Trinity vs. Deonna Purrazzo for the IMPACT Knockouts Championship, Frankie Kazarian & Chris Sabin vs. Moose & Brian Myers, Joe Hendry vs. Simon Miller, Jordynne Grace vs. Dani Luna, Trey Miguel vs. Rich Swann, Gisele Shaw vs. Alex Windsor, and Subculture vs. Josh Alexander & Eric Young. The pre-show at 7:30 p.m. features Leon Slater vs. Mark Haskins and Rhino & Grado vs. D Vecchio & Ryan Richards.
**GCW presents Buddy, Please tonight at 9 p.m. ET on FITE+ from Sauget, Illinois. The show will include Blake Christian vs. Warhorse for the GCW Championship, Maki Itoh vs. Shazza McKenzie, Speedball Mike Bailey vs. Gringo Loco, Joey Janela vs. Masha Slamovich, Matt Cardona & Steph De Lander vs. Charli Evans & Everett Connors, Gabe Kidd & Alex Coughlin vs. Davey Bang & August Matthews, Los Macizos & Jimmy Lloyd vs. John Wayne Murdoch & Mance Warner & 1 Called Manders, Violence is Forever vs. Effy & Allie Katch, Santana Jackson vs. Dan the Dad, and Alex Price vs. Man Like DeReiss vs. Jordan Oliver. GCW runs at Center Stage in Atlanta on Saturday night with the top matches including Joey Janela vs. Jacob Fatu, Gringo Loco vs. Masha Slamovich, and Blake Christian defending the GCW title against Tank.
**New Japan commentator Walker Stewart noted that he would be calling the World Tag League shows remotely beginning November 17. Stewart is in Osaka to call this weekend’s Power Struggle event and will also be in Garland, Texas for the Lonestar Shootout on November 10.
**Adam Copeland appeared on ESPN’s The Drop to discuss his hockey fandom, mutual love for the Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils, and tribalism among sports fans.
**Highspots will be adding the Legends of Extreme series to its streaming service. The series was first shot in 2017 and hosted by Mike Johnson of PWinsider.com with roundtable discussions involving ECW alumni.
**The potential of the Cung Le-led lawsuit against UFC going to trial cleared another hurdle this week. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied the petition for an appeal by the defendants. Had the UFC been successful in their attempt to appeal, the case could have paused for as long as two to three additional years. Judge Richard Boulware, who granted the plaintiffs class certification in August, has sped up the process by revoking previous extensions to both sides. As of this writing, the trial date is set for April 8, 2024, barring a settlement or Boulware granting the UFC’s summary of judgment motion, which seems unlikely on Boulware’s stern wording when he granted the class certification and would be extreme about-face. (Paul Gift, Forbes Contributor)
The antitrust case was launched in December 2014, so this has been a nearly nine-year process to get this far. The plaintiffs are seeking damages between $800 million and $1.6 billion (for an antitrust case, those damages could triple if the plaintiffs are successful). The plaintiffs can respond by November 30 and if so, the defendants have until December 22 to reply.
**Bloody Elbow has uncovered many of the top fighter’s purses from the UFC from 2011 until 2016. Many exhibits have been unsealed recently in the ongoing antitrust case including one labeled “Internal Zuffa Bout Compensation” which includes the total amount many top fighters earned including non-disclosed bonuses including those with pay-per-view points. The unsealed document did not include the names of the fighters but Bloody Elbow was able to deduce which fighters were being described with the following examples:
*CM Punk (Phil Brooks): $1,042,736 for his fight at UFC 203 against Mickey Gall
*Ronda Rousey: $574,720 against Liz Carmouche, $1,817,907 against Miesha Tate in Dec. 2013, $870,969 against Sara McMann, $1,063,688 against Alexis Davis, $1,458,282 against Cat Zingano, $2,642,204 against Bethe Correira, $4,476,662 (or $4,536,932) against Holly Holm, and $4,879,766 against Amanda Nunes
*Conor McGregor: $3,285,000 against Chad Mendes, $4,476,662 (or $4,536,932) against Jose Aldo, $5,576,315 for the first fight against Nate Diaz, $5,615,490 for the second fight with Diaz, and $6,812,374 against Eddie Alvarez (UFC 205 generated $66 million for the UFC)
*Nate Diaz: $2,835,158 for the first McGregor fight in March 2016 (an event that generated $61 million), and $4,315,490 for the rematch
*Jose Aldo: $2,377,699 for the fight against McGregor at UFC 294 in Dec. 2015
*Brock Lesnar: $3 million against Alistair Overeem in Dec. 2011 and $8 million against Mark Hunt at UFC 200 in July 2016 (he received a flat fee for UFC 200 instead of earning a cut of the pay-per-view)
*Georges St-Pierre: $4,319,289 against Jake Shields at UFC 129 in Toronto in 2011, $3,197,908 against Carlos Condit, $4,116,690 against Nick Diaz, and $3,55,344 against Johny Hendricks
*Jon Jones: $2,278,553 against Rashad Evans in April 2012, $1,566,196 against Vitor Belfort, $2,750,000 against Chael Sonnen, $1,173,560 against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 in 2013, $1,237,880 against Glover Teixeira, $2,677,530 against Ovince Saint Preux
*Anderson Silva: $2,506,034 against Vitor Belfort in 2011, $2 million against Yushin Okami, $2,506,034 for the rematch with Chael Sonnen in 2012, $2 million against Stephan Bonnar, $3,222,253 for the first fight against Chris Weidman, $4,374,326 for the rematch with Weidman, $3,429,082 against Nick Diaz, and $3,250,000 against Michael Bisping (a card that aired on Fight Pass), and $4,208,675 for the short-notice fight with Daniel Cormier at UFC 200 after Jon Jones failed a pre-fight drug test.
**The UFC Fight Night card from Sao Paulo, Brazil streams on ESPN+ on Saturday night beginning at 7 p.m. ET. Three fighters missed weight on Friday with two fights removed from the card.
MAIN CARD (9 p.m. ET on ESPN+)
*Jailton Almeida (19-2) vs. Derrick Lewis (27-11, 1 NC)
*Gabriel Bonfim (15-0) vs. Nicolas Dalby (22-4-1, 2 NC)
*Rodrigo Nascimento (10-1, 1 NC) vs. Don’Tale Mayes (10-6)
*Caio Borralho (14-1) vs. Abus Magomedov (25-5-1) – “A-boose” and Caio Bo-hal-yo
*Armen Petrosyan (9-2) vs. Rodolfo Vieira (9-2) – Hodolfo
*Ismael Bonfim (18-4) vs. Vinc Pichel (13-3) – Bonfim missed weight by 3.5 pounds for their lightweight fight and this fight is now off
PRELIMINARY CARD (6 p.m. ET on ESPN+)
*Kaynan Kruschewsky (12-1) vs. Elves Brener (15-3)
*Victor Hugo (24-4) vs. Daniel Marcos (15-0) – Hugo missed the bantamweight limit by 2.5 pounds and this fight is also off the card
*Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (24-7) vs. Rinat Fakhretdinov (23-2)
*Modestas Bukauskas (13-5) vs. Vitor Petrino (9-0)
*Angela Hill (15-13) vs. Denise Gomes (8-2)
*Montserrat Conejo (10-3) vs. Eduarda Moura (9-0) – Moura missed weight by 3.5 pounds for their strawweight bout
*Marc Diakiese (16-7) vs. Kaue Fernandes (6-1)
WH Park is joined by Karen Peterson to review NJPW Power Struggle & Lonestar Shootout, the future for Katsuhiko Nakajima & more.
REWIND-A-WAI: WCW Thunder 4/26/2000
John Pollock and Wai Ting are joined by Brandon from NJ to review WCW Thunder from April 26, 2000 featuring David Arquette winning the WCW Heavyweight Championship.
John Pollock and Wai Ting review AEW Dynamite with an IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT from Tony Khan, and MJF’s show-long search for three partners to take on Bullet Club Gold.
POLLOCK & THURSTON
John Pollock and Brandon Thurston welcome journalist Karim Zidan back to the show to discuss Saudi Arabia’s emerging power in combat sports.
upNXT – Halloween Havoc Night 2
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review WWE NXT Halloween Havoc Night 2 featuring Ilja Dragunov vs Carmelo Hayes for the NXT Championship!
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