POLLOCK'S UPDATE: SmackDown & Rampage ratings, TNA alive

Originally published at POLLOCK'S UPDATE: SmackDown & Rampage ratings, TNA alive


Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting
Tuesday: The Wellness Policy with Wai Ting, Jordan Goodman & Neal Flanagan
Tuesday: upNXT – Halloween Havoc Night 1
Wednesday: Pollock & Thurston w/ Alan4L
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite
Thursday: ASK-A-WAI Mailbag Show (POST Wrestling Café)
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (POST Wrestling Café)
: The Long & Winding Royal Road w/ WH Park & Braden Herrington (The Funks vs. Stan Hansen & Terry Gordy)
Saturday: Collision Course with Kate from MTL & John Siino (POST Wrestling Café)
Sunday: NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleashed with Karen Peterson & Bruce Lord
Sunday: MCU L8R with WH Park & Rich Fann – Loki Season 2, Ep. 4 (POST Wrestling Café)

You can submit your questions for the ASK-A-WAI Mailbag Show before this Thursday on the POST Wrestling Forum thread OR submit an audio question (for free) at memo.fm/POSTwrestling.


**Friday Night SmackDown averaged 2,253,000 viewers and 718,000 (0.59) in the 18-49 demographic on Fox behind both MLB playoff games. SmackDown fell 7% in viewership and 5% in the demo from the previous week and was its lowest 18-49 audience since September 8 (which was the last week without John Cena when he was wrestling in India). The only sizable decrease was males 18-34 dropping from 198,000 to 154,000 this week or 20%. SmackDown aired against the ending of the Astros vs. Rangers game and had competition from the Diamondbacks vs. Phillies (5,393,000 viewers and 1.30 in the demo) for the entire show. The big segment of the show was 9 – 9:15 p.m. ET with Nick Aldis and Adam Pearce appearing backstage and the Logan Paul confrontation with Rey Mysterio at 2,465,000 viewers and 860,000 in the demo, which were the highest for each all night. (Wrestlenomics & Sports TV Ratings)

In Canada, SmackDown averaged 197,600 viewers and 73,000 in the 25-54 demographic on Sportsnet 360 on a competitive night. SmackDown ranked #5 among sports on Friday behind a CFL game, both MLB playoff games, and a Toronto Raptors pre-season game. The show was down 7% in viewers and 20% in the demo from the previous week.

**AEW Rampage averaged 342,000 viewers and 145,000 (0.11) in the 18-49 demographic on TNT. Mistico clearly moved ticket sales in Texas after his addition but didn’t translate to a larger audience on Rampage, although Mistico and Rocky Romero had the highest performing quarter but not by a discernible amount and the first quarter is typically the highest of the four. This week’s viewership fell by 16% and the demo dropped by 23% and was its lowest 18-49 audience since September 15. The 18-48 audience saw a major loss with women from 88,000 to 45,000 this week while males were identical to the week prior. Adults 18-34 fell by 58% including females dropping from 46,000 to 10,000 this week. Adults 35-49 saw a 9% increase due to males increasing by 25%. Throughout the hour, there was a 12% slide in viewership and a 22% decrease among the 18-49. (Wrestlenomics & Sports TV Ratings)

**The major news from Bound for Glory was the resurrection of the TNA brand, which goes into effect on January 13 with the Hard to Kill pay-per-view at The Palms in Las Vegas. Reverting to the previous branding was met with a lot of praise from fans online and inside the arena at Cicero Stadium. It’s funny how time can lead to everything being viewed through rose-colored glasses as the TNA brand was beyond dead and synonymous with an era of the company they were desperate to get away from and hamstrung by the T&A connotation of which it was inspired. Now, it’s considered the popular era of the company with its time on Spike TV from 2005-14 and fueled by nostalgia. It’s a publicity stunt as much as anything and frankly, the company does need to make some waves while confident their product is strong and just needs to gain attention.

Overall, a name change is going to make no difference beyond some interest for the first show. There was so much concern when WWE had to rebrand in 2002 and it meant nothing in the large scheme of things as no one stopped watching over a letter change nor tuned in because of it. TNA’s Achilles is its level of exposure coupled with a super crowded market where Saturday night alone had three hours of head-to-head programming from AEW. The pending NWA television announcement is going to add more hours to the mix on a relevant network with both companies praying that there’s an untapped fanbase that is tired of a heavy diet of WWE & AEW and wants something different.

The high points from the pay-per-view included the latest classic from Will Ospreay, this one against Speedball Mike Bailey, which stole the show and felt like the true main event to the crowd in Cicero. I really enjoyed the main event between Alex Shelley and Josh Alexander, which was completely different from Ospreay and Speedball with the emphasis placed on Alexander’s weakened triceps after his injury and Alexander attacking Shelley’s knee. In the end, Shelley won with two Shell Shocks in a clean fashion to dispel the myth of him being just a transitional champion and was a great ending to the show prior to the TNA reveal. I’d also recommend the Hall of Fame segments with Traci Brooks and Mike Tenay, who were both excellent and Tenay felt like the Lance Russell of the promotion with his first public appearance in years.

**On the show, Moose said he’s cashing in his Feast or Fired briefcase for an IMPACT Championship shot at Hard to Kill while Jordynne Grace announced that her Call Your Shot Gauntlet win was going towards a Knockouts title match at Hard to Kill. So, those appear to be two of the top matches on January 13.

**WWE Raw takes place from the American Airlines Center in Dallas tonight with WrestleTix reporting nearly 11,400 tickets distributed (up 34% from the last time Raw ran the arena last October on Halloween night). ABC & ESPN are simulcasting the Monday Night Football game between the San Francisco 49ers and Minnesota Vikings. It also airs against Game 7 of the Texas Rangers vs. Houston Astros series.

The following has been announced for tonight:
*Damian Priest vs. Jey Uso
*NXT Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch © vs. Indi Hartwell
*Drew McIntyre vs. Sami Zayn
*New Day vs. Chad Gable & Otis
*Judgment Day’s celebration
*Logan Paul to appear

**The Super Jr. Tag League tour continues with a show on Tuesday morning at 5:30 a.m. ET from Korakuen Hall with the following lineup:
*Super Jr. Tag League: TJP & Francesco Akira vs. Clark Connors & Drilla Moloney
*Super Jr. Tag League: KUSHIDA & Kevin Knight vs. SHO & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
*Super Jr. Tag League: El Desperado & Master Wato vs. YOH & MUSASHI
*Super Jr. Tag League: Robbie Eagles & Kosei Fujita vs. DOUKI & Taka Michinoku
*Super Jr. Tag League: Ryusuke Taguchi & The DKC vs. BUSHI & Titan
*NJPW World TV Championship: Zack Sabre Jr. © vs. Boltin Oleg
*SANADA, Taichi & Yuya Uemura vs. Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi & Yota Tsuji
*Great O-Khan, HENARE & Callum Newman vs. Shota Umino, Ren Narita & Oskar Leube

**WWE is offering one free ticket for any serviceperson looking to attend a WWE event throughout the month of November. The serviceperson can redeem their ticket at the box office of the venue with a valid identification.

**Dwayne Johnson has addressed the recent uproar over his Wax sculpture at Musée Grévin in Paris, France, and its depiction of the performer. The choice of lightening Johnson’s skin was one of the criticisms and others compared Johnson’s depiction to that of Mr. Clean. Johnson responded to comedian James Andre Jefferson Jr.’s roasting of the sculpture’s portrayal and stating his team was reaching out to the museum in hopes of updating the sculpture beginning with his skin color. (Variety)

**Bad Bunny, who just hosted SNL over the weekend, will kick off his 31-city North American tour next February beginning in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Most Wanted Tour does have a date on Saturday, April 6 in Detroit and is the same night as WrestleMania 40 – Night 1, but the tour is not running a show the following night when WrestleMania stages its second night at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Bad Bunny’s tour resumes on Tuesday, April 9 in Washington, D.C., and runs until the end of May. (Pitchfork)

**A great thread on X from @JackSharesGraps going through matches of the candidates on this year’s ballot for the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame.

**DEFY Wrestling has announced that KENTA will defend the promotion’s championship against Joey Janela on November 18 at Washington Hall in Seattle.

**NXT has a lot of matches announced for the first night of Halloween Havoc on Tuesday. The show includes Becky Lynch vs. Lyra Valkryia for the NXT Women’s title, Tony D’Angelo & Channing Lorenzo vs. Andre Chase & Duke Hudson for the NXT tag titles, Blair Davenport vs. Gigi Dolin in a Lights Out Match, Roxanne Perez vs. Kiana James in a Devil’s Playground Match, Bron Breakker vs. Mr. Stone, Lola Vice vs. Karmen Petrovic in the Women’s Breakout semi-final, Arianna Grace vs. Kelani Jordan in the other semi-final match, and Lexis King (the former Brian Pillman Jr.) makes his NXT television debut.

**If the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Philadelphia Phillies tonight, it will force a Game 7 and that will air Tuesday night against Halloween Havoc.

**The World Series begins on Friday with Fox carrying all the games. It’s the reason SmackDown is airing on FS1 this week. If the World Series goes to a sixth game, it will affect the November 3 episode of SmackDown (which is the night before Crown Jewel and will be a taped edition of SmackDown).

**It was thirteen years ago on this date when WWE attempted to shoot its own angle at UFC 121 involving The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar. Moments after Brock Lesnar was defeated by Cain Velasquez for the UFC heavyweight title, he saw ‘Taker being interviewed by reporter Ariel Helwani and walked past them with the two trading words and it being caught on camera. Years later, ‘Taker would share the plan to do something backstage and it just turned out that Helwani sought out an interview with ‘Taker on the floor minutes after the fight. Lesnar must have seen them and walked past them as it wasn’t the usual area where fighters exit the cage. The video was circulated everywhere with 10 million views on YouTube making it the most-watched video that Helwani has ever released on his channel. The idea from WWE’s side was to be able to book Lesnar at WrestleMania 27 the next year against ‘Taker in Atlanta but Dana White turned it down with Lesnar being under contract to UFC. Vince McMahon negotiated with White and went so far as to propose a match on the same card between McMahon and White. McMahon even offered to make it a legitimate fight, which was at another level of insanity. Obviously, it never happened but Lesnar retired a year later after the loss to Alistair Overeem and returned to WWE in April 2012 and they finally did the match in 2014 where Lesnar ended The Undertaker’s streak.


**Islam Makhachev retained the UFC lightweight championship in a decisive fashion at UFC 294. The 155-pound champion stopped Alexander Volkanovski with a head kick followed by hammer fists in the first round. The two contenders for Makhachev appear to be Charles Oliveira (who was originally set to fight Makhachev on this card) and Justin Gaethje, who scored a head kick KO over Dustin Poirier in his last fight in July. For Volkanovski, even though it was a short-notice fight, he is 0-2 against the champion at lightweight and probably eliminates a chance for another shot at that title if Makhachev is the champion. Volkanovski was adamant stating he wants to stay busy and it’s not good for him when he doesn’t have a fight to prepare for. He has been rumored for a fight with Ilia Topuria in January, which seems way too soon for a turnaround after a knockout.

**Khamzat Chimaev answered questions while also leaving a few more after his majority decision win against Kamaru Usman. Chimaev received two 29-27 scores and one judge had it 28-28, which are all defensible scores for the fight. I scored it 29-28 for Chimaev with Usman winning the third round on my card due to his strikes during the first half. Most people gave the first round 10-8 to Chimaev and for me, it was borderline and close enough that you can go either way. One of the big successes for Chimaev was scoring four takedowns on Usman, who has had incredible takedown defense throughout his career. The downside was that Chimaev did leave questions about his gas tank for the full length of a fight and even more so for a five-round contest. Dana White had said the winner would receive a title fight against Sean Strickland and if the candidates are Chimaev and Dricus du Plessis, I assume it will be Chimaev getting the nod as du Plessis appears to be in the doghouse for not turning around quickly enough to fight Israel Adesanya in September. Personally, I’d like to see Chimaev have a five-round main event before fighting for the championship but that’s unlikely. For Usman, he looked great for a fighter taking this contest on such short notice and moving up a weight class. I’d like to see Usman have another middleweight fight with the benefit of a full training camp as he’s 0-2 against welterweight champion Leon Edwards and does hold a 2017 victory over current middleweight champion Sean Strickland.

**After Michael “Venom” Page posted a photo with Dana White, the UFC CEO confirmed the promotion was in talks with the former Bellator fighter. Page (21-2) has been a free agent for several months and was signed after three pro fights by Bellator in 2013. Page went 17-2 while fighting for Bellator and was a major project due to his ultra-fan-friendly style that was often out of a video game. He was criticized along the way for being too protected by the promotion, but he did rise to become a top welterweight and earned wins over Paul Daley, Douglas Lima, and Goiti Yamauchi. At 36, his age puts him into the latter stages of his career and now is the time if he’s going to make a run in the UFC.

**ESPN’s Marc Raimondi had a great piece last week on the behind-the-scenes details of how the UFC salvaged the UFC 294 card when Charles Oliveira and Paulo Costa had to withdraw from their fights. The impetus to go with Alexander Volkanovski was aided by a chance sit-down meeting in September when the UFC was in Australia and Hunter Campbell met with Volkanovski and his agent Ash Belcastro. Volkanovski was going over his goals with the company and the intent to fight Ilia Topuria in January while adding he really wanted a rematch with Islam Makhachev. When Oliveira sustained a major cut that forced his withdrawal, the UFC scrambled and first contacted Justin Gaethje who was sitting at 188 pounds and was not able to take the fight. The UFC inquired into the status of backup Mateusz Gamrot and Dustin Poirier but never offered either man the fight. They went to Volkanovski, who was 181 pounds but accepted it right away and had 11 days to prepare. For the middleweight fight, Jared Cannonier was considered a lock to replace Costa to the point Dana White filmed a breaking news video with the announcement of both fights that had to be scrapped when Cannonier suffered an injury. This led to negotiations between Campbell and Kamaru Usman’s agent Ali Abdelaziz for the former welterweight champion to make the jump in weight and fight on 10 days’ notice. Cannonier appeared on Submission Radio and confirmed he tore his MCL right after the fight was offered and is scheduled for surgery this Thursday.

**Ariel Helwani reported that Bellator has released Dillon Danis from his contract where the 30-year-old has not fought since 2019. Danis just lost his pro boxing debut by disqualification against Logan Paul this month on the Misfits Boxing card in Manchester, England. Danis was roundly criticized for his promotion of the fight by posting explicit images of Paul’s fiancé, Nina Agdal which resulted in a lawsuit filed by Agdal with a temporary restraining order being granted by the judge. Danis was a jiu-jitsu champion who gained notoriety as a training partner of Conor McGregor and made his MMA debut in April 2018 beating Kyle Walker by submission and fought again in June 2019 with an armbar win over Max Humphrey.

**TNT Sports has released a face-off video involving Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou ahead of their fight this Saturday in Saudi Arabia.

**The UFC is off this weekend and returns with a Fight Night card at the Apex in Las Vegas on November 4. That card is headlined by a heavyweight contest between Jailton Almeida (19-2) and Derrick Lewis (27-11, 1 NC). The next pay-per-view is November 11 with UFC 295 from Madison Square Garden with Jon Jones (27-1, 1 NC) vs. Stipe Miocic (20-4) for the heavyweight title and Jiří Procházka (29-3-1) vs. Alex Pereira (8-2) for the vacant light heavyweight title.

**Last week, it was announced that Jake Paul’s next boxing fight is set for Friday, December 15 but no opponent has been revealed. Nate Diaz’s team has angled for a rematch with a poster being distributed from the Diaz camp. Most Valuable Promotions has confirmed Diaz will not be the opponent, stating an offer has been made for the two to have an MMA fight in the PFL and Paul has accepted. The December 15 card will be distributed on DAZN and is a Friday night event, airing on the same night as ROH’s Final Battle.

**The TKO stock closed at $78.84 on Monday.

MCU L8R: Loki Season 2 Ep. 3
WH Park and “Their Man” Neal Flanagan travel to Chicago of 1893 to discuss Loki Season 2 Episode 3. They follow Mobius and Loki as they track down Miss Minutes, Ravonna Renslayer… and who is Victor Timely???
Phil Chertok and Eric Marcotte are back to review UFC 294 from Abu Dhabi featuring the rematch between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski for the UFC lightweight title.
John Pollock & John Siino review IMPACT’s Bound for Glory event featuring Alex Shelley vs. Josh Alexander and the return of “TNA”.
Kate From MTL and Wai Ting review AEW Collision & Battle of the Belts VIII featuring Bryan Danielson vs. Andrade El Idolo in a first-time AEW encounter.
John Pollock and Wai Ting review Friday Night SmackDown with IYO SKY defending the Women’s Championship and the return of Logan Paul.
REWIND-A-WAI #141: WWF WrestleMania X-Seven
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWF WrestleMania X-Seven from April 1, 2001, headlined by The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWF Championship.

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