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Old 05-21-2021, 03:31 PM   #1561
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The Sheets (Observer Newsletter Edition):

Due to a number of reasons, the key one being TNT picking up the NHL, WarnerMedia will be moving AEW Dynamite and Rampage to TBS starting in January ...

The main show, Dynamite, will continue to run 8-10 p.m. on Wednesdays, but be moved from TNT to TBS. AEW received an eight figure fee increase to move the show since the prior contract called for it being on TNT through the end of 2023. It is believed the new deal for the complete package was not extended from the original deal.

Rampage, the second show, will debut on Friday nights from 10-11 p.m. on TNT on 8/13, and also be moved to TBS in January.

Rampage will generally be taped on Wednesday nights but there will be special Friday night live tapings on PPV weeks. It appears they will run in the city they are doing the PPV in. For example, on 11/5, it was already announced for a taping at the Chaifetz Center in St. Louis, and Full Gear will be in the same building on 11/6.

Right now the plan is a mix of all tapings for Dynamite, Rampage, Dark Elevation and Dark some weeks being on Wednesdays, and some weeks splitting up tapings on Wednesdays and Fridays.

In addition, AEW will remain on TNT for four special events per year, said to be formatted similar to WCW’s old Clash of the Champions or Saturday Night’s Main Events when it was a big deal in the 80s. Since WWE owns the Clash of the Champions name, the live specials will give the company four new destination dates per year, will have another name.

As far as what this all means, the combination of the new show, and the quarterly specials will increase the company’s television rights fees significantly, which is the key revenue driver of the company.

The move from TNT to TBS is largely on paper a lateral move. Both channels have similar ratings. TNT is considered a higher prestige station due to the NBA and movies, but if you factor out the NBA, TBS actually draws higher numbers for regular programming both overall and in 18-49. TBS is in slightly more homes but that difference is negligible. As a general rule, AEW will be getting better lead-ins on TBS. TNT as a general rule gets higher ad rates because of the prestige of the NBA, and another significant revenue source of AEW is that it gets a split of ad revenue, unlike WWE, from its original deal, although the new deal would be far more lucrative overall to compensate if that ad revenue drops slightly ...

The other positive is with the new deal there will be significantly less preemptions for both shows, which were going to happen with the NBA and NHL on TNT, particularly during the playoffs. AEW, starting next week, will be bouncing around until TNT’s schedule with NBA playoffs are over. The belief is that there will be way fewer if any preemptions on TBS ...

It also increases weekly content, which has become a big factor, and also makes the company more valuable because of the number of hours of content it will be producing, when its deals come due. The negative, since AEW is not WWE as considered the name brand in the industry, is that while WWE can survive big ratings drops, AEW would not survive that level of drop as well. By adding more programming, you are likely to have some drops. The Friday night at 10 p.m. show based on its time slot and it being the B show, is not going to do close to Wednesday ratings. Khan said that quality wise it won’t be a B show and that it would be the same quality as Dynamite. But ratings wise, it will be very tough because the AEW audience is so heavily male 35-49 in particular, and 18-49 overall, and Friday night at 10 p.m. is a brutal time slot for a show with an audience so heavily concentrated in a demo that such a high percentage go out on Fridays ...

The big specials on TNT, right now the date and times are not confirmed, nor is a first date confirmed past they will be quarterly in 2022. According to those close to the situation, the sides are still working on a first date
New Japan on 5/20 announced that Will Ospreay had vacated the IWGP world heavyweight championship due to a neck injury suffered in his 5/4 match with Shingo Takagi and that he’s gone home to recuperate.

Ospreay’s only comment was that he would be fine and just needs time.

There is also a lot going on behind-the-scenes with New Japan since the COVID outbreak and unhappiness regarding going through quarantine, particularly among the foreign contingent. From multiple sources these issues that have been talked about for the last week are part of the story. It’s something to watch out for. The only public mention of this was by Fit Finlay when he noted that his son was thinking about his future. There were wrestlers who talked about not returning to New Japan until quarantine is lifted and others considering other options ...

Ospreay was originally to defend the title against Kazuchika Okada on 5/29 at the Tokyo Dome, but that show was postponed. At press time the company had not decided how it would handle the title situation, although most likely it would be decided in some form in a match on the 6/6 Dominion show at Osaka Jo Hall.

The COVID outbreak in New Japan noted last week included at least two more wrestlers, Jay White and David Finlay. White, Finlay and Juice Robinson were scheduled to fly home and were tested at the airport prior to being able to get on the plane and White and Finlay tested positive so had to go into quarantine in Japan. Robinson, like Ospreay and Kevin Kelly and perhaps others, returned home when the announcement was made of the shows being postponed, including 5/15 at Yokohoma Baseball Stadium and 5/29 at the Tokyo Dome.

The story I heard is that usually there is a quarantine hotel they send you to for 14 days, but New Japan was providing a place in the dojo for those who had tested positive.

There is a lot of unrest among some of the foreign talent because of the situation there, the dates canceled and the feeling they’ve been kept in the dark ...

The list of those on the Fukuoka shows, but not here, which in at least 11 cases would be test positives, or those held out for being in close contact with test positives, are Gabriel Kidd, Yuya Uemura, Evil, Dick Togo, Tiger Mask, Toru Yano, Okada, Sho, Yoh, Minoru Suzuki, Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Taichi, White and Jado.

Sho, Yoh, Okada, Suzuki, Desperado and Kanemaru were all pulled from the 5/4 show over COVID protocol based on a wrestler with a fever from the group and others were in close proximity.

The reality is that those if someone tested positive on 5/4 or so, after two weeks, they’d be able to wrestle on this week’s shows.

Robinson & Finlay’s situation must have been frustrating as they weren’t even on the Fukuoka show, but were in Japan getting ready for the major shows in May and June when the May shows were canceled.
There were no title changes, nor really any major storyline progression, but aside from a match that could win he worst of the year award, WrestleMania Backlash was one of the strongest in-ring PPVs the company has done in recent memory ...

In a surprise of sorts, PPV numbers for television, which are not a major thing these days but are still a way to determine interest level, based on preliminary estimates looks to be at 5,500, which would be the third biggest of the year behind Royal Rumble (6,400) and WrestleMania (6,000). The other two shows this year were Fastlane at 3,800 and Elimination Chamber at 2,600. It was suggested the higher than usual numbers were for the name, as the WrestleMania brand name is the biggest. It appeared this was the first time a WWE PPV show didn’t trend on Google, but in actuality that wasn’t the case. The show did 200,000 searches, good for sixth place on the night, which is normal “B” show level (Fastlane did about 140,000 which would be the low point except for Saudi or Australia PPV shows). However, the searches were listed under the term Dave Bautista ...

The match order was changed around the day of the show. The original idea was for the three-way for the Raw title to be the main event. The three-way Raw women’s title match wasn’t scheduled to open either. There was a push on the day of the show with the idea that Reigns is the only franchise player on the roster, and as such, he should either go first or last. There was also the idea that since he and Cesaro were going to do a long match that it might leave the audience flat for the three-way to have to follow. It seemed to work out for the best with the late change.
NXT made nine cuts on 5/19 and 5/20. Most if not all were brought in the morning of 5/19 and told they were being released due to budget cuts.

Obviously there are no financial issues whatsoever. But it was more a decision in most cases that they had nothing to do for any of them for whatever reason, whether they had given up on their ability to progress to a level that would help the company, or there were perceived discipline/attitude issues.

The two that were the most talked about were Velveteen Dream (Patrick Clark, 25) and referee Drake Wuertz, 36, who did a lot of office work as well and was probably the best known referee in NXT.

Clark looked to be a future superstar with all his charisma in the character, largely built after Prince. But allegations regarding inappropriate sexual conduct with minors put him on “the list.” In his case, there was more apparent evidence than any others with messages, both text and voice that looked bad. At another point, a person accusing disappeared. WWE, who fired many and didn’t fire others, based on what they said were results of investigations, stood behind him. Paul Levesque said that they had investigated and found that he did nothing wrong.

Clark had not been used of late and had disappeared until he was brought to the 5/10 Raw tapings and was at the Performance Center training this past week ...

At one point the belief was he would be a major player on the main roster with his charisma. There were questions on his technical ability, but his character work and charisma led to such loud crowd reactions that it was often hidden. Over the last year, even before the allegations, it was becoming more noticeable.

In April 2020, screenshots were posted that indicated the sending of indecent photos to underage boys on Instagram, but he denied it and WWE defended him, although giving no details as far as what they investigated and what wasn’t what it seemed from the screenshots that were public.

In June, there was an allegation of him sending an inappropriate photo to a underage girl and also of inappropriate comments with underage boys. WWE claimed they investigated and found nothing wrong. He said the comments were just trying to motivate the kids to succeed in life.

Wuertz booked extras for NXT television as well. He’s a former death match star wrestler who used the name Drake Younger. He was a world champion in places like CZW and IWA Mid South before being signed to referee here.

Wuertz has been in the news a lot for his stances on COVID, masks, religion, social issues and many other things including speaking before school boards and city councils on those subjects.

There were issues as some talent didn’t want to get in the ring with him as referee because he refused to get vaccinated. He was in the news when they were putting together new rings and he and others didn’t wear masks and there was a COVID outbreak a few days later in NXT that impacted a lot of segments on TV the next two weeks.

There was a story that he walked out of a meeting with HHH. What we were told is that after a show HHH had a meeting with the crew and many people were wearing “Black Lives Matters” T-shirts and Wuertz said how everyone on the roster came from different backgrounds, had different religious beliefs, should respect each other but also said that all lives matter, which is not a term you’re supposed to say because of all the heat it gets when there are BLM shirts around. Those close to him confirmed the meeting but others have denied the story, or at least a different version of the story that was reported this past week.
All Elite Wrestling put tickets on sale this past week for six events, the first real test of where the company stands when it comes to tickets, and aside from WrestleMania, where U.S. pro wrestling stands.

The big event is the 5/30 Double or Nothing III event at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, which is part of a three-event weekend. The company had announced being open to full capacity, and pre-COVID, the idea of a show that size in a 5,100-seat venue would have sold out in 30 minutes. However, the world is different and Jacksonville is the most oversaturated city for pro wrestling in North America.

At press time, the show has sold just over 3,800 tickets and they are still expecting a sellout come show time. But it wasn’t the instant sellout many expected.

The PPV will culminate a three-event weekend in Jacksonville. They will be doing a 5/28 television taping for the live Dynamite, which takes place on Friday from 10 p.m. to midnight. The plan is for a four-hour show starting at 8 p.m., with tapings for Dark and Elevation in the first two hours and the go-home Dynamite going live. At press time that show had sold more than 1,000 tickets.

The fan fest on 5/29 is a sellout with more than 1,000 tickets sold ...

As far as the ticket sales for the Dynamite shows when they go back on the road, the early notes indicate that not touring hasn’t increased the demand in new markets, but that things aren’t bad either. Actually the sales have been almost exactly what they would have been for the second time in the different markets.

The 7/7 show in Miami at the Knight Center at this point is set up for 1,200 people and it almost sold out instantly, as it should have with such a small capacity. The building was set up like that due to local restrictions, as even though Florida and Texas and other states are now open to full capacity, the city of Miami does have restrictions. They are hopeful between now and show time that the restrictions will change and they will be able to open up to more people.

The 7/14 show in Cedar Park, TX (outside of Austin) has sold more than 3,100 tickets. The first show in the market sold out the same building last year with 4,200, and the general rule is the second time in doesn’t do as well as the first. But with two more months, they’ll probably end up close to full.

The 7/21 show in Garland, TX (suburban Dallas) has sold about 3,000 tickets. The first time in that building drew 4,700 and they can max the building at 5,000 as they were just short of a sellout last time. So the advance would be what would be expected for the second time in that market if there wasn’t a pandemic, but no more..

WWE hasn’t started running markets yet. But it continues that pro wrestling is softer, particularly for traveling shows, while for whatever reason, UFC is on fire running shows with fans. But pro wrestling, aside from the Jacksonville shows which is natural given how much the market has been run in the last year, looks to be for AEW, neither super hot, nor much different than it was when the pandemic hit.
The Kenny Omega vs. Andrade el Idolo match for the AAA Mega heavyweight championship was officially announced for TripleMania on 8/14 at Arena Ciudad in Mexico City ...

The show will have fans, but there is no way of knowing at this stage how many, or even if they would be able to have fans because things in Mexico could get worse. The ticket prices are the highest in TripleMania history, ranging from 251 pesos ($12.65) to 7,298 pesos ($367.80). The promotion said they have no idea how many tickets they would be able to sell for the show as restrictions can change in either direction between now and August.

At the 5/18 press conference, they announced two other matches, Psycho Clown vs. Rey Escorpion in a mask vs. hair match and Faby Apache vs. Deonna Purrazzo with both the Impact Knockouts championship and the AAA Reina de Reinas titles at stake.

Dorian Roldan said that most years TripleMania has six or seven matches and that he expects that to be the same this year. He said the show would start at 8 p.m. (this would be Central time) and they don’t want the show ending after midnight local time, and to give the matches proper time he doesn’t want to go past seven matches.

The belief is that there will be a marvel themed match plus a Rumble style match with multiple participants for the Copa TripleMania.

It was clarified that the women’s title match would be however are the champions on that date, and if Purrazzo or Apache lost their titles before August, the respective champions on that date will be the ones in the match ...

There is no word how the show will air, but last year’s TripleMania aired like on television in Mexico and this year’s show was announced for Cineapolis Theaters in Mexico. It’s difficult to broadcast into the U.S. because of the lawsuit over U.S. rights, so most likely the only way is if it’s on television in Mexico that there would be a way to stream the signal from the television station outside Mexico.
AAA: Drago may be leaving since he’s removed all AAA references from social media and changed his name to Dios Drago. . Announcer Arturo Rivera underwent foot surgery on 5/12.
Dr. Wagner Jr., has said he’s in the second week of battling COVID. His condition was said to be improving but he’s missed a number of dates. The story reported is that Wagner came to the U.S. to get a first Pfizer shot on 4/26. He ended up catching COVID a week later. .. L.A. Park, 55, missed his matches over the weekend due to pneumonia. He was at home, not hospitalized, although that didn’t stop some media outlets from saying he was in grave condition
MLW: The first surprise newcomer from the draft episode was Davey Richards, who will be in as a regular. Richards signed a contract in April but it was kept quiet until this week. There are others who have signed that will be revealed each week through late June. They also announced King Muertes, which is Mil Muertes under a new name since Lucha Underground owns the Mil Muertes name. They haven’t gotten any legal letters from Lucha Underground but didn’t want to invite any either. They are saying they expect to sellout Philadelphia’s 2300 Arena on 7/10 and break the attendance record in the building. They also expect to sellout 9/11 with the Von Erichs in Dallas. They hope to use more Dragon Gate and NOAH wrestlers. There are also talks about getting talent from RevPro in the U.K. They are also planning on filming non-wrestling vignettes with the Azteca Underground crew in two weeks in Los Angeles.
IMPACT: Don Callis was removed as an executive on the web site. Lots of people in the company had been predicting for some time that Callis would wind up under contract to AEW as Kenny Omega’s manager since he’s on every show and clearly the doing the Nick Bockwinkel & Bobby Heenan thing is something he’s very good at and clearly enjoys and Omega is under contract to AEW. On the 5/13 TV show, before they removed him, there was a vignette where Scott D’Amore talked about how Callis has to choose between being an executive for Impact and being Omega’s manager and it came across like the beginning of a storyline. What we were told is that they were doing a story to mirror real life and the impression was that it would end in TV storyline with Callis being part of AEW, and that at that point Callis would be no longer an executive on camera in Impact, but somebody changed the web site long before the story played out. Callis is said to have not been a key person in creative of late as the key writers are Jimmy Jacobs, RD Evans, and Tommy Dreamer and D’Amore is the guy in charge. The basic gist appears to be his not being an executive is legit, that the removal on the web site may have been the left hand not knowing what the right hand had planned, and that they weren’t talking about it because there is a storyline they are working between now and the July Slammiverary PPV show that would end up with that end result that they didn’t want out. However after all that, they’ve pretty much acknowledged it. Callis was at the recent tapings with Omega, Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson
It came off at Under Siege that Edwards would get the shot after Moose. Right now it looks like Moose is either close to agreeing to sign a new deal or has done so, and that changes the dynamic of Omega vs. Moose from when it would be Moose’s last big match in the company. So Omega vs. Moose could be at Slammiversary
They [Impact] were in contract talks with Chelsea Green this past week but as best we know no deal was closed at press time
AEW: Tony Khan signed a deal to get the version of “Wild Thing” from the movie “Major League” for Jon Moxley, which debuted on the 5/19 show. The original 1966 version by The Troggs only for the Yuji Nagata match, with the idea of making that a special one-time thing. The version they will be using going forward was from the punk band X from 1989

Rey Fenix is off the PPV due to injuries. We don’t have details past that the injuries were believed to have been from a recent match in Mexico. No word on how long he’ll be out

“Mox,” the autobiography of Jon Moxley, is scheduled for an 11/2 release. It’s listed at 272 pages and right now it is the No. 1 best seller in the wrestling category on Amazon and No. 542 overall. The book is very different from any wrestling biography that I’ve seen. It’s very honest in a deeper depth way than most and he did write it himself as opposed to the vast majority of wrestling bios written by a ghostwriter

Fozzy, Jericho’s rock band, will be touring 9/2 to 10/9 around the U.S. The tour has every Wednesday night off and the PPV dates off so it won’t impact his wrestling schedule

Yuji Nagata said he enjoyed his time in AEW and would like to return. He said Tony Khan told him that anytime he wants to come back he’s welcome
WWE: The company has shut down its Talent Management Group, which was to make third party deals for the company whether they be sponsorship or social media. This division was launched in November after telling all talent they needed to drop all their party affiliations. Some who were in the division publicly noted being laid off with the division being shut down. WWE hasn’t made any comment about the decision and talent hasn’t been told anything about whether or not they would be able to do third party deals again. One current star who noted not knowing what this meant said how the Talent Management Group was supposed to help the talent get outside deals and revenue “since we aren’t allowed to post about anything (product wise) we like.
The company [WWE] is working on signing and getting visa issues taken care of for a deal with Speedball Mike Bailey


Raw on 5/17 did 1,823,000 viewers and 0.48 (622,000 viewers) in 18-49 and 0.19 in 18-34.

The 0.48 was Raw’s lowest 18-49 number since football season ended. And unlike the other three shows, you don’t have the sports competition.

Of the 1,823,000 viewer average for the show, it was 1,668,000 watching live and 155,000 watching via DVR as of 3 a.m. The average viewer watched 53.2 percent of the show. Total actual viewers watching a portion of the show that night were 3,427,000.

Average viewers were up 0.3 percent from last week, but 18-49 was down 9.7 percent and 18-34 was down 37.7 percent.

The ratings pattern was unique as the first hour did 1,790,000 viewers. The second hour increased big to 1,932,000. The third hour fell to 1,748,000. Usually when you have a show the day after a PPV, it’s the first hour that’s the biggest out of curiosity and then it drops throughout the show. Clearly the PPV did not leave people curious about what happened.

The show did 80,000 in males 18-34 (down 42.0 percent from last week), 52,000 in women 18-34 (down 29.7 percent), 307,000 in men 35-49 (down 2.2 percent) and 183,000 in women 35-49 (up 12.3 percent).

The audience was 62.2 percent male in 18-49.

As compared to the same week last year, the total viewers were up 3.8 percent, but 18-49 was down 5.9 percent and 18-34 was down 34.5 percent.
Smackdown on 5/14 did 1,917,000 viewers and an 0.44 (576,000 viewers) in 18-49 and 0.24 in 18-34.

It was the lowest demo number for Smackdown since 7/8 and the lowest total viewership since 8/5, meaning lowest of the Thunderdome era. It shows last week’s big number was a complete nostalgia rating as WWE nostalgia shows always do well.

For those watching by 3 a.m,., 1,610,000 watched live and 307,000 watched via DVR. The average viewer watched 51.0 percent of the show and total viewers watching a portion of the show by 3 a.m. were 3,759,000.

The show was down 16.0 percent in viewers, 31.0 percent in 18-49 and 44.7 percent in 18-34. The nostalgia is always stronger with younger viewers event though thinking about it would lead you to believe otherwise, but that’s always the case.

The show did 94,000 viewers in men 18-34 (down 49.5 percent from last week), 73,000 in women 18-34 (down 37.1 percent), 236,000 in men 35-49 (down 11.3 percent) and 173,000 in women 35-49 (down 35.2 percent).

The audience was 57.6 percent male in 18-49.

As compared with the same week last year, which was a show from the Performance Center, they were still down 6.1 percent in viewers, 12.0 percent in 18-49 and 40.0 percent in 18-34.
NXT on 5/18 did 700,000 viewers and 0.15 (199,000 viewers) in 18-49 and 0.07 in 18-34.

This was the lowest demo number the show going unopposed.

Viewers were up 0.4 percent from last week, but 18-49 was down 7.0 percent and 18-34 was down 6.1 percent.

Of the 700,000 average viewers, it was 623,000 live and 77,000 via DVR. Average viewing time was 53.0 percent of the show and total individual viewer were 1,321,000.

The show did 19,000 in men 18-34 (down 36.7 percent from last week), 27,000 in women 18-34 (up 42.1 percent), 101,000 in men 35-49 (down 8.2 percent) and 52,000 in women 35-49 (down 5.5 percent).

The audience was 60.3 percent male in 18-49.

As compared to the same week last year, against an opposed show, it was up 18.2 percent in viewers, 15.7 percent in 18-49 and 2.2 percent in 18-34.

The first quarter with Zoey Stark vs. Toni Storm did 652,000 viewers and 184,000 in 18-49.

The second quarter with Cameron Grimes arriving, Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell at the spa part one and a Finn Balor-Karrion Kross promo package did 674,000 viewers and 186,000 in 18-49.

The third quarter with Cameron Grimes vs. Jake Atlas did 728,000 viewers and 212,000 in 18-49. This was the high point for women 18-49.

The fourth quarter, with Arash Markazi interviewing Pete Dunne, Killian Dain vs. Alexander Wolfe, the Imperium beatdown on Wolfe and a Raquel Gonzalez & Dakota Kai promo did 725,000 viewers and 222,000 in 18-49.

The fifth quarter with Joaquin Wilde & Raul Mendoza vs. Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa did 751,000 viewers and 222,000 in 18-49. This was the high point of the show, and tied for the high point in 18-49 a well as the high point in men 18-49.

The sixth quarter with a Bobby Fish promo, the second part of LeRae & Hartwell at the spa, Johnny Gargano & Austin Theory interview, Aliyah vs. Sarray and a Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon promo did 722,000 viewers and 207,000 in 18-49

The seventh quarter with Top Dolla & Ashante the Adonis vs. Ariya Daivari & Tony Nese, the Hit Row promo and a William Regal promo did 649,000 viewers and 176,000 in 18-49.

The first part of the Gargano vs. Bronson Reed cage match for the North America title did 683,000 viewers and 183,000 in 18-49.

The end of the cage match in the overrun did 720,000 viewers and 191,000 in 18-49.
Due to Showbuzz Daily, the main source for the charts, being down this past week, while we have ratings info and demos, we don’t have charts. So much of analysis of television is not the number, but the ranking and the competition. All pro wrestling was down this week, particularly in 18-34. With the exception of Raw, which was a surprise doing one of its lower numbers in 18-49 coming off a PPV, everyone else has a very valid excuse with the NBA and NHL in the playoffs with multiple national and local games. This happens almost every year. The reality is wrestling numbers will be down through the playoffs and AEW will take a bigger hit being bounced around out of its time slot for several weeks. The numbers should be back to whatever normal is after the playoffs, and take a hit again during the Olympics. In addition, we only have info on the big four shows of the week.

AEW on 5/19 did 821,000 viewers and 0.28 (362,000 viewers) in 18-49 and 0.15 in 18-34.

Like every show but Raw, the NBA did a number on the ratings, particularly the younger age groups. But AEW had it the toughest by far. The head-to-head NBA game in most of the country, the San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzles did 2,293,000 viewers. On the West Coast, it was Warriors vs. Lakers which did 5,618,000 viewers, the most watched NBA game on ESPN since 2019, and that game was doing well over six million viewers when the AEW main event was airing on the West Coast. In addition, there were four NHL playoff games that night, although the largest did 730,000.

In an interesting comparison, AEW did 81 percent of same day viewers live and 19 percent via DVR. Both NBA games were 99 percent live. The total individual viewers for Grizzles vs. Spurs was 5,211,000 and Warriors vs. Lakers was 8,778,000.

It was the lowest numbers unopposed, but that was a given considering the competition. Plus, the main event was Young Bucks vs. Varsity Blonds so this was a weak show from a marquee match standpoint.

The show was down 12.3 percent in viewers from last week, 9.0 percent in 18-49 and 21.6 percent in 18-34 (where the NBA is going to hurt the most).

The show did 665,000 viewers on average live and 156,000 via DVR. The average viewer watched 57.8 percent of the show and total individual viewers as of 3 a.m. were 1,420,000.

The show did 59,000 in men 18-34 (down 33.7 percent from last week), 46,000 in women 18-34 (up 2.2 percent), 177,000 in men 35-49 (down 8.3 percent) and 70,000 in women 35-49 (down 1.4 percent).

The audience was 65.2 percent male in 18-49.

As compared to the same week last year, AEW was up 17.1 percent in viewers, 7.4 percent in 18-49 and 22.1 percent in 18-34.

In the quarters, it opened with Christian Cage vs. Matt Sydal and the post-match beatdown doing 839,000 viewers and 390,000 in 18-49. It was also the show peak among women 18-49 and overall 18-49.

The second quarter was The Varsity Blonds interview, Eddie Kingston & Jon Moxley interview, and the beginning of Moxley & Kingston vs. The Acclaimed did 811,000 viewers and 367,000 in 18-49.

The third quarter with the second half of Moxley & Kingston vs. The Acclaimed, a Chris Jericho & Dean Malenko promo, Scorpio Sky & Ethan Page promo plus Sting & Darby Allin attacking them did 806,000 viewers and 367,000 in 18-49.

The fourth quarter with The Pinnacle at the fancy restaurant, Hikaru Shida vs. Rebel and Kenny Omega & Don Callis with Orange Cassidy did 836,000 viewers and 367,000 in 18-49. It was the high point of the show in 18-49 men.

The fifth quarter with The Inner Circle in-ring promo, Jade Cargill promo and beginning of Serena Deeb vs. Red Velvet for the NWA women’s title did 855,000 viewers and 361,000 in 18-49 which was the most viewers for any quarter.

The sixth quarter with the ending of Deeb vs. Velvet, a Pac promo. Anthony Agogo vs Austin Gun and a Frankie Kazarian & Christopher Daniels promo did 818,000 viewers and 349,000 in 18-49.

The seventh quarter with the Miro angle with Lance Archer and Jake Roberts plus promo pieces did 758,000 viewers 337,000 in 18-49.

The eighth quarter with Young Bucks vs. Varsity Blonds for the tag titles did 848,000 viewers and 362,000 in 18-49.
We’ve got some notes first for the television shows from last week.

The 5/10 Raw show ended up with 73 percent watching live, 23 percent via DVR and four percent via VOD. Using what ended up as DVR+8 numbers (since all the numbers we have are through 5/18), with DVR and VOD, the full week total was 2,215,000 viewers. The total number of people who tuned in for at least some point of the show was 3,590,000. The average viewer watched 61.7 percent of the show.

The 5/11 NXT show did 72 percent live, 23 percent DVR and five percent DVD. The +7 number would have been 849,000 viewers and the average viewer watched 56.2 percent of the show. The total viewers who watched part of the show was 1,511,000. Those numbers were 944,000 and 1,701,000 the prior week.

AEW on 5/12 did 60 percent live, 33 percent via DVR and nine percent via VOD. The average viewer watched 66.8 percent of the show. That would mean 1,263,000 viewers +6 and 1,891,000 total viewers of at least some part of the show +6.

ROH weekend show on 5/15 did 88 percent live, 11 percent via DVR and one percent via DVR +3. The average viewer watched 56.8 percent of the show. Impact on 5/13 as a +5 did 75 percent live, 21 percent DVR and four percent VOD. The average viewer watched 48.3 percent of the show.

Meltzer's Match Star Ratings:


1. Sheamus pinned Ricochet to retain the U.S. title in 7:11. Better than a usual pre-show match. Ricochet has been working in regular pants instead of traditional ring gear. This was hard hitting, but not as good as their Raw match the next night because they didn’t have time. Ricochet did a springboard clothesline, a running shooting star press, a standing moonsault and a quebrada. He also hit a springboard 450 for a near fall but Sheamus landed a knee for the pin. Ricochet stole Sheamus’ hat and jacket after the match. ***1/4

2. Rhea Ripley retained the Raw women’s title over Asuka and Charlotte Flair in 15:21. This was super. Everyone just clicked and it was Flair’s best performance in a long time and Asuka is one of the company’s best workers. Flair did a fallaway slam on Asuka on the floor. Flair used a backbreaker and slammed Ripley’s head into the turnbuckles. Ripley did a Northern Lights suplex on Flair but Asuka saved. Asuka did a German suplex on Flair. Flair did a moonsault off the top rope to the floor on both. Asuka & Ripley both superplexed Flair at the same time. Flair escaped a double superplex and got behind them and chop blocked bot at the same time, and then did a double natural selection for a near fall. Asuka did a spinning kick on Ripley, but Flair kicked Asuka in the face and Ripley hit the riptide on Asuka for the pin. ****1/4

3. Rey & Dominik Mysterio won the Smackdown tag titles over Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode in 16:58. The story here is that during the pre-show, Ziggler & Roode made fun of Dominik and threw him into lockers and a door, as well as threw a sofa on him. Dominik was taken to the doctors where he was told to sit it out. He insisted to his father that he could wrestle but his father told him to fight another day. Rey said he’d take are of things. So for 10:00 it was a handicap match, mostly with Rey selling. Really, as soon as you saw the angle, you pretty much knew what the match would be. All three are great pros so it was quite good, if not predictable,. Rey did open fast and did a slide on the mat into a splash on the floor on Roode. They worked on Rey’s left knee. They teased ref stoppage on Rey. There was a double-team famouser spot. Ziggler superkicked Rey and he slid out of the ring and barely beat the ten count to get back in. Rey made a comeback and threw Ziggler & Roode into the post. Dominik came out to ringside at 10:00. Rey sold for three more minutes until making the hot tag to Dominik. Dominik ran wild until Roode cut hi off with a spinebuster and they worked over Dominik. Dominik made a hot tag to Rey who did a 619. Rey used a sunset flip power bomb sending Ziggler into the barricade on the floor. Dominik then pinned Roode clean with a frog splash. They did a celebration to make the win feel significant and pushed them being the first father-and-son tag team champions in WWE history. ***˝ ...

4. Damien Priest pinned The Miz in a lumberjack match in 6:54. So a bunch of guys dressed like zombies, doing zombie things, were the lumberjacks. The announcers saw this and ran for their lives. Priest did a spin kick off the top rope. That may have been the spot where he landed on Miz’s leg but at some point Miz got the knee injury. Miz did the figure four. At one point the Zombies pulled both out of the ring and both started punching the zombies. Morrison came back and flew onto three zombies. Two zombies attacked Morrison and Priest hit the lights for the pin. After the match, all the zombies covered Miz and apparently the idea was they ate him. -*** ...

5. Bianca Belair pinned Bayley in 16:04 to retain the Smackdown women’s title. Bayley was tremendous here as far as her work in carrying the long match. Bayley had the word “Bel Loser” shaved in her hair on the back of her head. Belair did a leapfrog spot on the floor and a lot of athletic stuff early. Bayley took over after using Belair’s earring to control her. She snapped Belair’s neck on the ropes and took over with a lot of throws including a suplex on the floor. They escalated the moves like Belair with a spinebuster and Bayley with a Randy Savage elbow. Bayley posted her, but missed a tope. Belair gave Bayley a full nelson slam on the apron. Bayley tried to get a pin using the ropes and was caught. When it came to the brawling back and forth, Belair looked weak. Bayley used an eye rake and Bayley-to-belly for a near fall. Belair ended up winning by using her hair to help tie Bayley up while doing an inside cradle. ***˝

6. Bobby Lashley retained the WWE title in a three-way over Drew McIntyre and Braun Strowman in 14:16. Good match with a predictable finish, but also the right finish given the idea is to make McIntyre strong and keep the title on Lashley. Strowman came off the apron on both of them. There was a big brawl. Strowman used a choke slam on Lashley. Strowman tried the powerslam on Lashley, who escaped and went for the full nelson but McIntyre came off the top with a crossbody on both. Lashley used a spinebuster on Strowman, who was taking big bumps here. Strowman hit Lashley with the ring steps. Lashley suplexed Strowman. McIntyre slammed Lashley on the LED board and then threw him though the LED board and there were a bunch of explosions. Lashley was then gone for several minutes. Strowman ran over McIntyre. McIntyre came back with a Michinoku driver. McIntyre gave Strowman an overhead suplex on the floor and Strowman tucked at the last second or it could have been bad. He landed badly even with tucking. McIntyre went for the Claymore kick but Strowman escaped and power bombed McIntyre through a table. McIntyre came back and hit the Claymore kick on Strowman, but Lashley finally came back and speared Strowman and got the pin. ***3/4

7. Roman Reigns retained the Universal title over Cesaro in 27:31. Cesaro came out with cradles early. Reigns worked over the left arm. Reigns threw Cesaro’s shoulder into the post. Lots of long chinlocks. Reigns did a Samoan drop for a near fall. Cesaro did a pop up uppercut. Cesaro worked over Reigns’ left knee and used a sharpshooter. Cesaro did a tornillo over the ropes. Cesaro did a running bolo knocking Reigns into the barricade. Cesaro used a crossbody for a near fall. Reigns dropkicked Cesaro’s shoulder into the post. The left biceps area was all bruised up. Reigns was in control for a long time while Cesaro did a great sell job on his left arm. Cesaro came back with a power superplex. Cesaro tried the neutralizer but his arm gave out. Reigns worked on it with a Fujiwara armbar. Cesaro came off the middle ropes but was hit by a Superman punch for a near fall. Reigns then went for the spear and was hit with an uppercut, but Cesaro sold his arm and Reigns used a guillotine. Cesaro popped out and did a one-arm power bomb and wet for the sharpshooter. Cesaro was also throwing elbows but Reigns came back with ground-and-pound from the mount. Reigns used a power bomb for a near fall. He did more ground-and pound and went back to the guillotine. Cesaro popped out again, but the third time Reigns locked it in and the referee stopped the match. Jey Uso then came out and put a lei on Reigns. Jey super kicked Cesaro after the match. Seth Rollins then came out. He teased he was confronting Reigns about a title shot, but then smiled at him and went to attack the already beaten down Cesaro. Rollins did several chair shots to Cesaro including one to the shoulder. Rollins put a chair around the arm of Cesaro and slammed it into the post. Rollins left Cesaro laying with a curb stomp on the floor. ****1/4
AAA: One of the most incredible high flying matches took place on 5/3 in Puebla but aired over the weekend on AAA television, a multi-person match for the Perro Aguayo Jr. Cup, with Aramis, El Hijo del Vikingo, Abismo Negro Jr.,Villano III Jr., and Latigo. These can be the guys to revive the U.S. indie circuit. It was 12:07 of such amazing stuff that even it being Lucha Libre with no crowd I had it at ****3/4 and with a crowd it would be a match of the year candidate. Everyone was on their game. Some stuff was beyond description. Vikingo used a Will Ospreay style inverted 450 on Aramis for the pin

Young Bucks beat Pillman Jr. & Garrison in 11:33 of another **** match. This was totally different Young Bucks as it was basic old school heel tag team wrestling with the goal of making the prelim guys look like main eventer babyfaces. I don’t think Pillman & Garrison have ever looked nearly as good. They beat down Pillman and Garrison did a great hot tag, including a dive on both. Matt had the sharpshooter on Pillman and Brandon Cutler distracted the ref and Nick sprayed stuff in Pillman’s eyes but Garrison saved. Nick pretended t have a knee injury. Julia Hart showed ref Rick Knox the spray can and Cutler then threw another spray can in and they sprayed Hart in the face. Garrison got a great near fall but the Bucks won. Moxley & Kingston came out after the match. Kingston was biting Nick and Moxley put the choke on Matt. Kingston put the choke on Nick. They put both Bucks out and Kingston stole their expensive tennis shoes and socks.

Rey Mysterio pinned Ziggler in 12:35. This was a very well worked match at the ***˝ level. Ziggler dominated the match but won with a small package.

Sheamus pinned Ricochet in a non-title match in 13:28. I’d go ***3/4 for this. It was better than the night before. Lots of great stuff. Ricochet jumped from the mat into a Spanish fly off the top rope for a near fall. In doing so, Ricochet landed on Sheamus’ left knee. Sheamus was limping around. Ricochet got a lot of near falls. Ricochet came off the top rope to the floor with an elbow. Ricochet hit a springboard 450 for a near fall. He went for a springboard crossbody into a kick and the ref counted three even though Ricochet kicked out. That wasn’t supposed to be the finish and they kind of waited and the ref ordered the match to continue. Sheamus quickly hit the brogue kick for the pin. Sheamus got his hat and jacket back. Carrillo and Mansoor, who had the program with Sheamus, seemingly disappeared. Sheamus then teased that he’d answer Lashley’s challenge later.

Asuka pinned Flair in 16:44 of another ***3/4 match. It wasn’t as great as the night before and there was one spot where Flair missed a Spanish fly off the top rope and just took the bump herself that looked so bad on television. It on TV looked like she went to the top rope and did a moonsault with nobody there. Tons of near falls and submissions. The finish saw Ripley, who was at ringside, call Flair a loser. Flair kicked Ripley off the apron, went for the figure four but Asuka pinned her with an inside cradle.

Mendoza & Wilde beat Thatcher & Ciampa in 15:38 of a ***3/4 match. Mendoza was bleeding form the nose. It looked like it could be broken. This was very hard hitting, and felt more like a style you’d see in Japan or even AEW with the mixed styles but jelling well. Mendoza took the standard run into the corner and fly into the post but way better than almost anyone does it. Thatcher made a hot tag with belly-to-bellies on both. Wilde did a flip dive on Thatcher but as he got in the ring, Ciampa gave him a draping DDT but Mendoza saved. Ciampa had his face dropped on the apron and they then used the double team running kick by Mendoza and Russian leg sweep by Wilde move and Mendoza pinned Ciampa.

Smeat's Note: Since AEW won't be airing Dynamite on Wednesday next week, might end up doing a sheets report for that day since I'll have more free time than usual.
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Old 05-26-2021, 08:57 PM   #1562
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The Sheets:

Originally Posted by Observer
Raw on Monday night averaged 1.62 million viewers and did an 0.45 rating in 18-49, among the lowest numbers in show history in each category.

The numbers were down due to the NBA playoffs. The 18-49 number was the second lowest in the history of the show, with only an 0.41 for the December 14, 2020 show being lower. For total viewers, it was the fourth lowest in history. The record low is the same December 14, 2020 show, that did 1.53 million viewers going against a massive NFL game.

Viewers for all wrestling shows should be down from now until they are no longer going against NBA playoff games.

Viewers were down 10.9 percent from last week and 18-49 was down 6.3 percent.

As compared to the same week last year, viewers were down 6.4 percent and 18-49 was down 11.8 percent.

The first-to-third hour drop of 7.2 percent was on the low end, so it was more people not tuning in from the start than people tuning out in larger than usual numbers based on the quality of the show. It was a combination of the NBA, primarily, and secondarily, not announcing anything besides a Women's Tag Team title match and Xavier Woods vs. Riddle in advance.

The three hours were:
8 p.m. 1.66 million viewers
9 p.m. 1.67 million viewers
10 p.m. 1.54 million viewers
Originally Posted by Observer
This past Friday's SmackDown averaged 1.93 million viewers, up 0.9 percent from the previous week. Aside from the previous week, it's the only time SmackDown has dropped below two million viewers since moving to the ThunderDome.

SmackDown's 0.50 rating in the 18-49 demo was up 27 percent from the previous week.

Year-over-year, SmackDown was down 5.6 percent in viewership and even in the 18-49 demo.
Originally Posted by PWI
The 5/26 edition of NXT did 698,000 overnight viewers, down slightly from from the 700,000 that they did last week.
Originally Posted by Observer
Kazuchika Okada appeared in person for the first time since testing positive for COVID-19 tonight at Korakuen Hall.

He appeared at the start of tonight’s Road to Wrestle Grand Slam event. He said he was doing great. He spent most of the promo talking about still wanting his match for the IWGP World Heavyweight title at Wrestle Grand Slam in Tokyo Dome. He closed the promo by saying that next time people see him, he will be in his ring gear.

Okada was pulled from the second night of Wrestling Dontaku and was later confirmed to have COVID-19. Taichi and El Desperado have also since confirmed that they too have tested positive. NJPW has confirmed that nine wrestlers overall tested positive following their May 4 event.
Originally Posted by Observer
Edge and Sasha Banks are featured on advertising for the Friday, July 16 episode of SmackDown at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, which is the first show in WWE’s return to touring. Banks is also advertised for WWE’s Money in the Bank PPV at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas on Sunday, July 18. Edge hasn’t appeared on WWE television since WrestleMania 37. Banks hasn’t appeared since the post-WrestleMania episode of SmackDown.
Links: ,

Originally Posted by Observer
PWInsider reported that it was announced during an “all hands on deck” meeting today that WWE employees will be returning to their offices in Stamford, Connecticut starting this July. The report noted that some departments will be back doing in-person work full-time, while others may rotate from home to office. The meeting was led by WWE president and chief revenue officer Nick Khan and chief financial officer Kristina Salen.
Originally Posted by Observer
Will Ospreay posted a tweet today giving an update on his neck injury: “Had my physio pop over the house today & after further digging I’m now being referred for another MRI on my lower back as well for fears I may have the same issue in my neck. Things ain’t looking good, but I’m determined to comeback this year. Thanks for all the support.”
Originally Posted by Observer
In an interview with, Cody Rhodes spoke about why AEW isn’t planning to change the name of the TNT Championship despite Dynamite and Rampage moving to TBS in 2022: “I don't want to drop any spoilers, but I mean, I'll drop a spoiler. I don't think we're going to change the title's name one bit. TNT is the place that the first alternative challenger brand in two decades appeared on. Their excitement, our partners at WarnerMedia, and the TNT title, as I've stated, I think it is, if not the most important title in wrestling, the second most important title in wrestling. I don't see us changing that name, and I think that's kind of across the board. I don't think you'll find anybody in management or Tony himself who wants to change that name. We'll always roll with the punches and we'll always pivot, but I'm 99 percent sure the TNT title stays the TNT title.”
Originally Posted by Post Wrestling
Brandon Thurston at Wrestlenomics reports that the total number of employees cut by WWE this week is approximately 60. Thurston adds that Susan Levison, the head of WWE Studios (who was named the head of the division in March 2019) was among the cut that included executives Jayar Donlan, James Rosenstock, Markham Nolan, and Brian Pellegatto.
Originally Posted by Post Wrestling
The AEW Ticket Information account (which is not an official AEW account) that takes information straight from Ticketmaster to gauge tickets sold lists this Sunday’s Double or Nothing at just under 4,000 at Daily’s Place.
Originally Posted by Post Wrestling
Stephanie McMahon was interviewed as part of the Leaders Business Conference and discussed the licensing deal of the WWE Network’s domestic rights to Peacock. One interesting note she shared was that the company is receiving less data than the prior in-house version of the network:

"From a benefits perspective, it allows us to focus on what we do best, which is really the content production and storytelling. It’s consistent with that, we’re still getting our data – not as much data, so maybe that’s a little bit of a downside there. But when you think about the economics, scale, and reach and of course, the added value for our fans. Our fans were paying $9.99 per month for all of WWE Network and now on Peacock they have the opportunity – if they want to continue to pay $9.99 they certainly can for the ad-free model, they also then get all the additional content across Peacock including the Olympics, The Office, really premier content and in addition that, they can also do the $4.99 model which is the ad-supported model, or there’s even the free model as well. So, it’s added value for our fans, economic, scale & reach for WWE and really reaching more people and bringing them into the fold."
Originally Posted by Fightful
AEW has new shirts for Wardlow and Adam Page. There's currently a 20% off sale at Shop AEW running from today until Monday evening at 11 p.m. eastern time.
Originally Posted by Fightful
Tama Tonga says there is unrest all over the world.

Following the news of Will Ospreay vacating the IWGP World Heavyweight Title due to a neck injury, it was reported by Voices of Wrestling that there was "gaijin unrest" in NJPW over how the company has handled the COVID situation ...

Speaking on his Tama's Island podcast, Tama Tonga addressed the report of unrest.

"There is no 'unrest' here. If anybody is unrest, they are keeping it quiet and to themselves and talking shit to dirtsheets. Maybe one or two, but that's anybody. There is unrest in WWE, unrest in AEW. Guys at McDonald's are unrest. There are Japanese wrestlers that are unrest. That's dumb shit. Gaijin mass exodus? What the hell," he said. "If anything, their contract might be up and now that wrestling is flourishing in America, there are better opportunities that people may want to leave. I say, to all the foreigners, I'm super happy where I'm at. As long as [money] keeps coming through, I'm fine. I think some foreigners, their contract is up, they might decide to move elsewhere to grow as a performer. AEW is hot. IMPACT is IMPACT. NXT, NXT UK, WWE. When it's time and people want to leave, they can do. The situation in Japan is a little iffy because of COVID, but we're dealing with it and I think we're fine. We're trying to maneuver and navigate ourselves throughout it. Unrest. When you say 'gaijin' it separates us from the Japanese wrestlers like we aren't on the same boat. Everybody is unrest and trying to figure it out. Whoever is creating these rumors is not understanding the situation. We're all on the same boat and dealing with this. How you handle it mentally is up to you. If the foreigners are not handling it well, then, fuck you. We're all dealing with it. Any foreigners bitching, fuck you."

Tama continued, unhappy that everyone was grouped together.

"When you group the foreigners and the term 'gaijin unrest' is used, you're grouping all of us that don't want to be on that boat. For us that are happy and love what we're doing, we're here. To group us together, you're being a coward," he stated.

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Old 05-26-2021, 10:44 PM   #1563
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I'm waiting for the rumor that says wrestling will get good.
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Old 05-28-2021, 03:47 PM   #1564
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The Sheets (Observer Newsletter Edition):

WWE announced the return of live shows starting with the 7/16 Smackdown tapings at the Toyota Center in Houston, with them running shows in 25 cities through Labor Day.

But the biggest potential news revolves around SummerSlam. While not confirmed, those within the company believe the show to be on 8/21 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. But with the Manny Pacquiao vs. Errol Spence Jr., fight already announced for 8/21 in Las Vegas, it would make SummerSlam the secondary event of the weekend. And nothing has been said officially.

Sports Business Journal, which has a close relationship with key WWE higher-ups, wrote that the show was targeted for the weekend of 8/22, and that it would take place at an NFL stadium, listing Las Vegas, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA, NRG Stadium in Houston, MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ and Nissan Stadium in Nashville as the possibilities. The 8/21 date would seem to make no sense because it would put it head-to-head against Pacquiao vs. Spence, and the combination of unfamiliar night for WWE PPVs, which have been on Sundays for more than a decade, and the boxing competition would hurt viewership greatly.

Stories going around are that WWE has a main event and a guest host to make it stadium-worthy. The leading rumor is Roman Reigns vs. John Cena for the Universal title. We do know that as of last week they were in talks with Cena, that were not finalized, to appear on the 7/16 Smackdown show in Houston. We do know people within the company have talked of Reigns vs. Cena as the match but nobody has confirmed it. Reigns and Cena did do a program including one PPV match years back, designed for Cena to pass the torch, but Cena’s return to the ring would be a big deal. On paper, the only others one could surmise for Reigns to that level would be Dwayne Johnson, who should be saved for a WrestleMania unless he’s got a limited schedule and this would be a free time, since ultimately it’s his call if it does happen and when it does happen. There’s also the return of Brock Lesnar as a possibility, with the Paul Heyman natural storyline, or as a real stretch, Bill Goldberg or Undertaker.

Tickets went on sale to the public on 5/25 and 5/26 for the first three dates, the Smackdown in Houston, the Money in the Bank PPV on 7/18 at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, and Raw on 7/19 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas ...

Sales were not as hoped for like UFC, which has now done four straight instant sellouts for monthly PPV shows from April through July. They were better than AEW, which was to be expected as the bigger company, but like AEW, sales moved at about the rate they would likely have done pre-pandemic. What it seems to show is for both companies, at least at first, they didn’t lose the key fan base during the pandemic, nor did the fan base grow to any major noticeable degree. Whether it maintains is the big question.

There are no numbers for Houston, but it is a strong WWE market and the first show back. A sellout would be about 12,600 tickets sold. The floor is sold out and most, but not all, of the lower deck is sold, but the upper deck has tons of tickets. Conversely, in the same arena, UFC immediately sold 17,000 tickets for $4.1 million.

Edge and Sasha Banks are both advertised for this show. It would be the return of Edge since WrestleMania.

Fort Worth, for Money in the Bank, is the strongest performer of the shows, which shows the drawing power of the Money in the Bank concept. For a PPV, they will likely set up for around 10,000 and there were only 700 tickets left at press time, so it will sell out.

Dallas for the first Raw back, would have a capacity of 14,000. Right now they have only opened about 9,000 seats up, with the entire upper deck except right in front of the hard camera not for sale. At press time about 6,500 tickets have been sold, which is a little softer than expected, but still about double of what AEW has sold for two nights later in the same market. It should be noted WWE house show business wasn’t strong before the pandemic.
Regarding the updated ticket sales when AEW goes on the road, there have been some changes.

The 7/7 show in Miami at the Knight Center has opened up more than 2,100 new seats due to local ticket regulation rules just changing. They sold almost all of the first 1,250 immediately but now have to push sales again after first selling out. The 7/14 show in Cedar Rapids (outside of Austin), TX has almost 3,500 out and less than 600 left, so it should sell out or comes close. The 7/21 show in Garland, TX, has more than 3,300 tickets out in a 5,100-seat capacity. With WWE running the market twice with a PPV and Raw days ahead, that would theoretically slow down sales from this point.
The merger of the entertainment assets of AT&T, the parent company of WarnerMedia, and Discovery Inc., announced on 5/17, is a major entertainment world news story.

It’s impossible to know how this will affect AEW, which is under contract to WarnerMedia for two prime time shows (the second one, which, based on last week’s announcement of an 11/5 television taping on a Friday night before the Saturday Full Gear PPV in St. Louis would indicate Friday as the favorite for the second show, which will be one-hour and debut in the fall) through 2023.

AT&T will receive $43 billion in cash, and debt securities, while WarnerMedia would also retain some of its company debt and AT&T shareholders will get 71 percent of the stock in the new company. Discovery would own 29 percent of the stock.

On paper, since it’s the WarnerMedia side that would be getting the majority interest, it would at least look less likely this would have a negative effect on AEW. However, the President and CEO will be David Zaslav, who comes from the Discovery side.

But the leadership teams of both entities will be merged, and the two companies are planning new streaming services for global consumption. If anything, because pro wrestling with WWE and UFC have shown to have strong value as streaming service content, that AEW, which from a popularity standpoint today is the second strongest pro wrestling entity, would appear to have value, particularly as they build a larger library. They are projecting that the new company would take in approximately $52 billion in revenue with EBITDA of $14 billion annually by 2023. One of the keys to the entertainment merger is that Discovery is a worldwide brand and streaming service, which is different from ESPN+ (UFC) and Peacock (WWE) which limit their streaming to the lucrative U.S. market. TimeWarner would be working with Discovery for HBO Max and Discovery + to be worldwide services and run in more than 200 countries. The new company will be investing more dollars in original content for its streaming services, so on paper that would seem to make AEW more valuable, particularly because it can also drive PPV event revenue individually like UFC does with ESPN, or do specials that would be different from PPV (think Impact’s eight or so annual specials on Impact +) as part of a streaming service or even the WWE model where they could do monthly big events and sell them at a guaranteed number to a streaming service ...

The key to AT&T getting the lion’s share of control is in large part because of WarnerMedia’s sports assets, with the idea right now that a key to creating a streaming service with broad appeal is having a major sports component. According to Sportico, the belief is Discovery realized its niche channels were no match for the offerings of Disney Plus, Amazon and Peacock and that the future of the big services would be a combination of major sports and broad appeal entertainment .

The merger will make the new group the second biggest media company in the country, behind Disney. The new group already has rights to the NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, some NCAA tournament games as well as AEW and the belief is that the new group would invest more money into the NHL, NBA, MLB, PGA and the NCAA basketball tournament to get worldwide streaming rights.

Of course you can never predict the future in these types of things. There are so many moving parts and it’s strongly doubtful AEW had anything to do with these talks, since AEW doesn’t have a presence on HBO Max. Barring a collapse in popularity of the company, it would seem this is far more likely to be a positive than a negative.
CMLL: Wrestling returned with fans at Arena Mexico on 5/21, with an instant sellout of the 500 tickets put on sale and a show put on streaming PPV ... CMLL removed all references to ROH as a partner at the show. On the Mas Lucha radio show, Miguel Reduicindo said that CMLL was talking with other U.S. groups about replacing the ROH partnership. That will be tough since Konnan is the intermediary for Impact, AEW and MLW, CMLL has no use for WWE and no significant U.S. group other than ROH would be a good fit for CMLL
NEW JAPAN: There was talk of extending the state of emergency in Tokyo and nine other provinces through 6/20. This was not official, but it was being reported in Japan that is likely. It’s too soon to know what that means for pro wrestling since everyone is running now at 50 percent capacity and attendance across all companies remains very weak
The debut of Atsushi Onita’s new FMWE promotion on 7/4 will be a death match with Onita & Minoru Fujita & Ricky Fuji vs. Abdullah Kobayashi and two mystery partners. Of Onita’s team wins, they will then blow up Kobayashi’s motorcycle. If Kobayashi’s team wins, they will blow up Onita’s trademark black leather jacket that dates back 30 years
Noelle Foley, 27, the daughter of Mick Foley, who was the co-star with her father in the Holy Foley reality show on the WWE Network which included her training to be a pro wrestler, revealed she’s got a hearing disorder that has made her life miserable, even when it comes to everyday things. “I’ve kept this to myself for quite some time, because I honestly just didn’t want to talk about it, but in February I was clinically diagnosed with a rare hearing disorder called Hyperacusis. Hyperacusis is when you have an extremely low tolerance to noise and most sounds are physically painful. My Hyperacusis was brought on by my concussion in 2019, and it was mild in the beginning, but unfortunately it has gotten worse over time. I’ve had several HORRIBLE setbacks in my recovery due to sounds, making it feel like my full recovery is light years away. If any of you are living with Hyperacusis you know darn well that it is an EXTREMELY debilitating condition to live with. It’d recently been severely affecting my every day life from grocery shopping, driving, restaurants, and even just being around people, including my family.
IMPACT: Josh Matthews was back as the lead announcer on these tapings. Matt Striker was unavailable for the tapings dates but is expected to return at the next set of tapings
AEW: Dynamite, as noted previously, was moved on 5/26 to 5/28 at 10 p.m., and that will also be the time slot on 6/4, the following Friday, with a 6/2 preemeption. That will be a live show as well, with Dark taped 8-10 p.m. and Dynamite live 10 p.m. to midnight. There will likely be other moves in June but that depends on the NBA playoff schedule which isn’t finalized because they don’t know how long some series will go. If there are games on Wednesdays after 6/2, the plans are 6/11 and 6/18 at 10 p.m. on Friday night. Some series’ may go quickly and nothing past 6/4 is etched in stone. It appears they are doing three weeks of taping on 6/4 and 6/5, since the next live taping is 6/26, a Saturday night, meaning it looks like the show will air that date from 8-10 p.m. that week, which would mean going head-to-head that night with a UFC show headlined by Cyril Gane vs. Alexander Volkov. Then they come back with another live taping on 6/30, which is the last Jacksonville show before 7/7 in Miami, and then they’ll be live weekly from there. Going live on the road will add greatly to expenses because running Jacksonville is low cost since they run the building to begin with, plus the travel costs are less with so much of the crew based in Florida and Georgia and they drive in. And it costs less to bring people in every other week. They will pick up live gates that will offset some of those added costs. It appears that for Dark they will give tryouts to wrestlers from the local areas

For 5/28, which due to the time slot and the marquee value of the show, is likely to do the lowest number or one of the lowest numbers in show history.
Tony Khan announced that there will be a women’s Casino Battle Royal for a title shot at the All Out PPV show over Labor Day weekend. He also said that the promotion would be expanding with new talent and the new Rampage TV show
Shaquille O’Neal on Inside the NBA this past week was asked if he’s going to wrestle again and he said soon, this summer
WWE had a talent tryout this past week which was essentially the AEW Dark enhancement crew. Among the names at the tryout were John Skyler, Jake Logan, Tyson Maddux, Ray Jaz, Brady Pierce, Will Allday, David Ali, Ariel Levy, Eric James and Jason Cade. Skyler and Wheeler Yuta, who has worked New Japan Strong and ROH, were the biggest names at the tryout

While there will always be exceptions, when it comes to trying out talent, the directive from above has changed, wanting younger and bigger guys again, which was the only doctrine that got changed when they wanted to take the ROH thunder years ago when ROH got hot and was after the great workers who were often smaller, not necessarily old but not young (as defined as mid-20s or younger).
There was a story going around this past week regarding a wrestler who had hidden a phone as a camera in a bathroom and that a talent found the phone and found “less than savory” files stored. The story got out this week and people thought it was something recent in the WWE dressing room. It was actually something at a party several years ago at the residence of a wrestler who is not with the company (not related to this at all) and as far as the person who owned the phone and was doing so, a number of wrestlers have known this story for years but it wasn’t until fairly recently that management found out the story when a major star went to management and that wrestler is also no longer with the company

With the apparent demise of Showbuzz Daily, right now there is no source for a lot of key Nielsen information, the most important being comparison shows and rankings.

For the week of 5/17 to 5/21, we have actual as opposed to estimated numbers from a significant system. It’s not Nielsen, so it doesn’t track things like viewers per home nor demos. But it has other info such as how long the average viewer watched and DVR numbers. There are pluses and minuses of this. This has actual numbers, not estimates like Nielsen, and is based on millions of homes and not less than 100,000. But Nielsen is more scientific when it comes to a cross-section and the numbers we have are biased toward the type of person who subscribes to the system. Nevertheless, it’s a huge sample size.

Raw on 5/17 placed first for the night on cable at 0.48, but also had no NBA competition, with the most-watched NHL game doing 759,000 viewers and 0.25. The final episode of Miz & Mrs. did 683,000 and 0.22. The show with +9 viewership had 76 percent of its viewers live, 20 percent via DVR and four percent via VOD. That would mean 2,195,000 viewers including DVR viewers. The average viewer watched 58.4 percent of the show meaning 3,758,000 tuned in for a part of the show. Total time viewed was down 0.9 percent from the prior week but total people tuning in was up 4.7 percent. The difference is because the viewer time fell from 111 minutes to 105 minutes.

NXT on 5/18 with +8 viewership had 72 percent live, 23 percent via DVR and five percent via VOD. At 0.15, it ranked No. 35 for the night in 18-49. It would have had 865,000 viewers on average for the show, including DVR viewers. The average viewer watched 58.3 percent of the show meaning 1,484,000 viewers tuned in for part of the show. Viewers hours including DVR viewership was up 1.9 percent because viewers watched through the week longer, but total individual viewers were down 1.8 percent.

AEW on 5/19 doing an 0.28 placed seventh for the night on cable, trailing four NBA related telecasts and two episodes of Real Housewives, which being a women’s show, wouldn’t have been hurt as much as AEW by the NBA playoffs. The playoffs were big as the head-to-head game in most of the country did 2,293,000 viewers and 0.85, but the game against the West Coast airing of AEW was the Warriors-Lakers game which was the most-watched NBA game on ESPN since 2019, doing 5,618,000 viewers and 2.21 in 18-49. The NHL playoff game head-to-head did 730,000 viewers and 0.25, and the game against the West Coast airing (which would have gotten killed by Warriors-Lakers) did 401,000 and 0.15.

With +7 viewership it was 59 percent live, 32 percent via DVR and 9 percent via VOD. Total +7 viewership was 1,127,000, The average viewer watched 66.8 percent of the show and 1,687,000 watched some point of the show. +7 viewers were down 10.8 percent from the prior week and viewers who watched some part of the show were also down 10.8 percent, which would be a combination of a weaker lineup than in previous weeks and the NBA competition.

AEW on 5/12 doing an 0.31, finished tied for third with Real Housewives, trailing an NBA game (1,130,000 viewers and 0.41) and Married at First Sight (1,006,000 viewers and 0.39). It beat the NBA game that went head-to-head with the first 90 minutes which did 777,000 viewers and 0.26.

Smackdown on 5/14 with +5 viewership was 68 percent live, 27 percent via DVR and five percent via VOD. Total +7 viewership was 2,367,000 and the average viewer watched 55.9 percent of the show and 4,234,000 watched at least a portion of the show.

ROH did 88 percent live with +4 viewing, with 11 percent via DVR and one percent via VOD. The average viewer watched 58.4 percent of the show. Impact on 5/13 with +6 was 76 percent live, 21 percent via DVR and 3 percent via VOD. The average viewer watched 51.5 percent of the show.
Raw on 5/24 did 1,620,000 viewers and 0.45 in 18-49.

It was the fourth lowest number of viewers in the history of the show and it was the second lowest in 18-49. The record lows were 1,527,000 viewers and 0.41 in 18-49 set on December 14, 2020, going against a monster football game.

The first hour did 1,661,000 viewers. The second hour did 1,655,000 viewers. The third hour did 1,546,000 viewers. The audience drop was much lower than usual so the number was due to the low number tuning in from the start, with it being the second lowest first hour in history.

There were 1,458,000 watching live and 203,000 watching via DVR as of 3 a.m. On the night of the show the average viewer watched 51.7 percent of the show.

The show was down 11.1 percent in viewers and 6.3 percent in 18-49 from last week.

From one year ago, the show was down 6.6 percent in viewers and 11.8 percent in 18-49.
Smackdown on 5/21 did 1,933,000 viewers and 0.50 in 18-49.

The show placed second in 18-49 behind Shark Tank at 0.55, and was last among the ten network shows in overall viewers, with the second lowest being 2,699,000.

It was 1,643,000 watching live and 290,000 watching via VCR as of 3 a.m. On the night of the show the average viewer watched 51.3 percent of the show.

The show was up 0.8 percent from last week in viewers and up 13.6 percent in 18-49.

As compared to the same week last year, viewers were down 5.4 percent and 18-49 was down 7.4 percent.
NXT on 5/25 did 698,000 viewers and an 0.13 in 18-49, the second lowest 18-49 number in history, and going unopposed, made worse because it was the Karrion Kross vs. Finn Balor main event that had been heavily pushed, but the NBA playoffs hurt it badly.

On that night up until 3 a.m. it was 618,000 live and 80,000 via DVR. The average viewer on that night watched 52.4 percent of the show.

Viewers were down 0.3 percent from last week while 18-49 was down 13.3 percent from last week.

As compared to the same week one year ago, viewers were down 4.5 percent and 18-49 was down 31.6 percent.

Meltzer's Matches Star Ratings:

Notes on the 5/21 Smackdown.

Crews retained the IC title over Owens, Zayn and Big E in 21:53 in a ****1/4 match. All kinds of big spots. E did a splash on Crews and Zayn at the same time on the apron. Owens did a flip dive on E. Crews did a moonsault off the apron on E. Crews gave E three German suplexes. Zayn did a Michinoku driver on Owens for a near fall. Owens did a fisherman buster off the middle rope on Zayn. Crews did a Death Valley bomb on Owens and then E tackled Crews to the floor. They did all kinds of near falls. Owens did a frog splash on E. Owens did a German suplex on E and a cannonball on Crews. Zayn did a half nelson German suplex and blue thunder bomb. Owens did a superkick on E. Zayn did a power bomb on Crews. Owens backdropped Zayn over the barricade into the timekeepers’ area. Zayn gave Owens a half nelson German suplex on the floor. E hit the big ending on Crews but Azeez pulled E off. E threw Azeez into the post. They pretended the lights went out and then Black was in the ring and laid out E with black mass so Crews could pin him and retain
Notes from the 5/24 Raw show.

Flair beat Asuka in 21:24 of a ***˝ match. Very good long match. Asuka went for a hip attack but Flair chop blocked her and worked on Asuka’s left knee. Asuka came back with a German suplex, a spinning backfist and a kick. Flair did the Andrade double moonsault spot. She went for the figure four but Asuka reversed into the Asuka lock. Flair then reversed into a bridging pin. Then they announced Flair gets the shot at Ripley, which was the original plan. But it makes no sense since Asuka beat Flair last week, so at best they are 1-1 and there should be a deciding match to see who gets the shot.

Riddle pinned Woods in 12:49 of a **** match. Both were strong high school wrestlers. Riddle was state champion in New York and once beat Jon Jones. Woods was a very good high school wrestler in Georgia. There was a great monkey flip into a vertical suplex by Woods. There was a triple reverse tombstone spot although neither guy ended up actually taking the tombstone. Woods did a press slam into a gutbuster. Riddle did the Kota Ibushi power German suplex. The finish saw Riddle get the pin after an RKO, which no doubt will lead to a confrontation next week with Orton.
Notes from the 5/25 NXT show.

Pete Dunne pinned Bobby Fish in a **** match in 12:10. Dunne was busted up early under his left eye with a forearm. Fish backdropped Dunne on the floor. Fish gave Dunne a running knee into the barricade. Fish gave Dunne an overhead suplex into the turnbuckle and Dunne landed nearly on his head. Dunne came back doing the broken finger spot and the bitter end for the pin. Oney Lorcan came out and attacked and beat down Fish. Lorcan worked on Fish’s bad arm that he had the triceps surgery on. It was a long attack and nobody made the save for Fish. Looks like Dunne is moving on while Fish’s program will be with Lorcan.

Kross beat Balor in the main event in 22:39 of a ****1/4 match. Just a fantastic showing by Balor here. It was pushed as the biggest match in NXT history with a great early presentation. They copied AEW with using records, saying Balor is 34-8 (I have no idea where that came from since he’s had hundreds of NXT matches) and Kross is 14-0, and that Balor is 14-1 on Takeovers. Cross was throwing Balor around early. Balor got a crossface. Balor did a double foot stomp. Kross got the crossjacket choke but Balor made the ropes. Kross used the Bad Luck Fall into the barricade. Balor came back with a flip dive. Kross no sold it and back dropped him on the announcers table. Balor came back with another double foot stomp, a Woo dropkick, but missed the Coup de gras. Kross drove Balor into the turnbuckles and hit a German suplex, and a Saito suplex. Balor did a front rolling cradle and then used an abdominal stretch and dropped it into a lateral guillotine. Kross powered out of that. Balor got a choke but Kross powered out. Balor got a triangle but Kross power bombed his way out, followed with a clothesline, the elbows to the back of the neck on the ground and got the straitjacket choke. Balor went out and the match was stopped.

Smeat's Note: Since AEW won't be airing Dynamite on Wednesday next week as well, might end up doing a sheets report for that day.

Last edited by Emperor Smeat; 05-28-2021 at 04:26 PM.
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