POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE 3/26 - John Cena vs. Triple H announced for "Greatest Royal Rumble" in Saudi Arabia

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/03/26/pollocks-news-update-3-26-john-cena-vs-triple-h-announced-for-greatest-royal-rumble-in-saudi-arabia/


**Wai Ting and I have a review show up on the site going through New Japan’s Strong Style Evolved card, the tremendous main event, a rundown from top-to-bottom, the production of the show, the commentary, and we take your feedback. We are also joined by Dan Lovranski on the show, who attended both the New Japan and PWG shows in California this past weekend. You can download the show for free at https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/03/26/njpw-strong-style-evolved-review-w-dan-lovranski/.

**Wai Ting and I are back tonight with Rewind-A-Raw to chat Raw in Cleveland and the card for WrestleMania just about locked in. We will be taking your questions and feedback to the show and going over our shows for the next week.

**You can submit questions for this Friday’s monthly Ask-A-Wai show that will be available to members of the POST Wrestling Café. The question thread is up at https://forum.postwrestling.com/t/ask-a-wai-questions-thread/1214/114.

*Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw
*Tuesday: Rewind-A-SmackDown
*Thursday: Keep It 2000 with Brian Mann and Nate Milton (July 3, 2000, WCW Monday Nitro)
*Thursday: upNXT with Braden Herrington and Bartender Dave
*Friday: Ask-A-Wai mailbag show (Patreon)
*Sunday: NJPW Sakura Genesis review (Patreon)


**Tonight’s episode of Raw takes place from the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio with Brock Lesnar, Ronda Rousey, and John Cena all advertised for the show. Cena is scheduled to take on Kane and you’d have to figure tonight is the announcement of The Undertaker match for WrestleMania with one Raw remaining next week before the show. They have also had Dana Brooke challenge, Ronda Rousey, to meet her in the ring, the fact it was done on Twitter for the masses, suggests they will redo the interaction from last week for tonight’s episode.

**The SmackDown crew has a house show in Indiana, Pennsylvania tonight. The television tapings are Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with the following matches scheduled:
*Randy Orton and Bobby Roode vs. Jinder Mahal and Sunil Singh
*Charlotte and Bobby Roode vs. Sasha Banks and Finn Balor for the Mixed Match Challenge
*Akira Tozawa vs. TJP vs. Kalisto vs. Buddy Murphy on 205 Live

**The WWE has announced three matches for the “Greatest Royal Rumble” card on Friday, April 27th, in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. The card will feature a singles match between John Cena and Triple H and would be their first singles match since February 2010. They have also announced a four-way ladder match for the Intercontinental title with The Miz vs. Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe and a Raw tag title match with Cesaro and Sheamus vs. The Hardys. Both Samoa Joe and Jeff Hardy are expected back imminently, and they expect the two to be part of this card by the end of April.

One of the larger stories attached to the Saudi Arabia show is the representation of female talent, which will not take place on the show. The WWE did issue a statement to reporter David Bixenspan stating that women and children will be allowed to attend the event, but no female performers will be part of the show. While an optimist can hope that in future shows, women will be welcome on the cards, to me it’s a hard part to overlook for this show that women are not welcome to participate. At a time when the WWE has been so steadfast in their promotion of the women’s movement within the company, being presented on par with the men and using the example of Sasha Banks vs. Alexa Bliss having a match in the UAE, it seems contradictory to underplay this element of their lucrative deal with the Government of Saudi Arabia through the Vision 2030 program. It’s a massive deal for the WWE, although no terms are public yet, but for all the praise the company has received for the elevation of the women, I feel equal criticism is justified in this instance, even if not a WWE call but rather entering a business arrangement that does present restrictions, at least for the first show of the new deal. If this were a case of certain wrestlers being denied participation based on race or sexuality, there would be enormous backlash and gender should be included in that grouping.

**On Monday, Leon “Vader” White had open heart surgery performed and we want to send best wishes to White for what sounds like a long road to recovery. White’s son, Jesse, posted an update that the surgery was deemed a success but that the situation was worse than originally expected with a long road of recovery ahead for White. He is currently 62 years of age and was wrestling up until a few years back.

**During Sunday’s Strong Style Evolved card, New Japan announced they would return to the U.S. on Saturday, July 7th, at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, California for their most ambitious show ever in the country. The Cow Palace is a big step up from the Walter Pyramid and holds approximately 11,000 people, which may vary based on production requirements and their set up of the arena. Following two tours of California, they booked too small a venue on both trips to Long Beach and there was lots of concern that running a card so close to WrestleMania weekend would hurt New Japan and there were zero issues with the proximity to WrestleMania. If they can sell over 10,000 tickets to the Cow Palace it is not going to surprise me and bodes well for the “All In” event in September. What New Japan has among its fanbase is lots of disposable income, a willingness to travel for professional wrestling, and a heavy desire to be part of shows that perceived as important. It is the right call to make the attempt with such a large venue, and a worst, they fail to sell out and will still likely draw minimum 8,000.

**We have all the details on MLW’s television deal with beIN Sports on the website. The series will begin on Friday, April 20th at 8 pm Eastern on beIN Sports USA and that will be their regular timeslot. For those asking, beIN Sports has an OTT service called beIN Connect and the series will also be available on that platform. The goal is to have the show up to date as quickly as possible and they won’t be going back to last October’s debut show as a starting point. The key is that it’s a rights fee that MLW will be paid and creates a new revenue stream with the potential of expanding into more international markets where beIN Sports has many networks around the world.

**Mark Henry was asked about a potential return of Hulk Hogan on Busted Open Radio and stated that a lot more work needs to be done before Hogan should be welcomed back.

**The New York Times ran a feature on New Japan Pro Wrestling this weekend, focusing on the connection with Mark Cuban and AXS TV and presenting New Japan as the athletic alternative to the WWE.

**A rematch of one of the best matches of 2017 has been announced by wXw. On April 14th at the promotion’s “True Colors” cards, Unified champion Ilja Dragunov will defend the title against WALTER. The two met in the finals of the 2017 16 Carat Gold Tournament and put forth one of the best matches of the year. Dragunov made a surprise return at this year’s 16 Carat Gold Tournament and won the title.

**Jim Ross will be returning with his podcast in April as he has left Podcast One and signed a new deal with Westwood One. The show will see a slight name change to “The Jim Ross Report” and Ross has hinted that the deal could include more than just the podcast as Westwood One has a big syndication network and potential opportunities for Ross in other areas. In a useless trivia note, I was one of the guests on his final Podcast One show, so you can blame me for its demise.

**Matt Riddle was unable to make it to Toronto on Sunday for the Smash Wrestling card at the Phoenix Concert Theatre. Riddle had terrible issues with his Air Canada flight and it sounds like he went to every length to try and get to Toronto in time for the show but couldn’t make it. I give Smash a lot of credit as they were proactive in alerting people on Twitter in the afternoon with what the situation was and even added a pre-show match and extended the start of the card in hopes of Riddle making it. The promotion has announced that Riddle will return on April 15th for a match against Teddy Hart at The Rec Room at 255 Bremner Blvd in Toronto.

**A reader on Twitter noted to us that if you go to www.ImpactWrestling.ca, it takes you to The Hardy’s subsite on WWE Shop.

**A new episode of “Photoshoot” featuring Kofi Kingston will air on the WWE Network tonight following Raw.

**The WWE stock closed at $36.90 on Monday.

**Today is the 17th anniversary of the final episode of WCW Monday Nitro in 2001. The death of WCW marked the end of an important era of the industry’s history and was among the most damaging blows to professional wrestling when it comes national competition for the WWE. The story has been told many times, but WCW was on the brink of being purchased by Fusient Media, which was a venture capital group led by Brian Bedol. It was serious enough that Fusient held a press conference to announce the purchase and that Eric Bischoff would be re-installed to run WCW. During the due diligence process, executive Jamie Kellner was promoted to head of programming for Turner Broadcasting and made the decision to remove professional wrestling from their lineups on TNT and TBS, effectively killing the WCW deal. Without television, WCW was worthless to investors and allowed Vince McMahon to swoop in and purchase the company for a fraction of its valuation from 2000. The final episode of Nitro took place from Panama City Beach, Florida and culminated with a simulcast with Raw and the storyline that Shane McMahon snuck in and bought WCW from under Vince McMahon. Countless lessons can be learned from this time period of history and some opt to implement those lessons and others have manufactured excuses to explain the unexplainable of this red-hot company in 1998 plummeting to its death three years later.

**The WWE has released an uncut version of the Ultimate Deletion from last week:


Ring of Honor (March 25th)
Results: Kelly Klein over Mandy Leon to advance to the semi-finals of the Women of Honor tournament; Hangman Page and Marty Scurll over The Boys; Flip Gordon over Scorpio Sky
-The show was heavy on angles to set up matches for Supercard of Honor with Bully Ray woven into three different segments as the matchmaking device. First off, he told The Kingdom they were not required at the show, he allowed Kenny King to challenge Silas Young for a Last Man Standing Match and closed the show by making SoCal Uncensored vs. The Young Bucks and Flip Gordon in a ladder match for the six-man tag titles.
-The show ended with Gordon catching Sky with a roll-up for the win and immediately attacked by Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian until The Bucks ran in to save Gordon. Matt extended his hand and Gordon went to leave the ring, changed his mind, they shook hands and then hugged for the big reaction and a payoff to months of tension from “Being the Elite”. Bully Ray then came out and announced the ladder match between the two teams.
-It was jarring to watch the main event angle involving SoCal Uncensored and how they were booked at Strong Style Evolved as ROH’s six-man tag champions losing clean in the opening match to Roppongi 3K and Rocky Romero.
-The finish of the Kelly Klein vs. Mandy Leon match was something different where Leon had Klein submitted and she tapped but referee Paul Turner didn’t see it and Leon released the hold assuming she had won. Klein then applied a guillotine and won by submission.
-There was also a promo from Jay Lethal to announce he was teaming with Hiroshi Tanahashi against The Briscoes at Supercard of Honor, which should be a great tag match. The Briscoes are doing great work since their turn last year and Lethal is on a great streak of matches dating back months.
-Dalton Castle was on commentary for the tag match with Page and Scurll vs. The Boys. Scurll had an eye patch and a suit and never participated in the match so Page did all the work and won with the slingshot lariat. Scurll tried to take Castle’s title after the match, their feud feels secondary for the upcoming card as the Cody vs. Kenny Omega and ladder matches are the big matches and the ROH title match is less a priority on the New Orleans card.

NJPW Strong Style Evolved Review w/ Dan Lovranski
John Pollock & Wai Ting review the Strong Style Evolved card and chat with Dan Lovranski, who attended the card in Long Beach as well as the PWG show on Friday night.

REWIND-A-WAI – WWF Coliseum Video: Smack ‘Em, Whack ‘Em (Patreon-only)
John Pollock and Wai Ting review this 1993 Coliseum Home video release, featuring Bret Hart winning the WWF title from Ric Flair and the first WWF ladder match between Hart and Shawn Michaels. We also are joined by Espresso Executive Producer Jay Hunter from OSW Review.


upNXT 3/22/18: A New Beginning, Adam Cole vs. Kassius Ohno, Roderick Strong finds a partner

BWE 3/21/18: wXw 16 Carat Gold, ZSJ in New Japan Cup, Demise of 5 Star Wrestling

REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 3/20/18: Daniel Bryan cleared; attacked by Owens/Zayn

BREAKING NEWS AUDIO: Daniel Bryan cleared by the WWE

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Viva La (Women’s) Revolution

Do we expect anything significant to happen at The Greatest Royal Rumble?

It’s a glorified house show. Would be nice for a baby face to win for a nice pop.

The WWE wants it’s cake and to eat it too. You can’t be pro women’s movement , pro everything then make a deal with a country whose politics counter what you’re preaching. Their charitable stuff and women’s revolution stuff comes up disingenuous the more business practices contradict their marketing.

Punish pro wrestling fans because of its government…yeah that always works.