POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: WM Night 2 Preview, Weather concerns

Originally published at POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: WM Night 2 Preview, Weather concerns


**Wai Ting and I will be LIVE tonight for ALL PATRONS immediately after WrestleMania 37 tonight. We will have a rundown of the show and then opening the phone lines to get your reaction to the show and the programs and directions coming out of the weekend. All members of the POST Wrestling Café can watch and listen tonight right after WrestleMania concludes. The Zoom login will be available later today for all Patrons.

**Our coverage of WrestleMania begins at 7 pm ET tonight on the site with Andrew Thompson and myself. There will be a live Watch Along with Davie Portman & Davie Portman at Twitch.tv/upNXTpodcast.

**Our WrestleMania 37 POST Show is available for everyone with Wai Ting and I reviewing the first night of the event from Raymond James Stadium. Wai and I discussed how they dealt with the weather delay, the memorable main event, the performance by Bad Bunny, which match did not work, the reactions from the live audience, and we take your calls including hearing from people that attended the show.

**John Siino has reviews on IMPACT’s Hardcore Justice, GCW’s Spring Break, and Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport 6. Plus, Eric Marcotte has a review of Saturday’s UFC on ABC 2 event.

**WH Park and Nate Milton co-host this week’s edition of MCU L8R discussing the fourth episode of The Falcon & The Winter Soldier for members of the POST Wrestling Café.


**The first night of WrestleMania was a well-received show for a variety of reasons, the leading one being the main event presentation with a memorable performance and crowning of Bianca Belair as the new SmackDown Women’s Champion. The moment where the bell rang and there were images of Belair and Sasha Banks holding back tears will likely be one of those all-time highlights in WrestleMania video packages that turn a WWE match into a classic over time.

Both women worked extremely well in the main event position and it was a genuine superstar-making moment for Belair to win the title along with the post-match celebration. It came off significantly better than the three-way match with Ronda Rousey, Charlotte Flair, and Becky Lynch in 2019, which had the disadvantage of following so many hours in the one-night format. It was without question, the best decision to break up nights this year, as I cannot imagine Belair and Banks would have had the time and certainly would not have gone on last if the two cards were combined. I also don’t think Banks and Belair would have had the significance with the audience or the people watching at home if it wasn’t going on last. It was the significance of the last spot on the card where the audience wanted the match to be special before the bell even rang and you could not have replicated that feeling if it was the opener or any other slot than the final one.

**The major issue WWE had to contend with on Saturday evening was the weather that led to matches being delayed. In all the years of running outdoor stadiums, the company has been very lucky regarding weather. I remember it began to rain during the pre-show at MetLife Stadium in 2013 but it passed. This was enough to cause a delay as they scrambled to fill time with promos from members of the roster with some better equipped than others to speak on the fly. They are calling for thunderstorms later today in Tampa, but the hope is that the worst of it will end before the show. One decision that proved beneficial was moving the start time to 8 pm ET because had it been the usual 7 pm timeslot it would have been chaos delaying for that length of time or having to delay one hour into the show.

**Tonight’s edition of WrestleMania has a similar format with seven matches and will likely go just over three hours, which Saturday’s show would have clocked in at if you eliminated the delay. The big match is the Universal Championship Match that has highlighted by three fantastic interview segments on Friday, and a phenomenal segment with Paul Heyman and Edge on Talking Smack that everyone should watch. The pre-show begins at 7 pm ET and below is the card:

WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (champion) vs. Edge vs. Daniel Bryan

It’s the most intriguing match by a wide margin and arguments can be made for any of the three to win. Given the story, the anniversary of his retirement, and recent turn it’s hard not to see Edge winning the title but there is a lot of mileage out of Edge losing the match but not being the one pinned or submitted. It’s hard to envision that they go off the air with their last show in front of fans for an indefinite period and do so without a babyface standing tall with the title. For that reason, I think it should be Bryan winning and sets up singles matches with Edge, an eventual rematch with Reigns, and ultimately the belt goes back to Reigns. Bryan has no shortage of opponents including Cesaro, which is fine for an in-between pay-per-view after Cesaro beat Bryan twice on television. In terms of the match, this should be excellent, and the bar is high to have a classic and these are the three to pull it off.

Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka (champion) vs. Rhea Ripley

Ash Costello is performing Ripley’s theme “Brutality” live tonight. They have yet to announce match order, but I could see them doing the opposite of night one and this opening the show. After losing last year, just getting her call-up and in a big match, Ripley should win the title. Asuka has had a long run and there are more options with a fresh champion in Ripley by integrating Charlotte Flair into the mix. I expect this to be very good.

The Fiend vs. Randy Orton

I don’t know what to expect with this one. Based on the feud, you have to incorporate some fantasy elements and that usually means taped content. It will be hard to pull that off without risking the live audience being turned off by it. This should be the end to the program that has played loose with fire, near-death, black goo, elements of voodoo, and a mysterious Randy Orton clone. It’s been an awful feud.

WWE Intercontinental Championship, Nigerian Drum Fight: Big E. (champion) vs. Apollo Crews

Wale will perform Big E’s theme at the show and should feel like a big-time entrance for the champion. No one knows what a Nigerian Drum Fight is including Big E. Essentially it sounds like a No DQ Match. The “feud” has consisted of Crews being beaten like a drum and losing time after time yet still get title matches, which would anger many people if there was a rankings system. If Big E. loses the title may be a good sign of his upward movement similar to Bobby Lashley dropping the United States title before his rise earlier this year.

Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn

They have really underestimated the following these two have in Quebec as I have seen a lot of coverage for this match in French-language media. This is a huge deal for both to have a singles match on this show after wrestling literally hundreds of times together. Logan Paul has to be involved and it either comes down to Paul knocking out Zayn or the better option, Owens stunning Paul. Left to their devices, they will tear it up and this could easily be one of the best matches of the weekend.

Women’s Tag Team Championship: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (champions) vs. Natalya & Tamina

This couldn’t have been set up with a weaker match than Saturday’s Tag Team Turmoil but the match. Of all the tag teams, Natalya & Tamina are the one team they have not gone 50/50 with and instead, heated them up with wins for over a month, so this was the logical choice for the challengers. For me, the Jax and Baszler pairing is reaching its expiration, but the pairing has likely kept Baszler in the mix rather than on her own. I don’t expect this to go long.

WWE United States Championship: Riddle (champion) vs. Sheamus

I expect this to be very good as their matches typically deliver every time out. It isn’t a fresh match but that’s fine. Riddle is a tremendous wrestler, but the character is brutal. Quietly, Sheamus has had a really great stretch over the past few months with the Drew McIntyre program and probably gets to have a hard-hitting ten-minute match at ‘Mania losing to Riddle.

**During the WrestleMania broadcast, the company released a promo for next year’s show in Texas featuring Steve Austin. The company has announced that the date of the event is April 3, 2022, although in the promo it just lists “April 2022” at the end:

**Sean Ross Sapp at Fightful Select reports the call time for WrestleMania was pushed back but the start time tonight remains the same.

**The WWE Network has released the latest Broken Skull Sessions featuring Chris Jericho. The first fourteen minutes cover his decision to go to AEW, his role within that company, Jericho’s displeasure over the match placement at WrestleMania 33 with Kevin Owens, and then it goes into a career retrospective.

**Today marks the ten years since the passing of Alex Whybrow a.k.a. Larry Sweeney, who died at the age of 30 on this date in 2011. Sweeney was an unbelievable personality and would have been among the top managers in any era but came at a time where they had been deemphasized. Even fast-forwarding to the present, there would have been so many more opportunities for someone like Sweeney that would have been a terrific personality in AEW, IMPACT Wrestling, or NXT not to mention the presence he would have had in the digital age where having a social media footprint is so integral for personalities to cultivate their audience and grow their persona. I did not know Sweeney but we had him on our shows several times and I always came away impressed at his ability to convey this character with obvious attention to great speakers of the past and being so far ahead at a young age. In ways, MJF would be a great comparison today of someone very young with unlimited potential because of their charisma. He struggled with bipolar disorder and wrote about his struggles a few years earlier but sadly, took his life in April 2011.

**Our condolences go out to Shotzi Blackheart, who informed everyone that her stepfather passed away on Saturday. Earlier in the week, she shared that he was in a coma after suffering two heart attacks. Blackheart posted the following memories on Sunday:

I got the news early yesterday morning that my dad passed. This is extremely painful. I see all the caring messages and I really appreciate them but I am just far too overwhelmed to respond to them all. I know alot of people dont have a great relationship with their dad so I always felt really lucky to have awesome relationships with both my dads. My step dad came into my life when I was 4 and he made it a point to become good friends with my biological father and they became best friends, brothers. He was that fun guy that everyone wanted to be friends with. The party guy. Almost everyday at home I could hear him singing to himself “i dont want to work just want to bang on my drum all day” He played his music so loud you could hear it down the street.

He had the best Halloween decorations, the biggest fireworks on the 4th of July, the biggest smile in any room and he was huge prankster. One time he wrapped up a big piece of dog crap in plastic wrap and hid it in my cars sun visor so that it stunk my car up and landed right on my lap when I found it. He scared the crap out of me and my sister when we were camping once. It was the middle of the night and we were both asleep in our tent when suddenly we woke up to the tent shaking. My dad put on a gorilla suit and destroyed our tent with us in it. I was probably 6 at the time and thought I was going to die. Dont even get me started on his wet willies from hell! They were the worst but boy would I do anything for one now. He taught me everything from riding a bike to appreciating the beauty in life. Dad I miss making brownies with you, I miss our long conversations that went on until sunrise, I miss your donald duck impressions and I miss hearing you call me butthead. I LOVE YOU RIP Dad.

**Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics studied the Google Trends related to WrestleMania-related searches over the past 36 hours. The top five were Bad Bunny, Sasha Banks, Bianca Belair, Shane McMahon, and Dwayne Johnson (the latter likely based on curiosity if he would appear and his overall interest level being a higher day-to-day rate than any WWE performers). Thurston isolated the top five and Bad Bunny performed significantly above the other four when it comes to Google searches, which is usually a good barometer of interest when comparing searches with how a show performed.

**WWE and Peacock have announced a documentary on “superfan” Vladimir Abouzeide to be released this summer. Prior to the first night of WrestleMania, Abouzeide was presented with an award by Paul Levesque and Stephanie McMahon as a “certified superfan” to coincide with the documentary news and the release of the trailer.

**WWE and 2K have released a teaser for WWE 2K22 after skipping its annual 2K series release last year. The teaser is centered around Rey Mysterio:

**RJ City hosted WrestleMania After Dark with guests Ric Flair, Kevin Owens, Billie Kay, and The Riott Squad.

**Friday’s rSpring Break card ended with a big moment as Jon Moxley confronted new GCW Champion Nick Gage with the implication of a future match between the two. Moxley appears to have a wish list of opponents and promotions to work with and is just checking them off the box each month. Highspots has released the previous matches between Moxley and Gage from CZW for free on their streaming network.

**AEW president Tony Khan shared his own issues battling the weather in Florida for a November edition of Dynamite right as their live broadcast was set to begin:

On Wednesday Nov. 11, sideways rain was blowing in, our elevated ring wasn’t affected but I felt the ringside mats were slippery & unsafe. 10 minutes to showtime I had a lightbulb idea to lay down carpet at ringside & remembered we had a Red Carpet. It totally solved the problem.

The crew chopped up the red carpet and were still laying it down at 8:02pm as the Live show started. The first match was Brian Cage vs. Matt Sydal. I asked Taz to go out and do an opening promo and stretch so we could shoot him close-up while the crew was putting the carpet down.

Also I’m not trolling anyone, I just think it’s a safe approach that I thought would be worth mentioning. It occurred to me last minute too, and it would’ve tremendously affected the matches that night if I hadn’t done it, + it potentially prevented some injuries from occurring.

**The match stipulations for the next KOPW 2021 match between Toru Yano and EVIL have been revealed. The match will take place on April 28th at Wrestling Satsuma no Kuni. Fans can vote on either man’s choice for match type:

Yano has proposed a ‘Creation of Darkness Blindfold Match’. Distinct from a ‘traditional’ blindfold match, this bout will start with four blindfold hoods on each of the four ringposts around the ring. A competitor is only able to defeat their opponent if they can blindfold them first. Should a hood be secured on an opponent, usual rules apply to pinfalls, submissions, knock outs and countouts.

EVIL has his own dark twist, proposing the first ever Darkness Match. In this ruleset, the first three minutes of the match will see the lights turned on and off at thirty second intervals. From the three minute mark onward, there will be thirty seconds of darkness every three minutes until a decision is rendered.

**The Champion Carnival began on Friday with three straight nights of shows from All Japan Pro Wrestling. I have seen everything up through the main event of Saturday. For me, Shinjiro Otani has been one of the stories of the tournament with two strong matches with Yuma Aoyagi on Friday and Kento Miyahara on Saturday. After three nights, Zeus is the leader with six points followed by Jake Lee and Shuji Ishikawa with four, and everyone else has two points. Below are the results from Sunday’s show in Niigata:
*Jake Lee over Koji Doi
*Shuji Ishikawa over Yuma Aoyagi
*Shotaro Ashino over Kento Miyahara
*Zeus over Suwama (it was the second loss of the tournament so far by the Triple Crown Champion, who also lost to Kohei Sato on the first night)

**AJPW is off until next weekend when the Champion Carnival resumes with shows at Shin-Kiba 1st Ring on Saturday and a show in Chiba on Sunday.

**Dustin Rhodes turns 52 today.


WrestleMania 36 – Night 2 (Sunday, April 5, 2020 – taped the previous week)
*Liv Morgan over Natalya
*NXT Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair over Rhea Ripley (champion)
*Aleister Black over Bobby Lashley
*Otis over Dolph Ziggler
*Last Man Standing: Edge over Randy Orton
*Raw Tag Team Championship: The Street Profits (champions) over Angel Garza & Austin Theory
*SmackDown Women’s Championship: Bayley (champion) over Sasha Banks, Naomi, Lacey Evans, and Tamina
*WWE Championship: Drew McIntyre over Brock Lesnar (champion)


John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE WrestleMania 37 Night 1 featuring Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair for the SD Women’s Championship and the in-ring debut of Bad Bunny. We discuss the return of live crowds and the unexpected rain delay that started the show.
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