POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: Hardy's release, Beth Hardy comments

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2021/12/09/pollocks-news-update-hardys-release-beth-hardy-comments/

POST IT NOTES

**Thursday’s POST Daily News is out with Wai Ting joined by Kate from Montreal to discuss the news of Jeff Hardy’s release from WWE, the NXT 2.0 numbers from Tuesday, notes from Dynamite & more. The show airs live every weekday at 1 p.m. ET on YouTube and is available in audio form for Patrons.

**Rewind-A-Dynamite is available on the site with Wai Ting and I reviewing the show from the UBS Arena on Long Island.

**Wai Ting will be joined by WH Park and Jojo Remy tonight for MCU L8R to discuss the latest episode of Hawkeye on Disney+. This show will be available for all members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**On Friday, Wai Ting and I will be joined by Benno from The British Wrestling Experience for the POST Daily News show at 1 p.m. ET on the POST YouTube channel.

**We will have POST Shows on Saturday night for UFC 269 with Phil Chertok and Eric Marcotte and a show exclusive for Patrons with a review of ROH Final Battle hosted by myself and Mike Murray.

**The Long & Winding Royal Road returns on Saturday morning with WH Park being joined by Dylan Fox.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: MCU L8R with Wai Ting, WH Park & Jojo Remy (Patreon)
Friday: POST Daily News w/ guest Benno (Live at 1 p.m. ET)
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown with Wai Ting & Kate from Montreal (11:15 p.m. ET for all Patrons)
Saturday: The Long & Winding Royal Road with WH Park & Dylan Fox
Saturday: UFC 269 POST Show with Phil Chertok & Eric Marcotte (Live after the PPV)
Saturday: ROH Final Battle POST Show with John Pollock & Mike Murray (Patreon)
Sunday: Wrestlenomics Radio with Brandon Thurston & Chris Gullo

WRESTLING NEWS

**There is a story on-site covering the career of Blackjack Lanza, who died on Wednesday at the age of 86. Lanza had a career that extended beyond the ring, where has significant runs as both a singles and tag team performer. Among the modern era, he will be credited for being the lead agent in the WWE throughout the Attitude Era, including Steve Austin referring to him as his “go-to agent” during an exceptionally lucrative era where there was no star larger than Austin.

**It was reported by Fightful this morning that Jeff Hardy has been released by WWE and added that that the performer had been offered help for his issues and declined. The specifics of those issues are unknown, but he was sent home after the house show in Edinburgh, Texas this past Saturday. WWE nor Jeff Hardy have publicly commented on his release but Beth Hardy, Jeff’s wife did post a brief message on Twitter:

Jeff is good.

We are good.

Post that you “heard” that.

Thanks. ✌🏻

— Beth Hardy (@BethBrittHardy_) December 9, 2021

We do not know the specifics of the issues affecting Hardy but sadly, this continues a battle that Hardy has continuously fought for decades and brings a close to his latest run in WWE. Only Hardy knows what is next for him and invariably, there will be outside interest for promotions to use Hardy, who remains among the most popular performers regardless of promotion and appeared to be in line for a significant push on SmackDown. You can see the comments posted today by Big E., Damian Priest, and others as a sign of how popular Hardy is among his peers and people genuinely wanting to see Hardy in a good place. Whether that requires a departure from pro wrestling for some time, again, that’s going to be Hardy’s decision. Issues of this nature are a lifelong struggle and are never completely gone. At best, you hope the person can have a handle on those issues and minimize the effects that could trigger those actions for their own well-being.

**The trial involving Jose Alberto Rodriguez Chucuan a.k.a. ‘Alberto Del Rio’ is scheduled to begin this Monday. Mike Johnson of PWinsider.com (Warning: the links throughout this story contain graphic language of the sexual assault allegations) reports that the trial is set to commence where the pro wrestler faces charges of aggravated kidnapping and four counts of sexual assault with the trial previously delayed several times. The woman in question did post an apology online several months ago with Chucuan stating the woman has dropped her claims, although the charges from the state have not been dropped with the trial still moving forward as of now. This stems from an arrest in May 2020 in San Antonio, Texas where the arrest affidavit stated that Chucuan had sexually assaulted the woman and there were photos of her injuries. TMZ reported that in the police report, the responding officer saw multiple bruises on the woman’s face, arm, legs, and neck. Chucuan was indicted last October.

**According to Ian Rappaport of the NFL Network, FanDuel has signed an enormous new deal with The Pat McAfee Show to remain the official sports book of the daily program. Rappaport reports that it’s a four-year deal with an opt-out clause after three years. Shams Charania of The Athletic added that it’s a deal worth “roughly” $30 million per year.

**NJPW Strong is holding tapings tonight in Hollywood, California at the Vermont Hollywood venue with the following matches listed:
*Jay White vs. Christopher Daniels
*David Finlay vs. JONAH
*Alex Zayne vs. Ariya Daivari
*Brody King vs. Dave Dutra
*TJP vs. The DKC
*BATEMAN & Misterioso vs. Karl Fredericks & Kevin Knight
*Alex Coughlin vs. JR Kratos
*Royce Isaacs vs. Lucas Riley
*Hikuleo & Chris Bey vs. Jordan Clearwater & Keita Murray
*Juice Robinson vs. Big Dude Tito

**With less than one week remaining in the World Tag League, there is a three-way tie for first place after Thursday’s card in Ehime. The IWGP tag champions Zack Sabre Jr & Taichi, Tetsuya Naito & SANADA, and Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI are tied with sixteen points each going into the final week. EVIL & Yujiro and Great O-Khan & Aaron Henare are beneath them with fourteen points each while the Guerrillas of Destiny, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toru Yano, and Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale have twelve each for a look at the top of the standings. There is one more World Tag League card this Sunday in Hiroshima before Wednesday’s final at Sumo Hall.

Below are the results from Thursday’s show in front of 688 fans, per Purolove.com:
*Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI (16 points) over Great O-Khan & Aaron Henare (14)
*Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toru Yano (12) over Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan (4)
*Guerrillas of Destiny (12) over Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens (12)
*Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi (16) over Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma (2)
*Tetsuya Naito & SANADA (16) over Yuji Nagata & Tiger Mask (2)
*EVIL & Yujiro (14) over Minoru Suzuki & Taka Michinoku (0)
*Non-tournament: Kosei Fujita and Yuto Nakashima wrestled to a 10-minute draw

**The Best of the Super Juniors continues Saturday in Hyogo featuring Hiromu Takahashi and Robbie Eagles in the main event, El Desperado vs. El Phantasmo, SHO vs. YOH, Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Taiji Ishimori, Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. BUSHI, and Master Wato vs. DOUKI in the tournament matches. That looks like a very good card, especially in the top matches.

The standings are wide open for the BOSJ with Takahashi and Desperado tied with thirteen points on top. SHO, YOH, Ishimori, and Eagles have twelve each.

**Here are the matches scheduled for IMPACT Wrestling tonight at 8 p.m. ET on AXS TV:
*Street Fight: Eric Young vs. Rhino
*Mickie James & Chris Sabin vs. Deonna Purrazzo & Matthew Rehwoldt
*The IInspiration, Tenille Dashwood & Madison Rayne vs. Decay
*David Finlay & Juice Robinson vs. The Learning Tree
*Rohit Raju vs. Lawrence D
*Before the Impact: Kimber Lee vs. Lady Frost

**Below are the matches for a special Thursday night airing of MLW Fusion ALPHA at 7 p.m. ET on its YouTube channel:
*Philly Street Fight for the World Tag Titles: Los Parks (champions) vs. 5150
*Winner Gets Briefcase of Cash: Arez vs. Aramis
*nZo vs. Matt Cross
*Alex Hammerstone in action

**Lash Legend (Anriel Howard) will make her in-ring debut on 205 Live on Friday night at 10 p.m. ET on the WWE Network. Legend is one of the top athletes recruited by WWE, who was a top college basketball player that went on to play in the WNBA. Since the launch of NXT 2.0, she has been hosting the “Lashing Out” interview segments with various talents and going through news headlines. The following matches are scheduled for Friday’s episode:
*Lash Legend vs. Amari Miller
*Solo Sikoa vs. Malik Blade
*Andre Chase vs. Guru Raaj

**The WWE stock closed at $48.70 on Thursday.

**Mike Johnson at PWinsider.com reports that Jerry Lawler’s new deal with WWE is for two-years and will keep the broadcaster with the company through January 2024.

**Eddie Kingston speaks with Barstool Sports’ Brandon Walker.

**Stephanie Chase of Digital Spy spoke with Will Ospreay.

**Chris Van Vliet interviews Fred Rosser of NJPW Strong.

**Tony Khan spoke with News 12 in New York prior to Wednesday’s show at the UBS Arena on Long Island.

**Kurt Angle turns 53 years old today.

MMA NEWS

**One of the biggest cards of the year goes down Saturday with the final UFC pay-per-view of 2021. UFC 269 will be highlighted by one of the biggest fights of the year as Charles Oliveira attempts to make his first defense of the UFC lightweight championship against Dustin Poirier.

The main event features two all-time greats with exhaustive resumes since each entered the UFC. Poirier is coming off two of the biggest pay-per-views in UFC history this year where he defeated Conor McGregor twice while Oliveira won the vacant 155-pound title by stopping Michael Chandler in May after the retirement of outgoing champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

If Oliveira loses, it could affect his legacy as someone that never beat Nurmagomedov and when he won the title, could not defend it. However, if Poirier loses, he would assuredly be known as the best UFC fighter to never win the official championship.

The business of this fight will be of great interest by assessing what impact Poirier will have after beating McGregor twice on two gigantic cards. The combination of Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington led to a huge number last month and a sign that Covington is a star to the public, but Usman has also broken through in a big way after the fights with Jorge Masvidal. I would look at Poirier as a bigger star than Usman today but the number this card generates will help determine if that assessment is accurate.

Oliveira is unbeaten in his last nine fights since June 2018 and holds the promotional record for most finishes and most submission victories. For Poirier, he has had one blemish since 2017, and that occurred in September 2019 when he was outclassed by Nurmagomedov. He has worked his way back to the title picture and a sizably larger name today than two years ago because of the McGregor wins that erased the memory of their featherweight fight in 2014.

A few other stories to glean from the loaded card:
*Amanda Nunes will defend the bantamweight title against Julianna Pena. Pena was a solid contender at one point but has only had three fights since making her return in 2019 and gone 2-1. There is always the chance that Nunes is going to show up a step slower or show some decline, but it hasn’t happened yet and she’s a big favorite.
*Cody Garbrandt will make his flyweight debut against Kai Kara-France as he attempts to find new life at 125 pounds. He is moving down to a division where the division is generally quicker and it’s a question of whether Garbrandt is compromising his power or other tools with the larger weight cut. The positive is that it’s a division low on name value and one win could line Garbrandt up for a title fight.
*Dan Ige and Josh Emmett is a tremendous fight that headlines the prelims. Ige is coming off a decision loss to Chan Sung Jung while Emmett has won his last three after that brutal loss to Jeremy Stephens several years back that did a lot of damage to Emmett.
*Dominick Cruz turns 36 tomorrow and will be fighting Pedro Munhoz on the undercard. It’s the first time since 2016 that Cruz will compete twice in the same calendar year. He is still a name within the division, but bantamweight is so loaded that you can’t expect him to be in the title mix at this point.

**Dominick Cruz was the subject of attention on Wednesday for his filter-free assessment of Daniel Cormier as an analyst. Cruz was asked about the UFC commentary team during media day interviews and stated he usually puts his commentary on mute and felt Cormier doesn’t do enough homework.

Later in the day, Cormier did a sit-down interview with Cruz and called him to task basically stating that as friends, Cruz shouldn’t have said that in public. Cruz was not apologetic and defended his criticisms as being truthful and was open to any criticism Cormier has of him, which Cormier stated he was a bit “dry”. Eventually, Michael Bisping walked into the interview and continued the discussion, which Cruz eventually pinned on the media for not including all his positive words about Cormier.

The fact is, no one is going to confuse Cormier with someone the level of Cruz or Brian Stann when it comes to analysis but to me, he serves a totally different role as a fun voice on the broadcast is akin to watching fights with a buddy that also happened to be a former world champion. The dynamic of Cormier with Jon Anik and Joe Rogan certainly gets too light-hearted at times, but some enjoy that, and others want hard analysis and Cruz is the better of the two for that function. As colleagues, you can understand Cormier feeling upset that his friend voiced his criticism publicly, but as someone that has interviewed countless fighters and media members, I am never going to criticize an athlete or performer for sharing their honest opinions of someone, regardless of whether it’s mean-spirited or not.

**Axios has a story on the diminished coverage for ESPN on cable over the last several years and its long-term prospects as a cable entity versus going direct-to-consumer entirely. After peaking in 2011 where ESPN was in over 100 million homes, that figure has shrunk to 76 million. This is of extreme importance to the network, which still commands $10 per cable subscriber for access to ESPN and ESPN2. ESPN+ is on the other side of the trajectory as it continues to grow and has reached 17 million subs at $6.99 per user, which cuts out the middleman and ESPN absorbs all that revenue. The long-term strategic play is how far you let the cable homes diminish before a full pivot is in order and while that feels like years away from being a reality, those decisions are being debated now. The idea is that if cable homes continue to shrink, ESPN is going to hold on the longest given its muscle and reliance on those transmission fees and the appeal of live sports that it has such a heavy concentration of. Earlier this week, former ESPN executive Steve Bornstein predicted spoke about this very subject on the Marchand & Ourand podcast.

**Kevin Iole has an interview with UFC president Dana White discussing the recent earnings report citing the UFC’s best period in its history along with UFC 269 this Saturday.

**Episode 4 of UFC Embedded going into UFC 269.

ON THIS DATE

Kenta Kobashi & Mitsuharu Misawa win the Real-World Tag League in 1995:

They co-existed on this date in 1999:

Chris Jericho becomes the Undisputed Champion at Vengeance in 2001. Jericho did a tremendous job throughout his career of always reminding people of the night he beat Steve Austin and The Rock in the same night. He would work against both men over the next two pay-per-views before losing the title to Triple H at the following WrestleMania.

*****
POST Daily News 12/9: Jeff Hardy released, NXT 2.0 ratings
Wai Ting & Kate from Montreal discuss Jeff Hardy’s WWE release, NXT 2.0 viewership, and more.
*****
REWIND-A-DYNAMITE 12/8: CM Punk & MJF on Long Island
John Pollock & Wai Ting review AEW Dynamite from the UBS Arena on Long Island with MJF’s homecoming, CM Punk’s heel promo, and the return of Trent.
*****
SHOT IN THE DARK 12/8
John Siino reviews this week’s editions of AEW Dark, AEW Dark: Elevation, NXT UK, IMPACT Wrestling, 205 Live, NJPW Strong, NWA Powerrr, Ring of Honor, and Main Event in under 15 minutes on Shot In The Dark.
*****
upNXT 12/7: Johnny Farewell?
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review the December 7th, 2021 edition of WWE NXT 2.0 with Johnny Gargano closing the show to discuss his future.
******
ASK-A-WAI: Ask Us Anything! (December 2021)
John Pollock and Wai Ting answer their patrons’ questions from the POST Wrestling Forum in the December 2021 edition of Ask-A-Wai.
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REWIND-A-RAW 12/6: Becky Lynch vs. Liv Morgan
John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE Raw featuring Becky Lynch vs. Liv Morgan for the Raw Women’s Championship and a Steel Cage match.
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upNXT 12/5/21: NXT WarGames 2021
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman talk about NXT WarGames 2021 from December 5th, 2021 headlined by Team Black & Gold vs Team 2.0 in WarGames!
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We study live+same-day TV ratings, but what about DVR viewership? How do Raw, Smackdown, Dynamite, Rampage, NXT, and Impact TV ratings compare when including delayed viewing? Plus, WWE this past week introduced a new NIL program to recruit college athletes.
*****

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