POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: Ronda Rousey defends the WWE's decision to run Crown Jewel

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/10/26/pollocks-news-update-ronda-rousey-defends-the-wwes-decision-to-run-crown-jewel/


**We have our latest edition of REWIND-A-WAI up for members of the POST Wrestling Café as we review WWE Battleground 2016. This was selected by Espresso Executive Producer Jerry Kilgore, who attended this event in Washington, D.C. and dropped by to chat about his selection. Wai Ting and I review the show, discuss the Shield three-way main event, the second brand split, the main roster debut of Bayley, the end of the rivalry between Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens and lots more on this packed show.

**In our weekly POST Production video, Wai Ting & I look at the recent WWE Network survey and go through ideas that could work for a higher-priced tier. This is available for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso members.

**Chris Charlton returns Saturday with the latest EGGSHELLS Podcast Companion with Alan Counihan of PW Torch to discuss 2007 at the Tokyo Dome. This was the first year New Japan promoted “Wrestle Kingdom” as the title of their January 4th event.

**Wai Ting and I are back Sunday with an Evolution POST Show with the podcast coming out Sunday night. If you are a Double Double, Iced Capp, or Espresso member, you can stream our POST Show live immediately after Evolution with a link being sent to members during the pay-per-view.


**Ronda Rousey spoke to TMZ on the WWE’s decision to move forward with the Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia. Rousey brought up her own experiences at the 2004 Olympics games and running with an Iraqi athlete following the U.S. and Iraq conflict that began in March 2003 and citing how this story hits home with her sister being a journalist. While Rousey admittedly states she is an “idealist”, any defense of running this show must include the fact WWE is being paid such an exorbitant amount of money and that was the ultimate decisionmaker as opposed to the company acting as change agents. In April, this was not a show about change, and if it was, it was the WWE’s willingness to “change” how they operate with the exclusion of talent and complicit endorsement of a foreign government with a horrible track record of human rights violations. For the WWE to present a similar show in tone next week, will renew a lot of the backlash. The WWE’s defense would have less criticism if they were running a regular show that was independent of the Government, that is not what this show is. The company didn’t wake up one day and realize they need to enact change in Saudi Arabia, they were offered an enormous contract to bring a “form” of their entertainment to the country. These shows are seen as a larger commercial for Saudi Arabia to a worldwide audience and that is what they are paying for.

Earlier today, I wrote on Twitter that Rousey’s statement was the type of message the WWE should have delivered instead of referring people to their statement and refusing to answer questions. After writing that, I spent a lot of today thinking about it. On one hand, I felt it was such a cop-out how the WWE refused to take questions and had any perspective to their decision beyond being a contract that they signed and reaching their financial expectations for the fourth quarter. Rousey at least answered the questions and while acknowledging being an “idealist”, tried to make a case. That said, the message Rousey gave was a false depiction of what is going on. The WWE is not going to Saudi Arabia to liberate the country and doing these shows as a social mission, it’s a financially motivated one and to ignore the financial aspect doesn’t paint an accurate picture of the WWE’s commitment to this event. I didn’t watch this video from Rousey and see someone delivering a message she didn’t believe or had words put into her mouth, I heard someone that has given this thought but is not seeing what this deal is, much less the content of the last show and what the WWE is endorsing. In the end, it’s not an accurate representation and softening the WWE’s decision is passively condoning it and that should not be the case.

**As of Thursday, we were told that John Cena is still off the Crown Jewel event. A replacement for Cena in the World Cup tournament probably won’t be announced until Raw on Monday.

**On Friday, a suspect was taken into custody and believed to be responsible for the various bombs that were mailed out this week. The suspect, Cesar Sayoc, was in possession of a van that was covered in pro-Donald Trump stickers, various individuals with targets on their head, and had a sticker for the American Top Team gym in Florida. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani spoke with ATT owner Dan Lambert, who denied having any knowledge of Sayoc and he wasn’t in their database of members. Newsweek spoke to the suspect’s cousin, who stated that Sayoc aspired to become a professional wrestler, “but the steroids f----d his head up.”

**The WWE stock closed at $69.78 on Friday and dropped 7.8% during the day.

**Impact Wrestling had an enormous drop in their first week at the new start time of 10 pm on Pop TV. This week’s show was the least watched episode of Impact ever on the station with 98,000 viewers. It was a 48% drop from last week’s figure of 198,000 viewers. Yes, it’s the first week in the new time slot and it should grow over the next few weeks but this is not a good sign when 198,000 viewers seem great in comparison.

**The UFC returns on Saturday night for a Fight Night event from Moncton, New Brunswick with the following card, including results from Friday’s weigh-in:

MAIN CARD (10 pm Eastern on FS 1, TSN 5 in Canada)

*Volkan Oezdemir (205.5) vs. Anthony Smith (205.5)
Michael Johnson (147) vs. Artem Lobov (145.5)
*Misha Cirkunov (205) vs. Patrick Cummins (205.5)
*Jonathan Martinez (135) vs. Andre Soukhamthath (136)
*Ed Herman (205.5) vs. Gian Villante (205.5)
*Court McGee (170.5) vs. Alex Garcia (170.5)

PRELIMINARY CARD (8 pm on FS 2, Fight Network in Canada
*Sean Strickland (170.5) vs. Nordine Taleb (170.5)
*Nasrat Haqparast (156) vs. Thibault Gouti (155.5)
*Chris Fishgold (146) vs. Calvin Kattar (146)
*Sarah Moras (135.5) vs. Talita Bernardo (133)


*Te Edwards (156) vs. Don Madge (154)
*Marcelo Golm (255.5) vs. Arjan Bhullar (242)
*Jessin Ayari (155) vs. Stevie Ray (155.5)

**The WWE will be live streaming the first 30 minutes of the Evolution card on Twitter this Sunday from 7-7:30 pm Eastern. The stream will be carried on the @WWE, @TwitterLive, and @TwitterSports handles. They have also announced there will be custom emojis for #WWEEvolution, #RondaRousey, and #NikkiBella.

**The Bella Twins and Ronda Rousey had their appearances canceled on “Megyn Kelly Today” on Thursday. Following Kelly’s remarks about children using “blackface” for Halloween costumes, the host was removed by NBC with a rerun airing in its place Thursday. NBC has since announced Kelly will not be returning to host the third hour of the “Today” show, which she had occupied since September 2017.

**New Japan Pro Wrestling has announced that Don Callis will be returning to provide commentary for future events. The promotion announced Callis will be working with Kevin Kelly on “multiple upcoming events” and that includes Wrestle Kingdom 13 on January 4th at the Tokyo Dome.

**On today’s Super Junior Tag League show from Korakuen Hall, they tried out a new English commentary team with Shaun “Mavs” Gillis and Lanny Poffo. Gillis is a sports broadcaster that is based out of Nova Scotia.

**Below is the card for Saturday’s Super Junior Tag League card from Korakuen Hall at 5:30 am Eastern:
*Tomoaki Honma, Shota Umino & Ren Narita vs. Ayato Yoshida, Yuya Uemura & Yota Tsuji
*Minoru Suzuki & Taka Michinoku vs. Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto
*Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe & Toa Henare vs. Kota Ibushi, Yujiro & Chase Owens
*Kazuchika Okada, Best Friends, Toru Yano & Rocky Romero vs. Jay White, Bad Luck Fale, Guerrillas of Destiny & Gedo
*ACH & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask in the Super Junior Tag League
*Roppongi 3K vs. Volador Jr. & Soberano Jr. in the Super Junior Tag League
*KUSHIDA & Chris Sabin vs. Taiji Ishimori & Robbie Eagles in the Super Junior Tag League
*Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado vs. Shingo Takagi & Bushi in the Super Junior Tag League

**Seeking Alpha analyzes the WWE stock and states that it’s coming back down to Earth. The stock has fallen 28% since October 1st. Analyst Kevin Cavanagh looks at the results of their third-quarter earnings report and how live events, television numbers, and social media engagement performed and has provided concern.

**The PW Torch site has a guest article that outlines the WWE’s decision to run the Crown Jewel event in Riyadh. The author of the piece, who goes by “DDC” explains how the argument that the WWE has a fiduciary obligation to its shareholders to run this show and thus maximize profits is not accurate and explains why that isn’t a defense for running the show.

**The WWE has a dual brand house show Saturday in Corbin, Kentucky with AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Braun Strowman, and Jeff Hardy advertised. The combined crew is in Asheville, North Carolina Sunday for a 5 pm show prior to Evolution.

**The WWE will be presenting a series of panel discussions hosted by Cathy Kelley this weekend on Facebook, YouTune, and Twitter. On Saturday, Kelly will host a panel with Sasha Banks, Trish Stratus, and Toni Storm at Noon Eastern, Saturday at 2 pm will feature Nikki Bella, Charlotte Flair, and Shayna Baszler, and Kelly will interview Stephanie McMahon on Sunday at 3 pm.

**Wednesday night’s episode of Lucha Underground featured the seven-person Gift of the Gods match for the championship involving Jake Strong, PJ Black, Aerostar, Dante Fox, Hernandez, King Cuerno, and Big Bad Steve. It was the only match on the show ate up most of the show’s time. The highlights included a dive by Dante Fox off the top of the stairs, and Aerostar being elevated on a forklift and landing a crossbody into the ring.

One element that Lucha Underground does so well is building dominant characters whether it was Mil Muertes or Matanza Cueto in past seasons or currently with Jake Strong. It’s a simple formula: they run through everyone and get their finisher established with top guys falling to the move. This season Lucha Underground has done a better job with Strong (Jake Hager, Jack Swagger) than WWE ever did with him. In the end, he submitted Fox with the ankle lock and was the dominant force throughout the match. My only complaint is the silly sound effects they use of the ankle-snapping when he twists and takes all seriousness out of the scene.

The show ended with Johnny Mundo on the roof and approached by Aerostar and Drago, who have Mundo’s back against Matanza at Ultima Lucha. Mundo declined the offer and was presented with the POWER GLOVE that Brian Cage used to have as Mundo’s secret weapon to defeat Matanza.

**Next week is the first of two Ultima Lucha Cuatro specials with the following matches announced for next week:
*Kobra Moon, Daga & Jeremiah Snake vs. Paul London, The White Rabbit & El Bunny vs. Ivelisse, Xo Lishus & Sammy Guevara for the Trios titles
*Killshot vs. Son of Havoc in a Mask vs. Mask match

**The final episode of this season of Lucha Underground is Wednesday, November 7th.

**Bleacher Report has a feature on Renee Young being added to the Raw commentary team with Michael Cole and Corey Graves. The piece looks at her background in comedy and hosting roles at The Score in Canada before joining the WWE in 2012.

**CM Punk (Phil Brooks) turns 40 years old today. Taka Michinoku turns 45 today.

REWIND-A-WAI #22: WWE Battleground 2016 w/ Espresso Executive producer Jerry Kilgore
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE Battleground 2016 just days following that year’s WWE Draft. WWE Champion Dean Ambrose faces Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins to determine whether the title moves to Raw or SmackDown. Plus, Bayley makes a surprise debut, Randy Orton appears on the Highlight Reel, and Kevin Owens faces Sami Zayn for THE LAST TIME.

upNXT & Forever Young 10/25/18: Here’s Johnny!
Braden Herrington & Davie Portman chat this week’s episode of WWE NXT featuring the SHOCKING reveal of “Who Attacked Aleister Black?” PLUS! The lads discuss the final episode of the 2018 Mae Young Classic.

BREAKING NEWS: WWE to run Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia
John Pollock and Wai Ting have a special breaking news show to discuss the WWE’s decision to go forward with the Crown Jewel event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia next wee

DOUBLE SHOT 10/24/18: NWA 70th Anniversary, WON Hall of Fame, Total Divas
John Pollock reviews this past Sunday’s NWA 70th Anniversary card featuring Cody vs. Nick Aldis. Wai Ting provides his weekly review of Total Divas. Pollock reveals his ballot for this year’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame.

RASD 10/23/18: Latest on WWE Crown Jewel, SD & MMC reviews, Evolution Preview
The final show before Evolution featured a segment shot at the PC with Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. Plus various pairings of World Cup participants with Jeff Hardy taking on Randy Orton and The Miz facing Rey Mysterio.

REWIND-A-RAW 10/22/18: Roman Reigns reveals battle with leukemia, relinquishes the Universal title
It was a very emotional edition of Raw with Roman Reigns relinquishing the Universal title with the news that he is battling leukemia. The show also featured a contract signing between Ronda Rousey and Nikki Bella, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose going for the Raw tag titles, the new title match at Crown Jewel, an appearance by DX and more on the “go home” show for Evolution.

John Pollock & Wai Ting review Season 2 of the Netflix crime mockumentary series, American Vandal. We discuss our thoughts on how this season compared to the first, choose our favorite cast members, and give our take on the series’ commentary on journalism and social media.

POST MOVIE REVIEW: Iron Man 2 (2010)
John Pollock and Wai Ting discuss the return of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, the controversy surrounding Don Cheadle replacing Terrence Howard as James Rhodes, the introduction of Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, the use of antagonists played by Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell, and the reasons why this movie might not be as fondly remembered as its predecessor.

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And this is when the crowd turns on Rousey because she didn’t echo their thoughts about something and she’s a star.

That fight card is shit, even dusting off Ed Herman for this.