POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: The promotion for WrestleMania escalates

Originally published at POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: The promotion for WrestleMania escalates

POST IT NOTES

**Rewind-A-Raw is live at 11:15 p.m. ET tonight for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso members of the POST Wrestling Café. Wai Ting and I will have a review of Raw from South Carolina, and we’ll touch on the New Japan Cups news from today, as well as take your feedback from the POST Wrestling Forum.

**On Tuesday, we will release Rewind-A-Wai #104 covering WrestleMania 27 from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and headlined by The Miz vs. John Cena for the WWE championship with The Rock hosting the show. This show will be exclusive for POST Wrestling Café members. Feedback can be posted on the POST Wrestling Forum.

**The POST Daily News show returns Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET live on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. We were off today due to the holiday.

**Wai Ting and I have an Elimination Chamber POST Show with a review of the card on Saturday. You can download the audio version or watch it on POST YouTube.

**On this week’s episode of Wrestlenomics, Brandon Thurston and Chris Gullo share their thoughts on the Cody & Brandi Rhodes’ story, WWE stock performing well since the last earnings report, last week’s AEW Dynamite number & more.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight
: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting (11:15 p.m. ET)
Tuesday: Rewind-A-Wai #104: WrestleMania 27 (Patreon)
Tuesday: upNXT with Davie Portman & Braden Herrington
Wednesday: Shot in the Dark with John Siino (upNXT)
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite (10:15 p.m.)
Thursday: Bushby & Thompson’s Wrestling Adventure (Bret Hart WWE documentary from 2005)
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John & Wai (11:15 p.m. for all Patrons)
Saturday: The N.W.A. Podcast with Nate Milton, Kris Ealy & Andrew Thompson
Sunday: Wrestlenomics Radio with Brandon Thurston & Chris Gullo

WRESTLEMANIA 38

The WrestleMania picture is coming together following Elimination Chamber. In the main attraction for either night, it will now be Champion vs. Champion between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar as they went to great lengths to distance these two from everyone else on the roster and make it feel like the ultimate clash of the titans. Reigns defeated Bill Goldberg emphatically with a guillotine submission that put Goldberg out. Lesnar dominated the men’s Elimination Chamber match with rapid eliminations of Riddle, AJ Styles, and Seth Rollins (who were all presented as cannon-fodder for Lesnar) with Austin Theory getting a drawn-out ‘march to death’ as he was sent off the pod with an F-5 and pinned. For short-term value, it was presenting the illusion that no one is at the level of the top stars, and it was effective in that sense. However, for a company in desperate need of top stars, it was a clear delineation, specifically with Seth Rollins. Rollins was enough of a priority last month to protect with a DQ finish rather than have Reigns beat him in the lead-up to the rematch with Lesnar. Three weeks later, he was left in the dust and would have been the one talent I would have made the argument to protect, but all resources are directed toward Reigns and Lesnar, and therefore, Rollins was ammunition to heat up Lesnar.

After both were victorious, Becky Lynch versus Bianca Belair is now official for WrestleMania in a rematch from last year’s poorly received “match” at SummerSlam, which was more angle than a match. It was the logical outcome for both women in their respected matches, and that’s what happens when you have the card booked and know where you are going.

With the Champion vs. Champion stipulation, the expected return of Steve Austin, the potential of Cody Rhodes, Ronda Rousey, celebrity tie-ins from Johnny Knoxville and Logan Paul, and The Undertaker entering the Hall Fame, there is a lot being thrown into this year’s shows. Neither night at AT&T Stadium are close to sold-out but the next six weeks should lead to significant promotion and buzz for the cards.

A big element to the promotion is how significantly WrestleMania is pushed by NBC Universal, which sees the show on a large enough scale to advertise it on the Super Bowl broadcast. Peacock just wrapped up its coverage of the Winter Olympics, so WrestleMania is the next major hook for the emerging streaming platform. With all the star power on the show, it would seem natural to see plenty of WWE crossover promotion with NBC Universal properties over the next six weeks.

WRESTLING NEWS

**Dwayne Johnson announced publicly that the XFL and NFL will collaborate on innovating the game and protecting the health of players. ESPN’s Kevin Seifert noted that it does not include players being shared between the two leagues or the XFL becomes a developmental league. Johnson is part of the ownership of the latest incarnation of the league alongside Dany Garcia and RedBird Capital Partners. The league was resurrected by Vince McMahon in early 2020 but the league was shuttered and went into bankruptcy right as the pandemic began. The XFL is planning to re-launch in the spring of 2023 under its new ownership.

Exciting time in football as our @XFL2023 will join forces with the @NFL to collaborate on innovation opportunities to expand & grow the game of football.
As an XFL owner, my #1 priority will always be the players.
☑️👇🏾https://t.co/thLLn4NI9o#XFL#NFL#InnovationAndOpportunity pic.twitter.com/rr0WPc3ua3

— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) February 21, 2022

**On Monday’s STARDOM card at Korakuen Hall, Starlight Kid issued a challenge to KAIRI for March 27th at Ryogoku Sumo Hall, and it was accepted. KAIRI is set for a tag match the night prior with Mayu Iwatani against Unagi Sayaka & Tam Nakano.

**It was announced on the STARDOM show that 19-year old dojo graduate Miyu Matsuda will make her professional debut on March 11th against Utami Hayashishita.

**I would recommend both main events from the New Japan cards over the weekend. The first night in Hokkaido featured SANADA winning his first singles belt in New Japan, pinning Hiroshi Tanahashi with a Japanese Leg Roll Clutch after Tanahashi missed the High Fly Flow. The story was that SANADA won a scientific duel with the ‘Ace’ and won fair-and-square with several big near-falls. Tanahashi worked over SANADA’s knee and did a lot, including Aces High to the floor. Afterward, SANADA paid respect to Tanahashi and was the new champion’s most significant win since beating Kazuchika Okada in the G1 several years ago. The second night featured Okada retaining the IWGP world heavyweight championship against Tetsuya Naito in their first match since January 2020 when Naito became Double Champion. This was a match that breezed by and the two had terrific timing and chemistry, where everything clicked and culminated with the final minutes hitting a tremendous peak. The near falls included Okada kicking out of Destino and Stardust Press, which felt huge even without fans being able to cheer. Okada won with the Rainmaker. Both main events were just shy of thirty minutes and I thought neither overstayed their welcome.

**The real build toward WrestleMania 38 begins tonight with WWE Raw in Columbia, South Carolina at Colonial Life Arena (which is the same venue AEW is running on March 30th for Dynamite & Rampage). As of Friday, WrestleTix reported there were over 5,500 tickets out for tonight’s show. It is also the 1,500th episode of Raw, which they didn’t make any big deal out of compared to episode 1,000 in July 2012, which coincided with the permanent move to three-hour shows, and therefore, we have had 500 episodes at the extended length.

**Due to Presidents’ Day, the ratings information will be delayed this week. Figures for Friday Night SmackDown & AEW Rampage will be released on Tuesday, WWE Raw on Monday, NXT 2.0 on Thursday morning, and AEW Dynamite figures will be out Thursday evening.

**WrestleCon has added a tag match between The Briscoes and Low Ki & Homicide to the Mark Hitchcock Memorial Supershow on Thursday, March 31st in Dallas, Texas during WrestleMania Week. The two teams first met at Ring of Honor’s ‘Testing the Limit’ event in August 2004. It joins the previously announced match between Minoru Suzuki and Biff Busick for the SuperShow, which takes place at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas.

**Kurt Angle spoke about the nixed plans by WWE regarding a role for the Hall of Famer, which he had mentioned on a previous edition of The Kurt Angle Show. Angle stated last month that WWE reached out to him regarding an on-screen role with Fightful Select later reporting that it would involve Angle in the Academic Challenge and potentially serving as a guest referee at Elimination Chamber. Angle confirmed those ideas on his most recent podcast episode (Transcribed by Jeremy Lambert at Fightful):

That’s all true. That’s what it was. There are a lot of rumors going around that I was supposed to be booked for WrestleMania 38, which is not true at all. If you saw the post, a lot of people thought that I was talking about WrestleMania when I was talking about what I was going to do at the Royal Rumble, have the program for a few weeks, and the blowoff would have been Saudi Arabia where I would referee the match between RK-Bro and Alpha Academy. I am not signed with WWE by any means. Didn’t cut a deal. That whole program got canceled at the last second, so it never happened. Unfortunate, but sometimes they have different plans for these guys and there’s nothing you can do about it.

**AEW is returning to the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia on Wednesday, April 27th for a live Dynamite and Rampage taping. The last time they ran the arena was last October when they drew 7,100 and 6,800 paid, per The Wrestling Observer Newsletter. It was also the site of the third episode of Dynamite in October 2019 for a show headlined by Chris Jericho defending the AEW championship against Darby Allin in a Philadelphia Street Fight.

**Here are the matches advertised for tonight’s edition of AEW Dark: Elevation, which was taped last week in Nashville and streams at 7 p.m. ET tonight on YouTube:
*Daniel Garcia, 2point0 & The Gunn Club vs. Dominic Garrini, Kevin Ku, Ariel Levy, Chico Adams & Dean Alexander
*Andrade El Idolo, The Butcher, The Blade & Private Party vs. Shawn Dean, Carlie Bravo, Baron Black, Jameson Ryan & Chandler Hopkins
*Ruby Soho vs. Haley J
*Nyla Rose, Leyla Hirsch & Emi Sakura vs. Skye Blue, A.Q.A. & Kiera Hogan
*Red Velvet, Tay Conti & Anna Jay vs. Freya States, Angelica Risk & Arie Alexander
*Lance Archer vs. Joey O’Riley
*Jay Lethal, Matt Sydal, Frankie Kazarian, Lee Johnson & Brock Anderson vs. Serpentico, Luther, Peter Avalon, JD Drake & Cezar Bononi
*The Bunny vs. Kaitland Alexis

**Chris Bournea, the director of ‘Lady Wrestler’ that focuses on Babs Wingo, Marva Scott, Ethel Johnson, and other Black female pioneers in the industry, is hosting a Q&A at the Upper Arlington Tremont Library in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. local time. There will also be a screening of the documentary on March 2nd.

**Kevin Nash has a role in the new film ‘Dog’ that came out over the weekend starring Channing Tatum and was promoted on WWE television with Rey & Dominik Mysterio.

**Korakuen Hall is advertising a pair of interesting shows in April to mark the 60th anniversary of the famous arena. They are listing ‘Women’s Wrestling Dream Festival’ for April 15th with logos of OZ Academy, Ice Ribbon, Sendai Girls, WAVE, STARDOM, Diana, SEAdLINNG, Marvelous, and Pure-J displayed. The following day, there is a show listed as ‘50th Anniversary Celebration’ with both New Japan & All Japan logos shown – both companies are celebrating their 50th anniversaries this year.

**This Wednesday’s tag team battle royal on AEW Dynamite will include The Young Bucks, reDRagon, Santana & Ortiz, FTR, John Silver & Alex Reynolds, 2point0, Private Party, The Gunn Club, The Butcher & The Blade, and Chuck Taylor & Trent Beretta. The winners will be added to the triple threat match at Revolution against Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus, and the winners of the Casino Battle Royale on March 2nd.

**The MLW tag team titles will be defended on this Saturday’s SuperFight event in Charlotte, North Carolina. 5150 (Danny Limelight & Slice Boogie) will defend the titles against EJ Nduka and a mystery partner at the MLW Fusion tapings at the Grady Cole Center.

**After Progress champion Cara Noir defended the title against Shane Strickland on Sunday’s show, he was confronted by ROH champion Jonathan Gresham with both holding up their belts. The promotion returns to the Electric Ballroom on Sunday, March 20th, and will run four shows that week in London culminating with its tenth-anniversary show on March 25th at The Garage.

**WWE has released a trailer for the ‘Corey & Carmella’ reality series that premieres next Monday on YouTube. Graves and Carmella are working with WWE on the project and going by their screen names in the series, which is being produced by Glass Entertainment and will feature a series of shorts from the pilot episode they filmed.

The first trailer for Corey & Carmella is here!

Watch @WWEGraves & @CarmellaWWE's new reality series, premiering next Monday on WWE's official YouTube channel. pic.twitter.com/jVSRfn3UFO

— WWE (@WWE) February 21, 2022

**This Saturday, DEFY 50: The Return of Swerve takes place from Washington Hall in Seattle with Shane ‘Swerve’ Strickland taking on Nick Wayne, JONAH faces SCHAFF, Christopher Daniels defends the interim DEFY title against Clark Connors, and The Bollywood Boyz will be defending the tag titles.

**Prestige Wrestling in Portland has announced that Athena (formerly Ember Moon) will face Taya Valkyrie on April 15th at the Kliever Armory. The show will include Malakai Black and Charlie Haas.

**Being the Elite Ep. 295 ‘Matt & Nick Explain It All’.

**Here are the results from STARDOM’s card at Korakuen Hall on Monday in front of 714 fans (Courtesy: Purolove.com):
*Artist of Stardom Championship: Maika, Himeka & Natsupoi (champions) over Starlight Kid, Ruaka & Rina in 19:00
*Syuri & Thekla vs. Risa Sera & Akane Fujita wrestled to a 20:00 draw
*Giulia, MIRAI & Mai Sakura over Tam Nakano, Unagi Sayaka & Waka Tsukiyama in 15:20
*Utami Hayashishita, AZM & Saya Kamitani over Mayu Iwatani, Hazuki & Momo Kohgo in 11:29
*Momo Watanabe over Mina Shirakawa in 10:11
*Saki Kashima & Fukigen Death over Koguma & Hanan in 8:28

**Pro Wrestling NOAH has a big show in Nagoya this Wednesday with Katsuhiko Nakajima defending the GHC heavyweight title against Kazuyuki Fujita as well as GHC Jr. heavyweight tag champions Seiki Yoshioka & Yuya Susumu defending against NOSAWA Rongai & YO-HEY.

**AJPW runs Korakuen Hall this Wednesday with Kento Miyahara defending the Triple Crown against Abdullah Kobayashi, AJPW tag champions Shotaro Ashino & Suwama defend against Koji Doi & Kuma Arashi, and Shigehiro Irie defending the GAORA TV title against Isami Kodaka.

MMA NEWS

**Bellator 273 takes place this Friday as the promotion returns to Dublin, Ireland featuring Gegard Mousasi defending the middleweight title against Austin Vanderford. Vanderford is the husband of Paige VanZant and has appeared on several episodes of AEW programming alongside VanZant as part of American Top Team. Vanderford (11-0) won by submission on an episode of Dana White’s Contender Series in 2018 but was not signed. Instead, he went to Bellator the following year and has gone 5-0 but has only had two fights over the past two years with decision wins against Vinicius de Jesus and Fabian Edwards. Mousasi (48-7-2, 2 NC) won the vacant title in October 2020 by beating Douglas Lima by decision and defended it last August with a TKO win against John Salter.

The main card airs at 4 p.m. ET this Friday on Showtime (which is a terrible slot for U.S. viewers, especially on the West Coast but Bellator is always criticized when it doesn’t air its cards live). The rest of the main card will feature Sinead Kavanagh (7-5) vs. Leah McCourt (6-1), Ciaran Clarke (4-0) vs. Abou Tounkara (7-2), Jose Sanchez (11-1) vs. Khasan Magomedsharipov (6-0), and Brian Moore (14-8) vs. Jornel Lugo (7-0).

*****
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WWE Elimination Chamber 2022 POST Show
John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE Elimination Chamber 2022 and discuss the latest for WrestleMania 38, Kenny Omega’s comments on Cody Rhodes, NJPW and more.
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REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN: Jay White vs. Trent Beretta, Elimination Chamber Go-Home
Wai Ting & Kate from MTL review AEW Rampage: Slam Dunk featuring Jay White’s AEW in-ring debut against Trent, and the go-home edition of WWE SmackDown ahead of Elimination Chamber.
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John Pollock is joined by Garrett Gonzales of Fight Game Media and the Wrestling Observer followed by Karen Peterson from the POST Wrestling network.
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THE WELLNESS POLICY: The Inner Critic w/ Neal Flanagan
Wai Ting and Jordan Goodman are joined by “Our Man” Neal Flanagan for this month’s edition of The Wellness Policy! The guys explore the concept and experience of one’s “inner critic.”
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THE WELLNESS POLICY: The Inner Critic
Wai Ting and Jordan Goodman are joined by “Our Man” Neal Flanagan for this month’s edition of The Wellness Policy! The guys explore the concept and experience of one’s “inner critic”.
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MEDIA PANEL: WWE-Saudi Arabia Relationship
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*****
SHOT IN THE DARK: Final Episode of 205 Live, Josh Alexander sent home
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*****

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