The holiday ratings malaise from Raw apparently carried over for a second night, as the final Smackdown Live! before their first brand-exclusive PPV did the worst ratings since the brand extension began, a bad sign given that the new fall season of network TV will resume in the next few weeks, which will also likely steal viewers away from the show. Overall, the show still finished third among original cable programming for the evening, bringing in 2.45 million viewers and a 0.79 rating in the 18-49 demographic.
Tales of a film based on the life and tragic final days of WWE Superstar Chris Benoit have been floating around essentially since just after the horrific double murder/suicide in 2007, an event which changed the face of professional wrestling forever, especially as it relates to studies on the effects of concussions on wrestlers. This week, Academy Award-nominated director Lexi Alexander, who has also directed the movie Punisher: War Zone, and several episodes of DC Comic’s various superhero TV shows, confirmed on social media an IMDB listing that claimed she has signed on with the film.
This is all speculation for now, although it comes from highly reliable sources, but it sounds like WWE Superstar and one of the stars of Total Divas, Paige, who is currently serving a 30-day suspension for violating the WWE Wellness Policy, may be trying to find a way out of her contract. It sounds as if Paige is looking to join her boyfriend Alberto Del Rio, who recently exercised an “out” clause in his own contract and will be finished with the company at the end of the month, after a tumultuous last few months which saw her relationship become public, leading to several complications.
We’re just about a month away from the release of WWE 2K17, and we already know the full roster for the game, which means it’s just about the right time for a gameplay trailer! From the fine folks at 2K Games, via IGN, here is that trailer, which, of course, asks the question, “Who’s Next?”
The holiday weekend and the new college football season took chunks out of Raw’s viewership this week, as the show started with a strong number, but shed viewers throughout the evening, dropping the average and finishing the evening well under the 3 million mark. Overall, the show, which started well with the Kevin Owens victory celebration and excellent matches involving Seth Rollins, Chris Jericho, Bayley, and WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte, before seeing a sharp drop-off in quality (then rebounding with a strong main event that, clearly, nobody saw), finished with an average of 3.07 million viewers, down significantly from the 3.31 million it brought in last week. The show also drew a 1.07 rating in the 18-49 demographic, which was also down somewhat, and put Raw at #4 for the evening among original cable programming, behind Love and Hip-Hop on VH-1, and a college football game (and post-game show) on ESPN.
With the WWE Brand Extension once again in full swing, it’s time for the next hurdle in the road, the very first brand-exclusive Pay Per View. Smackdown gets the first kick at the can with Backlash, a PPV name that actually has a long history due to formerly being WWE’s first post-Mania PPV that dealt with the fallout from the largest show of the year (hence the name). Can Smackdown maintain the legacy of Backlash? Well, they’ve actually got a pretty big hill to climb, thanks to a small roster, a show that doesn’t seem to have enough matches announced to fill three hours, and having to introduce two major titles on the same show with only a few weeks of build-up. The talent is there, however, so the show could actually be quite good. And if you want some more thoughts and predictions to get you prepared for Backlash, well, then just keep reading.
Whether you think it’s a good idea or a bad idea for CM Punk to be trying to make his mark in UFC probably, at least partially, revolves around the fact that he is basically a completely untrained 37-year-old trying to break into a sport full of professionals who have been training in that particular discipline for their entire lives. Even if he works really hard, as he clearly has, the odds of success are not in his favor, and he may ultimately end up horribly outmatched. It turns out, the Ohio Athletic Commission, which is overseeing UFC 203, would normally agree with that sentiment, and in fact, they actually have a rule that states that any fighter must have a winning amateur record consisting of at least five fights before they will sanction a professional match. In case you didn’t know, CM Punk has never competed any MMA discipline as either an amateur or a professional, and thus would not qualify. In fact, Punk’s opponent, Mickey Gall, would also fall under this ruling, as he only has a 3-0 record as an amateur (and is 2-0 as a pro), although obviously he has slightly more wiggle room than Punk.
The very first Smackdown-exclusive Pay Per View of the new Brand Extension is this Sunday, and as of the final Smackdown Live! before the show, there are six official matches announced. At Backlash, two new titles will be introduced, as the Smackdown Women’s Title will be awarded to the winner of a Six-Pack Challenge Match, and the Smackdown Tag Team titles will be determined in the finals of an eight-team tournament. In case you needed a refresher on what to expect at Backlash, here are all the matches that you will see this Sunday!
With Backlash just a few days away, this week’s Smackdown Live! was the final chance for competitors to get their shots in before the Pay Per View. In addition, the final four teams faced off for the right to compete for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles at Backlash. Here’s everything that went down at the last Smackdown before Backlash!
You may have heard that WWE Superstar Rhyno, recently seen teaming with Heath Slater on Smackdown Live, is also running for a seat on the Michigan House of Representatives in the upcoming elections, as the Republican candidate for his district. And it seems that the Man-Beast, who is running under his real name, Terrence Guido Gerin, has enlisted the help of an old friend for his most recent campaign ad. Yes, that’s Olympic gold medalist and multiple-time World Champion Kurt Angle, threatening to break the ankle of an undecided voter. We might question his methods for getting people to vote for Rhyno, but we can’t argue with the results.