POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: The latest on WWE's television tapings

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/06/17/pollocks-news-update-the-latest-on-wwes-television-tapings/


**We have released our latest MCU review with a huge discussion of Avengers – Endgame. On this special panel, Wai Ting and I are joined by Nate Milton from The Kings of Sport and Brent Chittenden of the True North Nerds Podcast. This is a 2 ½ hour discussion of the film, the culmination of the 11-year run of Marvel films, and where the characters head next. Plus, we handed out our “Feige Awards” with the top five Marvel films, best hero, best villain, most underrated character, favorite scene, and worst MCU film. This show is available for all members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**We have Rewind-A-Dynamite coming up tonight with Wai Ting and I discussing a lot of news items including WWE’s taping schedule, the New Japan Cup, and then a review of AEW Dynamite. We will also take feedback and questions at the end of the show.

**Braden Herrington and Davie Portman are back with upNXT tonight discussing a live edition of NXT from Full Sail University.


Tonight: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John Pollock & Wai Ting
Tonight: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John & Wai (LIVE for all Patrons)
Saturday: The Rocky Maivia Picture Show with Nate Milton & guest John Siino (G.I. Joe: Retaliation)


**On Monday, WWE had a wake-up call regarding its handling of events during a pandemic. With the second known case of COVID-19 within the company, it forced the company to engage in its first series of COVID-19 testing on Tuesday for wrestlers and staff. Those that I spoke with that had the test told me they received the nose swab – and for those curious, indicated it was hardly as bad as it may seem.

This led to the cancelation of Tuesday’s tapings that were to include the June 22nd episode of Raw and the June 26th edition of Friday Night SmackDown. This has led to a mammoth day of taping today at the Performance Center and Full Sail University. It was first reported by Gary Cassidy of Sportskeeda that the SmackDown episode to be taped today was pulled from the schedule. This was the episode that was set to air on June 26th (this week’s SmackDown was already taped on Monday).

We were told that the company was taping episodes of Main Event, 205 Live, and next Monday’s Raw today. For NXT, they will be doing tonight’s show live and taping next week’s episode immediately afterward. The current plan is for the June 26th episode of Friday Night SmackDown to be done on that day, likely live-to-tape.

The tapings were open to friends & family of WWE members again today. Reporter Jon Alba of Spectrum Sports reported that those attending the shows were tested.

The next question is how WWE responds regarding full-scale testing beyond this week. If there a slew of positives, then it’s a massive deal and would throw a major wrench in taping plans but we have yet to hear of any positive cases. If there are a handful, then it needs to be said that those would not have been caught and likely spread throughout a day of television tapings and is a major argument in favor of regular COVID-19 testing. If no one tests positive, the company may revert to its process of screening talent and staff with temperature checks and questionnaires, which to me, does not even hit the lowest threshold of proper management of your workers during this pandemic. Given that the tapings are in Florida and so many live in the state, it’s an area of added concern given the spikes with 2,783 new cases on Tuesday according to The Washington Post.

My hope is that there are zero additional cases but that the company comes away with the understanding that had this occurred on a different day this week, they may not have been able to produce television that would air this week. Yes, you would hope for the compassionate response of the health and safety aspect, but let’s not kid ourselves that the threat of television revenue being jeopardized has directed WWE’s decision-making since the shutdown began in March.

**Here are the matches for tonight’s taped edition of AEW Dynamite at 8 pm Eastern on TNT and TSN1 & TSN2 in Canada:
*Kenny Omega & Hangman Page vs. Dustin Rhodes & QT Marshall for the AEW tag titles
*Cody defends the TNT championship
*Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara vs. Best Friends (winners face Kenny Omega & Hangman Page at Fyter Fest)
*The Young Bucks vs. Jimmy Havoc & Kip Sabian
*MJF vs. Billy
*Anna Jay in action

**Below are the matches advertised for tonight’s episode of NXT at 8 pm Eastern on the USA Network:
*Bayley & Sasha Banks vs. Shotzi Blackheart & Tegan Nox for the WWE women’s tag titles
*Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel vs. Tyler Breeze & Fandango for the NXT tag titles

**The New Japan Cup will resume on Monday following today’s show. They will run three straight days next week with the opening round matches concluding Monday and Tuesday and the start of the second round on Wednesday. Monday’s show looks excellent on paper with Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Kota Ibushi, Sanada vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, and Shingo Takagi vs. SHO (a rematch of their incredible match at the Best of the Super Juniors last year). Tuesday’s opening round concludes with Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Yoshi-Hashi, Bushi vs. YOH, Satoshi Kojima vs. EVIL, and Hirooki Goto vs. Yujiro.

**MVP posted the video of his COVID-19 test being administered and stated he tested negative.

**On Tuesday’s episode of Impact Wrestling, they ran another teaser video for Slammiversary with the mysterious alcoholic catching up on his wrestling news. In this video, it promoted “at least one former world champion” will return at the pay-per-view on July 18th. There were quick cuts displaying Kurt Angle, Eric Young, Ken Anderson, James Storm, Austin Aries, Chris Sabin, and Bully Ray. It was followed by another series of cuts with Eric Young, the Bulgarian flag, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, Mike Bennet, Maria Kanellis, EC3, Lio Rush, Curt Hawkins, Kurt Angle, and Sting.

Impact is banking on the intrigue of surprise appearances as the main hook for the pay-per-view to gain attention, which has been their biggest struggle in the crowded field. They will also be airing Slammiversary on a Saturday night and if you’re Impact, you should be trying anything to set yourself apart. They have a very good show each week and their women’s division doesn’t receive enough attention for its depth. The problem is their platform where the move to AXS TV has not appeared to have vaulted them much higher into the wrestling fan’s weekly viewing habits than when they aired on Pursuit.

**A match between Brian Cage and Robert Anthony has been announced for AEW Dark next Tuesday.

**ICW’s Mark Dallas announced that all ICW and Wrestling Experience Scotland events have been postponed until 2021 unless things change, as they don’t expect fans to be able to attend anytime soon. Dallas added that once it is deemed safe, they will be looking to tape matches inside empty venues. Their 2021 schedule is listed with dates for January 17th in Glasgow, February 28th in Newcastle, March 28th in Glasgow, July 25th in Glasgow, November 20th in Glashow, and their Fear & Loathing weekend on November 20 and 21st of 2021.

**Chris Jericho was interviewed by Bill Pritchard at WrestleZone about the recent angle with Mike Tyson and wanting to do a match:

I’d like to see it go all the way. Mike has been an enforcer. Mike has thrown a punch that has knocked somebody out—which is me—and Mike’s been involved in this wild and woolly brawl. The one thing he has never done is have a match, and I think this is the perfect time for him. The aura and the mystique of Mike Tyson is back. He looks great, you’ve seen his sparring videos, he moves fast, he’s ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson again.

Probably one of the worst things you could do is put him in an actual boxing match. Maybe if it’s somebody in his own era and doing kind of an exhibition and that sort of thing, but we want to keep Mike Tyson’s aura at a maximum which is why AEW is perfect for him. We can do whatever storyline we choose, and wrestling is all shapes and sizes, we can do whatever we need to do and plug him into any situation that we want to make it. I think there’s no better person for that than Chris Jericho after all these years of doing this who is kind of a ‘Mike Tyson’ of wrestling. I’ve never lost my aura or my mystique, but you can see that I’m doing some of the best work in my career after doing this for 30 years. So, it’s a perfect match-up.

**ESPN has released a clip from the final episode of “The Last Ride” featuring Mark Calaway meeting with several NXT performers and going over their matches at the Performance Center. The final episode airs this Sunday on the WWE Network.

**The Undertaker will be a guest on the “After the Bell” podcast with Corey Graves on Thursday to promote the finale of “The Last Ride” this Sunday.

**John Layfield and Jonathan Coachman have launched a podcast with sports bettor Steve Maltepes called Follow the Money.


**The UFC’s Fight Night card on Saturday the top show on cable that night with 0.33 in the 18-49 demographic and 908,000 viewers on ESPN. The prelims that ran on ESPN averaged 551,000 viewers. The main card was down 11% from the May 30th card headlined by Gilbert Burns vs. Tyron Woodley to did 1,021,000 viewers and those prelims attracted 615,000 viewers.

**Combate reports that a welterweight fight between Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos and Muslim Salikhov. Dos Santos had won seven straight fights in the UFC before he was stopped by Li Jingliang last August and rebounded with a decision win against Alexey Kunchenko. Salikhov lost his UFC debut in November 2017 but has since gone 3-0 and is coming off a decision win against Laureano Staropoli last October.

**ESPN was the first to report that the UFC’s Fight Night event on Wednesday, July 15th in Abu Dhabi will be headlined by featherweights Calvin Kattar and Dan Ige. Both fighters are on the cusp of ascending to the top of the division, so it’s an important fight for their progression. Kattar is 5-2 since entering the UFC in July 2017 and is coming off a TKO win over Jeremy Stephens at UFC 249 in a fight where Stephens missed weight by 4.5 pounds. Ige is on an impressive streak having won six straight with his last fight being a split decision over Edson Barboza on May 16th, which was a debatable decision.

**Coming off her unanimous decision loss to Cynthia Calvillo, Jessica Eye made a public statement:

I am never ashamed of myself no matter what the outcome is in a fight in the octagon. I am beyond thankful for every moment that I have whether it’s good or bad. I am grateful for the support and even more for the critical assholes that seem to have nothing better to do but to be a menace. Thank you UFC.

Eye also missed weight for the flyweight fight coming in at 126.25 pounds and is the second fight in a row she has missed weight. In December of last year, she weighed 131 pounds ahead of her fight against Viviane Araujo at UFC 245, which Eye ended up winning by unanimous decision.

**MMA Junkie reported that Max Rohskopf is stepping in to fight Austin Hubbard on this Saturday’s UFC Fight Night. Hubbard’s original opponent Joe Solecki had to withdraw from the fight. The two are set to fight on the prelims that begin Saturday at 5 pm Eastern.

**Ian Heinisch will not be making a quick turnaround as he is off the UFC Fight Night card on June 27th. Heinisch just fought at UFC 250 and was set to return and fight Brendan Allen on that show. With Heinisch off, he will be replaced by Kyle Daukaus. The June 27th card at the UFC Apex is headlined by lightweights Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker.

**A featherweight fight between Grant Dawson and Nad Narimani is expected for the July 18th card on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, according to the MMA Junkie site. Dawson is undefeated in the UFC since winning on Dana White’s Contender Series in August 2017. Dawson is coming off a submission win against Darrick Minner in February while Narimani is 2-1 in the UFC and coming off a TKO loss to Mike Grundy in March 2019.

**The UFC will be holding a Fight Night card on Saturday, August 1st headlined by Holly Holm taking on Irene Aldana in the bantamweight main event. Other fights linked to the card include a fight between Derek Brunson and Edmen Shahbazyan, and Trevin Giles taking on Jun Yong Park. The card is set for the UFC Apex and would be their return to Las Vegas following four events in Abu Dhabi, the last one taking place on July 25th.

**The next card after that will be on Saturday, August 8th with two fights confirmed for that show. ESPN reported that the main event will see heavyweights Derrick Lewis and Aleksei Oleinik square off while Igor Lazorin of the TASS outlet was the first to report that former middleweight champion Chris Weidman will fight Omari Akhmedov on the show.

**ESPN adds that middleweights Yoel Romero and Uriah Hall have agreed to a fight in August, although it’s unknown what card they will be part of. Romero is coming off fights against the best middleweights in the world and lost to Robert Whittaker, Paulo Costa, and Israel Adesanya this past March at UFC 248. Hall has not fought since last September when he beat Antonio Carlos Junior by split decision.

**Josh Gross was a guest on the Fight Business Podcast with hosts Patrick Auger and Michael Fiedel discussing the importance of media within Mixed Martial Arts.





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