POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: Bayley injury, Poirier vs. McGregor preview

Originally published at POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: Bayley injury, Poirier vs. McGregor preview

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**Rewind-A-SmackDown is live tonight at 10:15 p.m. ET with Kate from Montreal joining Wai Ting to review the final edition of SmackDown from the ThunderDome. They will go through all the major headlines from Friday and open the phone lines for the remainder of the show.

**We have a UFC 264 Preview Show on the site with Phil Chertok and Eric Marcotte joining me to preview Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor and all of the major stories heading into Saturday’s card in Las Vegas. We also spoke about Nick Diaz’s pending return, the interim heavyweight title fight at UFC 265, and thoughts on the PFL as they get set for their playoff season.

**We will be live Saturday night on the POST YouTube channel immediately after Poirier vs. McGregor with our UFC 264 POST Show.

**Wai Ting and WH Park are joined by Shane McDonough on this week’s MCU L8R to chat about and review episode five of Loki with the finale airing next week. This show is available for all members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**We have posted a feedback thread for the WWF Royal Rumble from 1992, which is the subject of next Tuesday’s edition of Rewind-A-Wai.

WRESTLING NEWS

**The major news today is that Bayley has suffered an undisclosed injury with WWE stating she will miss approximately nine months without adding further details. A replacement opponent for Bianca Belair will be named for Money in the Bank on tonight’s episode of SmackDown. Throughout the pandemic, Bayley had been one of the most consistently strong characters that really found her footing in this heel persona throughout the feud with Sasha Banks that culminated in a fantastic Hell in a Cell match last October. The timing is never good but really unfortunate given how many viewed her as the MVP of this ThunderDome/Performance Center era and she suffered the injury one week before they return with fans.

Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful is reporting that the injury occurred at the WWE Performance Center while Bayley was chain wrestling with another talent during the company’s mandatory training sessions as they prepare to get back to live events.

**Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer reports that Jimmy Uso (Jonathan Fatu) is backstage at SmackDown at the ThunderDome. The company has not issued any statement yet regarding his DUI arrest from Monday night in Pensacola, Florida.

**Tickets for AEW’s three shows at the NOW Arena in Hoffman Estates, Illinois went on sale Friday. The All Out pay-per-view on Sunday, September 5th is sold out of the tickets put on sale. We were told once they arrive to finalize the production setup that they will look to open seats for the show. The company will run the arena three times in five nights with the September 1st edition of Dynamite and September 3rd edition of Rampage from the NOW Arena prior to the pay-per-view that weekend. WrestleTix reported that based on the ticket map there were 9,496 seats listed but that number will be boosted by the suites inside the venue.

**The next major on-sale date for AEW is next Friday when they put tickets on sale for the September 22nd edition of Dynamite at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, New York.

**WWE has announced that its return to Madison Square Garden for the September 10th edition of SmackDown will now feature both Raw and SmackDown talent. This news coincides with tickets going on sale to the public on Friday. It will be WWE’s first event at MSG since December 26, 2019.

**This past Wednesday’s episode of AEW Dynamite from Miami averaged 871,000 viewers and 0.33 (422,000) in the 18-49 demographic, per Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics. AEW avoided the NBA Finals but did go against Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals where Tampa Bay defeated Montreal. Dynamite dropped from the previous week’s figures of 883,000 and 0.35 (452,000) in the 18-49 demo. In Canada, the show averaged 69,000 viewers with 40,000 in the 25-54 demo, which was going to be hit much harder by the NHL than in the U.S.

**Riddle spoke to Alex McCarthy of talkSport about past issues with Seth Rollins stemming from a comment that Riddle’s wife made about Becky Lynch in the past:

I’ll be honest, I’ve met Seth multiple times and he’s met me and I don’t think we’ll ever be best friends we both love wrestling,” said Riddle.

I know my significant other said something about Becky that they didn’t like and I also did not like or agree with. Seth didn’t like me after that and I don’t think Becky liked me or my wife either, which is understandable. It is what it is.

In the interview, Riddle shared an interaction he had with Seth Rollins last November when both were at the Survivor Series with Riddle attempting to make amends and where their relationship stands.

**Stephanie McMahon-Levesque spoke to Variety about WWE’s return to live events with fans. She spoke about what to expect regarding a change to their set design and overall presentation of its programming with this return to the road:

We’re going to have a new set design, a new presentation of our talents, different locations, and arena setups. We’re going to be utilizing augmented reality in a way that we never have before. We experimented with it a lot during Thunderdome, but it is now going to be incorporated into our talent entrances. There’s also going to be animated graphics. It’s going to be so exciting and so different than anything we’ve done before.

**Here are the matches announced for Friday Night SmackDown airing tonight at 8 p.m. ET on Fox:
*Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Seth Rollins vs. Cesaro
*Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Baron Corbin

**For tonight’s edition of 205 Live at 10 p.m. ET, it will feature matches involving Josh Briggs and Odyssey Jones ahead of the Breakout Tournament that starts next Tuesday:
*Josh Briggs vs. Asher Hale
*Odyssey Jones vs. Grayson Waller

**Below are the matches for tonight’s edition of NJPW Strong streaming at 10 p.m. ET on New Japan World:
*Rocky Romero vs. Josh Alexander
*Alex Coughlin vs. PJ Black
*The DKC vs. Barrett Brown

**New Japan begins its Summer Struggle tour this weekend with two events in Sapporo streaming on New Japan World. The cards this weekend are not very strong given the size of the arena they are running. The first night is headlined by an IWGP junior heavyweight title match and night two with the IWGP tag titles. The ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ movie is the presenting sponsor of the tour. Below is the card for Saturday’s show streaming at 5 a.m. ET:
*IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: El Desperado (champion) vs. Taiji Ishimori
*Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & DOUKI
*Kazuchika Okada & SHO vs. Jeff Cobb & Great O-Khan
*Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi & Rocky Romero vs. KENTA, Yujiro & El Phantasmo
*Tomohiro Ishii & YOH vs. EVIL & Dick Togo
*Kota Ibushi & Master Wato vs. Yota Tsuji & Yuya Uemura

**Game Changer Wrestling has a show in Houston tonight at 9 p.m. ET and on Saturday night in Dallas with ‘You Only Die Once’ at the same time. Tonight’s card is in conjunction with Loko Wrestling and headlined by Nick Gage vs. Sadika for the GCW title along with Effy vs. Gino Medina, Joey Janela vs. Dante Leon, Jimmy Lloyd vs. Chris Carter, AJ Gray vs. Bryan Keith, Matthew Justice vs. Mysterious Q, and a Six-Way Scramble. The card in Dallas on Saturday features Nick Gage vs. Alex Colon for the GCW title.

**MLW has their first live event in front of fans since March 2020 with Battle Riot on Saturday night. They are running the show from the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia with the following line-up:
*40-person Battle Riot III (winner receives a future MLW title shot): Tom Lawlor, Alex Hammerstone, King Muertes, Richard Holliday, TJP, Mads Krugger, Myron Reed, The Von Erichs, Davey Richards, Josef Samael, Ikuro Kwon, Savio Vega, Calvin Tankman, Simon Gotch, EJ Nduka, King Mo, Gino Medina, Daivari, Bu Ku Dao, Lee Moriarty, Aramis, Alex Kane, Gringo Loco, Zenshi, and Kit Osbourne
*Caribbean Championship: Richard Holliday (champion) vs. King Muertes
*Davey Richards vs. TJP

**MLW has announced that the 40-person Battle Riot is going to air on beIN Sports on Saturday, July 24th at 10 p.m. ET and stream on the MLW YouTube channel later this month.

**Ring of Honor is also back with a live crowd for Sunday’s Best in the World pay-per-view from the Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena in Baltimore, Maryland, and airing at 7 p.m. ET with the one-hour free pre-show. Below is the card:
*ROH Championship: Rush (champion) vs. Bandido
*ROH Pure Championship: Jonathan Gresham (champion) vs. Mike Bennett
*ROH Television Championship: Tony Deppen (champion) vs. Dragon Lee
*ROH Six-Man Championship: Shane Taylor & The Soldiers of Savagery vs. Dalton Castle, Dak Draper & Eli Isom
*Last Man Standing: Josh Woods vs. Silas Young
*Jay Lethal vs. Brody King
*EC3 vs. Flip Gordon
*The Briscoes vs. PJ Black & Brian Johnson
*Pre-Show: PCO & Danhausen vs. The Bouncers
*Pre-Show: Rey Horus vs. Demonic Flamita

**Bianca Belair spoke to Newsday on WWE’s return to Madison Square Garden in September.

**The WWE stock closed at $56.34 on Friday.

**Kevin Nash turns 62 today, Marc Mero is 61, and Shelton Benjamin turns 46.

MMA NEWS

**UFC 264 may be the biggest card of the year as Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor have their third fight in the headline position. It’s a rare pay-per-view main event without a championship, although both fighters have indicated they plan on fighting for the lightweight championship with a win. The press conference on Thursday was a return to form with McGregor going the opposite route from January where he trash-talked and insulted Poirier for the entirety. Poirier got in several lines and came off composed and measured while McGregor appeared to be turning the clock back and going back to a style that felt less authentic. McGregor promised to top his performance against Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205, but that fight was almost five years ago and the inactivity since that fight has been a major source of questions regarding McGregor’s placement among the elite at 155 pounds.

In their last fight, McGregor landed a great shot on Poirier, who ate the shot and recovered. A big factor in that fight was the mounting number of leg strikes by Poirier that chopped down McGregor and left him vulnerable to Poirier’s strikes against the fence in round two before dropping and finishing him. It was a case of two fighters that appeared on different levels and the question is whether McGregor could have made the requisite changes in six months? McGregor is still a dangerous striker and absolutely has the ability to win the fight that way. It just appears Poirier has so many other routes to victory and has proven his durability over five rounds while absorbing McGregor’s strikes much better at lightweight than in 2014 when they were competing as featherweights where McGregor stopped him in 1:46.

If McGregor were to win, he says he wants to fight Charles Oliveira and would be a life-changing payday for the lightweight champion if the chips fell that way. With a loss, several topics will arise including the nature of how McGregor loses. If this is a closely contested fight over five rounds then that’s at least a marked improvement over January’s outcome and McGregor’s drawing power will far exceed people’s expectations of it diminishing because of a few losses. Fans will always believe that a fighter past his prime can turn the clock back because those fans are fueled by the nostalgia of seeing that fighter in his or her prime and will pay many times based on hope but hope eventually fades once the pattern is established.

However, if this fight is similar or worse than the January fight then McGregor may still be able to draw big with the right opponents, but it would be a signal he is no longer at the very elite level of an ultra-tough lightweight division. It will also be interesting to see how big of a star Poirier becomes after these fights with McGregor as their fight in January exceeded many people’s expectations and some of that should be attributed to Poirier given he’s drawn better than other opponents of McGregor and comes during the ESPN+ era where you’re drawing from far fewer homes than the old pay-per-view model. Frankly, win or lose, a third with Nate Diaz is going to do monster business, and seems inevitable that the UFC will play that card when it’s ready.

My sense is this fight will outdraw the January one with lots of buzz for this third fight, the novelty of a sold-out show at the T-Mobile Arena makes this one feel more special, and the stakes are sizable for McGregor based on the outcome. Given how many eyeballs will be on this fight, I would want to have Oliveira in attendance so that when the show goes off the air, the giant-sized audience knows what the next championship fight will be. All that said, you can never predict what direction McGregor will want to go next and it’s much easier to map out plans with Poirier than McGregor.

**Here is the full card for UFC 264 from the sold-out T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with results from Friday’s weigh-in:

MAIN CARD (10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view)
*Dustin Poirier (156) vs. Conor McGregor (156)
*Stephen Thompson (170.5) vs. Gilbert Burns (170.5)
*Greg Hardy (264.5) vs. Tai Tuivasa (263)
*Irene Aldana (139.5*) vs. Yana Kunitskaya (134.5) – Aldana was fined 30 percent of her purse, according to MMA Junkie
*Sean O’Malley (135.5) vs. Kris Moutinho (135)

PRELIMINARY CARD (8 p.m. ET on ESPN, ESPN+)
*Carlos Condit (171) vs. Max Griffin (170.5)
*Niko Price (169.5) vs. Michel Pereira (170.5)
*Ryan Hall (145) vs. Ilia Topuria (145.5)
*Trevin Giles (185.5) vs. Dricus Du Plessis (185.5)

EARLY PRELIMS (6 p.m. ET on ESPN, ESPN+)
*Jessica Eye (125.5) vs. Jennifer Maia (125.5)
*Brad Tavares (184.5) vs. Omari Akhmedov (185.5)
*Zhalgas Zhumagulov (125.5) vs. Jerome Rivera (125.5)
*Alen Amedovski (186) vs. Hu Yaozong (185.5)

**Irene Aldana posted a message acknowledging missing weight for the fight with Yana Kunitskaya:

In all my career this is the first time I had missed weight, I tried hard and push my body to the limit. But it stopped sweating. Got my menstrual cycle during fight week and I’m sure my body stopped because of that. I want to apologize to my opponent Yana Kunitskaya and her team. I would never do this to take advantage in a fight. I apologize too to my team, to the UFC and to our followers.

**Conor McGregor made his first appearance for the current run of UFC Embedded on episode four and is also featured in episode five that dropped on Friday.

**Showtime is hosting a press conference with Jake Paul and Tyron Woodley next Tuesday in Los Angeles. They will be announcing the date, venue, and co-featured fights at the press conference.

**Jake Paul posted the following message on Friday directed at Dana White:

Dana White…you may have bullied your way to controlling thousands of fighters careers…but I have never said I want to sign with the UFC…nor will I ever…Maybe I would consider letting you co-promote one of my events against a UFC champion like you did for Conor when he fought Floyd…because you wouldn’t let Conor actually do it himself without you taking your cut…You live in lies and every major fighter on your roster has complained about pay…Conor, Jones, Masvidal, Diaz, Ngannou. You even make up fake belts to sell tickets instead of giving Amanda Nunes her opportunity to headline…Remember Dana you were a cardio kickboxing instructor and didn’t even create the UFC (Gracie and Davie created it, the Fertittas saved it, and the FIGHTERS made it popular) YOU’RE a bald bum who can’t do an interview now without being asked about me…pay your fighters more!!

**Sportico looks at the success the UFC has had since returning to full capacity crowds in April. The company has sold out each month’s pay-per-view with UFC 261 in Jacksonville, UFC 262 in Houston, UFC 263 in Arizona, and the largest is Saturday’s card at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

ON THIS DATE

Reeling from the disastrous Raw main event in Tacoma the week prior, the WWE shot a major angle during the invasion with the introduction of ECW and The Alliance formed with WCW. The show featured months of angles in one night including the debut of Rob Van Dam and Tommy Dreamer, the formation of ECW’s alumni, Paul Heyman presented as the mastermind, having an inter-promotional match that very night with WWF and WCW teaming together (yes, they did that with no promotion), WCW turning on WWF and joining ECW as The Alliance, and the return of Stephanie McMahon to television as the one behind ECW.

UFC 200 took place on this date in 2016 just days before the announcement that WME IMG was purchasing the promotion. The main event between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier fell apart days prior when Jones failed his drug test and Anderson Silva stepped in to fight Cormier in a non-title fight. Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes were promoted to the main event slot where Nunes dominated Tate to become the 135-pound champion, which she still holds today. It was also Brock Lesnar’s one-night return to the company where he beat Mark Hunt by unanimous decision but was later ruled a no-contest when Lesnar failed a pre-fight out-of-competition drug test and another failure in a post-fight test for clomiphene.

*****
UFC 264 PREVIEW SHOW
John Pollock is joined by Phil Chertok and Eric Marcotte to preview UFC 264 featuring Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor 3.
*****
THE BRITISH WRESTLING EXPERIENCE
Martin Bushby & Benno are once again joined by Andy Ogden of Graps & Claps to rundown the last month in European wrestling including the latest with NXT UK, Doudrop on Raw, RevPro, Progress and more.
*****
REWIND-A-DYNAMITE: Road Rager, Malakai Black, Jimmy Uso
John Pollock & Wai Ting review AEW Dynamite’s Road Rager from Miami, the debut of Malakai Black, Jimmy Uso’s arrest, and the deaths of Chris Youngblood & Sid Cooper.
*****
SHOT IN THE DARK
John Siino reviews this week’s editions of AEW Dark, AEW Dark: Elevation, NXT UK, NWA Powerrr, 205 Live, NJPW Strong, Ring of Honor, and Main Event in under 15 minutes on Shot In The Dark.
*****
upNXT – The Great American Bash
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review WWE NXT: The Great American Bash from July 6th 2021 headlined by Kyle O’Reilly vs Adam Cole!
*****
ASK-A-WAI: Ask Us Anything! (July 2021)
John Pollock and Wai Ting answer their patrons’ questions from the POST Wrestling Forum in the July 2021 edition of Ask-A-Wai.
*****
REWIND-A-RAW: “Made from the tooth of the Loch Ness Monster”
John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE Raw featuring the New Day taking on Bobby Lashley & MVP, Drew McIntyre’s sword is stolen, and Ripley & Flair’s feud continues.
*****
THE LONG & WINDING ROYAL ROAD
WH Park is joined by Mark Buckeldee to review a classic tag match from 10/23/99 as Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa (The Untouchables) defend their AJPW World Tag Team Titles against challengers, Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama (Burning).
*****

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