POLLOCK'S UPDATE: WWE Payback & AEW All Out Previews, WWE's stock performance

Originally published at POLLOCK'S UPDATE: WWE Payback & AEW All Out Previews


**Rewind-A-SmackDown is live at 10 p.m. ET with Wai Ting & John Pollock immediately after Friday Night SmackDown to recap the show and discuss the latest news, the packed weekend of shows, and take your calls. All POST Café members can tune in live and have a link to call.

**On Saturday, Kate from Montreal & John Siino will have Collision Course for POST Wrestling Café members and Wai & I will be reviewing WWE Payback and going live on the POST YouTube channel right after the card.

**ASK-A-WAI Mailbag Show for August (for patrons):

  • Should intermissions return to PPVs?
  • How does the Attitude Era change if Shawn Michaels never left?
  • “Good Match/Bad Story” or “Bad Match/Good Story”?
  • Our experience with unionization
  • Was Kurt Angle actually good from the start?
  • How should AEW book Collision against WrestleMania?
  • History of Tape Trading
  • “The Wai-In”
  • Handling “Wrestling is Fake” people
  • Weezer’s original bass player
  • … more

**Sunday we are live immediately after AEW All Out.

**We have released an audio version of the Terry Funk obit that I have written. You can listen by searching for POST Wrestling on your podcast app or watching the YouTube version.


Tonight: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John Pollock & Wai Ting (10 p.m. ET, POST Wrestling Café)
Saturday: Collision Course with John Siino & Kate from Montreal (10 p.m. ET, POST Wrestling Café)
Saturday: WWE Payback review
Sunday: AEW All Out review


WWE and AEW present pay-per-views this weekend with Payback on Saturday at the PPG Paints Arena (head-to-head with Collision) and AEW All Out at the United Center in Chicago on Sunday. Neither card has the level of excitement of their August events with Payback feeling a comedown after SummerSlam without a major marquee match and occurring during a hiatus for Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar as well as Cody Rhodes only scheduled for a talking segment. The show has two key matches with Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the World Heavyweight Championship and the steel cage match between Becky Lynch and Trish Stratus. Either match could end the show with Nakamura having some of the best character work he’s ever done in WWE, which could easily give this program enough momentum to carry on for another month. Becky and Trish’s feud has dragged with the program going back to WrestleMania season and the turn occurring so long ago with the expected climax at SummerSlam not happening and happening four weeks later. It would seem from all indications to be the blowoff match and moving Becky in a new direction. For that reason, you could see them putting the cage match on last and perhaps an outside chance of the Steel City Street Fight, which should have tons of weapons and violence. The point is various matches could end the show because it lacks a true main event and that’s the feeling you have for this show. WWE premium live events have been strong this year and even the secondary events have managed to have a lot of buzz between Elimination Chamber in Montreal, Backlash in Puerto Rico, and Money in the Bank in London.

The card for WWE Payback:
*World Heavyweight Championship: Seth Rollins © vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
*Steel Cage Match: Trish Stratus vs. Becky Lynch
*Steel City Street Fight for the Undisputed Tag Titles: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn © vs. Damian Priest & Finn Balor
*Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley © vs. Raquel Rodriguez
*U.S. Championship: Rey Mysterio © vs. Austin Theory
*The Miz vs. LA Knight
*Cody Rhodes on The Grayson Waller Effect

All Out is a tricky show to predict and we are going to learn a lesson based on its pay-per-view performance. Either the show does a really low figure (I cannot imagine it falling below 110,000 buys) and you realize that as dedicated a fanbase as you have, that $100 spread over seven days is too much. Or, it does a healthy figure and you realize that the audience is exceptionally loyal and match quality means a whole more than sustained programs and anticipation for shows. CM Punk has become the “X factor” with AEW not commenting on his status and hoping to have an answer by Sunday regarding his status for the pay-per-view. On paper, this should be a really good show given the depth and quality AEW shows are accustomed to having, but this feels like the least anticipated pay-per-view in AEW’s history. It comes on the heels of the biggest show in the company’s history and one of the ingredients behind a big card is the sense of anticipation and having time to build something and create demand, in this case, there was no time to build anything because your audience just went through that anticipation for All In. WWE running Survivor Series and Tuesday in Texas in 1991 or even the ECW December to Dismember and Armageddon events on back-to-back weeks in 2006 is a different era and a different fanbase, so you can’t meaningfully extrapolate to today’s AEW consumer. Tony Khan appears confident that this will be attempted in 2024 with a return to Wembley Stadium on August 25 and All Out over Labor Day weekend as annual traditions that he has always wanted to establish. It’s not like things are slow for the company as Grand Slam is right around the corner on September 20 with MJF defending the title against a tournament winner on a card that has struggled to sell tickets anywhere near the pace of previous visits to the venue. Then, they return to pay-per-view on October 1 for WrestleDream, which is a Sunday night show against the NFL.

The current lineup for All Out on Sunday:
*AEW International Championship: Orange Cassidy © vs. Jon Moxley
*TNT Championship: Luchasaurus © vs. Darby Allin
*TBS Championship: Kris Statlander © vs. Ruby Soho
*Kenny Omega vs. Konosuke Takeshita
*FTR & Young Bucks vs. Jay White, Juice Robinson & The Gunns
*ROH Television Championship: Samoa Joe © vs. Shane Taylor
*ROH Tag Team Championships: MJF & Adam Cole © vs. John Silver & Alex Reynolds
*Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta vs. Eddie Kingston & Katsuyori Shibata  
*Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Miro


**The funeral service for Terry Funk took place today in Canyon, Texas with a visitation on Thursday night.

**The WWE stock took a significant plunge this week with an approximate 13% drop since Monday. After trading as high as $118.36 on Monday, the stock has fallen as low as $95 before a gain during Friday’s trading and ended up closing at $104.58 (up 8% for the day). The belief is that the recent minority stake that the PFL sold to a Saudi Arabian group backed by the Public Investment Fund has scared Wall Street that Saudi Arabia could cause a dent in UFC’s business and WWE is attached to the promotion’s outlook due to the merger that is nearing completion. Endeavor’s stock dropped approximately 7% over the week and closed at $22.71 after being closer to $25 at the start of this week. While the PFL has a large infusion of capital, to me, the much more significant threat to UFC is the antitrust suit that has made significant inroads over the past month and a possible trial looming in early 2024. PFL has spent tons of money throughout its existence and has television distribution on ESPN and bombed on pay-per-view last year and has not shown any traction beyond being a far distant second to the UFC in the U.S. marketspace. A lot of optimism for PFL comes from Francis Ngannou and Jake Paul, who ultimately, can make so much more boxing than in MMA. If Ngannou is competitive with Tyson Fury or lands the shot that achieves a major upset, he’ll be in such high demand for the biggest heavyweights in the sport. It’s also unproven of any MMA organization beyond the UFC to cut through on pay-per-view and have sustained success with Affliction being one of the few. In July 2008, they presented their first card and reportedly did 100,000 buys but spent so much money on that show and the purses and were done one year later. In closing, this felt like a major overreaction on WWE’s stock, but the antitrust case is a real threat regardless of whether a settlement is the result because it would open a similar dissection of WWE’s business practices.

**Wrestlenomics had a breakdown of the Bushiroad’s finances with the company reporting its most recent performance with a fiscal year that runs through June 30, 2023. For the prior fiscal year, NJPW brought in approximately $36.2 million in revenue for a slight profit of $1.6 million, which would be their first profitable year since fiscal 2020 (during the pandemic but aided by two nights the Tokyo Dome in January 2020 prior to the shutdown). Since 2014, the most profitable year was through fiscal 2018 when they generated $4.0 million in profit.

**Friday Night SmackDown is at the GIANT Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania with John Cena’s return to WWE and first appearance since Money in the Bank. Cena will be a regular through the end of October with weekly SmackDown appearances (except next Friday when he’s on the card in India) through October 27. Tonight’s show has the return of Jimmy Uso and the progression of the Bloodline story after Jey Uso “quit” the company after SummerSlam. Below are the matches and segments scheduled:
*John Cena returns
*Jimmy Uso speaks
*Rey Mysterio & Santos Escobar vs. Austin Theory & Grayson Waller
*Face-to-face between LA Knight and The Miz

**WrestleTix reports over 8,600 tickets distributed for SmackDown in Hershey.

**The taped episode of AEW Rampage airs at 10 p.m. ET with the tag team battle royal to determine the challengers for the ROH tag titles at All Out. Here are the matches and segments for tonight’s broadcast:
*Willow Nightingale & Skye Blue vs. Taya Valkyrie & Anna Jay
*El Hijo del Vikingo & Nick Wayne vs. Kip Sabian & Gringo Loco
*Hangman Page vs. Bryan Keith
*Tag Team Battle Royal (Winners challenge MJF & Adam Cole at All Out): The Hardys, Aussie Open, John Silver & Alex Reynolds, Best Friends, Gate of Agony, Matt Menard & Angelo Parker, Vincent & Dutch, Ryan Nemeth & Peter Avalon, Darius Martin & Action Andretti, and The Outrunners

**AEW Collision is live from the United Center in Chicago on Saturday night and hopefully, it will be made clear what CM Punk’s status is. If it was 100% that Punk was off the pay-per-view, then I don’t know why Tony Khan wouldn’t make that clear on Thursday’s media call and rip the band-aid off rather than leave it as a possibility. You have to play fair with your audience and Punk’s image is still attached to the Collision advertising for tomorrow night, and you probably have many people assuming he will be at the shows this weekend if they are not following the news cycle. They have set up an angle where Ricky Starks is going to issue a challenge to Ricky Steamboat and allows you several options where you could try and use Steamboat on Sunday against Starks, CM Punk could make the save on Saturday and set up the match for the next night, or another babyface saves Steamboat and they wrestle Starks at the pay-per-view. Steamboat is 70 years old and had a very scary health issue in 2010 when he had a brain aneurysm shortly after a physical angle on WWE programming. He came out of retirement last year and wrestled a six-man tag with FTR and looked fine especially considering his age, so it’s not out of the question of him wrestling but it’s a different level for a singles match and on an AEW show where the standard is so high. For Collision, they have announced Dax Harwood vs. Jay White (this should be excellent), The Acclaimed & Daddy Ass vs. Angelo Parker, Matt Menard & Daniel Garcia for the Trios Championships, and Kris Statlander teaming with Hikaru Shida & Dr. Britt Baker against Saraya, Toni Storm & Ruby Soho.

**WrestleTix reports that 4,086 tickets are out for Collision on Saturday night at the United Center in Chicago, which is well below the 9,280 they attracted for the debut of the show in June and the return of CM Punk. This also coincides with three shows in the market this week and while Dynamite & Collision have been soft, the number for All Out is over 9,000.

**IMPACT Wrestling featured a tremendous promo from Tommy Dreamer as he will put his career on the line against Kenny King at Victory Road for King’s Digital Media Championship. Dreamer shared that this has been the hardest year in his life between losing his mother, contracting skin cancer, and losing his “wrestling father” Terry Funk and all he can offer King is his career. The backdrop for the match is the Westchester County Center where Dreamer watched his first match. By the end, they did a very effective job through Dreamer’s promo of establishing the importance of the match while putting over IMPACT’s history and listing off the names that built the company. They are promoting IMPACT 1000 as their big show (being taped September 9 and airing September 14) with names from the past, an IMPACT title match between Alex Shelley and Trey Miguel, and two gimmick matches most associated with the company in Ultimate X and Feast or Fired. It’s a test to see if IMPACT can garner enough buzz to do an above-average audience on AXS TV, which doesn’t vary much from week to week but it’s the hardest they have promoted an episode of IMPACT in years.

**The N-1 Victory ends on Sunday with NOAH presenting the finals from Edion Arena in Osaka as Kenoh and Go Shiozaki meet to determine the winner. The card includes Zack Sabre Jr. returning for one night to team with Yoshinari Ogawa against Kaito Kiyomiya & Ryohei Oiwa, Josh Barnett vs. Masakatsu Funaki, Chris Ridgeway & Daga defend the GHC Jr. Heavyweight tag titles against Atsushi Kotoge & Hi69, Ninja Mack vs. Alpha Wolf vs. Dragon Bane vs. Alejandro, Miyuki Takase teams with Maya Yukihi & Sumire Natsu against Yuu, Hiroyo Matsumoto & Hibiscus Mii, and HAYATA & Eita take on YO-HEY & Tadasuke. The card will be streaming on Wrestle Universe and Abema late Saturday night at 1:30 a.m. ET (early Sunday morning) and includes English commentary.

**GCW is in Hoffman Estates for All Out weekend and will be running Say You Will at 9 p.m. ET tonight on FITE+. The lineup has Blake Christian vs. Francesco Akira for the GCW title, Nick Gage vs. El Hijo del Vikingo (one of the wildest pairings of the year), Masha Slamovich & Rina Yamashita vs. Los Macizos, Effy & Allie Katch vs. Kevin Ku & Dominic Garrini, Speedball Mike Bailey vs. Mance Warner, Joey Janela vs. Lash LeRoux, John Wayne Murdoch vs. Swoggle, and Gringo Loco vs. Tony Deppen. A GCW lineup for the ages.

**MLW’s Fury Road card is Sunday night at 6 p.m. ET from the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia and streaming on FITE+. The card has Alex Kane vs. Willie Mack for the MLW World Heavyweight title, Jacob Fatu vs. Rickey Shane Page in a Weapons of Mass Destruction Match for the MLW National Openweight title, Maki Itoh vs. B3CCA, Matt Cardona vs. Mance Warner, Ichiban vs. Tracy Williams, and KUSHIDA vs. Tony Deppen.

**Jon Moxley made an unannounced appearance at AAW’s Art of War event on Thursday night in Berwyn, Illinois. During the No Ropes Barbed Wire Match between Mance Warner and Robert Anthony, the lights went out and Moxley appeared in the ring to a gigantic reaction. Warner attacked Anthony and turned around and was hit by a Paradigm Shift with Anthony eventually winning the match.


— AAW Wrestling (@AAWPro) September 1, 2023

**WWE has posted multiple memories of Windham Rotunda including testimonials from Bayley, Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Adam Pearce, AJ Francis, Otis, Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows, Mike Rome, Byron Saxton, and a tribute by Samantha Irvin.

**The UFC hosts a card at the Accor Arena in Paris, France on Saturday afternoon with the event streaming on ESPN+ beginning at Noon ET. The venue has seen great success for UFC, Bellator, and WWE with WWE performers raving about the crowd during their last event there. The main event features former title contender Ciryl Gane coming off a devastating first-round loss to Jon Jones earlier this year and will try and get back on track against Sergei Spivac in his home country. There were a lot of holes seen in Gane’s game between the losses to Francis Ngannou and Jones and sometimes that’s the blueprint for all future opponents to learn from and exploit. Below is the full card:

MAIN CARD (3 p.m. ET on ESPN+, Fight Pass for Int’l)
*Ciryl Gane (11-2) vs. Sergei Spivak (16-3) – Spivak is 7-3 in the UFC and has won six of his previous seven fights
*Rose Namajunas (11-5) vs. Manon Fiorot (10-1) – Namajunas is coming up to flyweight after winning the 115-pound title twice and has not fought since May 2022 while Fiorot is 5-0 in the UFC and close to a title fight
*Thiago Moises (17-6) vs. Benoit Saint-Denis (11-1, 1 NC)
*Bogdan Guskov (14-2) vs. Volkan Oezdemir (18-7)
*Yanis Ghemmouri (12-1) vs. William Gomis (12-2)
*Morgan Charriere (16-8-1) vs. Manolo Zecchini (7-1)

PRELIMINARY CARD (Noon ET on ESPN+, Fight Pass for Int’l)
*Taylor Lapilus (18-3) vs. Caolan Loughran (7-0)
*Rhys McKee (12-4-1) vs. Ange Loosa (8-3)
*Nora Cornolle (6-1) vs. Joselyne Edwards (13-4)
*Kleydson Rodrigues (8-2) vs. Farid Basharat (10-0)
*Zarah Fairn (6-5) vs. Jacqueline Cavalcanti (2-1)

ASK-A-WAI: Ask Us Anything! (August 2023)
John Pollock and Wai Ting answer their patrons’ questions about anything and everything in an extra-large August 2023 edition of Ask-A-Wai.
John Pollock & Wai Ting review AEW Dynamite from Hoffman Estates featuring the build-up for All Out, the company’s handling of the CM Punk & Jack Perry incident, and more.
John Siino and B-Detroit return to review WWE NXT from August 29th, 2023 featuring a #1 Contenders Fatal Four Way match for the Women’s Championship.
John Pollock and Brandon Thurston are joined by Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful to discuss all the events coming out of All In including the CM Punk & Jack Perry incident.
John Pollock and Wai Ting review the final WWE Raw before Payback as Becky Lynch takes on Zoey Stark in a Falls Count Anywhere Match in Memphis.
John Pollock and Wai Ting review AEW All In 2023 from Wembley Stadium in London, England featuring MJF vs. Adam Cole for the AEW Championship.

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