Originally published at POLLOCK'S UPDATE: Meet the TKO Board of Directors
POST IT NOTES
**Rewind-A-SmackDown is live at 10 p.m. ET on the POST Wrestling Café with the latest news, a review of SmackDown in Calgary, and we open the phone lines for all Café members.
**Happy Birthday to our own Nate Milton!
**We will have our final G1 Climax podcasts this weekend with Wai Ting & going through the semi-finals on Saturday, and the G1 Climax Final will be covered on Sunday with Karen Peterson & WH Park joining me. On Sunday’s show, we’ll also look at the top matches and performers of the tournament, how this year’s format fared, and ideas for next year’s tournament. Join the POST Wrestling Café for access to both shows.
**This week, I had the chance to speak with Chris Hero about his permanent role as a producer/agent with AEW and what his schedule looks like. We also chatted about this week’s West Coast Cup and his commitment to the California-based independent promotion, the passing of Adrian Street, and the growing fan concern regarding performers continuing to raise the bar in their matches. Hero is always a great guest and provides a lot of insight and thoughtful answers.
**Our final review for this season of Dark Side of the Ring is available on the POST Wrestling Café discussing The World According to Marty Jannetty. We have reviews for all ten episodes of this season for Café members.
Tonight: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John Pollock & Wai Ting (Patreon)
Saturday: G1 Climax – Night 18 Review with John & Wai (Patreon)
Saturday: Collision Course with John Siino & Kate from Montreal (Patreon)
Sunday: G1 Climax – Night 19 Review with John, WH Park & Karen Peterson (Patreon)
**Meet the board of directors for TKO Group Holdings, who were revealed in a 715-page filing that was issued on Thursday. There are ten board members listed with the WWE having one more independent member to add:
*Mark Shapiro – President of Endeavor and previously served as co-president of WME IMG and EVP of Programming and Production at ESPN.
*Egon Durban – Is the Co-CEO at Silver Lake Partners and also serves as the Chairman of the Board at Endeavor Group Holdings.
*Jonathan Kraft – President of The Kraft Group, which is a holding company and president of the New England Patriots, and the son of owner Robert Kraft. He has an MBA from Harvard
*Sonya Medina – A government and public affairs strategist who previously worked at the White House and serves on several boards including for Papa Johns and Delta Apparel. At 47, she is the youngest member of the board of directors.
*Steve Koonin – The CEO of the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena where the Hawks play. In 2000, Koonin became the president of TNT and oversaw the network for the final year of Monday Nitro. He eventually oversaw the entire entertainment division including TNT and TBS and stayed until 2014.
*Nancy Tellem – Former president of CBS Network Television Entertainment Group and Xbox Entertainment Studios. She is the current chief media officer and executive chairwoman at Eko which specializes in interactive video. She founded a non-profit called BasBlue in 2020.
*Carrie Wheeler – The CEO of Opendoor and previous its CFO. She worked at TPG Capital for 21 years where she served as a partner and head of retail and consumer investing.
**The G1 Climax concludes this weekend with two nights at Ryogoku Kokugikan (Sumo Hall) as the tournament is down to Kazuchika Okada vs. EVIL and Tetsuya Naito vs. Will Ospreay. My thought is that the favorites to win the entire thing are Naito or Ospreay with the former making a lot of sense and tying together SANADA’s exit from LIJ and having to face his former leader. It doesn’t feel like the time for Okada to win again when he has an outstanding program with Kaito Kiyomiya and since they didn’t have the rematch in the G1, must be earmarked for a bigger show. EVIL already pinned SANADA and that should make him the natural title challenger for the October show at Sumo Hall. You could have EVIL beat Okada (which would infuriate the audience) and face Naito in the final with the former stablemates facing off, SANADA stops House of Torture and gives Naito a fair shot and he wins. That allows for SANADA and EVIL to heat up their rematch in October and the long-term match between SANADA and Naito at Wrestle Kingdom. While that’s the larger story, Ospreay really feels like “the guy” right now and certainly more than SANADA is. Ospreay has been the performer of the tournament and just had two Match of the Year contenders this week with El Phantasmo and David Finlay except this year Ospreay’s matches with Kenny Omega have set the bar at an unattainable level for the others. They need to have a rubber match between Ospreay and Omega and if it isn’t happening at All In, it should be at Wrestle Kingdom.
**In what could be the first of more dominoes to fall, the NFL Network and NFL RedZone are going direct-to-consumer (DTC). The two cable networks will still be available on traditional cable carriers but now allows for access with NFL+ streaming subscribers having access to the NFL Network ($6.99 per month and $49.99 per year) and NFL RedZone available to subscribers of NFL+ Premium ($14.99 per month and $99.99 per year). It is the first major move by a cable network to go DTC with the NFL Network falling to 51.1 million homes in the U.S., which John Ourand reports is down by five million homes since last September. The major story the industry is awaiting is ESPN’s move to go direct-to-consumer with the concern that once ESPN is available digitally that it will lead to a major loss of cable subscribers and affect all other networks. Bob Iger spoke to CNBC last month and said they have a date in mind for ESPN to go DTC but would not reveal when that is. (Sports Business Journal)
**WWE kicks off a Canadian tour with Friday Night SmackDown at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta tonight. The company will be holding Raw and SmackDown in Winnipeg, Toronto, and Quebec City over the next ten days along with multiple house shows. The last update from WrestleTix had over 9,700 tickets distributed for tonight’s show in Calgary, so it could surpass 10k. The following matches have been announced:
*United States Championship: Austin Theory © vs. Santos Escobar
*AJ Styles vs. Karrion Kross
The show is centered around a big Bloodline segment that is being promoted as “Hail to the Chief” involving Roman Reigns and Jimmy Uso. It remains to be seen what Reigns’ involvement will be wrestling-wise on the next PLEs with Payback on September 2 and Fast Lane on October 7. One natural direction is Jey Uso left on his own against The Bloodline and has to seek help from Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens, who were the ones that predicted this would happen. Zayn and Owens are both nursing injuries.
**AEW Rampage airs at 10 p.m. ET on TNT with the following matches taped in Columbus, Ohio:
*AEW International Championship: Orange Cassidy © vs. Johnny TV
*Saraya vs. Skye Blue – Winner enters the four-way match at All In
*Aussie Open vs. Truth Magnum & Turbo Floyd
*Brian Cage vs. Darby Allin
**The WWE stock dropped 2% on Friday and closed at $111.70.
**Jake Paul appeared on his brother Logan’s Impaulsive podcast this past week after his unanimous decision win against Nate Diaz. The two got very heated at points of the conversation with Logan accusing Jake of stealing potential opponents from him including Diaz (WWE was attempting to put that fight together and promote it on their own, which Nate Diaz balked at). Jake stated that Logan doesn’t fight often enough and didn’t believe amateur fights were the same as pro fights adding that he felt Floyd Mayweather Jr. beat Logan even though Jake said the opposite at the time to support his brother (the two had an exhibition fight in June 2021 and therefore, no winner was declared after eight rounds). Logan also felt insulted when he arrived at the American Airlines Center in Dallas and was told he could not be seen with a PRIME Energy drink because they had an exclusive energy drink endorsement, and Logan couldn’t believe they would harm his own business and tell him what to wear or what to carry inside. It got to a point in the discussion where Jake believes Logan has deep-rooted trauma and when Logan pressed him to explain, Jake felt it was better to have that conversation in private. If you watch the Netflix documentary on Jake, you can see both the friction and love the brothers have for one another, and nine times out of ten, you would scoff at the notion of two brothers fighting one another but these two are incredibly savvy and there is no doubt there would be great interest in the Paul brothers fighting and that’s the oxygen these guys live on. Logan Paul is set to fight Dillon Danis on October 14 in Manchester on the PRIME Energy card along with KSI vs. Tommy Fury (who is the lone blemish on Jake’s record). Jake admitted he would lose to Nate Diaz if they fought in MMA right now but in a year, he thinks he could be competitive.
**The latest Pollstar data includes figures for two AEW events in July. The July 5 episode of Dynamite at Rogers Place in Edmonton Alberta sold 5,144 tickets with a gate of $309,952 (USD) with tickets priced from $15 to $160. The July 22 episode of Dynamite from the Prudential Center in Newark sold 6,044 tickets and drew a gate of $376,456 with tickets ranging from $35-$156.
**AAA holds its third of three TripleMania XXXI events on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET from Mexico City and streaming on FITE TV. It is the climax of the Guerra de Rivalidades tournament with a four-way match involving Rush, LA Park, Sam Adonis, and Psycho Clown with the loser of their fall either unmasking or shaving their head. The teams of Psycho Clown & Adonis and Rush & Park wrestled to a draw last month and thus, the four-way match is headlining instead of a 1-on-1 match. The rest of TripleMania includes El Hijo del Vikingo vs. Speedball Mike Bailey vs. Daga vs. Jack Cartwheel for the Mega Championship, Brian Cage vs. Pentagon Jr. vs. QT Marshall vs. Dralistico for the vacant AAA Latin American title (vacated by Rey Fenix), Negro Casas vs. Nicho el Millonario (the former Psicosis), Taya Valkyrie vs. Flammer for the Reina de Reinas Championship (Taya won the title in April 2022 but has not defended it since October), a Copa TripleMania Match, and a Trios Match with Dalys, Sexy Star II & Lady Shani vs. La Hiedra, Chik Tormenta & Maravilla.
**GCW presents ‘No Signal in the Hills 3’ in Los Angeles tonight and streams on FITE+ at 11 p.m. ET. The card includes Blake Christian vs. Chris Bey for the GCW title, Joey Janela & Sawyer Wreck vs. John Wayne Murdoch & Reed Bentley, Nick Gage vs. Johnny Game Changer (John Hennigan), Jack Cartwheel vs. Leon Slater, Mance Warner vs. Gringo Loco, Los Macizos & Lil Cholo vs. Bodhi Young Prodigy, Damian Drake & Matt Vandagriff, Effy vs. Jacob Fatu, and Maki Itoh vs. Allie Katch vs. Steph De Lander vs. Masha Slamovich.
**Due to the demand, IMPACT Wrestling has added a second show in Coventry, England for its U.K. tour in October. They will be running shows on October 26 in Glasgow, October 27 in Newcastle, and October 28 & 29 in Coventry. They are advertising Grado for the tour.
**Hot Docs in Toronto will be screening GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling documentary on Friday, September 15 at 9:15 p.m. ET. The 2012 doc was the inspiration for the Netflix series that ran for three seasons based on the ‘80s syndicated television program.
**Jorge Masvidal spoke with Justin Barrasso of SI.com on the potential of working with WWE. The retired fighter stated, “I’m very busy, but if the compensation makes sense, then let’s do it.” It sounded more like a hypothetical from Masvidal, who will turn 39 later year and cannot fathom him doing anything on a regular basis in pro wrestling. He did come in for a big angle in AEW including recreating the flying knee spot to knock out Chris Jericho but that went nowhere between the two. The bar is very high for celebrities and fighters to crossover to WWE and it’s arguable how much Masvidal would mean to bring outside interest, although he has clearly meant a lot in Miami as evidenced this past April for his fight with Gilbert Burns. After four consecutive losses, Masvidal announced his retirement after the decision loss to Burns.
**John Nash at Bloody Elbow has a breakdown of the ruling this week on the UFC antitrust suit. We will be speaking about the suit in great detail next week on Pollock & Thurston.
**The UFC Fight Night card on Saturday airs on ESPN & ESPN+ from the UFC Apex. Last Saturday’s main card drew 1.3 million viewers which was an astounding number for a card that had Cory Sandhagen vs. Rob Font in the main event.
Vicente Luque is the headline fight against Rafael dos Anjos after his career nearly ended due to a brain hemorrhage. Luque was knocked out by Geoff Neal in August 2022 and learned of the brain injury. He told the media that he took six months off from sparring and changed the way he spars. Luque was cleared by the Nevada Athletic Commission to resume fighting with Saturday being his first one since the brain injury. Jeff Mullen of the NAC stated that Luque was cleared by a neurosurgeon and neurologist.
Below is the complete card for Saturday:
MAIN CARD (7 p.m. ET on ESPN & ESPN+)
*Vicente Luque (21-9-1) vs. Rafael dos Anjos (32-14)
*Cub Swanson (28-13) vs. Hakeem Dawodu (13-3-1)
*Chris Daukaus (12-6) vs. Khalil Rountree Jr. (11-5)
*Polyana Viana (13-5) vs. Iasmin Lucindo (14-5)
*AJ Dobson (5-2) vs. Tafon Nchukwi (6-3)
*Jamie Pickett (13-9) vs. Josh Fremd (8-4)
PRELIMINARY CARD (4 p.m. ET on ESPN & ESPN+)
*JP Buys (9-5) vs. Marcus McGhee (5-1)
*Terrance McKinney (13-6) vs. Mike Breeden (10-5)
*Isaac Dulgarian (5-0) vs. Francis Marshall (7-1)
*Martin Buday (12-1) vs. Josh Parisian (15-5)
*Montserrat Conejo (10-2) vs. Jaqueline Amorim (6-1)
*Juliana Miller (3-2) vs. Luana Santos (3-1)
*Da’Mon Blackshear (13-5-1) vs. Jose Johnson (12-6)
**Bellator 298 takes place from Sioux Falls, South Dakota tonight. The main card airs at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime with Logan Storley (14-2) vs. Brennan Ward (17-6), Valentin Moldavsky (11-3) vs. Steve Mowry (10-0-1), Dalton Rosta (8-0) vs. Aaron Jeffery (13-4), James Gallagher (11-2) vs. James Gonzalez (11-5), and Islam Mamedov (22-2-1) vs. Sidney Outlaw (16-5).
**It was revealed on The MMA Hour this week that Bellator 300 will take place from the Pechanga Arena in San Diego, California on October 7 with four title matches. Usually, I would say that three title matches are excessive but the chance of four fights going 25:00 could make for an unbelievably long event. The card will include Ryan Bader vs. Linton Vasell for the Bellator Heavyweight Championship, Cris Cyborg vs. Cat Zingano for the Featherweight Championship (Zingano has the distinction of saying she fought on the UFC 200 and Bellator 300 cards), Usman Nurmagomedov vs. Brent Primus for the Lightweight title and is part of the Lightweight Grand Prix, and Liz Carmouche vs. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane for the Flyweight Championship. The card will air on Showtime that night and goes head-to-head with WWE Fast Lane on Peacock and a UFC Fight Night card.
G1 CLIMAX – Night 17 Review
John Pollock & Wai Ting review Night 17 of NJPW G1 Climax 33 featuring Quarter Final matches with Kazuchika Okada vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Will Ospreay vs. David Finlay, Hikuleo vs. Tetsuya Naito, and EVIL vs. SANADA.
DOUBLE SHOT: The World According to Marty Jannetty
John Pollock and Wai Ting conclude their weekly look at Dark Side of the Ring with a review of “The World According to Marty Jannetty”.
John Pollock & Wai Ting review AEW Dynamite with The Young Bucks taking on The Hardys and RVD challenges for the FTW Championship.
POLLOCK & THURSTON
John Pollock and Brandon Thurston speak with reporter David Bixenspan about the lawsuit filed by Hulk Hogan after Bash at the Beach 2000.
G1 CLIMAX – Night 16 Review
Davie Portman & Karen Peterson review Night 16 of NJPW G1 Climax 33 as D Block concludes with Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito, Hirooki Goto, Zack Sabre Jr., and Jeff Cobb all in contention to advance.
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