Originally published at POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: New names and faces showcased on NXT
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**We will be LIVE tonight at 10:15 p.m. ET for Rewind-A-Dynamite with guest John Siino joining me for tonight’s review. We will have a rundown of Dynamite from Newark and discuss all the latest news including thoughts on NXT 2.0., viewership figures for Raw & NXT, and Siino’s live experience at SmackDown last week at Madison Square Garden. The show is live for all Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso members of the POST Wrestling Café.
**We have released a POST Media Roundtable special discussing the upcoming G1 Climax tournament and the overall state of New Japan Pro Wrestling heading into its biggest season of the year. The panel consists of Rich Kraetsch of Voices of Wrestling, Alan 4L from ProWres Paradise on the Torch site, and Richard “Benno” Benson from GRAPPL and the British Wrestling Experience. I want to thank all three for taking the time to answer the questions and contribute to this roundtable.
**The deadline to join our G1 Climax Contest is Friday night at 11:59 p.m. ET. It is free to enter with picks being submitted for every G1 tournament match and the winners announced at the end. We will be monitoring the leaders throughout the G1 on our podcasts for the Café covering each show.
**The latest edition of upNXT is available on the site with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman reviewing NXT 2.0. from Tuesday featuring all the new arrivals on the show, the InDex wedding, and the future of NXT.
Tonight: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John Pollock & John Siino (10:15 p.m.)
Thursday: MCU L8R with WH Park and Scrump & Stank from the PWT Cast (Patreon)
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John Pollock & Kate from MTL (11:15 p.m. ET for all Patrons)
Saturday: G1 Climax – Night 1 with John Pollock (Patreon)
Sunday: G1 Climax – Night 2 with John Pollock & Wai Ting (Patreon)
**NXT 2.0. debuted on Tuesday night from the WWE Performance Center and saw multiple new characters introduced throughout the two-hour show. Below is a look at the identities of the six new names:
*Bron Breakker (Bronson Rechsteiner) – He was positioned high off the bat beating L.A. Knight and then confronting new NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa to bookend the show. He is the son of Rick Steiner and is 23 years of age with an extensive football background that only had his first match last October.
*Brooks Jensen (Ben Buchanan) – Jensen is 20-years old and the son of former WWE performer Bull Buchanan. He was announced as a member of the latest class in the WWE PC. Despite the young age he still has more than two years of experience working the independents in Georgia and Alabama.
*Trick Williams (Matrick Belton) – He is 27 years old and has been paired with Carmelo Hayes on television. Belton played football at Hampton University and later, for the South Carolina Gamecocks as a wide receiver. After football, he trained at the CZW Academy and took part in a WWE tryout at the PC in late 2018.
*Von Wagner (Cal Bloom) – Along with Breakker appears to be slotted for a larger role on NXT. The 27-year old was inserted into the main event four-way replacing Kyle O’Reilly. It was notable that he was given the spot of hitting his finisher on L.A. Knight before Ciampa took out Wagner and won with the Fairy Tale Ending, and positions Wagner as having had the match won. He is the son of Wayne Bloom, who wrestled under that name and as Beau Beverly as a member of The Beverly Brothers with Mike Enos. Bloom was also part of that tryout in late 2018 after playing football at UCF for four years as a tight end. He signed in 2019 and made an appearance on SmackDown in April 2020 losing to Sheamus and was used for a dark match last month at the SmackDown tapings in North Little Rock, Arkansas.
*Tony D’Angelo (Joe Ariola) – Is 26-years old and a former NCAA wrestler for the University of Buffalo. In high school, he was a state champion that went 47-1 in his senior year. He was named as a member of this past February’s big class at the Performance Center. He’s playing a stereotypical Mob-style character and a cut a promo on Tuesday’s episode.
*Ivy Nile (Emily Andzulis) – She is 29-years old and was featured on NBC’s Titan Games that was hosted by Dwayne Johnson. She had one amateur MMA fight in January 2018 for Valor Fights and lost by decision to Shay Holland. Andzulis trained with Tom Prichard and Glen Jacobs a.k.a. Kane at their school in Knoxville, Tennessee, and signed with WWE in early 2020. She made an appearance on a Raw Underground segment last summer. Her role will be part of The Diamond Mine where she was introduced by Malcolm Bivens on Tuesday’s show.
**One of the biggest Dynamites in history is set for tonight with the company making its long-awaited debut at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. It is expected to be the third-highest attendance in AEW history with next week’s card at Arthur Ashe Stadium leapfrogging all three.
AEW was set to run the Prudential Center in March 2020 and host their first “Blood & Guts” match on that show with over 10,000 tickets sold. The pandemic postponed those plans by eighteen months.
Everyone is going to be comparing the numbers of Raw and Dynamite throughout football season and Raw was hurt badly by Monday Night Football this week. It’s not an explosive line-up for AEW but it does feature Adam Cole’s first match in the company, and you can’t overlook the value of momentum that AEW is riding and how that pertains to viewership trends.
Last week’s Dynamite averaged 1,319,000 and 681,000 (0.52) in 18-49. AEW isn’t going to touch Raw’s overall viewership but the demo is a hotly contested battle especially with Raw falling to 556,000 (0.43) this week against a monster football game. If AEW fell below 0.40 in the demo, I’d take it as a disappointment that the post-PPV buzz didn’t sustain while acknowledging that last week’s number was extremely high and not likely indicative of a level that they can maintain weekly.
They also need to heavily promote next week’s show, which can easily be marketed as “the biggest Dynamite in history” and it’s true. As a live event, it’s been a grand slam for AEW and now it’s about building the show for a mass audience on television. Thus far, they have the return of Cody Rhodes and MJF vs. Brian Pillman Jr. along with the tease of Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston facing Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer. I would pull the trigger on either CM Punk or Bryan Danielson wrestling next week and they have set the wheels in motion between Punk against a member of Team Taz or Danielson in a multi-man tag with Jurassic Express and Christian Cage against The Elite.
Here is the list of announcements for tonight’s episode of Dynamite at the Prudential Center airing at 8 p.m. ET on TNT and TSN 2 in Canada
*CM Punk on commentary
*Bryan Danielson to address Kenny Omega
*Adam Cole vs. Frankie Kazarian
*Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston vs. 2point0
*Darby Allin vs. Shawn Spears
*Jade Cargill vs. Leyla Hirsch (Hirsch is from New Jersey and they played up that aspect in the “Road to” preview)
*Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer issue challenge
*Dan Lambert and American Top Team challenge AEW to respond
**WrestleTix is reporting that as of Wednesday morning, there are nearly 12,200 tickets out for tonight’s episode of Dynamite at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. This will be AEW’s third-highest attendance in history behind “The First Dance” at The United Center last month, and the Dynamite premiere at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. in October 2019. The new record will be set next week with the show at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
**Adam Cole spoke to Justin Barrasso at SI.com to promote tonight’s match with Frankie Kazarian. Cole shared how far they went to keep his appearance at All Out a secret including Cole flying into a different town and not arriving until during the pay-per-view:
I didn’t even fly into Chicago , I flew into a different city the day before. I didn’t even stay in the same hotel as Bryan. We showed up to the building while the show was going on, and we waited outside in a trailer. The locker room didn’t even know until the absolute last moment. It was the most secretive debut I’ve ever been involved in, and Tony Khan took every measure to make this as big of a surprise as possible.
Cole added that the decision to go to AEW wasn’t made until a few days before the show:
My actual decision was literally only a couple days before . I was awake in bed, it was close to 1 in the morning, and I was imagining being involved in AEW. That thought gave me such an excited feeling. I was so giddy I couldn’t even sleep. I loved the idea of coming to All Elite Wrestling, and that’s when I knew what I needed to do.
**The Monday Night Football game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Baltimore Ravens ended up being watched by 15.3 million viewers across ABC, ESPN, and ESPN 2 on Monday night.
**IMPACT Wrestling has announced that the Knockouts Knockdown special being taped this week in Nashville will feature Veda Scott & Mickie James on commentary with Melissa Santos serving as the in-ring announcer.
**Big E. has several media interview since winning the WWE Championship on Monday. The new champion spoke with Complex and discussed the recent list put together by Righteous Reg at Black Wrecellence ranking the Top 500 Black performers in the industry. Big E. shared his following reaction to the list:
One of the things I looked at, and I feel bad because I don’t remember exactly who put them together, but very recently, there was a list of, much like PWI does their list of top 500 wrestlers, it’s the list of the best several hundred Black wrestlers on the planet right now. And to look at that list and to not even be in the top 10, for me, it wasn’t like, “oh, I feel slighted.” It’s “oh, man, there are so many incredibly dope Black wrestlers across this country, across the globe.” And that’s really, really cool. So, in many ways, it feels like a boom period for Black wrestlers. I look around and there are so many .
**Variety has a story to watch regarding TV networks attempting to work with agencies and advertisers regarding a competing service to rival Nielsen for measurement.
**The Cauliflower Alley Club Reunion is taking place this week in Las Vegas with the big ceremony scheduled for tonight. On Tuesday night, the CAC honored Jim Valley of the Wrestling Observer site with the Courage Award. The big honoree tonight is Debrah “Madusa” Miceli, who will receive the Iron Mike Mazurki Award. Miceli is the second female to receive the award joining Trish Stratus, who was the recipient in 2016. Past winners include Steve Austin, Mark Henry, Gene LeBell, Stu Hart, Killer Kowalski, Terry Funk, Mad Dog Vachon, Harley Race, Bret Hart, Don Leo Jonathan, and Nick Bockwinkel among others.
**Earlier this week, the Wrestling Observer site reported that PCO’s contract is up at the end of November with the performer confirming the story on Sean Waltman’s Pro Wrestling 4 Life podcast. The following statement was given by PCO on the show (Transcribed by Chris Siggia at WrestlingNews.co):
On December 1st, that would be my third year with Ring of Honor. It will be 3 full years, and 3 great years. I have been treated really super good. They are great people over there, but coming December 1st, I will be a free agent. It will be interesting to see where everything is going, either with Ring of Honor or wherever.
The indies could be a great place to start things up. There’s not a day that I’m not getting hit by someone for shows, if not a couple of shows. I’m under an exclusive contract right now. I’m fully Ring of Honor. I couldn’t take any work for the last 3 years for any indie companies other than the ones that we were doing business with which were New Japan Pro Wrestling, or at that time it was CMLL, and that got broken, and the PWG, but I don’t know where we stand with them right now.
**IMPACT Wrestling has announced the following line-up for Thursday’s program airing at 8 p.m. ET on AXS TV:
*Christian Cage, Josh Alexander, Sami Callihan, Eddie Edwards & Chris Sabin vs. Ace Austin, Moose, W. Morrissey, Madman Fulton & Brian Myers
*Trey Miguel vs. Matthew Rehwoldt
*Laredo Kid vs. John Skyler
*Petey Williams vs. TJP
*Decay vs. Violent by Design
*BTI Pre-Show: Hernandez & Johnny Swinger vs. No Way & Fallah Bahh
**The WWE stock closed at $55.08 on Wednesday.
**During Wednesday’s episode of The Bump, the panel surprised Raquel Gonzalez with a surprise appearance by her father, Ricky.
**Paradigm Pro Wrestling has announced a match between Calvin Tankman and Shane Taylor for their fourth-anniversary card on Friday, October 15th in Sellersburg, Indiana at American Legion Post 204. Tankman will be defending the Midwest Territory Chain Championship.
**VICE TV has released a clip of Thursday’s new episode of Dark Side of the Ring covering the “Plane Ride from Hell” that airs at 9 p.m. ET:
A 7-hour weather delay & unlimited booze was just the tipping point that descended into the infamous “Plane Ride From Hell” ✈️
— Dark Side of the Ring (@DarkSideOfRing) September 15, 2021
**MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn reported Wednesday that Joseph Benavidez has removed himself from the USADA testing pool. Benavidez has not made an official statement yet regarding his status as a fighter, although his wife Megan Olivi appears to have indicated he is retiring. Benavidez, 37, began his pro career in 2006 and won his first ten fights while joining the WEC in 2008. He fought as a bantamweight and challenged former champion Dominick Cruz in August 2010, which was their second fight, and, in both instances, Cruz won by decision.
When the UFC opened the flyweight division, Benavidez was one of four fighters to enter the tournament and crown the promotion’s first champion at 125 pounds. Benavidez defeated Yasuhiro Urushitani to advance and lost to Demetrious Johnson at UFC 152 in September 2012 for the vacant title. Benavidez was regarded as the second-best flyweight in the world behind Johnson, as the two had a rematch in December 2013 where Johnson stopped Benavidez in the first round by knockout. Benavidez continued to win in non-title fights going 9-1 after the second loss to Johnson.
His final three fights saw Benavidez lose twice to current champion Deiveson Figueiredo (the first fight was for the vacant title but Figueiredo missed weight and the title was only on the line for Benavidez). In the second fight, Figueiredo submitted Benavidez. In his last fight, Benavidez was defeated by Askar Askarov this past March with a decision loss and bringing his career record to 28-8.
**Ariel Helwani is reporting that a major announcement is expected regarding the formation of a new MMA promotion. The idea is that it would be a promotion addressing many of the overarching criticisms of the UFC model specifically fighter pay, representation for the fighters, insurance, and a pension plan. Helwani is reporting that the announcement is scheduled to be made in the coming days with the group hoping to launch in 2023.
**Alana McLaughlin, 38, who is the second openly transgender fighter made her MMA debut last Friday for Combate Global. McLaughlin was victorious after submitting Celine Provost in the second round of their featherweight fight. McLaughlin was previously a member of the U.S. Army Special Forces and trains at MMA Masters. McLaughlin become the second transgender fighter after Fallon Fox, who fought professionally from 2012 to 2014. In order to be licensed to fight in Florida, McLaughlin had to pass all the regular testing in addition to having a hormone panel. Sadly, McLaughlin has been subjected to plenty of hateful messages online and addressed those critics on Instagram:
Good morning, friends, supporters and others! I’m getting a lot of variations of the same nasty messages calling me a cheater like I didn’t just get beat on for a round and a half. Y’all need to show @cylinelagrande some respect and take your concern trolling elsewhere. She almost finished me more than once, and on scorecards she definitely won that first round. This is the only post I’ll make about this. Transphobes are just making my block hand stronger.
**MMA Junkie reports that former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley will be working with FOX and UFC this Saturday as an analyst for the Fight Night card from Las Vegas. Woodley will be joining Alan Jouban at the desk alongside host Karyn Bryant.
**ONE Championship’s Chatri Sityodtong appeared on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani on Wednesday to announce Demetrious Johnson’s next fight. The former UFC flyweight champion will be fighting ONE Flyweight Muay Thai Champion Rodtang Jitmaungnon in a Mixed Rules fight on December 5th. It was described that the fight will feature Muay Thai rules for the first and third rounds of the fight and MMA rules for the second and fourth rounds. Sityodtong also announced that Bibiano Fernandes vs. John Linker and Gary Tonon vs. Thanh Lee will take place on the same December show, which is their tenth-anniversary event.
ON THIS DATE
Eddie Guerrero and Ultimo Dragon wrestled on Monday Nitro on this date in 1997 while Guerrero was Cruiserweight Champion:
Bill Goldberg attacks Triple H on the final Raw before Unforgiven in 2003, where Goldberg won the World Heavyweight Championship:
SHOT IN THE DARK 9/15/21
John Siino reviews this week’s editions of AEW Dark, AEW Dark: Elevation, NXT UK, 205 Live, NJPW Strong, NWA Powerrr, Ring of Honor, and Main Event in under 15 minutes on Shot In The Dark.
upNXT 9/14/21: NXT 2.0 – A True Love Story
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman talk about the beginning of a new era of NXT… “NXT 2.0”.
REWIND-A-WAI #94: WWE SmackDown (April 15, 2004)
John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE SmackDown from April 15, 2004 as General Manager Kurt Angle falls victim to an outburst from The Big Show following a high-stakes loss to WWE Champion Eddie Guerrero.
REWIND-A-RAW 9/13/21: Big E. Wins WWE Championship
John Pollock is joined by Andrew Thompson to chat Raw from Boston where Big E. cashed in his MITB contract to become the new WWE Champion.
ROH Death Before Dishonor POST Show w/ John Pollock
John Pollock is solo tonight with a review of the ROH Death Before Dishonor card from Philadelphia.
THE N.W.A. Podcast: “Fair to Belair”
Nate Milton & Kris Ealy are joined by Rich Fann to discuss the significance of AEW’s signings of CM Punk & Bryan Danielson (and how they might actually help improve diversity), the WWE’s “unconscious bias” problem, and the passing of a fallen friend.
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