Originally published at POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: Cage on AEW, Loaded NXT, WWE-Peacock
POST IT NOTES
**The March edition of the ASK-A-WAI Mailbag Show is available to members of the POST Wrestling Café. This was a great show with a lot of interesting questions and topics including our stance on ads for our podcasts, some questions on reporting, Kevin Owens losing the Universal title to Bill Goldberg in 2017, pets, Global’s run on ESPN, writing obits on the site, and lots more. The next ASK-A-WAI will be our live edition on POST Podcast Day on Saturday, April 3rd for all Patrons.
**Davie Portman and Andrew Thompson have a big review of IMPACT on this week’s edition of DEEP Impact with news about Rebellion in April and this weekend’s Sacrifice card.
**We will be live with Rewind-A-Dynamite tonight at 10:15 pm ET for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso Café members. upNXT is live at the same time at Twitch.tv/upNXTpodcast.
**On the latest Shot in the Dark, John Siino reviews last week’s great match between Kay Lee Ray and Meiko Satomura on NXT UK, the New Japan Cup USA qualifiers on NJPW Strong, the four-way to determine the #1 contender for Rush’s ROH title, two episodes of AEW Dark & more.
**On Thursday, Wai Ting will be a guest on The British Wrestling Experience with Martin Bushby & Benno.
Tonight: Rewind-A-Dynamite (LIVE at 10:15 pm ET for Dbl Dbl+ Patrons)
Tonight: upNXT with Davie Portman & Braden Herrington
Thursday: The British Wrestling Experience with Martin Bushby & Benno with Wai Ting
Friday: POST Puroresu with John Pollock & WH Park
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (LIVE at 10:15 pm ET for all Patrons)
Saturday: The Long & Winding Royal Road with WH Park & Brandon Thurston (Misawa & Akiyama vs. Kawada & Taue, Dec. 1996)
Sunday: Rewand-A-Vision with Wai Ting & WH Park (Assembled: The Making of WandaVision doc)
**AEW Dynamite airs tonight at 8 pm ET on TNT with a live show from Daily’s Place. The post-Revolution edition should have a significant buzz with the first appearance of Christian Cage on television since his signing. It’s a big night for both shows as NXT is presenting two championship matches and promoting two significant announcements, which have proven effective in the past for NXT. Below is the advertised matches and segments for Dynamite:
*TNT Championship Match: Darby Allin (champion) vs. Scorpio Sky
*Matt Jackson vs. Rey Fenix
*Hikaru Shida, Ryo Mizunami & Thunder Rosa vs. Britt Baker, Nyla Rose & Maki Itoh
*Ethan Page vs. Lee Johnson
*Cody Rhodes vs. TBA
*Christian Cage speaks
*The Inner Circle’s “War Council”
*Tony Schiavone interviews Sting
**Prior to tonight’s live episode of Dynamite, AEW will be taping its first match for AEW Dark: Elevation with Jungle Boy taking on Danny Limelight for the crowd at Daily’s Place. The show premieres next Monday at 7 pm ET on the AEW YouTube channel with commentary from Tony Schiavone and Paul Wight.
**On NXT, it’s one of its more loaded line-ups with both major championships being defended and the announcements from William Regal. Justin Barrasso of SI.com is reporting what had been presumed, that the announcements will be the creation of the NXT women’s tag titles and the two-night TakeOver special on April 7th on the USA Network and April 8th on Peacock. Below are the announced matches for tonight:
*NXT Championship Match: Finn Balor (champion) vs. Adam Cole
*NXT Women’s Championship Match: Io Shirai (champion) vs. Toni Storm
*Xia Li vs. Kayden Carter
**Here are the matches airing on MLW Fusion tonight at 7 pm ET on Fubo Sports and their YouTube channel:
*MLW National Openweight Championship: Alex Hammerstone (champion) vs. LA Park
*ACH vs. Kevin Ku
*Gringo Loco vs. Gino Medina
**The Associated Press covered WWE’s forthcoming plans with the migration to Peacock and upcoming WrestleMania plans. The AP spoke with WWE president and chief revenue officer Nick Khan on the deal with Peacock and licensing the entire WWE Network to the service:
The big question internally was how much can you invest and keep pace with the technology? It would be a massive investment. We can drop the price in half (WWE Network was $9.99 per month, while Peacock will be $4.99 per month) and add their technical support. Ultimately it became a no brainer, especially with their reach.
In the AP piece, it noted that WWE has not finalized a new location for the ThunderDome in April. Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg will house the Tampa Bay Rays, who host their home opener on Friday, April 9th, which is the weekend of WrestleMania.
Stephanie McMahon-Levesque also spoke to The AP noting that the two-night format for WrestleMania in 2020 and 2021 was “unique to the times” with the 2022 and 2023 versions previously announced as singular night events at AT&T Stadium in Texas and SoFi Stadium in California.
**After Monday’s announcement by WWE and Peacock that portions of the existing online library wouldn’t migrate until the summer, there was concern if all the existing content would end up on Peacock. Brandon Thurston at Wrestlenomics contacted Rick Cordella, the executive vice president and chief revenue officer at Peacock, who gave the following statement regarding its plans:
We’re going to put it all on Peacock. No cycling. It just takes time to re-encode all the hours. It’s labor intensive with the meta data, imagery, closed captioned, etc. The team has it as a top priority.
**The New Japan Cup wrapped up the first round on Wednesday with its show in Kyoto with an announced attendance of 482. The round of sixteen begins on Thursday with The Great O-Khan vs. Toru Yano and EVIL vs. Jeff Cobb followed by a day off Friday and continues with shows Saturday through Monday to determine the third-round matches. Here are the second matches:
*The Great O-Khan vs. Toru Yano on 3/11
*EVIL vs. Jeff Cobb on 3/11
*Shingo Takagi vs. Hirooki Goto on 3/13
*Minoru Suzuki vs. KENTA on 3/13
*Will Ospreay vs. Zack Sabre Jr. on 3/14
*Yuji Nagata vs. SANADA on 3/14
*Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jay White on 3/15
*David Finlay vs. YOSHI-HASHI on 3/15
After one round, the favorites would appear to be Takagi, Ospreay, and White. Kota Ibushi did hint towards a match with Hiroshi Tanahashi but doesn’t seem like the timing is right to do that one in a few weeks and could be saved. Takagi defeating Okada was the best match of the first round and would seem silly to waste such a notable victory by having Takagi come short of making the finals. The possibility is there for Takagi and Ospreay to re-visit their classic BOSJ final 2019 with both as heavyweights now and either would be a tremendous opponent for Ibushi on 4/4 at Sakura Genesis. The other option is White with a rematch of their Wrestle Kingdom title match, but I prefer the other options. Given the second-round matchups, it should be a strong round and the rest of the tournament looks great.
**George Stroumboulopoulos recently spoke with Sami Zayn about his conspiracy character, Sami for Syria, and much more:
**Shawn Michaels was interviewed by the Joseph Staszewski of the New York Post promoting tonight’s episode of NXT. Michaels was asked about the potential benefits of NXT moving to a new night away from Wednesday:
It’s always clearly easier when your sort of destination programming, so to speak. Nothing would change certainly for us. We still try to put the best show out there that we can. Clearly, I know that’s everybody’s goal. I think it would only be fair to say everyone knows that when you are not competing against another similar show that it makes it a little bit easier. It allows people to enjoy that. And then you think about the follow from Raw the next night. So, clearly, it certainly wouldn’t hurt.
He was also asked about the use of leg slaps by wrestlers with Michaels comparing how he and his generation performed:
Clearly I look back and I go, OK I did it. I just did one. I’m always of the cloth, I can remember when I started people telling me too fast, too much, too this and there’s a balance there. They were right in some respects and at the same time, the business also evolves and changes. Football isn’t played the same. Basketball isn’t played the same, so I don’t know. I’m somebody that embraces those changes. I feel like somewhere in the middle and balance is so important. I appreciate the style of today. I appreciate the athleticism of the performers of today. Are they perfect? No. But neither were we.
**NXT performer Adam Cole spoke with DAZN’s Steven Muehlhausen to promote tonight’s match with Finn Balor. During the interview, Cole reflected on The Undisputed Era’s placement among top groups from the past:
I do think that when we were firing on all cylinders, I really do think we were special. Especially when you look at the relationship that all of us had, the backstory considering the fact that we had known each other for a really, really long time. I do. I feel like if at one point when we had all the championships, we were having high-profile matches all over the card. When we were together, it truly was like a brotherhood. So I do absolutely stand by the fact that I think as far as the modern era of pro wrestling goes, I do think we were one of the greatest factions ever.
**Dark Side of the Ring: Confidential premiered on Tuesday night on Vice TV. The talk-show format focuses on select episodes from the first two seasons of the popular documentary series beginning with the Gino Hernandez episode on Tuesday’s premiere. They will cover the following throughout the season of Confidential: The Montreal Screwjob on March 16th, The Von Erichs on March 23rd, Bruiser Brody on March 30th, New Jack on April 6th, The Road Warriors on April 13th, Owen Hart on April 20th, and Herb Abrams on April 27th.
**Stardom World has added last week’s All-Star Dream Cinderella show from Budokan Hall, which aired on pay-per-view. It’s absolutely a show to go out of your way to see and we’ll be reviewing the whole card on Friday’s edition of POST Puroresu with WH Park.
**As the streaming wars among broadcast giants continue, the cost of establishing a new service in the market is gigantic. Variety reports that in Comcast’s recent SEC filing, it reported that its upstart streaming service, Peacock, reported an adjusted loss of $914 million for 2020 with revenues of $118 million. Previously, Comcast stated intentions to invest $2 billion into Peacock in its first two years of operation with hopes to break even by 2025. For future filings, Peacock will be part of NBC Universal’s “Media” segment alongside Cable and Broadcast networks, and TV stations in NBC U’s portfolio with other segments broken down under the categories of “Studios” and “Theme Parks”.
**Disney and ESPN officially announced a seven-year deal with the NHL for linear television and streaming rights through the 2027-28 season. This will include coverage of the Stanley Cup Final on ABC for four of the seven years of the deal with regular-season games airing on ABC, ESPN, and ESPN+ along with an international media rights component. Throughout the regular season, 25 games will air live on ABC or ESPN and over 1,000 games will stream on ESPN+ per season.
Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston was the first to report that ESPN was close to finalizing a deal with the NHL for a portion of their domestic rights package, which expires at the end of this season. NBC is still negotiating for a portion of the NHL rights package, which they have exclusivity over through the end of the ongoing season as their ten-year deal wraps up. Johnson added the following regarding the approximate value of the seven-year pact:
The NHL still has a second broadcast deal to negotiate/finalize (which include three Stanley Cup Finals), plus another deal with a streaming partner. So it’ll ultimately be a lucrative package when combined with the ~$2.8-billion coming from ESPN.
**Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal reports that the new ownership group behind the XFL is in talks with the Canadian Football League (CFL) about possible collaborations, the substance of which is not known. Fischer adds that as a result of these ongoing talks, the XFL has paused its plans for a return to play in the 2022 season, which was the original intention of the ownership group that includes Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Dany Garcia, and Red Bird Capital. Garcia issued the following statement regarding their talks with the CFL:
Since we first acquired the XFL, we have focused on identifying partners who share our vision and values on and off the field. A vision filled with opportunity, innovation and the highest level of entertainment value for the benefit of our athletes, fans and communities. The CFL has expressed that similar sentiment and jointly we recognize a great opportunity to build exciting innovative football experiences that make the most of each league’s unique strengths. I look forward to our continued discussions and we will update the sports community as we have more to share.
**Several people have strongly recommended the main event from this past weekend’s NOAH card with Takashi Sugiura & Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima & Masa Kitamiya. On the same show, Kenoh retained the GHC National title against Kendo Kashin and is expected to defend the title against Kazuyuki Fujita next. NOAH has a big card this Sunday with its Great Voyage in Fukuoka show headlined by Keiji Mutoh defending the GHC Championship against Kaito Kiyomiya.
**Stardom is back with a show on Saturday at Shin-Kiba 1st Ring headlined by Mayu Iwatani, Starlight Kid & Saya Iida vs. Saki Kashima, Natsuko Tora & Ruaka. On Saturday at Shinjuku Face, Maika & Himeka defend the Goddesses of Stardom titles against Mina Shirakawa & Unagi Sayaka in the main event along with a three-way involving the key champions with Utami Hayashishita (World of Stardom) vs. Tam Nakano (Wonder of Stardom) vs. Natsupoi (High-Speed). (Credit: Purolove.com)
**The WWE stock closed at $57.22 on Wednesday with an increase of 2 percent.
**The NWA has announced that Jordan Clearwater, Crimson, and Slice Boogie will be part of its “Back to Attack” pay-per-view event on Sunday, March 21st at 4 pm ET and streaming On FITE TV.
**ECW Press will be releasing Mat Memories by John Arezzi and Greg Oliver on Tuesday, April 6th with the following description:
Tying together the stars of professional wrestling, country music and the New York Mets is one man: the Brooklyn-born, Long Island-raised John Arezzi. In his memoir, he will bring the reader along on his wild ride, from a pioneering wrestling radio show to baseball’s minor leagues to working with Patty Loveless, Kelsea Ballerini, and Taylor Swift. His radio show, Pro Wrestling Spotlight, was a must-listen for fans in the 1990s and its modern iteration, John Arezzi’s Pro Wrestling Spotlight Then & Now podcast.
**A match between Janai Kai and KZT has been added to Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport 6 on Thursday, April 8th at The Cuban Club in Ybor City, Florida as part of The Collective: Remix shows.
**AEW’s Luchasaurus, Alex Reynolds, and Griff Garrison all have birthdays today.
**The premiere episode of Dark Side of the Ring: Confidential on Vice TV averaged 79,000 viewers and a 0.03 in the 18-49 demographic finishing 133rd among cable programs for the night.
**IMPACT Wrestling on AXS TV on Tuesday averaged 144,000 viewers and a 0.04 in the 18-49 demo finishing 117th. They were up 7.5 percent in viewers and beat last week’s demo rating of 0.03.
**The UFC 259 prelims on ESPN finished second on cable this past Saturday. The prelims averaged 1,208,000 viewers and 0.46 in the 18-49 demo (598,000 viewers). Due to a late start, ESPN’s coverage didn’t begin until 8:17 pm ET with ESPN2 carrying the prelims from 8-8:27 pm ET with 541,000 and a 0.19 in the demo. The early prelims aired at 5:56 pm ET on ESPN until 8 pm with 447,000 viewers and a 0.14 in the demo.
**This past Friday’s edition of SmackDown did 771,000 viewers in the 18-49 demographic, which was only topped by TNT’s NBA All-Star Game programming and the Fox NASCAR Cup Series among sports programming last week. AEW Dynamite featuring Shaquille O’Neal did 425,000 viewers in the key demo trailing both SmackDown and the UFC 259 prelims on Saturday.
**MMA Fighting reported that Megan Anderson’s fight with Amanda Nunes this past Saturday at UFC 259 was the last one on her deal. The featherweight is no longer under contract with the promotion, the site reports. Anderson, 31, joined the UFC in 2018 and went 3-3 competing at 145 pounds. Nunes dominated her this past weekend finishing the fight in 2:03 to retain the women’s featherweight championship.
**Julianna Pena spoke with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani making a vocal case why she should get the next bantamweight title fight with Amanda Nunes. Pena was scheduled to fight Holly Holm on May 8th, but the former champion had to pull out of the fight due to a condition she discovered known as hydronephrosis. Pena is now angling for the championship fight and does represent a fresh opponent for Nunes that will clearly do a lot to promote the fight as this interview suggests. She is 2-1 in her last three fights and recently submitted Sara McMann at UFC 257 in January.
Nasrat Haqparast vs. Rafa Garcia this Saturday at UFC Fight Night (MMA Fighting)
Cody Stamann vs. Merab Dvalishvili for UFC Fight Night on May 1 (MMA Junkie)
Fabricio Werdum vs. Renan Ferreira at PFL 3 on May 6
Kayla Harrison vs. Mariana Morais at PFL 3 on May 6
ON THIS DATE
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