POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: Rey returns, Tony Khan speaks, NJPW preview

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/11/06/pollocks-news-update-rey-returns-tony-khan-speaks-njpw-preview/


**Tonight, Wai Ting and I will be LIVE with Rewind-A-SmackDown at 10:15 pm Eastern for members of the POST Wrestling Café. The two of us will go through the latest news, preview the weekend, run through SmackDown, and take your phone calls on all subjects. For Café members, you will receive a Zoom link during the day for access to the room to listen & watch Rewind-A-SmackDown.

**On Saturday, we will have two shows coming out. In the afternoon, I will be joined by WH Park for the NJPW Power Struggle POST Show, which will be available for members of the POST Wrestling Café. Saturday night, it’s the AEW Full Gear POST Show with Wai Ting, Davie Portman & Braden Herrington with the show available on the free POST Wrestling feed. Wai will also join Davie and Braden on the upNXT YouTube Watch Along stream beginning at 8 pm Eastern.

**We will have a report covering New Japan’s Power Struggle up Saturday from Mark Buckeldee.

**Eric Marcotte will have a UFC Fight Night report covering Saturday’s card in Las Vegas with Thiago Santos taking on Glover Teixeira.


Tonight: Rewind-A-SmackDown LIVE (10:15 pm ET for all Café members)
Saturday: NJPW Power Struggle POST Show with John Pollock & WH Park (Patreon)
Saturday: AEW Full Gear POST Show with Wai Ting, Braden Herrington & Davie Portman


**Friday Night SmackDown airs tonight at 8 pm Eastern and it will be interesting to see if they are hurt due to the U.S. Election coverage. They have a marquee match with the SmackDown women’s title rematch between Sasha Banks and Bayley that one would expect to get significant time with the story that Banks can never defend the women’s title after winning it. The combination of that feud and the Roman Reigns and Jey Uso story has been carrying the show but I expect news coverage to dominate again tonight. Here are the matches advertised for tonight’s episode:
*SmackDown Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks (champion) vs. Bayley
*Survivor Series Qualifying Match: Seth Rollins vs. Otis
*Survivor Series Qualifying Match: King Corbin vs. Rey Mysterio

This would be Mysterio’s first match in over two months since injuring his triceps at Payback in August. On paper, it seems like the story would be for Rollins and Mysterio to win their matches and force the two to team-up at the Survivor Series.

**Scorpio Sky was pulled from this past Wednesday’s episode of AEW Dynamite after the promotion stated he came in contact with someone positive with COVID-19. Sky was scheduled to face Shawn Spears on the broadcast, and they replaced it with a tag match between The Young Bucks and Private Party. On Friday, Sky issued the following update noting he has taken two tests and both were negative for the virus:

I want to thank those who reached out in concern and let you know I am okay! Once I found out I had come in contact with someone who might have Covid-19 I immediately notified the AEW medical staff and got tested. It was negative.

At that point I went out and got myself tested elsewhere to be sure and it was again negative. The person I was in contact with was also tested and the results were negative. So the important thing is I am in good health and eager to get back to work.

**Tony Khan was a guest on Wrestling Observer Radio on Thursday with Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez to promote Full Gear and below are some notes from the chat:
*Was ecstatic about both Wednesday’s number and going into Full Gear, the number was in line with what he expected
*Utilizing everyone has been a challenge but noted they will be getting another hour of programming
*Chris Jericho pitched Le Dinner Debonair as a dream sequence and Khan turned that part of it down, he regrets not doing it inside the ring to make it feel like a more natural wrestling segment
*He got the idea of using Cinderella for Page-Omega from South Park, Page didn’t like the idea due to the tone of the song but the saw the finished video and loved it
*Says Monday Nitro was such a better show when it around the ring and didn’t go backstage, Khan watched it change when the creative changed and WCW tried to be what the WWF was
*He has a bunch in his head planned for their next pay-per-view but cautioned so much of it changes
*Made the switch to go with Hangman Page as the babyface after seeing him on BTE
*Went back to the drawing board after 2019 and losing the demo on Dec. 18th last year
*Orange Cassidy got the final spot in Casino Battle Royale in May 2019 when they couldn’t get Brian Cage in the match, Khan learned he was Fire Ant and became interested and originally thought he could manage Best Friends
*He wants to honor stipulations, the closest out he said is that Cody said he would never challenge for the title, noting he didn’t sign anything, shook Jericho’s hand and MJF ruined it as the only potential “outs”
*Questioned the booking at Dominion with Zack Sabre Jr. and Taichi humiliating Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kota Ibushi right before EVIL beat Naito for the title and no one remembered the former
*Moxley and Eddie Kingston will go on last at Full Gear, generally feels the title match should go on last with some exceptions (Stadium Stampede, Hogan-Rock at WM18)

**Tony Khan on his biggest lessons learned after one year on TNT in the same interview with the Observer:

I’m a harder nut to crack than I was when this started about what I’m going to do on TV. I’m open to ideas. I take a lot of ideas and I realized that at some point, I need to come up with a lot more ideas of my own and do them, and just stick to them. And, I had ideas and it was more big picture stuff but as time went on, something I found about writing television, that I believed from the beginning, but if I ever doubted myself I doubled down on it when we got going – is that wrestling fans want to see great wrestling matches. And, there were times on the ‘All Out’ go-home show there probably wasn’t enough wrestling but it worked, it was just enough to get away with but I came out, like the day after the show, and felt I got away with one and I’m going to be honest with you guys, I would put more wrestling on the show. I would do a better go-home show next time.

So, last night (Wednesday) I felt really good because I felt the go-home show for Full Gear was better than the go-home show for All Out. I thought the show after All Out was really good and we followed up and we did over half a million in the demo and it was a huge success, but I do believe wrestling fans like to watch wrestling and take the wrestling seriously.

I get pitched ideas all the time, not by my EVPs necessarily but people around wrestlers and people around that are not consistent with what I would do on TV that make me, sometimes I’m like ‘you know who you’re talking to, right? You know I wouldn’t want to do that’ whether it involves a screwy finish or something that doesn’t have a lot of logical sense or people operating behind the ‘invisible camera’. That’s a phrase I’ve used so much that it’s part of our daily life at AEW now because I don’t want people talking behind the invisible camera and no explanation for these people having that conversation.

My biggest lesson has been sticking to my guns. There has been stuff I thought may not be good, I feel we batted a really high average, and no one is going to bat a thousand, some of the ones where we struck out maybe were ones where I had a bad feeling going in. Going into 2020, I promised myself I would trust my instincts, trust myself more and I haven’t always been right about that stuff but generally, if you have a bad feeling about something you probably shouldn’t do it.

**Tony Khan also spoke with Justin Barrasso at SI.com and was asked about talent being able to do outside independent dates and tightening up on those allowances:

I implemented a policy where people were only supposed to work indie shows when certain conditions were met. There have been times when people did not take that seriously, so I have tightened up the restrictions. I’ll still allow it under certain conditions, but people need to look me in the eye and say that the conditions are being met. Our talent and their opponent need to be tested before the show, and there also needs to be a good reason why the match is important.

This is important for everyone’s safety, as well as important for our show. I’ve been flexible in the past because I thought it was good for the talent to have the opportunity to earn, as well as great for the fans and the indies as a whole. We also don’t run every night of the week, so it allows for talent to get extra reps, too. So we have a policy, and I’ll be enforcing it strictly.

**On Friday, WWE issued a press release promoting that The Undertaker’s “Final Farewell” will take place at this year’s Survivor Series on November 22nd, which is 30 years to the day of his WWF debut in 1990.

**There is a special Friday night edition of AEW Dark tonight at 7 pm Eastern with the following matches:
*Evil Uno & Stu Grayson vs. Sean Maluta & Ryzin
*Ricky Starks vs. Trevor Read
*Big Swole vs. Tesha Price
*Matt Sydal vs. Christopher Daniels
*Chuck Taylor vs. Lee Johnson
*Griff Garrison vs. Ariel Dominguez
*Brandon Cutler vs. Michael Nakazawa

**Here are the matches for tonight’s episode of NJPW Strong airing at 10 pm Eastern on New Japan World:
*Fred Rosser vs. Jordan Clearwater
*Danny Limelight vs. Chase Owens
*Jeff Cobb & Rocky Romero vs. Rust Taylor & JR Kratos

**The Countdown to AEW Full Gear special airs tonight at 11 pm Eastern on TNT and TSN 2 in Canada.

**New Japan Pro Wrestling presents Power Struggle on Saturday morning streaming at 3 am Eastern on New Japan World from Edion Arena in Osaka, Japan. This show leads right into the next tour with the launch of the Best of the Super Juniors and World Tag League tournaments beginning November 15th and takes them into December. I would expect some of the key directions for Wrestle Kingdom to be apparent during Saturday’s card as time is winding down to assemble two cards for the Tokyo Dome. We will know the main event for at least one of the nights with the winners of Naito/EVIL and Ibushi/White. Here is a quick preview of the card:
*Tetsuya Naito vs. EVIL for the Double Championship – The feud has been a massive disappointment this year with this their fourth singles match since June. If the goal was elevating EVIL to the top echelon, it’s fallen short and this match seems like a show-filler to keep Naito busy and have a presence on this card. For EVIL’s sake, the two need to have a kick-ass match on Saturday to end the program on a high note and hopefully, transitions EVIL into something compelling but you have to rate this heel turn and ascension as a loss, so far.
*Kota Ibushi vs. Jay White – The winner gets the right to challenge for the Double Championship at Wrestle Kingdom. They had a terrific G1 Climax final in 2019. A lot of people have come around on White since last year and he had a great set of performances in this year’s G1. Ibushi seems poised to be the talent the company is built around with this match setting him up for his redemption at the Tokyo Dome after going 0-2 this past January, including losing to White on the second night. This match follows the story of Ibushi avenging those losses after beating Okada during the G1, White at Power Struggle, and going for the Double Championship in January.
*KENTA vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi – They are wrestling for control of the briefcase to challenge for the IWGP United States championship. The match between KENTA and Tanahashi follows their G1 match where Tanahashi won with the cloverleaf submission. In a normal setting, Tanahashi winning the briefcase to challenge Jon Moxley at Wrestle Kingdom would seem an obvious direction but nothing is normal. The parameters for a U.S. based performers to wrestle at the Tokyo Dome this year includes quarantining for two weeks in Japan before the shows, which would be over the holidays and is even more difficult given Moxley would be unavailable for AEW for those weeks. It’s not impossible but presents a lot more obstacles than Moxley simply choosing to fly over to do Wrestle Kingdom and come back, which he could have done if not for the pandemic. If you can’t book Moxley for one of the Wrestle Kingdom cards, then it’s probably time to consider stripping him of the title if you want the championship back in the rotation.
*Kazuchika Okada vs. The Great O’Khan – It’s the most important and high-profile match of Tomoyuki Oka’s career and I can’t say the gimmick helps him. The backdrop for this one is The Empire with O’Khan aligned with Will Ospreay and Bea Priestley. The big match is Okada and Ospreay and that’s what this match should be building to. It’s important for O’Khan to look strong in this match even in defeat. While Okada had some strong matches in the G1, this has not been a banner year for him in comparison to his output and quality over the past nine years. The success or failure of this match will be judged based on how O’Khan performs.
*Minoru Suzuki vs. Shingo Takagi for the NEVER Openweight Championship – This could be the match of the show and has a high standard to live up to. Suzuki is having an unbelievable year and once people get to the year-end awards and assess what he’s done, it’s going to come into focus just how great he’s been in 2020. Their match at Jingu Stadium in August was one of the best of the year and had a great follow-up in the G1. This is as close to a lock as you’ll find with two styles that mesh so well together.
*Toru Yano vs. Zack Sabre Jr. for the KOPW Title – There will be no corner pads in the match. I think this is a great opener for the show and Sabre was the best opponent for Yano in the G1. I could see Sabre winning the match and doing a run of unique stipulation matches that better fit his style than the comedy presentation from Yano. On the other hand, if you’re only looking for comedic matches with the KOPW title then Yano is the person to retain it and no one gets hurt losing to Yano.

**This week’s episode of Ring of Honor will feature the following matches airing in syndication and Monday night at 7 pm ET on FITE TV:
*Dalton Castle vs. Brody King
*Pure Rules Match: Dak Draper vs. Brian Johnson

**Game Changer Wrestling has announced that Alex Zayne will have his final independent match on Sunday on their “So Much Fun” card. Zayne will be facing Tony Deppen with the show streaming on IWTV at 4 pm Eastern.

**GCW is running back-to-back cards this weekend in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Nick Gage Invitational streams on Saturday at 1 pm Eastern on Fite TV, and So Much Air is airing Sunday at 4 pm on IWTV. The promotion is stating that those attending the shows at The Sandlot at The Showboat must wear masks, there will be reduced capacity with a staggered seating chart, social distancing measures will be enforced, and they will have hand sanitizer stations available.

**MLW has announced that TJP will be on the upcoming episodes of Fusion that were recently taped. The promotion returns with new shows beginning Wednesday, November 18th on Fubo Sports and YouTube.

**The WWE stock increased 3 percent on Friday closing at $38.92.

**Al Snow revealed that he is recovering from bilateral knee replacement surgery he had two weeks ago.

**Nick Aldis turns 34 today and Fred Yehi turns 27.

**Below is a trailer for “Out in the Ring: Out Is In”:


**In a massive news story for boxing, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is a free agent. His manager and trainer Eddy Reynoso issued a statement confirming the news with ESPN reporting that Alvarez’s team has negotiated a release from Golden Boy Promotions. In September, Alvarez filed a lawsuit against streaming giant DAZN for breach of contract for Alvarez’s gigantic deal he signed in 2018 worth $365 million over the life of the deal. Mike Coppinger at The Athletic has more on the story and notes that the agreement being finalized would free Alvarez from Golden Boy and DAZN.

**The UFC has a small Fight Night card airing Saturday night on ESPN 2 with the card centered around the light heavyweight main event. It’s Thiago Santos’ first fight since UFC 239 in July 2019 when he fought former champion, Jon Jones, to the limit before losing by split decision and suffering a multitude of knee injuries during the fight. Santos is fighting 41-year old Glover Teixeira, who has been on a big run winning his previous four fights including a brutal beating of Anthony Smith this past May. Under normal circumstances, the winner of Saturday’s fight would be the favorite to be fighting for the championship next.

Unfortunately for the winner, this division is going to be paused if the proposed Jan Blachowicz vs. Israel Adesanya fight is made for early 2021. Granted, that’s a significantly bigger fight than anything they can book for Blachowicz at this weight division, but it creates a lot of chaos for the division, which puts the contenders on ice and will be more complicated if Adesanya were to win that fight.

Teixeira isn’t the only 41-year old on the card as former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski will fight Tanner Boser. This is Arlovski’s 51st professional fight and 33rd with the UFC going back to November 2000, which is stunning. Arlovski has overcome multiple rough patches in his career and heads into this fight having won two of his last three and is coming off a decision win against Philipe Lins this past May.

The main card also has an interesting strawweight fight between Claudia Gadelha and Yan Xiaonan. Gadelha fought for the title back in 2016 losing to former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and has gone 5-2 since that loss and is coming off wins against Randa Markos and Angela Hill. Xiaonan is 5-0 in the UFC and has wins over Hill and Karolina Kowalkiewicz. While Dana White has said champion Weili Zhang will fight Rose Namajunas, the idea of Zhang and Xiaonan fighting for the title down the road would be massive in China.

Here is the full card for Saturday’s show with results from Friday’s weigh-in:

MAIN CARD (10 pm ET on ESPN 2, TSN 1 & 5 in Canada)
*Thiago Santos (205.5) vs. Glover Teixeira (205.5)
*Andrei Arlovski (244.5) vs. Tanner Boser (232.5)
*Raoni Barcelos (135.5) vs. Khalid Taha (135.5)
*Ian Heinisch (185.5) vs. Brendan Allen (185)
*Claudia Gadelha (115.5) vs. Yan Xiaonan (115.5)

PRELIMINARY CARD (7 pm ET on ESPN+, 8 pm on TSN 1 & 5 in Canada)
*Trevin Giles (185.5) vs. Bevon Lewis (185)
*Giga Chigadze (145) vs. Jamey Simmons (146)
*Marcos Rogerio de Lima (258) vs. Alexandr Romanov (260)
*Darren Elkins (145.5) vs. Eduardo Garagorri (145.5)
*Max Griffin (170) vs. Ramiz Brahimaj (170)
*Anthony Birchak (136) vs. Gustavo Lopez (135.75)

**ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reported Friday that Darren Till is out of his scheduled fight with Jack Hermansson on December 5th due to an undisclosed injury. The same outlet reports that Kevin Holland will replace Till. This will be Holland’s fifth fight of 2020 with a 4-0 record since May 16th with victories against Anthony Hernandez, Joaquin Buckley, Darren Stewart and just beat Charlie Ontiveros this past Saturday. Hermansson has won five of his previous six fights and is coming off a submission win against Kelvin Gastelum this past July.



REWIND-A-DYNAMITE 11/4/20: AEW Full Gear Go-Home & Preview with Bruce Lord
Wai Ting is joined by Bruce Lord to review AEW Dynamite’s go-home show for Saturday’s Full Gear PPV featuring a heated Face To Face between Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston. Plus a full preview of the card and today’s headlines.
upNXT 11/4/20: “This Is A Democracy”
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review the November 4th, 2020 edition of WWE NXT headlined by Tommaso Ciampa vs Velveteen Dream.
John Pollock & Wai Ting welcome film critic/friend Ed Boxler to review Rocky IV (1985) as Rocky Balboa travels to the USSR to face his greatest challenge yet: Communism.
REWIND-A-RAW 11/2/20: Preview-A-Merica, RAW review with Nate Milton
John Pollock is joined by guest co-host Nate Milton to review WWE Raw, and we present Preview-A-Merica ahead of the U.S. Election.
POST INTERVIEW: David Bixenspan
John Pollock is joined by journalist David Bixenspan to speak about his latest feature covering the early ‘90s ring boy scandal in the WWF.
WH Park and upNXT’s Davie Portman walk down the Long & Winding Royal Road to talk about Kenta Kobashi vs. “Dr. Death” Steve Williams from August 31, 1993.
This month on The Rocky Maivia Picture Show, Nate Milton welcomes Classical History/Greek Mythology expert Gen Chittenden (True North Nerds) into the theater to review The Rock’s return to the “sword & sandals” genre in 2014’s “Hercules”!

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