Afternoon Update: Harsh media reaction to WWE Crown Jewel decision, Smackdown tops Tuesday cable ratings with lowest non-holiday viewership of year, Total Bellas viewership up, Most Remarkble Crowd Reaction Ever, Kane

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


Please send news tips and live event results to pwtorch@pwtorch.com. Thanks!


-Smackdown 1001 didn’t do as well as Smackdown 1000, with viewership dropping from 2.545 million to 2.087 million. The ten-week average before Smackdown 1000 was 2.242 million, and the 2.087 was the lowest viewership of the year other than the July 3 episode, which dropped in viewership from the norm likely due to taking place during the “Fourth of July Weekend.” That said, it was a weak night of competition on cable with no major sports broadcasts, so Smackdown finished no. 1 overall in cables ratings among the key 18-49 demographic with a 0.7 rating, besting the 0.5 ratings for some regular programs on Bravo, MTV, and FX.

-Total Divas last night drew 390,000 viewers, reports Showbuzz Daily, up from a season low 340,000 last week. It was tied for the second-best viewership of the season, which has had six episodes so far. Check out Sarah K’s review of last night’s episode of “Total Divas”: 10/24 TOTAL DIVAS REVIEW: Naked sushi as Nikki flirts with a 21 year old bartender, Lana sprayed with champaign and takes a shower, Nia surprises Nikki on dance floor

-Check out our sister site MMATorch.com which has a ton of coverage of the unprecedented trade of two big name fighters between two separate promotions, plus seemingly daily developments in the fallout from the Conor McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov fight weeks ago, including suspensions. STORY LINK

-Glen Jacobs is facing scrutiny in his home town newspaper for planning to take part in Crown Jewel, which WWE confirmed today is indeed going to take place as scheduled in Saudi Arabia. Excerpt:

Jacobs’ spokesman Rob Link did not immediately respond to phone calls and messages regarding the mayor’s decision to participate in the event.

Jacobs announced two weeks ago that he was still planning on attending “Crown Jewel.”

FULL ARTICLE LINK

-A lot of rave reviews for this match, and the remarkable crowd involvement throughout, between Bobby Gunns and Ilja Dragunov on this WXW event. PWTorch VIP podcast host Alan Counihan (“Alan4L”) is on commentary for the match, too. CLICK TO WATCH

-The reaction continues to come in from WWE’s decision to hold Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia after all, despite the Saudis murdering Jamal Khashoggi several weeks ago when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Deadspin wrote:

(T)he Saudis are paying a shit-ton of money to host this show, and it’d be bad business to turn it down.

(I)t’ll all be excellent international PR for Saudi Arabia, which must be relieved by today’s statement confirming that the kingdom will be getting what it paid for.

Forbes headline today reads: “WWE Moves Forward With Crown Jewel In Saudi Arabia, But Its 10-Year Deal Remains Volatile.” Excerpt:

Always the master of non-coincidences and PR wizardry, WWE has tried its best to circumnavigate public criticism for its palpably unsettling relationship with Saudi Arabia. Knox County Mayor and headliner Kane teamed up with the promotion to proactively (and transparently) donate $100,000 to the Knoxville Public Safety Foundation for Kane’s WWE appearances that would take him away from his post. … The philanthropy is undeniably heartwarming. But to a skeptic, the timing is suspicious.

Given the underwhelming promotion for WWE Evolution compared to Crown Jewel on go-home shows for Raw and SmackDown this week, the cynicism toward WWE might not be so unfounded. And to suggest that WWE Evolution being held days before Crown Jewel was simply a scheduling coincidence would be to deny WWE of quite possibly one of its greatest strengths.

In the end, not only was the partnership scrutinized, frayed foreign relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia over freedom of the press have cast an even darker cloud over WWE’s involvement in Vision 2030. And with nine years to go, it’s difficult to imagine WWE being able to outrun its ubiquitous criticism long-term. FULL ARTICLE LINK

-The timing of WWE’s announcement is awkward, in that within hours the Saudi Arabia government admitted the killing of Khashoggi was premeditated. This a big shift from what the Saudis had said initially, earning scorn for the brazen contradiction their story had with known facts at the time. NBC News reports:

The acknowledgment was the latest change in the Saudi government’s shifting account of what happened to Khashoggi after he entered its consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. President Donald Trump has called the effort to conceal Khashoggi’s killing the ‘worst cover-up ever.’  …

Despite the shifting narrative, the Saudis have maintained that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had no prior knowledge of the operation.

But U.S. officials told NBC News last week that American intelligence agencies believe it’s inconceivable that the crown prince had no connection to Khashoggi’s death but that they still have no “smoking gun” evidence that he ordered the journalist killed. FULL ARTICLE

-CBS chimed in with a damning interpretation of today’s developments and Vince McMahon’s defense for sticking with the show in Saudi Arabia. Excerpt:

WWE’s public statement did nothing but confirm the importance the company places on the almighty dollar far above its tired grandstanding as crusaders for global change. Although the decision was consistent with WWE’s record of smart financial positioning, which includes a meteoric transition from a mom-and-pop family business in the 1980s to a publicly traded juggernaut, it’s a slap in the face to its typically sanctimonious facade. …

Promoting an inaugural all-women’s pay-per-view event on Sunday called WWE Evolution simply isn’t a make-good for doing business with a country that doesn’t share its same values on women. For all of its grand intentions socially, WWE can’t have it both ways. …

Should WWE want to continue to present itself as a moral compass and force for global change in the world at large, it can no longer pick and choose when its economically sound to do so. …

What WWE would’ve given up financially by choosing to speak up and pull out of Saudi Arabia may not eclipse what it has already lost to its reputation by staying quiet. …


RELATED: Afternoon Update: Hogan wants to go to Saudi Arabia, The Rock doesn’t reply to inquiries of his stance on Crown Prince now, AP covers Evolution taking a hit, Douglas on Reigns, Dark Journey on Slater, AAW, MLW


CHECK OUT THIS WEEK’S WADE KELLER PRO WRESTLING PODCAST “THURSDAY FLAGSHIP” – PWTorch VIP Analyst Todd Martin joined Wade to preview Evolution including Mae Young Classic semi-finals and predictions on finals.

-Listen on Stitcher: CLICK HERE
-Listen on Apple Podcasts: CLICK HERE
-Or search “Wade Keller” on your podcast app of choice


Please send news tips and live event results to pwtorch@pwtorch.com. Thanks!

2 Comments on Afternoon Update: Harsh media reaction to WWE Crown Jewel decision, Smackdown tops Tuesday cable ratings with lowest non-holiday viewership of year, Total Bellas viewership up, Most Remarkble Crowd Reaction Ever, Kane

  1. I have watched the World Wrestling Federation on and off for 28 years but that ended in April when they first played that cesspool of a country in April. Any paid attendee that attends a show of theirs will forever be linked to Saudi Arabia and the atrocities that have continued over several years. Also don’t say you are for women’s equality in wrestling either. You can’t have it both ways.

    I will hope and pray that the McMahons end up homeless and those houses in Greenwich and Boca Raton get blown away by hurricanes. It serves them right and I hope the company will cease to exist in the next 10 years.

  2. I support WWE completely for going over there since they committed already to the show. I do not care one bit how anyone feels about it. I only care about money and I want to see the show. I do agree WWE should demand extra security for the wrestlers from Saudi Police.

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