POLLOCK'S UPDATE: Reaction to Collision, WBD on CM Punk's status, NXT ratings

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2023/05/17/pollocks-update-reaction-to-collision-wbd-on-cm-punks-status-nxt-ratings/


**Rewind-A-Dynamite is live at 10 p.m. ET tonight. Wai Ting & I will be joined by Brandon Thurston at the beginning to discuss today’s news about AEW Collision, the upfront presentation, and any additional details from Dynamite.

**Rewind-A-Wai #131 will be out on Thursday for POST Café members as we review All Japan Women’s Dream Slam II event from April 1993. The card is headlined by Manami Toyota & Toshiyo Yamada against Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki for the WWWA tag titles in the 1993 ‘Match of the Year’ as voted by readers of the Observer. Karen Peterson is our guest on the show, which was chosen by Espresso Executive Producer Justin Killian.

**Tony Maglio of IndieWire joins Brandon Thurston and I this Friday to discuss the news from the WBD upfront presentation.


Tonight: Rewind-A-Dynamite w/ Brandon Thurston (10 p.m. ET)
Thursday: Rewind-A-Wai – AJW Dream Slam II (Patreon)
Friday: Pollock & Thurston – Tony Maglio of IndieWire
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (Patreon)
Saturday: The Long & Winding Royal Road
Saturday: The N.W.A. Podcast
Sunday: Wrestlenomics Radio
Sunday: NJPW Resurgence POST Show with Bruce Lord & Karen Peterson (Patreon)


**The expected announcement of AEW’s expanded programming was made at Wednesday’s WBD upfront presentation in New York. The news was released by WBD and AEW prior to executive Kathleen Finch announcing the addition of Collision on stage at the Hulu Theatre near the end of her presentation. The show will launch on Saturday, June 17 with an 8-10 p.m. ET slot on TNT. The press release noted that the new series would feature Miro, Samoa Joe, Thunder Rosa, Powerhouse Hobbs, and Andrade El Idolo (a graphic promoting the show includes Bryan Danielson, Scorpio Sky, Hangman Page, and Jack Perry). SI’s Jimmy Traina noted that the email sent out by AEW include CM Punk’s name, but the press release posted omitted Punk’s name. Tony Khan said there would be more news tonight on Dynamite and one would assume they have to start promoting the first event with one month to sell tickets.

In the short term, CM Punk will be the biggest factor in this show’s success and in creating enough buzz for that initial broadcast. Long-term, there are many issues with a Saturday prime-time airing that AEW will have to combat. From a ticket-selling standpoint, Saturday is a stronger night than Wednesday, but they are not adding this show for additional ticket revenue. This past Saturday, cable was dominated by ESPN as they occupied nine of the top ten spots that ranged from 0.18 in the 18-49 demos for On Patrol Live to 0.67 for the NHL playoffs. The only TNT/TBS property among the top 150 cable programs this past Saturday was Rampage at 0.07 and aside from their biggest sports events like the NBA All-Star Game, TNT rarely does an audience on Saturday night and Collision should ensure a change to that trend outside of playoff season.

ESPN is a monster on Saturday nights and just about every week will see opposition from the UFC and more directly, a once-a-month head-to-head battle with a WWE premium live event.

The biggest question remains unanswered regarding the financials of Collision and what offsets another night of taping for AEW, which is a sizable expense, additional travel, and a much tougher week for those needed on both Wednesday and Saturday.

While there had been reports that Collision is linked to a new television rights agreement with WBD, nothing was reported on that front, and remains unknown if Dynamite is attached to this. In the latest deal signed in January 2020, there was an option for the final year that WBD could exercise, which would take them well into 2024 but it’s unknown if that option has been enabled, or if they will have a new deal entirely.

Fightful has reported that the latest word is that it will be a firm brand split except for the active champions and special circumstances where talent can appear on the opposite show. If so, it would see WWE and AEW each attempting their own brand splits with the natural comparisons being made. While so much is tied to CM Punk for Collision getting off to a strong start, he is not the long-term player this show can be built around. He will be 45 years old later this year and given the All Out blow-up and several injuries, it’s reasonable to question how long AEW can rely on Punk as opposed to being prepared for one of several shoes to drop. The show needs to have a strong depth of stars that can carry a second night of the week and make Collision equal, if not superior, to Dynamite as a weekly must-see program and not falter as Rampage eventually did.

We are entering a period where AEW will be producing seven hours of original programming and more on a pay-per-view week. Rampage would seem to be the program losing, even more, luster and is coming off its lowest viewership average ever – granted, it aired on a different night, but it’s bounced around many times throughout the show’s history and never done such low figures. Regardless of the numbers, it’s enough to sustain on a bad night of the week where it can still be among the higher programs in its time slot.

Ring of Honor’s identity is a question mark because two hours of prime-time programming on TNT should mean that talents like Eddie Kingston should not be wrestling on ROH with 15,000 subscribers. It is strange that Khan was shopping this program and settled on Honor Club when WBD wouldn’t bite, and now WBD is adding a two-hour wrestling program with the only difference being the branding.

We will be discussing Collision and any additional news on Rewind-A-Dynamite tonight as Brandon Thurston from Wrestlenomics will join us at the start of the show at 10 p.m. ET.

**When asked by Connor Casey of Comicbook.com about the status of CM Punk on Collision, a WBD representative issued a statement that:

CM Punk is not affiliated with TNT’s AEW Collision.

**There is nothing to report yet regarding a Canadian outlet for Collision, although we have reached out to multiple parties. We have also inquired about international windows for regions without television deals and are hopeful of finding out additional information on that front. In Canada, Dynamite airs weekly on TSN 2 while Rampage is only available through the TSN+ streaming service. TSN never picked up All Access for either linear or streaming.

**During the Fox upfront presentation, Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch stated it was “highly unlikely”
 that they would be bidding on the rights for the NBA when they are up after the 2024-25 season. Murdoch also stated that WWE and NASCAR have been great partners but Fox needs to be disciplined, according to LightShed’s Brandon Ross.

**NXT averaged 564,000 viewers and 0.14 in the 18-49 demographic on Tuesday, which ranked #15 among cable originals. The L.A. Lakers are the hot team, so airing against one of their games is death right now. The Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets averaged 7.1 million viewers while the draft lottery that aired at 8 p.m. ET did 3.2 million viewers, so it was a tough night of sports. NXT dropped six percent in viewers (lowest since 4/11) and declined 18 percent in 18-49 (lowest since 4/18). In the key demo, women dropped by 25 percent with men down by 14 percent. 18-34 only declined by eight percent while 35-49 was down by 23 percent and 50+ was even with last week’s number. In Canada, it was the first time the show aired in its regular time on Sportsnet 360 since 3/27, and the show averaged approximately 41,000 viewers and 13,000 in the 25-54 demo, so the playoffs hurt that audience sizably in its first week back. (Wrestlenomics and Showbuzz Daily)

**The WWE stock took a sizable hit on Wednesday dropping by nearly eight percent and closing at $100.91.

**The Raine Group is set to earn $65.5 million for their role in brokering the merger between WWE and UFC once the deal is approved later this year. JPMorgan and Moelis, who were also enlisted to work with the parties will each receive approximately $25 million, according to last Friday’s SEC filings. The Raine Group has worked with Endeavor on several major deals including the recent sale of the IMG Academy, and with Endeavor’s purchase of the UFC in 2016. (Financial Times)

**AEW Dynamite is at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas tonight. The show airs against Game 1 of the Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics, although there are no NHL games. The news of Collision and more potential announcements could aid tonight’s number but it’s stiffer competition with each passing week as the NBA playoffs get deeper and the games become more important. Below are the matches and segments for the show at 8 p.m. ET on TBS:
*Falls Count Anywhere: Chris Jericho vs. Roderick Strong
*Jack Perry vs. Rush
*Ricky Starks vs. Jay White
*Jamie Hayter, Dr. Britt Baker & Hikaru Shida vs. Saraya, Toni Storm & Ruby Soho
*Orange Cassidy & Darby Allin vs. Lee Moriarty & Big Bill
*Sammy Guevara in action
*Don Callis speaks

**Trinity’s first match with IMPACT will air on Thursday night on AXS TV and it will be interesting if it can make any difference for the show’s viewership which hovers around the range of 115,000 viewers lately. The show was taped at Cicero Stadium in Chicago and the following matches are listed for this week’s program:
*Trinity vs. KiLynn King
*Moose, Eddie Edwards & Frankie Kazarian vs. Alex Shelley, Jonathan Gresham & Yuya Uemura
*Trey Miguel vs. Laredo Kid
*Ace Austin vs. Jason Hotch
*Before the Impact: Deaner & Kon vs. Johnny Swinger & Zicky Dice

**The NJPW Best of the Super Juniors tournament continued on Wednesday with a card at Sendai’s Sun Plaza Hall. After five days, the A Block has a three-way tie for first place. Lio Rush, Speedball Mike Bailey, and Taiji Ishimori each have 4-1 records with eight points. Rush lost his first match of the tournament when he was submitted by DOUKI on today’s card and was the last undefeated participant. Robbie Eagles pinned Yoshinobu Kanemaru to improve to 4-1 and occupy first place in the B Block. Ryusuke Taguchi and BUSHI are 0-5 and in last place among their respective blocks. They continue Thursday in Iwate with the following matches streaming on New Japan World:
*B BLOCK: Master Wato vs. Robbie Eagles
*A BLOCK: Hiromu Takahashi vs. KUSHIDA
*B BLOCK: YOH vs. Francesco Akira
*A BLOCK: Lio Rush vs. Titan
*B BLOCK: El Desperado vs. Clark Connors
*A BLOCK: Taiji Ishimori vs. SHO
*B BLOCK: Kevin Knight vs. Dan Moloney
*A BLOCK: TJP vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
*B BLOCK: Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. BUSHI
*A BLOCK: Speedball Mike Bailey vs. DOUKI

**All Japan holds a card on Thursday morning from Shin-Kiba 1st Ring and is headlined by T-Hawk taking on Ryuki Honda to determine who will challenge Yuji Nagata for the Triple Crown on 5/29 at Korakuen Hall. The match is happening due to Shotaro Ashino’s broken arm after winning the Champion Carnival tournament last week when he beat T-Hawk. Nagata teams with Kento Miyahara & Satoshi Kojima against Shuji Ishikawa, Yuma Aoyagi & Yoshitatsu, and Manabu Soya takes on Suwama in the top matches on Thursday’s show.

**John Cena is doing a lot of press for the premiere of Fast X on Thursday – the latest installment of the Fast & Furious franchise. Cena reprises his role as Jakob Toretto, the brother of Vin Diesel’s character. Cena was on TODAY and revealed that he has a role in this summer’s Barbie movie:

Fasten your seatbelts: @JohnCena joins Hoda and Jenna to talk all about #FASTX @TheFastSaga.

He talks about his role in the star-studded movie, opens up about keeping his private life private, including his marriage to his wife Shay Shariatzadeh, #BarbieMovie, and more. pic.twitter.com/hlXpKPT51v

— TODAY with Hoda & Jenna (@HodaAndJenna) May 15, 2023


Bruno Sammartino’s first legendary WWWF Championship reign begins in 1963 when he defeated Buddy Rogers at Madison Square Garden in 48 seconds. Sammartino’s reign lasted nearly eight years when finally lost the title to Ivan Koloff in January 1971 in one of the most stunning defeats of all time. Sammartino would have a second reign that began in 1973 and lasted until his loss to Superstar Billy Graham in April 1977.

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