POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: Tony Khan speaks on wellness policy in AEW, update on Jeff Hardy

Originally published at POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: Tony Khan speaks on wellness policy in AEW, update on Jeff Hardy

POST IT NOTES

**Rewind-A-SmackDown is live at 11 p.m. ET tonight for POST Wrestling Café members. Wai Ting and I will review Friday Night SmackDown and AEW Rampage, preview Forbidden Door and take calls from Café members.

**POST Wrestling is looking for someone that is interested in writing for the site on Friday nights to cover news from Friday Night SmackDown and AEW Rampage. If you are interested, we would prefer to see a sample of your writing and it can be sent to john@postwrestling.com.

**On Saturday, WH Park will be joined by Karen Peterson for the latest edition of POST Puroresu and we will also release this month’s edition of the N.W.A Podcast with Nate Milton, Kris Ealy & Andrew Thompson.

**Wai Ting and I will be live minutes following AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door on Sunday night. We will be live on the POST YouTube channel with a complete review of the show. Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso members of the POST Wrestling Café will be able to call and share their thoughts on the show.

**Next Tuesday, we will review TNA Destination X from 2012 on Rewind-A-Wai. You can leave feedback to the show and watch the entire pay-per-view free on IMPACT’s YouTube channel.

POST DAILY NEWS SHOW

– Tomohiro Ishii injured, replaced at Forbidden Door
– Ric Flair outlines potential risks for last match
– The Undertaker hosting one-man show
– Court Bauer comments on lawsuit with WWE, Battle Riot IV news
– AEW Dynamite ratings
– SmackDown & Rampage lineups tonight

AD-FREE version on the POST Wrestling Café feed.

WRESTLING NEWS

**AEW president Tony Khan hosted a call with members of the media on Friday to promote Forbidden Door. Khan was asked about a wellness policy in the promotion and he responded that there was a policy. Khan said AEW talent is required to come in condition to perform and that their policy includes drug testing. Khan stressed that they are there to offer help to talent and hopes that those in need of help will come to them. (Transcriptions courtesy of Skylar Russell and Jeremy Lambert at Fightful):

We have a wellness policy, but in the case of drinking, you have to be careful because 99% of the roster drinks responsibly and most people drink responsibly, as you see form advertisements on TV and billboards, that’s the number one thing they ask. We have a wellness policy.

As far as testing for alcohol after the shows, I think a lot of people drink after the show is over and I don’t have a policy about that other than we ask people to be safe and responsible.

Khan added that Jeff Hardy is in treatment:

Jeff is doing much better. As I understand, Jeff is in treatment. I don’t want to say too much about what is going on because it’s his business, but I’m here for him for whatever he needs. I’m really glad nobody got hurt. What Jeff did, going out and driving, is totally different from the other thing. I don’t like hearing the two compared. I’d be remise if I didn’t give Jeff a lot of credit for now doing the right thing. This is why we said Jeff has to the right thing if he wants to stay with AEW. It’s last chance.

**Friday Night SmackDown takes place from the Moody Center in Austin, Texas at 8 p.m. ET on Fox tonight. The following matches were announced last week:
*Intercontinental Championship: Gunther (champion) vs. Ricochet
*Money in the Bank Qualifier: Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
*Money in the Bank Qualifier: Aliyah vs. Shotzi
*Drew McIntyre speaks

The natural question is whether Vince McMahon continues his appearances on television with brief messages designed for a pop for his entrance, the statement, and exit. We will see on Monday if SmackDown continues the trend of big increases among its programming following last week’s SmackDown and Raw and NXT 2.0 this week.

**AEW has two hours of programming on TNT tonight with the taped edition of Rampage from Milwaukee followed by the Countdown to Forbidden Door at 11 p.m. ET. Below are the matches scheduled for Rampage:
*Andrade El Idolo vs. Rey Fenix
*Serena Deeb & Mercedes Martinez vs. Laynie Luck & Sierra
*Hook vs. The DKC
*Cash Wheeler vs. Jeff Cobb

On Friday’s conference call, Tony Khan said there would be more matches added to the Buy-In, which will be announced on the show tonight.

**MLW CEO Court Bauer spoke with members of the media after Battle Riot IV on Thursday night including our own John Siino. Some notes from the media scrum:
*Regarding the lawsuit with WWE, he could not comment on the ongoing legal situation but said he is “increasingly optimistic” that “when we get to court, it’s going to be favoring Court”.
*He is not to overhype the “Summer of Surprises” that they have tweeted about and let the fans decide if the surprises live up and said they are “coming out roaring” this summer
*Mance Warner appeared in the Battle Riot as a surprise and it came together the night before when they got on the phone despite past contentious issues between the two sides. Bauer indicated Warner would be returning and doing something with Mads Krugger.
*On working with IMPACT Wrestling, they had conversations with Scott D’Amore and came together over the past month. They sent Davey Richards to work at Slammiversary and Sami Callihan appeared in the Battle Riot on Thursday. He was complimentary of D’Amore and it wouldn’t have been possible without his contributions.
*They had talks with Parker Boudreaux weeks ago, but the talks ended. Talks resumed this past Monday and they worked something out where Boudreaux appeared in the Battle Riot.
*Bauer wants to go to Los Angeles badly and could happen in the next 60-90 days. They had to move their date in Chicago this summer because of some “pending business on the media rights front”.

**Brandon Thurston provided an update for last Friday’s viewership figures, which were lower due to a Nielsen error that didn’t accurately account for out-of-home viewership, which Nielsen has added to its tabulations over the past year. Friday Night SmackDown’s originally reported viewership was 2,290,000 and 0.57 in 18-49 but with the adjustments it did 2,389,000 and 0.62 (804,000) making it the most-watched SmackDown since Christmas Day 2020 that had a huge lead-in from the NFL. Rampage had a terrible number last Friday with 331,000 viewers and 0.10 in 18-49 but the new data shows it averaged 369,000 and 0.12 (155,00) It is still Rampage’s lowest figures in its normal time slot, but the increase puts it above several of the episodes airing in different time slots.

**NXT Level Up tonight at 10 p.m. ET on the WWE Network features Kiana James vs. Brooklyn Barlow, Ikemen Jiro vs. Ru Feng, and Bryson Montana vs. Quincy Elliott.

**WWE has six live events this weekend and seven including SmackDown tonight. The SmackDown crew goes from Austin tonight to Abilene, Texas on Saturday and Odessa on Sunday with Drew McIntyre, The Usos, and New Day featured. The Raw crew starts Saturday in Amarillo and heads to Hidalgo on Sunday with Seth Rollins, Bianca Belair, Becky Lynch, AJ Styles, and Bobby Lashley advertised. NXT 2.0 is running a card at the Jacksonville Armory tonight and going to the Venice Community Center in Florida on Saturday.

**Kenny Omega was interviewed by Sean Ross Sapp at Fightful and provided an update on how he’s recovering after taking a break following Full Gear last November. Omega said he originally wanted to be back in time for Forbidden Door and would like to have some involvement on the show, even for commentary but said “I’m not there yet” and doesn’t want to take someone’s spot if he can’t do anything that leads anywhere. He said he was going to shows but felt it was affecting his rehabilitation and has been staying home now and his priority is working on the video game release that he’s heavily tied to.

**Jeff Jarrett appeared on After the Bell with Corey Graves and discussed his new role as WWE’s senior vice president of the live event booking.

**GCW owner Brett Lauderdale spoke with PWPonderings and addressed a recent article on the site asking if the promotion was doing too much including the volume of shows? Lauderdale understood that it can be pricey to follow all the company’s shows and mentioned talks regarding a streaming service for the group (Transcription courtesy of Jeremy Lambert at Fightful):

For people that love GCW and want to see every show, it can be challenging and I’m aware of that. It’s something we’ve been working on and trying to address for some time now. Only recently, we had some obstacles be cleared, which will now give us the flexibility to do what we want to do. People have said explicitly that they would like to see a subscription network, a GCW network of sorts, that’s obviously something we’re working on. There are a lot of variables and things that go into it, a lot of potential ways to do it and right now, I just had a conference call on Tuesday with some major players to discuss potential opportunities and ways to do this and options. It’s just a matter of figuring out what is best for GCW, best for the fans, and being able to do it in a way that benefits GCW first and foremost. Something is going to happen eventually.

**Michael Cavacini is working on a book covering the history of TNA/IMPACT Wrestling and states he has conducted 300 interviews for the book including Andy Barton (who was the EVP of the company for many years), Keith Mitchell, Kevin Kay & Scott Fishman of Spike TV along with past talents including Konnan, Kevin Nash, Jeff & Matt Hardy, Shane Douglas, Nick Aldis, Rob Van Dam, and many others. The promotion is due for a deep look at its history as there are endless stories and lessons to be learned from as the company just marked its twentieth anniversary.

**Greektown Wrestling has cards in London and Toronto, Ontario this weekend. Tonight’s card “Live from London” at the Marconi Club includes Eric Young vs. Channing Decker. The Toronto card on Saturday takes place at Ted Reeve Arena featuring an appearance and meet-and-greet with Bret Hart.

**C*4 Wrestling presents ‘City on Fire’ tonight at the Preston Event Centre in Ottawa, Ontario. The show is headlined by Speedball Mike Bailey defending the C*4 Championship & C*4 Underground title against Kevin Blackwood, Violence is Forever (Kevin Ku & Dominic Garrini) vs. Fight or Flight, Alex Shelley vs. Junior Benito, and Stu Grayson vs. Alex Zayne among the top matches.

**Lio Rush’s Not Found 2 EP was released on Friday. Rush spoke with our own Andrew Thompson for close to an hour promoting the release and chatting about his wrestling career.

**On Friday’s Pro Wrestling NOAH card in Yokohama, Satoshi Kojima & Kaito Kiyomiya wrestled Kenoh & Katsuhiko Nakajima to a 30:00 draw as a prelude to Kojima and Kenoh’s title match next month. The card drew 202 fans to Yokohama Radiant Hall, per Purolove.com.

**GHC Tag Team Champions Michael Elgin & Masa Kitamiya will defend their titles against Hideki Suzuki & Timothy Thatcher at Destination 2022 on July 16th at Nippon Budokan. They have also added a ten-man tag with Masaaki Mochizuki, Shuhei Taniguchi, Yoshiki Inamura, Daiki Inaba & Kinya Okada taking on Hijo de Dr. Wagner Jr., Rene Dupree, Stallion Rogers, Simon Gotch & Anthony Greene. The card will be headlined by Satoshi Kojima’s first defense of the GHC Championship against Kenoh and coincides with the opening night of the G1 Climax.

**MLW has announced a licensing deal with Boss Fight Studio to create action figures and collectibles. Court Bauer of MLW was quoted in the press release stating:

Teaming up with Boss Fight to bring the world of MLW to fans as action figures and collectibles is something the fans have been demanding and we’re delighted to make it happen. We have a stacked lineup we’ve been working on. Boss Fight’s attention to detail and ability to bring figures to market that are not only incredibly fun to play with but are representative of the talent is key.

MMA NEWS

**The UFC returns to the Apex on Saturday night for a strong Fight Night card featuring several potential stars with Arman Tsarukyan, Shavkat Rakhmonov, and Umar Nurmagomedov competing on the main card.

Below is the lineup for Saturday night with all fighters making weight on Friday:

MAIN CARD (10 p.m. ET on ESPN & ESPN+)
*Arman Tsarukyan (17-2) vs. Mateusz Gamrot (20-1)
*Shavkat Rakhmonov (15-0) vs. Neil Magny (26-8)
*Alan Baudot (8-3) vs. Josh Parisian (14-5)
*Christos Giago (19-9) vs. Thiago Moises (15-6)
*Umar Nurmagomedov (14-0-1) vs. Nate Maness (14-1)

PRELIMINARY CARD (7 p.m. ET on ESPN2 & ESPN+)
*Tafon Nchukwi (6-2) vs. Carlos Ulberg (4-1)
*TJ Brown (16-8) vs. Shayilan Nuerdanbieke (20-7)
*Sergey Morozov (17-5) vs. Raulian Paiva (21-4)
*Cody Durden (12-4-1) vs. JP Buys (9-4)
*Brian Kelleher (24-13) vs. Mario Bautista (9-2)
*Vanessa Demopoulos (7-4) vs. Jinh Yu Frey (11-6)

**The UFC 276 preliminary fights will be airing from 8-10 p.m. ET on both ABC & ESPN next Saturday night.

**A press conference will be held next Wednesday to formally announce Jake Paul’s next fight with Tommy Fury that is scheduled for Madison Square Garden on Saturday, August 6th. Amanda Serrano will be co-headlining the card against Brendan Carabajal following her huge fight with Katie Taylor earlier this year at the same arena. The event will be airing on pay-per-view as a co-promotion between Showtime and Paul’s Most Valuable Promotions.

**The PFL has a card tonight on ESPN & ESPN+ with the continuation of the heavyweight and featherweight tournaments this season. There is also one lightweight fight as Anthony Pettis will be fighting Stevie Ray on the main card. A win is worth three points with up to three additional points depending on what round you can stop your opponent in (ie: a first-round stoppage is worth three extra points, second-round stoppage is worth two points, and one point for a third-round stoppage).

Below is the card along with their point totals in brackets.

MAIN CARD (9p.m. ET on ESPN & ESPN+)
*Heavyweight: Bruno Cappelozza (6) vs. Matheus Scheffel (0)
*Lightweight: Anthony Pettis (6) vs. Stevie Ray (0)
*Heavyweight: Renan Ferreira (6) vs. Klidson Abreu (3)

PRELIMINARY CARD (5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+)
*Featherweight: Chris Wade (3) vs. Kyle Bochniak (0)
*Heavyweight: Ante Delija (5) vs. Shelton Graves (0)
*Featherweight: Bubba Jenkins (3) vs. Reinaldo Ekson (0)
*Heavyweight: Maurice Greene (0) vs. Denis Goltsov (6)
*Featherweight: Sheymon Moraes (3) vs. Lance Palmer (0)
*Heavyweight: Juan Adams (0) vs. Sam Kei (0)
*Featherweight: Alejandro Flores (3) vs. Ryoji Kudo (0)
*Featherweight: Brendan Loughnane (3) vs. Ago Huskic (0)

**Bellator 282 takes place tonight from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The card features Gegard Mousasi defending the Bellator Middleweight Championship against Johnny Eblen and the continuation of the Bantamweight World Grand Prix with two quarter-final fights. The main card airs on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET with the following fights:
*Bellator Middleweight Championship: Gegard Mousasi (49-7-2) vs. Johnny Eblen (11-0)
*Bantamweight World Grand Prix: Leandro Higo (21-5) vs. Danny Sabatello (12-1)
*Bantamweight World Grand Prix: Magomed Magomedov (18-2) vs. Enrique Barzola (18-5-2)
*Kassius Kayne (13-6) vs. Brennan Ward (15-6)

The Bellator prelims begin at 6 p.m. ET and will include Cat Zingano fighting Pam Sorenson. It will be Zingano’s third fight with the promotion since leaving the UFC and follows her wins against Gabby Holloway and Olivia Parker.

**ESPN was the first to report that Julia Budd suffered an injury and will be unable to fight Kayla Harrison at PFL 6 next Friday night. Budd is being replaced by Kaitlin Young, who just lost to Budd last October by unanimous decision. Young (12-12-1) has been fighting professionally since 2007 and first made her mark by winning a one-night tournament in HOOKnSHOOT where she won three fights in one night with a total fight time of 1 minute and 45 seconds including a 30-second head kick knockout win against Miesha Tate. In May 2008, Young fought Gina Carano on the first MMA card on CBS when Elite XC landed on network television.

*****
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John Pollock & Wai Ting are back to discuss the latest updates for Forbidden Door, Ric Flair speaks on his last match, The Undertaker announces a one-man talk show, and news from MLW’s Battle Riot IV.
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SHOT IN THE DARK: Moustache Mountain Disrupts, Aces & Eights Reunion
John Siino reviews this week’s editions of AEW Dark, AEW Dark: Elevation, NXT UK, IMPACT Wrestling, NXT Level Up, NJPW Strong, NWA USA, NWA Powerrr, and Main Event in under 15 minutes on Shot In The Dark.
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Wai Ting is joined by Bruce Lord to discuss Tony Khan at Collision Conference in TO and Pollock’s interview, AEW Dynamite tonight, and recent notable matches from the indies including Nick Wayne vs. Will Ospreay and “Speedball” Mike Bailey vs. Konosuke Takeshita.
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******

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