Originally published at POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: History of wrestling at The Forum
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**It’s the first of the month, so it’s the best time to join the POST Wrestling Café featuring multiple bonus shows each week. Throughout June, we will have three editions of Rewind-A-Wai with the latest one covering a 1997 episode of ‘Friends’ and a 2005 episode of ‘The Office’ with fight-related themes. Later this month, we’ll release shows covering WWE Money in the Bank from July 2016 and TNA’s Destination X from 2012. Plus, Wai & I will release another edition of TALK next Tuesday for Café members and we will have other bonus shows throughout the month including the return of MCU L8R. Café members also gain access to our entire archive, a custom RSS feed for the bonus shows including the POST Daily News Show, and more.
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POST DAILY NEWS SHOW
-Jeff Hardy and Adam Cole removed from 10-man tag
-WWE and A&E announcement
-Full lineup for Best of the Super Juniors final
-Friday Night SmackDown ratings
-AEW Rampage ratings
Audio version available for POST Wrestling Café members.
Professional wrestling returns to the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California for the first time in more than six years tonight. Southern California was a no-brainer for AEW as a potential hotbed for the group with several of its key stars from the area including The Young Bucks. Because of the pandemic, it was one of many markets placed on hold with the company finally earmarking its first shows for the region after three years in operation.
Pro wrestling at the venue goes back to the late ‘60s when the AWA ran the building in 1969 headlined by Verne Gagne beating Dick the Bruiser in a 2 out of 3 falls match with Lou Thesz vs. Larry Hennig underneath it. This was an attempt by the AWA to challenge the established WWA run by Mike LeBell and his mother Aileen Eaton with the AWA unsuccessful in their attempt after two shows in the building.
In 1982, LeBell Promotions ceased operations and the expanding WWF got television in the market on KHJ in a Sunday morning slot. This led to the WWF running The Forum in September 1984 for the first time with Hulk Hogan against John Studd in the main event, which did draw well but they didn’t return until 1994.
The venue was a regular stop for Jim Crockett Promotions between 1986-88 and a few scattered shows in the early ‘90s. As WCW, it had its greatest success at The Forum during the peak of the company with shows in June 1997 (Lex Luger & The Giant vs. Scott Hall & Kevin Nash) going head-to-head with WWF on the same night in the market at the Arrowhead Pond. WCW followed with shows drawing over 10,000 in July 1998 (Sting vs. Hulk Hogan in a steel cage and days after Hogan lost the WCW title to Bill Goldberg at the Georgia Dome), January 1999 (Bill Goldberg vs. Kevin Nash, Sting vs. Bret Hart, Ric Flair vs. Barry Windham), and August 1999 (Bret Hart vs. Hulk Hogan in one of their few singles matches). This was the best stretch of shows for any promotion at the Forum with all drawing over 10,000 with some considerably above that figure, according to Wrestling Data.
In 1994, the WWF ran three cards at The Forum in January (Lex Luger & Tatanka vs. Yokozuna & Ludvig Borga, Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels in a ladder match in the lead-up to WrestleMania), July (Bret vs. Owen Hart in a 60-minute Ironman Match), and December (Diesel vs. Bob Backlund). After that year, WWF primarily staged its shows at the Arrowhead Pond (now Honda Center) and Staples Center (Crypto.com Arena) in the market until running a house show in December 2015 featuring Brock Lesnar and has not returned since then.
**AEW Dynamite comes out of its pay-per-view with one of its biggest shows ever from the Kia Forum in Inglewood. They are in a position for a strong performance following the pay-per-view, the amount of interest surrounding MJF, and there is no NBA game tonight but they will go against the NHL. Below is the lineup for 8 p.m. ET on TBS and TSN 2 in Canada:
*Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy, Christian Cage, Matt Hardy & Darby Allin vs. The Young Bucks, reDRagon & Hikuleo
*Jon Moxley vs. Daniel Garcia
*Dr. Britt Baker & Jamie Hayter vs. Toni Storm & Ruby Soho
*Wardlow vs. JD Drake
*Johnny Elite has signed an open contract to fight anyone in AEW
**The most talked-about segment tonight will likely be the address by MJF and wherever AEW is going with this story.
The consensus is that MJF legitimately missed the meet-and-greet on Saturday at the AEW Fan Fest and it’s a question of what happened over the next 24 hours before the match at Double or Nothing. The reason for MJF missing the Fan Fest is unknown and until he shares his side, it’s an incomplete story and it’s highly unlikely he will address it in any sincere manner given his public persona and everything needs to be taken with a grain of salt from this moment forward.
It is one thing to fool your audience but it’s another to work the locker room in an already paranoid industry. Once you lose the trust of your fellow wrestlers, it’s a slippery slope and many promoters have experienced failure by their obsession to blur those lines and outsmart everyone when it’s themselves that are the ones being played in the end. The issues regarding MJF’s contract have been widely reported and clearly, there had been friction, which is understandable but is not going to have unanimous support. It is very important that the follow-up involving Wardlow is sizable after beating MJF because this story has totally overshadowed the climax of a babyface star that has risen considerably in popularity over the past two months with a tremendous presentation and consistently strong reactions. Historically speaking, there is way more money in a captivating and young babyface star on the rise than turning something into an angle and trying to work everyone.
With MJF’s appearance set for tonight, just about every fan must be under the impression that whatever legitimate issues existed, are all being transferred on screen for the sake of a storyline and leaning on the questions and confusion from the weekend. Time will tell if this plays to a larger audience, how this is interpreted by the locker room, and how compelling the story is.
**A&E and WWE issued a press release to promote its block of programming on Sunday nights beginning on July 10th. WWE will have a 3 ½ hour block every Sunday night with a 2-hour A&E Biography episode followed by a one-hour episode of the new WWE Rivals series and a 30-minute after-show with Booker T., Jackie Redmond & Peter Rosenberg. The subjects for this batch of Biographies will include The Undertaker, Lex Luger (Luger was supposed to be part of the ‘Icons’ series on the WWE Network but his episode never aired, and this was the likely reason. Luger has an incredible story and won’t be shy about his drug problems and the many health problems he has encountered, so this should be a very good one), Kurt Angle, Rey Mysterio, Edge, Bill Goldberg, DX, The Bella Twins, and WrestleMania 1 (obviously, the potential for a real documentary on the first WrestleMania is endless if you tell the true story of the concerns leading into the first event, many closed-circuit locations dropping the show, the incredible media push during the final week, etc.).
The WWE Rivals series will include episodes dedicated to Steve Austin vs. The Rock, Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels (I cannot fathom another deep dive into Montreal), Edge vs. John Cena, and WWF vs. WCW (for the director’s cut version, you can listen to the commentary for the Triple H vs. Sting match at WrestleMania in Santa Clara).
When Cody Rhodes returned to WWE, he said he would serve as a producer for an A&E Biography on Dusty Rhodes, but it wasn’t included in this batch. It’s notable that given the subjects chosen during both years that they have not included Hulk Hogan for one yet even though he’s still affiliated with the company, unlike Ric Flair. I would say both of those are very tough documentaries to produce without addressing the elephants in the room for each.
Last year, A&E aired eight Biography editions covering Steve Austin, Roddy Piper, Randy Savage, Booker T., Shawn Michaels, Ultimate Warrior, Mick Foley, and Bret Hart. It peaked with the first episode covering Austin with 1,062,000 viewers and bottomed out with 518,000 for the Foley doc (which was, along with Hart, the best ones in my opinion. The Foley one also aired the same night as an AEW pay-per-view).
Over the eight episodes, they averaged 731,000 viewers and 0.27 in 18-49, so you’re talking about a series that outdo NXT 2.0 and AEW Rampage on a weekly basis.
**Tuesday’s episode of NXT 2.0 averaged 33,000 viewers in Canada on Sportsnet 360 outside of the top ten sports programs for the day. It was the same number they averaged last week. Monday’s episode of Raw averaged 151,200 and 68,800 in the 25-54 demographic.
**Lavie Margolin from The Business of The Business podcast wrote up a recap of their recent interview with Brett Lauderdale of GCW. In the interview, Lauderdale stated that The WRLD on GCW event from the Hammerstein Ballroom this past January generated about five times the number of buys of their previous high points. Lauderdale said they may return to the venue for a show next January.
**Game 7 of the Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat series averaged 9,875,000 viewers and 3.47 in 18-49 on Sunday night airing against AEW’s Double or Nothing pay-per-view. The game did a stunning 4.78 in males 18-49, according to Showbuzz Daily. Despite a lengthy rain delay and airing so early in the morning, F1’s Monaco Grand Prix finished fourth among all of cable on Sunday with 1,396,000 viewers and 0.46 in 18-49.
**WWE is promoting ‘John Cena Month’ throughout its social channels for June. This month represents 20-years since Cena was called up from Ohio Valley Wrestling and answered Kurt Angle’s open challenge on the June 27, 2002, edition of SmackDown. Cena was exceptionally green starting out with UPW in Southern California and received attention when there was a television special on UPW, and he cut an awesome promo and seemed poised for stardom.
His call-up to WWE was hardly one of instant success and was floundering by the fall of 2002 when a lifeline was provided after an impromptu freestyle rap on a bus that allegedly caught the attention of Stephanie McMahon. He began to move into that persona beginning on the Halloween edition of SmackDown that year where Cena dressed up as Vanilla Ice. By 2004, it was clear that the two main projects were Cena and Randy Orton, and both became world champions within the next year – Orton at SummerSlam 2004 and Cena at the following year’s WrestleMania. In time, Cena became the franchise player of the company and was its top star for the next decade.
**Matt Cardona appeared on Busted Open Radio on Wednesday confirming that he will have surgery next Tuesday. Cardona revealed earlier this week that he suffered a torn biceps during his match at Game Changer Wrestling’s event in Las Vegas this past weekend. Cardona stated he will still be appearing at the NWA ‘Alwayz Ready’ pay-per-view on June 11th, although he not sure what he’ll be doing. Cardona was scheduled to defend the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship against Nick Aldis on the show. Cardona told Busted Open:
The doctor is suggesting surgery, which I will be getting on Tuesday, but there is no way I’m not coming to a pay-per-view named after me. I will be there. I don’t know what exactly is going to happen and what exactly is going to go down. I’m going to be there, I’ll have the Ten Pounds of Gold with me. It’s really Billy’s decision on what he wants to do. Part of me wanted to tape it up and work through it, but I want to be doing this for a long time. It’s probably better that I get it taken care of right now. There is no good time to get hurt and this certainly isn’t it. NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion, having a pay-per-view named after me, just being the King of Indies, the Deathmatch King, we have (IMPACT) Slammiversary coming up. It’s not a good time to get hurt, but shit happens. (Transcript courtesy of Jeremy Lambert at Fightful.com)
**Andreas Hale from The Corner Podcast spoke with AEW president Tony Khan in Las Vegas over Double or Nothing weekend and covered a lot of interesting topics:
**MLW has added Matt Cross to Battle Riot IV, which takes place on June 23rd from the Melrose Ballroom in New York City. Cross joins Jacob Fatu, Killer Kross, Lince Dorado, EL Nduka, Calvin Tankman, Marshall Von Erich, Alex Kane, and Mini Abismo Negro.
*BetOnline has released the following odds for Sunday’s WWE Hell in a Cell show:
*Hell in a Cell: Cody Rhodes (-225) vs. Seth Rollins (+150)
*Raw Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (-200) vs. Becky Lynch (+220) vs. Asuka (+300)
*Handicap Match: Bobby Lashley (-180) vs. Omos & MVP (+140)
*United States Championship: Theory (-450) vs. Mustafa Ali (+275)
*Ezekiel (-150) vs. Kevin Owens (+110)
*The Judgment Day (-350) vs. AJ Styles, Finn Balor & Liv Morgan (+225)
**The UFC will return to ABC with a card on Saturday, July 16th headlined by a featherweight fight between Brian Ortega and Yair Rodriguez. The main card airs at 3 p.m. ET on ABC and simulcast on ESPN+ from the UBS Arena in Elmont, New York. This marks the third time that ABC has broadcast a UFC with previous cards airing in January and April 2021. Ortega is coming off a decision to 145-pound champion Alexander Volkanovski last September at UFC 266 while Rodriguez lost by decision to Max Holloway in one of the best fights of the year last November.
The fight card will include Askar Askarov vs. Alex Perez, Ricky Simon vs. Jack Shore. Amanda Lemos vs. Michelle Waterson, Billy Quarantillo vs. Bill Algeo, Li Jingliang vs. Muslim Salikhov, Matt Schnell vs. Su Mudaerji, Dwight Grant vs. Dustin Stoltzfus, Herbert Burns vs. Khusein Askhabov, Puna Soriano vs. Dalcha Lungiambula, and Dustin Jacoby vs. Da-un Jung.
**Kayla Harrison will be fighting Canadian Julia Budd on the PFL 6 event on Friday, July 1st as part of the women’s lightweight tournament. The card will also feature Rory MacDonald vs. Sadibou Sy, Brett Cooper vs. Ray Cooper III, and Magomed Magomedkerimov vs. Joao Zeferino on the main card. The prelims will feature Jarrah Al Silawi vs. Magomed Umalatov, Larissa Pacheco vs. Genah Fabian, Gleison Tibau vs. Nikolai Aleksakhin, Abigail Montes vs. Marina Mokhnatkina, Zamzagul Fayzallanova vs. Martina Jindrova, and Olena Kolesnyk vs. Vanessa Melo.
The card features the participants in the women’s lightweight and men’s welterweight tournaments. MacDonald leads the welterweight division with six points followed by Carlos Leal (3), Dilano Taylor (3), and Jarrah Al Silawi (3).
**The UFC and BT Sport have extended their media rights deal for the U.K. and Ireland. The multi-year extension was announced on Tuesday with terms including the length and value not disclosed. BT Sport has been the promotion’s broadcaster since 2013 and is also partnered with WWE. The UFC will be returning to the O2 Arena in London on July 23rd for a Fight Night event headlined by a heavyweight fight between Tom Aspinall and Curtis Blaydes.
**UFC president Dana White spoke with BT Sport about the deal. White said they had a lot of options of which broadcaster to work with and it was a “no brainer” to stay with BT Sport. White cited Tom Aspinall, Paddy Pimblett, Arnold Allen, Leon Edwards, and Paul Craig as several of the U.K.-based fighters that are on the rise. White said there is no date yet for Edwards to challenge Kamaru Usman as they are waiting to hear from Usman as he recovers from surgery on his hand.
**A previously announced middleweight fight between former champion Robert Whittaker and Marvin Vettori has been pushed back from June to September. The 185-pound contest was originally scheduled for UFC 275 in Singapore on June 11th but will now be featured on the promotion’s debut card in Paris, France on Saturday, September 3rd at the Accor Arena. The arena has recently hosted events involving WWE and Bellator. Whittaker is coming off his second loss to Israel Adesanya with a unanimous decision loss at UFC 271 in February. Vettori suffered his own loss to Adesanya last year but rebounded with a decision win against Paulo Costa last October.
**The Brazilian outlet Globo reports that UFC middleweight Paulo Costa has been accused of striking a nurse in his home country over an issue regarding his COVID-19 vaccine card. Police questioned both Costa and the nurse about the incident with the sides having different versions of what allegedly happened. Costa was accused of going to the vaccination clinic and trying to take his card without having the vaccine administered. When they tried to stop him, Costa allegedly elbowed the female nurse. Costa is defending himself stating he did receive the vaccine but wouldn’t give him his card, he took it and was grabbed by the arm and broke free. A criminal complaint has been filed against Costa, who was released by police but is set to appear in court to address the issue. Costa is scheduled to fight Luke Rockhold in August.
**This Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card at the Apex in Las Vegas is headlined by a heavyweight contest between Alexander Volkov and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Volkov was on a good run when he entered the UFC in late 2016 and won his first four fights. In a fight he was easily winning, he was knocked out by Derrick Lewis in the third round in October 2018 and has had several setbacks, losing key fights to Curtis Blaydes, Ciryl Gane, and was submitted by Tom Aspinall earlier this year. Rozenstruik is 6-3 since entering the UFC. In previous five-round fights, Rozenstruik was losing to Alistair Overeem and knocked him out with four seconds remaining in the fight in December 2019 and was shut out over five rounds against Ciryl Gane last year where Gane won 50-45 on each card. This isn’t a fight with title implications with Francis Ngannou injured and the discussion of whether an interim title will be introduced if the UFC can put together a fight between Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic.
ON THIS DATE
Mitsuharu Misawa takes on Terry Gordy in 1991 at Nippon Budokan:
Edge takes on The Undertaker in a TLC match at One Night Stand in 2008:
The Revival take on Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa in 2016:
REWIND-A-WAI #111: The Office (S2E6) & Friends (S3E4)
John Pollock & Wai Ting review two fight-themed editions of popular sitcoms The Office (S2E6 – “The Fight”) and Friends (S3E24 – “The One with the Ultimate Fighting Champion”).
John Pollock & Wai Ting review tonight’s WWE Raw featuring the final build to Sunday’s Hell In A Cell premium live event.
AEW DOUBLE OR NOTHING POST SHOW
John Pollock & Wai Ting review AEW Double or Nothing 2022 featuring “Hangman” Page vs. CM Punk for the AEW World Championship. They discuss the entire 13-match card and the weekend’s drama involving MJF.
WRESTLENOMICS: AEW Double or Nothing, MITB moved
Brandon Thurston and Chris Gullo talk about this weekend’s AEW Double or Nothing PPV, media leading up to it, Tony Khan’s comments, reports about MJF. Plus, Money the Bank is moving to a smaller venue while WWE shares continue to climb toward $70.
John Pollock & Wai Ting review AEW Rampage and WWE SmackDown featuring the go-home show to Double or Nothing and The Bloodline welcoming a new (associate) member.
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