POLLOCK'S UPDATE: The Rock says...a lot

Originally published at POLLOCK'S UPDATE: The Rock says...a lot - POST Wrestling | WWE AEW NXT NJPW Podcasts, News, Reviews

POST IT NOTES

We have an interview with author & historian Tim Hornbaker on the site today discussing his new book, The Last Real World Champion: The Legacy of “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. Hornbaker has written books on the history of the National Wrestling Alliance, Capitol Wrestling Corporation, and Buddy Rogers among them. If you’re curious about the research process and tackling such a large figure as Flair, you’ll enjoy this discussion a lot and his handling of new information regarding the Plane Ride from Hell as he was deep into the process of writing the book. We have a story from Jack Wannan and the audio version of the interview on the site.

POST Wrestling Café members can tune into Rewind-A-SmackDown using this link at 10 p.m. ET tonight. Wai Ting and I will share our thoughts on the WWE layoffs from Friday, Dwayne Johnson’s appearance on the Pat McAfee program, and a double review! We will discuss SmackDown from Denver and review IMPACT 1000. Plus, your calls!

This weekend on the site, thecubsfan from Luchablog will be reviewing the CMLL 90th Anniversary with a written report after Saturday night’s card from Arena Mexico.

Next week on Rewind-A-Wai, it’s a big breakdown of the 2012 documentary, The Last of McGuinness featuring Nigel McGuinness’ final set of matches from twelve years ago.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John Pollock & Wai Ting (POST Wrestling Café exclusive)
Saturday:
Collision Course with Kate from MTL & Bruce Lord (POST Wrestling Café exclusive)
Sunday:
The N.W.A. Podcast with Nate Milton, Kris Ealy & Andrew Thompson
Monday:
Rewind-A-Raw

DWAYNE JOHNSON SPEAKS ON ROMAN REIGNS MATCH

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson appeared on The Pat McAfee Show in Boulder, Colorado on Friday and is in town to appear on College Game Day on Saturday. Many have noted that SmackDown is in nearby Denver tonight and will fuel some speculation, but nothing has been hinted at by WWE. The major headline was Johnson stating that a match with Roman Reigns had been locked in for this past year’s WrestleMania at SoFi Stadium after a meeting in early 2022 that Johnson had with Vince McMahon and Nick Khan. Johnson said a plan couldn’t be figured out regarding the match leading to “something new” for the company coming out of it and it was placed on the backburner with Reigns wrestling Cody Rhodes. There was a hint from Johnson as he threw out next year’s WrestleMania being in Philadelphia (the city where he first headlined WrestleMania in 1999) as a tease that people can put as much or as little stock into as they choose.

"The Rock headlining WrestleMania with Roman Reigns at SoFi Stadium was locked in..

We got really really close but there's WrestleMania in Philadelphia coming up" 👀@TheRock #PMSLive pic.twitter.com/fyKjL1j0jE

— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) September 15, 2023

He was very clear in the interview that he could not speak about any movie projects due to the ongoing strike but several media analysts have remarked on stars finding unique ways to gain publicity in the absence of traditional promotion and Johnson definitely received that on Friday on a major sports program as McAfee’s is.

Johnson also went into further detail on the severity of his injuries from the second match with John Cena at WrestleMania 29 in April 2013. Johnson said he needed three hernia surgeries for a torn abdomen while also tearing the top of his quad and abductor muscle from his pelvis from taking a Rock Bottom and an AA. This was filming for “Hercules” had to be delayed and Johnson noted he shot that movie while still recovering from these injuries and has not done a real match since (he did a several-second “match” with Erick Rowan at WrestleMania 32 but was more of a physical angle than a match).

McAfee had both Dwyane Johnson and Aaron Rodgers on the show today, which are enormous guests to have so quickly into McAfee’s tenure on ESPN with Rodgers being the biggest sports-related story of the week after Monday’s injury.

NAOMICHI MARUFUJI CELEBRATES 25TH ANNIVERSARY

This Sunday, Naomichi Marufuji will celebrate the 25th anniversary of his wrestling career, which began in August 1998. Marufuji will wrestle Will Ospreay at Korakuen Hall with the Pro Wrestling NOAH event streaming on Wrestle Universe. Ospreay campaigned for the match during the press conference following Forbidden Door this past June and called Marufuji one of his idols. The two were involved in one match together when they teamed with Toru Yano against Juice Robinson, Ryusuke Taguchi & Tomoaki Honma in a Trios match on an NJPW card in Taiwan in October 2016.

The 43-year-old Marufuji launched his career after graduating from the All Japan Dojo during a massive transition for the company with the events that would unfold in the company months and years. Marufuji was a high school wrestler at 165 pounds and made it to the national championships before going to the AJPW Dojo in April 1998 and debuting when he was seventeen years old.

Months after his debut, Shohei “Giant” Baba died, which led to the changing of the guard within the company as Mitsuharu Misawa privately orchestrated a coup to take the majority of the roster and secure the NTV television slot but would have to wait for a year out of respect to Baba’s passing. In the spring of 2000, Pro Wrestling NOAH took form and Marufuji was one of many talents that jumped with Misawa.

In 2001, NOAH introduced its Jr. Heavyweight Championship with Marufuji losing to Juventud Guerrera in the semi-finals and was won by Yoshinobu Kanemaru (whom Marufuji debuted against in 1998). Marufuji became its third champion in December 2001 and would be the only time he held the title. The true rise to stardom for Marufuji was in concert with his most famous partner and rival, KENTA (Kenta Kobayashi), his peer in both AJPW & NOAH. The pair became NOAH’s first set of Jr. Heavyweight Tag Champions in July 2003 and were the consensus best team in the world during this era. They established the belts with a two-year title reign ending in June 2005 when they lost to Kanemaru & Takashi Sugiura.

Both ascended to the heavyweight division with Marufuji winning the GHC Heavyweight Championship on September 9, 2006, from Jun Akiyama one year after a run with the GHC tag titles with Minoru Suzuki. The next month, Marufuji and KENTA headlined Budokan Hall with Marufuji retaining the title in the highlight of the three-month reign before dropping the belt to Mitsuharu Misawa in December. This was nearing the end of NOAH’s dominant run as the top Japanese promotion during a rock bottom period for New Japan and All Japan still reeling from the changes within the industry and the domination of PRIDE within the country.

In the years that followed, NOAH was devastated by the loss of its founder Misawa during a match in June 2009 and the company struggled to maintain its television presence. Marufuji was the stalwart during the good and the bad including the Burning contingent leaving in January 2013 and the loss of KENTA when he signed with WWE the year after and navigating the pandemic. Marufuji held the GHC Heavyweight title three more times between 2014 and 2021. He was the company’s representative in 2012 and 2016 during the G1 Climax where he was sent to the New Japan tournament and maintained a status for NOAH through his loyalty to the company.

While his prime in-ring years are behind him, Marufuji has ascended to a status intertwined with the history of NOAH and has a catalog of matches that have influenced so many who grew up trading tapes and streaming his content, not the least of which is the top pro wrestler in the world, who he shares a ring with on Sunday.

WRESTLING NEWS

**Friday Night SmackDown will see a large crowd at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado. WrestleTix reports approximately 12,700 tickets have been distributed for the show and on the higher end for SmackDown shows this year. The show will include John Cena’s appearance on The Grayson Waller Effect and will be on the show for seven consecutive weeks beginning tonight. Below are the announced segments and matches on Fox:
*Finn Balor vs. AJ Styles
*Bayley vs. Asuka
*LA Knight vs. The Miz
*John Cena on The Grayson Waller Effect

**The major card of the weekend is CMLL’s 90th Anniversary event from a sold-out Arena Mexico on Saturday night for the oldest wrestling promotion in the world. The event will be streaming for $13 USD at 5 p.m. ET on Boletia and is headlined by a Mask vs. Mask match between Dragon Rojo Jr. and Templario as well as a Hair vs. Hair match of which the participants will be determined by a tag match Ultimo Guerrero & Averno vs. Angel Oro & Volador Jr. The winning team will face off with the loser having their head shaved. Thecubsfan from Luchablog has a really extensive preview of the card on the Voices of Wrestling site and below is the six-match lineup:
*Mask vs. Mask: Dragon Rojo Jr. vs. Templario
*Volador Jr. & Angel de Oro vs. Ultimo Guerrero & Averno (winners face off in a Hair vs. Hair match)
*Atlantis Jr., Mistico & Mascara Dorada vs. Rocky Romero, TJP & Kevin Knight
*Titan & Soberano vs. Lince Dorado & Samuray del Sol
*Atlantis, Octagon & Blue Panther vs. El Satanico, Fuerza Guerrera & Virus
*La Jarochita & Lluvia vs. Stephanie Vaquer & Zeuxis

**AEW Collision is at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College, Pennsylvania on Saturday. So far, they have only announced FTR vs. Iron Savages for the AEW tag titles and Bryan Danielson & Claudio Castagnoli vs. Ricky Starks & Big Bill.

**The major competition on Saturday night includes college games between Florida and Tennessee on ESPN, Syracuse vs. Perdue on NBC, Pittsburgh vs. West Virginia on ABC, and Houston vs. TCU on Fox, and BYU vs. Arkansas on ESPN 2. The Noche UFC card from the T-Mobile Arena is a pretty stacked Fight Night show but the main card doesn’t begin until after Collision ends and the entire event is streaming on ESPN+.

**The TKO stock closed at $100.11 on Friday. In its first week under the ‘TKO’ symbol, the stock peaked at nearly $106 on Wednesday and ended the week with the company holding a market cap of $17.3 billion.

**WWE has live events in Kennewick, Washington, and Boise, Idaho this weekend. Saturday’s show in Kennewick is advertising Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, a Street Fight between Cody Rhodes and Dominik Mysterio, and Rey Mysterio vs. LA Knight vs. AJ Styles vs. Austin Theory for the United States Championship.

**Penn Stater, which is the Penn State Alumni Association’s magazine has a huge feature on Dr. Britt Baker. They ran through the injuries Baker has dealt with over the years including a concussion in 2019, breaking her leg, breaking her wrist, breaking her nose twice, and mentioned having bulging discs and recently having an MRI on her neck.

**C*4 Wrestling presents ‘Walking the Edge’ tonight in Ottawa and premiering on IWTV next Tuesday evening. The card will be headlined by a C*4 Championship Match between Kevin Blackwood and Cecil Nyx, Josh Alexander vs. Macrae Martin, Alan Angels vs. Evil Uno, Alexia Nicole vs. Stu Grayson vs. London Lightning vs. Vaughn Vertigo, Junior Benito vs. Titus Alexander, Speedball Mike Bailey vs. Myung-Jae Lee, TDT & Benjamin Tull vs. Amir Jordan, Pretty Ricky Willdy & PUF, Veda Scott vs. Rose vs. Haley Dylan, and James Stone vs. Gabriel Fuerza vs. Francesco Akira.

**House of Glory airs its Fallout event on the Premier Streaming Network tonight from the NYC Arena with Matt Cardona vs. Homicide for the HOG Heavyweight Championship in the main event. The top matches include El Hijo del Vikingo vs. Low Ki, The Mane Event vs. Matthew Rehwoldt & Simon Gotch in a Vaudevillains reunion. Ultra Violette defends the Women’s title against B3CCA and Nolo Kitano takes on Joey Silver for the Cruiserweight title.

**Stardom has a show in Fukuoka on Saturday with Tam Nakano (7 points) vs. Ami Sohrei (4), Natsupoi (9) vs. Hazuki (6), and Maika (6) vs. AZM (6) in the 5 Star Grand Prix matches. Sunday’s show has tournament matches with Suzu Suzuki (6) vs. Ami Sohrei (4), Momo Watanabe (6) vs. Hanan (2), and Mariah May (6) vs. MIRAI (6).

**NJPW has a non-televised event in Hiroshima on Saturday headlined by Just Five Guys vs. House of Torture in an eight-man tag and a ten-man tag with United Empire against LIJ including Will Ospreay in the match. Sunday’s Road to Destruction show streams on NJPW World at 4 a.m. ET with the following:
*SANADA, Taichi, Taka Michinoku & DOUKI vs. EVIL, SHO, Yujiro & Dick Togo
*Minoru Suzuki, Ren Narita & El Desperado vs. Yuji Nagata, Shota Umino & Master Wato
*Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, Yota Tsuji & BUSHI vs. Jeff Cobb, Great O-Khan, Henare & Callum Newman
*Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Mikey Nicholls, Shane Haste & Bad Dude Tito
*Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toru Yano & YOH vs. Satoshi Kojima, Ryusuke Taguchi & Tiger Mask
*Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma vs. Oleg Boltin & Oskar Leube
*Hiromu Takahashi vs. Yuto Nakashima  

MMA NEWS

**Former UFC champion and Hall of Fame member Pat Miletich was arrested early Thursday morning on a charge of OWI (Operating While Intoxicated). Police in Bettendorf, Iowa, responded to a call regarding a driver going in the wrong direction, who crossed an embarkment and was parked at a gas station. KWQC in Bettendorf obtained the police report stating that Miletich had to be woken up at the wheel and reminded to put the vehicle into park. Miletich refused to take a field sobriety test, or subject himself to a blood test or Breathalyzer but admitted that he had been drinking wine. The officer noted he had bloodshot eyes, was slurring his speech, and could smell alcohol. It was Miletich’s third such offense with two prior drunk driving offenses since 2019. After posting bond on Thursday, Miletich still participated in a press conference later that day for his fight with Mike Jackson (who fought CM Punk in June 2018) on October 14.

**The UFC confirmed to MMA Fighting that middleweight Derek Brunson is no longer with the promotion and came after news that his fight with Roman Dolidze was off the UFC 295 card on November 11. Brunson (23-9) came over from Strikeforce in 2012 and fought 21 times in the UFC. He had a five-fight winning streak come to a halt in November 2016 when he lost to Robert Whittaker by TKO as he was inching toward a title fight. In his next fight, he lost a unanimous decision to former champion Anderson Silva in a fight that many people scored for Brunson. After losses to Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Israel Adesanya, Brunson won his next five fights before losing to Jared Cannonier which led to Cannonier getting a title fight with Adesanya. In Brunson’s last fight, he lost to Dricus du Plessis due to a corner stoppage in March. The 39-year-old was an NCAA Division II wrestler at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke where he came a three-time All-American wrestling at 184 pounds and moved up to 197 pounds in his senior year and made his pro debut in MMA in 2010.

**The UFC is running the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday in conjunction with the Mexican Independence holiday and not having a major Saul “Canelo” Alvarez boxing fight to contend against. The card is a stronger Fight Night event than usual with a rare title fight on television with a rematch for the 115-pound women’s title and Valentina Shevchenko attempting to avenge her loss to Alexa Grasso. The fight between Jack Della Maddalena and Kevin Holland is a really interesting fight with two rising stars in the welterweight division and is a meaningful fight for the winner and where they can advance to within the division. The other interesting fight is Raul Rosas Jr., who was signed at the age of seventeen (he turns nineteen next month) from the Contender Series and has gone 1-1 in the UFC and is coming off the first loss of his career.

Below is the complete lineup:

MAIN CARD (10 p.m. ET on ESPN+, TSN 1 & 5 in Canada)
*UFC Strawweight Championship: Alexa Grasso (16-3) vs. Valentina Shevchenko (23-4)
*Kevin Holland (24-9) vs. Jack Della Maddalena (15-2)
*Terrence Mitchell (7-3) vs. Raul Rosas Jr. (7-1)
*Christos Giagos (20-10) vs. Daniel Zellhuber (13-1)
*Kyle Nelson (14-5-1) vs. Fernando Padilla (14-4)

PRELIMINARY CARD (7 p.m. ET on ESPN+)

*Loopy Godinez (10-3) vs. Elise Reed (7-3)
*Roman Kopylov (11-2) vs. Josh Fremd (9-4)
*Edgar Chairez (7-5) vs. Daniel Lacerda (11-5)
Jasmine Jasudavicius (9-2) vs. Tracy Cortez (10-1)
*Alex Reyes (13-3) vs. Charlie Campbell (6-2)
*Josefine Knutsson (6-0) vs. Marnic Mann (5-1)

*****
THE LONG & WINDING ROYAL ROAD
Bruce Lord joins WH Park to discuss Kenta Kobashi challenging “Dr. Death” Steve Williams for his Triple Crown Championship from September 3rd, 1994.
*****
REWIND-A-DYNAMITE
John Pollock & Wai Ting review AEW Dynamite with the finals of the World Title Eliminator Tournament between Samoa Joe and Roderick Strong.
*****
POLLOCK & THURSTON
John Pollock and Brandon Thurston discuss the completed merger between WWE and UFC to form TKO Group Holdings and the ramifications.
*****
upNXT
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman are back to review WWE NXT from September 12th, 2023 featuring Tiffany Stratton vs. Becky Lynch for the NXT Women’s Championship.
*****
REWIND-A-RAW
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE Raw with a rematch between Rhea Ripley and Raquel Rodriguez, and a former champion’s surprise return.
*****

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