POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: Street Fight on SmackDown, NJPW vs. NOAH preview

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2022/01/07/pollocks-news-update-street-fight-on-smackdown-njpw-vs-noah-preview/

POST IT NOTES

**The POST Daily News Show from Friday was an extended edition covering the AEW Dynamite numbers from TBS, Samoa Joe among the WWE cuts and larger questions looming, WWE’s return to Saudi Arabia next month, KENTA’s injuries, ESPN+ increasing the price of UFC pay-per-views, and a preview of the major cards this weekend.

**Rewind-A-SmackDown is live tonight at 11:15 p.m. ET with Wai Ting and I reviewing Friday Night SmackDown and AEW Rampage as well as taking your calls. This show is exclusive for members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**The POST Wrestling Best of 2021 Show is available on the site and the video version is on YouTube. The panel consists of Wai Ting, Davie Portman, Braden Herrington and I sharing our picks in fourteen categories including Best Wrestler, Best Event, Best Match, Best Feud, Best on the Mic, Best Broadcaster, Biggest Story & many others. The Worst of 2021 show will be released next week. We encourage you to post your picks in the POST Wrestling Forum.

**We will have Mark Buckeldee providing a review of the NJPW vs. NOAH card on Saturday, Bruce Lord will be covering the AEW Battle of the Belts show, and John Siino will have a report on IMPACT’s Hard to Kill. There will also be POST Show for all three events.

POST SCHEDULE

Saturday: Wrestle Kingdom 16 – Night 3 POST Show with WH Park & Mike Murray (Patreon)
Saturday: IMPACT Hard to Kill POST Show with Davie Portman & John Siino (upNXT feed)
Saturday: AEW Battle of the Belts POST Show with Wai Ting & Kate from Montreal
Sunday: The N.W.A. Podcast with Nate Milton, Kris Ealy & Andrew Thompson
Sunday: Wrestlenomics Radio with Brandon Thurston & Chris Gullo

WRESTLING NEWS

**Friday Night SmackDown is at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut tonight with the advertised return of Roman Reigns after missing Day 1. The Reigns and Brock Lesnar program has gained a lot of momentum since December in terms of moving tickets for Day 1 when the match was announced and television numbers. It is the strongest feud WWE has. They likely need a detour for Roman Reigns with Lesnar squaring off with Bobby Lashley at the Royal Rumble and makes more sense for Lesnar to appear on Raw this month. They have added the following matches for tonight:
*Street Fight for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship: The Usos (champions) vs. New Day
*Sami Zayn vs. Rick Boogs

**205 Live features the following matches at 10 p.m. ET on the WWE Network:
*Ikemen Jiro vs. Ru Feng
*Malik Blade vs. Draco Anthony
*Erica Yan vs. Nikkita Lyons

**AEW Rampage will air at 10 p.m. ET on TNT and TSN Direct in Canada with matches taped on Wednesday in Newark, New Jersey. There will be an announcement on the show regarding one of the matches at Battle of the Belts being affected due to medical protocols, but they have not stated which one. Below is tonight’s card:
*Adam Cole vs. Jake Atlas – this is the match where Atlas suffered a knee injury and will be notable to see if anything is edited around the ending, although they finished the match
*Dr. Britt Baker & Jamie Hayter vs. Riho & Ruby Soho
*Hook vs. Aaron Solo
*No DQ, No Rules, No Holds Barred: Eddie Kingston, Santana & Ortiz vs. Daniel Garcia & 2point0

**The third night of Wrestle Kingdom 16 takes place from the Yokohama Arena early Saturday morning. It was noted on Wednesday’s broadcast that the tickets are sold out for the show. This will be a pay-per-view event on Abema and won’t be available to New Japan World or Wrestle Universe subscribers for seven days. Abema is listing the cost of the show at $35 U.S. and that’s the only outlet to order the show from. There was one change to the card as KENTA sustained a litany of injuries in his match with Hiroshi Tanahashi and is off of the show and will be replaced by a mystery partner in the six-man tag.

The show lacks the big dream match but if the plan is to do several shows together, the novelty of NJPW vs. NOAH may be enough for the first event and then build to a big singles encounter. During Wednesday’s angle, it pointed you in the direction of Shingo Takagi vs. Kenoh, who will be on opposite ends of a ten-man tag between LIJ and KONGOH.

Given the line-up, you can see in most cases where someone is inserted into the match as the one designed to take the fall. The match order has not been made official yet, but it would seem likely that Kazuchika Okada & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Keiji Muto & Kaito Kiyomiya would be the closer. The handling of Kiyomiya is important but I can’t see anyone else except him taking the fall in that one. If he comes off at the level of the big stars in the match that’s a positive as long-term, he needs to be a major star for NOAH and has taken many key losses over the past year.

The card will have English commentary from Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton and that will be a selling feature for non-NOAH fans. Charlton is excellent and knows both products inside and out and that’s key on a show like this. If there was doubt, Kelly and Charlton really emphasized this week why they are the top team in the industry. Both promotions have strong English teams with the NOAH side featuring Stewart Fulton and Mark Pickering.

Some proceeds from the pay-per-view will be going towards the Japanese Red Cross.

Here is the card that begins at 2 a.m. ET late tonight:
*Kazuchika Okada & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Keiji Muto & Kaito Kiyomiya
*Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI vs. Katsuhiko Nakajima, Kenoh, Manabu Soya, Tadasuke & Aleja
*SHO vs. Atsushi Kotoge
*EVIL & Dick Togo vs. Go Shiozaki & Masa Kitamiya
*Minoru Suzuki, Taichi & Taka Michinoku vs. Takashi Sugiura, Kazushi Sakuraba & TBA
*Zack Sabre Jr. & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Naomichi Marufuji & Yoshinari Ogawa
*Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs. Daisuke Harada, Hajime Ohara, Daiki Inaba, Yoshiki Inamura & Kinya Okada
*El Desperado & DOUKI vs. YO-HEY & NOSAWA Rongai
*Taiji Ishimori & Gedo vs. HAYATA & Seiki Yoshioka
*Pre-show: Kosei Fujita vs. Yasutaka Yano
*Pre-show: Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Muhammed Yone, King Tany & Akitoshi Saito

**Brandon Thurston at Wrestlenomics has done a lot of research regarding AEW’s television numbers. One of the positives of moving to TBS is the strength of lead-in they are acquiring with Big Bang Theory airing at 7:30 p.m. ET. Thurston noted that in November and December, Big Bang Theory ranged between 0.24 and 0.32 in 18-49 while topping one million viewers. The big figure on Wednesday’s debut on TBS was the 18-34 number where Dynamite did 0.34 and was the program’s fourth-largest in its history and beat Raw in that demo this week. In fact, no episode of Raw or SmackDown hit that high in 18-34 since November. The coming weeks will provide clarity on what type of bump AEW is receiving from the move and how much was an aberration for the promotion of the first show on TBS with a major title match advertised for several weeks. Moving to TBS has eliminated the live airing for those in the Pacific and certain Mountain time zones, but as Thurston has outlined, over the past six weeks the show fell 31 percent in the major Pacific time zone markets but also dropped 30 percent in the major Eastern time zone markets, which doesn’t have the excuse of the time shift.

**The NWA and FITE TV issued a press release outlining the All Access package they are offering and the expansions to six pay-per-views per year. Earlier this week, it was announced that NWA Powerrr and NWA USA would air first for FITE TV viewers and then be released for free on YouTube, beginning today. The All-Access plan allows fans to spend $49.99 for the annual plan that includes all six pay-per-views (which will be priced at $24.99 individually) and includes first-run episodes of the two series on Tuesday nights at 6:05 p.m. ET for Powerrr and Saturdays at 12:05 a.m. for USA. You can also subscribe to a monthly plan for $4.99 without the pay-per-views included. Their next pay-per-view takes place on February 12th.

**IMPACT’s first major event of the year is Hard to Kill on Saturday night from The Factory in Dallas, Texas. Earlier today, they announced that The IInspiration (Cassie Lee & Jessica McKay) are off the show after being exposed to someone that later tested positive for COVID. The card will go head-to-head from 8-9 p.m. ET with AEW’s Battle of the Belts as IMPACT opted not to air the show later in the evening as they did with Bound for Glory on the same night as a Saturday edition of Dynamite. We will have coverage on the site from John Siino with John & Davie Portman also doing a Hard to Kill POST Show that same night on the upNXT feed. Below is the card:
*IMPACT World Championship: Moose (champion) vs. Matt Cardona vs. W. Morrissey
*Knockouts Championship, Texas Death Match: Mickie James (champion) vs. Deonna Purrazzo
*Josh Alexander vs. JONAH
*Ultimate X Match: Rosemary vs. Jordynne Grace vs. Alisha Edwards (replacing Rachael Ellering) vs. Chelsea Green vs. Tasha Steelz vs. Lady Frost
*X Division Championship: Trey Miguel (champion) vs. Steve Maclin
*ROH Championship: Jonathan Gresham (champion) vs. Chris Sabin
*Hardcore War: Eddie Edwards, Rhino, Willie Mack, Rich Swann & Heath vs. Karl Anderson, DOC Gallows, Joe Doering, Eric Young & Deaner
*Pre-show: Ace Austin vs. Chris Bey vs. Jake Something vs. Laredo Kid

**Samoa Joe issued the following comment after news of his release was reported:

Extremely fortunate and grateful to all the young & amazing talent I had the pleasure of working with in the past months. Only saddened at the loss of an “excuse” to see their continued growth & achievement . I am very excited for there future,….. and mine.

**From George Carroll, who was working as a writer and producer and was part of this week’s cuts:

I pride myself on being genuine. I was living a dream that I busted my ass for. Unfortunately you gotta wake up from dreams. I don’t know what’s next, but I know I won’t let this change who I am. I appreciate all the messages, calls and texts. I’ll get back to you. Love you all

**WALTER’s last match with NXT UK will take place next Thursday against Nathan Frazier.

Former #NXTUK Champion @WalterAUT has a major announcement. pic.twitter.com/LtXRioLjTn

— WWE (@WWE) January 6, 2022

**MLW has announced a Falls Count Anywhere match between Alex Hammerstone and Pagano for the MLW world heavyweight title at the Blood & Thunder tapings on January 21st in Dallas. John Siino has a report on Thursday’s premiere of MLW Azteca featuring Hammerstone & Pagano teaming in the main event and the angle that sets up the match.

**GRAPPL released data of the tabulations for all matches in the history of Wrestle Kingdom on the app. Kazuchika Okada and Will Ospreay’s match from Wednesday cracked the top ten list at #10 with an average user rating of 4.70. The top match remains Okada vs. Kenny Omega from January 2017 at 4.89. Of the top ten matches, Okada is involved in six of them (and five of the top six). Hiroshi Tanahashi has three and Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi, Shinsuke Nakamura and Will Ospreay each have two matches in the top ten.

**The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy has launched as part of Ad Free Shows. On the first podcast, Hardy and co-host Jon Alba discussed The Hardy’s ladder match with Edge & Christian at No Mercy 1999 and featured Jeff Hardy appearing on the show. Hardy noted the four of them initially received $5,000 each for the match but made their case to Jim Ross, who made the payoffs, and the four ended up with $10,000 each for the match.

**Jonathan Foye has released a book documenting the All Japan exodus of talent in the spring of 2000 to form Pro Wrestling NOAH. The book is called Ganbaru: How All Japan Pro Wrestling Survived the Year 2000 Roster Split and is available on Kindle through Amazon. Reporter Fumi Saito wrote the foreword to the book and below is the description:

In the year 2000, Mitsuharu Misawa left All Japan Pro Wrestling. He took all but two of the company’s contracted wrestlers with him.

To keep the company alive, company owner Motoko Baba made two phone calls. One was to a man who had walked out on the company a decade ago. The other was to an age-old rival.

Ganbaru lifts the curtain on the unique world of puroresu, or Japanese Pro Wrestling. It is the personal tale of a fallout between a popular leader and a pioneering businesswoman. It explores the unique relationship between All Japan Pro Wrestling’s owner Motoko Baba and company president Mitsuharu Misawa, and how everything changed after the death of Shohei ‘Giant’ Baba.

The book covers how All Japan Pro Wrestling managed to survive the loss of all but two members of its roster and all but six of its staff after Misawa led a shocking mass walkout. It is a look at the rise, fall, and rise again of a professional wrestling dynasty.

Ganbaru explores how All Japan managed this crisis and rebuilt, despite predictions the company would fold. As well as looking at the event from a crisis communications perspective, the book explores the human drama at the core of the split.

Veteran wrestling journalist Fumi Saito provided a lengthy interview and the book’s foreword. As someone who was backstage during the events described, Saito offers the perspective of an insider. As he writes, “This is a book about sport, entertainment, culture, and humanity.”

**Josh Mathews spoke with SLAM Wrestling on his transition from play-by-play announcer to the producer of the show, which he made one year ago.

**DEFY Wrestling has announced that Christopher Daniels will defend the DEFY championship on February 12th at Washington Hall in Seattle on their fifth-anniversary card. They have not announced an opponent yet.

**The WWE stock closed at $50.02 on Friday, which was an increase of 2 percent.

**The lineup for NJPW Strong on Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET on New Japan World from the Nemesis tapings:
*Eddie Kingston vs. Gabriel Kidd
*Hikuleo & Chris Bey vs. Jordan Clearwater & Keita Murray
*The DKC vs. TJP

ON THIS DATE

Historic day in 1995:

Ketna Kobashi & Jun Akiyama take on Akira Taue & Toshiaki Kawada in Kochi for the All Japan tag titles in 1999:

The final ECW pay-per-view, Guilty as Charged in 2001:

Triple H returns from injury at Madison Square Garden on the first Raw of 2002:

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