POLLOCK'S UPDATE: WrestleMania in London, Observer Hall of Fame

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2023/07/03/pollocks-update-wrestlemania-in-london-observer-hall-of-fame/


**Rewind-A-Raw airs tonight at 11 p.m. ET with Wai Ting & John Pollock going over some changes to the POST Wrestling Café and a full review of Raw from Baltimore. Tune in live on the POST YouTube channel.

**The feedback thread is open for this week’s Rewind-A-Wai covering ROH Supercard of Honor 2013 feat. Kevin Steen vs. Jay Briscoe for the ROH Championship. Post your questions and thoughts by Tuesday at Noon ET with the show coming out this Thursday on the POST Wrestling Café.

**Our weekly Collision Course show is available for POST Wrestling Café members as Kate from Montreal & John Siino review Saturday’s show from Hamilton and the third week of the new AEW series.


Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting
Wednesday: upNXT with Davie Portman & Braden Herrington
Wednesday: Pollock & Thurston w/ guest Chris Hero
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite
Wednesday: NJPW Independence Day Review with Karen Peterson & Bruce Lord (Patreon)
Thursday: Rewind-A-Wai – ROH Supercard of Honor VII (Patreon)
Friday: MCU L8R with WH Park & Rich Fann (Patreon)
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John Pollock & Andrew Thompson (Patreon)
Sunday: Collision Course with Kate from Montreal & John Siino (Patreon)


**If there was any doubt about where the top companies are prioritizing mass revenues for major shows, it was displayed during John Cena’s cameo segment at Money in the Bank at the O2 Arena. Cena shocked the crowd with an unannounced appearance and used the segment to campaign for WrestleMania coming to London and creating a public demand for the event. If WrestleMania was already earmarked for the city, it would have made more sense to have Cena announce it and create a ton of publicity coming off Saturday’s show. Instead, it was presented as a theoretical and one is left to connect the dots.

Last year, WWE received a fee from the Welsh Government for Clash at the Castle but is not believed to have received any fee for Money in the Bank in London. Nick Khan has openly spoken about their desire of securing subsidies for all their premium live events with this year’s Royal Rumble and Backlash receiving fees and possibly WrestleMania in Los Angeles.

London is a major tourist hub and therefore, is less incentivized to spend government dollars for major events and that is likely an element of the game being played with John Cena used as the public chess piece. The earliest London could secure the big show would be 2025 with next year’s event set for Philadelphia and the 2027 edition reportedly set for Nashville when a new stadium is built. If a deal is not struck for London, then the company will act like Cena’s promo never existed and hope that fans in the country have a short memory (although, this isn’t the first time Cena has campaigned for WrestleMania in the city).

In terms of location, there is no longer the risk of running a major show in London that airs in the afternoon for North American viewers. That was cited as a key reason for WWE failing to follow up on SummerSlam 1992 with another stadium pay-per-view in the years to follow. It’s a totally different business today where streaming viewing is a lot different than paying $30-60 for a pay-per-view.

For two nights of WrestleMania at a major stadium like Wembley, WWE’s live gates would be significantly into the eight figures with tourists from around the world coming to one of the world’s hot spots. The added incentive would be destroying the existing U.K. record that is now occupied by AEW for the All In event this August which stands at $8.3 million+. 

Another aspect to the WrestleMania tease in London is ongoing talks WWE is having with BT Sport (which is set to rebrand as TNT Sports this month) with Nick Khan attending Money in the Bank. In May, Khan confirmed ongoing talks with the broadcaster after signing a multi-year agreement in 2019:

We’re having conversations about both the core content rights and the WWE Network now with the buyers in the UK.

Part of the reason for having the Money in the Bank event [on] July 1 at The O2 Arena in London is so the buyers can see our product live – the ones who haven’t seen it yet.

There are many balls in the air regarding WWE’s U.K. plans between WrestleMania, the BT Sport deal, the status of NXT Europe, and augmenting AEW’s massive introduction to the market this summer but it was a notable tactic using its most recognizable personality as a pitchman on a live premium live event that was about a lot more than simply appearing as a surprise.

**This past Friday, I was on a panel for Wrestling Observer Radio to discuss the U.S. & Canadian candidates on the ballot for this year’s Observer Hall of Fame. For years, I felt this section of the ballot struggled in terms of meaningful candidates with much greater depth in the section for Mexico, Japan, Europe/UK, and the Historical ones. However, with many additions, this year’s U.S. & Canada section will have many interesting names between CM Punk, The Young Bucks, Jon Moxley, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Edge, Randy Orton, Sgt. Slaughter, and Junkyard Dog.

The Bucks are on the ballot for the first time this year and I believe are a strong set of candidates for several reasons. The impact on the industry is a big one from being key players in the Indie renaissance of 2014-2018, architects of All In, the development of AEW (where it’s questionable if the promotion is even launched if they aren’t available), and some of the best tag matches of all-time for the last decade. As we discussed, the Bucks are Punk are probably candidates that people have made their minds up on their candidacy long before their issues last year and I don’t see that having any meaningful impact on whether they are in or not. For the record, I expect to vote for both and did vote for Punk last year.

Jon Moxley and Seth Rollins are also added to the ballot this year, so you have all three members of The Shield eligible to go in. Of the three, Roman Reigns has the strongest case and it’s really difficult to argue against him after this past year regardless of your opinions of his 2015-2019 singles push. In the years to come, you’re going to have candidates like Cody Rhodes, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and The Usos and it becomes a really crowded section of the ballot. My impression is that the addition of so many candidates is going to hurt the chances of periphery candidates like Edge and Randy Orton, who one would assume would’ve gotten in by now if they were going to make it. That said, sometimes a candidate sits on the ballot forever and then gets through like Sting or Sgt. Slaughter (who got 59% of votes in 2021 and 57% last year and could make it in 2023 after years of eligibility).

The panel show consisted of Dave Meltzer, Garrett Gonzales, and Paul Fontaine and we are planning to do another roundtable around late August or September once we have our ballots in order.

**Due to the 4th of July, ratings will be delayed this week. The SmackDown & Rampage numbers will be out at their normal time today with no ratings information being released on Tuesday. The AEW Collision number will be out Wednesday morning and the Raw number out on Wednesday afternoon. NXT and Dynamite figures will come out on Thursday afternoon and the AEW Dynamite number will be out on Friday afternoon.

**His family has launched a scholarship fund in memory of Darren Drozdov. The scholarship will assist athletes from Oakcrest High School in New Jersey, where Drozdov attended with donations being sought for the fund in lieu of flowers.

**WWE Raw is at the CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore, Maryland tonight for the show following Money in the Bank. Traditionally, this is one of the toughest weeks of the year for Raw with the episode airing the night before the 4th of July holiday in the U.S. Next Monday, the show airs against the MLB Home Run Derby. Thus far, the only announcement for Raw is that Rhea Ripley will defend the Women’s Championship against Natalya in a rematch from Night of Champions in May.

**During the MJF segment on Collision, the “wrestler from Hamilton” that initially answered the challenge was Ontario’s “Renowned” Steve Brown, who is a 21-year veteran. On a trivia note, the day of the Collision tapings was the anniversary of his debut on June 29, 2002, according to Cagematch. Brown was a regular with the UWA promotion in Mississauga and has worked all over the province since including as a regular with Superkick’d Live, Great Canadian Wrestling, and NSW.

**NJPW Strong hosts its first of two Independence Day shows at Korakuen Hall on Tuesday morning at 5:10 a.m. ET with the shows available as a bundle for $30 USD on New Japan World. Jon Moxley is on both shows, so he won’t be at Dynamite this Wednesday, although a promo from Moxley is scheduled to air on the program. The following lineup is set for Tuesday’s show:
*Jon Moxley & Homicide vs. El Desperado & Jun Kasai
*IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Titles: TJP & Francesco Akira © vs. Clark Connors & Drilla Moloney
*STRONG Openweight Tag Titles: Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI © vs. Gabe Kidd & Alex Coughlin
*Giulia & Thekla vs. Willow Nightingale & Momo Kohgo
*Eddie Kingston & Rocky Romero vs. KENTA & Gedo
*Tom Lawlor vs. Kosei Fujita
*Lance Archer, Alex Zayne & Ryohei Oiwa vs. JR Kratos, Royce Isaacs & Jorel Nelson
*Bad Dude Tito vs. The DKC
*Kickoff Match: Ryusuke Taguchi, YOH & Oskar Leube vs. Kengo, Dragon Libre & Takahiro Katori

**Due to the holiday, Tuesday’s episode of NXT was taped last week with the following matches airing tomorrow night on the USA Network:
*NXT Underground Match: Damon Kemp vs. Eddy Thorpe w/ Gable Steveson
*Loser Leaves NXT: The Creeds vs. The Dyad
*Jacy Jayne vs. Lyra Valkyria
*Tatum Paxley vs. Kelani Jordan w/ Dana Brooke
*Mustafa Ali vs. Tyler Bate
*Blair Davenport vs. Roxanne Perez

**Ariel Helwani of BT Sport spoke with Cody Rhodes after Money in the Bank. They spoke about the finish at WrestleMania 39 and Jey Uso pinning Roman Reigns on Saturday. He said he believes Seth Rollins is going to make the World Heavyweight Championship a big deal by next year’s WrestleMania while emphasizing that his “story” is going after the belt Roman Reigns holds.

**AEW Dynamite and Collision will begin to air on the VIX streaming service in Mexico beginning this week. VIX is owned by TelevisaUnivision.

**The Amazing Race Canada premieres on Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET on CTV with ten teams vying for the grand prize. One of the teams will consist of IMPACT Wrestling’s Gisele Shaw and Gail Kim.

**Being the Elite: Ep. 354: “Will Never Financially Recover From This”.

**John Nash of Bloody Elbow recently covered the percentage of UFC’s revenues that were distributed to fighters in 2022 from the recent SEC filings by WWE and UFC. The filings showed that revenues from 2020 until 2022 grew 28% with a net income of approximately $328 million last year. However, expenses have been greatly contained and last year saw a reduction in fighter costs with Nash estimating the percentage of revenues paid out to fighters last year was between 13 and 14.5%, so it’s actually going down in percentage.

**UFC’s International Fight Week takes place this week including the annual Hall of Fame ceremony on Thursday and UFC 290 on Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The pay-per-view on Saturday has two title fights including Alexander Volkanovski (25-2) defending the 145-pound title against Yair Rodriguez (15-3), which is a great fight and one of the few remaining challengers for Volkanovski at the weight class alongside Ilia Topuria, who was sensational in his fight last weekend with Josh Emmett. Brandon Moreno (21-6-2) defends the flyweight title against Alexandre Pantoja (25-5). There is a backstory as Pantoja beat Moreno on the Ultimate Fighter seven years ago, and again in May 2018 while Moreno has become a two-time champion in the division. The rest of the main card features Dricus Du Plessis (19-2) against Robert Whittaker (23-6), Dan Hooker (21-11) against Jalin Turner (12-6), and top prospect Bo Nickal (4-0) vs. Tresean Gore (4-2). UFC 290 will also be Robbie Lawler’s retirement fight when he takes on Niko Price on the prelims after fighting for twenty-two years.

**The UFC 290 Countdown Special.

John Siino & Kate From MTL review AEW Collision featuring Owen Tournament Quarterfinals including Samoa Joe vs. Roderick Strong with CM Punk on commentary.
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE Money In The Bank 2023 from London, England featuring The Bloodline Civil War tag match and this year’s Men’s & Women’s MITB ladder matches.
MCU L8R – Secret Invasion Ep. 2
JP Houlihan of Grappl joins Rich Fann to chat a little bit about Arsenal and a lot about the ramifications of Marvel Studios’ Secret Invasion Episode 2, “Promises”.
John Pollock & Wai Ting review the MITB go-home WWE SmackDown from the O2 Arena in London as The Bloodline meet one final time ahead of their Civil War tag match.
John Pollock and Brandon Thurston welcome Mike Straw from Insider Gaming to chat about the release of AEW Fight Forever.
DOUBLE SHOT: “The Junkyard Dog”
On this week’s Double Shot, John Pollock and Wai Ting continue their weekly look at Dark Side of the Ring with a review of Season 4 Episode 5, “The Junkyard Dog”.

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