SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
-Early today, Hulk Hogan was listed on the WWE.com preview page for Crown Jewel (OUR REPORT: Hulk Hogan quietly added to Crown Jewel on the Event Preview page on WWE’s website). By early afternoon his image was gone. Hogan hasn’t addressed Crown Jewel on Twitter this week. He told the Orlando Sentinel that he planned to go to Crown Jewel. “There are a lot of plans in the works,” Hogan said. “I’m looking forward to going to Saudi Arabia with the WWE, looking forward to WrestleMania – but yeah, we’re moving forward at a rapid pace. It’s exciting to have this opportunity again after all these years where I was there and gone.” The Hogan photo could have been an error by a staff member who hadn’t been updated or it could have been a trial balloon to see the reaction (which wasn’t pretty across various media outlets in light of Hulk Hogan’s racist comments he made on two occasions when he was in his 50s and his badly botched apologies in the media and to the WWE locker room a few months ago) or maybe it was meant to be a surprise on Friday.
-WWE stock was up again today after a rough last week. It opened at $69.64 and grew to over $73 before settling at $72.59 at the end of trading, up 4 percent for the day. The stock market was also up, with the Dow Jones Industrial average up over 400 points at one point and closing up 241.12, just under 1 percent.
CHECK OUT THIS WEEK’S WADE KELLER PRO WRESTLING POST-SHOW covering Monday Night Raw
-Three members of the NXT roster are now champions in Evolve. At Evolve 114 on Oct. 28, Fabian Aichner of NXT beat Shane Strickland to become the new Evolve Champion. The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) also were successful in their quest for gold in Evolve as they beat Chris Dickinson & Jaka to capture the Evolve Tag Team Championship. They have been announced as appearing on all upcoming Evolve shows through September. Evolve booker Gabe Sapolsky had promised a lot of surprises. Three other NXT talents saw action as Dan Matha, Jessie Elaban, and Adrian Jaoude also appeared on the card. WWE.com highlighted NXT’s participation in Evolve 114 with an article on WWE.com. These developments at Evolve 114 seem to mirror what PWTorch sources claimed to be the original plan when Evolve and WWE entered into a working relationship originally before Evolve signed a deal to air their content on FloSlam in 2016. Sources indicated to PWTorch at the time that Evolve was going to be like a minor league affiliate to the NXT brand to give wrestlers not being utilized on TV a chance to perform and work under the Evolve banner. WWE and Evolve’s parent company WWN have seen their relationship heat back up in 2018 after Evolve and FloSlam parted ways in September of 2017. WWE has been allowing Evolve to use NXT talent at live events, but had not allowed their matches to air on iPPV until this past weekend.
-With WWE looking into tiered pricing on the WWE Network, it seems there’s a strong possibility at this time that Evolve content could eventually be part of the tiered content once it is launched. Multiple sources have confirmed with PWTorch in the past that Evolve the would be part of a new tier along with other independent companies that WWE works with if it ever gets the green light.
-The NXT TV show tonight features Bobby Fish & Adam Cole vs. The War Raiders, Mercedes Martinez vs. Nikki Cross, Street Profits vs. The Mighty, and Matt Riddle vs. Luke Menzies.
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-Last night’s WWE Smackdown on USA Network drew a 1.55 rating, up from last week’s 1.46 rating, and even above the year-ago number of 1.53. Viewership was 2.110 million.
-Last night on Mixed Match Challenge which aired on Facebook Watch, Charlotte & A.J. Styles defeated Lana & Rusev and Ember Moon & Braun Strowman beat Jinder Mahal & Alicia Fox.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: Afternoon Update: Bryan reportedly off Crown Jewel, Stephanie McMahon comments on Crown Jewel decision, Associated Press covers WWE’s Saudi Arabia decision, MLW on FITE TV, Cody on MSG show, Jeff Cobb signs with ROH