POST IT NOTES
**Rewind-A-SmackDown is live at 11 p.m. ET tonight for POST Wrestling Café members. Wai Ting and I will have reviews of SmackDown, AEW Rampage, and we’ll discuss the latest news including the conclusion of AEW’s investigation and all the ramifications moving forward. Plus, we’ll take your calls and feedback.
**The N.W.A. Podcast is back on Saturday night at 9 p.m. ET with a live show at YouTube.com/POSTwrestling. Nate Milton, Kris Ealy & Andrew Thompson will be covering all the latest news in the industry and taking your super chats & feedback throughout the show.
**Next Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET, we are hosting a special “Watch Along” edition of Rewind-A-Wai as Wai Ting and I will be joined by Brandon from New Jersey to watch the WBF pay-per-view from June 1992. This will be exclusive to all POST Wrestling Café members.
**Karen Peterson will have a report covering NJPW’s Rumble on 44th Street late tonight, which she is attending in person in New York. This weekend’s Dream Slam Weekly will be released on Sunday.
Tonight: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John Pollock & Wai Ting (11 p.m. ET on Patreon)
Saturday: The N.W.A. Podcast with Nate Milton, Kris Ealy & Andrew Thompson (9 p.m. ET on POST YouTube)
Sunday: Wrestlenomics Radio with Brandon Thurston, Chris Gullo & Jesse Collings
AEW ATTEMPTS TO MOVE PAST ALL OUT SAGA
The cloud over AEW since All Out appears to be fading with the completion of its investigation and the imminent returns of Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks.
Coming out of that weekend’s press conference and subsequent backstage fight, it appeared impossible for Tony Khan to appease the opposing parties with a definitive line in the sand between three of the key pillars that built the company, and the company’s biggest star, CM Punk.
As things stand, barring a miraculous mediation, Punk’s tenure with the company is ending and his future in the industry is the same as in 2014, unknown.
While the specific details of the investigation may never see the light of day, the public can assess from the broad strokes what was discovered and that was culpability on the side of Punk and Ace Steel and a public vote of confidence for The Elite, who are returning.
The matter was further complicated on Wednesday on the same day reports surfaced of The Elite’s pending return where CM Punk’s camp relayed its feelings to Nick Hausman of Wrestling Inc. In the story, the Punk camp went back to the story that the locker room was kicked in – adding the new story that the door injured Punk’s dog Larry, which led to Larry having two teeth removed. This story has been denied by multiple sources speaking to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter with the natural reaction of why this injury to the dog was never discovered during the investigation nor brought up by Punk’s defenders until the day of The Elite’s on-screen return tease. Whether Larry’s teeth were actually removed is unknown, but the backstage fight being the cause seems to be heavily disputed and if it’s untrue, only cements the decision that AEW made the correct call of who to bring back and who to part ways with.
That said, the history of the industry contradicts that rationale. It’s a business about making money, catering to top stars, and double, triple, and quadruple standards based on one’s ability to move numbers. Punk checked the box that few in the industry can claim and it comes with its privileges but this incident caused enough dissent and turmoil that AEW is willing to part ways with its top star for the greater good of the company and hold Punk accountable for multiple infractions. Prior to All Out, it was inexcusable that he hijacked a portion of Dynamite to settle his “beef” with Hangman Page in a live setting that rendered Page a coward to the audience for not answering this shoot challenge on live television. That was the breaking point that should require immediate action where AEW was not in control of the programs being shot on their own television and affecting a star’s standing with the audience. That goes to the earlier notion that top stars have the longest runway and Punk felt he was untouchable to challenge Page on live television and then use the AEW press conference to air his grievances and run down company officials with the head of the company sitting next to him.
It is not to paint this as black and white, although today that distinction is a lot easier than several months ago. Punk had a right to feel that Page’s promo in May crossed the line of fight promotion and delved into an area that didn’t help the program or put Punk in a positive light, but that’s the reality of shooting from the hip to build tension and convince the audience that there is legitimate hatred and friction because Page “went there”. Second, Punk had every right to defend himself against the accusations levied about Colt Cabana’s status with AEW if he had no role in Khan’s decision to remove him from the Dark Order and assign the performer to Ring of Honor. Only Khan can answer what contributed to his decision, but he adamantly backed Punk at the press conference stating the performer had nothing to do with Cabana. Punk’s accusation that the Cabana story was leaked to the media has been disputed by key media members Dave Meltzer and Sean Ross Sapp, to which Punk never said the names but clearly was referring to The Elite in his tirade at the press conference. Punk continued and went scorched earth by insulting the executives, destroying Page yet again in a public setting, and by extension, insulting Khan to his face, who was the person that put these people in these positions.
In a perfect world, conflict leads to cash but these incidents sent a torpedo through the locker room and it forced AEW to choose a side after carrying out its investigation and making decisions based on the morale of the locker room for the next several years over short term money to build up a pay-per-view.
Being in attendance for Dynamite in Buffalo days after All Out, it felt like an ominous atmosphere with a cloud hanging over the show and I’m sure to the average fan this story has dominated their perception of AEW over the past two months. While AEW has continued to move forward, it has felt like a promotion that cannot move forward until this issue is behind them. The return of The Elite should be a spark for live attendance and interest in the product. It will be very difficult for The Elite to navigate both on-screen stories and media obligations without bringing up the All Out incident. In a different time, all of the fallout from the press conference would be fodder for countless Being the Elite skits, but this is a different era and I don’t see them touching the story or referring to it, as it serves no purpose. If the Elite is present for Full Gear, it will be very interesting if they are put in front of the media after the show because there is only one subject for the three to be asked about.
For CM Punk, his AEW tenure is probably done and his immediate focus is rehabbing a torn triceps, which is a frustrating injury at any age much less for someone that just turned 44. He just suffered a broken foot months earlier, which he said was extremely difficult to rehab but at least he had a goal and something to work towards as he raced back to help the company. This time, he is recovering from an injury and it’s unknown what he’s coming back to or where he’s coming back. Naturally, the speculation will lead to the idea of a reconciliation with WWE, which seems implausible but when two companies are battling it out, every piece on the chess board is up for grabs especially one with the value of Punk that also comes with its liabilities. This would be a terrible chapter for Punk’s wrestling career to end and becomes a fascinating career to analyze. It is very unfortunate because AEW seemed tailor-made for Punk, who had a hell of a year with the company, brought his game up to another level with tremendous matches, was a full-fledged draw that grew AEW’s business and appeared to be the capstone to a tremendous career.
This will be a defining part of the AEW story with insight into how it has changed or confirmed Tony Khan’s management tenets. It is key for the company to move forward and a brazen one to cut ties with its top star, which speaks volumes to the severity they believe this reached as it enters the next phase of its short existence.
**Friday Night SmackDown will air on FS 1 in the U.S. tonight due to Fox’s coverage of the World Series, which will affect both SmackDown and Rampage. SmackDown is holding a double taping in St. Louis, Missouri at the Enterprise Center including the taping of next Friday’s show when the crew will be in Saudi Arabia for Crown Jewel. The following matches and segments have been announced for tonight’s episode at 8 p.m. ET:
*Roman Reigns to appear
*SmackDown Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey (champion) vs. TBA
*Sami Zayn & Solo Sikoa vs. Ridge Holland & Butch
*Santos Escobar, Cruz del Toro & Joaquin Wilde vs. Top Dolla, Ashante Thee Adonis & TBA
**Next week’s taped episode of SmackDown will include Gunther defending the Intercontinental title against Rey Mysterio, which will be taped tonight.
**According to WrestleTix, there are just over 7,500 tickets out for tonight’s tapings in St. Louis.
**In October 2021, SmackDown aired twice on FS 1 due to the World Series. On Oct. 15, 2021 (the show that went head-to-head with Rampage for 30 minutes), the show averaged 866,000 and 0.24 in 18-49 (a 60% drop in viewership and a 54% decline in 18-49 from the previous week). On Oct. 28, 2021, the show averaged 1,032,000 and 0.29 in the demo (down 54% in viewers and 50% in the demo from the week prior).
**Here are the matches for tonight’s live edition of AEW Rampage from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut airing at 10 p.m. ET on TNT:
*TNT Championship: Wardlow (champion) vs. Matt Taven
*Tay Conti vs. Madison Rayne
*Jon Moxley vs. Matt Menard
**WrestleTix is listing approximately 3,800 tickets out for tonight’s Rampage at Boardwalk Hall.
**NJPW Strong holds its Rumble on 44th Street event tonight at 8 p.m. ET from The Palladium in Times Square in New York and airing at 8 p.m. ET on FITE TV and New Japan World (the card is a pay-per-view and doesn’t come with your New Japan World subscription). The card will feature:
*Jay White & Juice Robinson vs. Kazuchika Okada & Eddie Kingston
*Shingo Takagi vs. El Phantasmo
*SWA World Championship: Mayu Iwatani (champion) vs. KiLynn King
*Minoru Suzuki vs. Clark Connors
*Tom Lawlor, Jorel Nelson & Royce Isaacs vs. Shota Umino, Wheeler Yuta & Homicide
*NJPW Strong Openweight Tag Championships: Aussie Open (champions) vs. Kevin Knight & The DKC vs. Motor City Machine Guns
*SHO & Yujiro vs. Rocky Romero & YOH
*Mina Shirakawa & Waka Tsukiyama vs. Kylie Rae & Tiara James
**The Raw crew has shows in Mexico this weekend beginning with Monterrey on Saturday and Mexico City on Sunday. Rey Mysterio is included in the Raw events this weekend. The SmackDown heads overseas for several European shows starting on Sunday in Glasgow, Scotland, and continuing with two shows in Germany and one in Switzerland. Monday’s episode of Raw takes place from Dallas at the American Airlines Center, which will be a tough night considering it’s Halloween and they’ll be airing against Monday Night Football and the World Series.
**NXT has a live event in Melbourne, Florida tonight and Winter Haven on Saturday.
**Luchablog has a preview of tonight’s CMLL Gran Prix at Arena Mexico headlined by Amapola, Dalys, Lluvia, Princesa Sugehit, La Jarochita, Faby Apache & Reyna Isis taking on Alex Gracia, Ivelisse, Lady Frost, Mei Surugua, Hikari Shimizu, Avispa Dorada, Tae Honma & Stephanie Vaquer.
**Stardom has announced that actress Anna Hirai has been cast to play Mayu Iwatani in the upcoming biopic on the wrestler.
**New Japan’s Battle Autumn tour continues in Sakuragicho on Saturday with the main event featuring Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI & Titan taking on Jeff Cobb, Aaron Henare, TJP, Great O-Khan & Francesco Akira. Sunday’s show in Chiba features KENTA vs. SANADA and Ren Narita vs. Toru Yano in the second round of the World TV title tournament with the winners advancing to the semi-finals on 11/5 along with Zack Sabre Jr. and EVIL.
**DEFY Wrestling presents Kingdom Come on Saturday from Washington Hall in Seattle and streaming at 11 p.m. ET on FITE TV. The card includes Minoru Suzuki vs. Tom Lawlor, Nick Wayne & Ultimo Dragon vs. La Estrella & Gringo Loco, Vert Vixen vs. Liiza Hall for the women’s title, Cody Chhun vs. Davey Richards, Mance Warner vs. Matthew Justice vs. State of Emergency for the tag titles, and the BMF battle royal.
**MLW presents its Fightland card this Sunday at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia with Alex Hammerstone vs. EJ Nduka in a Last Man Standing match for the MLW World Heavyweight Championship, Jacob Fatu vs. Lio Rush, Real 1 vs. Mance Warner, Calvin Tankman vs. Willie Mack, Taya Valkyrie vs. Trish Adora for the MLW Featherweight Championship, Davey Boy Smith Jr. & The Billington Bulldogs vs. Bomaye Fight Club, Shun Skywalker vs. Lince Dorado for the MLW Middleweight Championship, The FBI vs. The Samoan Swat Team along with the MLW debuts of Sam Adonis, Delirious, and Alec Price.
**House of Glory has a big “Exodus” event on Saturday at La Boom in New York. The promotion is advertising Shingo Takagi vs. Low Ki, The Briscoe Brothers vs. Aussie Open for the HOG tag titles, Jacob Fatu vs. TBA, Mantequilla a.k.a. Mighty Mante vs. Nolo Kitano for the Cruiserweight title, and El Phantasmo vs. Charles Mason. The card will be streaming on FITE TV.
**The WWE stock closed at $78.72 on Friday.
**The UFC is back with a Fight Night special at the Apex on Saturday, which isn’t a deep card but has a solid main event. The featherweight fight between Arnold Allen (18-1) and Calvin Kattar (23-6) pits two contenders at different stages of their careers. Allen is unbeaten in the UFC and won his last eleven fights but has been hurt by a lack of activity as he’s only fought three times since 2020. Allen earned decision wins against Nik Lentz and Sodiq Yussuf before stopping Dan Hooker in his last fight this past March and a win puts him right near the top of the 145-pound weight class. Kattar is 34 years old and he’s at a crossroads after several brutal fights over the past few years. He was on the losing end of a drubbing at the hands of Max Holloway in January 2021 that went five rounds, he came back one year later and won a five-round unanimous decision against Giga Chikadze, and is coming off a five-round split decision loss to Josh Emmett in March (which is a fight many people scored for Kattar including the majority of media members on MMA Decisions).
According to UFC stats, Kattar lands 5.19 strikes per minute but absorbs 7.15 per minute, which are exceptionally high figures when comparing stats. Allen, on the other hand, lands 3.31 per minute and absorbs 2.22. Allen also completes 1.41 takedowns per fifteen minutes (this is a five-round fight) but Kattar’s takedown defense is 91% and makes the takedown game of Allen one to focus on because in a stand-up fight, Kattar is very durable but it’s a two-way street for him.
Kattar is currently #5 in the UFC rankings at featherweight while Allen is #6. Alexander Volkanovski appears to be set to fight lightweight champion Islam Makhachev early next year and that could throw the division into a tailspin if Volkanovski were to win. If he loses, Volkanovski probably wouldn’t defend the featherweight title until next summer at the earliest. Max Holloway and Brian Ortega have had their opportunities at Volkanovski, so the winner of Allen vs. Kattar will be in the mix along with Josh Emmett and Yair Rodriguez as the next logical contenders but all may need to fight one more time if Volkanovski is unavailable.
Below is the full card for Saturday night:
MAIN CARD (7 p.m. ET on ESPN+, TSN 4 in Canada)
*Calvin Kattar (23-6) vs. Arnold Allen (18-1)
*Max Griffin (18-9) vs. Tim Means (32-13-1) – Griffin has won three of his last four fights but is coming off a split decision loss to Neil Magny. Means began fighting in the UFC over a decade ago and is coming off a submission loss to Kevin Holland back in June.
*Jared Vanderaa (12-9) vs. Waldo Cortez-Acosta (7-0) – Vanderaa has lost four fights in a row including three this year, so it’s a must-win fight. Cortez-Acosta previously fought in Bellator and LFA and won on the Contender Series this past summer.
*Josh Fremd (9-3) vs. Tresean Gore (3-2)
*Khalil Rountree Jr. (10-5) vs. Dustin Jacoby (18-5-1) – This should be a good fight. Jacoby is unbeaten in his last nine fights and has two wins this year. Rountree Jr. has won his last two and is coming off a TKO win against Karl Roberson.
PRELIMINARY CARD (4 p.m. ET on ESPN+)
*Phil Hawes (12-3) vs. Roman Dolidze (10-1) – Hawes has had a lot of hype attached to his name for years and is starting to put it all together with a 4-1 record in the UFC. He stopped Deron Winn in his last fight. Dolidze cut down to middleweight in 2021 and is coming off two wins including a KO against Kyle Daukaus in June.
*Marcos Rogerio de Lima (19-8-1) vs. Andrei Arlovski (34-20) – This will be Arlovski’s 39th fight in the UFC with next month marking 22 years since his first fight for the promotion. Amazingly, Arlovski is also on a four-fight winning streak.
*Park Jun-yong (14-5) vs. Joseph Holmes (8-2)
*Chase Hooper (11-2-1) vs. Steve Garcia (12-5) – Hooper was one year old when Arlovski made his UFC debut in November 2000
*Cody Durden (13-4-1) vs. Carlos Mota (8-1)
*Christian Rodriguez (7-1) vs. Joshua Weems (10-2)
**Jake Paul’s boxing career enters its next chapter on Saturday night against his toughest opponent to date when he fights former UFC middleweight champion, Anderson Silva. Silva is 47 years old and fought his last fight with the UFC two years ago. Since leaving MMA, Silva has returned to boxing with his most impressive win coming against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in June 2021, which was followed by a knockout win against Tito Ortiz that year. Paul has a pro record of 5-0 taking on inexperienced boxers including former NBA player Nate Robinson, and MMA fighters Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley. Both fighters made weight on Friday with Silva stepping on the scale at 186.1 pounds and Paul at 186.5. The best outcome for Showtime and Paul is for Paul to get a big victory against a name opponent and set the table for a fight against Nate Diaz when he is contractually available, which would probably be the biggest fight Paul can hope for. If Silva wins, it probably doesn’t extinguish the demand for a Paul vs. Diaz fight but there’s the lingering question of how much demand Paul commands by this stage of the game. The promotion has picked up in the past few days and Silva is a much bigger attraction than Woodley or Askren. The card will also see former UFC fighter and TUF winner Uriah Hall boxing former NFL player Le’Veon Bell and Michael “Dr. Mike” Varshavski taking on MMA fighter Chris Avila as the top fights from the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona. The main card airs on Showtime pay-per-view and FITE TV at 9 p.m. ET.
**TJ Dillashaw is set to undergo another shoulder surgery following the issues in the lead-up to his fight against Aljamain Sterling at UFC 280. Dillashaw spoke with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto and said he will be undergoing surgery but plans to fight again, although doesn’t believe he’ll be able to compete over the next year. It will be Dillashaw’s third shoulder surgery and the second one on his left shoulder. Dillashaw’s shoulder popped out of the socket during the first round of his bantamweight title fight with Sterling as his corner put it back in place between rounds. The shoulder popped out a second time in the next round and Dillashaw was finished by TKO. After the fight, Dillashaw revealed that he blew out the shoulder in April and that it popped out about “twenty times” during his fight camp. The ESPN story states Dillashaw is likely to have surgery next month with the fighter estimating it will be nine months until he can train hard.
**Bellator 287 airs on Saturday afternoon with a card from Milan, Italy. The card is headlined by a lightweight fight between Adam Piccolotti (13-4) and Mansour Barnaoui (19-4) with the main card rounding out with Fabian Edwards (10-2), the younger brother of UFC champion Leon Edwards, vs. Charlie Ward (10-4), Saul Rogers (15-4) vs. Tim Wilde (14-4-1) and Justin Gonzalez (13-1) vs. Andrew Fisher (19-8-1) with the main card airing at 4 p.m. ET on Showtime and YouTube in Canada.
**UFC broadcaster Jon Anik has re-signed with the promotion with his duties including his role as the lead play-by-play commentator, pre and post-show content on pay-per-view cards, hosting the official and ceremonial weigh-ins, and the annual Hall of Fame ceremony during International Fight Week. Anik has been with the company for eleven years and became the lead broadcaster on its pay-per-view events beginning in 2017.
**Raul Rosas Jr. will have his first official fight in the UFC on 12/10 at UFC 282. Rosas Jr. (6-0) was presented with a UFC contract last month at the age of 17 when he won on Dana White’s Contender Series. Rosas Jr. is set to fight Jay Perrin (10-6) at the card in Las Vegas, which was announced by the Iridium Sports Agency, which represents both fighters.
**The case involving Michael Chiesa against Conor McGregor over the April 2018 incident involving the dolly has been revived. Law clerk Jason Morrin has a story on the latest involving the case, which was filed by Chiesa four years ago in New York against McGregor and his promotional company that alleges assault, battery, and negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Several of the actions were dismissed by the Supreme Court in Kings County in 2019. Earlier this week, the dismissal for intentional infliction of emotional distress has been reversed. From the story:
The Court held, “ontrary to the defendants’ contention, the complaint sufficiently alleged that McGregor engaged in conduct ‘so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.’” “Besides the alleged throwing of the hand truck that is the basis of the plaintiff’s assault and battery causes of action, the plaintiff also alleges that McGregor threw other objects at the bus, attempted to board the bus, prevented the bus from moving, kicked the bus, and yelled threats and expletives.”
Finally, the Court held that the allegations made in the complaint are sufficient to support personal jurisdiction against MSE and that the defendant’s motion to dismiss should have been denied as to this issue. Personal jurisdiction refers to a court’s power to hear claims over a particular party, rather than a court’s power to hear a claim itself.
ON THIS DATE
On the night after Hell in a Cell in 2013, Daniel Bryan and Shawn Michaels did a spot together where Bryan put Michaels into the LeBell Lock after being superkicked the night before by Michaels, which led to Bryan losing to Randy Orton. At first, Danielson thought the finish at Hell in a Cell might be a sign that Michaels was going to come back and do a match with him. But Michaels was not planning for a return. They did the angle the following night on Raw for the benefit of Bryan getting some measure of revenge but it was all safe-contained and essentially, used Michaels to come up with a way for Bryan to lose at Hell in a Cell.
The one and only WWE Evolution card took place on this date in 2018 from Long Island and was highlighted by a tremendous match between Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch months before the two would headline WrestleMania with Ronda Rousey:
John Pollock & Wai Ting are back to review AEW Dynamite featuring Jon Moxley defending the AEW Championship against Penta El Zero M.
SHOT IN THE DARK
John Siino reviews this week’s editions of AEW Dark, AEW Dark: Elevation, IMPACT Wrestling, Women of Wrestling, NXT Level Up, NJPW Strong, NWA USA, NWA Powerrr, and WWE Main Event in under 15 minutes on Shot In The Dark.
upNXT: If Ya Smell What the Schism is Cookin
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman chat all about the October 25th edition of WWE NXT featuring Ilja Dragunov vs JD McDonagh in the main event.
ASK-A-WAI: Ask Us Anything! (October 2022)
John Pollock and Wai Ting answer their patrons’ questions about anything and everything in the October 2022 edition of Ask-A-Wai
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE Raw from Charlotte, North Carolina with Bianca Belair taking on Bayley. Plus, SmackDown & Rampage ratings, Halloween Havoc thoughts, Elimination Chamber in Montreal & more.
WRESTLENOMICS: Could The Rock buy WWE?
Brandon Thurston, Jesse Collings, Chris Gullo talk about AEW and CM Punk’s contract, and Dwayne Johnson’s comments on possibly investing in WWE.
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