POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: The latest on COVID-19's impact

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/03/13/pollocks-news-update-the-latest-on-covid-19s-impact/


**Earlier today, we announced that the POST Wrestling LIVE in Tampa Q&A is off, and we will be in contact with those that had purchased tickets in the coming days regarding refunds. Wai Ting and I want to thank those that bought tickets but this was the only decision to make and neither of us will be traveling to Tampa.

**We will be putting a new edition of Rewind-A-SmackDown tonight at the POST Wrestling Café. Wai Ting is off tonight and, in his place, will be Mike Murray. We will go over the latest news regarding show cancellations and any other developing stories along with a review of tonight’s empty arena version of Friday Night SmackDown from the WWE’s Performance Center.

**I appreciate all the feedback to this week’s Café Hangout. The full show can be heard at this link and we have the video version of the entire show as well as the individual discussion with Dr. Alex Patel below.

**Wai Ting, Mike Murray and I joined Braden Herrington and Davie Portman on the upNXT Patreon to create our WrestleMania cards using selections from the past 35 shows.

**With the ROH shows canceled this weekend, obviously, there is no ROH show coming out on Sunday. In its place, Wai Ting and I will be doing a free show on Sunday evening with the latest news and updates.




**There is a report from Mike Johnson at PWinsider.com stating that this Monday’s edition of Raw has been moved to the WWE Performance Center. WWE and the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh have yet to have a formal announcement regarding the show.

**WWE is proceeding with Friday Night SmackDown at its new location at the WWE Performance Center tonight with no fans in attendance. They have not announced any changes to the lineup, which is advertising appearances from John Cena, Jeff Hardy, and Paige. It is going to be a very strange show beyond the empty arena, the company must move ahead with the build toward WrestleMania even though that event must be in question.

Given the lengths that many sports leagues have taken, WWE hasn’t come off well with their aversion to acknowledging reality and the potential health risks for its talent. For the performers, the idea of traveling across the country in this climate – even for empty arena shows – must be worrisome on top of their given line of work coming into close contact with others as a requisite job requirement. If it gets to a point where one performer tests positive for the virus, it will virtually shut down the ability to do shows as it would affect the locker room that would need to be tested and quarantined as we have seen in the NBA with two positive cases. We are not talking about an era in the company where you didn’t get paid if you didn’t work and while talent will take a degree of a hit without live events, it isn’t like they won’t be paid and would probably put themselves and their families at ease being home and not traveling the country and potentially bringing a virus back to them.

I don’t envy the decision-makers and some leeway should be provided but there comes a point where you must watch the example set by other competing sports leagues and franchises. It is not to say WWE couldn’t continue to produce programming for the USA Network and Fox during a down period from outside the ring content, a ‘broadcast premiere’ of last year’s WrestleMania, a sit-down interview with Vince McMahon and other key figures addressing the crisis.

A decision regarding WrestleMania should have been made this week as delaying the decision only causes more anxiety for those reliant on the show happening. It appears that neither WWE nor the City of Tampa wants to be the ones to tell fans that Christmas is canceled but Santa can’t make any toys if he’s sick. There are also the financial implications that need to be explored of who is on the hook for what costs if they pull the plug, but one side needs to take the reigns on this.

I truly empathize with the countless independent promoters and wrestlers that have so much riding on this week of shows happening. They are in a painful limbo as they await the dominoes to fall and rides on whether WWE proceeds ahead. Frankly, that decision may be taken away from WWE and a ruling is made that it just cannot happen.

**David Bixenspan has a feature on VICE regarding the impact a cancellation of WrestleMania Weekend will have on independent promotions and conventions. The article features comments from Brett Lauderdale of Game Changer Wrestling, wrestler Chris Dickinson, and the most sobering account from Michael Bochicchio of Highspots who stated that a full cancellation would likely result in the promoter having to sell his house.

**AEW has moved the episode of Dynamite at the Prudential Center to July 22nd and will honor tickets purchased for the March 25th event at the arena or you can receive a refund.

**The stock market had a bit of a recovery today with the Dow Jones up more than 9%. The WWE stock increased more than 10% and closed at $35.85

**The city of Jacksonville, Florida suspended all events at city venues. AEW had just moved next week’s edition of Dynamite to Daily’s Place in Jacksonville and they have yet to comment on the status of next week’s program.

**Michael Bochiccio at Highspots did a video Q&A on the current situation involving WrestleCon for WrestleMania Weekend amidst the COVID-19 crisis. The promoter of the convention stated they have not canceled the event yet due to the liability he would assume by canceling it on his own. He stated that the hotel fee alone by canceling now would bankrupt WrestleCon and potentially bankrupt Highspots, as well. He added that he has put in close to $200,000 for this convention and assured anyone that has purchased a ticket to the convention they will receive a full refund.

**WWE has canceled their live events for Saturday night in Toronto and Sunday in Youngstown, Ohio. The next show to focus on is Raw this Monday from the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

**FS 1 has suspended all its studio programming until ‘at least’ Friday, March 20th and this includes next Tuesday’s edition of WWE Backstage.

**EVOLVE has said they will follow the lead of WrestleMania regarding their shows in Tampa that weekend and are still scheduled to proceed as of this writing. The promotion has postponed this weekend’s shows that were scheduled for Livonia, Michigan, and Chicago with the news dates set for May 8th and 9th respectively. EVOLVE will also hold their Recruitment Camp tryouts from March 27-29th in Port Richey, Florida.

**Due to the travel restrictions introduced, wXw has canceled their event that set to be part of WRESTLExpo over WrestleMania Weekend.

**OTT will be streaming last year’s Scrappermania 5 card for free at 8 pm local time on Saturday after the promotion had to cancel this weekend’s shows. Last year’s show was headlined by WALTER vs. Jordan Devlin for the OTT championship.

**WrestleTalk will be streaming a wrestling show this Monday at 3 pm Eastern on YouTube featuring matches inside an empty venue with proceeds going toward the talent and crew that work the show for free. The card will feature Will Ospreay taking on Bea Priestley. They are also advertising David Starr, The OJMO, Nathan Cruz, Rampage Brown, and Callum Newman for the show.

**PWG has postponed it’s March 29th ‘Kobe’ card at The Globe Theatre in Los Angeles. This follows California’s ruling to ban events that exceed 250 people. The promotion did not announce a new date for the show given the fluidity with the crisis and how long the ban could be in effect.

**ACTION Wrestling has canceled its card for next Friday, March 20th after the Fayette County School System was shut down including their venue the Sandy Creek High School. The promotion will be processing ticket refunds this weekend.

**Alpha-1 Wrestling in Hamilton, Ontario has announced that their March 22nd show is still on, as of this moment. They have warned that some talent may not be able to appear as they are currently advertising Sami Callihan, Moose, Eddie Edwards, and Kylie Rae among those scheduled for the show.

**Kenny McIntosh’s ‘Inside the Ropes’ Q&A show with Kevin Owens has been postponed. The event was scheduled for next Friday in Glasgow, Scotland at The Engine Works. They have moved the show to Friday, June 5th.

**AEW has added a tag match for next week’s episode of Dynamite with Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy vs. The Butcher & The Blade.

**Sheamus spoke with Digital Spy about wanting to face Daniel Bryan for a third time at WrestleMania. The two met on the pre-show at WrestleMania 27 in April 2011 followed by the short match at WrestleMania 28 the following year where Sheamus beat Bryan with one Brogue kick to win the title. They were originally set to meet again in 2014 at WrestleMania in New Orleans when plans went out the window with CM Punk leaving the company and Bryan ending up as the star of that year’s show defeating Triple H and going on to win the title in the main event in a three-way with Randy Orton and Batista.

**EVOLVE has released the entire EVOLVE 146 card from earlier this month in Melrose, Massachusetts for free on their YouTube channel.


**Earlier today, Bellator made the call to postpone tonight’s event at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The news of the postponement was first reported by Sean Ross Sapp at Fightful. The card was set to feature Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire vs. Pedro Carvalho for the featherweight title in the quarter-final of the Featherweight Grand Prix and a second Grand Prix quarter-final between Emmanuel Sanchez and Daniel Weichel. The promotion’s next card isn’t until May 9th in San Jose, California.

**UFC president Dana White appeared on ESPN Thursday night after delaying any updates regarding this weekend and forthcoming events. White confirmed Combate’s report from earlier in the day that Saturday’s Fight Night card in Brasilia will be closed to the public but proceed forward. The entire card will be broadcast on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and streaming on ESPN+. As of Thursday night, next weekend’s card from the O2 Arena in London, England is going forward and will be open to the public while the March 28th card in Columbus, Ohio and April 11th show from Portland, Oregon are being moved to the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

**UFC headliner Kevin Lee missed weight for Saturday night’s lightweight fight against Charles Oliveira. Lee stepped onto the scale at 158.5 pounds missing the limit by 2.5 pounds and was fined 20% of his purse. The fight is scheduled to take place on Saturday. Below is the full fight card with results from Friday’s weigh-in.

MAIN CARD (6 pm ET on ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+)
*Kevin Lee (158.5*) vs. Charles Oliveira (156)
*Demian Maia (170.5) vs. Gilbert Burns (170.5)
*Renato Moicano (155.5) vs. Damir Hadzovic (155)
*Nikita Krylov (206) vs. Johnny Walker (206)
*John Makdessi (155) vs. Francisco Trinaldo (156)

PRELIMINARY CARD (3 pm ET on the same platforms)
*Jussier Formiga (126) vs. Brandon Moreno (126)
*Randa Markos (116) vs. Amanda Ribas (115.5)
*Aleksei Kunchenko (170) vs. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (171)
*Enrique Barzola (136) vs. Rani Yahya (136)
*Maryna Moroz (126) vs. Mayra Bueno Silva (126)
*David Dvorak (126) vs. Bruno Silva (125.5)
*Veronica Macedo (135.5) vs. Bea Malecki (136)

Café Hangout: Coronavirus & Pro Wrestling
John Pollock and Wai Ting take your calls and discuss the latest surrounding COVID-19 and its effects on the wrestling world. We’re joined by BWE’s Benno as well as Dr. Alex Patel to share their insights about the situation from around the globe.
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WH Park and “The Godfather of Perth Wrestling”, Davis Storm have a very fun discussion about the J-Crown title match between Jushin Liger and Koji Kanemoto from 1997.

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