POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE 1/22 – 25th Anniversary of Raw Preview

A big preview for tonight's 25th Anniversary of Raw, a list of all the special appearances announced for Raw, the many objectives for tonight's Raw, POST Wrestling schedule for Royal Rumble Week, review of Fantasticamania night two at Korakuen Hall, James Ellsworth shows up at Destiny show, alternates for Bellator's Heavyweight Grand Prix, and more.


**We have a gigantic week here at POST Wrestling with coverage all week long and through the weekend on the Royal Rumble, NXT Takeover and New Japan’s New Beginning cards that are also taking place this weekend. We begin with tonight’s Rewind-A-Raw as Wai Ting and I will go through the 25th Anniversary of Raw with a big review of that show. Below is the scheduled shows we have coming out this week:
*Monday: Rewind-A-Raw
*Tuesday: Rewind-A-SmackDown
*Wednesday:  New Beginning preview with WH Park and myself, WH will also share his thoughts on Wrestle Kingdom and the angles coming out of New Year’s Dash
*Thursday: British Wrestling Experience – they are returning for a second straight week and then will go into their bi-weekly schedule on the alternating weeks with Keep it 2000.
*Friday: Rewind-A-Wai – WrestleMania X-8 (for members of the POST Wrestling Café)
*Saturday: NXT Takeover review
*Sunday: WWE Royal Rumble review

We will also have a review of both New Beginning cards from Sapporo and that show will be made available for members of the POST Wrestling Café at www.patreon.com/POSTwrestling.

**We also have a show up from Saturday night with reviews of the UFC 220 and Bellator 192 cards at https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/01/21/ufc-220-and-bellator-192-review-with-john-pollock/.


**Tonight, is expected to be the biggest episode of Raw this year and in terms of star power, it is probably the most loaded show they have ever presented. The last time they presented a big milestone edition of Raw was for the 1000th episode in July 2012 and that show averaged 6,040,000 viewers over three-hours. Tonight’s number should be enormous, but I would be stunned if it came close to the 2012 figure. The highest Raw number of 2017 came on the night after WrestleMania with an average of 3,757,000 viewers as context for what a “great number” is for Raw these days.

The show will take place from two locations tonight with a portion filmed at the Manhattan Center (which sold out immediately with about 1,000 tickets placed on sale) with Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler calling that portion of the episode. The majority of Raw will take place from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York with the only match announced being the Intercontinental title match between Roman Reigns and The Miz.

The show is an enormous undertaking for the writing and production staff as there are countless elements and goals for tonight’s show. On the one hand, it’s the big celebratory show and with the largest audience you may have all year, you want to shoot at least one major angle to hit the largest number of people. There is also the unbelievable task of finding roles for all the talent that has been contacted to appear on the show (many of which will have to be short cameo spots as there is no way to fit so many people in anything close to meaningful). On top of that, this is the final Raw before the Royal Rumble and advancing all the present stories forward for that show on Sunday. This is the rare occurrence where the show warrants three- and it will probably still be rushed through for tonight.

Below is a list of all of the special appearances they have promoted:
*Steve Austin
*The Undertaker
*Shawn Michaels
*Triple H
*New Age Outlaws
*Eric Bischoff
*Chris Jericho
*Ric Flair
*The APA
*The Dudley Boyz
*The Bella Twins
*Scott Hall
*John Cena
*Sean Waltman
*Trish Stratus
*Gene Okerlund
*Ted DiBiase
*Sgt. Slaughter
*John Laurinaitis
*Brother Love
*The Godfather
*The Boogeyman
*Teddy Long
*Jim Ross
*Jerry Lawler
*Kelly Kelly
*Michelle McCool
*Maria Kanellis
*Torrie Wilson
*Terri Runnels
*Jonathan Coachman
*William Regal
*Harvey Wippleman
*Howard Finkel
*Lilian Garcia

Every key talent on the main roster is also scheduled, which includes Brock Lesnar, John Cena and certain talent from SmackDown that will be utilized. One person that isn’t scheduled for the show is Randy Orton. His wife, Kim, posted the following statement on Instagram on Monday:

Can someone pls explain to me how @randyorton isn’t on the Raw 25th anniversary tonight? He’s been on more episode of Raw then anyone besides HHH, Michaels, Taker, Kane and Cena. Impressive list right? So why NOT @randyorton? He’s had some of the most memorable moments in Raw history too. He’s also on the Promo pic but isn’t on the show. Just doesn’t make sense to me. Enjoy the show tonight guys. I’ll be playing MarioKart with my kids.

**There will be a one-hour pre-show at 7 pm Eastern with Renee Young, David Otunga, Peter Rosenberg, and Sam Roberts on the WWE Network, WWE.com, the WWE app, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

**Variety spoke to Paul Levesque and Stephanie McMahon-Levesque to coincide with the anniversary of Raw. The piece focused on the upcoming U.S. rights domestic deal coming up in the fall of 2019. Variety cited sources have indicated to them that both Amazon and Facebook have interest in bidding for the rights when they are up. The Levesques didn’t say anything groundbreaking with regards to the rights deal other than they are very happy with their partner in NBC-Universal and they want to leverage their content across all platforms to reach the most people. Stephane McMahon outright said that the time was not right for them to consider putting any of their linear content (such as Raw and SmackDown Live) onto the WWE Network, which would make no economic sense and badly damage the company’s finances to do so.

**The SmackDown Live, 205 Live and Mixed Match Challenge tapings are taking place from Washington, D.C on Tuesday night. The Mixed Match Challenge episode will feature Carmella and Big E. taking on The Miz and Asuka.

**The WWE is also filming a “24” special today on the anniversary of Raw. They taped a “Table for 3” on Monday with Kurt Angle, Shane McMahon, and A.J. Styles.

**Stephanie McMahon, John Cena, and Roman Reigns will be on NBC Nightly News at 6:45 pm Eastern to discuss Raw’s anniversary.

**As an interesting comparison, the full video of Impact Wrestling’s “Barbed Wire Massacre III” video on Twitch currently has 2,092 views (the match is available to watch on demand on Twitch) and on YouTube, the match sits at 182,000 views. While the specifics of the Twitch deal are unknown, it does the difference in exposure level between the two platforms even though Twitch likely presents a more viable business strategy for Impact than YouTube would.

**Ring of Honor announced on Monday that Kota Ibushi will be on the Supercard of Honor card on Saturday, April 7th in New Orleans, Louisiana. Ibushi’s involvement was first reported by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Ibushi joins Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kenny Omega among the names that have been announced for the show.

**It was noted that by those in attendance at the Ring of Honor tapings on Saturday night in Nashville, that former TNA president Dixie Carter attended the show.

**Destiny Wrestling held a show in Mississauga on Sunday night at the Don Kolov Arena. The unique main event feature WWE U.K. champion Pete Dunne facing Impact Wrestling champion Austin Aries. The way they got around the finish was having James Ellsworth come out (he was a surprise on the show) and added to the match to make it a three-way with Dunne pinning Ellsworth. There was also a surprise appearance on the show by Michael Elgin, who answered an open challenge by Josh Alexander. They announced on the show that Impact Wrestling would be holding a taping at the same venue on Sunday, March 4th.

**House of Hardcore will be streaming their card live this Friday night on Twitch. The show is headlined by Tommy Dreamer and Billy Gunn vs. Nick Aldis and Joey Mercury and will feature opening round matches of the HOH television title tournament.

**MLW has announced that Chelsea Green will be facing Priscilla Kelly at the “Road to the World Championship” show on Thursday, February 8th in Orlando, Florida. The card will also feature the opening round matches of their world title tournament with MVP vs. Tom Lawlor, Jeff Cobb vs. Matt Riddle, Brody King vs. Shane Strickland, and Maxwell Jacob Freidman vs. Jimmy Havoc.

**New Japan World has announced their schedule for February and March with the following shows airing on the streaming service: Road to New Beginning from Korakuen Hall (February 5th and 6th), New Beginning from Osaka (February 10th), NJPW / ROH Honor Rising (February 23rd), NJPW / ROH Honor Rising (February 24th), Anniversary Show at Ota Ward Gym (March 6th), New Japan Cup Opening Night (March 9th), New Japan Cup (March 10th), New Japan Cup at Korakuen Hall (March 15th and 16th), New Japan Cup in Shizuoka (March 18th), New Japan Cup in Niigata (March 21st), New Japan Cup Final (March 21st), Strong Style Evolved in Long Beach (March 26th), Road to Sakura Genesis at Korakuen Hall (March 30th).

There will be English commentary for the New Beginning in Osaka, both Honor Rising shows, the New Japan Cup Final and for the Strong Style Evolved show.

**Roman Reigns, A.J. Styles, Charlotte, and Alexa Bliss rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Monday morning.

**The WWE stock closed at $33.57 on Monday.

**The WWE has released the opening video for tonight’s episode of Raw featuring classic moments from the show’s history:

**Steve Harris sent in the following results from Saturday’s RevPro event at York Hall in London, England:
*Kurtis Chapman over Rob Lias to retain the British Cruiserweight title after interference from Eddie Dennis
*Chris Brookes and Travis Banks over Josh Bodom and Zack Gibson
*Adam Brooks over Ryan Smile
*EVIL & Sanada over Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher
*Jinny over Millie McKenzie and Bea Priestley to retain the British women’s title
*Will Ospreay over Mark Andrews – Adam Brooks attacked both men after the match
*Zack Sabre, Jr. and Minoru Suzuki over Tyler Bate and Trent Seven to win the British tag team titles – after the match the new champions were challenged by Chris Brookes and Travis Bank, but Suzuki-gun brushed them off.


Fantasticamania (Jan. 21st at Korakuen Hall)
-This was the second of three Korakuen Hall shows and I have not seen Monday’s show yet.
-The show was headlined by a very strong match between Volador, Jr. and Barbero Cavernario for the NWA historic welterweight title. They went just over 22 minutes and featured some of Cavernario’s key spots, including his top rope splash to the floor. Cavernario kicked out of a top rope Spanish Fly and Volador, Jr. followed with a running Canadian Destroyer for the win.
-The brothers’ tournament featured Ultimo and Gran Guerrero defeating Niebla Roja and Angel de Oro after Gran Guerrero hit a reverse Gord buster from the second turnbuckle and pinned Roja (who he unmasked at the Anniversario card last September) in 15:22. The other tournament match saw Dragon Lee and Mistico defeat Cuatrero and Sanson. Mistico won with La Mistica to Cuatrero.
-The LIJ unit of Naito, Takahashi, Bushi, and Rush defeated Atlantis, Satoshi Kojima, KUSHIDA, and Hirai Kawato after Rush landed a double underhook piledriver and pinned Kawato at 11:58. Kawato is on his way to CMLL for his overseas excursion.
-Rysuke Taguchi, Soberano, Jr., and Fuego defeated Roppongi 3K, and Okumura when Soberano, Jr. hit his corkscrew crossbody from the top and pinned Okumura at 11:07.
-The opener saw Puma and Disturbia defeat Drone and Star, Jr. at 9:16 with Puma using La Magistral cradle and pinned Drone.
-This was a very fun show to watch with the Lucha Libre elements transported to Korakuen Hall and the audience was into all of the characters and the change in presentation.


**Bellator president Scott Coker announced on Saturday night that Cheick Kongo and Javy Ayala would are alternates in the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament. Kongo is a perfect case study in the balance between presenting a sport that also needs to be entertaining. Kongo has won five straight fights has not lost a fight in close to three years. From a statistical standpoint, there is no argument that he should be part of the tournament to crown a champion. However, every one of his five straights wins have been decision victories and is not an exciting fighter with any kind of appeal to a broader audience. But, it’s certainly telling when you have non-heavyweights part of this Grand Prix to crown a champion and you have Kongo as an alternate.

**Bellator announced on Saturday night that the Grand Prix opening round fight between Frank Mir and Fedor Emelianenko will take place on Saturday, April 28th in Chicago, Illinois at the Allstate Arena. This will be Mir’s first fight since a stoppage loss to Mark Hunt in March 2016. Mir was given a two-year suspension by USADA following this fight and was released by the UFC at Mir’s request. The next Grand Prix fight will take place on February 16th at Mohegan Sun with Matt Mitrione fighting Roy Nelson. The only remaining opening round bout is between Ryan Bader and Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal and no date has been confirmed yet for that fight.

POST ROUNDTABLE SHOW with John Pollock, Wai Ting, Brian Mann, and Martin Bushby (Patreon-only show)
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 1/16/18: New U.S. Champion, Mixed Match Challenge, Selfie Promos
REWIND-A-RAW 1/15/18: Braun Strowman Fired? Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins, Paige Appears
THE 2018 MMA PREDICTION SHOW feat. Ariel Helwani

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About John Pollock 5199 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.