POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE 6/25 - The anniversary of Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/06/25/pollocks-news-update-6-25-the-anniversary-of-muhammad-ali-vs-antonio-inoki/

Photo Courtesy: NY Times


**Wai Ting and I are back tonight with Rewind-A-Raw as we will chat tonight’s show from San Diego and will also make several announcements regarding POST Wrestling’s coverage of the G1 Climax this summer. For those that are members of the POST Wrestling Café, we will have our bonus show coming out as well with Wai Ting’s review of Total Bellas this week and I’ll quickly touch on the WWE’s UK show that aired on the WWE Network on Monday from Royal Albert Hall.

**You can submit mailbag questions for this Friday’s Ask-A-Wai show on the POST Wrestling Forum at https://forum.postwrestling.com/t/ask-a-wai-questions-thread/1214/257.

*Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting
*Tonight: RAR Bonus show (Patreon) – Wai Ting reviews Total Bellas
*Tuesday: Rewind-A-SmackDown
*Wednesday: British Wrestling Experience with Martin Bushby, Oli Court, and Benno featuring reviews of the WWE UK cards from Royal Albert Hall
*Thursday: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
*Friday: Ask-A-Wai monthly mailbag show (Patreon)
*Saturday: Eggshells Podcast Companion – Chris Charlton welcomes John Pollock to chat the Tokyo Dome cards from 1990, including Vader vs. Stan Hansen, and the April 1990 card featuring All Japan, New Japan & WWF talent on the same show



**Tonight’s episode of Raw takes place from the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California and will feature a rematch between Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins for the Intercontinental title. Ronda Rousey is still being advertised locally by the venue for tonight’s taping, although the WWE site is not listing her. It could end up with Rousey appearing just for the live crowd or interrupting the show to play up the suspension angle and Rousey defying Kurt Angle.

**The SmackDown crew has a house show in Bakersfield, California tonight with Daniel Bryan, The Miz, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Jeff Hardy advertised.

**The WWE has announced that Jeff Hardy will defend the United States title against Shinsuke Nakamura on Tuesday’s episode of SmackDown from Ontario, California.

**Ronda Rousey worked her first U.S. house show on Sunday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. It is the same arena where Rousey defeated Liz Carmouche at UFC 157 in February 2013 in the first female fight in UFC history. A lot of Rousey’s friends and family were in attendance on Sunday, including husband Travis Browne and coach Edmond Tarverdyan.

**Adam Cole defeated WALTER in the dark match main event at EVOLVE 107 on Sunday in Melrose, Massachusetts. Due to Cole’s contractual rights belonging to the WWE, they could not stream the match on WWN Live with the viewers at home getting Matt Riddle vs. AR Fox in the main event slot. There was notable interest in the Cole vs. WALTER match when it was announced and given the association between the WWE and Gabe Sapolsky, opportunities like this will come about. It is tough with regards to the promotion because you are forced to promote two main events – one for ticket sales and one for iPPV buys and I can see confusion by some ordering the event without the knowledge of the separation. It will be intriguing to see where WWN is situated within the WWE’s eventual tiering of the WWE Network, which was outlined under the loose working title of “WWE Network 2.0” by George Barrios and Michelle Wilson at the annual Business Partner Summit. WWN along with Progress and ICW would be the brands most would expect to have at least some representation on the WWE Network when the tiered system is introduced.

**Joey Janela won the WWN championship from Austin Theory at Saturday’s EVOLVE 106 card in Brooklyn. Theory only held the title for a brief period, defeating Keith Lee over WrestleMania Weekend when Lee was starting to wrap up his dates with the promotions he worked for.

**Impact Wrestling averaged 262,000 viewers for last Thursday’s episode on POP TV. The viewership figure ties their lowest mark of 2018 with an episode from February that went against coverage of the Winter Olympics. After three weeks, Impact has yet to see a bounce back in viewership since the conclusion of the NBA and NHL playoffs with this past week’s show doing less than when they faced playoff competition.

**Joey Ryan, Sami Callihan, and Jason Cade have been added to the MLW Battel Riot battle royal on July 19th in Queens, New York.

**Impact Wrestling and Next Generation Wrestling will be presenting a show together on Sunday, August 19th from Knoxville, Tennessee on Impact’s Twitch stream. The card will stream live at 7 pm Eastern and will go head-to-head with SummerSlam.

**Congratulations to WWE performers Bianca Belair and Montez Ford, who were married over the weekend.


**Today is the anniversary of the famous fight between Muhammad Ali and Antonio Inoki at Budokan Hall in 1976. The fight took place on June 26th in Japan, which was the 25th in North America. While it’s an awful fight and Ali was ridiculed for his participation at the time, it is one that grew into legendary status in Japan, primarily as a launching pad for Inoki and this fight being treated as the birth of mixed martial arts. The 15-round draw was excruciating to watch and left most onlookers disappointed and upset with the outcome. In North America, there were numerous closed-circuit locations set up for the fight, with Vince McMahon Sr. booking Shea Stadium to air the fight with an undercard that would include Andre the Giant vs. Chuck Wepner. The advance was not good, and it led to McMahon Sr. pleading with Bruno Sammartino to work the show. Sammartino had suffered a broken neck during a match with Stan Hansen in April and went against doctor’s orders and wrestled the match at Shea Stadium after McMahon Sr. feared they would go under if the show didn’t draw. Sammartino saved the card wrestling against Hansen when he had no business being inside a wrestling ring so quickly after the injury and would drop the WWWF title within a year to Superstar Billy Graham.

If you want the definitive story of Ali vs. Inoki, I recommend reading the book by Josh Gross that came out in 2016.


Ring of Honor (June 24th)
-It was a straight-forward show with a heavy focus on two matches for the body of the episode. In the first match, Jay Lethal defeated Chuckie T. with the Lethal Injection and was a heated match throughout. Lethal is going through a story of avenging his losses and leads into the KUSHIDA match at Best in the World this Friday, which sounds excellent on paper. It seems they are building Lethal for a big title challenge at a future event, possibly holding this off until Final Battle.
-The main event was a six-man tag with The Young Bucks & Hangman Page defeating The Briscoe Brothers & Punishment Martinez. The audience was rapid throughout the match and they enhanced both matches on this show. Page looked very good in the match, the focus has been on his in-ring work improving and it’s extending to his presence and confidence he exudes. I’m high on Page in the G1 this summer in terms of a breakout summer for him even if he doesn’t finish with a lot of points. The finish was the classic Steiner Brothers vs. Headshrinkers finish from the Royal Rumble in 1993. Jay Briscoe lifted Matt Jackson his shoulders, Mark dived from the top while Matt avoided Mark by using a victory roll to pin Jay. It was interesting seeing Jay take the fall, who doesn’t lose often. After the match, the six men brawled, Cody ran in and they went off the air.
-The rest of the episode was going over the card for Friday’s pay-per-view with promos and it looks like another great ROH this Friday in Baltimore.



**Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series this week will feature Antonina Shevchenko, the younger sister of Valentina, fighting Jaimelene Nievera, who is a 7-3 fighter that was just announced for the fight last week. Below is the full card for Tuesday’s show in Las Vegas, which airs on Fight Pass:
*Antonina Shevchenko (5-0) vs. Jaimelene Nievera (7-3) – Flyweight – Nievara took this fight on short notice after Shevchenko’s original opponent Silvana Gomez Juarez pulled out due to injury. Both Shevchenko sisters are fighting at the same weight class.
*Te Edwards (5-1) vs. Austin Tweedy (10-1) – Lightweight – Both are finishing machines as Tweedy has finished each of his ten victories, and his last six fights have lasted a total of 5:52. Edwards has earned all his wins through first round stoppages. Both men each have one loss and they were both decision losses so it’s a question how they each perform once they get out of the first round.
*Josh Parisian () vs. Greg Rebello (24-8) – Heavyweight – Rebello fought on TUF Season 11 in 2010 at middleweight. He has fought exclusively at heavyweight since 2013 and lost on DWTNCS last year and won two straight since then, including a 23-second stoppage of Travis Wiuff. Parisian just fought in April defeating Zach Thumb for LFA.
*Jamall Emmers (13-3) vs. Julian Erosa (21-5) – Featherweight – Erosa competed on TUF Season 22 and then had two fights with the UFC and left the company after a loss to Teruto Ishihara in March 2016. He has gone 6-2 outside the UFC since being let go. Emmers has won four straight, his last win was for LFA over Guilherme Faria and has also fought for RFA in the past.
*Jordan Williams (7-2) vs. Tim Caron (7-1) – Middleweight – Williams’ last fight was in May on the prelims of the Bellator 199 card where he beat Brandon Hester by TKO in the second round. Caron is coming off a pair of first-round finishes over Mitch Whitesel and Timothy Woods since November 2017.

**Josh Barnett has posted a statement announcing that he is no longer with the UFC. Barnett was not critical of the UFC but stated that the ordeal with USADA did influence his decision to leave. In December 2016, Barnett was notified of a potential violation by USADA with the detection of ostarine in a test sample. Barnett was able to successfully prove that the banned substance came from a legitimately tainted supplement. USADA pressed for Barnett to still serve a suspension period, which Barnett fought and took to arbitration and prevailed this past March with Barnett being given a public reprimand, but no suspension or fine. The problem throughout is that Barnett lost more than a year of his career to fight this, and time and money was added after it was determined to be a tainted supplement through the arbitration period. It’s unfortunate because many fighters that may feel they are innocent cannot afford to engage in an expensive battle with USADA that will also drain time from their career and would encourage fighters to accept whatever sanction is offered by USADA.

**Ariel Helwani at ESPN was the first to report that Bellator has signed a fight between their middleweight and welterweight champions for September. Gegard Mousasi and Rory MacDonald had been campaigning to fight each other and the bout has been signed for September 29th in San Jose, California. The fight will be contested at middleweight with Mousasi’s title being defended. Helwani added that the fourth fight between Quinton Jackson and Wanderlei Silva is also expected to be announced for the San Jose card making it arguably the biggest card in the promotion’s history. Silva defeated Jackson in both of their PRIDE fights with stoppages at Pride Final Conflict in November 2003 and a knockout due to knees at Pride 28 in October 2004. The two fought a third time in the UFC in December 2008 with Jackson knocking out Silva.

**Bellator MMA has announced the signing of former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, who is coming off two wins as he leaves the UFC, where he has fought for over a decade. Machida was once the pupil of Antonio Inoki, who saw him as a breakout star in the early 2000’s and brought him to Japan. He debuted in May 2003 on an Ultimate Crush event, defeating Kengo Watanabe, in a fight that was designed to showcase Machida but wasn’t a very entertaining fight and not the star-making performance it was designed to be. His first fight in the United States was in August 2006 where he defeated Vernon White by unanimous decision with his contractual rights obtained by the UFC later that year when they bought the WFA. Machida debuted for the UFC in February 2007 and went unbeaten for over three years. During that stretch, he became the light heavyweight champion by knocking out Rashad Evans at UFC 98 in May 2009. His first title defense was against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 104 in October 2009 and was an intensely debated fight when Machida was awarded the decision. The fight was very close and watching back today, it’s not difficult to see Machida winning that fight, but at the time many were outraged to the point they booked the rematch next in May 2010 with Shogun stopping Machida to win the title. After knocking out Randy Couture at UFC 129 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, he returned to the same city in December 2011 to challenge Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title and was submitted in the second round. Machida would move down to the middleweight division in 2013 and would receive a title fight the following year where he lost by unanimous decision to Chris Weidman in a great fight.

After admitting to USADA that he was taking a substance he assumed was allowed, it led to USADA suspending him for 18 months and missed a big portion of time, including being pulled from his upcoming fight with Dan Henderson in April 2016. He returned in October last year and was stopped in the first round by Derek Brunson but rebounded this year with a split decision victory over Eryk Anders and most recently knocked out Vitor Belfort with a front kick to the face at UFC 224 in Rio de Janeiro.

Machida holds victories over the current Bellator light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader and the promotion’s middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi, so there is a story regardless of which weight he decides to fight at.


**The UFC has released the official lineup for UFC 226 on Saturday, July 7th and what fights are scheduled for pay-per-view. Below is the lineup:

MAIN CARD (10 pm Eastern on pay-per-view)
*Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier for the UFC heavyweight title
*Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega for the UFC featherweight title
*Derrick Lewis vs. Francis Ngannou
*Anthony Pettis vs. Michael Chiesa
*Khalil Rountree vs. Gokhan Saki

*Uriah Hall vs. Paulo Costa
*Mike Perry vs. Yancy Medeiros
*Raphael Assuncao vs. Rob Font
*Max Griffin vs. Curtis Millender

FIGHT PASS CARD (6:30 pm Eastern)
*Dan Hooker vs. Gilbert Burns
*Jamie Moyle vs. Emily Whitmire
*Lando Vannata vs. Drakkar Klose

**Bellator 204 is scheduled for Friday, August 17th in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and will be headlined by bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell defending his title against Noad Lahat and will also feature a welterweight fight between Logan Storley and A.J. Matthews.

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