POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE 4/16 - WWE kicks off the Superstar Shakeup, a look at who could benefit most

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/04/16/pollocks-news-update-4-16-wwe-kicks-off-the-superstar-shakeup-a-look-at-who-could-benefit-most/


**Wai Ting and I will be back late tonight with Rewind-A-Raw to cover tonight’s show from Hartford and go through all the changes made on the first night of the Superstar Shakeup. We will be discussing all the roster changes and be taking your feedback and questions, which can be posted on the POST Wrestling Forum after Raw.

**I wanted to thank everyone that checked out this month’s POST Roundtable show with Conrad Thompson. We have received so much positive feedback on the show. The three of us spent 45 minutes discussing the business of wrestling podcasts, finding ways to make shows profitable, the trends and patterns we have encountered, and chatting about their upcoming WWE Network show. The show can be downloaded at https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/04/15/post-roundtable-4-w-something-to-wrestles-conrad-thompson/.

*Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw
*Tuesday: Rewind-A-SmackDown
*Wednesday: British Wrestling Experience with Oli Court and Benno
*Thursday: upNXT
*Friday: Andre the Giant documentary review with guest Pat Laprade
*Sunday: Impact Wrestling “Redemption” review with John Pollock and Nate Milton


**People Magazine has more on the split between John Cena and Nikki Bella. According to the outlet, it was Cena’s decision to end the relationship with a source citing that Cena got “cold feet” with the two set to have their wedding on May 5th in Mexico. People’s source painted Cena in a very negative light as someone who always puts himself first and if he was unsure, he never should have proposed. The fact that the wedding was scheduled to take place in three-weeks is interesting with regards to how this affects the end of the season for Total Bellas, which you would assume was leading to the wedding episode. A lot of people are skeptical as to the legitimacy of the breakup as their breakup has received tons of coverage and will obviously play into the next season of Total Bellas regardless.

**The WWE will hold the first night of their “Superstar Shakeup” on Raw tonight in Hartford, Connecticut. They have also announced the following matches for the show:
*Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt vs. The Revival – the winners will face The Bar at the Greatest Royal Rumble for the vacant tag titles
*Bayley vs. Sasha Banks

When it comes to the movement of performers on Raw, there is a healthy mix of talent that is in the upper mid-card that could be switched over to SmackDown and become more focused characters. If one is to assume Roman Reigns with being the catalyst on Raw, then you want to have several heels lined up for programs this year. I would see Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe, and Bobby Lashley as candidates for future programs with Reigns this year after he concludes the Brock Lesnar program. Beneath that level, you have a section consisting of Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, The Miz, and Jeff Hardy. I could see at minimum one of those, if not two, moving to SmackDown and would earmark either Rollins or Balor to move, along with Hardy. If it’s Rollins, it would be easy to flip Rollins for Jinder Mahal and have the two secondary titles switch shows, although they have spent time marketing “Monday Night Rollins” as a catchphrase and Raw currently has The Shield together in the event they want to redo that story. With the upcoming “Miz & Mrs.” series airing on USA Network, I feel they’ll want Miz on the show with the highest viewership and should stay on Raw. If Jeff Hardy isn’t going to be aligned with Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt, which was left open-ended last week, I would move him to SmackDown and have him up and run on his own and distanced from Matt. Balor and Hardy would be my top picks to move to SmackDown.

On the women’s side, I can see many moves happening. They are doing the Bayley and Sasha Banks match tonight, which could be the wrap-up, although it feels they have a lot left in that program. Asuka going to SmackDown to form a temporary alliance with Charlotte against The Iconics before they rematch is an easy idea, although you want several credible opponents for Ronda Rousey available on the Raw side and Asuka is an obvious choice for a future match. With Paige leaving Absolution, it seems likely they could break up Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville with one drafted to SmackDown. If there is one candidate at the top of my list to move off Raw, it would be Alexa Bliss, who has gone through everyone and would have a lot of fresh opponents on SmackDown. I can’t see Bliss and Asuka being moved, so would see Bliss as the more likely candidate.

There are also those that have been out of action for a while with Jason Jordan, Big Cass, and Dean Ambrose. I expect Cass to get a sizeable push when he returns as he was starting to catch on when he got hurt, although his Big Show program was a big letdown. Jordan coming back as a heel after the audience cheered his industry could also open the door for a Kurt Angle turn so I’d expect he stays put. Dean Ambrose was just on SmackDown and don’t think it matters which show he is on.

Over on SmackDown, I really love Shinsuke Nakamura in this new role and the feud with AJ Styles has just begun so it looks unlikely they will disrupt that. Daniel Bryan was placed in the middle of that program and you can either read it as the company doing Styles vs. Bryan before they move Bryan or integrating him into the main event feud on SmackDown. Bryan going to Raw is probably the best move, but you’re crazy if you don’t forecast a groundswell of support for Bryan to become the top babyface on Raw. It’s a broken record, but Roman Reigns turning would create so many great feuds with several babyfaces lined up and Bryan being at the top of the list.

There seem to be numerous performers on SmackDown that could be freshened up with a change of shows. Becky Lynch is right near the top of the list and has been in the witness protection program the last few months. Either Randy Orton or Bobby Roode could be due for a move. The Usos would be a great enhancement for the Raw tag division for feuds with The Bar and The Authors of Pain, and there’s Dolph Ziggler, although I don’t feel the brand he is on is the issue and more so the misguided ideas he has been saddled with.

**There is no SmackDown house show tonight so all talent will likely be in Hartford. The television tapings are Tuesday night in Providence, Rhode Island with the second night of the Superstar Shakeup.

**Impact Wrestling has added a singles match between Drago and Aerostar to this Sunday’s Redemption pay-per-view. There is no question the affiliation with Lucha Underground has greatly enhanced the Impact product with a good lineup of talent for this Sunday’s show and the success of the cross-promotional event at WrestleCon last weekend in New Orleans.

**Rich Swann wrestled his first match since his departure from the WWE over the weekend. Swann was a surprise addition to CZW’s Best of the Best event in Voorhees, New Jersey. Swann lost in a four-way involving Joe Gacy, Joey Janela, and Brandon Kirk with Gacy winning the match. Swann was arrested last December for an incident with his wife Vannarah Riggs (who wrestles as Su Yung for Impact Wrestling) with charges that he grabbed her by the arm and forced her into their car. The charges were later dropped due to insufficient evidence, but the WWE announced they have mutually agreed to part ways. Swann was in New Orleans for WrestleMania Weekend but didn’t wrestle any matches and had indicated earlier this year that he was looking to retire, which few people expected he would do as he is only 27 years old.

**Ring of Honor has announced that Jushin Thunder Liger will be part of the War of the Worlds shows next month in Lowell, Toronto, Royal Oak, and Chicago. Liger joins Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, Sanada, Hiromu Takahashi, and Bushi as the names announced so far for the four shows next month.

**The Bodyguard was unable to compete on today’s All Japan show for his Carnival match with Kento Miyahara, who received a victory by forfeit. The other tournament matches from Kagoshima on Monday saw KAI defeat Yutaka Yoshie, Yoshitatsu defeated Dylan James, and Shuji Ishikawa defeated Naoya Nomura. Below are the updated point totals for the Champion Carnival:

BLOCK A: Yoji Hino (8 points), Kento Miyahara (6), Shingo Takagi (4), Joe Doering (4), Shuji Ishikawa (4), Naoya Nomura (2), The Bodyguard (0), Ryoji Sai (0)

Jun Akiyama (6 points), Suwama (6), Naomichi Marufuji (4), Dylan James (4), Zeus (4), Yutaka Yoshie (2), Yoshitatsu (4), KAI (2)

**I watched all the Champion Carnival tournament matches from Sunday’s card at Hakata Star Lanes. The two big matches were Kento Miyahara vs. Shuji Ishikawa and Yuji Hino vs. Shingo Takagi. Miyahara vs. Ishikawa was a war with tons of near falls down the stretch and Miyahara overcoming multiple Fire Thunders (like the Rikishi driver) to his damaged shoulder, a Splash Mountain and then made the massive comeback with a Busaiku knee and the big elevated bridging German suplex to pin Ishikawa at 16:57. It was the best match of the show and was one of the big matches in the tournament with the two rivals. Yuji Hino defeated Shingo Takagi with the “Fucking Bomb” at 16:27. Early in the match, Takagi used a chair to attack the arm of Hino. Hino offered up his chest and they exchanged some insane chops, there were near falls down the stretch and the audience was really hot by the end. The other tournament matches on Sunday featured Joe Doering defeating Ryoji Sai with the Revolution Bomb in 5:53 and Suwama choked out Jun Akiyama with the Manriki sleeper at 13:04.

**All Japan announced that Masakatsu Funaki will be teaming with Suwama and Hikaru Sato to take on Jun Akiyama, Kendo Kashin, and Black Tiger on June 3rd in Kobe in celebration of Funaki’s 33rd anniversary as a wrestler.

**Greg Oliver has a great feature on Mickey Henson prior to Henson receiving the Charlie Smith Referee Award at the annual Cauliflower Alley Club reunion on the first weekend of May in Las Vegas.

**The WWE will be reporting their first-quarter earnings on Thursday, May 3rd. There will also be a conference call that day with Vince McMahon and company co-presidents George Barrios and Michelle Wilson.

**Smash Wrestling held an event in Toronto on Sunday afternoon at The Rec Room downtown. With an ice storm in effect, the promotion had to move around portions of the card as they lost their main event when Matt Riddle’s flight was canceled. Riddle got to Buffalo and apparently spent several hours attempting to get an alternate way to Toronto and couldn’t make it, the promotion was very understanding and told the audience that Riddle did everything possible to make it to the show. Teddy Hart was scheduled to face Riddle and was put into a six-man tag instead. The team of Braxton Sutter, Mike Rollins, and Tyson Dux defeated Hart, Carter Mason, and Brent Banks in the main event. Hart cut a promo after the match and noted his knee was banged up after WrestleMania Weekend, where he did five matches in New Orleans. Earlier in the card, Allie defeated Joey Ryan and Xandra Bale in a three-way, and the best match on the card featured Sebastian Suave defeating Tarik after a referee bump and Anthony Kingdom James interfering to help Suave. The run-in was designed to set up James returning to the ring and being forced to wrestle Tarik at their next card on June 3rd.

The show drew around 200 or so people and the setup was very nice at the new venue. The Rec Room is a big gaming complex with video games, arcades and live entertainment and Smash was set up in the back hall, which had a great layout for professional wrestling. It sounds like Smash’s main venue in Toronto will continue to be The Phoenix Concert Theatre but when that venue is booked they can run The Rec Room, which is also very accessible by subway and directly across the street from the Rogers Centre. Given how central The Rec Room is down the street from the Air Canada Centre, I think Smash would be wise when the WWE comes to town next time to drum up publicity and run a card at The Rec Room immediately after Raw or SmackDown. The novelty of running a card down the street after a major WWE event in town would be enough of a curiosity that it would attract several hundred people. The current set up in Toronto for the WWE is to run house shows at the Ricoh Coliseum and television at the Air Canada Centre.

**Smash Wrestling also announced that Walter was coming for their July 15th show in Toronto at The Phoenix and Tessa Blanchard would be working for the group on August 26th. Matt Riddle is scheduled for their upcoming June 3rd series of shows as they will run an afternoon event at 3 pm and an evening show at 7 pm with a one-day tournament.

**MLW’s next event will be a television taping on Thursday, May 3rd at the Gilt Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. They have announced that Shane Strickland will defend the MLW title against Pentagon Jr. on that show with tickets available at www.MLWtickets.com.

**DEFY Wrestling ran a card this past Friday night in Seattle in front of 675 fans at the Washington Hall with the following results: Mike Santiago over Tom Lawlor and Matt Cross, Drexl and Dr. Kliever over Sonico and Guillermo Rosas, Tommy Dreamer over Ravenous Randy Myers, Billy Suede and Artemis Spencer over King Khash and Cody Chunn, SCHAFF over Brody King, and Austin Aries over Shane Strickland to win the DEFY championship.

POST ROUNDTABLE #4 feat. Conrad Thompson

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