Weekend Roundup: Asuka WWE Return Update, Big Swole, Impact & Steve Maclin, Wrestling Ratings & Attendance Notes, Indies

WWE

  • As noted before, Asuka has been out of action for WWE since this past July due to a shoulder injury. Fightful Select reported that their sources stated that WWE officials are currently planning for Asuka to make her return to WWE programming very soon and as a member of the RAW brand. These same sources also stated that WWE officials also currently have tentative plans for Asuka to make her return at this Monday’s episode of RAW and be involved in a short-term feud with Becky Lynch.
  • Following Saturday’s boxing event in London, Tyson Fury stated in a post-fight media scrum that he is interested in the idea of potentially facing off against Drew McIntyre at WWE’s upcoming event in Cardiff, Wales this September. Fury stated “Don’t rule me out of fighting there. You might see me at SummerSlam coming up soon. I got to speak to Vince and the boys, maybe make this happen. I know this Drew McIntyre has been saying a lot of things about me. I have to knock him out. I’d love to be at Cardiff. I’d love to be back in the center stage in the UK, especially for the wrestling. I enjoyed it last time in Saudi Arabia. It was fantastic. So to come here and do it would be phenomenal, and we’re gonna we’re definitely gonna make a bit of contact and see can we make that Summer Slam thing a reality.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • During a recent interview with the WWE After The Bell with Corey Graves podcast, Kevin Owens gave his thoughts about his match against Steve Austin and main eventing Night 1 of WrestleMania 38 earlier this month. Owens stated “It’s all downhill from here, really. It’s still unbelievable. Sometimes, I’ll have my moments where I’m not doing anything, I’m just sitting around, and I’ll pull it up on my phone and I’ll specifically watch the moment where the ref rings the bell. I still can’t believe it happened. It’s really hard to process what happened and hard to put into words. It’s the moment where I say, ‘I’m looking for a fight.’ That’s when he turns and gives me that glare. When I say, ‘I’m looking for a fight,’ You see people behind him standing up and you hear the buzz. Moments like that are special. Another thing I remember really well — this might have been caught by a WWE 24 documentary crew — at one point, right before we went out, I caught a glimpse of him just pacing back and forth. He looked like a caged lion ready to murder me. I was like, ‘Oh man, this is going to be wild.’ It’s all very surreal and hard to put into words.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • PWInsider’s Dave Scherer reported that WWE recently sent a new fan survey about several potential ideas and plans. Some of the questions asked included fan interest in NFTs, a wrestler ranking system, and the possibility of more “behind the scenes” content released by the company.
  • Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that WWE averaged around 4,879 paid attendance per event for their events this past February and March. House shows reportedly averaged 3,878 per house show event, 6,200 per RAW show, and 6,514 per SmackDown show. In regards to key demographic viewership, Meltzer reported that NXT averaged 175,167 viewers and a 0.13 rating, which was down compared to the same period last year of 210,778 viewers and 0.16 rating. RAW reportedly averaged 644,167 viewers and a 0.50 rating per show, which was down compared to the same period last year of 717,111 viewers and a 0.55 rating. SmackDown reportedly averaged 712,500 viewers and a 0.55 rating per show, which was down compared to the same period last year of 760,125 viewers and a 0.58 rating.
  • WWE reportedly generated an attendance of 6,735 (5,700 paid) for their April 15th SmackDown show in Worcester, MA, 3,520 for their April 16th house show event in Erie, PA, 3,193 for their April 17th house show event in Syracuse, NY, and 7,380 (6,300 paid) for their April 18th RAW show in Buffalo, NY, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • WWE reportedly has sold around 2,917 tickets for their April 24th house show event in Binghamton, NY, around 1,962 tickets for their April 24th house show event in Augusta, GA, 4,612 tickets for their April 25th RAW show in Knoxville, TN, around 4,581 for their April 28th house show event in Newcastle, England, around 2,545 tickets for their April 30th house show event in Lakeland, FL, around 2,940 tickets for their May 1st house show event in Fairfax, VA, around 3,870 tickets for their May 2nd RAW show in Greensboro, NC, around 5,348 tickets for their May 6th SmackDown show in Long Island, NY, around 6,840 tickets for their May 8th WrestleMania Backlash 2022 event in Providence, RI, around 3,961 tickets for their May 13th SmackDown show in Wilkes-Barre, PA, around 1,590 tickets for their May 14th house show event in Florence, SC, around 3,955 tickets for their May 16th RAW show in Norfolk, VA, around 4,461 tickets for their May 20th SmackDown show in Grand Rapids, MI, and around 2,000 tickets for their July 30th SummerSlam 2022 event in Nashville, TN as of this past Thursday, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that the extras used for the Dana Brook & Tamina bachelorette party segment during the April 11th episode of SmackDown included indie wrestlers Kayla Sparks, Ashley D’Amboise and Leila Gray who have recently worked in AEW for their Dark and Dark Elevation series. Meltzer also reported that WWE used several indie talents as seat fillers for all of their television shows and events in Dallas, Texas earlier this month.
  • During a recent interview with the Bleav in Pro Wrestling podcast, Raquel Rodriguez, former Raquel Gonzalez in NXT, gave her thoughts about her recent ring name change as part of her call-up to WWE’s SmackDown brand. Rodriguez stated “They just basically said, ‘Hey, you’re getting a name change and this is it.’ I was like, ‘Cool, that’s fine.’ I really had no big arguments with it at all. It was just a simple little switch. It’s funny, I was just joking with Rhea (Ripley) last Friday because she was actually at SmackDown, and her initials are R-R, Rhea Ripley, and we’ve always joked about being a tag team, and we had our feud NXT. Well, now my initials are R-R, Raquel Rodriguez. So it kind of just feels like it was meant to be, so I’m okay with it. We’re starting to think of new tag names … This is what I’ve been waiting for. It’s what I’ve worked for. This is what all the sacrifices are for. But I definitely took that moment (getting called up) and I squashed it right away, because I was like, this doesn’t mean you made it. This doesn’t mean that it’s over. You know what I mean? Like this is where the work begins and this is where you really have to start hustling.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • During a recent interview with The Detroit News, Scott Steiner gave his thoughts about why he decided to accept WWE’s offer to induct the Steiner Brothers into their Hall of Fame despite his longtime issues with the company. Steiner stated “You’ve gotta let it go, you can’t harbor all the bad feelings. You’ve gotta grow up.”
  • WWE filed trademarks for “Damaris Griffin” and “D-Griff” on April 19th for wrestling and entertainment-related purposes to the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
  • This past Thursday’s episode of NXT UK featured NXT 2.0 talents Damon Kemp, Ivy Nile, Von Wagner, and Lash Legend making their official debuts for the brand.

AEW

  • As noted before, Top Flight’s Darius Martin recently suffered a leg injury. Prior to his latest injury, Martin had made his return from an ACL inquiry this past March. Martin recently provided an injury update on Twitter stating that his current injury was not due to something wrestling-related. Martin stated ““What I’m currently dealing with had NOTHING to do with wrestling but I’m glad everyone else out there seems to know more about my health than I do.
  • Britt Baker filed a trademark for “D.M.D.” on April 19th for wrestling and entertainment-related purposes to the USPTO.
  • During a recent interview with The Straight Shooters podcast, Eddie Kingston gave his thoughts about the future of his wrestling career and if he would ever consider leaving AEW for a different company. Kingston stated “Yeah, I can just answer that now. Where am I gonna go, dog? I’m good. I’m good. I worked for this. I don’t care. I don’t. I worked for this. AEW gave me my shot first, right? You know what I mean? I’m a loyal guy … I’m not knocking nobody, just chill … but when people say ‘Yeah, I’m here forever’, that’s cool. That’s them. I’m telling you from me, and my word is my bond. I ain’t got nowhere else to go. Don’t wanna be nowhere else. Having a blast, trying to beat up people in the ring. Trying to be world champ. Wherever I’m at, trying to be better than I was yesterday. I’m like a dog, man, when it comes to loyalty. That’s it. My word is my bond and [AEW] fits me because they took the shot. If people wanna know any deeper, it’s basically they let me be me. There’s no character. There’s no, ‘You can’t say that.’ … I got freedom. It’s just a really good environment when you shut out the negativity and understand this is the pro wrestling business. Not everyone is going to like each other. That’s it. Take care of your own stuff.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • As noted before, AEW recently announced that they will be holding a co-promoted event with New Japan Pro Wrestling called The Forbidden Door on June 26th in Chicago, Illinois. Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that his sources stated that Stardom, which is owned by NJPW’s parent company Bushirod, is currently not expected to be involved in this upcoming joint event. Meltzer reported that Stardom is currently scheduled to hold an event in Japan on that same day.
  • Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that AEW averaged a paid attendance of 4,480 per event for the months of this past February and March. In regards to key demographic viewership, AEW averaged 490,667 viewers and a 0.38 rating per show, which was up compared to the same time period last year of 391,444 viewers and a 0.30 rating.
  • AEW reportedly generated an attendance of 4,800 (4,500 paid) for their April 16th Battle of the Belts II event in Garland, Texas and 6,000 (5,800 paid) for their April 20th AEW Dynamite show in Pittsburgh, PA, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • AEW reportedly has sold around 5,757 tickets for their April 27th Dynamite show in Philadelphia, PA, around 3,737 tickets for their May 4th Dynamite show in Baltimore, MD, around 5,944 tickets for -their May 11th Dynamite show in Long Island, New York, around 3,565 tickets for their May 18th Dynamite show in Houston, TX, around 4,413 tickets for their May 25th Dynamite show in Las Vegas, around 4,462 tickets for their May 27th Dynamite show in Las Vegas, around 13,102 tickets for their May 29th Double or Nothing 2022 event in Las Vegas, NV, around 13,082 for their June 1st Dynamite show in Inglewood, around 7,293 tickets for their June 3rd Rampage show in Ontario, CA, around 3,622 tickets for their June 8th Dynamite show in Independence, MO, around 3,054 tickets for their June 15th Dynamite show in St. Louis, MO, around 3,584 tickets for their June 22nd Dynamite show in Milwaukee, WI, and 8,974 tickets for their June 29th Dynamite show in Detroit, MI as of this past Thursday, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • During a recent interview with the Insight with Chris Van Vliet podcast, Hangman Adam Page gave his thoughts about his recent Texas Death match against Adam Page for the AEW World Championship. Page stated “My knees. I picked up Cole for the Dead Eye off the apron through the table, but then as I was jumping, it occurred to me that I didn’t have any kneepads. I’m like, ‘Oh sh*t, this is going to hurt so bad.’ Just that and weird little cuts when you take a shower, but my chin has been split wide open. You ever had someone kick you in the middle of a backflip? I don’t know [how many stitches I have], I kind of lost count after 7 or 8.” (Transcript h/t: PostWrestling.com)
  • As noted before, former AEW talent Big Swole and AEW CEO Tony Khan were involved in an online incident this past December. This incident involved Swole criticizing AEW over her claims of the company’s “lack of diversity” mainly in regards to African American talent and Khan’s response on Twitter that was demeaning in nature and quickly generated online backlash against him. During a recent interview with The Sessions with Renee Paquette podcast, Swole stated that despite her past issues, her contact line is still open for Tony Khan should AEW ever be interested in bringing her back. Swole also claimed that she does not like to “burn bridges” with others. Swole stated “I still have love for the people there at AEW. Like, I still have friends and everything like that. I’m supportive and I still watch their matches and everything. Everything that went down kind of just went as a surprise for me. I didn’t necessarily know [Tony Khan] was going to react like that, but I mean… that’s his god given right. My line is still open for [Tony Khan and] for AEW, because I don’t like to burn any bridges. I just like to tell the truth. These are my opinions. These are my experiences and I feel like they shouldn’t have been blown out of proportion as much as they [were] and I feel like people were doing more invalidating than actually actively listening and comprehending what I was saying. So in a sense of where my relationship is with certain fans, it’s kind of like..nuh-uh..but as far as AEW, I just really wish them the best because I don’t want anybody getting out of a job. Completion is amazing for wrestling. We’ve been waiting on something like this for a long time.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • Wrestlenomics’ Brandon Thurston reported that AEW Dynamite’s overall television viewership for the first quarter of 2022 was up around 29% compared to the same quarter last year. AEW Dynamite’s key demographic viewership reportedly was up around 28% compared to the same quarter last year. In regards to PPV buys, Thurston reported that AEW’s Revolution 2021 event was up 50% compared to Revolution 2020, Double or Nothing 2021 event was up 10% compared to Double or Nothing 2020, All Out 2021 event was up 128% compared to All Out 2020, and Full Gear 2021 event was up 71% compared to Full Gear 2020. In regards to YouTube viewership, Thurston reported that AEW saw around a 23% decline for the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same quarter last year.
  • As noted before, AEW CEO Tony Khan recently claimed that much of the anti-AEW online community is being driven by paid staff, implied to be from or associated with WWE, and from bots. During a recent interview with TV Insider, Khan expanded on his claims regarding bots helping push an anti-AEW agenda on social media and elsewhere online. Khan stated “What I’ve seen was a lot of anti-AEW accounts that are really focused on the things they don’t like. A lot of those are legitimate things. Some of those points I’m trying to address. Some of them I don’t agree with, but the point is a lot of these are the same people. There are a handful of accounts that are being run by a few people running a lot of accounts. Those are real people. A lot of their engagement, their retweets, likes, people responding, and signal boosting for what they are saying, those are bots. You got a network of a few people with a lot of identities powered by a bunch of bots. I’m not making this up. I have hired IT experts that put together a much more sophisticated explanation than I’m capable of giving. It’s a real thing, or I wouldn’t have brought it up. I have a pretty good reputation in this business for honesty.”

Indies & Misc. Wrestling

  • New Japan Pro Wrestling recently announced a new match for the card of their Golden Fight Series event on April 25th in Hiroshima, Japan. This will be a Provisional King of Pro Wrestling 2022 Championship 30-Count match of Shingo Takagi vs. Taichi (c).
  • NJPW President Takami Ohbari stated on Twitter that he helped save the life of a little girl who had fallen from a railway platform and landed in the gap between the platform and a train at a train station in Japan this past Saturday.
  • NJPW reportedly generated a paid attendance of 2,277 for their April 16th Windy City Riot event in Chicago, Illinois, 834 for their April 18th Golden Fight Series event in Nagoya, and 374 for their April 19th Golden Fight Series event in Tokyo, Japan, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • NJPW reportedly has sold around 1,200 for their May 14th Capital Collision event in Washington, DC as of this past Thursday, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • As noted before, AEW recently announced that they will be holding a co-promoted event with NJPW called The Forbidden Door on June 26th in Chicago, Illinois. During a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, NJPW CEO Takami Ohbari gave his thoughts about AEW and NJPW’s upcoming joint event. Ohbari stated “The theme of our 50th anniversary year has been not just to celebrate alongside our fans, but to give something back to everyone who has supported us over the decades. Especially as we bounce back from the effects of the global pandemic, I feel we really have to go the extra mile. It’s on us to make those dream matches and situations come true, to bring the power of professional wrestling to the people, and emerge into a bright new era. At this point in time, with AEW and their tremendous talent getting increasing notice around the world, including among Japanese fans, they make the ideal partner for us to do just that and to unite fans worldwide. AEW has undergone tremendous growth in a very short timeframe. From a fan’s perspective that has a lot to do with meeting the ‘unmet needs’ of the consumer. Creative matchmaking and exciting wrestling have been able to satisfy fans who had been left disillusioned by the American wrestling landscape. From a business standpoint, for a new entrant into the field to be able to leverage a fresh identity and sculpt such an effective media strategy, it is very impressive.”
  • During the same interview, Ohbari also gave his thoughts about the potential of AEW and Stardom working together in the future. Ohbari stated “This is an AEW-NJPW event. But the key phrase here is, ‘Never say never.’ Really nothing is off the table, and who knows what the future may hold for AEW and Stardom.”
  • Fightful Select reported that Impact Wrestling officials are currently planning to give Steve Maclin a big push as part of their big plans for this summer. It was reported that those spoken to within the company praised Maclin for his work performance since his arrival in Impact.
  • Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Impact averaged around 36,000 viewers for their key demographic viewership and a 0.03 rating per Impact! show for the months of this past February and March. This was down compared to the same time period last year of 55,250 viewers and a 0.04 rating
  • Women’s Wrestling Army recently announced that they have signed a non-exclusive deal with Ring of Honor ring announcer Bobby Cruise. The company also recently announced that The Hex (Allysin Kay & Marti Belle) and Tasha Steelz will be making an appearance at their debut event on May 1st in Providence, Rhode Island.
  • Former NWA wrestler “The Royal Stud” Adam Windsor, real name Adam Bryniarski, passed away this past Friday at the age of 41. Slam Wrestling reported that Bryniarski’s cause of death was due to a heart-related issue. Bryniarski’s career in wrestling spanned from 1999 to 2014 and worked primarily for BANG! Promotion and NWA Florida and included brief stints in TNA Wrestling during its NWA affiliated days and WWE.
  • Pro Wrestling Guerilla recently announced that they have pulled JD Drake, Top Flight, and Wheeler Yuta from the card of their upcoming Delivering The Goods event on May 1st in Los Angeles, California. It was also announced that three new matches have been added to card of their upcoming event as a result. These are a singles match of Konosuke Takeshita vs. Aramis, a singles match of Shane Haste vs Jack Cartwheel, and a tag team match of The Briscoes (Mark & Jay Briscoe) vs. Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher).
  • Stardom reportedly generated a paid attendance of 1,151 for their April 17th Cinderella Tournament 2022 event in Tokyo, Japan, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • Stardom officials reportedly had originally planned for Sayaka to defeat Natsupoi to be one of the final four competitors for this year’s Cinderella Tournament but changed their plans due to their parent company Bushiroad had requested that Natsupoi be in the final four instead, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • All Japan Pro Wrestling reportedly generated a paid attendance of 125 for their April 15th Champion Carnival 2022 event in Tokyo, Japan, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • Major League Wrestling recently announced a new match for the card of their Kings of Coliseum 2022 event on May 13th in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This will be a MLW Women’s World Featherweight Championship of Taya Valkyrie vs. Holidead.