POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: A huge weekend for independent wrestling

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2022/01/21/pollocks-news-update-a-huge-weekend-for-independent-wrestling/


**Rewind-A-SmackDown is live tonight at 11:15 p.m. ET for all POST Wrestling Café members. Wai Ting and Kate from Montreal will be reviewing Friday Night SmackDown and AEW Rampage before taking your calls.


– AEW Dynamite finishes #1 on cable
– Friday Night SmackDown & AEW Rampage
– The WLRD on GCW
– UFC 270 preview with Phil Chertok

Audio version for POST Wrestling Café members.


It’s a major weekend for independent wrestling that culminates with Game Changer Wrestling’s pay-per-view event from the sold-out Hammerstein Ballroom on Sunday night.

The road to this show can be traced back to the early months of 2020 when GCW was on the cusp of promoting its biggest show ever. Over 4,000 people were expected for Joey Janela’s Spring Break 4 at The Cuban Club in Florida, but the pandemic wiped out that weekend’s events forcing all companies to regroup after seeing the biggest week of the year disappear.

Without television, GCW has grown from a grassroots company that has expanded to a full-time operation running most weekends across the country with the strongest buzz of any independent company. Through a knack for discovering talent, unique marketing of events, and top-of-the-line production, it has expanded its share of the wrestling space when so many others are contracting.

Off the heels of successful shows in 2021 built around Matt Cardona, and the long-awaited showdown between Nick Gage and Jon Moxley, one would expect this Sunday’s show to outperform any past GCW event. From the video announcement of the show, it was designed to be a game-changing night for the group and promoting it around wrestlers that were deemed ‘unworthy’ and ‘unwanted’ by the national promotions.

The DNA of the promotion is deathmatch wrestling and an ode to the unsung pillars of the independent scene. It’s a vision that GCW has refused to compromise on and will be tested on Sunday as they are running in a commission state.

The card is loaded up with a unique mix of hot matches on paper, the usual crash scramble, a ladder match that should be insane, and a wide array of names including Moxley, Homicide, Jeff Jarrett, The Briscoe Brothers, and Ruby Soho. Joey Janela and EFFY are both featured in significant matches as Janela’s feud with Matt Cardona culminates on the show while EFFY and Jeff Jarrett is something totally different and strengthened by the recent videos the promotion has released that has placed Jarrett in a unique setting where the promotional element has clicked.

Prior to the event, GCW and Orange Crush will present the Indie Wrestling Hall of Fame ceremony on Saturday at 7 pm. ET. They took the initiative to offer the event for free with GCW promoter Brett Lauderdale speaking with POST this week and explaining they want to be the curators and not the owners of the Hall of Fame nor make it appear they are doing this for profit. For long-time followers, this may be the true highlight of the weekend given the less formal structure compared to a WWE ceremony and hear from names that were unlikely to ever receive this type of spotlight and attention. The inductees will be Dave Prazak (inducted by CM Punk), Jerry Lynn (Sean Waltman), Homicide (Chris Dickinson), LuFisto (Lenny Leonard), Ruckus (Sonjay Dutt), and the late Tracy Smothers (TBA).


**Bryan Danielson was profiled by Muscle & Fitness regarding his move to AEW and his conditioning for past matches with Kenny Omega, and the recent 60-minute match with Hangman Page. During the chat, he explained his overall philosophy with his matches and going for longer form presentations:

A lot of the world, right now, is transforming into short attention span type stuff. I’m trying, in my own personal life, to expand my attention span. One of the things that has always interested me in wrestling, is the long form, right? You know, I’ve been doing short form for so long with WWE. The TV matches are usually around three minutes but very rarely much longer than 10. I’ve been very interested in long-form story telling for a while.

Danielson noted he is ten pounds lighter than his weight while wrestling in WWE and discussed the benefits of his cardio and that adding muscle in the past was the only time it negatively affected that area of his game:

I’m very lucky in the sense that cardio has always been one of my strengths,” he says. “It’s always been very difficult for me to put on muscle but cardio vascularly, I never get tired. I can recall twice in my entire career in which I was tired . And both of those are because I put on too much muscle. One example was in 2003 when I got up to 210-pounds and I looked great, but I did a 40-minute match with Paul London, it was two-out-of- three falls, and 30 minutes in I was like, ‘My legs are tired! What is this?

In the article, he spoke about Brie Bella competing in this year’s Royal Rumble and also listed the opponents he would like to wrestle in AEW including CM Punk, Jon Moxley, and Sting.

**WWE issued a statement regarding the passing of musician Meat Loaf (Michael Lee Aday). Meat Loaf was a guest host on Raw in May 2010 and did a segment involving Randy Orton where he took an RKO for the performer. Going further back, he also performed on the drums in the music video for Land of a Thousand Dances in 1985.

We are saddened to learn that Michael Lee Aday, better known as Meat Loaf and beloved by fans all over the world, passed away at the age of 74. Our sincerest thoughts are with his family, friends and those affected by his passing.

Meat Loaf’s larger-than-life personality and distinctive musical style paved the way for an iconic entertainment career. The Dallas, Texas, native authored one of the best-selling albums of all-time with the release of “Bat Out of Hell” and won a GRAMMY Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Solo, for “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” in 1994. Meat Loaf also enjoyed a successful acting career and delivered indelible performances in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” “Fight Club” and many others.

The WWE Universe fondly remembers Meat Loaf’s appearance as a Raw guest host on May 10, 2010. The chart-topping musician pitched Randy Orton one of his songs for his new entrance music that led to a memorable exchange with The Viper.

WWE extends its condolences to Aday’s family, friends and fans.

**Friday Night SmackDown takes place from Nashville, Tennessee tonight with the following matches announced for the show at 8 p.m. ET on Fox:
*Charlotte Flair vs. Naomi
*Kofi Kingston vs. Madcap Moss
*The Bloodline “acknowledge” Roman Reigns’ record-setting title reign

**Mike Johnson at PWinsider.com reports that Roderick Strong is at the SmackDown tapings and is scheduled for a dark match.

**AEW Rampage is live tonight with the promotion’s second event this week from the Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington, D.C. Earlier today, Rocky Romero announced had COVID-19 and was experiencing mild symptoms, so he is off the show. Instead, Nick Jackson will face Trent Beretta in place of the previously announced tag match involving The Young Bucks and Roppongi Vice. Below is the card for tonight’s show at 10 p.m. ET on TNT and TSN Direct in Canada:
*Jon Moxley vs. Ethan Page
*TBS Championship: Jade Cargill (champion) vs. Anna Jay
*Nick Jackson vs. Trent Beretta
*Hook vs. Serpentico

**MLW is holding its Blood & Thunder tapings tonight from Gilley’s in Dallas, Texas. The show was dealt a blow with the loss of Marshall & Ross Von Erich, who revealed they had COVID-19 and are off the show. The brothers were set to challenge 5150 for the tag titles with the company now promoting a mystery team to replace them. Below is the card:
*MLW World Tag Team Championship, Texas Tornado Match: 5150 (champions) vs. TBA
*MLW World Heavyweight Championship, Falls Count Anywhere: Alex Hammerstone (champion) vs. Pagano
*Jacob Fatu vs. Mads Krugger
*MLW Middleweight Championship: Tajiri (champion) vs. Myron Reed vs. TBA
*National Openweight Championship: Alex Kane (champion) vs. Calvin Tankman
*Miranda Gordy vs. Rok-C
*Davey Richards vs. ACH
*TJP vs. Matt Cross
*Aramis, El Dragon & TBA vs. Arez, Gino Medina & Mini Abismo Negro
*EJ Nduka vs. TBA
*Ho Ho Lun vs. KC Navarro
*The debut of Buddy Matthews

**IMPACT is taping television tonight and Saturday at the Charles Dodge Center in Pembroke Pines, Florida with the following matches scheduled to be taped:
*Jay White, Guerrillas of Destiny & Chris Bey vs. Trey Miguel, Speedball Mike Bailey, Ace Austin & Madman Fulton
*Mickie James vs. Chelsea Green
*Mike Bennett & Matt Taven vs. Willie Mack & Rich Swann
*Knockouts Tag Team Championship: The IInspiration (champions) vs. The Influence
*Jay White & Guerrillas of Destiny vs. Eric Young, Deaner & Joe Doering (Saturday’s taping)

**CMLL returns tonight with a show at Arena Mexico headlined by Volador Jr., Mistico & Titan taking on Gran Guerrero, Ultimo Guerrero & Templario.

**205 Live tonight at 10 p.m. ET on the WWE Network:
*James Drake vs. Bodhi Hayward
*Lash Legend vs. Fallon Henley
*Javier Bernal vs. Draco Anthony

**Pro Wrestling NOAH has a show in Osaka late tonight and will stream on Wrestle Universe. The card is headlined by a GHC National Championship match with Kenoh defending the title against Masakatsu Funaki, as well as Yoshinari Ogawa & HAYATA defending the GHC junior heavyweight tag titles against Atsushi Kotoge & Hajime Ohara. The group returns to Korakuen Hall next Thursday for another streaming show.

**Impact Wrestling referee Brandon Tolle announced that he is unable to work this weekend’s shows in Fort Lauderdale, Florida due to medical reasons. He stated he will be back for the shows in New Orleans next month.

**Guy Evans has released an expanded edition of his 2018 book NITRO covering the history of World Championship Wrestling and the lead-up to the company’s demise in 2001. The expanded edition features four new chapters, a foreword written by Eric Bischoff, show formats, and scripts.


**Below is the updated card for UFC 270 that takes place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California on Saturday:

MAIN CARD (10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view)
*UFC Heavyweight Championship: Francis Ngannou (champion) vs. Ciryl Gane (interim champion)
*UFC Flyweight Championship: Brandon Moreno (champion) vs. Deiveson Figueiredo
*Michel Pereira vs. Andre Fialho
*Said Nurmagomedov vs. Cody Stamann
*Trevin Giles vs. Michael Morales


*Victor Henry vs. Raoni Barcelos
*Pete Rodriguez vs. Jack Della Maddalena
*Tony Gravely vs. Saimon Oliveira
*Kay Hansen vs. Jasmine Jasudavicius

EARLY PRELIMS (7 p.m. on ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass)

*Genaro Valdez vs. Matt Frevola
*Silvana Gomez Juarez vs. Vanessa Demopoulos

**All 22 fighters made weight on Friday.

**Two more fights fell off the UFC 270 card on Friday. Rodolfo Vieira was forced to withdraw due to medical issues, per ESPN Deportes. Vieira was scheduled to fight Wellington Turman on the pay-per-view portion. Then, it was reported that Ilia Topuria had a weight cutting issue and his fight with late replacement Charles Jourdain is also off, which was first reported by Gonzalo Campos from Eurosport.

**The UFC 270 card is completely contingent on the marketability of the heavyweight championship fight between Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane, which is an excellent fight involving arguably the top two heavyweights in the world (the only other name you could argue for is Stipe Miocic or once Jon Jones actually fights at the weight). So much of the promotion for the fight has focused on their past training sessions, which Ngannou has downplayed greatly noting they had a few sessions together but were not regular training partners. The other story is Ngannou’s contract, which will reportedly end with the UFC if he loses the fight while a win would activate the champion’s clause and roll over for several more fights with the promotion.

It’s Ngannou’s first fight since winning the title from Miocic last Match in the best performance of the Cameroon native’s career that showed a lot of versatility, takedown defense, and patience that is a strong formula when adding in his unbelievable knockout power. Gane has shown his ability to be the better technical striker and condition himself to be prepared for twenty-five minutes, so this is a huge test for both sides.

It’s an interesting case study regarding the fighter pay issue that fans criticize the UFC for. If Ngannou wins the fight, it could set the table for a prolonged battle with the UFC over what Ngannou feels he is worth that could place the division on ice. If Gane wins, the division likely moves a lot quicker and forces the public to decide if they want to see a fighter become inactive and get into a heated set of negotiations to be paid what they are worth? Or do fans just want to see the next major fight? The UFC has built a business where it’s easy for the consumer to side with the promotion if their sole focus is seeing the best fights involving the top fighters, which UFC has such a high concentration of.

This is also the first ESPN+ card to include the price increase to $74.99 per event along with the subscription for the streaming service. If this card does in the normal range, then it would give credence to the idea that the gamble paid off if a card like this sells well. There is no question the massive events are not going to be affected by the price increase but the smaller shows would be the ones more vulnerable to sticker shock, the only question is what that ceiling is before fans either skip the event or find alternative means to watch the shows.

**The New York Times profiles Francis Ngannou.

**Charles Jourdain took the fight with Ilia Topuria on nine days’ notice and posted that he still made weight even though the fight is off.

**The UFC has released Episode 4 and Episode 5 of Embedded for UFC 270.

**The UFC and Project Rock (a collaborative effort between Under Armour and Dwayne Johnson) have announced a new apparel deal. Beginning on Saturday, all fighters and teams will be using Project Rock footwear.

I’m honored & proud, my @ProjectRock is the OFFICIAL GLOBAL FOOTWEAR PARTNER of the @UFC 🌍
Starting this weekend at #UFC270 NGANNOU vs GANE, all athletes & teams will rep @ProjectRock footwear.
~ dj 💪🏾 pic.twitter.com/TInm2iwEz4

— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) January 21, 2022


The 1990 Royal Rumble takes place from Orlando, Florida with the battle royal coming down to champions Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warriors prior to WrestleMania 6:

Steve Williams & Terry Gordy vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Kenta Kobashi in 1993:

The 2001 Royal Rumble took place in New Orleans and was one of the best shows the company produced in that era. The Rumble culminated with Steve Austin’s third Rumble victory to set up WrestleMania X-7.

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