POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: Lessons from the Matt Hardy injury

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/09/07/pollocks-news-update-lessons-from-the-matt-hardy-injury/

POST IT NOTES

**Rewind-A-Raw is tonight with Wai Ting and I looking at the major stories from the weekend and reviewing tonight’s episode of WWE Raw from the Amway Center in Orlando.

**On Tuesday, Andrew Thompson will have an interview with Vampiro (Ian Hodgkinson) and director Michael Paszt discussing Nail in the Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro. The interview will be here on the site and on Andrew Thompson’s YouTube channel.

**Feedback for ROCKY II can be posted on the POST Wrestling Forum.

**Braden Herrington & Davie Portman will have a special Tuesday edition of upNXT following tomorrow night’s NXT. The two will also be streaming their show live at YouTube.com/upNXT.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting
Tuesday: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Tuesday: ROCKY II film review (Patreon)
Tuesday: Andrew Thompson interviews Vampiro & director Michael Paszt
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John & Wai
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (LIVE at 10:15 pm ET for Café members)
Saturday: POST Puroresu with John & WH Park (G1 Climax Preview)
Sunday: POST Interview – Keith Elliot Greenberg, author of “Too Sweet: Inside the Indie Wrestling Revolution”

COMMENTARY

The most-discussed story following Saturday’s All Out event was the handling of Matt Hardy after a dangerous and frightening scene during the Broken Rules Match with Sammy Guevara.

After a Scissor Lift ascended above the floor, Guevara speared Hardy off as the two plunged down with the aim of landing on the two tables set on the concrete floor. After overshooting the first table, they went through the second with Hardy’s head hitting the floor and rocked by the impact. After laying on the floor for an uncomfortable period, Guevara tried to continue, and Hardy was not able to stand on his own. It was here that Aubrey Edwards flashed the “X” sign and the bell rang, which was later revealed as a call made by Tony Khan as Dr. Sampson tended to Hardy.

It appeared the match was done as Hardy was being assisted but then, the match continued, and they proceeded to go up a scaffold, and Guevara was thrown off. He landed on a staging area that was set-up for the fall and was counted out allowing Hardy to win.

Later in the broadcast, Tony Schiavone provided an update that Hardy was okay with Tony Khan stating during the post-show media scrum that Hardy was taken to the hospital as a precaution and passed a concussion test. Reby Hardy, Matt’s wife, was furious during the show stating:

Let me be absolutely fucking clear. There is NOTHING entertaining about a concussion. Shame on everyone in that goddamn building.

On Sunday, Reby contradicted the original statements from AEW stating that Hardy was still in the hospital and definitely had a concussion. The last word was from Tony Khan, who tweeted on Sunday afternoon:

An update on Matt Hardy: it’s great news! Matt’s ok, we sent him to the hospital as a precaution & he’s passed the MRI + CT scans, he doesn’t have a concussion, and he’s being driven home now. Matt will be at Dynamite on Wednesday night to thank you amazing fans for your support!

The handling of the aftermath is fair to criticize and while it was said that Dr. Sampson cleared him to finish the match on the spot, there needs to be more transparency regarding what the concussion protocol is and what testing was administered. If a concussion can be diagnosed that quickly, I feel there needs to be more specifics on what procedures were performed to make that judgment so quickly.

In MMA, the difference between a knockout and a TKO is based on one’s ability to defend themselves. It is not strictly that a fighter is knocked out cold that necessitates a knockout but if he is unable to defend himself because he has been compromised, that is a knockout. In a pro wrestling setting, it’s not about defending yourself but being able to protect yourself and take care of your opponent in a cooperative wrestling match. Hardy was not able to do so, and that should be a clear indication of when a match should end, regardless of whether he has a concussion or not.

In 2020, the audience is ahead of a lot of talent regarding the mentality of “finishing the match at all cost”. While it’s been glorified about “gutting it out”, more fans today are concerned with head and neck injuries and don’t want to see a wrestler risk their health further after a traumatic bump. For many performers, it’s still the old mentality of working through any injury to get to the finish and because of that thinking, measures and protocol need to be in place to protect performers from themselves. It is unreasonable to place that decision-making on a performer in the heat of a match where their adrenaline is flowing, and their focus is on the match with health concerns placed down the list of priorities.

From Bully Ray on Monday’s Busted Open Radio:

You sent Matt Hardy back out there knowing that his brain was scrambled, maybe he’s not necessarily. Maybe he passed the test but you know, he’s still not right. You’re going to send them back out there to climb that frickin’ scaffolding? I don’t know about that one. I don’t know if I can do that in good conscience. I don’t know if I can take a guy like Matt Hardy and say, ‘I know your brains are scrambled…’, and listen, you know Matt’s going like this, you know what Matt’s saying to everyone? ‘I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine’ – I’m fine is wrestler lingo for ‘I’m really fucked up but I want to finish the match’.

I’m not sure I would have made the same call in the heat of the moment because I saw too many things that led me to believe that Matt’s motor skills were off and he could be a danger to himself and the other guy that he was out there with.

That said, you will always have a segment of fans that will complain if a match stops prematurely, that’s tough and you must accept some criticism when making the responsible call, even if unpopular. The bigger the match and setting, the more scrutiny may come and that’s part of the industry. The larger issue is fans not having faith in promoters to make those responsible calls. Some leeway is provided when you’re producing a live show and must make a snap judgment, but a wrestler potentially having a concussion is not unexpected and those situations will happen. So, it’s best to have a hard-and-fast rule that if a wrestler is compromised from a possible head and/or neck injury, there is no debate and the match is over.

For AEW, once the match was called, that should have been it. Regardless of Dr. Sampson’s evidence he found, Hardy was in a compromised state and no one needed to see an additional three minutes where the match was torn apart and Hardy had to climb a scaffold.

The comparison that always arises in these situations is the glorification of Triple H gutting his way through a torn quad in 2001 and it became one of the hallmark moments of his career displaying a high level of toughness. The biggest difference is muscle tears compared to a neck or head injury. Someone must play the bad cop, ironically, in 2013 it was Hunter on the other side when Daniel Bryan got a stinger on Raw facing Randy Orton and Bryan blew up at Hunter. On Saturday, Khan made the right call to end the match but re-starting it had no upside beyond the belief we had a stipulation we would have to work around, and that’s silly in this day and age where your audience is much more sophisticated and the majority would have applauded the company putting the performer ahead of the “show must go on” mentality.

Back to the spot, I wasn’t a fan of this, to begin with, and the margin for error was scary. You had two guys coming off a scissor lift where two tables were to absorb the impact and cushion them with nothing underneath. You add that it was shot live and the adrenaline flowing, and they overshot one table with the second one unable to cushion them entirely and Hardy’s head hit the floor. To me, there were too many things that could go wrong in the conception of this spot rather than chalking this injury to something unforeseen happening.

In closing, the handling should be questioned but the inconsistent messaging between AEW and Reby Hardy didn’t come off well, although Hardy has not commented on the concussion aspect since Tony Khan’s last tweet where he said Hardy didn’t have one.

WRESTLING NEWS

**WWE Raw takes place from the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida with several weeks until Clash of Champions. The promos throughout the week were vague, promoting that with Drew McIntyre out, can anyone stop Randy Orton? Later in the day, the following matches were announced for tonight:
*Randy Orton vs. Keith Lee
*Dominik Mysterio vs. Murphy
*Kevin Owens vs. Aleister Black on Raw Underground

**New Japan Pro Wrestling is announcing the participants of the G1 Climax at this Wednesday’s New Japan Road event in Sendai. The A and B Block participants will be revealed and will reveal whether the foreigners are part of the line-up or not. It had been stated that foreigners would have to quarantine for two weeks once they arrive in Japan, meaning that foreign talent would have needed to arrive by this past Saturday at the latest. The key talent affected by the quarantine measures is Will Ospreay, Jay White, Bad Luck Fale, KENTA, Juice Robinson, Guerrillas of Destiny, David Finlay, and Jeff Cobb. Obviously, this year Jon Moxley and Lance Archer won’t be back.

**Syfy has a replay of NXT listed for this Wednesday at 8 pm Eastern. Last week’s replay did 183,000 viewers for Syfy featuring the Ironman Match.

**There are many questions still to be answered over WWE’s new edict regarding the usage of third-party platforms and how far WWE will go in ensuring their talent stop using certain outlets, which can represent significant revenue for the performers in certain cases. We don’t know all the outlets this directly affects, although PWinsider.com has reported that Twitch, Cameo & Pro Wrestling Tees are believed to be part of it. Some talent has taken to changing their profiles to non-WWE aliases, although it’s uncertain if that will be enough. If WWE wants to negotiate their own deals with these companies then having side deals with talent would be counterintuitive. In the letter that Fightful published from Vince McMahon, it was left vague regarding how specific and enforceable the company will be with the deadline set for October 2nd.

Often, when talent has been faced with restrictions it’s a response of compliance rather than a debate or argument over whether it’s allowable or not per the classification of talent as independent contractors. In 2014, when the WWE Network launched it was a massive shift as talent payoffs for pay-per-view went from something outlined in their deals to discretionary with CM Punk bringing up this point after he left the company that year.

In this instance, there is significant money at stake for various performers that aren’t working full schedules during the pandemic and have found a great outlet on the side. While we can’t confirm what Paige (Saraya-Jade Bevis) is earning on Twitch, the number of subscribers she has would suggest it’s a sizable amount (Her tiers range from $6.99 to $33.99 CDN per month along with the ability to accept donations on the stream) and if push came to shove, would she choose Twitch over WWE? She is one of the talents that has changed the name of her Twitch stream to reflect Saraya and not Paige.

It’s also the timing of this decision by WWE where talent has put themselves at risk throughout the pandemic, weathered the storm of an outbreak of COVID-19 in the company, and allowed WWE to never miss one episode of Raw, SmackDown, or NXT and thus, make all the television revenue leading to its most profitable quarter during the pandemic. In addition, talent has no percentage of the television revenue and when you add in these factors, along with the harsh reality of the company making cuts during this period, it begs the question when talent reaches its breaking point with the demands of the company?

If WWE is planning their own version of Cameo, which was tested with recent interactive meet-and-greets, then what percentage would the talent be owed, and is it competitive with the rates from Cameo? Similar questions will arise if WWE wanted their own in-house gaming streams to replicate Twitch, and do they expect the existing contracts to cover these additional elements while also eliminating outside revenue?

I would imagine this will be the major topic of discussion at the tapings this week and hopefully, more clarity is provided for a better sense of the restrictions WWE is asking for and whether there will be significant pushback that forces the company to re-evaluate its demands or dig in their heels?

**WWE has added a match between Roderick Strong and Killian Dane for Tuesday’s edition of NXT. Below is the current line-up for Tuesday’s episode on the USA Network:
*Finn Balor vs. Adam Cole to determine the NXT champion
*Rhea Ripley vs. Mercedes Martinez in a Steel Cage Match
*Bronson Reed vs. Austin Theory
*Roderick Strong vs. Killian Dane

**There was a lot on this week’s edition of Being the Elite with the fallout to All Out including Hangman Page trying to deliver a message to The Young Bucks that he was sorry, and he screwed up (which was shot on Page’s body, so you didn’t see him speaking). Brandon Cutler tried to relay the message and the Bucks were not interested and ended the show stating they’re on their own now. The ending was edited well using the post-match footage of Omega not catching Page, kicking the beer at the camera, and showing a shattered photo of Omega, Page, Young Bucks, and Cody from happier times. The best part of the show was Dark Order having fun with the WWE story with third-parties as Brodie Lee scolded Evil Uno for being on Twitch and can’t use his name on it because it’s detrimental to the company, it was hilarious and led to a cameo (literally) from Sinbad.

**Ring of Honor will resume first-run programming this weekend with the start of the Pure Title tournament that airs for eight weeks. On Monday, the promotion revealed the brackets of the 16-man tournament with the following opening round matches: Jay Lethal vs. Dalton Castle, David Finlay vs. Rocky Romero, Fred Yehi vs. Silas Young, and Tracy Williams vs. Rust Taylor. On the other side of the bracket, it’s Jonathan Gresham vs. Wheeler Yuta, Matt Sydal vs. Delirious, Kenny King vs. Josh Woods, and PJ Black vs. Tony Deppen. Dak Draper and Brian Johnson will be the alternates in the tournament.

**Kurt Angle spoke to Nick Hausman of Wrestling INC on the prospect of Brock Lesnar following last week’s news that his merchandise deal expired with WWE and is a free agent:

I don’t know. I don’t know what transpired. Something had to have happened because I heard they pulled all this merchandise off the shelves. So it’s not just Brock not having a contract and not knowing where he wants to go. The company, obviously, they’re not going to let him go. Brock’s pretty level headed. He doesn’t get in any trouble. So there’s no reason to fire the kid. He’s a tremendous athlete, a tremendous employee. So I think Brock just got tired of doing it.

I don’t know. I don’t know if he wants to fight again. I don’t know if you want to go to another company. I cannot see him going to another company, unless Tony Khan wants to pay him $10-20 million. I don’t know, but you never know, but I think Brock should just end his career in WWE. I mean the way they treat him and the way he gets paid, I don’t know why he’d not want to just stay. It’s really up to him, but I think he wants to fight. I think that’s the reason.

**The New Japan Road tour resumes Tuesday with a show in Ibaraki with Tetsuya Naito & SANADA vs. EVIL & Dick Togo in the main event. Wednesday’s show in Sendai features two more round-robin matches in the IWGP junior heavyweight tag title tournament with Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs. Taiji Ishimori & Gedo, and Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI vs. El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru.

**Here are the matches announced for AEW Dark on Tuesday night at 7 pm ET:
*Brian Cage vs. Tony Donati
*Ricky Starks vs. Ben Carter
*Will Hobbs vs. Sean Legacy
*Eddie Kingston vs. Lee Johnson
*Anna Jay vs. Skyler Moore
*Angelico vs. Griff Garrison
*Sonny Kiss vs. Serpentico

**The latest episode of Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions features Jerry Lawler as the guest.

**CNN’s Ana Cabrera asked Andrew Yang about his comments over the weekend regarding WWE talent being classified as independent contractors:

“We have to try to get people the benefits that were associated with full-time jobs in different ways.” —@AndrewYang tells me what he would do if he became Biden/Harris’ Labor Secretary. pic.twitter.com/oH715J0biG

— Ana Cabrera (@AnaCabrera) September 6, 2020

POLL RESULTS

Rate AEW All Out:

Thumbs in the Middle: 44.8 percent (of 828 votes)
Thumbs Down: 30.9 percent
Thumbs Up: 24.3 percent

MMA NEWS

**On Monday, Ariel Helwani of ESPN posted a photo of Nick Diaz stating the fighter just finished a 14-week diet and training program while undergoing a test weight cut. According to Diaz’s manager Kevin Mubenga, Diaz is “100%” planning to fight in 2021 and looking at the big welterweight fights coming up.

Diaz, 37, hasn’t fought since January 2015 when his loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 183 was changed to a no-contest following Silva tested positive for two banned substances.

**On Monday’s edition of MMA Junkie Radio, UFC featherweight Ricardo Lamas announced his retirement. Lamas, 38, had been fighting since 2008 going 5-0 before he was signed by WEC. He fought six times for the promotion before they were absorbed by the UFC and he entered their featherweight division in 2011. Lamas won fights against Matt Grice, Cub Swanson, Hatsu Hioki, and Erik Koch to earn a title fight against Jose Aldo at UFC 169 in February 2014, which he lost by unanimous decision. He never fought for the title again but was always competitive in the division including a submission against Charles Oliveira in 2016. He went 2-3 in his last five fights with his final fight occurring last weekend defeating replacement Bill Algeo by unanimous decision and indicating it may retire after the fight. Lamas and Algeo were awarded the Fight of the Night bonus. Lamas retires with a record of 20-8.

**Over the weekend, ESPN’s Brett Okamoto confirmed an earlier report from Ag.Fight that the UFC is returning to Yas Island for five additional cards including its next two pay-per-view events. The promotion will hold its September 12th and September 19th Fight Night cards in Las Vegas and then head back to Abu Dhabi for the following events:
*UFC 253 on Sept. 26th (Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa)
*Fight Night on Oct. 3rd (Holly Holm vs. Irene Aldana)
*Fight Night on Oct. 10th (Marlon Moraes vs. Cory Sandhagen)
*Fight Night on Oct. 17th (Chan Sung Jung vs. Brian Ortega)
*UFC 254 on Oct. 24th (Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje)

**This past Saturday’s UFC Fight Night was hit with several cancellations that day leading to a card with seven fights, the lowest for a UFC event since November 2005. There were four Performance of the Night bonuses awarded to Ovince Saint Preux, Michel Pereira, Andre Muniz, and Brian Kelleher each receiving a $50,000 bonus.

**Below are the results of Monday’s weigh-ins for Dana White’s Contender Series airing Tuesday night at 8 pm ET:
*Tafon Nchuwki (204) vs. Al Matavao (200)
*Cameron Church (155.5) vs. Sherrard Blackledge (154.5)
*Khadzhimurat Bestaev (184) vs. Phil Hawes (185.5)
*Drako Rodriguez (135.5) vs. Mana Martinez (135.5)
*Henrique Shiguemoto (185.5) vs. Aliaskhab Khizriev (185.5)

**Bellator fighter Austin Vanderford is off this Saturday’s card after a positive COVID-19 test. Vanderford had previously announced he had the virus and revealed that a second test stated he still has it. Pat Casey is scheduled to replace Vanderford and fight Daniel Madrid.

Unfortunately I won’t be able to compete for @bellatormma next weekend. I tested positive for COVID (a second time now). To say it’s a bummer is a serious understatement. But I’m going to rest up and recover now. I’ll be ready to go ASAP. Stay healthy and safe.

ON THIS DATE

*****
THE LONG & WINDING ROYAL ROAD: Tsuruta vs. Misawa (June 8, 1990)
WH Park and JP Houlihan from the Grappl Spotlight podcast discuss one of the most famous matches in the history of both All Japan Pro Wrestling and the entire industry: Mitsuharu Misawa vs. Jumbo Tsuruta from June 8, 1990.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/09/06/lwrr-3-jumbo-tsuruta-vs-mitsuharu-misawa-6-8-90-w-jp-houlihan/
*****
AEW ALL OUT POST SHOW
John Pollock & Wai Ting review AEW All Out 2020 featuring Jon Moxley vs. MJF for the AEW World Title, Kenny Omega/Hangman Page vs. FTR for the AEW Tag Titles, and a very controversial handling of a stunt gone wrong in Sammy Guevara and Matt Hardy’s Broken Rules match.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/09/06/aew-all-out-2020-post-show-live-link/
*****
BRITISH WRESTLING EXPERIENCE: RevPro Epic Encounters 1, NXT UK Returns
Martin & Benno are joined by Shane of Wrestle Wipe to talk about the past few weeks in European wrestling including a review of RevPro’s comeback show, Epic Encounters 1.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/09/04/british-wrestling-experience-revpro-epic-encounters-1-nxt-uk-returns-benjamin-carter-gabriel-kidd/
*****
REWIND-A-DYNAMITE 9/2/20: All Out Go-Home, NXT Ratings, Renee Paquette
John Pollock and Wai Ting review the go-home Dynamite heading into AEW All Out and discuss the NXT & Raw ratings, Renee Paquette’s first interviews post-WWE, and Tuesday’s NXT Ironman Match.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/09/03/rewind-a-dynamite-9-2-20-all-out-go-home-nxt-ratings-renee-paquette/
*****
upNXT 9/2/20: “Super Tuesday”
The BDE run down WWE NXT’s “Super Tuesday” featuring the first-ever 4-Way 60 Minute Iron Man Match between Finn Balor, Adam Cole, Johnny Gargano, and Tommaso Ciampa to determine the new NXT Champion!
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/09/02/upnxt-9-2-20-super-tuesday/
*****
REWIND-A-WAI #69: WCW Halloween Havoc 1991
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WCW Halloween Havoc 1991 featuring a classic Chamber of Horrors match and Ron Simmons challenging Lex Luger for the WCW World Championship.
https://www.patreon.com/posts/41132642
*****
REWIND-A-RAW 8/31/20: Clash Main Event, IIconics, Brock Lesnar, Mauro Ranallo
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE Raw following Payback, a discussion on Brock Lesnar’s status with WWE, Daniel Cormier’s retirement, an update on Rey Mysterio, and Mauro Ranallo leaving WWE.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/09/01/rewind-a-raw-8-31-20-clash-main-event-iiconics-brock-lesnar-mauro-ranallo/
*****

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Bang on, John. One of the scariest experiences of my life was seeing a wrestler at a local show land directly on his head after over-rotating a 450. Watching him stumble around after what was supposed to be the finish of the match and attempt to lock-up but with no sense of what was going on was horrific. The crowd was calling “stop the match”, “we don’t need to see this”, “get him to a hospital” and thankfully the match was waved off relatively quickly. As luck would have it the wrestler didn’t suffer a concussion (or broken neck as many of us were worried at the time), but absolutely no one in the crowd was angry about the main event (and the final of a tournament) not having an ending - we were worried about a human being in very clear distress, just like we all were on Saturday.