POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE - Keith Lee & Io Shirai report to the WWE's Performance Center

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/07/17/pollocks-news-update-keith-lee-io-shirai-report-to-the-wwes-performance-center/


**The latest edition of Rewind-A-Raw is available with Wai Ting and I reviewing Monday’s show from Buffalo and the beginning of the SummerSlam build up. We chat about the handling of Brock Lesnar and his title program for SummerSlam, the three-way matches that set up a rematch between Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley, Ronda Rousey’s angle to set up a match with Alexa Bliss, and we take your feedback, questions & discuss lots more. You can download the show directly or subscribe for free to the POST Wrestling podcast feed.

**For members of the POST Wrestling Café, we also have the RAR “Double Shot” show, where Wai & I discuss this week’s “Being the Elite” and the major match announcement for the Chris Jericho Rock ‘N Rager Cruiser, the announcement that ROH & NJPW are running Madison Square Garden over WrestleMania Weekend and the many implications this has on the next eight months, and Wai reviews Total Bellas. The show is available to all members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**We will be back tonight with Rewind-A-SmackDown to discuss tonight’s show from Wilkes-Barre and any other news from the day. I’ll also preview the Slammiversary pay-per-view and discuss all the build up from television.

**Our next G1 review comes out Thursday afternoon and with the two-day break, you can catch up on our G1 shows if you are part of the POST Wrestling Café. On the Day 3 podcast, Wai & I also made a list of our top five matches of the tournament thus far.


**The newest class of WWE signings have reported to the Performance Center and the class includes Keith Lee, Io Shirai, Deonna Purrazzo, MJ Jenkins and others.

**Monday’s Raw featured the start of several programs being put in place for SummerSlam. As we noted previously, Brock Lesnar is confirmed for SummerSlam and will defend the Universal title. Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley will have a match on next week’s episode from Cincinnati with the winner facing Lesnar. There are several directions they can go from a singles program, a three-way, and there is the option of involving Braun Strowman or teasing a cash-in ahead of time even if he isn’t involved in the match. The other match that has been made for the August 19th event at the Barclays Center is Alexa Bliss defending the Raw women’s title against Ronda Rousey.

**Tonight’s SmackDown & 205 Live tapings take place from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and will feature a rematch between Shinsuke Nakamura and Jeff Hardy for the United States title. The 205 Live tapings will feature Lio Rush taking on Akira Tozawa. Tonight’s episode will go against the MLB All-Star Game, which did 9.28 million viewers in 2017 with SmackDown’s viewership at 2,465,000 against the game (and is a figure SmackDown hasn’t reached since April).

**Christopher Jeter at FanSided has a piece on the WWE’s choice to get back into business with Hulk Hogan. Jeter looks at the many troubling portrayals of African-American performers in the past, as well as other minority depictions. In addition, there are the examples of others within the company using racist language either on camera or behind-the-scenes, with the Michael Hayes incident from 2008 one of the most prominent. During a WrestleMania after party, Hayes made a joke towards Mark Henry that included the n-word that was highly offensive and resulted in Hayes being suspended. Hayes also lost his title as an Executive but remained with the company.

**In a correction from Rewind-A-Raw, when we were discussing the passing of Masa Saito, it was Ken Patera that was accused of throwing the rock through the McDonald’s and not Saito. Later that night, police arrived at their motel room and escalated in a nasty scene with Patera and Saito attacking several officers, including a female on the force who had seven teeth broken during the assault. Patera has since addressed the incident denying that he threw the rock and blamed a drunken ex-employee that happened to be there at the time and Patera states he threw the rock.

**The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has come out with “serious concerns” regarding the potential purchase of Tribune Media by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, the parent company of Ring of Honor. The purchase was proposed in May 2017 that would see Sinclair acquire Tribune and its 42 television stations for $3.9 billion and would place Sinclair owned television networks in more than 72% of the United States. Sinclair already owns more than 170 stations in the country, but the Tribune purchase would place them into markets such as New York and Chicago. Over the past year, Sinclair had revised their deal and were planning to sell off 21 stations to alleviate their concentration of station ownership, however, Politico reported on certain tactics that were suspicious with Sinclair agreeing to sell stations they would still have a stake in through advertising & programming, and selling to owners with close ties to Sinclair’s Executive Chairman. Sinclair released a statement on Monday denying any wrongdoing in the process of the purchase, as a response to FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s concerns.

**The G1 Climax has a break until resuming action on Thursday with the first of four straight shows, including Thursday through Saturday’s events at Korakuen Hall. After three shows, the A Block is led by Jay White, Michael Elgin & Togi Makabe with 4 points, the next rung features Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hangman Page, EVIL & Bad Luck Fale with 2 points apiece, and Minoru Suzuki, Kazuchika Okada & Yoshi-Hashi have 0 points. In the B Block it’s split into two with the top half of Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi, Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto & Tama Tonga with 2 points each and the bottom half of Tetsuya Naito, Zack Sabre Jr., Juice Robinson, Sanada & Toru Yano with 0 points. The following tournament matches are scheduled for Thursday morning at 5:30 am:
*Kenny Omega vs. Hirooki Goto
*Tetsuya Naito vs. Tomohiro Ishii
*Kota Ibushi vs. Juice Robinson
*Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Toru Yano
*Sanada vs. Tama Tonga

**This past Sunday’s episode of Total Bellas from Paris dropped 17% with 594,000 viewers watching on E! The show was based around Nikki Bella’s bachelorette party where they traveled to Paris. It was a sizable drop from the 719,000 viewers the week prior. While there was a WWE pay-per-view airing at the same time, the show didn’t experience any viewership drop last month on the night of Money in the Bank.

**Chris Charlton’s new book “EGGSHELLS: Pro Wrestling in the Tokyo Dome” is now available with a historical look at every pro wrestling event to take place from the Tokyo Dome dating back to 1989. Chris is also doing a podcast companion, which runs on POST Wrestling every Saturday. Charlton’s first book, “Lion’s Pride”, on the history of New Japan Pro Wrestling is one of the best books on the history of pro wrestling in Japan and his follow up book is highly recommended.

**The WWE has officially announced that this November’s TakeOver event in Los Angeles will once again be called “War Games” with tickets on sale this Friday. This coincides with the recent announcement that MLW will be promoting a War Games match of their own in September for a card in Fort Lauderdale. MLW filed for the trademark of War Games earlier this year and company CEO Court Bauer has stated they have the IP.

**Impact Wrestling has announced that Curtis Granderson of the Toronto Blue Jays will be appearing at Slammiversary this Sunday as the ‘title holder’ for the main event between Austin Aries and Moose. The co-promotion with the Blue Jays will also include John Hennigan throwing out the first pitch at this Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles at the Rogers Centre.

**A rematch between The B Team and Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt for the Raw tag titles is scheduled for next week’s Raw in Cincinnati.

**The Fight Network has announced a UK version of the channel has been launched on Channel 192 on SKY and Channel 161 on Freesat. The Fight Network’s programming will air each night at 9 pm on the channel and will feature airings of Impact Wrestling, Ultimate Challenge MMA, Abu Dhabi Grand Sam, WGP Kickboxing, Wrestling at the Chase (from St. Louis, which is a library The Fight Network acquired over a decade ago), Retrospective (original interviews with fighters and wrestlers), Impact’s Xplosion, and British Boot Camp.

**MLW will be holding their Battle Riot event from Queens, New York this Thursday night at the Melrose Ballroom. The event will air as a two-hour special on beIN Sports on Friday, July 27th at 8 pm Eastern. Below is the lineup for the show:
*40-man Battle Riot (Announced: Tom Lawlor, John Hennigan, Kevin Sullivan, Jimmy Havoc, ACH, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Teddy Hart, Rich Swann, Pentagon Jr., Jimmy Yuta, Low Ki, Brody King, Jake Hager, Swoggle, Lance Anoa’i, PCO, Konnan, Joey Ryan, Sami Callihan, Jason Cade, MJF, Rey Fenix, Samu, Kotto Brazil, Aerostar, Drago, Simon Gotch, Homicide, Vandal Ortagun, the Dirty Blondes)
*Shane Strickland vs. Sami Callihan for the MLW world heavyweight title
*Pentagon Jr. & Rey Fenix vs. Drago & Aerostar for the MLW tag titles
*MJF vs. Joey Ryan to determine the first MLW middleweight champion
*Low Ki vs. John Hennigan
*Teddy Hart & Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. AXH & Rich Swann
*Brody King vs. Jimmy Havoc
*Homicide vs. PCO
*Jake Hager vs. Simon Gotch
*Kotto Brazil vs. Myron Reed

**Former Impact Wrestling performer Braxton Sutter / Pepper Parks was a guest coach at the WWE’s Performance Center last week in Florida.

**The English version of Shinsuke Nakamura’s “King of Strong Style: 1980 – 2014” book will be available on August 7th in hardcover and for Kindle. The book was released in Japan years ago.

**On this date in 2011 at the WWE’s Money in the Bank event at the Allstate Arena:



**At the DAZN press conference on Tuesday, Bellator MMA officially announced a 10-man welterweight tournament, which will begin later this year and will include current champion Rory MacDonald. Nine of the ten fighters were announced with two qualifying fights for the final bracket. MacDonald will still fight middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi on September 29th in San Jose and is expected to join the tournament following that fight. MacDonald will be joined by Michael Page, Douglas Lima, Andrey Koreshkov, Lorenz Larkin, Neiman Gracie, Ed Ruth, Jon Fitch and Yaroslav Amosov with one more fighter to be announced for the tenth spot. The first tournament fight will feature Douglas Lima taking on Andrey Koreshkov on September 29th in San Jose in the first exclusive card on the DAZN streaming platform.

**UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker is ruling out fighting for the rest of 2018. Whittaker appeared on “The Ariel Helwani MMA Show” on ESPN Monday and confirmed he recently had surgery for a broken hand after his title defense last month at UFC 225 in Chicago against Yoel Romero. Whittaker has a plate and several screws inserted into the hand and cannot begin to rehab the hand until it heals and sets properly. This news comes right after Whittaker was announced as a coach for the next season of TUF alongside Kelvin Gastelum with filming beginning last week in Las Vegas. When the announcement of the coaches was made, it was only stated they would fight for the title later this year and no date was announced. Whittaker is ruling out a return for 2018 and is targeting February 2019 for his next fight.

**Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series continues tonight from Las Vegas and streams live on Fight Pass at 8 pm Eastern with the following fights:
*Maycee Barber (4-0) vs. Jamie Colleen (4-1) – Strawweight
*Domingo Pilarte (7-1) vs. Vince Morales (7-1) – Bantamweight
*Chibwikem Onyenegecha (6-0) vs. Anthony Adams (7-0) - Middleweight
*Austin Vanderford (4-0) vs. Angelo Trevino (7-2) - Welterweight
*Antonio Jones (7-1) vs. Edmen Shahbazyan (6-0) - Middleweight

**Bellator bantamweight Michael McDonald provided an update on his hand injury. McDonald stated that he did break his hand in the fight with Eduardo Dantas this past Friday, but it will not require surgery. MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz reported that Dantas was set to undergo surgery on Monday for a fractured fibula after his foot twisted during as he was knocked down. Dantas also did damage to the ligaments and is expected to be cleared to train in six weeks.

**Saturday’s UFC Fight Night event from Boise, Idaho averaged 754,000 viewers for the main card on FS 1, headlined by Junior Dos Santos defeating Blagoy Ivanov by unanimous decision. The preliminary card on FS 1 averaged 572,000 viewers with Alejandro Perez vs. Eddie Wineland in the featured prelim spot.

**Bellator ran back-to-back events this past weekend with Friday’s live show from Thackerville, Oklahoma edging out the tape-delayed event on Saturday from Rome, Italy. Friday’s card was headlined by featherweight champion Julia Budd stopping Talita Nogueira in the third round with the card averaged 405,000 viewers on the Paramount Network. On Saturday, the Bellator 203 card aired on a several-hour tape delay with Patricio “Pitbull” Freire defeating Daniel Weichel by split decision to retain the featherweight title and that card averaged 391,000 viewers. The Bellator Kickboxing card that aired immediately after Bellator 203 did 185,000 viewers. Saturday’s card had the disadvantage of not only being tape-delayed but also going against a live UFC card.

RAR ‘DOUBLE SHOT’ 7/17/18: Being the Elite Ep. 111, ROH & New Japan at Madison Square Garden, Total Bellas

REWIND-A-RAW 7/16/18: Sasha Loves Bayley, Lesnar’s Fate
John Pollock & Wai Ting review Raw from Buffalo, SummerSlam title matches set up, the Sasha & Bayley angle, Masa Saito passes away and your feedback & questions

G1 CLIMAX 28 REVIEW – DAY 1 (Patreon)
John Pollock & Wai Ting review the first G1 card featuring Kazuchika Okada vs. Jay White and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Minoru Suzuki.

EGGSHELLS Podcast Companion: 1992 w/ Paul Lazenby
Chris Charlton welcomes Paul “The Mauler” Lazenby to share stories his time in the Pancrase Dojo, working out with Minoru Suzuki and chatting the major Tokyo Dome events from 1992

GLOW Season 2 Review
John Pollock & Wai Ting review the second season of GLOW on Netflix, discuss the major themes & characters, storylines, the handling of Ruth vs. Debbie, the character of Sam Sylvia, “The Good Twin” episode & more

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Deonna Purrazzo signing was a big surprise to me, that was kept pretty quiet. I don’t know if that’s a good sign or a bad sign when you consider how well known Lee & Shirai’s signings were. Maybe she just wanted it to remain private until it was official.