POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE 2/7 – Paul Levesque replaces Vince McMahon overseeing 205 Live, per report

POST IT NOTES

**We have this week’s edition of Rewind-A-SmackDown posted on the main page of the site and available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and the TuneIn Radio app. On this week’s show, Wai and I review this week’s SmackDown Live, the re-vamped 205 Live, and Wai takes us through the Mixed Match Challenge. We also discuss the main event announcement for Fast Lane, the Top 10 rankings, the Daniel Bryan vs. Shane McMahon story, a big return announced for next week’s episode, Jason Jordan’s injury and we take your feedback.

**Late Wednesday evening, we will have a new edition of the British Wrestling Experience available for everyone with Martin Bushby, Oli Court, and Benno returning for their bi-weekly show.

**Rewind-A-Wai returns this Friday for all members of the POST Wrestling Café. This week’s selection was chosen by Espresso Executive Producer Tyler Crane and he chose Night 3 of PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles tournament from 2017. Wai and I will review the entire show, featuring the quarter-finals, semi-finals and the three-way final, including the much-discussed match between Keith Lee and Donovan Dijak. That show will drop Friday morning for all patrons.

WRESTLING NEWS

**Mike Johnson is reporting at PWinsider.com that there has been a shakeup regarding the management of 205 Live, which has been evident with the on-screen product over the past two episodes. Johnson is reporting that Vince McMahon is no longer serving as the showrunner for the series and it has been handed over to Paul Levesque. The philosophical shift coincided with the departure of Enzo Amore (Eric Arndt) from the company two-weeks with whom the show had been structured around. The 205 Live team consists of Levesque overseeing the show with Adam Pearce in the role of lead producer and Jonathan Baeckstrom as the head writer for the series, per the reporting of Mike Johnson. Baeckstrom has been with the WWE since 2013 and has ascended the creative ladder and was promoted to the position of the lead writer in November 2016. The past two weeks have featured the launch of a tournament with a heavy emphasis on great wrestling with strong performers, zero comedy on the show and the bulk of the episode consisting of in-ring matches and serious personality profiles. The shift is much more in line with the Cruiserweight Classic tournament, which was deemed a success across the board for the 2016 summer tournament that was produced out of Full Sail University and aired on the WWE Network.

Tuesday’s episode of 205 Live was one of the strongest episodes to date for the series. The show was paced by a tremendous match between Roderick Strong and Hideo Itami, that in any other environment would have torn down the house but this was a dead audience in Kansas City that displayed minimal engagement to a very sold 17-minute performance from the two. If this match had aired at Takeover last week in Philadelphia, it would have been the second best match on the show. While some can say it’s a cop-out to just blame the audience and responsibility should be placed on the performers to work to the crowd they are given, I don’t feel you will be able to eliminate the negative stigma of the show overnight. 205 Live is going to need consistently great matches and a directional change that is accepted and digested by the audience, which has sat through two hours of SmackDown and the Mixed Match Challenge. In time, I feel this shift will translate to the crowd reactions as the performers can go out and outshine everything that has preceded them with fewer restrictions than before. The other match on the show was another strong match with Kalisto pinning Lince Dorado after a tremendous sequence of Kalisto hitting a reverse springboard onto the shoulders of Dorado into a reverse rana followed by a Salida del Sol. This was a great episode and the best show the WWE produced this week from a match quality perspective.

Vic Joseph had the line of the week during Kalisto’s entrance when he stated, “Well, Nigel we are going to see some good Lucha things tonight.”

**As we reported here on POST Wrestling last week, AXS TV will be carrying the “Strong Style Evolved” show live on their network on Sunday, March 25th from the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, California. The official announcement by AXS TV was made Wednesday following the news last week that the show sold out in less than 20 minutes with just over 4,700 tickets sold. The event will air that at night at 8 pm Eastern with Jim Ross and Josh Barnett calling the show. Thus far, no matches have been announced but they are advertising Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito, and Kenny Omega for the show.

**Here are the matches for tonight’s episode of NXT at 8 pm Eastern on the WWE Network from last week’s tapings at Center Stage in Atlanta:
*Bianca Belair vs. TBA
*Heavy Machinery vs. Riddick Moss and Tino Sabbatelli
*Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish vs. Sanity for the NXT tag titles

Johnny Gargano will also appear on tonight’s episode.

**The fourth week of the Mixed Match Challenge saw a minor jump in the live viewership with the Goldust and Mandy Rose vs. Jimmy Uso and Naomi match peaking with 77,000 live viewers on Facebook Watch.

**Shelton Benjamin shared an insane experience with his rental car situation this week. On Tuesday night, Benjamin discovered a loaded gun in the glove compartment of his Budget rental car and posted a photo and was obviously upset that he was provided with a car that had not been checked over from its prior user. While it’s a strange story, the repercussions could have been significant in the small chance that Benjamin had been pulled over and an unregistered loaded gun was discovered in his car. At the very least, it would have likely resulted in media picking up the story because of his celebrity and if an investigation was necessary, could have resulted in a temporary suspension. Thankfully, he discovered the weapon and it appears to be a non-issue, but Benjamin has every right to be furious that he was unknowingly travelling with a weapon for four-days in his car.

**Jim Ross and Josh Barnett are in Los Angeles this week to voice episodes of NJPW on AXS TV from last month’s New Year’s Dash and the recent New Beginning shows in Sapporo for a quick turnaround. This Friday night, AXS will be running the Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito title match from Wrestle Kingdom and then the New Year’s Dash matches will air the following Friday on February 16th.

**The main event for New Japan’s second of four shows in Australia will feature Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, and Rocky Romero vs. Kenny Omega and the Guerillas of Destiny. The six-man tag will headline the Saturday, February 17th card in Melbourne at Festival Hall.

**Here is the first episode of this week’s UFC Embedded series going into UFC 221 on Saturday night from Perth, Australia:

*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 2/6/18: Top 10 List, Owens vs. Zayn, 205 Live…Great?
https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/rim3z4/160206_RASD.mp3
*****
REWIND-A-RAW 2/5/18: Jordan Screws Up Again, Women’s Chamber Participants Announced
https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/67bdxd/180205_RAR.mp3
*****
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
*****

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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.