Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/08/09/pollocks-news-update-the-changing-world-of-professional-wrestling-in-2019/
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**Braden Herrington & Davie Portman have a new edition of upNXT posted with a review of Wednesday’s show. They discuss the latest involving the main event for TakeOver, the follow-up angle with Aleister Black after the episode, the debut of Keith Lee, a Mae Young Classic qualifier, and they take your feedback & questions. Subscribe to the upNXT iTunes and RSS feed in the ‘Subscribe’ section.
**Wai Ting and I will be back Friday with a new G1 podcast to review Friday’s A Block final from Budokan Hall. It is the first New Japan card to take place in the venue since 2003 and first wrestling show at Budokan since Kenta Kobashi’s retirement in 2013. Our G1 show will be available to members of the POST Wrestling Café. On Saturday’s G1 show, we will be joined by WH Park.
**Wai Ting and I will also have a POST Production video coming out this week for “Double Double” and above members of the Café as we re-watch the 2012 match between Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi from Budokan Hall when they worked for DDT.
**Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling saw an incredible response to their pre-sale on Wednesday, where tickets to the G1 Supershow went on sale to Honor Club subscribers. The pre-sale continues today, and the general public will have access to tickets Friday. Ring of Honor’s COO Joe Koff informed POST Wrestling that they were “60% sold” as of Wednesday evening. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter has further reported they have sold 9,000 tickets, which is a phenomenal number and suggests they could sell the venue out within days.
This is a big moment in the industry with the WWE’s failed attempt to block the show from occurring at Madison Square Garden, and demand for the show being huge on WrestleMania weekend when there is a head-to-head show at the Barclays Center. I feel ROH & New Japan were very wise to have their tickets on sale first before fans had a chance to buy tickets for TakeOver and they went with the sure thing with the expectation they could land tickets for The Garden show. TakeOver will not be hurt by this and I fully expect two sold out venues that night, which is an amazing feat that the WWE, Ring of Honor and New Japan will be holding shows at the same time with a combined live attendance of approximately 28,000 on the night before WrestleMania.
Historically, the WWE is not one to sit back and not react, typically there are pre-emptive measures to avoid a promotion getting to this level, although there hasn’t been a viable promotion that could have had this success in the United States since 1999. The key individuals are Kenny Omega, Cody, and The Young Bucks and what they decide is the best path for their careers in the short and long-term. Prior to the success of “All In” and now Madison Square Garden, there wasn’t a big incentive for the WWE to upset their salary structure by going after those four to such a degree that they couldn’t turn down an offer, today that mentality may have changed. If the WWE feels the need for a public “win” and views those four as the key players on the chess board, they can offer life-changing money to the point that personal creativity and ownership of their careers may become secondary to long-term financial security.
Those four have the wrestling world as their oyster in 2019 with proven drawing power, an enormous influence and will probably face the biggest decision of their careers over the next 4-5 months.
While you would assume the players are WWE, New Japan, and Ring of Honor, it is not hard to envision a scenario where they are approached by a major streaming service to produce their own weekly content with quarterly events akin to “All In”. This would allow them the creative freedom to present their vision of professional wrestling with the backing of a media company, such as ESPN+, DAZN or an ambitious start-up that follows the business of professional wrestling and the audience these four bring to the table.
**The G1 enters its final weekend with three consecutive nights at Budokan Hall, beginning on Friday with a show at 5:30 am Eastern on New Japan World. Friday’s show features the final A Block tournament matches and will determine the A Block representative in Sunday’s final. Below is the full card for Friday’s show:
*Hiroshi Tanahashi (7-1) vs. Kazuchika Okada (6-2)
*Jay White (6-2) vs. EVIL (4-4)
*Minoru Suzuki (4-4) vs. Bad Luck Fale (3-5)
*Hangman Page (3-5) vs. Yoshi-Hashi (2-6)
*Michael Elgin (3-5) vs. Togi Makabe (2-6)
*Tetsuya Naito & Sanada vs. Zack Sabre Jr. & Taka Michinoku
*Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks vs. Kota Ibushi, Marty Scurll & Chase Owens
*Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa vs. Toru Yano & Gedo
*Tomohiro Ishii & SHO vs. Toa Henare & Shota Umino
*Hirooki Goto & YOH vs. Juice Robinson & David Finlay
**The WWE has announced that Renee Young will be part of the Raw broadcast team this Monday alongside Michael Cole and Corey Graves. Young will be calling the entire show, filling in for Jonathan Coachman this week. Young will also be part of the broadcast team for the Mae Young Classic with Cole and Beth Phoenix, which began taping on Wednesday night and concludes tonight.
**After SmackDown began showing an uptick in viewership over the past few weeks, they dropped 8.5% this week. Tuesday night’s episode on the USA Network averaged 2,197,000 viewers, which was down from a three-month high of 2,401,000 the week prior.
**The third episode of “Miz & Mrs” dropped 6% with 1,225,000 viewers on Tuesday night following SmackDown Live. After three episodes, the series is averaging 1.33 million viewers.
**The Wall Street Journal reports that the merger agreement that was in the process of finalization between the Sinclair Broadcast Group (parent company to Ring of Honor) and Tribune Media appears to be dead. Last month, the FCC cited their concerns with the merger and whether Sinclair had adequately divested themselves from ownership of several stations they were required to get rid of. With the merger agreement being canceled by Tribune, the company is also suing Sinclair for $1 billion, alleging that Sinclair breached the merger agreement. FCC chairman Ajit Pai voiced his concerns over the potential merger in June and felt that Sinclair was violating the law by continuing to maintain levels of control over the stations they were required to divest from. The Wall Street Journal piece adds that the domino effect also squashes a deal that was in place for 21st Century Fox to purchase seven Tribune stations in a $910 million deal. If the merger had gone through, it is expected that Ring of Honor would have benefited from a trickle-down effect of the deal and placing the promotion into one more key markets, including New York and Los Angeles.
**Chris Charlton has been added to Friday’s G1 broadcast at Budokan Hall, they were very happy with his performance on Wednesday with Kevin Kelly & Rocky Romero
**Following Wednesday’s episode of NXT, where the main event of TakeOver was announced by William Regal, an angle was shot to remove Aleister Black. After the last set of television tapings with the match announcement, Black suffered a groin injury during a live event and required surgery and eliminates his involvement from TakeOver. They posted a photo of Black being attacked outside Full Sail University. It is assumed the match will go ahead with Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano, although they have not announced anything.
**Here are the matches for tonight’s episode of Impact Wrestling at 8 pm Eastern on POP TV and Fight Network in Canada:
*Austin Aries vs. Eddie Edwards for the Impact title
*Pentagon Jr. vs. Matt Sydal
*Desi Hit Squad vs. Taiji Ishimori & Petey Williams
*Tessa Blanchard vs. Alisha Edwards
**WWE co-president George Barrios has sold another 12,292 shares of his Class A common stock for $993,316.
**Sunday’s Impact Wrestling television tapings in Toronto will feature a Mexican Death Match between Pentagon Jr. and Sami Callihan as well as a three-way Knockout’s title match with Su Yung vs. Tessa Blanchard vs. Allie. The tapings are scheduled for Sunday and Monday night at the Rebel Complex in downtown Toronto.
**Congratulations to WWE performer Karl Anderson (Chad Allegra) as his wife gave birth to the couple’s fourth child on Wednesday. He added that their child, Cash, was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around their neck twice with a knot in the middle and thankfully the baby was okay.
WWE NXT (Aug. 8th)
-The show featured a brief match between Aleister Black and Johnny Gargano that barely got going before Tommaso Ciampa ran in for the show-closing brawl. This led to William Regal announcing the three-way for TakeOver, which appears to be off. There was little they could do with the television already shot and it was the closing scene. They continue to emphasize the descent of Johnny Gargano into an obsession over Ciampa with over-the-top facial reactions, it is very parallel to Eddie Edwards in Impact.
-Keith Lee debuted on television and got a strong reaction for his win over Marcel Bothel (the former Axel Dieter, Jr.). I saw Bothel on an NXT house show in February where he came out and no one knew him, but he got over so strong with his pre-match promo and was one of the most effective characters on the show. Lee had a video package that preceded the match and did several big spots before the jackhammer off his shoulders for the win.
-There was a segment at a mansion with Velveteen Dream and Ethan Carter III meeting by the pool and was very similar to a segment from Impact involving Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis, to the point that it may have been the same mansion. There was a tease of Dream throwing Carter into the pool, but he turned the tables and tossed Dream into the pool.
-Kassius Ohno defeated Adrian Jaoude and was teasing an edgier version of his character throw his facial expressions after the match with disdain for Jaoude. Ohno is one of the many performers on NXT that could benefit if this show was longer and have an actual program. He always has entertaining television matches and is a great asset with the all the young talent they bring in to gain experience working with him.
-Taynara Conti defeated Vanessa Borne for the final spot in the Mae Young Classic, which was taking place in the exact same arena at the time this match was airing on the network. The match didn’t stand out to me. Conti snapped at the end and led to the finish with the idea that if you push her buttons she will turn it up a notch.
-Next week’s show is the final episode before TakeOver and will feature Tyler Bate vs. Roderick Strong and The Street Profits vs. The Mighty.
**The Professional Fighters League (PFL) has received an additional $28 million in funding with several celebrity investors. Variety reported on the additional funding with comedian and actor Kevin Hart, television executive Mark Burnett, Tony Robbins, Ted Leonsis, and Brandon Beck among the investors. The article notes the possibility of a “Challengers Series” that would serve as shoulder programming for aspiring fighters to gain entry in the PFL, as well as a future streaming service for the promotion. It’s clear that the UFC’s recent deal with ESPN and Bellator’s with DAZN have sparked interest in mixed martial arts programming that can attract an audience that will be desirable for television and streaming services seeking content. The Bellator deal was a major one because it displayed high demand for non-UFC content and that’s probably the logic in investing in the PFL with the hope they can land something similar. The PFL is in the middle of their inaugural season and has a one-year deal with NBC Sports Network with preliminary fights and other content airing on Facebook.
**Marc Raimondi at MMA Fighting reported on Wednesday that the California State Athletic Commission is recommending that UFC fighters Alex Perez and Brett Johns move up a weight class in their next fight. This follows a report earlier in the week of the fight night weigh-ins for all fighters involved at UFC 227 last weekend in Los Angeles. Perez and Johns represented the largest percentage of body weight gained from weigh-ins Friday morning until fight night. Perez increased 16.3% and weighed 146.5 pounds for his flyweight fight with Jose Torres and Johns increased 16.2% to 158 pounds for his bantamweight bout with Pedro Munhoz. The CSAC does allow a fighter to remain at the original weight class if approved by a doctor, which Perez’s management informed MMA Fighting they have received. Other fights that were above the threshold of a 10% limit on weight gain were considered close enough to the limit to not receive recommendations of a move up in weight. While it’s a concrete move by the commission to curb excessive weight cutting, only six fighters came under the 10% limit.|
**TSN has reported on several fights being added to the UFC’s Fight Night card in Moncton, New Brunswick on Saturday, October 27th. Light heavyweight Misha Cirkunov attempts to bounce back from consecutive losses when he takes on Patrick Cummins, who last fought in April and dropped a decision to Corey Anderson. A lightweight fight between Thibault Gouti and Nasrat Haqparast has been added to the show, along with light heavyweights Ed Herman and Gian Villante meeting on the Moncton card, and a heavyweight fight takes place between Arjan Bhullar and Marcelo Golm. The card will be headlined by a light heavyweight fight between Anthony Smith and Volkan Oezdemir.
**Here are the results from the season-finale of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series this week:
*Alex Gilpin def. J.R. Coughran by D’arce choke at 1:55 of Round 2 – Coughran won the first round using leg kicks and a high volume of right hands, cutting Gilpin under the right eye. In the second, Gilpin ate a combination but then got the fight to the mat and set up for the D’arce and came back to win the fight.
*Bobby Moffett def. Jacob Kilburn by D’arce choke at 1:02 of Round 2 – Moffett dominated this fight, I had him winning the first round 10-8 after an early takedown and controlled him the entire round and mounted him for a good portion too. He executed another takedown in the second and quickly submitted Kilburn.
*Kennedy Nzechukwu def. Dennis Bryant by TKO at 1:48 of Round 1 – Whenever Nzechukwu landed it caused a lot of damage with Bryant rocked from the strikes. Nzechukwu has an 83-inch reach and towered over Bryant, landed a head kick and finished him with hammer fists.
*Devonte Smith def. Joseph Lowry by KO at 2:52 of Round 1 – Lowry is the CFFC lightweight champion. Lowry was standing with Smith and went for a takedown off the fence and was drilled with elbows to the side of the head and was out. Smith looked very good in the fight and shined during his post-fight interview with Laura Sanko with tons of charisma.
*Greg Hardy def. Tebaris Gordon by TKO at 0:17 of Round 1 – Hardy has unreal power and Gordon was never in the fight. Hardy began with a jab to set up his right hands and landed a knee for good measure before Gordon went face down on the canvas.
UFC president Dana White awarded contracts to Bobby Moffett, Kennedy Nzechukwu, and Devonte Smith. He stated that he wants Greg Hardy to gain more experience and was concerned how his wrestling will be as no one will want to stand with him. The next season is expected to air on ESPN+ and will take place from a new gym the UFC is building, which replaces the TUF Gym they have used forever. The current season of TUF Brazil that wraps filming this weekend will be the final time the current TUF Gym is used.
**They announced on Tuesday’s broadcast that Ryan Spann and Maycee Barber, who earned contracts in the second season, have been booked for upcoming fights. Spann will meet Luis Henrique in a light heavyweight fight on September 22nd at the Fight Night card in Sao Paulo, Brazil. 20-year old strawweight Maycee Barber will make her UFC debut on November 10th against Maia Stevenson at the UFC’s 25th Anniversary card in Denver, Colorado.
**The Orange County Register was the first to report that 21-year old Bellator featherweight Aaron Pico will have his toughest fight to date when he meets Leandro Higo on September 29th in San Jose, California. After losing his pro debut, Pico has won his last three fights with first-round stoppages over Justin Linn, Shane Kruchten, and Lee Morrison. Higo is 18-4 and is coming off a loss to bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell this past March. Higo has been fighting professionally since 2006 and entered Bellator in 2017.
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upNXT 8/9/18: Parking Lot Blackout
Braden Herrington & Davie Portman review this week’s NXT, featuring Aleister Black vs. Johnny Gargano, the debut of Keith Lee, a Mae Young Classic Qualifier, and the latest on the TakeOver main event.
BWE 8/18/18: Progress Chapter 74, World of Sport, WXW Update, NXT UK, Rev Pro
Martin Bushby, Oli Court & Benno are back to chat the recent Progress Chapter 74 card feat. Travis Banks vs. Walter, the US tour Progress is on, WOS on ITV’s viewership, NXT UK news, and lots more
DOUBLE SHOT: 8/8/18: Lucha Underground, Being the Elite 114
John Pollock & Wai Ting present a show for Café members with reviews of last week’s murder-filled episode of Lucha Underground and a recap of “Being the Elite”
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 8/7/18: New Day vs. The Bar, Becky & Charlotte team up, News of the Day
John Pollock & Wai Ting review SmackDown from Orlando, a 25-minute main event, more matches for SummerSlam, News of the Day covers Raw’s viewership, Total Bellas renewed, Mae Young Classic & more
REWIND-A-RAW 8/6/18: Ronda Rousey’s first TV match, Paul Heyman cries
John Pollock & Wai Ting review Raw from Jacksonville with Ronda Rousey vs Alicia Fox, a tremendous performance from Paul Heyman, “All In” scheduled for PPV & WGN America, news from the day, feedback & more
UFC 227 REVIEW
John Pollock is joined by Phil Chertok & Ziggy Cao to review the UFC 227 card from Saturday with T.J. Dillashaw defending the bantamweight title, Henry Cejudo unseats Demetrious Johnson, full rundown of the card, and we chat Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor.
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