POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: Sasha Banks featured on ESPN tonight, buzz for IMPACT Wrestling

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2022/01/10/pollocks-news-update-sasha-banks-featured-on-espn-tonight-buzz-for-impact-wrestling/


**We will be live tonight at 11:15 p.m. ET for Rewind-A-Raw with a review of Raw from Philadelphia tonight and taking your feedback. Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso members of the POST Wrestling Café have live access to the show.

**We want to wish our best to Kris Ealy of The N.W.A. Podcast, who is recovering after surgery over the weekend. He said he is already feeling much better.

**Over the weekend, we had POST Shows for Wrestle Kingdom 16 – Night 3 with Mike Murray & WH Park (for Patrons), IMPACT’s Hard to Kill with Davie Portman & John Siino, and AEW Battle of the Belts with Wai Ting & Kate from Montreal.

**On Tuesday, Rewind-A-Wai returns with a review of the VHS release of ‘Cause Stone Cold Said So, an in-character special hosted by Steve Austin covering his rise in 1996 and 1997 that focuses on the King of the Ring speech, his feud with Bret Hart, and The Hart Foundation, and winning the WWF tag titles with Shawn Michaels. The show will be released on Tuesday evening for members of the POST Wrestling Café.


Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John & Wai (11:15 p.m. ET for Double Double+ Patrons)
Tuesday: Rewind-A-Wai #101: ‘Cause Stone Cold Said So VHS (Patreon)
Tuesday: Andrew Thompson interviews Janai Kai
Tuesday: upNXT with Davie Portman & Braden Herrington
Wednesday: Shot in the Dark with John Siino
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite (10:15 p.m. ET)
Thursday: The 2022 MMA Prediction Show with John Pollock & Ariel Helwani
Thursday: The British Wrestling Experience
Friday: The Worst of 2021 Show with Pollock, Wai, Braden & Davie
Friday: Andrew Thompson interviews BLK Jeez
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (11:15 p.m. for all Patrons)
Saturday: The Long & Winding Royal Road with WH Park & Martin Bushby (Misawa vs. Kobashi, March 2003)
Sunday: Wrestlenomics Radio with Brandon Thurston & Chris Gullo


IMPACT came out of the weekend with some buzz following the news of Mickie James’ participation in the Royal Rumble this month that parlayed into the Hard to Kill show, which James headlined with Deonna Purrazzo. The pay-per-view was one of IMPACT’s best in a long time with a lot of positivity from those watching. One highlight was the start of an invasion storyline where several recent ROH stars appeared on the show attacking the babyface team after the Hardcore War.

IMPACT’s best quality is an ability to work with everyone and understand its place in the market where it can’t afford to be petty or have misgivings about its position. 2022 is going to be a year where WWE and AEW are the industry leaders and it will be the audience that determines if a healthy middle class can exist. GCW has proven it can and is poised to have its biggest year to date and has made smart choices in its growth and not signed any deals that are crippling in exchange for perception such as television exposure. The two companies operate differently – if GCW needs to make money to operate and keep moving as a truly independent operation. For IMPACT, they serve multiple purposes for Anthem Sports, so even if they are not a standalone profitable entity, it’s programming for Anthem’s stations that they own and can license.

Their exposure on AXS TV is limiting as it’s not a highly viewed station and the numbers are minuscule often finishing with 0.01 or 0.02 in the 18-49 demographic. The news that NJPW is returning to AXS TV should be a positive for IMPACT in that it suggests there should be an open border between the groups especially the NJPW STRONG with IMPACT that highlights AXS TV’s Thursday night block with the two companies. In my opinion, this year is all about demand whereas the supply side is overflowing from top-level in-ring talent to wrestling IQ with all the names released last week.

But, can the industry support so many companies? Last week was a good example of all the great wrestling that is out there and all competing for the fan’s attention. There is an audience that will consume most, if not all of the major and medium content but plenty more than likely have a breaking point and will cut off their fandom at a certain point when it feels like a chore to keep up to date. It begs for promotions to understand the value of presenting “special” events that resonate with the viewer and are deemed worthy of a 3-4-hour commitment. Perhaps, the reality is that your average fan of IMPACT won’t be a weekly television viewer but will swoop in for the big shows several times per year.

While it feels like there is more wrestling than ever to follow, there has been a gap created with the hiatus by Ring of Honor and NXT becoming less of a priority than its previous incarnation. Anecdotal evidence suggests that IMPACT created a space for itself on a crowded Saturday night with a strategy of several news items released throughout the day, a strong card on paper, and a few surprises on the pay-per-view to send the viewer home satisfied. It’s unlikely the pay-per-view number gets out there because IMPACT is still working on a small scale but generally, it feels like the promotion has stability and overall positivity that it has lacked for a long time.


**WWE Raw takes place from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia tonight. The WWE event page is advertising Brock Lesnar for tonight’s show along with the following matches scheduled:
*Raw Tag Team Championship: Randy Orton & Riddle (champions) vs. Chad Gable & Otis
*#1 Contenders Match: Bianca Belair vs. Liv Morgan vs. Doudrop
*Alexa Bliss’ journey back to Raw

**Raw is up against the college football national championship game between Georgia and Alabama, which will be a big event on ESPN tonight. Variety reported that WWE star Sasha Banks will be featured in the opening of the game as a “futuristic superhero” with the following description:

The segment features Banks as a futuristic superhero who sparks the start of the college football national championship using the final piece of confetti from last year’s game in Miami to the teams running out on the field this year in Indianapolis.

The Variety piece added that it was the latest collaboration between WWE and ESPN following the Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder fight last October where Big E. voiced the introductions and Bill Goldberg appeared on College GameDay on New Year’s Eve to make his picks.

**Below are the matches set for AEW Dark: Elevation tonight at 7 p.m. ET on its YouTube channel:
*Jay Lethal & Sonny Kiss vs. Jaden Valo & Chris Steeler
*Andrade El Idolo vs. Avery Good
*Private Party & The Blade vs. John Silver, Alex Reynolds & Preston “10” Vance
*The Acclaimed vs. Kevin Matthews & Joey Ace
*FTR vs. Pat Brink & Myles Hawkins
*Dante Martin vs. Action Andretti
*Nyla Rose & Emi Sakura vs. Skye Blue & Tina Antonio
*Red Velvet & Leyla Hirsch vs. Notorious Mimi & B3cca
*QT Marshall vs. Zack Clayton
*Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Ryan Clancy

**Deanna Booher, who played the popular ‘Matilda the Hun’ on GLOW, died this past Friday at the age of 73. After the 1986 season with GLOW, she left the group to join the Powerful Women of Wrestling (POWW). Booher had appearances in the film “Spaceballs”, as well as TV appearances on Married with Children, In Living Color, Mama’s Family, Night Court, and Dream On among her many credits. She was part of the 2012 documentary on GLOW that streamed on Netflix and attended a GLOW reunion in 2017 at the Cauliflower Alley Club in Las Vegas. SLAM Wrestling has an obit on her life.

**WrestleCon has announced two events scheduled for Friday, April 1st in conjunction with the convention. New Japan STRONG will be holding a taping at WrestleCon that day at 5 p.m. Later that night, IMPACT will stage an event at 9 p.m. This means that IMPACT and Ring of Honor will be running at the same time as ROH has announced Supercard of Honor for the same night in Garland, Texas.

**Rick Boogs was a guest on Out of Character with Ryan Satin of Fox Sports and stated that Shinsuke Nakamura has been dealing with a hand injury. Nakamura wrestled two tag matches last month including a short match on SmackDown with Boogs against Los Lotharios. Nakamura has not wrestled a singles match since the Survivor Series where he faced Damian Priest in November.

**Speedball Mike Bailey has been added to Game Changer Wrestling’s events this Saturday in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, and February 25 & 26 in Los Angeles at the Ukrainian Cultural Center.

**Among the memories of Bob Saget, who died on Sunday at the age of 65, many in wrestling have reflected on several wrestling tie-ins including a 2006 appearance for CHIKARA as its commissioner. He also did a 2010 shoot he did with Dragon Gate USA. Saget filmed a segment for his “Strange Days with Bob Saget” program with several of the talents including Jon Moxley, YAMATO, and BxB Hulk. Booker Gabe Sapolsky reflected on the segment, noting it didn’t gain any traction for the promotion but Saget imparted some advice for them. Ryan Satin added a conversation between Saget and Roddy Piper on the similarities between their fields.

Bob Saget chatting with Roddy Piper about the similarities between comedy and pro wrestling. #RIP pic.twitter.com/QU6uHZbRQH

— Ryan Satin (@ryansatin) January 10, 2022

**Mike Bennett is replacing Alex Coughlin against Moose on this Sunday’s Terminus card in Atlanta, Georgia.

**IMPACT held its television tapings on Saturday at The Factory in Dallas following its Hard to Kill pay-per-view. The promotion will return with two TV tapings in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on January 21st and 22nd at the Charles Dodge Center. Their next pay-per-view is Rebellion that will take place Saturday, April 23rd at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York.

**AEW will be holding Dark tapings this Saturday at Universal Studios on Soundstage 19 with sessions at 2 and 7 p.m. ET. They are advertising Adam Cole, Jade Cargill, Orange Cassidy, Eddie Kingston, Tay Conti, and Anna Jay among the talent set to appear.

**AEW will return to Daily’s Place on Wednesday, March 2nd for a live episode of Dynamite with tickets going on sale this Friday at 10 a.m. ET. It’s the go-home episode of Dynamite before the Revolution pay-per-view that weekend in Orlando.

**After its three Wrestle Kingdom 16 events, NJPW is off until Thursday, January 20th when it begins its New Years Golden Series of shows. The next set of shows are January 20 & 21 at Korakuen Hall, January 22 in Gunma, January 23 in Tochigi, January 25 in Fukushima, January 28 in Nagoya, January 29 at Korakuen Hall, and January 30 in Ibaraki. The next major show is Friday, February 11th at the Xebio Arena in Sendai.

**NJPW has posted all the post-match comments following Saturday’s NJPW vs. NOAH card at the Yokohama Arena. The show aired as a pay-per-view on Abema TV and will be available on New Japan World and Wrestle Universe this Saturday.


**After several weeks off, the UFC kicks off its year with the first Fight Night of 2022 this Saturday. The main event between Calvin Kattar and Giga Chikadze picked up added significance over the past few days as the UFC is seeking a new opponent for 145-pound champion Alexander Volkanovski on March 5th at UFC 272. Ariel Helwani has reported that Chan Sung Jung is the frontrunner to get the fight with Volkanovski after the original opponent Max Holloway was unable to take the fight. It may be a long shot, but a big performance from Chikadze or Kattar could create an opening if the winner comes out of Saturday’s fight healthy and willing to fight less than two months later, which would basically require another fight camp to begin imminently. Kattar is a long shot given that he has not fought in a year and is coming off a loss to Holloway while Chikadze is 7-0 in the UFC and has become a big breakout fighter at featherweight with wins against Cub Swanson and Edson Barboza last year.

Saturday’s card is representative of the Fight Night formula of putting a good main event together with some stakes attached and mixing the rest of the card with a few names, no one major, and other fighters trying to breakthrough. Former title challengers Katlyn Chookagian and Jennifer Maia will meet at 125 pounds and Brandon Royval tries to rebound from back-to-back losses against Rogerio Bontorin. Court McGee is scheduled for his nineteenth UFC fight when he headlines the prelims against Ramiz Brahimaj.


Taz wins the ECW title for the first time at Guilty as Charged in 1999:

Steve Austin takes on Kurt Angle at Madison Square Garden in 2002:

Kenta Kobashi & Akira Taue vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Masahiro Chono at Budokan Hall in 2003:

CM Punk teams with Road Dogg & Billy Gunn to face The Shield in 2014, just weeks before Punk’s exit:

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1 Like

Glad Impact’s getting some attention, buzz and love! Fantastic show Saturday night and can’t wait for Thursday night

Bob Saget’s appearance for Chikara slipped my mind, but I was at that show where they made the reveal through a video message. It was a running gag that Saget was in charge, and they paid it off. Later on, the role of Commissioner was transitioned over to Dave Coulier, who never made an appearance.