POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE 2/5 – Rey Mysterio says, “big possibility” of a return to the WWE

Rey Mysterio discusses his thoughts on a return to the WWE, Booker T. cites Corey Graves as the reason he off the Raw commentary team, review of this week's Ring of Honor episode, ROH and All Japan set to launch their own streaming services, review of UFC Fight Night card from Belem, and lots more.

POST IT NOTES

**Wai Ting and I are back tonight with Rewind-A-Raw as we go through Monday’s episode and answer your feedback.

**Wai and I released the first Ask-A-Wai show, which will be a monthly show taking our patrons’ questions from the POST Wrestling Forum. The first show can be downloaded at https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/02/04/ask-a-wai-ask-us-anything-february-2018/ and subscribe to POST Wrestling on iTunes for whatever podcast app you use.

SHOWS THIS WEEK:
*Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw
*Tuesday: Rewind-A-SmackDown
*Thursday: British Wrestling Experience
*Friday: Rewind-A-Wai: BOLA ’17 Night 3 (Patreon)
*Saturday: UFC 221 post-show w/ Pollock & @MikeBohnMMA
*Saturday: New Beginning review w/ Pollock & Wai (Patreon)

WRESTLING NEWS

**Tonight’s episode of Raw takes place from the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa. They have announced an Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match between Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt for the show. John Cena is also scheduled for tonight’s show and is advertised for all episodes of Raw through WrestleMania. Ronda Rousey will not be available until mid-February at the earliest because of the filming of “Mile 22”, so she is probably going to be on the backburner until later this month. I would assume Rousey’s first Raw appearance will likely take place after Elimination Chamber when the hard push for WrestleMania begins.

UPDATE: The WWE has announced a three-way match with John Cena vs. Braun Strowman vs. Elias and a tag title match with Cesaro and Sheamus vs. Jason Jordan and Seth Rollins for tonight’s show.

**The SmackDown crew has a live event tonight in Springfield, Missouri at the O’Reilly Family Event Center. The television tapings are Tuesday night in Springfield, Missouri with Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn in a #1 contender’s match and Bobby Roode vs. Rusev for the United States title.

**Rey Mysterio spoke with The Mirror in the U.K. over the past week while over there for the 5 Star Wrestling event. Mysterio stated there is a “big possibility” that he makes a return to the WWE following his surprise appearance at last weekend’s Royal Rumble match:

I want to say that there is a big possibility that I will be back. [We’re] figuring out what the situation is, you know from both ends. But there is definitely a positive feedback on behalf of the fans, on behalf of the WWE staff and behalf of myself man. I think we’re possibly going to sit down and negotiate something where we can both work together and have a good time and enjoy.

**Booker T. (Booker Huffman) spoke about his removal from the Raw broadcast team during his weekly “Heated Conversations” program. Booker cited Corey Graves as the reason for his removal because of the WWE’s fear that Booker may attack Graves. Booker is being moved to the pay-per-view panel with Jonathan Coachman taking the spot on the Raw team with Graves and Michael Cole. Booker added that if he were to see Graves on the street he would do something physical to him, but not at a WWE show. The way Booker discussed the issues with Graves, it was hard to even take seriously as he was laughing throughout, but clearly, this isn’t a program and given their back-and-forth on commentary, it isn’t surprising there are issues as Graves would constantly rag on Booker when an illogical comment was made. For Booker to threaten physical violence, even if it was in a joking manner, puts the WWE in a tough position to turn a blind eye to one employee threatening the safety of another in such a public way.

Graves indirectly and responded to the story on Monday with the following quotation on Twitter:

“Thus the expert in battle moves the enemy, and is not moved by him.” –Sun Tzu (Yes, this is what you think it is)

**New Japan Pro Wrestling will be holding their second card from Korakuen Hall this week on Tuesday with the show streaming on New Japan World at 5:30 am. Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero are handling the English commentary for this show. Below is the card:
*EVIL and Sanada vs. Kazuchika Okada and Hirooki Goto for the IWGP tag titles
*Will Ospreay, Yoshi-Hashi, and Gedo vs. Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi, and Bushi
*Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, and Takashi Iizuka vs. Togi Makabe, Michael Elgin, and Ryusuke Taguchi
*Jay White, Tomohiro Ishii, and Toru Yano vs. Juice Robinson, Toa Henare, and David Finlay
*Roppongi 3K and Rocky Romero vs. El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, and Taka Michinoku
*Manabu Nakanishi vs. Katsuya Kitamura in Kitamura’s trial series
*Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Tomoyuki Oka vs. Yujiro and Hikuleo
*KUSHIDA, Jushin Thunder Liger, and Tiger Mask vs. Shota Umino, Tetsuhiro Yahi, and Ren Narita

**Ring of Honor is getting to set to launch their own streaming service that will be marketed as “Honor Club” but have yet to announce a launch date. The new service will lead to the promotion’s “Ringside” membership being phased out with Ringside members receiving free access to the streaming service until their existing subscription expires. The Honor Club service is going to include live streaming and video-on-demand access to their live events, television archive and access to their library (it has not been stated how much of the library will be available as one issue is the commercial music over their shows prior to the HD Net deal when they needed to acquire the rights to the music they used). The service will be available with a standard membership of $9.99 per month or $99.99 for the entire year and that also includes a 50% discount on the Ring of Honor pay-per-view events. There is also a VIP membership option for $119.99 for the year and that tier includes all the pay-per-view events. Memberships will also include access to the ROH pre-sales, 15% off merchandise from the ROH Pro Shop and access to an online ROH forum.

ROH has only stated that the launch is “imminent” and for maximum impact upon launch, I would assume this will be up and running before WrestleMania weekend when engagement with the product will be very high for Supercard of Honor with a large demand for fans to live stream the show.

**All Japan Pro Wrestling has also announced that they will be launching a streaming service. They will be charging 900 yen per month for the service (lower than New Japan World’s price of 999 yen per month). It is unlikely that the service will feature a lot of the classic content, which is owned by their previous broadcaster NTV. In the case of New Japan, they launched their service in partnership with TV-Asahi and provided them access to much of their library. The service is set to launch in March in time for the Champion Carnival tournament the following month.

**All Japan has also announced the participants for the annual Champion Carnival tournament, which will take place from April 7th – 30th with the following blocks:
*BLOCK A: Kento Miyahara, Shingo Takagi, Joe Doering (the current Triple Crown champion), The Bodyguard, Naoya Nomura, Shuji Ishikawa, Ryoji Sai, and Yuji Hino.
*BLOCK B: Naomichi Marufuji, Jun Akiyama, KAI, Zeus, Suwama, Yoshitatsu, James Raideen, and Yutaka Yoshie

In particular, the B Block looks outstanding with Marufuji entering the tournament from NOAH and the return of Akiyama mixed in with the likes of Suwama and Yoshitatsu, who is having a great run on loan from New Japan.

**The WWE has added Coliseum Home Video releases from the 80’s and 90’s to the WWE Network. The new additions can be found in the “Collections” section and are entitled “New Classic Content” with the following titles added:
*Bloopers, Bleeps, and Bodyslams – April 1985
*Big, Small, Strange, and Strong – December 1985
*Unusual Matches – May 1985
*Grudge Match ’86 – March 1986
*Villains of the Squared Circle – June 1986
*Grand Slams – December 1986
*Inside the Steel Cage – December 1986
*Most Embarrassing Moments – December 1987
*Brains Behind the Braun – February 1989
*Supertape – March 1990
*Wrestling Superheroes – March 1990
*World Tour ’90 – May 1990
*WrestleFest ’90 – June 1990
*Supertape II – July 1990
*Wrestling Tough Guys – September 1990
*Hottest Matches – October 1990
*Supertape III – January 1991
*Funniest Moments – February 1991
*Mega Matches – March 1991
*Greatest Hits – April 1991
*Supertape IV – May 1991
*WrestleFest ’91 – July 1991
*Wrestling’s Greatest Champions – July 1991
*World Tour ’91 – August 1991
*Battle at the Royal Albert Hall – October 1991
*Rampage ’91 – October 1991
*Supertape ’92 – February 1992
*Invasion ’92 – March 1992
*Euro Rampage ’92 – April 1992
*Crunch Classic – May 1992
*Wrestlefest ’92 – July 1992
*World Tour ’92 – August 1992
*Rampage ’92 – October 1992
*WrestleFest ’93 – January 1993
*Smack ‘Em, Whack ‘Em – March 1993
*UK Rampage ’93 – April 1993
*Bashed in the USA – June 1993
*Invasion of the Bodyslammers – July 1993

**One of the biggest stories of the past week was Fox securing the rights to the NFL’s Thursday night package. The deal is a five-year agreement worth $3.3 billion and breaks down to $660 million per season for the 11 Thursday night games. Fox will share the games with the NFL Network while also having the non-exclusive streaming rights to the game and the ability to simulcast on Fox Deportes. This is the first aggressive move that Fox has made since the announcement of the pending deal with Disney worth $52.4 billion. In the deal, Disney is acquiring the major components that make up 21st Century Fox along with 22 of Fox’s regional sports networks. Fox has outlined a strategy following this deal of focusing on news and live sports. With an enormous amount of capital, Fox is a big player when it comes to forthcoming rights negotiations for both the UFC and the WWE.

The UFC deal is set to expire at the end of 2018 and is a major deal for the company if they can benefit from a significant rights increase. Fox is now in a position to bid aggressively for the UFC, while also being aware that the WWE’s domestic rights deal with NBC expires in the fall of 2019 and that they are hoping to have a deal finalized later this year.

The UFC fills a lot of programming for FS1 and their loss would make the WWE very attractive to fill that programming void. The WWE does generate higher television viewership, but the belief has always been that the WWE cannot compete with the level of advertisers that the UFC can attract and thus, the UFC landed a much better domestic rights deal in 2011 with Fox than the WWE had with NBC when you consider the rights fees paid for the two and the amount of content produced.

**Dwayne Johnson appeared on the post-Super Bowl edition of “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” to announce a new series called “The Titan Games” that will air on NBC. Johnson will serve as an executive producer and star in the series that will take regular people and place them into physical competition with a team of “titans” on the show. It is a 10-episode series that Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions is working alongside A. Smith & Co. and Universal Television Alternative Studio to produce. Former WWE writer Brian Gewirtz will also serve as an executive producer on the show and works for Seven Bucks Productions. On Sunday, the trailer for Johnson’s next big movie, “Skyscraper”, also premiered and the film will be coming out July 13th.

**Tommy Dreamer posted a receipt where he bet on the Philadelphia Eagles to win the Super Bowl back in September. The line at the time was +2500 for the Eagles to win and Dreamer’s $20 bet paid out $520.

TELEVISION REVIEW

Ring of Honor (Feb. 4th)
-This was the first episode from the television tapings in Nashville, Tennessee last month.
-The crowd was hot for the main event involving Cody vs. Matt Taven. Cody has elevated himself significantly over the past two months and it can be partially attributed to an improvement in his in-ring abilities, but more so the character he has crafted and the confidence he now exudes. He feels like a main event player and in a strange way, seems like a bigger star since losing the ROH title at Final Battle. Unlike what is going on with “Being the Elite” and the Kenny Omega feud, Cody was the babyface in this scenario with the show ending on a 3-on-1 beatdown by The Kingdom and no one coming to Cody’s rescue.
-There was a feature on Punishment Martinez, who is one of the company’s bigger pushed stars and will be facing Dalton Castle for the title next week in Castle’s first defence. This was the first time they had him speak at length and he did well with a strong delivery. In the long run, he could be a big star in the promotion and will be better served evolving from the goth presentation. At his size and ability, he should be on a lot of people’s radar in 2018, similar to Keith Lee 18-24 months ago. After the feature, Marty Scurll called out Martinez and wanted the first title shot when Martinez beats Castle. This led to Martinez hitting a chokeslam on Scurll.
-The Motor City Machine Guns vs. Best Friends tag title match ended with The Briscoe Brothers attacking both teams. The two teams were having a fine match before The Briscoes interrupted as Chuckie T. and Trent were near the entrance and were jumped from behind.
-Given the major announcement of the Cody vs. Kenny Omega match, this episode felt out of date to not even mention it. It didn’t seem like the television was caught up on their own online announcements as Cody is currently playing two different personas. That was my lone negative after watching this as I feel they should coordinate their announcements to better sync with the television product.

MMA NEWS

**The UFC’s first card in Belem took place on Saturday night and the major discussion following the show was the officiating during the women’s flyweight bout between Valentina Shevchenko and underdog Priscila Cachoeira. This was one of the most one-sided fights you will ever see. A case can be made for a 10-7 opening round with Shevchenko destroying her with strikes. Referee Mario Yamasaki has received justifiable criticism for his liberal allowance of damage incurred by Cachoeira. The fight ended in the second round via rear-naked choke with Fight Metric displaying a margin of 217-1 in strikes landed for Shevchenko. Typically, whenever a discussion is made of whether a round should be a 10-7, it probably means the fight went too long. This was the case for the first round. I don’t know how Cachoeira was sent out for the second round, but that’s a mentality within MMA that must evolve where fighters are protected by their corners. It is also an argument against the “show and win” bonus formula for fighter purses. Corners need to have the safety and well-being of the fighter in mind without the concern of costing them financially by preventing the fighter from continuing.

**Here are the results from the UFC’s Fight Night card in Belem, Para in Brazil on Saturday night. They announced an attendance figure of 10,144 at the Arena Guilherme Paraense:
*Deiveson Figueiredo def. Joseph Morales by TKO at 4:24 of Round 1
*Iuri Alcantara def. Joe Soto by TKO at 1:06 of Round 1
*Polyana Viana def. Maia Stevenson by rear-naked choke at 3:50 of Round 1
*Alan Patrick def. Damir Hadzovic by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-27, 30-27)
*Sergio Moraes def. Tim Means by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
*Thiago Santos def. Anthony Smith by TKO at 1:03 of Round 2
*Douglas Silva de Andrade def. Marlon Vera by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
*Timothy Johnson def. Marcelo Golm by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
*Michel Prazeres def. Desmond Green by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
*Valentina Shevchenko def. Priscila Cachoeira by rear-naked choke at 4:25 of Round 2
*Lyoto Machida def. Eryk Anders by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46)

**The Fight of the Night bonus was awarded to Thiago Santos and Anthony Smith and the two Performance bonuses went to Valentina Shevchenko and Iuri Alcantara for $50,000 each.

**The UFC has announced that they will be holding a pay-per-view event in Chicago at the United Center on Saturday, June 9th. Obviously, this would be the best placement for CM Punk if he will be fighting again. Punk acknowledged the announcement when it was made on Twitter.

**The UFC has also announced a Fight Night card for Saturday, June 1st in Utica, New York at the Adirondack Bank Center.

**UFC welterweight Colby Covington did a comedy match this past Saturday at the Wrestle Pro event in Rahway, New Jersey. Covington wrestled against “Tyquil Woodley” to spoof the UFC welterweight champion. The event was done in association with Impact Wrestling for future content on the promotion’s Twitch channel.

**Below is the Countdown to UFC 221 show:

*****
ASK-A-WAI #1: Ask Us Anything (February 2018) – https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/8cm67s/180204_ASK-A-WAI.mp3
*****
TOTAL DIVAS SEASON 7 FINALE REVIEW WITH JOHN POLLOCK & WAI TING (Patreon bonus show)
https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/02/01/total-divas-season-7-finale/
*****
KEEP IT 2000: Ep. 23 – “The Red Liquid” with Damian Abraham (June 5, 2000)
https://keepit2000.podbean.com/mf/download/kycidg/Keep-It-2000-June-5-2000.mp3
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 1/30/18: Owens & Zayn dissension, New 205 Live GM, Braun & Alexa, Jeremy Borash, WWE 24 review
https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/9xx9en/180130_RASD.mp3
*****
REWIND-A-RAW 1/29/18: Asuka vs. Sasha, Elimination Chamber Qualifiers
https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/isiufi/180129_RAR2.mp3
*****

Subscribe to POST Wrestling
https://postwrestling.com/subscribe

POST Wrestling Forum
https://forum.postwrestling.com

Support our Patreon – The POST Wrestling Café
http://www.patreon.com/POSTwrestling

Follow us
Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube

About John Pollock 250 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.