POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE 1/24 – Stephanie McMahon added to commentary for the women’s Royal Rumble

Stephanie McMahon will be part of the commentary team for the women's Royal Rumble, SmackDown Live's audience stays flat, next year's Royal Rumble booked for a baseball stadium, Nate Diaz hints at a return this spring, UFC and Bellator numbers from this past weekend, Samoa Joe on NXT pre-show, preview of the UFC on FOX card, and more.

POST IT NOTES

**We have today’s edition of Rewind-A-SnackDown posted on the site as Wai Ting and I review Tuesday’s episode, the final push for the WWE title match at the Royal Rumble, a preview of the Royal Rumble card, the latest on the Enzo story and how they handled it on 205 Live as well as your feedback to the show. You can download the show at https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/01/24/rewind-a-smackdown-1-23-18-enzo-amore-state-of-205-live-royal-rumble-preview/ and subscribe through all podcast apps, including iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play and the TuneIn Radio app.

**We have a pair of POST Production behind-the-scenes videos up on the Patreon site for all “Double Double” members and above.

**The New Beginning preview show that WH Park and I will be doing is going to be released on Friday this week and will be available to everyone on the site.

**A new edition of the British Wrestling Experience with Oli Court and Benno will be later tonight. The two will be chatting about this past weekend’s Rev Pro card, Progress Chapter 61 and lots more.

**The POST Wrestling Royal Rumble Pool is open until Sunday at 3 pm Eastern at http://www.POSTwrestling.com/rumble. Submit your picks and tune into Rewind-A-Raw to find out if you won.

**Jason Agnew is hosting “Rumble Strikes” this Friday night at 11 pm at Comedy Bar in Toronto (945 Bloor Street, West). You can purchase tickets in advance at www.2strikescomedy.com.

WRESTLING NEWS

**The final SmackDown Live before the Royal Rumble saw a small drop in the audience down to 2,580,000 viewers on the USA Network. The number dropped 22,000 viewers from last week’s mark and didn’t see any kind of trickle-down effect from the massive audience that tuned into Raw on Monday night for the anniversary episode. This was the first-week SmackDown dipped until the 2.6 million viewer mark since December 19th.

**Stephanie McMahon will be part of the commentary team for the women’s Royal Rumble match on Sunday in Philadephia.

**The WWE announced on Wednesday that next year’s Royal Rumble will be taking place on Sunday, January 27th from Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona with the company projecting over 40,000 people in attendance. The weekend will feature NXT Takeover, Raw, and SmackDown Live taking place from the Talking Stick Resort Arena.

**Tonight’s episode of NXT will feature Johnny Gargano taking on Velveteen Dream with Gargano’s NXT title shot on the line for Saturday’s Takeover event.

*The WWE began 205 Live on Tuesday with an announcement by Daniel Bryan that Enzo Amore had “abdicated the title and was no longer part of 205 Live.” Bryan went on to announce that they will introduce a 205 Live General Manager on next week’s show from Philadelphia and they will address the title situation next week.

**Saturday’s Takeover event will feature a one-hour pre-show on the WWE Network at 7 pm Eastern. They have announced that Samoa Joe will be part of the pre-show panel alongside

. The Takeover card is scheduled for 2 ½ hours on the network with the following card:
*Andrade Cien Almas vs. Johnny Gargano for the NXT title
*Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish vs. The Authors of Pain for the NXT tag titles
*Ember Moon vs. Shayna Baszler for the NXT women’s title
*Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black in an Extreme Rules Match

**David Bixenspan has a piece for Deadspin outlining the terrible fan experience for those at the Manhattan Center portion of Raw this past Monday. Rather than an isolated incident, Bixenspan dives into past fan experiences that failed to meet audience expectations, dating back to the first WrestleMania and a deceptive promotion regarding the event on closed circuit.

**New Japan Pro Wrestling presents two big shows this weekend with the New Beginning in Sapporo cards. Saturday’s show will be airing at 4 am Eastern on New Japan World and is headlined by Minoru Suzuki vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi for the Intercontinental title. The Sunday show airs at 1 am Eastern (late Saturday night) and will be headlined by Kenny Omega vs. Jay White for the IWGP U.S. title. Both shows will feature English commentary from Kevin Kelly and Don Callis.

**New Japan World has also announced that there will be English commentary on the Road to New Beginning events at Korakuen Hall on February 5th and 6th.

**The WWE stock closed at $33.49 on Wednesday.

MMA NEWS

**The numbers are in from Bellator’s 192 card from this past Saturday on The Paramount Network. The show averaged 770,000 viewers on the network. The promotion issued a press release that the combined average viewership between The Paramount Network and CMT was 931,000 viewers (with 161,000 watching on CMT) and peaked at 1,340,000 for the main event between Chael Sonnen and Quinton Jackson. The audience is Bellator’s highest since Bellator 170 in January 2017, which was headlined by Sonnen vs. Tito Ortiz and averaged 1,374,000 viewers.

**The UFC 220 prelims went head-to-head with the first hour of the Bellator card on FS1 with the prelims averaging 905,000 viewers. The UFC preliminary fights were headlined by Kyle Bochniak vs. Brandon Davis.

**Nate Diaz posted a statement on Instagram hinting at a return this May or June:

Sick of sitting around waiting for you fuckers to do shit there’s no excitement in this fight shit step your games up I’ll see u around may,June.
Sincerely The Real Champ

Diaz has not fought since August 2016, which was the rematch with Conor McGregor and was reported as the most-purchased UFC event in the promotion’s history. Diaz has sat on the sidelines with the consensus that he was asking for so much money to fight that it wasn’t economically viable for the UFC. For Diaz, he will bring a lot of interest for his return, but he has always been a fighter that will draw based on the opponent he has to work off. The third fight with Conor McGregor would be a very big fight but there are a lot of hurdles to jump through to get that fight signed. A fight between Diaz and Eddie Alvarez would be a great action fight and I would see it doing above average UFC numbers but would be a far cry from the high six-figure shows on pay-per-view.

**The UFC has a card on FOX this Saturday from Charlotte, North Carolina and it’s a show with minimal buzz just a few days out. The card features a very good middleweight main event between Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Derek Brunson. Brunson lost two important fights to Robert Whittaker and an egregious decision loss to Anderson Silva but has since rebounded with a pair of knockout victories over Dan Kelly and Lyoto Machida. One of the best losses for Brunson, in the long run, was the Whittaker loss, it showcased the best of worst of Brunson. He has tremendous striking power, but he sprinted out of the gate like a madman and it cost him against the great countering from Whittaker. Since that loss, Whittaker has displayed more patience and has made improvements. For the longest time, Souza was thought of as the next dominant middleweight, but he too lost to Whittaker in a big upset in his last fight. The middleweight division has been thrown on its head once again with the Whittaker out for an indefinite period and an interim title being installed for the Luke Rockhold vs. Yoel Romero fight on February 10th in Australia. The winner of Brunson-Souza could find themselves in line for the winner of Rockhold-Romero, although Chris Weidman has to be considered and Kelvin Gastelum is also in that conversation among the top middleweights. Below is the full card for Saturday’s card on FOX:

MAIN CARD (8 pm Eastern on FOX)
*Derek Brunson vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
*Dennis Bermudez vs. Andrei Fili
*Jordan Rinaldi vs. Gregor Gillespie
*Drew Dober vs. Frank Camacho

PRELIMINARY CARD (5 pm Eastern on FS1)
*Bobby Green vs. Erik Koch
*Godofredo Pepey vs. Mirsad Bektic
*Katlyn Chookagian vs. Maria Romero Borella
*Juliana Lima vs. Randa Markos
*Justine Kish vs. Ji Yeon Kim
*Vinc Pichel vs. Joaquim Silva

FIGHT PASS CARD (4 pm Eastern)

*Niko Price vs. George Sullivan
*Cory Sandhagen vs. Austin Arnett

**The UFC’s last card on FOX in December averaged 2,107,000 viewers with the main event between Rafael dos Anjos and Robbie Lawler peaking at 3.07 million viewers. I would consider the star-power on this Saturday’s card less than the December show and a final number that will be in line with the December show.

**Bellator also has a show this weekend, albeit a small one, that takes place from Temecula, California and will air on the Paramount Network. The main event will be fought at a catchweight of 180 pounds between Lorenz Larkin and Fernando Gonzalez. Since signing with Bellator, Larkin has gone 0-2 and needs a win in this fight. The card also features Saad Awad vs. J.J. Ambrose, a middleweight fight between Kendall Grove and AJ Matthews and the main card will open with Steve Kozola fighting Jake Smith. The preliminary card features highly touted heavyweight prospect Tyrell Fortune as he will be fighting Joe Hernandez.

**UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier announced on “The MMA Hour” with Ariel Helwani this past Monday that he will not fight beyond his 40th birthday, which is March 19th of 2019. Following the defense of his championship this past Saturday against Volkan Oezdemir, it appears that the most likely opponent to challenge Cormier next will be Alexander Gustafsson. The two fought in a war in October 2015 with Cormier winning by decision.

*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 1/23/18 – Enzo Amore, State of 205 Live, Royal Rumble Preview
https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/sztuwm/180123_RASD.mp3
*****
REWIND-A-RAW 1/22/18: RAW 25th Anniversary Review
https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/dd59kh/180122_RAR.mp3
*****
POST MMA: UFC 220 and BELLATOR 192 REVIEW WITH JOHN POLLOCK
https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/3azarm/POST-MMA-UFC-220-Bellator-192.mp3
*****
POST ROUNDTABLE SHOW with John Pollock, Wai Ting, Brian Mann, and Martin Bushby (Patreon-only show)
https://www.patreon.com/posts/post-roundtable-16482245
*****
BRITISH WRESTLING EXPERIENCE 1/18: Introduction
https://britishwrestlingexperience.podbean.com/mf/download/yqgdv9/180118_BWE.mp3
*****

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About John Pollock 1130 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.