Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2023/03/17/pollocks-update-ricky-reyes-retires-usada-conor-mcgregor/
POST IT NOTES
**Rewind-A-SmackDown has a special start time of 10 p.m. ET tonight due to AEW Rampage airing late. We will be doing a review of Friday Night SmackDown and covering the top news stories of the day with extra time dedicated to your calls and feedback. POST Wrestling Café members can join us live or download the show immediately after.
**Brandon Sears has a review of The Woman Who Would be King by Debrah “Madusa” Miceli and Greg Oliver.
**The UFC 286 POST Show will be live Saturday night following the main event. Eric Marcotte and I will be on the POST YouTube channel to go through the card from the O2 Arena, which is headlined by the third fight between Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman.
**The latest F1 show covers Ep. 7 & 8 from season five of Drive to Survive. Chris Elliot joins us again to chat about these episodes that focus on Sergio Perez and his seat on Red Bull followed by an episode on Alpha Tauri and its new team for 2023 of Yuki Tsunoda and Nyck de Vries. We also spoke about this weekend’s Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, the dissent among those in F1 regarding the race and human rights issues attached to the government, and last year’s missile strike near the track. This show is available for all POST Wrestling Café members. We will wrap up our coverage next Thursday with Ep. 9 & 10 with JC Pittman.
**WH Park and I are doing a bonus show on the Café next Tuesday covering the finals of the New Japan Cup.
**AEW enters its house show experiment beginning on Saturday with “House Rules” at the Hobart Arena in Troy, Ohio. There has been minimal promotion on television and focused on social media announcements for matches. Thus far, they have announced Jon Moxley & Claudio Castagnoli vs. Big Bill & Lee Moriarty, Dr. Britt Baker vs. Anna Jay (returning after a bad rib injury on 1/11 in a Street Fight on Rampage), and Darby Allin & Orange Cassidy vs. The Butcher & The Blade. The Hobart Arena is a minor league hockey venue that holds under 4,000 people, so this isn’t a giant undertaking. The positives of running these shows is added work for the talent (we don’t know the structure of the AEW contracts and if house show payoffs come with these cards or are included as part of a guaranteed salary), younger talent getting more in-ring time, merchandise sales, and bringing AEW to markets that have not gotten television tapings or pay-per-views. The downside is that in the modern landscape, house shows are not revenue drivers and you need to enter this space with the mentality they could serve as loss leaders, and likely will for the foreseeable future. It does allow for unique matches given the wide range of roster members that television doesn’t allow (ie: Darby Allin and Orange Cassidy teaming) but it’s also a lineup that tells you the major stars won’t be part of these events beyond 1-2 notable names. There are competing goals as AEW would probably want its underutilized talent to have more opportunities, but the ticket-buying audience wants the major stars they watch on television each week. The only other House Rules event that has been announced is for the Saddledome in Calgary on 7/15 which piggybacks off the Calgary Stampede.
**Ricky Reyes stated he is ending his in-ring career in order to spend more time with his son:
I’ve decided to end my in-ring wrestling career effective immediately. After 24 years of being a professional wrestler, my son is the superstar of the family now! It’s become difficult to spend time away from him as he gets older and is doing so many sports, I find myself just watching him and it’s the most rewarding thing ever. Thank you to all the wrestling promotions/promoters, the wrestlers I’ve wrestled, friends I’ve made and most important the wrestling fans! They say, “you get out of this, what you put into this”. I’ve given my entire life to pro wrestling and in return I’m the luckiest man in the world.
Reyes, 44, began his career in 1997 and was part of The Havana Pitbulls team with Rocky Romero during the early days of Ring of Honor. The duo won the ROH tag titles in August 2004 from CM Punk & Colt Cabana and held the titles until the following February. He was among the members of New Japan’s L.A. Dojo with Samoa Joe, Bryan Danielson, TJP, and Romero and did tours of Japan in 2002 in 2004. Reyes continued his career with stays in Puerto Rico for WWC, was a mainstay on the California independent scene, and had a role as Cortez on Lucha Underground during its run on the El Rey Network with his character being killed off in the fifth season. Reyes last wrestled in January for Venue Wrestling Entertainment in California in a scramble match that was won by Juicy Finau.
**Jeff Gaylord, who was a journeyman pro wrestler that migrated from football, passed away earlier this week at the age of 64. Gaylord grew up watching Central States in Kansas City and was a high school athlete involved in football and weightlifting. He was a defensive tackle at the University of Missouri and was drafted in 1982 by the L.A. Rams but was later cut. He had stints playing in the CFL for the Toronto Argonauts and then in the USFL with the Boston Breakers and San Antonio Gunslingers. After football, he was spotted working out in a gym by Scott Casey which led to training for pro wrestling by Tom Jones (Bearcat Jones, Gladiator, Red Shadow among his monikers). After a handful of matches, he was brought into Mid-South by Bill Watts and had a great physique along with a real sports background that made him a natural for that territory. Gaylord stayed in Mid-South until late 1987 and traveled to Texas in World Class and wrestled under a mask as “The Hood” when Ken Mantell was booking. After Jerry Jarrett got involved and World Class turned into USWA, Gaylord was brought to Memphis, spending most of the remainder of his career in that territory until 1995, and teamed with Jeff Jarrett to win the USWA tag titles twice. Along the way, WWF and WCW took a look at Gaylord with one-off appearances including Gaylord playing “The Black Knight” at the Survivor Series in 1993 as part of Shawn Michaels’ team along with Barry Horowitz and Greg Valentine (one of them was scheduled to be Terry Funk, who ended up bailing on the booking at the last minute and going home) against Bret, Owen, Bruce & Keith Hart. Gaylord teamed with Horowitz on two house shows in January 1994 losing to Men on a Mission, but it never led to a job. In late 1994, he wrestled a dark match in WCW against Rip Rogers in Atlanta. Gaylord came back for one more match in August 1998 in Texas with Steven Dane to defeat Sam Houston & Tim Horner for Texas All-Pro Wrestling. His life was impacted by criminal activity where he robbed a pair of banks in 2001/02 and served several years in prison. He tried to rob another bank in 2009 and was sent to prison and released in 2015. A few years ago, Chris Hero conducted a lengthy sit-down interview with Gaylord discussing his career. His brother Joel announced that Jeff died recently after battling a short illness.
**Friday Night SmackDown is at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri tonight with Drew McIntyre against Sheamus and the winner challenging Gunther at WrestleMania for the Intercontinental Championship. Below is the updated list of matches and segments being advertised:
*#1 Contenders Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus
*Rhea Ripley & Dominik Mysterio vs. Santos Escobar & Zelina Vega
*Sami Zayn confronts Jey Uso
*An appearance by Cody Rhodes
**WrestleTix reports that nearly 8,800 tickets have been distributed for tonight’s show in Kansas City.
**AEW Rampage airs late tonight at 11:30 p.m. ET due to TNT’s coverage of the NCAA tournament. The show was taped in Winnipeg with the following matches set to air:
*TNT Championship: Powerhouse Hobbs © vs. Rey Fenix
*Taya Valkyrie vs. Eva Lawless
*Brody King vs. Daniel Garcia
*Matt Menard & Angelo Parker vs. The Bollywood Boyz
**WWE and AEW did massive numbers in Canada over the past week. Both Friday Night SmackDown and Raw were among their highest audiences in years with both topping 300,000 viewers (Raw did 358,000 and second only to the Raw is XXX special). Meanwhile, AEW did nearly 200,000 viewers and was likely the largest audience since Dynamite launched on TSN. Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho did a fair amount of media leading into the show including mainstream coverage from CBC. Jericho is always good in those media settings, but Omega is also excellent when it comes to speaking to hosts that don’t follow the product and comes off as well-spoken and breaking down the core tenants of pro wrestling and making it relatable to other forms of entertainment and the types of stories they explore.
**The New Japan Cup quarterfinals continue Saturday in Shizuoka with the card airing on New Japan World at 5:30 a.m. ET. The quarterfinals feature Hirooki Goto vs. Tama Tonga and David Finlay vs. Shota Umino with the winners meeting on Sunday in the semi-final. The other semi-final sees SANADA against Mark Davis. Davis beat EVIL in a really entertaining match, which is usually the case when House of Torture finally runs out of luck and is thwarted. That would indicate Will Ospreay was going to beat EVIL in that spot until he was injured. The major angle on Friday saw SANADA beat Tetsuya Naito clean with his new finisher and then left LIJ to join the group of Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, DOUKI, and Taka Michinoku (“Just Four Guys”, which is now five). It would seem like a lock that SANADA will beat Mark Davis and probably comes down to SANADA and David Finlay next Tuesday in the final.
**Friday’s New Japan Cup card drew 1,351 at Korakuen Hall.
**Pro Wrestling NOAH runs a card at Yokohama Budokan on Sunday morning. The card will be headlined by Kaito Kiyomiya against Jake Lee for the GHC Heavyweight Championship.
**AAA’s Lucha Libre Cup will be streaming on Fite TV on Sunday night from Zapopan with a one-night Trios tournament. There are teams representing Mexico, Japan, Canada, the U.S., Europe, and Latin America, a dream team, and one comprised of members from other parts of the world. There will also be a women’s version with four teams. Below is the card:
*Women’s Trios Tournament: Team Mexico (Sexy Star II, Flammer & La Hiedra) vs. Team Japan (Emi Sakura, Mayumi Ozaki & Akino)
*Women’s Trios Tournament: Team U.S. (Jordynne Grace, Deonna Purrazzo & Kamille) vs. Team Rest of the World (Dalys, Taya Valkyrie & Natalia Markova)
*Men’s Trios Tournament: Team Canada (Josh Alexander, PCO & Vampiro) vs. Team Europe (Joe Hendry, Thom Latimer & Heddi Karaoui)
*Men’s Trios Tournament: (Team U.S. (Sam Adonis, John Hennigan & Christopher Daniels) vs. Team Japan (La Estrella, Kuukai & Takuma Nishikawa)
*Men’s Trios Tournament: Team Mexico (Pentagon Jr., Taurus & Laredo Kid) vs. Team Rest of the World (Bhupinder Gujjar, Classy Ali & Rage)
*Men’s Trios Tournament: Dream Team (Psycho Clown, Alberto El Patron & Hijo del Vikingo) vs. Team Latin America (Carlito, Zumbi & Hip Hop Man)
*Men’s Trios semi-finals
*Women’s Trios final
*Men’s Trios final
**The WWE stock closed at $83.33 on Friday.
**GCW has two sold-out events this weekend at the Melrose Ballroom in New York City tonight and their Toronto debut on Sunday at the Opera House. Tonight’s show will stream at 8 p.m. ET on Fite+ with Nick Gage vs. Masha Slamovich for the GCW title, Bandido vs. Gringo Loco, Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA vs. Jordan Oliver & Speedball Mike Bailey, Rina Yamashita & Sawyer Wreck vs. Los Macizos, Matt Cardona vs. Homicide, Jack Cartwheel vs. Blake Christian, Joey Janela vs. Grim Reefer for the Extreme title, and a four-way with The Mane Event vs. Effy & Allie Katch vs. Marcus Mathers & Dyln McKay vs. Mance Warner & 1 Called Manders.
**A&E will be airing two editions of Biography this Sunday night. From 8-9 p.m. ET, they will focus on Jerry Lawler, which could easily be its own two-hour doc. It will be immediately followed by an episode covering Paige/Saraya. The new episode of Rivals will feature Lita vs. Trish Stratus.
**John Ellul is releasing Flowers for Adrian, a biography on the late Keith Franke a.k.a. Adrian Adonis next Thursday and will be available through Amazon. POST Wrestling will have a review of the book in the coming weeks.
**Trish Stratus spoke with the NY Post about her return at WrestleMania this year and the upcoming episode of Rivals that airs on A&E this Sunday.
**Nigel McGuinness is hosting an online wrestling commentary seminar this Monday for aspiring broadcasters and is also open to wrestlers. The seminar will take place over Zoom for £20.
**Chris Jericho is appearing at Emerald City Comics on Saturday in Clearwater, Florida to launch his Painmaker graphic novel. Jericho is working with Semkhor Productions on the book project.
**It was 21 years ago today that WWE held its last international WrestleMania with X-8 at SkyDome (now Rogers Centre) in Toronto. The card was highlighted by Hulk Hogan’s first match at a WrestleMania in nine years when he took on The Rock where the audience turned it into one of the more memorable matches in the event’s history. Being in attendance at the Fan Axxess the day prior, they brought Hogan near an Andre the Giant memorabilia section to shoot Hogan reacting, and the crowd was losing its mind, which turned out to be a strong indicator of the reception he would receive the next night, which was accurate. Toronto has also been one of Hogan’s best cities between the Paul Orndorff match in 1986 at Exhibition Stadium, with the Ultimate Warrior in 1990, and an immediate sell-out for Nitro in 1999 (and a huge babyface reaction on that show, too).
**There are continued questions regarding the status of Conor McGregor as it pertains to the USADA testing pool and when his fight with Michael Chandler can take place. McGregor removed himself from the testing pool after his leg injury in 2021 and appeared to balloon in muscle and size, which drew plenty of criticism as a way to game the system while others have defended the move if he needs drugs to rehabilitate properly that are on the banned list. When a fighter retires and removes themselves from the USADA pool, if they want to re-enter, they need six months of clean tests before they can be cleared to fight. This is designed so fighters can’t remove themselves, get on a cycle, and then re-enter the pool after having months of benefit from banned substances (this period was famously waved by the UFC in 2016 when Brock Lesnar returned to fight Mark Hunt and led to a lawsuit by Hunt after Lesnar failed two pre-fight drug tests).
McGregor was on The MMA Hour this week and stated he was set to have a meeting with USADA in a few days and explained that he only requires two clean tests and then will be allowed to fight, indicating it’s a much more lenient barrier for re-entry. USADA issued a response to TSN reporter Aaron Bronsteter to clarify the protocols and disputed McGregor’s assertion about needing two tests, and that no meeting is scheduled.
USADA have issued a statement regarding the comments made by Conor McGregor yesterday in regards to his eligibility to resume competition 👇 https://t.co/FNaBjMgUxX pic.twitter.com/ql9rz0RQWO
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) March 16, 2023
The glaring language is that the UFC can make an exception to the six-month window for “exceptional circumstances”. The definition of exceptional circumstances is unknown. The fact is, there are rules for Conor McGregor and then, rules for everyone else. A fight involving McGregor means huge revenue for all parties and given Nevada’s recent track record sanctioning Power Slap, it is hard to envision the commission resisting the UFC. By the letter of the USADA code, McGregor would not be able to compete until mid-September at the earliest.
**Colby Covington appeared at Friday’s UFC 286 weigh-in as the mystery backup fighter in case there is an issue with either Leon Edwards or Kamaru Usman. Covington made weight at 170 pounds as the alternate but both main event competitors also hit the mark. Covington has not competed in the past year and has been involved in a legal issue with Jorge Masvidal after Masvidal attacked Covington outside of a restaurant in Miami one year ago following their fight at UFC 272.
**Below are the results from Friday’s weigh-in for UFC 286:
MAIN CARD (5 p.m. ET on pay-per-view)
*UFC Welterweight Championship: Leon Edwards (170) vs. Kamaru Usman (170)
*Justin Gaethje (156) vs. Rafael Fiziev (156)
*Gunnar Nelson (170) vs. Bryan Barberena (171)
*Jennifer Maia (125) vs. Casey O’Neill (125)
*Marvin Vettori (185.5) vs. Roman Dolidze (186)
PRELIMINARY FIGHTS (3 p.m. ET on ESPNews & ESPN+)
*Jack Shore (146) vs. Makwan Amirkhani (146)
*Omar Morales (156) vs. Chris Duncan (156)
*Yanal Ashmoz (155) vs. Sam Patterson (155.5)
*Muhammad Mokaev (126) vs. Jafel Filho (125.5)
EARLY PRELIMS (1 p.m. ET on ESPN+ & Fight Pass)
*Lerone Murphy (145.5) vs. Gabriel Santos (145.5)
*Dusko Todorovic (186) vs. Christian Duncan (185.5)
*Jake Hadley (126) vs. Malcolm Gordon (129.5) – Gordon missed weight by 3.5 pounds and was fined a percentage of his purse
*Luana Carolina (126) vs. Joanne Wood (126)
*Juliana Miller (125.5) vs. Veronica Hardy (125.5)
F1: Drive to Survive Season 5, Ep. 7 & 8
John Pollock & Wai Ting are joined by Chris Elliot to discuss Netflix’s Formula 1: Drive to Survive Season 5, Episodes 7 & 8.
John Pollock & Wai Ting review AEW Dynamite with The House of Black vs. The Elite vs. J.A.S., and MJF’s Re-Bar Mitzvah as the promotion debuts in Winnipeg.
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review WWE NXT from March 14th, 2023 headlined by a contract signing between Bron Breakker and Carmelo Hayes.
REWIND-A-WAI #127: Great American Bash 1988
John Pollock & Wai Ting review The Great American Bash 1988: The Price for Freedom featuring Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger and the debut of the infamous Tower of Doom.
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE Raw with a face-to-face between Brock Lesnar and Omos, a Street Fight, and Cody Rhodes facing LA Knight in Providence, Rhode Island.
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