POLLOCK'S UPDATE: Launch of AEW's Continental Classic, NXT ratings

Originally published at POLLOCK'S UPDATE: Launch of AEW's Continental Classic


Tonight: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John Pollock & Wai Ting
Thursday: ASK-A-WAI Mailbag Show (POST Wrestling Café)
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John & Wai (POST Wrestling Café)
Saturday: WWE Survivor Series
Sunday: Collision Course (POST Wrestling Café)

**Nick Hausman was our guest on Pollock & Thurston today to chat about AEW, the Continental Classic, his reporting on the NWA deal with the CW Network, and much more. Plus, Brandon and I go over several major news items from the past week.

**Final call for questions for the ASK-A-WAI Mailbag Show coming out Thursday.

**Andrew Thompson was on Josh Nason’s Punch-Out to chat about the biggest wrestling stories of January.


AEW unveiled the full list of participants for the Continental Classic on Wednesday afternoon with the first three tournament matches set for tonight’s episode.

*Bryan Danielson
*Andrade El Idolo
*Brody King
*Claudio Castagnoli
*Daniel Garcia
*Eddie Kingston

*Jon Moxley
*Swerve Strickland
*Mark Briscoe
*Jay Lethal
*Jay White

The matches will have 20-minute time limits with three points per win and one point for a draw. Three matches from the Gold League will be featured on Dynamite tonight with Daniel Garcia vs. Claudio Castagnoli and Eddie Kingston vs. Brody King airing on Collision this Saturday. It is a loaded group and outlines the depth AEW has at its disposal and has more than enough options of other major names that could have been inserted. Danielson is the glue of the Blue League and will include a rematch with Daniel Garcia from their program last year, with Andrade from last month, a one-off with BCC teammate Claudio Castagnoli, and ones with Kingston & King that will all have high expectations. There is no word on the latest regarding his clearance as he’s not listed for a match this week and canceled his appearance at WrestleCade this week. In his preview video that aired on Wednesday, he mentioned breaking his orbital bone in two places. It’s a unique twist where Orange Cassidy and Kazuchika Okada were given storyline credit for the orbital injury but it was actually the match with Andrade where he suffered the injury but they can’t mention that when they have their rematch in the tournament.

The Blue League has Swerve Strickland coming off a major win against Hangman Page but obviously, they are not propelling him into the title mix since Samoa Joe would appear to have that spot for the next pay-per-view cycle. Swerve is among the hottest stars going today and you don’t want to see him lose any momentum, but I also don’t see him winning this tournament. Moxley is always heavily protected but is coming off a clean loss to Orange Cassidy and should be one of the favorites to win the block. Rush has looked terrific since his return and this could be a big breakthrough for him to ascend to the next level. White is in his element in a tournament like this and should look great. Lethal and Briscoe are probably going to pick up a fair number of losses with Moxley, Swerve, and White likely being the ones contending by the end.

Hopefully, AEW releases a schedule of all the matches for the next five weeks as it not only adds anticipation for when the biggest matches are happening but it gives the local markets something to advertise for weeks and move tickets rather than make the announcement a few days prior to each show. You don’t want to jinx anything, but this type of tournament is meticulously booked, and one injury can serve as a house of cards and throw everything into chaos when every win and loss is accounted for over the next six weeks. The easiest solution would be to have 1-2 alternates announced and if there is an injury, that alternate takes the spot of the injured wrestler and adopts their win-loss record mid-tournament.

**AEW Dynamite airs from the Wintrust Arena in Chicago and features the start of the 12-man Continental Classic that runs until Worlds End. It’s the annual Thanksgiving Eve edition of the show. In 2019 & 2020, the shows were hurt by its television audience due to the holiday but over the past two years, there was no negative effect with last year’s episode averaging 880k and 0.32 in the demo. WrestleTix reports that tickets have been moving over the past 24 hours and have surpassed 4,300 although it is significantly lower than the last time they ran the arena in June for an episode of Dynamite (with CM Punk appearing) that drew 6,300. The following has been announced:
*Continental Classic: Rush vs. Jay White
*Continental Classic: Swerve Strickland vs. Jay Lethal
*Continental Classic: Jon Moxley vs. Mark Briscoe
*Timeless Toni Storm’s acceptance speech
*The Re-Christening of Nick Wayne

**The November 21 taped edition of NXT averaged 622,000 viewers and 246,000 (0.19) in the 18-49 demographic. The audience fell by 12% to its lowest mark since August 29 while the demo dropped by 10% to its lowest since Sept. 26. In the key demo, it was women that fell with a 25% decline from last week. Adults 18-34 declined 29% to 87,000 with adults 35-49 rising by 6% from last week. (Wrestlenomics)

**In Canada, NXT averaged 65,800 viewers and 22,400 in the 25-54 demographic on Sportsnet 360, which was #9 among sports for the night and led by the Toronto Raptors vs. Orlando Magic. Last week’s live episode averaged 88,400 and 40,600.

**On Tuesday, WWE and Panini informed the court of their settlement and made a request for the case to be dismissed with prejudice meaning neither side can refile a case down the road. In separate calls on October 3 and November 14, Nick Khan of WWE and Elisabetta Mussini negotiated terms and came to an agreement with their counsel. The judge had originally dismissed the case without prejudice, and they are requesting the change so that it cannot be relitigated. The terms of the settlement are not disclosed, so it’s unknown if the relationship between WWE and Panini has ended, whether Panini is receiving a fee to waive the remainder of the term or will fulfill the remainder of the contract, which had two years remaining. WWE and Panini had announced their deal in 2021 but WWE informed the company they were terminating the deal this past August where they felt Panini failed in its contract obligations. Panini is also in litigation with Fanatics (another WWE partner) in an antitrust case.

**Booker T. appeared on The Kurt Angle Show and spoke about his match with Triple H at WrestleMania 19 in Seattle in 2003:

A lot of people, they wish I won that night. A lot of people were so disappointed that night and they still tell me to this day that I should have won that night. One of (the people) high up in WWE, I’m not going to say his name, but he goes, ‘Book, you should have won tonight’ and I go, ‘Thanks, Bro, I appreciate that. But I’ve never lost one day of sleep from losing that match because, that check, (laughs), that was the biggest check I ever made for one night, and if anybody complained about something, put me in that every year. I’d do the same thing; I’d do the same finish.

It was a derisive storyline going into the show and more contentious afterward with the heel prevailing. The lead-up saw Hunter invoke Booker’s prison time he served for robbery and leaning on racist language and actions toward Booker. The ending of the match saw Hunter hit a pedigree and delayed rolling on top for the pin, so Booker had to continue to sell the move as time stood still before the heel climbed on top for the clean win. This occurred during a very stagnant period for babyfaces on the Raw side that Hunter had run through including Rob Van Dam, an all-time horrendous program with Kane, and another terrible one with Scott Steiner. Bill Goldberg would debut the next night on Raw and the obvious direction was Goldberg going for the title and Hunter being the heel to beat. Given the racist portrayal by Hunter, it is a mystery why they would push that type of angle when the heel was keeping the title and Booker would be out of the world title picture.

**Thursday’s NJPW World Tag League card will stream at 4 a.m. ET on New Japan World from Yokohama Budokan with the following lineup:
*A BLOCK: Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls vs. EVIL & Yujiro
*A BLOCK: Shota Umino & Ren Narita vs. Gabe Kidd & Alex Coughlin
*A BLOCK: Kaito Kiyomiya & Ryohei Oiwa vs. Great O-Khan & HENARE
*A BLOCK: Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano vs. Gates of Agony
*El Phantasmo, Hikuelo & Jado vs. Taichi, Yuya Uemura & DOUKI
*Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Oleg Boltin vs. Lance Archer, Alex Zayne & Oskar Leube
*Minoru Suzuki, Yuji Nagata, Tomoaki Honma & Master Wato vs. Yota Tsuji, Zandokan Jr., Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI
*Atlantis Jr., Soberano Jr. & Tiger Mask vs. Bad Luck Fale, Jack Bonza & Taiji Ishimori
*Yuta Nakashima vs. Shoma Kato

**AJPW’s Real World Tag League is currently led by Jun & Rei Saito with eight points and followed by Katsuhiko Nakajima & Hokuto Omori (6), Kento Miyahara & Yuma Aoyagi (5), Cyrus & Ryan Davidson (4), Hayato Tamura & Galeno del Mal (4), Suwama & Hideki Suzuki (2), Shuji Ishikawa & Ren Ayabe (2), Hideki Okatani & Yukio Sakaguchi (2), Kuroshio Tokyo Japan & Seigo Tachibana (2), and Ryuki Honda & Yuma Anzai (0). The tournament resumes Thursday with The Saitos facing Nakajima & Omori in a battle of the top two teams.

**Michelle Cain and Matt Charlton have a new book on the history of DDT which serves as an introduction to newer fans of the promotion. The book includes biographies of every KO-D Champion and significant events in the promotion’s history with illustrations by Charlton. The book is available now and titled ‘Dramatic Dreams and Those Who Have Them: An Introduction to the DDT Pro Wrestling Universe’ and is available on Amazon.

**West Coast Pro has posted the entire match between Chris Hero and Timothy Thatcher from its Whiplash event in San Francisco this past Friday. The promotion returns on December 3 with Hero & KENTA vs. Titus Alexander & Kevin Blackwood.

**MLW Featherweight Champion Janai Kai will defend her title against Maki Itoh at the One Shot event on December 7 at the Melrose Ballroom in New York City.

**The final numbers for the NJPW Lonestar Shootout on November 10 were 720 tickets sold and a gate of $48,230 at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas. AEW is running the same venue on back-to-back nights in a few weeks for Final Battle and a Collision taping. (Data: Pollstar)

**NJPW’s return to the U.S. takes place on January 13 with Battle in the Valley in San Jose, California. The first set of names advertised for the show includes Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay, Shingo Takagi, Zack Sabre Jr., Eddie Kingston, Giulia, El Phantasmo, and Hikuleo. The card takes place the week after Wrestle Kingdom 18 and just weeks before Ospreay’s contract with the company ends. Last year’s Battle in the Valley drew 2,155 at the San Jose Civic Center with Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi and KAIRI vs. Mercedes Mone.

**Thursday’s episode of IMPACT Wrestling is a ‘Best of’ episode featuring past Thanksgiving moments and advertising classic matches and moments on AXS TV.

**Inside the Ropes will be re-releasing Power Slam Magazine in a series of yearbooks beginning with 1994. The first yearbook is available for pre-order for £29.99 (approx. $38 USD) with Issues 1-6 from that year including an introduction by editor Findlay Martin.

**The TKO stock closed at $78.46 on Wednesday.


**Dan Hooker is off the UFC Fight Night event on December 2 where he was scheduled to fight Bobby Green. Hooker shared on Submission Radio that he suffered a break in his right arm/wrist and is awaiting confirmation if it was the same spot where he broke his wrist in a fight against Jalin Turner earlier this year at UFC 290. Green wants to stay on the card, he posted on Instagram and challenged any fighter to step up on short notice.

**Pollstar has updated ticket information for the Bellator 299 event held at the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland. The September 23 event drew 4,362 (about half the capacity) and was headlined by Johnny Eblen stopping Fabian Edwards to retain the Middleweight Championship. The gate was $367,386 (USD).

**The UFC is off this weekend and returns with a strong Fight Night event on December 2 in Austin, Texas. The top fights on the card include Beneil Dariush (22-5-1) vs. Arman Tsarukyan (20-3) in the lightweight main event, Rob Font (20-7) vs. Deiveson Figueiredo (21-3-1), and Sean Brady (15-1) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (17-8, 1 NC).

**MMA Fighting reports that a women’s strawweight fight between Rayanne dos Santos (13-6) and Talita Alencar (4-0-1) has been added to the UFC Fight Night card on December 9 in Las Vegas. Dos Santos won the Invicta FC Atomweight Champion this past May and will be making her UFC debut. Alencar fought Stephanie Luciano to a draw on Dana White’s Contender Series this past September after previously fighting for Titan FC and LFA. Invicta put out a documentary covering dos Santos’ title win earlier this year against Jillian DeCoursey.

**A heavyweight fight between Justin Tafa (7-3, 1 NC) and Marcos Rogério de Lima (21-9-1) has been added to UFC 298 on February 17, according to MMA Fighting. Tafa is coming off a knockout win against Austen Lane in September while de Lima is coming off a TKO loss to Derrick Lewis in July.

Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review WWE NXT from November 21st, 2023 featuring Lyra Valkyria vs Xia Li for the NXT Women’s Championship!
Jordan Goodman and Wai Ting are joined by the POST wrestling community to discuss the concerts, bands, songs, and albums that have become the soundtracks to their lives.
John Pollock and Wai Ting review the final WWE Raw before Survivor Series featuring Drew McIntyre vs. Jey Uso in a War Games Advantage Match; Cody Rhodes announces his team’s fifth member.
Nate, Kris and Andrew are joined by Ray Williams & Chinyere Okafor to react to AEW Full Gear and talk about the biggest stories of the month.
John Pollock and Wai Ting review AEW Full Gear 2023 from featuring MJF vs. Jay White for the AEW Championship. Plus, your feedback to the show.
Rich Fann and WH Park are joined by Andrew Greenidge (co-owner of Iman Vellani’s fav comic shop, Heroes World) to review The Marvels.

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