POLLOCK'S UPDATE: WWE on A&E resumes Feb. 25

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2024/01/10/pollocks-update-wwe-on-ae-resumes-feb-25/

POST IT NOTES

**Rewind-A-Dynamite is live tonight at 10:05 p.m. ET with a review of the “Homecoming” edition of AEW Dynamite.

**On Thursday, we will release Rewind-A-Wai #147 covering WWF Breakdown from September 1998. This featured Steve Austin defending the WWF Championship against The Undertaker and Kane in a triple threat in the company’s first pay-per-view in Canada since the previous year’s Survivor Series and in the middle of the Austin vs. Vince McMahon feud while business was booming. We will also reflect on the news headlines from that week including Jerry Lawler and Jim Carrey trying to recreate history, The Giant’s future with WCW, early notes on “Wrestling with Shadows” and more. This show will be out for all POST Wrestling Café members.

POST SCHEDULE (Full schedule)

Tonight
: Rewind-A-Dynamite
Thursday: Rewind-A-Wai #147 – WWF Breakdown 1998 (POST Wrestling Café)
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (POST Wrestling Café)
Saturday: TNA Hard to Kill with John Pollock & John Siino
Saturday: Collision Course & Battle of the Belts with Kate from Montreal & Wai Ting (POST Wrestling Café)
Sunday: NJPW Battle in the Valley with Karen Peterson & Bruce Lord (POST Wrestling Café)

WRESTLING NEWS

**Due to complications, CJ Perry shared that she is back in the hospital and has the potential for another infection to combat in her finger. Perry said she may need a second surgery stemming from a freak occurrence last month where she got a splinter in her finger which led to an infection that caused significant swelling and spread to her arm. Perry was admitted to the hospital and underwent surgery. She appeared on the Worlds End pay-per-view on December 30 with her finger wrapped up. We wish Perry the best regarding this setback in her recovery.

**The WWE and A&E will be continuing their partnership with upcoming seasons of “WWE Rivals” and “Biography: WWE Legends” beginning February 25. Rivals will be a continuation of the roundtable discussion format hosted by Freddie Prinze Jr. with the season premiere focusing on The Rock vs. Triple H and subsequent episodes on Jake Roberts vs. Randy Savage, The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, John Cena vs. Randy Ortonn, The Hardys vs. Edge & Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz, and The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan. The “Biography” series begins on Feb. 25 with an episode focusing on Randy Orton with additional episodes on Sgt. Slaughter, Scott Hall, Diamond Dallas Page, Davey Boy Smith, and Roman Reigns.

**The “Homecoming” edition of AEW Dynamite from Daily’s Place airs tonight with Sting’s third match in eleven days. WrestleTix reports over 3,000 tickets distributed for their first show in the venue since October 2022. The show will air against the New Orleans Pelicans vs. Golden State Warriors on ABC. Below are the matches and segments announced:
*Tornado Tag: Sting & Darby Allin vs. Konosuke Takeshita & Powerhouse Hobbs
*Ricky Starks vs. Sammy Guevara
*Claudio Castagnoli vs. Hangman Page
*Orange Cassidy, Adam Copeland, Dustin Rhodes & Preston Vance vs. Brian Cage, Lance Archer & Gates of Agony
*Julia Hart, Skye Blue, Saraya & Ruby Soho vs. Kris Statlander, Willow Nightingale, Anna Jay & Thunder Rosa
*Samoa Joe appears

**After John Ourand’s media predictions for 2024, LightShed Partners has put out their forecasts for the new year. Ourand sees Amazon as the likeliest destination for the domestic television rights for WWE Raw while not ruling out Disney-owned FX given the existing relationship between Disney and the UFC, which has its rights coming due after 2025. The major prediction from LightShed is their belief that WBD will not be part of the forthcoming NBA rights package, which would dramatically its programming schedule for TNT. LightShed’s prediction as it pertains to the Raw rights is as follows:

Ultimately, we expect Raw rights to end up at WBD. Given our belief that WBD will lose the NBA, Zaslav will need to add live, sports/sports-like content to satisfy distributors.  As previously mentioned, WBD adding CFP rights could provide marquee event content to pair with its NCAA tournament and MLB postseason rights.  However, they will also need tonnage to replace weekly NBA games.  Raw, which actually provides higher viewership most weeks than the NBA, serves that purpose.  We do not see WBD’s interest in AEW as an obstacle and both could exist on their distribution platforms. 

**WWE announced a significant hiring on Tuesday with Lee Fitting being brought in as its new head of media and production. Fitting was a senior vice president of production at ESPN, who oversaw the Monday Night Football and College Game Day on the network and was abruptly let go in August and the reasons were unknown. He had been with ESPN since 1996 and he arrives at WWE as the transition from the Kevin Dunn era. This topic was further discussed on Pollock & Thurston today.

**The JohnWallstreet blog has comments from former WWE executives George Barrios and Brian Flinn regarding how sports rights are being impacted by the erosion of cable subscribers. Since leaving WWE in 2020 as its co-president, Barrios launched Isos7 Sports with Flinn serving as a partner. The two disagree that live sports rights are going to diminish and while they expect some turbulence with Barrios predicting U.S. sports will be two to three times greater than they are now in a decade.  Flinn stated that in the short-term leagues may not be able to secure 3x or 4x upgrades but that a two-times multiple is still achievable in the current landscape and still represent a significant gain. WWE’s recent rights for Friday Night SmackDown saw a 40% increase and seen as a letdown on Wall Street with the TKO reacting negatively to the USA Network deal. The 1.4x range appears to be the minimum upgrade that investors expect for the rights of WWE Raw and would mean a jump to an average annual value of $371 million for the rights and anything over that figure being a bonus.

**IMPACT Wrestling will air a preview show for Hard to Kill on Thursday night on AXS TV. It’s interesting to see how much buzz is accumulated for the pay-per-view with next to no first-run television for weeks and relying on social media announcements, the rebranding, and the tease of a major name showing up on the show. The other factor is all the wrestling programming on Saturday night including a New Japan pay-per-view and a three-hour AEW show on TNT.

**Samoa Joe was interviewed by Justin Barrasso at SI.com and stated his goal as AEW Champion:

As champion, you’re the standard-bearer. I’m more than happy to take up that mantle. I really want to make a focus of getting the fans’ attention back on the conflict in the ring, and a lot of the petty stuff needs to melt away. Let’s get back to entertaining people.

**GCW has added a match between Mance Warner and Dan The Dad for this Friday’s No Compadre event in Chicago at Thalia Hall and streaming on TrillerTV+.

**Pro Wrestling Revolver runs its next card on January 25 and is headlined by Jon Moxley taking on Gringo Loco in a first-time match. The show will include TNA Champion Alex Shelley vs. Jake Crist, Mance Warner vs. Steve Maclin, and Masha Slamovich vs. Jake Something among the matches announced. It streams on TrillerTV+ that night at 8 p.m. ET.

**The TKO stock closed at $80.52 on Wednesday.

MMA NEWS

**Israel Adesanya avoided a conviction in a drinking and driving case after an incident earlier this year. The former middleweight champion was charged in New Zealand with driving over the limit of alcohol in his system with Adesanya entering a guilty plea this past September. On Tuesday, he appeared in court and the judge suspended his license for six months and must donate $1,500 to a charity while also agreeing to enter a program for drinking and driving. Adesanya was apologetic in court and acknowledged having two cocktails before driving. (New Zealand Herald, MMA Junkie)

**Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez will be in the corner of Gabriel Benitez this Saturday at the UFC Fight Night event at the Apex in Las Vegas. Velasquez is preparing for his trial, which is slated to begin on February 14 where he faces charges of attempted murder after opening fire at a vehicle two years ago. The ex-fighter has been out on bail since November 2022 after serving eight months in prison following an incident where he shot at a car with several individuals inside including Harry Goularte, who has been accused of molesting Velasquez’s son. The shots fired did not hit Goularte but one did strike Goularte’s stepfather, Paul Bender. (Claro Sports, MMA Fighting)

**UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev has mapped out his desired schedule for the next year, which would include three fights. Posting to X, the champion stated he would fight Justin Gaethje on a yet-to-be-announced pay-per-view on June 8, then return at Madison Square Garden in November to fight the winner of Charles Oliveira vs. Arman Tsarukyan and have another fight in February 2025.

**A light heavyweight fight between Dominick Reyes and Carlos Ulberg has been rescheduled for March 30. The two were scheduled to fight at UFC 297 next week in Toronto but Ulberg had to withdraw due to an injury. The UFC has confirmed that the two will now fight on March 30 at the Fight Night event in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Reyes (12-4) has lost four consecutive fights since February 2020 and is coming off a KO loss to Ryan Spann in November 2022. Ulberg (9-1) has won his last five bouts and is coming off a submission win against Jung Da-un at UFC 293 last September.

**ONE Championship is returning to the U.S. for a pair of shows later this year. The Singapore-based group will stage an event on September 6 at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado followed by a card on November 8 at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. The shows will air on Amazon Prime Video in the U.S. and Canada.

**Sportsnet has announced the hiring of MMA reporter Aaron Bronsteter to lead its coverage with the Canadian network securing the UFC’s Canadian rights package after its expiration with TSN. Bronsteter started his career working at The FAN 590 radio station (owned by Rogers) before moving to The Score and was a producer at Hardcore Sports Radio on Sirius before moving to TSN. He led the MMA coverage at TSN throughout their tenure as the Canadian rights holder and has twice been nominated for Journalist of the Year at the World MMA Awards. Sportnet’s coverage of the UFC goes into effect this week with Saturday’s Fight Night card at the Apex featuring the light heavyweight rematch between Johnny Walker and Magomed Ankalaev.

*****
POLLOCK & THURSTON
John Pollock and Brandon Thurston discuss the WWE’s hiring of Lee Fitting, predictions for WWE Raw’s rights, and Pat McAfee’s drama at ESPN.
*****
upNXT
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review WWE NXT featuring First Round Matches from the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
*****
REWIND-A-RAW
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE Raw with Cody Rhodes taking on Shinsuke Nakamura and CM Punk appears on the show.
*****
POST’s Best & Worst of 2023 Show
John Pollock, Wai Ting, Braden Herrington & Davie Portman discuss the highs and lows of the past year in the Best & Worst of 2023 Show.
*****
POST PURORESU
WH Park and Karen Peterson review NJPW New Year’s Dash and chat about Wrestle Kingdom 18.
*****

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