POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: AEW Grand Slam expected to have 20,000+

Originally published at POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: AEW Grand Slam expected to have 20,000+

POST IT NOTES

**Rewind-A-Dynamite is LIVE at 10:15 p.m. ET tonight with Wai Ting and I reviewing AEW Grand Slam from Arthur Ashe Stadium. In addition, we will discuss the injury to Tetsuya Naito and the impact on the G1, Raw and NXT numbers, Chris Kanyon, and more. There will be live access for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**Wai and I will have G1 Climax podcasts on Thursday & Friday for members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**Rewind-A-Wai #95 is available for all Patrons with Wai Ting and I sharing our thoughts on WCW Monday Nitro from April 10, 2000, with “The Reboot” and the return of Vince Russo & Eric Bischoff.

**Braden Herrington and Davie Portman have a review of NXT 2.0. and discussing the latest news. The two will also attend Arthur Ashe Stadium tonight and will share their live thoughts on BD-Elite.

**You can follow along with our G1 coverage with all the latest podcasts, reports, and contest standings.

POST SCHEDULE

Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John & Wai (10:15 p.m. ET)
Thursday: G1 Climax – Day 3 Podcast (Patreon)
Thursday: Bushby & Thompson’s Wrestling Adventure (PWG Black Cole Sun, Dec. 2014)
Thursday: MCU L8R with Wai Ting & WH Park – What If? Episode 7 (Patreon)
Friday: G1 Climax – Day 4 Podcast (Patreon)
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John & Wai (Special start time: 12:15 a.m. ET for all Patrons)
Saturday: UFC 266 POST Show with Phil Chertok & Eric Marcotte (LIVE on POST YouTube)
Sunday: G1 Climax – Day 5 Podcast (Patreon)
Sunday: WWE Extreme Rules POST Show (LIVE for ALL Patrons)

WRESTLING NEWS

While AEW can hang its hat on many benchmarks set, television deals signed, and pay-per-view numbers achieved, tonight’s show at Arthur Ashe Stadium is another major moment in the company’s history.

AEW Grand Slam was a fitting title for the first pro wrestling event ever at the venue with a demand to match the size. WrestleTix reports over 18,900 tickets are out with the show scaled to accommodate over 20,300. The site doesn’t include those in the private suites, however, they are reporting that all the suite tickets have been fully distributed with 20 guests per suite and 90 suites available, which would add 1,800 to the figures.

For non-WWE events in the United States, it will be the most-attended since the July 5, 1999, edition of WCW Monday Nitro at the Georgia Dome that drew 25,338 and 19,456 paid (and was a gigantic drop from the Jan. 4, 1999, show in the same stadium for those curious about how false advertising Kevin Nash vs. Bill Goldberg in a rematch from Starrcade and the “Finger Poke of Doom” affected WCW’s business in its home market).

The company will present one of the biggest matches it can put together with the second singles meeting of all time between Kenny Omega and Bryan Danielson. Their only match occurred in April 2009 at the PWG One Hundred event (a card that featured The Young Bucks, Brandon Cutler, Chuck Taylor, Scorpio Sky, Sonjay Dutt, and Colt Cabana, who are all with AEW now).

The match feels major and for a free television event, should threaten every number AEW has pulled since launching on TNT. The high-water mark remains the October 2, 2019, premiere that averaged 1,410,000 viewers and 0.68 in 18-49. While the overall audience tonight could come within striking distance of the record, the 18-49 number seems exceptionally ambitious and if the show pulls anything above 0.55, I would look at the episode as a major success.

It’s also a match with several options booking-wise that makes it intriguing. The obvious avenues would be either a Danielson win in a non-title scenario or going to a time limit with both setting up the future title match. It’s an instance where the rankings are being respected and serves as a reason to make it non-title but if Danielson beats the champion, it should naturally catapult him over several guys to the top (thus, creating other stories for those he is leapfrogging with a win). The time limit option is there and it’s not like this audience will be disappointed if they get a hot match on a loaded event that includes matches with CM Punk, Minoru Suzuki, Adam Cole, etc.

The atmosphere will be among the best of the year with the size of the crowd and totally unique venue for pro wrestling.

Below are the line-ups for both shows with Rampage being taped tonight as well:

Dynamite at 8 p.m. ET on TNT:
*Non-Title: Kenny Omega vs. Bryan Danielson
*AEW Women’s Championship: Dr. Britt Baker (champion) vs. Ruby Soho
*Malakai Black vs. Cody Rhodes
*Sting & Darby Allin vs. FTR
*Brian Pillman Jr. vs. MJF
*CM Punk interview

AEW Rampage on Friday at 10 p.m.
*Lights Out: Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston vs. Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer
*The Young Bucks & Adam Cole vs. Christian Cage, Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus
*CM Punk vs. Powerhouse Hobbs
*Rey Fenix, Penta El Zero M, Santana & Ortiz vs. Private Party, The Butcher & The Blade
*Chris Jericho & Jake Hager vs. Ethan Page & Scorpio Sky
*Anna Jay vs. Penelope Ford

**NXT 2.0. presented its second show under the new concept. After two weeks, it is very clear the objective is to introduce lots of new acts and making sure all are either over-the-top characters or strong personalities with athletic backgrounds. The show has elements of both Jim Crockett Promotions out of the mid-80s with short squash matches designed to showcase new stars mixed with GLOW-level elements for the character pieces and presentations. There is a lot of green talent and makes it a difficult transition from an audience that is weaning off a steady product of hot matches, which were the calling card of the ‘black and gold era’.

You still have the nucleus of Tommaso Ciampa, Kyle O’Reilly, Pete Dunne, Cameron Grimes, KUSHIDA, Roderick Strong, etc. that serve that audience but it’s evident the objective is not having blow-away matches. The match between KUSHIDA and Roderick Strong was adequate for the nine minutes they had but the two are capable of so much more.

Bron Breakker is the standout of the new class with an easy assumption that he is poised for a top role on NXT and could be rushed to the main roster as validation for the new system. I’m very high on Breakker as he’s had a good level for someone with a few years experience much less one year. The show does move quickly, which is good and bad but with so many characters thrown out at you in these two weeks, you do need a chart to keep track of them all.

There was no mention of Samoa Joe on Tuesday’s episode, which follows last week’s handling where his relinquishing the title was not the focus and they just moved on with the news of a fatal four-way to crown a new champion.

Among the news names introduced on Tuesday or re-introduced:
*Dante Chen (Sean Tan, 25 years old) – He is the company’s first signing from Singapore and received a good amount of attention when it was announced. He wrestled for Singapore Pro Wrestling and reported to the PC a few months ago. They kept his match extremely short defeating Trey Baxter in a minute.
*Lash Legend (Anriel Howard, 24 years old) – Howard is the real deal and one of the biggest prospects the company has signed. She played in the WNBA for the Seattle Storm after playing at Mississippi State and Texas A&M. She was part of the Performance Center class announced last December. The Atlanta native will debut a talk segment with “Lashing Out” on next week’s show, which tells me they have great confidence in her speaking ability to carry a segment like that. On paper, this is a star in the making for the company if it all comes together for her.
*Persia Pirotta (Steph De Lander) – She was introduced a few weeks ago as the best friend of Indi Hartwell during the bachelorette segment. She is from Sydney, Australia, and was trained by Madison Eagles and was part of the class announced this past April. Pirotta approached Io Shirai & Zoey Stark to announce that Hartwell and she would be going for the tag titles once Hartwell is back from her honeymoon with Dexter Lumis.
*Amari Miller (Camron Clay, 24 years old) – She’s been wrestling since 2017 and her signing was announced this past February by the company. Clay is from Kansas City and wrestled as Bra’Nae and Camron Bra’Nae and lost to Lacey Evans on an episode of SmackDown in her hometown in 2019. Miller appeared several times on NXT and 205 Live over the past few months. Miller lost a short squash match to Kay Lee Ray.

**Terri Runnels tweeted out a message on Wednesday indicating that she may have misremembered Vince and Linda McMahon being on the May 2002 flight and instead, they were on a different flight the company chartered.

After some thought…I think @TheCoachrules IS correct regarding Vince and Linda being on the flight! It was on another lively Chartered flight home that they were there. Sorry Coach!

**Thursday’s episode of Dark Side of the Ring will focus on the late Chris Klucsarits a.k.a. Chris Kanyon, who took his life in April 2010 at the age of 40. Earlier this week, I re-read his book, Wrestling Reality, which was released shortly after his death with co-author Ryan Clark.

The book outlines the struggles of learning he was gay at a very young age and entering an industry where he grew paranoid about colleagues finding out except for a chosen few he told. Kanyon was an exceptional talent as one of the standout enhancement talents appearing on WWF, WCW, Smokey Mountain, and ECW television before getting his big break in WCW where he had several big earning years.

In addition to the book, I really hope that people seek out the obit from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter in 2010 that had a detailed look at his life after being released by WWE in February 2004. Kanyon tried many ways to stay connected to the industry and made public claims such as being fired by WWE for being gay, which the Observer notes, he privately noted wasn’t the case to friends of his.

This was an individual that struggled with being diagnosed as bipolar, battled with the difficulties of sharing his sexuality with those around him, and a big aspect that should be explored in the concussions. In his book, he claimed to have suffered eleven concussions (which could mean many more if they went undiagnosed or treated).

I am sure the 2003 segment from SmackDown with The Undertaker will be covered and paints the company terribly. Kanyon came out of a box dressed as Boy George and began singing, which Kanyon believed was due to the fact they knew he was gay and then received a beating by Undertaker including a nasty chair shot to the head on the floor (he said he suffered a concussion from this segment).

Kanyon stated in the book he had pitched a character where he would play an openly gay man playing a “macho gay wrestler” but the pitch didn’t materialize into anything for him. On the 2003 segment, Kanyon stated in the book:

The angle was almost too much. This was a message. I would not be doing the gay angle I wanted to do. I would be doing the gay angle that Vince wanted me to do. Even though it was nine months after the fact, it was another way for Vince to drive home the embarrassment.

**Bryan Danielson was interviewed by Dave Meltzer for the Wrestling Observer site clarified his statements on respecting WWE’s intellectual property. During a prior interview with Barstool Sports this week, Danielson mentioned a meeting he had with Kevin Dunn informing the company of his plans to go to AEW and when he would debut. Danielson said he was asked to respect their intellectual property including some that “could not be legally enforced”. In the interview with Meltzer, Danielson said that the “Yes” chants were never brought up and the conversation was mainly about music. He added there have been no threats, discussion, or legal letters regarding anything from WWE.

**MLW is launching its mini-series “Alpha” tonight at 7 p.m. ET and will air Saturday nights at 10 p.m. on beIN Sports. The following matches are scheduled for tonight’s airing:
*TJP vs. Davey Richards
*Bunkhouse Brawl: Team Filthy vs. The Von Erichs
*Gino Medina vs. KC Navarro

**MLW has confirmed that Bobby Fish will meet Lee Moriarty in the first round of the Opera Cup tournament on October 2nd at Fightland in Philadelphia. That night’s show will feature the quarterfinals and semifinals of the eight-man tournament at the 2300 Arena.

**The G1 Climax resumes on Thursday after the company was dealt a blow with the loss of Tetsuya Naito for the rest of the tournament. This is exceptionally difficult because the G1 is intricately laid out and all the wins and losses are designed to tell a story and set up the scenarios for the closing days and arrive at the finals next month. With Naito gone, all his matches are thrown for a loop as the opponents will receive two points automatically due to forfeit and creates chaos for the standings with several wrestlers gaining two points when they were booked to lose to Naito. This was a grave concern already given the nature of the pandemic that a wrestler can be out of the tournament at a moment’s notice if they test positive.

Naito had matches scheduled with Tanga Loa on Thursday, a big one with Shingo Takagi this Sunday, and Yujiro next Thursday. All three wrestlers will still have matches on those shows, but they will be non-tournament matches. Yuji Nagata faces Tanga Loa and Shingo Takagi on the next two A Block shows and next Thursday will feature BUSHI facing Yujiro.

Below is the card for Thursday’s A Block show at Ota Ward Gymnasium at 5:30 a.m. ET with the point totals in brackets:
*Non-tournament: Tanga Loa vs. Yuji Nagata
*Toru Yano (2) vs. Great O-Khan (2)
*KENTA (0) vs. Yujiro (2)
*Kota Ibushi (0) vs. Tomohiro Ishii (0)
*Shingo Takagi (2) vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (2)

**West Coast Pro Wrestling has named veteran Vinnie Massaro as its head trainer at the West Coast Pro Wrestling Training Academy in Pacifica, California. Massaro will be joined by Levi Shapiro as the two trainers at the academy, which will hold an orientation on Wednesday, October 13th with inquiries directed to [email protected].

**Below are the odds released from BetOnline for tonight’s AEW Grand Slam card in Queens, New York:
*Kenny Omega (-300) vs. Bryan Danielson (+200)
*Dr. Britt Baker (-500) vs. Ruby Soho (+300)
*Cody Rhodes (-120) vs. Malakai Black (-120)
*MJF (-500) vs. Brian Pillman Jr. (+300)
*FTR (-250) vs. Sting & Darby Allin (+170)

**Championship Wrestling from Atlanta has announced that Marina Shafir will debut for the group on Thursday, October 7th at the tapings at Center Stage.

**This Sunday is the final set of round-robin matches for Pro Wrestling NOAH’s N-1 Victory tournament with the winners of the four blocks advancing to the semi-finals on October 3rd, which will also feature the final. Below are the scenarios for each block:
*A BLOCK: Keiji Muto vs. Kaito Kiyomiya – this is the big match on Sunday where the winner wins the block. Muto is 2-0 against Kiyomiya in prior matches.
*B BLOCK: Masaaki Mochizuki is the leader with four points and faces Kenoh, who has two. Kendo Kashin also has two points and is technically alive.
*C BLOCK: Kazushi Sakuraba and Masato Tanaka are tied with three points while Katsuhiko Nakajima has two. Sakuraba is facing Nakajima on Sunday and Tanaka faces Kotaro Suzuki, so this one is wide open. I can see Suzuki playing spoiler and then the winner of the other match wins.
*D BLOCK: Masakatsu Funaki and Kazuyuki Fujita are tied with four points and the winner of their match takes the block.

**The October 3rd card featuring the semi-finals and final will include Eita from Dragon Gate wrestling Atsushi Kotoge. There will be English commentary for that event with Stewart Fulton and Mark Pickering live at Korakuen Hall.

MMA NEWS

**This Saturday’s fight between Nick Diaz and Robbie Lawler will now be a middleweight fight. Ariel Helwani broke the news that the fight will now be contested at 185 pounds instead of 170 and will remain a five-round fight. Robbie Lawler spoke to the media and stated the request was made by Diaz and Lawler is fine with the change but must taper off his weight cut as it’s a large gap between weight classes. This will be Diaz’s first fight since January 2015 and is a rematch from April 2004 when the two competed at UFC 47. The UFC 266 card includes Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega for the UFC Featherweight Championship and Valentina Shevchenko vs. Lauren Murphy for the Flyweight Championship.

**Three UFC fighters have been fined and suspended over drug test results from recent events at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. MMA Junkie reports the following:
*Daniel Pineda – Tested positive for amphetamine on the night of his no-contest with Andre Fili in June. He has been suspended for nine months and fined $2,554.38 and is eligible to compete on March 26, 2022.
*Rodrigo Nascimento – He defeated Alan Baudot by TKO in July and his urine test came back positive for ritalinic acid. He’s been suspended for six months and fined $1,945.36 and is eligible to compete on January 17, 2022. His win has also been turned into a no-contest.
*Chris Barnett – He lost to Ben Rothwell in May by TKO and tested positive for marijuana. Nevada has changed its rule regarding punishing athletes for marijuana use but Barnett’s fight predated the changes and is unfortunate timing for Barnett, which makes it sound silly that he would have gone unpunished if the fight took place with the current criteria. He’s been fined $1,036.08 and will be eligible to compete on October 26th next month, so at least he won’t be ineligible for long.

**The UFC Hall of Fame ceremony takes place Thursday night as part of International Fight Week. The ceremony streams at 10:30 p.m. ET from Las Vegas and will feature the following members inducted as part of the 2020 class that wasn’t honored last year due to the pandemic:
*Modern Wing: Georges St-Pierre
*Pioneer Wing: Kevin Randleman
*Fight Wing: Jon Jones vs Alexader Gustafsson from UFC 165 in Sept. 2013
*Contributor Wing: Marc Ratner
*Forrest Griffin Community Award: Dustin Poirier

**Conor McGregor throws “the most devastating first pitch ever seen in the iconic Wrigley Field”.

**During Tuesday’s press conference to promote their fight on November 6th, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Caleb Plant came to blows with Plant sustaining a cut on his cheek. Alvarez shoved Plant on stage and the two threw punches with Alvarez connecting.

Heated face off here before the #CaneloPlant press conference 🤯😳

Streaming live: https://t.co/mIPZRjJbFo pic.twitter.com/7WXH6hAQu6

— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) September 21, 2021

**The latest episode of UFC Embedded going into UFC 266 on Saturday night.

ON THIS DATE

Steve Austin delivers the first stunner to Vince McMahon during an episode of Raw from Madison Square Garden in 1997:

Bill Goldberg’s first appearance on Monday Nitro in 1997 and kicking off the streak against Hugh Morrus:

 

G1 CLIMAX 31 PODCASTS

Day 2 – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada
Day 1 – Shingo Takagi vs. Tomohiro Ishii

*****
upNXT 9/21/21: Who?!
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman talk about the September 21st, 2021 episode of WWE NXT featuring Tommaso Ciampa & Bron Breakker vs Pete Dunne & Ridge Holland
*****
REWIND-A-WAI #95: WCW Nitro (April 10, 2000)
John Pollock & Wai Ting review WCW Nitro from April 10, 2000, as Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff join forces on-and-off-screen to usher in a reality-based era of WCW television pitting The New Blood against the Millionaire’s Club.
*****
REWIND-A-RAW 9/20/21: Triple Threat, Flair responds, Owen Hart-AEW
John Pollock & Wai Ting are back to chat about WWE Raw feat. Big E vs. Roman Reigns vs. Bobby Lashley, Ric Flair addresses allegations from Dark Side of the Ring, and AEW working with the Owen Hart Foundation.
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN: “Rebecca Knox-ville”, AEW Rampage, Dark Side of the Ring
John Pollock & guest co-host Kate from Montreal discuss Friday Night SmackDown, AEW Rampage, and their thoughts on the Plane Ride from Hell episode of Dark Side of the Ring.
*****
MCU L8R: What If…? Ep. 6 “Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?”
WH Park is joined by PWTcast’s Scrump & Stank to review What If…? Episode 6: “What If… Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?” Scrump & Stank also discuss their thoughts on Shang-Chi and the recently released trailer for Disney+’s Hawkeye.
*****

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