POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: "Becoming Warrior" review, Tony Marino passes

Originally published at POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: "Becoming Warrior" review

POST IT NOTES

**Wai Ting and I will be LIVE at 12:15 a.m. ET tonight to review BOTH Friday Night SmackDown and AEW Dynamite. We will be opening the phone lines after condensed reviews of both programs. The show will be live for all POST Wrestling Café members.

**Our latest POST Movie Review covers “The Dissident” documentary covering the case involving the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018. Wai Ting and I discussed all the evidence and findings from the case, the fallout of the murder, the response from the U.S., and some of the grizzly details shared in the documentary. This review is available for all members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**We are scheduled to interview Bryan Fogel, the director of “The Dissident” next week here on the site.

**Earlier today, we did a POST News Update discussing the SummerSlam announcement, the report on WWE/NJPW talks, Japan extending its state of emergency, a preview of AEW Double or Nothing, and a review of Ultimate Warrior edition of Dark Side of the Ring.

**Martin Bushby and Andrew Thompson have a great edition of Bushby & Thompson’s Wrestling Adventure reviewing the “Beyond the Mat” documentary. They are joined Rev Pro promoter Andy Quildan to review the doc and he shares an amazing story of Paul Levesque’s own backstage speeches at some NXT events.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: Rewind-A-DynaDown (LIVE at 12:15 a.m. ET for all Patrons)
Sunday: AEW Double or Nothing POST Show (LIVE for Double Double+ Patrons)
Monday: Rewind-A-Raw with John & Wai (LIVE at 11:15 p.m. ET)

DARK SIDE OF THE RING – “BECOMING WARRIOR”

The second Ultimate Warrior documentary of the week, “Becoming Warrior” aired Thursday night as part of Dark Side of the Ring’s third season.

The feature differed from the A&E version as one of the key subjects was Shari Tyree, Warrior’s wife from 1982 until they split in 1991 after she discovered his infidelity issues on the road. It was not mentioned but Warrior got involved with Melanie Pillman during that time, who was interviewed this season for the Pillman episode but was not featured in this one.

Even though the two had a strong dislike for one another, Warrior and Brian Pillman did share another common thread. Pillman’s family had a history of heart issues with early deaths including his father dying at 50 when Brian was only two months old. Warrior’s father and grandfather died in their ’50s. Both had to live with that knowledge that their time could come at any moment. This did not deter either from engaging in steroid use that would further complicate their health.

Tyree provided a more human side to the Warrior through the early days of their relationship and marriage with an insight into Warrior’s drive to make something of himself and his life.

Where this documentary had trouble was the stories of the Warrior and his complications with Vince McMahon and the WWE over the years could be their own piece. It isn’t until the 25-minute mark that they get into the first falling out around SummerSlam 1991. They attempted to address as much as they could including skimming past the 1992 release and then jumping to 1996 where it could have been more detailed, but it felt like a victim of time. Then, it was onto his post-WWE controversies, the return at the Hall of Fame, and his death and it was a lot of major themes to pile into a twenty-minute window on the back half unable to go into much depth or detail.

The oddest story was reserved for Jake “The Snake” Roberts, who appeared to have his timelines mixed up or it just didn’t add up at all. Roberts stated he was told by Vince McMahon he was going to get a championship run with Warrior after “SummerSlam” (which would mean 1990, which is the only year Warrior held the title). Roberts said he was told he needed to check with Warrior and get the green light, which was confusing to understand as Jake noted given it was Vince’s call to make. Anyway, Warrior allegedly lectured and told off Roberts in the locker room and Roberts held a grudge for years.

There are several issues with this story. The first is that Roberts was a babyface this whole time in 1990, although Warrior desperately needed heels, and Roberts turning would have been as good an option as any. However, Jake then pivots to the Warrior receiving his suspension notice, and then the title program with Warrior was called off. This is where the timing makes no sense because the suspension occurred at SummerSlam 1991 and not when Warrior held the title. Second, Jake was programmed in a major angle at the 1991 show attacking Randy Savage at the wedding reception and didn’t seem primed for a run with Warrior coming out of the event nor was there a title involved. It’s possible Jake has his timing off.

They did do an angle involving Jake and Warrior in August 1991, although as mentioned, Jake was getting set for the feud with Savage and Warrior was going to be paired with The Undertaker as the angle directs it towards. The house shows after SummerSlam was scheduled to feature The Undertaker and Ultimate Warrior and because of Warrior’s suspension coming out of SummerSlam, he was replaced by Sid Justice.

Tyree came off with a sympathetic view of Warrior given their history although wasn’t shy about the changes she saw, how heartbreaking it was for their marriage to dissolve but said they left on great terms several years later when both found other people.

It was offset by critical but fair assessments from Jim Cornette and Jim Ross, who did not see talent in the guy, and Ross going so far as to say he’s never seen a wrestler with less ability than Warrior. Neither came across with ax to grind but were not going to heap fake praise on a subject.

Ross probably had the best comedic lines of the season when attempting to explain Warrior’s concepts including “Destrucity” during the negotiations for his return in 1996.

Cornette criticized the handling of WrestleMania 12 where Warrior destroyed Triple H in ninety seconds, which admittedly did nothing for Hunter, but it wasn’t designed for him and what else are you going to do with Warrior? No one had illusions that this guy was anything more than he was and to invest in him by that stage of his career, it was the comeback match that would best propel him and limit his glaring weaknesses.

Overall, I think it was very premature for Dana Warrior to label this doc “Smut & Filth” because the end product painted Warrior no worse than the A&E version. He isn’t a figure that will elicit many glowing tributes from those outside his family.

It’s a great discussion of how Warrior’s legacy is viewed upon the younger generation that did not grow up with Warrior as a larger-than-life figure from their childhood, which always provides rose-colored glasses in later years.

To this generation, they have lots of documentation of how this man lived his life with positive and negative accounts while propped up as a positive symbol by WWE. Some want to believe the good and ignore the bad, for others, you weigh both. For Warrior, his public persona is going to be graded upon his public actions while the private individual can only be assessed by those in that circle.

This was a man notoriously difficult to work with, was justified in some business moves and unjustified in others, shared some heinous views and words that many would say are unforgivable and you’re left with a man that probably shouldn’t be reserved for hero status and puts into context who we should label as such.

WRESTLING NEWS

**WWE confirmed the date of SummerSlam for Saturday, August 21st but have not announced the location only stating it will be at a “summer destination location”. The company will reveal the location during the pre-race portion of the Belmont Stakes next Saturday, June 5th. Previous reports have pegged Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas as the leading candidate with Andrew Zarian of the Mat Men Podcast stating people within the stadium were told it’s happening as of several days ago. Sports Business Journal has listed other possible locations in addition to Allegiant Stadium.

The major wrench is that Manny Pacquiao and Errol Spence Jr. are fighting on the same night in Las Vegas and it doesn’t make sense for WWE to run head-to-head with the fight but also not impossible.

**Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported in this week’s issue of talks that have taken place involving WWE and New Japan Pro Wrestling. Meltzer cautioned that the story may not go anywhere but also has the potential of being major given the companies speaking. Meltzer stated that Nick Khan was involved in the talks that go back to late March or early April regarding WWE being the exclusive American partner for New Japan. There are so many elements to this that it’s premature without knowing how significant the talks are and what they entail.

NJPW has partnerships with Ring of Honor and CMLL while also exchanging talent recently with IMPACT Wrestling and AEW. It’s no secret that New Japan’s U.S. expansion has been greatly affected by several factors including the pandemic but also the loss of key talent and its previous deal with AXS TV. This year, the pandemic continues to create a burden on New Japan and when that happens, unlikely scenarios become more possible. Prior to his match with Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan outlined a similar arrangement he was pushing for regarding the ability to take dates outside of WWE while still working for the company and suggested the idea of seeing WWE talent go to NJPW to showcase their full talents that can’t always be exhibited in WWE’s confines.

Mike Johnson of PWinsider.com added that the talks have centered around Bryan potentially working some dates for NJPW.

**Tony Silipini, who wrestled as Tony Marino, died on Friday at the age of 90. SLAM Wrestling relayed the news after a post by Brian Blair of Marino’s death. Marino began his career in January 1956 on a show featuring Buddy Rogers in the main event and would wrestle in New York and around the Midwest in his early years. He wrestled under several names including Marino but also as Dino Lanza and then wrestling as “Battman” after the famous comic character during the run of the television series starring Adam West and Burt Ward. He assumed this character beginning in 1966 and would take it to Pittsburgh where Bruno Sammartino ran the wrestling in the city. Marino won the WWWF Int’l Tag Team Championship twice with partners Sammartino and Victor Rivera while also winning the Detroit version of the NWA Tag Team Championship multiple times with Fred Curry and Bobo Brazil. Marino wrestled until 1987 and was living in Tampa, Florida until his passing.

**WWE and AEW have a doubleheader tonight with a rare Friday night edition of Dynamite live from Daily’s Place to kick off its pay-per-view weekend. It isn’t a major line-up by Dynamite standards and is not a familiar night or timeslot for the company. However, this will be the initial slot for the upcoming ‘Rampage’ series that premieres on Friday, August 13th on TNT before moving to TBS in 2022. The hope for AEW on a regular Friday night schedule is that they have access to roughly two million or so wrestling fans watching SmackDown consistently that are home on a Friday and may have interest in checking out the AEW product. We will get at least a two-week experiment with Dynamite airing on the same Friday at 10 p.m. ET slot next weekend due to the NBA playoff commitments on TNT.

The go-home episode of Dynamite has a lot of matches and segments listed for tonight:
*TNT Championship: Miro (champion) vs. Dante Martin
*Hangman Page vs. Joey Janela
*Evil Uno & Stu Grayson vs. Ethan Page & Scorpio Sky
*Darby Allin vs. Cezar Bononi
*Cody Rhodes and Anthony Ogogo weigh-in
*A Celebration of The Inner Circle, hosted by Eric Bischoff
*Hikaru Shida’s one-year celebration as Women’s Champion
*Jade Cargill’s Open Challenge
*Orange Cassidy responds to Kenny Omega’s offer

**Friday Night SmackDown airs at 8 p.m. ET tonight on FOX featuring The Usos vs. The Street Profits in Jimmy and Jey’s first match together in over a year. They have also announced a rematch for the SmackDown Tag Team Champion with Rey & Dominik Mysterio taking on Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode.

**Jerry Lawler shared some information on the vaccination policy in WWE. He deleted an earlier tweet that implied everyone had to be vaccinated and clarified that WWE isn’t forcing anyone but if you are fully vaccinated you don’t have to wear a mask at events. Otherwise, you wear a mask and will be tested before an event. Lawler noted that he waited until now to be vaccinated because he got COVID-19 at the beginning of the year and didn’t feel the need because he had the antibodies.

**Here are the matches scheduled for NJPW Strong tonight at 10 p.m. ET on New Japan World:
*Strong Openweight Championship: Tom Lawlor (champion) vs. Chris Dickinson
*El Phantasmo vs. Wheeler Yuta
*Clark Connors vs. AJZ

**Fightful reported that artist Josiah Williams was among this week’s WWE cuts. Williams ran the ‘Wrestle and Flow’ YouTube channel and received attention for adaptations of existing wrestling theme songs. He joined the company in April 2019 and was part of the April 2020 cuts but brought back later that year. His past performances have included a memorable entrance for Adam Cole as NXT TakeOver: XXV in June 2019 and produced the theme that Shawn Spears uses in AEW.

**Japan has extended its state of emergency until at least June 20th with Tokyo and Osaka among the prefectures affected. There is no word on any wrestling shows postponed or canceled but the keys ones include New Japan’s cards in Tokyo next week and Dominion in Osaka on June 6th.

**Britt Baker was interviewed by Steven Muehlhausen of DAZN promoting Double or Nothing and was asked about whether the heel turn or the match with Thunder Rosa was the more game-changing moment for her?

I think we can go two different ways on that. I mean both in a sense. But I think turning heel is what led me on the right path up the mountain because I feel like I was just lost. I was never actually starting my climb to the top. But I think that Thunder Rosa match is what got me to the top of the mountain per se. I never would have gotten to the top if I wasn’t on the right path to begin with.

**Brandon Walker from Barstool’s Rasslin’ podcast interviews Tony Khan.

**The Bollywood Boyz spoke to Sportsnet as part of Asian Heritage Month describing their upbringing as massive wrestling fans and making it to WWE.

**Chris Jericho discusses Double or Nothing and wrestling without fans over the past years on WFAN 660.

**The WWE stock closed at $55.81 on Friday.

ON THIS DATE

 

*****
POST News 5/28/21: SummerSlam, WWE-NJPW, Warrior doc
John Pollock & Wai Ting discuss today’s top wrestling stories including: WWE SummerSlam’s announced date; a possible partnership between WWE & NJPW; Japan extending its State of Emergency until 6/20; previews of AEW Dynamite and Double or Nothing; and a review of Dark Side of the Ring: Becoming Warrior.
****
POST MOVIE REVIEW: The Dissident (2020)
John Pollock and Wai Ting review The Dissident, a 2020 documentary by Academy Award-winning director Bryan Fogel (Icarus) about the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia’s attempts to silence international dissent.
*****
POST News 5/27/21: WWE cuts announcers, Cena apologizes to China
John Pollock & Wai Ting discuss top wrestling stories including WWE releases of Adnan Virk and Tom Phillips; Jimmy Smith’s promotion to Raw lead announcer; and the controversy surrounding John Cena and China/Taiwan.
*****
BTWA #9: Beyond the Mat (1999) w/ Andy Quildan
Revolution Pro Wrestling owner Andy Quildan joins Martin & Andrew to look back at Beyond The Mat, the seminal documentary from 1999. Andy also talks about the return of RevPro live and the latest with Will Ospreay.
*****
POST INTERVIEW: Colt Cabana
John Pollock & Wai Ting speak with AEW wrestler Colt Cabana about his new ‘Wrestling Anonymous’ podcast, creative etiquette within AEW, Being The Elite, social media skills for young wrestlers, interviewing Orange Cassidy on Art of Wrestling, and much more.
*****
SHOT IN THE DARK: Roppongi Vice reunites, New Heritage Cup Champion
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 5/25/21: “Kross-Balor II”
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review the May 25th, 2021 episode of WWE NXT featuring Karrion Kross vs Finn Bálor for the NXT Championship!
*****

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