POLLOCK'S NEWS UPDATE: WWE Tapings, Kairi Sane, PPV Thoughts

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/07/20/pollocks-news-update-wwe-tapings-kairi-sane-ppv-thoughts/


**Our WWE Horror Show at Extreme Rules POST Show is available across all our platforms with Wai Ting and I reviewing Sunday’s strange show. There was a lot of discussion on the WWE’s strategy of promoting their pay-per-views, the booking of many of the finishes on the card, the Eye for an Eye & Wyatt Swamp Fight concepts, and then opening the phone lines and taking your feedback to the event. At the end of the show, we also went through the key items addressed by Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows in their Talkin’ Shop interview on Friday night.

**Wai Ting and I are back with Rewind-A-Raw tonight to review tonight’s episode, discuss all the latest news, and go through your feedback at the end of the show. The show will be posted late tonight on our free feed available on the site, iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and wherever you listen to podcasts by searching for POST Wrestling.

**On Tuesday, we will release Rewind-A-Wai #66 covering Pro Wrestling NOAH’s second (and last) Tokyo Dome card from July 2005. We will review the entire “Destiny” card headlined by the final meeting between Mitsuharu Misawa and Toshiaki Kawada as well as a dream match between Kenta Kobashi and Kensuke Sasaki. You can still post feedback on the POST Wrestling Forum. This show will be released Tuesday night and available to all members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**Tuesday is the final day of our MCU t-shirt sale where we will be taking the proceeds to donate to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the CLLDF Retailer Assistance Program. All sales made through July 21st will see the proceeds go to these two funds and the shirt can be purchased at the POST Wrestling Store.


Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting
Tuesday: Rewind-A-Wai #66: Pro Wrestling NOAH’s “Destiny” (Patreon)
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John & Wai
Wednesday: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Thursday: The British Wrestling Experience with Martin Bushby, Jamesie & Benno
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown with Wai Ting & Kristen Ashly (LIVE at 10:15 pm Eastern for all Patrons)
Saturday: The Rocky Maivia Picture Show with Nate Milton & guests Joey Lewandowski & Joe Two (Fast & Furious 6)


**WWE is taping two episodes of Raw today at the Performance Center with tonight’s show and next Monday’s. This will continue with two episodes of SmackDown being taped on Tuesday with both tapings including content taped for Main Event, Raw Talk & 205 Live. Both PWinsider.com and the Wrestling Observer website reported on delays at the tapings that were likely due to both plans changing and some talent that may not have been available. At 2:40 pm Eastern, I was told by one person there that they had taped two weeks worth of Main Event and had begun taping Raw.

**Tonight’s episode of Raw will feature the Unsanctioned Match between Randy Orton and Big Show as the major match advertised throughout the week. There are a lot of ways this can go that can set Orton on his path for SummerSlam by either punting Big Show to take him out, or doing something to Ric Flair, which was hinted at last week. They have also announced a match between Seth Rollins and Aleister Black for tonight.

**Mike Johnson at PWinsider.com is reporting that today’s Raw tapings will be the final ones for Kairi Sane, who will be moving back to Japan but will likely maintain a relationship with WWE. On last week’s episode of Raw Talk, a match between Asuka and Sane was teased and would make sense to be Sane’s final match.

Sane signed with WWE in 2016 after leaving Stardom and was introduced in the inaugural Mae Young Classic, which she won defeating Shayna Baszler in the finals. Sane would wrestle in NXT, winning their women’s title in August 2018 from Baszler and losing the title at the Evolution card later that year. Sane was brought up to SmackDown in April 2019 and paired with Asuka as The Kabuki Warriors with the two initially managed by Paige before writing her off with an angle. Sane & Asuka won the WWE women’s tag titles last October and held them until WrestleMania this year where they dropped the titles to Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross.

**Bobby Fulton (James Hines) has unfortunately taken a turn for the worse less than two months after he announced he was cancer-free. On Sunday, his son Dylan posted on Fulton’s Twitter account that Fulton had been admitted to hospital with cancer returning to a different part of his throat. Hines added that his father was scheduled for surgery on Monday to take care of an artery that was bleeding internally. As of Monday afternoon, he was out of surgery, but his son noted that Fulton was in rough shape. We wish the best for Fulton and that he can make a recovery from this terrible setback.

**Apollo Crews was pulled from Extreme Rules with the storyline reason that he didn’t pass a screening due to the attack by Bobby Lashley. We have not been able to confirm the exact reason Crews was off the show, although he has not appeared on television since the June 29th episode of Raw where he lost to MVP. Crews did media interviews throughout the week promoting the show, so WWE must have felt confident he would be ready for Sunday.

**Elisar Cabrera, who was an important figure in the UK wrestling scene has died after battling cancer for several years. Cabrera’s wife, Lisa Gifford, announced her husband had died Monday morning. Cabrera was a promoter for the FWA group from 1999 until 2003.

**Rev Pro promoter Andy Quildan shared the following memories of Cabrera:

Very sad to hear the passing of Elisar Cabrera after a brave 4 year battle with Cancer that you would never hear him complain about. A quiet, softly spoken man who as one of the founders of the FWA was in many ways responsible for a revolution.

Full disclosure I was always a little bit scared of him when I first started as he was a proper grown up! He helped dust off the ‘that will do’ attitude that plagued BritWres for years & brought a level of professionalism that was (& often still is) missing. From bringing in things that we take for granted these days like high quality VHS/DVD’s, MERCHANDISE (actual branded wrestler/promotion specific, rather than knock off WWF stuff), to dispelling myths that British Wrestling couldn’t be cool. Elisar was the real deal.

He didn’t shout as loudly as others about his contributions but his fingerprints are all over many of the positive aspects of wrestling that we take for granted. It’s been a pleasure to reconnect with Elisar over the last couple of years as he rediscovered his love for wrestling alongside his wife Lisa. My thoughts are with her and all his friends and family at this time. RIP

**Kayla Braxton has posted a message acknowledging the harassment she has received after going public with her positive COVID-19 diagnosis. It’s very disheartening to see this type of response for someone using their platform to share something private. While I applaud those being transparent such as Braxton has, I completely understand why a public figure would opt to remain quiet if they are positive because of the abuse they open themselves up to:

I tested positive for covid late March. I notified my company and I left and self quarantined for 4 weeks. I then was retested and tested negative. I still wore a mask and took all necessary precautions but then once again, I tested positive a couple months later. This time I had no symptoms but still, I left work and self quarantined for 14 days. Last night you all were tweeting super insensitive things regarding my health. A couple of you even said you thought I had died and maybe that woulda been for the best. Guys. This isn’t okay. When I said don’t be stupid like me I mean, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can’t test positive twice. I did everything I could. And this can happen to you. Moral of the story is: stop bullying people online, especially for something that concerns health. It’s so gross and you should be embarrassed. Let’s all be better. This is a hard time for everyone and we’re all experiencing a state of the world we’ve never experienced before. Build each other up. Help people. Just be good to people. And to all of you who have lent your support, I’ve seen you. And thank you. We need more people like you.

**Friday Night SmackDown finished with 1,912,000 viewers on Fox this past week for the show headlined by AJ Styles and Matt Riddle. They did a 0.5 rating in the 18-49 demographic, so they were up 12,000 viewers from the prior week and stayed at the same level in the demo. It would still be SmackDown’s fourth-lowest number since launching on Fox last October.

**As first reported by Fightful, there is a WWE Network special scheduled for Sunday, August 30th, which would be one week after SummerSlam.

**Stardom issued a brief statement on the reports covering Hana Kimura’s death. Stardom said they are in contact with legal representatives and are not going to speak to any specific details right now.

**If there was a major takeaway from Extreme Rules, it’s the reliance on a strategy of presenting the most-wild marketing ideas to draw curiosity viewers with the more outlandish concepts the better. Last month, they promoted the “Greatest Wrestling Match Ever” where the bar was set at an unattainable level with the idea people will tune in to see how they tackle such a billing. This month, it went even further with the literal promise of an eye being extracted and there is no doubt, it was the most talked-about aspect going in and coming out of the show. We will get a better sense later this year if the WWE Network received any additional subscribers with concept-style shows with Money in the Bank on top of a roof, Edge vs. Orton, and Extreme Rules.

Often, we confuse amplified chatter and “buzz” with actual business and the jury is out on these concepts. I saw many examples of people citing non-fans aware of the eye stipulation and perhaps they went so far as to watch the show. But are these people sticking around? It’s nice to cast a wider net and bring new viewers in but if it’s simply for the shock factor of something like an eye falling out, that idea is so foreign to the everyday product WWE presents that you’re not holding on to these people that have a fleeting interest. The never-ending search for casual and lapsed fans is an audience I would want to reach but it’s going to be the totality of the program and several key characters resonating that will make them fans.

If someone watched WWE in the early 2000s and heard about an eye being extracted and was so compelled to watch for the first time in over a decade, I wouldn’t characterize him or her as a fan of WWE and couldn’t imagine you are pulling that person back in. That person has moved on and if they are going to change their viewing habits and re-introduce WWE to their schedule, it’s not going to be based on a stunt that someone finds interesting at the moment.

But, that’s the game for WWE to book for the moment and create “buzz”, which was negative after Sunday’s show. The often-cited example of a stunt to create awareness was the signing of Mike Tyson in 1998. He brought in a level of curiosity, but it was the characters on the show that maintained that audience beyond WrestleMania 14 and was a wise use of promotion to create a sizzle alerting fans to the steak of its product. Today, it’s a formula of attempting to create a sizzle while its regular viewers are tuning out in droves from the product and the sizzle has become the band-aid.

The television viewership bears out that WWE is getting down to its die-hard audience and is this the type of show they want? Sunday’s event was a heightened example of the over-the-top promotion given the Eye for an Eye and Wyatt Swamp Fight ideas but it wasn’t evened out with a wrestling show that left satisfying endings and placating to your core base that is tuning in each week because they are wrestling fans.

This is a period where WWE should be taking chances, but I feel they are doing the opposite. It feels like the biggest risk is overhauling so many of the tenets of their programming strategy for the past two decades. A major overhaul doesn’t seem likely and the people with the most powerful positions overseeing the shows are stalwarts of decades of WWE programming. We just finished a cycle on Raw where it was clear that the direction was getting new acts over, but the patience wore thin. It’s the difference between a long-term investment that will be slow to yield a profit and doesn’t come with a guarantee versus throwing everything on the dealer’s table with the prime concern on tonight’s profit as opposed to looking a year down the road.

**Mike Johnson at PWinsider.com has reported that FS1 will no longer be airing SummerSlam 1992 next Tuesday night in the WWE pay-per-view slot due to Major League Baseball. It is not known if this signals the end of the Tuesday night pay-per-view airings on the network. FS1 is still scheduled to air SummerSlam 2016 this week in the slot.

**On Monday’s episode of Being the Elite, Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows appeared in the opening bit with The Young Bucks. It was presented as a flashback scene to 2016 when they were in Japan with The Young Bucks pitching them on the concept of AEW and Anderson & Gallows agreeing to join them. When The Bucks left, they ran it down as a stupid idea that wouldn’t work and their goal was to get to WWE, teaming with Triple H (the Sumo Hall show), and that there were “two Pauls” in that company and Gallows knows neither would lie to them. There was also a very funny part where Matt Jackson introduced a segment called “50+ Seconds for 50” with Matt doing gardening to lure the 50+ audience to watch Dynamite, so they can beat NXT in that demo. It also continued the teases of a Kenny Omega turn after giving an insincere apology to Marko Stunt after the post-match beatdown last week.

**New Japan Road took place Monday from Korakuen Hall with the company announcing a sellout of 482 fans based on the arena’s configuration. Below are the results from the show that leads into Saturday’s Sengoku Lord event:
*Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima over Yota Tsuji & Yuya Uemura
*Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, SHO & Yoshi-Hashi over Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Ryusuke Taguchi & Gabriel Kidd
*Sanada & Shingo Takagi over El Desperado & Douki
*Kazuchika Okada & Hirooki Goto over Yujiro & Gedo
*Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi, Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru over Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Yuji Nagata & Master Wato
*EVIL, Dick Togo & Taiji Ishimori over Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi & Bushi

**AEW is promoting the following matches for Tuesday’s episode of AEW Dark at 7 pm Eastern on YouTube:
*Diamante vs. KiLynn King
*Best Friends vs. Brady Pierce & Sabby (former NXT talent Tino Sabbatelli)
*Scorpio Sky vs. Aaron Solow
*Hikaru Shida vs. Rache Chanel
*The Butcher & The Blade vs. Peter Avalon & Brandon Cutler
*Kip Sabian vs. Corey Hollis
*Ricky Starks vs. Will Hobbs
*Darby Allin vs. Robert Anthony

**The New York Times has a story on the scandals connected to Terrace House with several cast members speaking out regarding the policies on the show. The piece also dives into Hana Kimura’s death in May and the efforts being carried out by her mother Kyoko.

**Riddick Moss quietly returned to WWE programming on this past week’s edition of WWE Main Event. Moss’ last match on television was on March 9th, which was the last episode of Raw in front of fans. On Main Event, Moss defeated Humberto Carrillo with the episode also featuring Shayna Baszler defeating Jessi Kamea.

**MVP did an interview with The Daily Star on his return to WWE this year and becoming a regular fixture on WWE programming. In the interview, he noted the nature of his comeback designed as a one-off at the Royal Rumble that grew from there. He indicated he is no longer a producer with the company and strictly an on-air performer:

So it was supposed to be a one-off, but it turned in to me wrestling Rey Mysterio the following night (after the Royal Rumble) – who is his favourite wrestler – so I was just thrilled to be able to give that gift to my son.

Then I was offered a job to be a producer and had accepted that job, and the next thing I know I was offered the MVP Longue and a few other segments.

It was then ‘Hey don’t worry about being a producer, can we put you on tv on a regular basis?’

**Pro Wrestling NOAH has announced several significant matches over the next few weeks including two consecutive nights at Korakuen Hall on August 4th and 5th. On the first night, Katsuhiko Nakajima defends the GHC National title against Kenoh, as well there will be a 20th Anniversary Match for the company with Naomichi Marufuji, Takashi Sugiura & Yoshinaro Ogawa vs. Go Shiozaki, Kaito Kiyomiya & Kotaro Suzuki. On August 5th, GHC champion Go Shiozaki defends the title against Naomichi Marufuji.

**The WWE stock closed at $46.26 on Monday.

**NOAH has also announced a card for August 10th in Yokohama with Keiji Muto taking on Kaito Miyomiya.

**WWE Network has added ten old ECW shows to the service with the following added from 1996-97:
*Just Another Night 1996 (Raven vs. Dr. Death Steve Williams)
*Big Ass Extreme Bash 1996 (Raven & Shane Douglas vs. The Sandman & Pitbull #2)
*A Matter of Respect 1996 (Tommy Dreamer & Terry Funk vs. Raven & Brian Lee)
*Hardcore Heaven 1996 (Tommy Dreamer, Terry Gordy & The Sandman vs. Raven, Stevie Richards & Brian Lee)
*Heat Wave 1996 (Raven vs. Shane Douglas for the ECW title)
*The Doctor Is In 1996 (Raven vs. Terry Gordy for the ECW title)
*Natural Born Killaz 1996 (Raven vs. Shane Douglas for the ECW title)
*November to Remember 1996 (The Sandman vs. Raven for the ECW title)
*Crossing the Line 1997 (Raven vs. The Sandman vs. Pitbull #2 for the ECW title)
*CyberSlam 1997 (The Sandman vs. Stevie Richards)

**Ken Shamrock has launched a podcast and explains his decision to do one.

**Dark Side of the Ring’s co-executive producer Evan Husney is the guest on this week’s PWT Cast with Scrump & Stank.

**Kevin Sullivan is re-launching his podcast through the Two Man Power Trip network. The first episode is titled Getting to Know Kevin Sullivan with Sullivan and co-host John Poz and is available now.

**There is a new online store for Mil Mascaras merchandise including masks, shirts, cups, and other Mascaras-inspired items.


**ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reports that both UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and challenger Paulo Costa have signed their bout agreements to fight on September 19th. Over the weekend, UFC president Dana White said the deal wasn’t done yet but that was the date they were targeting. Adesanya will turn 31 this week and is set to defend his title for the second time following a unanimous decision win against Yoel Romero this past March in his first fight since winning the title from Robert Whittaker. Costa hasn’t fought since August 2019 as injuries kept the undefeated fighter away. Since entering the UFC in 2017, Costa has gone 5-0 but has only fought twice since 2017 when he stopped Uriah Hall in July 2018 and earned a decision against Romero last August.

**Following his second loss to Deiveson Figueiredo on Saturday, UFC flyweight Joseph Benavidez spoke to the media and indicated he will fight again. The fight was as one-sided as a fight could be with Benavidez knocked down several times and was nearly submitted multiple times but showed an incredible amount of toughness to escape several deep chokes. Benavidez was dropped a third time and then went out cold from the final rear-naked choke.

Benavidez knew this was his final chance to win a title but doesn’t want to end his career on that note adding that if he will probably keep fighting until he can out with a win. It’s a difficult time to make major decisions right after a loss like that, but it’s a dangerous game to play where you’re chasing a win.

Benavidez is never going to receive the credit he’s due as being one of the consistently top fighters at his weight classes of bantamweight and flyweight throughout his career. If his era didn’t include Demetrious Johnson, we would likely be talking about Benavidez as the best flyweight of the generation, but he could never beat Johnson. History will be very kind to his December 2016 win over Henry Cejudo, given where Cejudo advanced to. After fourteen years of fighting, the only ones to hold victories against Benavidez are Dominick Cruz (at bantamweight), Demetrious Johnson, Sergio Pettis, and Figueiredo and there is no shame in that.

The concern is that Benavidez has been stopped in back-to-back fights after one prior knockout loss in his career. Benavidez will turn 36 later this month and will find himself in a difficult spot because he can probably beat a lot of contenders but has no chance of fighting for the title, so it doesn’t incentivize the UFC to kill off contenders in a division that badly needs them.

**Bellator returns on Friday with a card from Uncasville, Connecticut. There are seven fights scheduled with four on the main card that will air on the Paramount Network. Interestingly, the undercard is only airing on Bellator’s YouTube channel with no official announcement regarding Bellator’s relationship with DAZN. The following main card fights will air at 10 pm Eastern:
*Ricky Bandejas vs. Sergio Pettis
*Jordan Mein vs. Jason Jackson
*Tywan Claxton vs. Jay Jay Wilson
*Aaron Pico vs. Chris Hatley Jr.

**The UFC has a loaded Fight Night card this Saturday from Abu Dhabi. It’s a card that will air on both ESPN & ESPN+ and it’s a lengthy card with fifteen fights scheduled. The main event is a solid fight between former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and Darren Till and the main card also features Alexander Gustafsson returning and competing at heavyweight against former champion Fabricio Werdum. Below is the entire line-up:


*Robert Whittaker vs. Darren Till – This is Whittaker’s first fight since losing the title to Israel Adesanya last October
*Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira – this is their third fight with Rua holding wins in previous fights in June 2005 in PRIDE and UFC 190 in August 2015
*Fabricio Werdum vs. Alexander Gustafsson – Gustafsson indicated he was retiring after losing to Anthony Smith in June 2019 and comes back at the higher weight class after fighting at light heavyweight
*Carla Esparza vs. Marina Rodriguez
*Paul Craig vs. Gadzhimurad Antigulov
*Peter Sobotta vs. Alex Oliveira

*Francisco Trinaldo vs. Jai Herbert
*Jesse Ronson vs. Nicolas Dalby
*Jake Collier vs. Tom Aspinall
*Mike Grundy vs. Movsar Evloev
*Tanner Boser vs. Raphael Pessoa – Boser fought on the June 27th card and is coming back quickly after knocking out Phillipe Lins in 2:41
*Pannie Kianzad vs. Bethe Correia
*Ramazan Emeev vs. Niklas Stolze
*Khamzat Chimaev vs. Rhys McKee
*Nathaniel Wood vs. John Castaneda



John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE The Horror Show at Extreme Rules featuring Braun Strowman vs. Bray Wyatt in a Swamp Match, Asuka vs. Sasha Banks for the Raw Women’s Championship, and Seth Rollins vs. Rey Mysterio in an Eye for an Eye Match.

John Pollock is joined by Nate Milton and Davie Portman for a review of Impact Wrestling’s Slammiversary pay-per-view as they crowned a new Impact champion and had multiple surprises.
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 7/17/20: Bro-Home Show, AEW/NXT, Horror Show Preview

John Pollock & Wai Ting review Friday Night SmackDown, discuss the AEW vs. NXT ratings, the NY Times covers Hana Kimura and a preview of Sunday’s Extreme Rules.
REWIND-A-DYNAMITE 7/15/20: Fight for the Fallen

John Pollock and Wai Ting review AEW Fight for the Fallen with Jon Moxley vs. Brian Cage. Plus, a discussion on this week’s Raw numbers, Tony Khan’s media interviews, and a preview of Impact Slammiversary.
upNXT 7/15/20: “Nox County”

Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review this week’s WWE NXT featuring Tegan Nox vs. Io Shirai for the NXT Women’s Championship, and a Winner Takes All DOUBLE Championship match between Dominik Dijakovic and Keith Lee.
upNXT: Best Match Ever – New Japan Cup 2020

Braden Herrington and Davie Portman present a free edition of “Best Match Ever” as they revisit the top matches of the New Japan Cup 2020!
POST MOVIE REVIEW – Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Wai Ting & John Pollock conclude their two-year look back at the Marvel Cinematic Universe by reviewing its 23rd film, Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019). Plus, we announce our next film review series and the debut of a brand new t-shirt.

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Kairi Sane is Exhibit A (in a long list of evidence) that Vince McMahon has long lost the ability to promote talent properly.


So The Eye For An Eye match can get sanctioned by The WWE, yet Orton Vs Show is unsanctioned.