Originally published at POLLOCK'S UPDATE: Showbuzz Daily Shutting Down
POST IT NOTES
**Rewind-A-Raw is up on the site with a review of Monday’s episode in Savannah, ratings notes from Friday, and the updated lineups for NXT and Money in the Bank. We also have a two-hour review of Forbidden Door with our live thoughts and notes from attending the press conference after the show.
**Braden Herrington and Davie Portman are back with upNXT tonight at 10:15 p.m. ET on the POST YouTube channel.
**Mike Straw, a journalist with Insider Gaming, joins Brandon Thurston and I this Thursday at 2 p.m. ET to chat about the release of AEW Fight Forever.
**We have four POST Wrestling Café shows this week beginning with The Double Shot on Wednesday covering the Junkyard Dog episode of Dark Side of the Ring, MCU L8R on Thursday with WH Park & Rich Fann, Rewind-A-SmackDown on Friday, and Collision Course this weekend with Kate from Montreal & John Siino.
Tonight: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John & Wai
Wednesday: The Double Shot – JYD Dark Side of the Ring (Patreon)
Thursday: Pollock & Thurston with Mike Straw
Thursday: MCU L8R – Secret Invasion Ep. 2 (Patreon)
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John & Wai (Patreon)
Saturday: WWE Money in the Bank Review
Sunday: Collision Course with John Siino & Kate from Montreal (Patreon)
**Showbuzz Daily, which has been the industry leader for comprehensive television ratings breakdowns, is shutting down. The site cited the continual migration of audiences from linear television to streaming and not having reliable information for streaming viewership.
Although we didn’t plan this, there’s a sense in which our departure coincides with an inflection point in the entire TV industry. As everyone is aware, the bottom has dropped out of linear viewership, and the ratings have had increasingly less utility. (Last Thursday’s cable ratings in the 18-49 demo included 25 shows clustered between 0.09-0.12, basically molecules of difference.) The balance of home viewing, for better or worse, has swung toward streaming, and the proprietors of those companies have chosen to be opaque with their information, providing data that’s incomplete and unverified when it’s available at all. That very lack of transparency is one of the key issues in the ongoing Writers Guild strike. Meanwhile, scrutiny of linear numbers is becoming a preoccupation akin to documenting angels on the head of a pin.
While cable homes continue to decrease in the U.S., most of the viewership is still through linear television and is going to be the figures to focus on when determining future rights fees and ad rates. It will affect certain aspects of reporting in professional wrestling because what Showbuzz offered was a complete look at the night’s viewership figures and see where pro wrestling ranked among its competition and how other programming performed in the same time slot. Wrestling viewership numbers will continue to be reported but there will be a loss of context – several examples include this past Friday’s number for Rampage, which was nothing special (391,000 and 0.11) but given how low cable numbers were the show managed to rank #11, which is among its highest rankings this year. Similarly, while NXT viewership has increased since the inclusion of main roster talent, it is the show’s ranking among the top ten each Tuesday that has stood out the most and peaked at second place last week among cable originals.
The ranking is key because that is what you’re competing against. While Raw saw years of attrition until this past year, it has maintained a top placement on Monday nights outside of the NFL season and contextualizes its value. This comes during a period where WWE and AEW programming consistently performs well on cable against its competition and during the beginning weeks of Collision where the jury is out.
**AEW Collision ranked fifth among cable originals on Saturday night with 595,000 viewers and 0.21 in the demo. It was second in its timeslot behind the College World Series on ESPN, which topped cable with 2,579,000 and 0.55. Collision also aired against the MLB game on Fox did 1,925,000 and 0.33. The one demographic that grew was adults 50+ from 0.20 to 0.25 this week which reflects an older median age than the premiere. Sizable drops from week one included Males 18-49 (0.48 to 0.29). Adults 18-34 (0.25 to 0.13), Males 12-34 (0.31 to 0.15), and Adults 25-54 (0.38 to 0.26).
It was a significant decrease but still managed to rank second in its timeslot and fifth for the night, which is significantly above the programming in that same TNT timeslot prior. However, it is much cheaper to run a movie in that slot that shells out millions in its next rights deal for a two-hour wrestling program. The health of Collision cannot be determined with a great first week, or a large drop off in the second, but where it settles in and how it looks by mid to late July. Inevitably, the show is going to be hurt in the fall when the Saturday night competition ramps up with college football. Thus far, they have not had a significant UFC card to contend with and in this past weekend’s case, avoided it altogether with UFC running an afternoon event. Collision will avoid Money in the Bank due to the earlier start time, and airs against the UFC 290 prelims on July 8, which is traditionally one of the bigger UFC pay-per-views of the year for International Fight Week. The first head-to-head battle with WWE will be on August 5 when SummerSlam airs against Collision and will be a tough test for AEW.
Week 2 demonstrated that simply having CM Punk wrestling on the show is not going to be a difference-maker on its own and will need to be a scenario where the match feels special. If Samoa Joe beats Roderick Strong on this week’s show, it would line up Punk vs. Joe for the July 8 episode in Regina and would be their first match since 2005 and renew a legendary series of matches from Ring of Honor’s past.
After two weeks of Collision, my personal feeling is that the biggest fight will be one of attrition among its audience. Throwing out all other pro wrestling in the world, just to follow WWE and AEW has become nearly impossible for the average viewer and this past weekend of Friday Night SmackDown, Rampage, Collision, and Forbidden Door requires another level of flexibility in one’s schedule.
**There was an unfortunate incident at the press conference after Forbidden Door on Sunday. During the angle where Chris Jericho challenged Sting & Darby Allin to a Tornado Match at Dynamite, Jericho grabbed a water bottle and hit the object with his bat and the bottle struck reporter John Muse in the face, which led to him being cut and needing to be checked on. While Jericho was likely just acting in the moment and doing what his character would, to me, it was ridiculous that a media member was injured covering a press conference. I am personally not a fan of angles being run during an event that is supposed to be the media’s opportunity to have a dialogue with participants on the show and do their job while not volunteering to be participants in an extension of the on-screen performance. Both WWE and AEW skirt this line where they are both press events and content for their programming and platforms to set up matches and shoot angles. However, it’s another case altogether when there is the chance for injury in these settings and luckily, Muse was okay and was a good sport and returned to his seat to participate in the remainder of the presser. It also could have been a lot worse had Jericho lost his grip on the bat, struck someone in the eye, or any other potential issues by swinging a bat toward reporters in the front row, who had no clue it was coming. While I doubt angles will stop being performed at these press events, I hope a lesson was learned regarding physical ones with the use of weapons.
**NXT holds its second week of ‘Gold Rush’ at the WWE Performance Center and is coming off one of its strongest numbers in history and highest cable ranking since launching on the USA Network in September 2019. There is no Seth Rollins or an equivalent appearing this week on the show. Carmelo Hayes was featured on WWE Raw and while you’d think that exposure would be beneficial, his handling was heavily questionable by losing clean and not coming off as the authentic version of Carmelo Hayes that has set him apart on NXT, instead feeling like an understudy to Seth Rollins, who is not at the same level. There are four title matches tonight including the Heritage Cup on the line with the following advertised:
*NXT Championship: Carmelo Hayes © vs. Baron Corbin
*NXT Women’s Championship: Tiffany Stratton © vs. Thea Hail
*NXT Tag Team Championships: Gallus © vs. Edris Enofe & Malik Blade
*Heritage Cup: Nathan Frazer © vs. Dragon Lee
*Gigi Dolin vs. Kiana James
**The Junkyard Dog episode of Dark Side of the Ring airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET on Vice. JYD (Sylvester Ritter) was a cultural institution in Louisiana and Mississippi after arriving in the territory in late 1979. While never a polished wrestler, he was a star babyface in the territory that drew for years as the company continually ran the Louisiana Superdome for its major shows. He ascended to a top position in the spring of 1980 and first wrestled at the Superdome in July of that year drawing 26,000 paid for a Dog Collar Match with Michael Hayes after a famous angle where JYD was blinded by hair-removing cream. His biggest rival was Ted DiBiase and the two were extremely close with Ritter serving as the best man at DiBiase’s wedding, so DiBiase turning heel was huge for business. Ritter was one of many that jumped on board when Vince McMahon called and left the territory without notice in 1984 and was a huge blow as Bill Watts tried to recreate JYD but could never replicate the charisma and connection Ritter elicited. It was no secret that Ritter that hamstrung by drug use and feel by a noticeable degree in the WWF and was released in 1988. He would have several runs with WCW, but his career withered post-WWF and he died tragically when he fell asleep behind the wheel in 1998 at the age of 45. He was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in March 2004. Those interviewed for tonight’s episode include Jim Ross, Ted DiBiase, Jake Roberts, Koko Ware, Teddy Long, and Jim Cornette.
**WWE Raw did a big number in Canada on Monday with approximately 285,000 viewers. It was the most-watched episode of Raw in the country since April 3, which was the night after WrestleMania 39. We will have more once the U.S. numbers are out.
**A correction from earlier this week, TSN 2 is listing an airing of AEW Collision from Hamilton late Saturday night at Midnight ET. TSN 2 is also listing this Friday’s Rampage at 10 p.m.
**Jack Perry has been added to AEW Dynamite on Wednesday in Hamilton, Ontario for a speaking segment. Perry attacked Hook following the loss to SANADA at Forbidden Door. The show in Hamilton will include Jon Moxley vs. Tomohiro Ishii, Dr. Britt Baker vs. Ruby Soho in the Owen Hart Cup, and a Tornado Match with ‘The Painmaker’ Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara against Sting & Darby Allin.
**Demand Lucha this Thursday in Toronto at Parkdale Hall features El Hijo del Vikingo vs. Speedball Mike Bailey vs. Gringo Loco vs. Jack Cartwheel, Brian Cage vs. Sam Adonis, Los Medicos vs. Level-X, Jody Threat vs. FredDIE, Green Phantom vs. Mega Medico, and Toxin from AAA is listed for the event.
**Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch were on The Today Show to promote Money in the Bank:
John Pollock and Wai Ting review the go-home WWE Raw before Money in the Bank with Cody Rhodes taking on Damian Priest, the NXT Champion in action, and the Women’s MITB Summit.
AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door Review
John Pollock and Wai Ting review AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door 2023 in Toronto featuring Bryan Danielson vs. Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega vs. Will Ospreay.
AEW Collision’s first TV rating, implications for AEW’s next TV deal, WWE ratings/quarter-hour trends deliver big and more in this week’s Wrestlenomics Radio.
Kate From MTL & Wai Ting review the second episode of AEW Collision featuring CM Punk, FTR & Ricky Starks vs. Jay White, Juice Robinson & The Gunns. Also: Swerve vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Brody King vs. Andrade El Idolo, and more.
Wai Ting & Kate from MTL review WWE SmackDown as The Usos explain their defection from The Bloodline. WWE & NXT Women’s Tag Titles are unified when Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler take on Alba Fyre & Isla Dawn.
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