Originally published at POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: TakeOver Night 1 to run commercial-free on Peacock
POST IT NOTES
**Wai Ting and I are LIVE tonight with Rewind-A-SmackDown at 10:15 pm ET for all POST Wrestling Café members. We’ll also go over a lot of news from today and it’s open phone lines every Friday night to chat about any/all subjects.
**The big event at POST Wrestling this weekend is POST Podcast Day beginning at Noon ET on Saturday and running LIVE for six hours with six unique shows scheduled. This full slate of shows is available LIVE for all members of the POST Wrestling Café:
*Noon ET: Worst WrestleMania Matches Ever with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
*1 pm: The History of WCW in Europe with Martin Bushby, Benno & guest Gary Michael Cappetta
*2 pm: The Nubian Wrestling Advocates with Nate Milton, Andrew Thompson, Kris Ealy & Marcus Vanderberg
*3 pm: Turned Out a Punk LIVE with Damian Abraham & 2oolman from A Tribe Called Red
*4 pm: ASK-A-WAI with John Pollock & Wai Ting
*5 pm: LIVE Q&A with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani
**On Thursday, we were joined once again by Critical Care Physician Dr. Alex Patel to speak on the latest COVID-19 trends, what you need to know about the various vaccines, avoiding misinformation, and where things stand.
Tonight: Rewind-A-SmackDown (LIVE at 10:15 pm ET for all Patrons)
Saturday: POST PODCAST DAY at Noon ET for all POST Wrestling Café members
Sunday: MCU L8R with Wai Ting & WH Park (Patreon)
Sunday: The Long & Winding Royal Road with WH Park & Stephanie Chase (Kenta Kobashi vs. Johnny Ace, May 26, 1995)
Monday: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting (LIVE at 11:15 pm ET for Dbl Dbl+ Patrons)
**Tonight’s edition of Friday Night SmackDown features an appearance by Logan Paul for the Red-Carpet segment involving Sami Zayn and the trailer for his documentary.
**Paul Levesque held a call with the media to promote next week’s NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver shows. Levesque noted that the Peacock feed for the first night of TakeOver will not have commercial breaks. He added that they are still working out the logistics between Peacock and the USA Network. The first night of TakeOver will be simulcast between the USA Network and Peacock while the second night airs exclusively on Peacock.
**WWE has released its WrestleMania Week programming schedule. Both nights of WrestleMania will feature one-hour kickoff shows beginning at 7 pm ET. Throughout the week, they will also release new editions of Prime Target, Broken Skull Sessions feat. Chris Jericho, WWE Chronicle feat. Edge along with all WrestleMania-related events.
**Christian Cage spoke on Talk is Jericho on Friday about his process of gaining clearance and returning at the Royal Rumble, and subsequent signing with AEW. During the discussion he spoke about the misconception that he was under contract with WWE:
I think that was a misconception for a long time because I had done so much stuff with WWE, still. The Fox deal was a separate deal from WWE but I’d always been around and done different things and I was, kind of, on a nightly (deal), I was never under contract, so I think that just maybe because I was around people assumed that was the case but obviously, it wasn’t.
Later, he discussed the process of getting back into shape and traveling to North Carolina to work out in Adam Copeland’s ring while Copeland was recovering from his triceps tear:
When I got that clearance, it’s mid-pandemic, everything’s shut down, Adam (Copeland) had a ring up at his house in North Carolina. So, I talked to him and said, ‘Hey, why don’t I drive up there for a few days and I’m going to get in the ring and see how I feel’ and this was before I’d even started working out, like, I’d literally just gotten my clearance a week or two before. So, I went up there and I got in the ring for about 45 minutes to an hour. Adam was hurt, so it was me and Beth (Phoenix). Beth was beating me up (laughing). We didn’t do a match, I just took some bumps and hit the ropes and kind of rolled around, did a few things, and got the feel for it and I was, like, winded and sore and banged out. Your body builds up that callous from all that repetition of taking bumps and things like that and all that had been gone for not doing it for seven years. My neck was sore, my shoulders were a little sore, I felt it for a little while after, and then I started on the training and the diet. In my head, I was like, I’m not going to get back in the ring because physically, I need to get where I want to be and if I’m in the ring, I risk jamming a shoulder or getting hurt and that sets the other part back, so why I don’t myself physically in a place where I want to be, then, I’ll have plenty of time to get back in the ring and I’ll probably have a month or two month’s notice and I can just get in there and just get the reps in. I was solely focused on getting back in shape and not so much the in-ring part.
The decision to put Reso into the men’s Royal Rumble match as a surprise was not finalized until two days prior when Reso received a call asking if he wanted to do it:
So, all these months pass and we get through the holidays, and I’d heard a little bit of rumbling of maybe something at the Rumble but then it was like, ‘No, it’s not going to happen’, and that was about a month out. So, I didn’t really think about it again, and then, yeah, the Rumble was on Sunday night and Friday night about 7:30 pm I get a phone call saying, ‘We don’t think there’s a big enough surprise in this Rumble this year, would you like to come back and do it?’ And I thought about it for like a second and all the things go through your head, well I don’t have a deal or anything like that, it’s like, ‘Ah, I’ve always bet on myself anyway’ and I legit hadn’t been in the ring since June.
So, what I did was, you know they have rings backstage at different areas? I was like maybe I’ll be able to sneak in a ring and hit the ropes but there were people in those rings all day, so I couldn’t do it because I’m a surprise, right? So, legit, I didn’t get changed until the match before the Rumble was in (the ring) and I got changed and walked out. Everyone was like, ‘Oh my…”
So, when the match actually started, I knew I’d have about 40-45 minutes before I had to be in there. I got in the ring, hit the ropes about five times, took about five bumps just to get the shock out of your system and I was like, ‘Alright, that’s going to have to do it’. I went out and did it.
The interview with Jericho took place after the match with Frankie Kazarian had been taped. Cage shared a moment he had with AEW president Tony Khan when he returned backstage:
After the match, it was very emotional for me, you know to do that match. It was a lot of emotional, like, ‘am I really doing this?’ Then I started going back to all the time of uncertainty and just knowing my health was good was important for me, like, let’s put the getting back in the ring aside – that I was going to be healthy for my life was a huge revelation as well, it was great, it was awesome to hear that. Getting the physical transformation, getting my body right and being able to step in there and have this match – a real match, a long match, and a competitive match and I’m my own worst critic and I won’t stay anything more about it than that. But I remember going back and just having these emotions, people coming up saying, ‘Congratulations’ and it was very cool to have everyone, kind of, say their piece after. And, Tony (Khan) was sitting there and he was the first person that was waiting for me when I came back from the curtain but then I doubled back to him and I just kind of said to him quietly, ‘Tony, you basically signed me sight unseen. You have no idea how much that means to me and how hard I’ll work for you going forward because of that and the chance you took on me.’
**During the interview with Christian, Jericho noted that when AEW did the surprise reveal of Sting at the “Winter is Coming” episode of Dynamite, it was TNT that instructed AEW not to do surprises like that and rather, capitalize and build the rating. Jericho brought up this story when Cage said he thought he would be an unannounced surprise for the Revolution pay-per-view prior to Paul Wight’s announcement of a future Hall of Famer signing with the company. Although, in the case of Christian, that was building a pay-per-view number rather than a television number.
Whether Christian was announced or not, the debut would have led people to the following week’s episode to see and hear about the signing. But, it does explain announcing Wight’s signing on social media to build the Dynamite number once the buzz is out there.
I actually think AEW handled Sting perfectly because “Winter is Coming” was already promoted well with Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega for free, Sting was the surprise, and then the next week’s number was even bigger, so you got two great numbers, instead of just one.
**Christian did a separate interview with Entertainment Tonight Canada and shared that Edge/Adam Copeland is staying at his house and they watched his match with Frankie Kazarian together:
So he’s actually staying at my house. Yeah, because obviously Smackdown and Raw are here in Tampa so we watched it together. He was very happy for me and was very complimentary of it. And of course, we always both kind of nitpick and give each other constructive criticism and those sorts of things.
But I think, for the most part, he felt the same way that I did. I don’t think it could have gone better for the first one back.
**We have a correction from Rewind-A-Dynamite as this week’s reported viewership for IMPACT Wrestling was in fact, an error. Showbuzz Daily had initially listed 38,000 viewers, which was stunningly low for IMPACT. PWinsider.com reported that the actual number was 149,000 viewers and a 0.04 in the 18-49 demographic, which is much more in line with the show’s performance. This was IMPACT’s final Tuesday broadcast before making the move to Thursdays next week on AXS TV.
**Steve Austin spoke to SI.com on the pitch made to have Chris Jericho appear on the Broken Skull Sessions on the WWE Network:
I texted Vince and said we had this badass idea about Jericho coming on the show. Vince goes, ‘It’s cool. Go ahead.’ But me and Vince don’t always do well with phones and texts and all that, so I texted one more time, ‘Are you sure it’s OK to have Chris Jericho on the show?’ Vince gave me the thumbs up, and Chris came out to do the show.
**Former wrestler Jimmy Rave is attempting to raise funds for a prosthetic arm after losing his arm last year due to an infection. The amputation led to the performer being forced to retire after a 21-year career. If you are able to help Rave towards helping raise the funds necessary, he has a PayPal account that you can contribute through.
**Steven Muehlhausen of DAZN spoke with Shawn Daivari about working with MLW and a glimpse at the behind-the-scenes process of the company assembling its episodes and being part of that:
Yes. I was a part of the producing process of these MLW episodes that have been coming out in this new season. I will say from what we went over in the production meeting, and what Court provides us on the scripts to what we execute at the actual production date was exactly what we went over. Every other wrestling company I’ve ever had the opportunity to work behind the scenes, that just doesn’t happen. Whether it’s by the way they operate their system, whether it’s injuries, or people being not available, logistical problems, whatever, it just always happens, those always changes. Some places more than others. I think that when you do it on the fly like that, it has a domino effect. When you change something in one segment or one episode, it has a domino effect in the other world. That’s when you don’t have, ‘we have a lot of holes in your storytelling, you don’t have as tight of a narrative.’ I believe Court believes in that as well as that you put the time and effort in the material, and then you go execute it. You can do it the other way around but if an architect spends 50 hours putting blueprints together, it’s going to be a better blueprint then the one put together on the production side of the day of.
**Here are the matches for tonight’s edition of NJPW Strong airing at 10 pm ET on New Japan World:
*Chris Dickinson, JR Kratos & Tom Lawlor vs. Brody King & The Riegels
*Alex Coughlin & TJP vs. Jordan Clearwater & Misterioso
*Kevin Knight vs. Rocky Romero
**NJPW returns to Sumo Hall this Sunday for Sakura Genesis that is largely built around the main event as the attraction. The card will stream Sunday morning at 4 am ET on New Japan World with the following line-up:
*IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Kota Ibushi (champion) vs. Will Ospreay
*IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Championship: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru (champions) vs. SHO & YOH
*Hiroshi Tanahashi & Satoshi Kojima vs. Jay White & Bad Luck Fale
*Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi & SANADA vs. The Great O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & “X”
*Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Toru Yano vs. EVIL, KENTA, Taiji Ishimori, Yujiro & Dick Togo
*Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi & DOUKI vs. Guerrillas of Destiny & Jado
**AEW is advertising the following matches for Monday’s edition of AEW Dark: Elevation:
*Scorpio Sky & Ethan Page vs. Matt & Mike Sydal
*Matt Hardy vs. Alan “5” Angels
*Preston “10” Vance vs. Danny Limelight
*Hangman Page vs. Bill Collier
*Lance Archer vs. Baron Black
*Michael Nakazawa vs. Vary Morales
**Fightful is launching a digital magazine with the first issue available for $4.99 plus shipping. The inaugural edition includes stories on John Cena vs. Conor McGregor, projecting the WWE’s next television contracts, and a feature on Georges St-Pierre with Brandon Thurston, Taeler Hendrix, Jimmy Van, Joe Hulbert, Alex Pawlowski, Joe Ferraro, and Molly Belle among those contributing.
**The WWE stock closed at $55.59 on Friday.
**Scorpio Sky turns 38 today and Jack Evans turns 39.
**It goes without saying, but next week will be the busiest week of the year with so many events happening. Beyond all the WrestleMania and related events in Tampa, it’s the start of All Japan’s Champion Carnival, ONE Championship has a major show on TNT on Wednesday, Bellator has another big show next Friday, IMPACT has its Sacrifice special on its streaming service, and the UFC is hosting its second event on ABC.
**The third fight between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor is nearly complete with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reporting that Poirier has signed his contract for the rematch. McGregor had previously agreed to the fight and appears to set the stage for the July 10th fight. It was reported that the two generated 1.6 million buys for their UFC 257 fight this past January where Poirier stopped McGregor in the second round of their lightweight contest and evening their series at one apiece. In September 2014, while fighting at featherweight, McGregor stopped Poirier in the first round of their UFC 178 fight. The ESPN report added that the location had not been announced but it’s expected to include fans in attendance.
**One of the most surreal injuries occurred at Thursday night’s CFFC card from the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia. During a fight between Khetag Pliev and Devin Goodale, it was discovered in the second round that Pliev’s right ring finger was missing. Worse, they could not find the missing finger as they searched the surrounding cage area before discovering that the severed finger was inside Pliev’s glove. The match was ruled a TKO victory for Gooden with Pliev taken to hospital where the finger was re-attached and told he tore 50 percent of the tendon. Pliev believes he dislocated the finger in the first round, and it detached some time in the second round. Besides the fight taking place in the former ECW Arena, another connection is that Phil Brooks a.k.a. CM Punk was on the broadcast team for the event on UFC Fight Pass.
**ESPN reports that Kevin Holland will step in and fight Marvin Vettori next weekend in the main event of the UFC’s card on ABC. Holland returns after dropping a five-round decision to Derek Brunson on March 20th and will be Holland’s sixth fight since May 2020 where he has gone 5-1 during that stretch.
**Bellator 255 airs tonight with the launch of its new relationship with Showtime and a major upgrade for the promotion after floundering on the Paramount Network and CBS Sports Network last year. The company is making Fridays its preferred night as it avoids a near-weekly UFC event on Saturday not to mention other sports on Saturdays. Tonight’s event is being distributed for free on Hulu, YouTube, Pluto TV, and Fubo Sports with the idea of getting the show to as many new or lapsed fans as possible and make a big push for the upcoming events over the next two weeks. The card begins with the prelims at 6 pm ET and the following main card fights air at 9 pm:
*Featherweight Championship, Grand Prix Semi-Final: Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (144.1) vs. Emmanuel Sanchez (144.5)
*Welterweight: Neiman Gracie (170) vs. Jason Jackson (170.9)
*Heavyweight: Tyrell Fortune (251.2) vs. Jack May (264.3)
*Lightweight: Usman Nurmagomedov (155.2) vs. Mike Hamel (155)
*Flyweight: Alejandra Lara (124.2) vs. Kana Watanabe (124.8)
**The winner of the Pitbull and Sanchez rematch will advance to fight A.J. McKee in the finals of the Grand Prix later this year and will be a big fight for Bellator to promote.
**The UFC has requested four permits to stage events at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas in May. MMA Fighting reports that the promotion has requested permits for May 1st, May 8th, May 15th, and May 22nd. The May 15th date is the UFC 262 pay-per-view and is scheduled to take place at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, making the permit request appear to be in the case of a backup if something affected their ability to stage a show in Houston that night. The other dates are Fight Night events with May 1st scheduled to feature Dominick Reyes taking on Jiri Prochazka, May 8th to feature the returning T.J. Dillashaw against Cory Sandhagen, and May 22nd scheduled to host Cody Garbrandt against Rob Font in the headline position.
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