Originally published at POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: JJ Maguire passes, Kenny Omega update
POST IT NOTES
**Rewind-A-SmackDown has a special start time of 10:05 p.m. ET tonight as we won’t be reviewing Rampage due to its late start time. The podcast version will be available late tonight exclusively for POST Wrestling Café members.
**On Friday’s POST Daily News Show, John Pollock and Wai Ting discuss Jeff Hardy’s interview addressing his WWE release, the last years for Scott Hall, AEW Dynamite numbers, New Japan Cup quarterfinals, and a recap of The Bachelor controversy from Wai.
**A reminder that we’ll be doing two more editions of Rewind-A-Wai before the end of the month. Next Tuesday, we are chatting about ROH Supercard of Honor XI from April 2017 headlined by the ladder match between The Hardys and The Young Bucks the night before The Hardys returned at WrestleMania 33. The following Tuesday, we are going to review the WWE Draft edition of SmackDown from July 2016 that kicked off this latest iteration of the brand split. Rewind-A-Wai is available for all members of the POST Wrestling Café.
**John Siino will have coverage of both nights of the Crockett Cup this weekend. We will also have a report from Eric Marcotte covering the UFC Fight Night show from London, and Mark Buckeldee will be reviewing DDT’s big anniversary card at Sumo Hall this Sunday.
**John Cosper has a story on the recent passing of JJ Maguire on the SLAM Wrestling site. Maguire died last Friday at the age of 68. He was into music by his teenage years and met Jimmy Hart when Hart was still part of The Gentrys and Maguire played with the group. It began a working relationship with Hart that brought Maguire into the wrestling space as the two would collaborate on many theme songs that you would be familiar with including ones for Shawn Michaels, Honky Tonk Man, Demolition, The Fabulous Rougeaus, The Rockers, and The Hart Foundation. When Hulk Hogan launched The Wrestling Boot Band, Maguire was part of the band alongside Hart and put out an album in the summer of 1995 while Hogan was with WCW. It included the songs “American Made” that Hogan used during the WCW run, “I Want to Be a Hulkamaniac” and “Hulk’s The One” among the releases that Maguire had writing credits for. In 2019, Maguire worked with Cosper to put out his autobiography, My Life in Heaven Town.
Last year, Jamie Hemmings interviewed Maguire for SLAM to discuss his book and his career.
Maguire’s obit is posted online.
**We want to send our best wishes to Pat Kenney, who is recovering from a mild stroke, which was reported by PWinsider.com. The site stated that Kenney was hospitalized last Friday and is currently dealing with impaired vision and has a long road to recovery. Kenney has been serving as the director of talent relations for the NWA. Kenney, 53, joined ECW in 1998 and wrestled as Simon Diamond, and teamed with Johnny Swinger during the final year that the company was in business. The two would win the NWA world tag titles in TNA when they beat America’s Most Wanted in August 2003 and had his last match at the Hardcore Justice show in 2010. Kenney worked as a road agent for TNA until 2017.
**Friday Night SmackDown takes place from the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina tonight with the show promoted around a “collision” between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar with two weeks until WrestleMania. They have added the following matches for tonight:
*Drew McIntyre & Viking Raiders vs. Happy Corbin, Madcap Moss & Jinder Mahal
*Kofi Kingston vs. Ridge Holland
*Naomi & Sasha Banks vs. Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan
**WrestleTix reported on Thursday that over 7,500 tickets are out for tonight’s SmackDown in Charlotte.
**AEW Rampage airs late tonight at 11:30 p.m. ET (or whenever the NCAA game ends) with the taped episode from San Antonio featuring the following matches:
*Keith Lee vs. Max Caster
*Darby Allin vs. The Butcher
*Red Velvet vs. Leyla Hirsch
*Malakai Black, Brody King & Buddy Matthews vs. Bear Country & Serpentico
**The show airs late for viewers in the eastern time zone, but it’s a great time for west coast viewership and should have a sizable lead-in from the basketball game. It isn’t a number to put substance behind due to the myriad factors – both positive and negative that the time change provides.
**In the current issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer reports that AEW performer Kenny Omega is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, which has an estimated recovery time of ten weeks. Omega is also set to have surgery for a hernia, which he had previously mentioned in an interview with the Observer site would require eight weeks to recover from. The report added that there is no time frame for a return to AEW.
**Steve Austin was on The Rich Eisen Show this past week to discuss why he is participating in WrestleMania 38 and getting physically prepared for the fight with Kevin Owens:
**Luchablog has an obit on Warrior Jr., who died on Thursday. He was the son of Black Warrior and a fourth-generation performer and was married to Omii Casas, the daughter of Negro Casas. It is unknown what the official cause of death was, but he was only 24 years of age.
**The NWA presents the two-night Crockett Cup from Nashville on Saturday and Sunday. Each night will have a one-hour pre-show at 7 p.m. ET followed by the pay-per-view portion at 8, which streams on FITE TV.
The first night features the opening round matches of the Crockett Cup and includes:
*Odinson & Parrow vs. Luke & PJ Hawx
*Aron Stevens & JR Kratos vs. Dirty Dango & JTG
*Mike Knox & VSK vs. Matthew Mims & The Pope
*Chris Adonis & Thom Latimer vs. Jordan Clearwater & Marshe Rockett
*Doug Williams & Harry Smith vs. The Ill Begotten
*The Briscoes vs. Hale Collins & Vik Dalishus
*Bestia 666 & Mecha Wolf (winner of Kevin Ku & Dominic Garrini vs. The Tates vs. Joshua Bishop & Wes Barkley vs. Elliott Russell & Sigmon)
The second night of the Crockett Cup sees Matt Cardona defend the NWA title against Nick Aldis, Austin Aries vs. Homicide vs. Colby Corino vs. Darius Lockhart for the vacant NWA junior heavyweight title, Kamille vs. Kylie Rae vs. Chelsea Green for the NWA women’s title, Tyrus vs. Rodney Mack for the Television title, Anthony Mayweather vs. Jax Dane for the NWA National title, Allysin Kay & Marti Belle vs. Ella Envy & Kenzie Paige for the NWA women’s tag titles, and the conclusion of the Crockett Cup tournament.
**New Japan drew 1,019 to Korakuen Hall today, which is one of their better turnouts at the building in some time. It featured the final two matches from the second round with Shingo Takagi defeating Chase Owens and a surprise win by Hiromu Takahashi over EVIL. This sets up Takagi vs. Hiromu in the quarterfinals as the tournament is down to eight people. The first two quarterfinal matches will take place on Sunday with Kazuchika Okada vs. CIMA and Tetsuya Naito vs. Jeff Cobb. On Monday, it’s Will Ospreay vs. Zack Sabre Jr. and Takagi vs. Hiromu. On the surface, it feels like the tournament has the least amount of interest in several years but the final eight is exceptionally strong and I’d expect some excellent matches for the remainder. The semi-finals and finals are next weekend with back-to-back shows at Osaka-jo Hall.
**Brandon Thurston has the quarter-hours for AEW Dynamite. In overall viewers, the show peaked in the opening quarter with 1,062,000, which was also the quarter with the lowest 18-49 audience throughout the episode with 467,000 for the opening six-man tag with Hangman Page, Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus vs. Adam Cole & reDRagon. The peak for 18-49 came during the Jericho Appreciation Society segment with 532,000 viewers in the demo.
Quarter-hours for AEW Dynamite on Wednesday night.
— Brandon Thurston (@BrandonThurston) March 18, 2022
**NXT Level Up has the following matches airing tonight at 10 p.m. ET on the WWE Network:
*Xyon Quinn vs. Damon Kemp (Bobby Steveson, the brother of Gable Steveson)
*Lash Legend vs. Valentina Feroz
*Bodhi Hayward vs. Dante Chen
**WWE has a full schedule of house shows this weekend. On Saturday, the SmackDown crew is in Johnson City, Tennessee with Roman Reigns advertised along with Charlotte Flair, Drew McIntyre, and Sasha Banks with the same crew in Huntsville, Alabama on Sunday. The Raw crew is in Springfield, Illinois on Saturday, and Moline, Illinois on Sunday with Becky Lynch, Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, AJ Styles, and Bianca Belair advertised.
**DDT has its 25th-anniversary card at Sumo Hall this Sunday and we’ll have a report on the site from Mark Buckeldee to cover the event. The following line-up is advertised (Courtesy: Purolove.com):
*KO-D Openweight Championship: Konosuke Takeshita (champion) vs. Tetsuya Endo
*DDT Universal Championship: Daisuke Sasaki (champion) vs. MAO vs. Jun Kasai
*KO-D Tag Team Championships: Naomi Yoshimura & HARASHIMA (champions) vs. Chris Brookes & Masahiro Takanashi
*Sanshiro Takagi vs. Michael Nakazawa
*Jun Akiyama & Takao Omori vs. Kazusada Higuchi & Hideki Okatani
*Saki Akai vs. Maya Yukihi
*Isami Kodaka & Yukio Sakaguchi vs. Yuki Ueno & Shynma Katsumata
*LiLiCo, Ryohei Odai & Akito vs. Kazuyoshi Sakai, Yujiro Shirakawa & Shota Gogami
*KO-D Ten-Man Tag Team Championships: Toru Owashi, Antonio Honda, Kazuki Hirata & Yoshihiko (champions) vs. Poison Sawada JULIE, Takashi Sasaki, GENTARO, MIKAMI & Tanomusaku Toba
*Time Difference Admission Tag Team Battle Royal
*Toi Kojima, El Unicorn & Yuki Ishida vs. Yusuke Okada, Yuya Koroku & Ilusion
**WWE Raw takes place from the Allstate Arena in Chicago this Monday with the return of AJ Styles after the injury angle with Edge two weeks ago. Edge is advertised for the show on Monday.
**Progress Wrestling holds its Chapter 130 card at the Electric Ballroom on Sunday headlined by Jonathan Gresham vs. Cara Noir with the ROH and Progress titles on the line in a Title vs. Title match. Charlie Sterling & Nick Riley defend the Progress tag titles against Dan Maloney & Man Like DeReiss on the show as well.
**Pro Wrestling NOAH has a big show this Monday in Fukuoka where Kazuyuki Fujita makes his first GHC title defense against Masato Tanaka. The decision to put the title on Fujita was met with great criticism as the main event title scene has featured a high level of quality throughout Katsuhiko Nakajima’s reign. Essentially, NOAH has a terrific core of top-end talent between Nakajima, Go Shiozaki, and Kenoh with the next level of talent including Masa Kitamiya and Kaito Kiyomiya (who should be a major star but was sent off track with the Keiji Muto feud but ultimately, should get to that destination as a top-level star). It’s coupled with veteran talents like Naomichi Marufuji and Takashi Sugiura that can have big matches when called upon but are not the long-term answers. Last year, there was the experiment with Muto as champion that did produce a big moment in his match with Shiozaki but seeing him as champion reminded me of the Hulk Hogan title run in 2002 where it took the nostalgia ride one stop too far and felt out of place. With Fujita, I’d argue the star power is much less than Muto and it’s going to be an upward climb to have dramatic main events with Fujita in that role. Of the older talent, I would argue the one they have found the proper formula with is Masakatsu Funaki, who is now the National champion but isn’t dominating the shows and is doing a unique style with shorter matches and has his place on the card but it isn’t the marquee spot.
**All Japan also has a big show on Monday with its Champions Night card at Ota Ward Gymnasium featuring Kento Miyahara defending the Triple Crown against Shuji Ishikawa. Those two are incapable of having less than a strong to stellar match in this type of setting for the Triple Crown, so that should be a great main event. Hikaru Sato defends the junior heavyweight championship against Hokuto Omori, which is a big opportunity for Omori.
**A Trios match with Gringo Loco, Flamita & Abismo Negro Jr. against Laredo Kid, Rey Horus & ASF has been added to GCW’s The Wrld on Lucha card on Friday, April 1st as part of The Collective in Dallas, Texas. The show also features Dr. Wagner Jr. vs. Psycho Clown, Pagano vs. Sadika, Johnny Caballero (John Hennigan) vs. Jack Cartwheel, and Tony Deppen vs. Psicosis.
**Chris Bey will face Jack Cartwheel at GCW’s Paranoid card on Saturday, April 9th at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Los Angeles. It joins the card that will feature Minoru Suzuki vs. Blake Christian, The Briscoes vs. Effy & Allie Katch, AJ Gray vs. Swerve Strickland, and Chris Dickinson vs. Masha Slamovich.
**Alex Shelley will take on Nick Wayne when GCW returns to Detroit on Saturday, April 23rd at Harpo’s. Minoru Suzuki vs. 2 Cold Scorpio and John Wayne Murdoch vs. Hoodfoot have been announced for the show card.
**Sam Roberts has an interview with AJ Francis.
**The WWE stock closed at $59.75 on Friday.
**The UFC returns to London, England in Saturday, which is their first card in the city in three years. The card is streaming exclusively on ESPN+ in the U.S. and will be headlined by a heavyweight fight between Alexander Volkov (34-9) and Tom Aspinall (11-2), which is the biggest test of Aspinall’s career. Aspinall is from Manchester and is 4-0 in the UFC with only one fight getting out of the first round. Aspinall has gained a lot of attention with wins against Andrei Arlovski and Sergey Spivak over the past thirteen months but Volkov is the next step up. The former Bellator champion has managed to win three of his last four with wins against Walt Harris, Alistair Overeem, and Marcin Tybura with the lone loss to Ciryl Gane during that stretch. Aspinall has shown incredible finishing ability while Volkov has only been stopped twice due to strikes in his career in his losses to Derrick Lewis and Vitaly Minakov, although was submitted twice in the early days of his pro career.
Below is the full card for Saturday:
MAIN CARD (4 p.m. ET on ESPN+)
*Alexander Volkov vs. Tom Aspinall
*Arnold Allen vs. Dan Hooker – This is a fantastic fight as Allen is 17-1 and 8-0 in the UFC but has been inactive with only three fights since July 2019. Hooker last lost three of his last four, but those losses were to Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler, and Islam Makhachev
*Paddy Pimblett vs. Rodrigo Vargas – There is a lot of hype on Pimblett after coming from Cage Warriors and making his UFC debut last September. Vargas is 12-4 and 1-2 in the UFC.
*Gunnar Nelson vs. Takashi Sato – Nelson was a big prospect at one point but hasn’t fought since September 2019, which is a lifetime in MMA, and we’ll see where he’s at. Nelson’s last two fights saw him drop decisions to Leon Edwards and Gilbert Burns. Sato fought for Pancrase and came to the UFC in 2019 and has gone 2-2 and is coming off a submission loss to Miguel Baeza in November 2020, so he’s been gone for a long time too.
*Molly McCann vs. Luana Carolina
*Ilia Topuria vs. Jai Herbert
PRELIMINARY CARD (1 p.m. ET on ESPN+)
*Mike Grundy vs. Makwan Amirkhani
*Sergei Pavlovich vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov
*Nikita Krylov vs. Paul Craig
*Jack Shore vs. Timur Valiev
*Cory McKenna vs. Elise Reed
*Cody Durden vs. Muhammad Mokaev
**UFC president Dana White is in London for the show and spoke to ESPN about returning to the city after the pandemic and getting back on the road with select Fight Night shows including Columbus, Ohio next weekend. White said he’s in “no hurry” to get away from the UFC Apex. He also spoke about the viability of Jon Jones fighting for an interim version of the heavyweight title and his recent interview on Logan Paul’s show.
**Long-time MMA video journalist E. Casey Leydon is having an amateur fight on Saturday in Commerce, California. Leydon is 44-years old and has a video documenting the process behind training and why he decided to fight:
ON THIS DATE
Brock Lesnar debuts on Raw the night after WrestleMania X8 in 2002:
Rey Mysterio challenges Eddy Guerrero for the WWE championship on SmackDown following WrestleMania 20 in 2004:
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Brandon Thurston and Chris Gullo talk AEW Revolution pay-per-view business. WWE 2K22 is a pivotal release for the partnership with Take-Two. Plus, Tony Khan says he will book Ring of Honor. And we look at what Apple TV+’s new deal with MLB tells us about the outlook of media rights fees for wrestling.
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