POLLOCK'S UPDATE: NXT scores highest audience in three years

Originally published at POLLOCK'S UPDATE: NXT scores highest audience in three years

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John Pollock & Wai Ting at 10:05 p.m. ET
Thursday: Tim Hornbaker, author of “The Last Real World Champion”
Friday: The Long & Winding Royal Road with WH Park & Bruce Lord (Kenta Kobashi vs. Dr. Death Steve Williams, Sept. 1994)
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown & IMPACT 1000 (POST Wrestling Café exclusive)
Saturday: Collision Course with Kate from Montreal & Bruce Lord (POST Wrestling Café exclusive)
Sunday: The N.W.A. Podcast

WRESTLING NEWS

**Becky Lynch wrestled on NXT was a massive success with the show averaging 850,000 viewers and 0.26 in the 18-49 demographic. It was the show’s largest demo audience since Sept. 1, 2020, and would be the ninth-highest demo audience in the show’s history. It was their largest overall audience since August 19, 2020. For Tuesday, NXT ranked second among cable originals behind Univision’s coverage of Mexico vs. Uzbekistan. (Sports TV Ratings)

**On the second day of trading, the TKO stock closed at $101.00 and dropped 2% from Tuesday’s closing price.

**There was a TKO media blitz on Tuesday to promote the competition of the merger with several of the executives making the rounds including WWE president Nick Khan and TKO president & COO Mark Shapiro.
*Shapiro appeared on The Town with Matthew Belloni and spoke about their confidence in WWE’s upcoming television rights renewals and felt comfortable with the market expectations that he cited at a 1.4 to 1.5x increase for Raw and Friday Night SmackDown. Analyst Brandon Ross is favoring Amazon as the frontrunner to land SmackDown with Disney also reportedly in the hunt. There was a lot of buzz when Paul Levesque and Ari Emanuel were spotted with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at the New York Fashion Week recently. Shapiro was asked about the prior conflict between Emanuel and the Saudi Arabian government that resulted in Emanuel divesting his company from the Saudis and now back in business with them through WWE’s ten-year deal. Shapiro was diplomatic in stating they didn’t feel comfortable taking their money after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi but that they never said they would never do business with the Saudis.
*Nick Khan was on the Bill Simmons Podcast and was an in-depth wrestling-centric discussion beyond just business notes. Beyond how smooth Khan can be and elegantly dance around controversial subjects like the working dynamic between Vince and Stephanie McMahon and Stephanie’s exit from the company, Khan is well versed in the company’s history. Simmons had a gaffe where he joked about Stephanie returning to the company and aligning herself with Test (Andrew Martin) referring to the 1999 romance storyline between the two and Khan quickly noted that Martin had died (fourteen years ago) along with backstories of multiple characters that were discussed in the interview. Khan alluded to the hope of creating a weekend built around a major WWE & UFC event that they could attract lucrative site fees and stage the events back-to-back on one day, or bring multiple events over several nights such as SmackDown on Friday, a UFC on Saturday, and a WWE event on Sunday to a market. He downplayed the immediate desire for further acquisitions but noted their understanding of the boxing market and the success Logan Paul has had and that individual sports have their attention.

**TKO announced a one-time dividend payout of $3.86 per share for Class A common shares. Vince McMahon, as the largest shareholder with approximately 28.8 million Class A shares will be the largest recipient with a $111.3 million payout.

Regarding future dividends:

Future declarations of dividends are subject to the determination and discretion of TKO’s board of directors based on its consideration of various factors, such as its results of operations, financial condition, market conditions, earnings, cash flow requirements, restrictions in its debt agreements, legal requirements and other factors that TKO’s board of directors deems relevant.

If multiply $3.86 times the number of shares they directly own:

Vince McMahon (28,835,207) = $111.3M
Nick Khan (234,424) = $905k
Paul Levesque (46,060) = $178k
Stephanie McMahon (1,940,190) = $7.5M

That is apart from bonuses some executives got for closing the transaction.

— Brandon Thurston (@BrandonThurston) September 13, 2023

**Bryan Danielson spoke with SI.com and elaborated on his future in pro wrestling. Last Saturday, he indicated he would be winding down his career over the next year as a promise made to his daughter, Birdie, who will be seven years old next May. Danielson clarified that he is likely to take on a much more reduced schedule rather than permanently retiring from in-ring action and added that he would like to wrestle at All In next August:

I don’t think I’ll ever reach a point where I declare I’m absolutely done. I want the ability to show up when I want to show up. Terry Funk is someone I always admired. He retired a million times, but he loved it so much he couldn’t help but keep doing it. And he did it when he wanted. For me, it might be a couple times a year, or it might be years between matches.

**AEW Dynamite is at the Heritage Bank Center in Cincinnati tonight with the latest WrestleTix update pegging the advance at just under 2,500 and essentially half of what they drew the last time they ran the arena last October. It’s a larger story now that All In is over about the state of the company’s domestic ticket sales and not contained to several markets but a growing trend. It will be pronounced next week when they return to Arthur Ashe Stadium unless there is some unforeseen surge in ticket movement with the current advance at approximately 6,300 tickets out.

Here are the announced matches and segments for Dynamite tonight on TBS:
*World Title Eliminator Tournament (Finals): Samoa Joe vs. Roderick Strong
*AEW International Championship: Jon Moxley © vs. Big Bill
*4-Way Eliminator Match: Dr. Britt Baker vs. Hikaru Shida vs. Nyla Rose vs. Toni Storm
*Brian Cage vs. Hangman Page
*Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara speak
*Don Callis reveals the next target

**Cody Rhodes has been scheduled for multiple appearances at Friday Night SmackDown events in November and December. After WWE released its latest calendar of events, Rhodes listed the shows he would be appearing on. It included SmackDown dates on November 10 (Columbus, Ohio), November 17 (Evansville, Indiana), December 1 (Brooklyn, New York), December 8 (Providence, Rhode Island), and December 15 (Green Bay, Wisconsin). It is possible these could be dark matches as opposed to appearing on the show itself.

**Monday Night Football’s audience had a combined audience of approximately 22.6 million viewers for the season opener between the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets magnified by the injury to Aaron Rodgers. The number is a combined audience between ABC, ESPN, ESPN 2 & ESPN Deportes and led to WWE Raw’s lowest audience for a first-run episode in its history. The MNF figure tops the previous record of 21.8 million viewers for the Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings in 2009 with Brett Favre playing against the Packers. On that night, Raw had 4,710,000 viewers in its two-hour format. (Austin Karp)

**IMPACT 1000 is being split up over two weeks with the first part airing this Thursday from last Saturday’s taping in White Plains, New York. This week’s show will include Team 3D in action, Lio Rush vs. Chris Sabin for the X Division title, Frankie Kazarian & Traci Brooks vs. Eddie & Alisha Edwards, a Feast or Fired Match, and an appearance by The Beautiful People. The show airs at 8 p.m. ET on AXS TV and Wai Ting & I will be reviewing the episode on Rewind-A-SmackDown this Friday night.

**Taichi and SHO have outlined their proposals for the rules of their upcoming KOPW Championship match on September 24 in Kobe. Taichi’s proposal is for all members of House of Torture and Just Five Guys to be handcuffed at ringside and if either side breaks free, the match would be a no-contest. SHO’s option is that if he lasts ten minutes with Taichi he wins the title, Taichi is banned from using Black Mephisto and can come up with additional rules due to the weight discrepancy. Essentially, it tells fans to vote for Taichi’s option and the voting begins Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET and runs for seventy-two hours.

**Thursday’s Road to Destruction card in Shizuoka is headlined by SANADA, Taichi, DOUKI & Taka Michinoku against EVIL, SHO, Yujiro & Dick Togo, plus a ten-man tag with LIJ led by Tetsuya Naito against United Empire featuring Will Ospreay and its newest recruit Callum Newman. The next NJPW World broadcast is Sunday morning at 4 a.m. ET when the tour hits Fukuoka.

**Dana White had an intense travel schedule over the past few days. He was in Sydney, Australia for UFC 293 and over to New York City on Tuesday for the TKO launch and ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange and made it to the Contender Series card on Tuesday evening in Las Vegas. White spoke with the media after the card and emphasized what a big day it was for the sport and making a lot of his goals more doable with the mention of Performance Institutes opening around the world. With the switch to the title of UFC CEO, he called it a “lateral move” and just a title switch stating that he runs everything related to UFC business.

**UFC 295 on November 11 at Madison Square Garden could set a new gate record for the UFC. While many have scoffed at the exorbitant ticket prices, the advance is very strong with WrestleTix reporting over 14,200 tickets distributed and less than 5,000 tickets remaining under the current set-up. On StubHub, the cheapest tickets to enter are priced at $640 U.S. and this will threaten the all-time gate record of $17.7 million set at UFC 205 in the same arena in November 2016 for Eddie Alvarez vs. Conor McGregor and their first card at The Garden. UFC 295 will be headlined by a UFC heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic.

*****
POLLOCK & THURSTON
John Pollock and Brandon Thurston discuss the completed merger between WWE and UFC to form TKO Group Holdings and the ramifications.
*****
upNXT
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman are back to review WWE NXT from September 12th, 2023 featuring Tiffany Stratton vs. Becky Lynch for the NXT Women’s Championship.
*****
REWIND-A-RAW
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE Raw with a rematch between Rhea Ripley and Raquel Rodriguez, and a former champion’s surprise return.
*****
COLLISION COURSE
Kate From MTL & Wai Ting review AEW Collision as Bryan Danielson calls out his Wrestle Dream opponent, a former champ returns, and Grand Slam semifinals take place with Samoa Joe vs. Penta El Zero M and Roderick Strong vs. Darby Allin.
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN
John Pollock & Wai Ting discuss WWE SmackDown featuring AJ Styles taking on Jimmy Uso, and Judgment Day in action.
*****
REWIND-A-WAI #138: UFC 200
John Pollock & Wai Ting review UFC 200 as Anderson Silva steps in on 3 days’ notice to replace Jon Jones in a much-hyped fight against Daniel Cormier. Plus, Brock Lesnar makes his return to the octagon and Amanda Nunes begins her legendary title reign.
*****

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