POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE 2/20 – Exclusive notes on Louisiana commission oversight for WrestleMania Week

Exclusive notes on the Louisiana Boxing & Wrestling Commission's rules and regulations for WrestleMania Week shows, Honor Club providing commentary on live events, Deadline looks at the UFC's domestic television rights package, Andrade Cien Almas vs. Johnny Gargano rematch airs tonight, UFC scraps fight due to weight cutting concerns, and more.

POST IT NOTES

**Today’s Rewind-A-SmackDown is up on the main page and available to be downloaded. Wai Ting and I reviewed Tuesday’s SmackDown Live, 205 Live, and Mixed Match Challenge episodes and discussed the positives of 205 Live and the many negatives of the present SmackDown product. The shows included more Fast Lane announcements, 205 Live debut of Buddy Murphy, the brackets for the remainder of the Cruiserweight title tournament, the silly Top 10 list and we take your feedback at the end of the show.

**If you want to leave your feedback or any questions regarding WCW’s SuperBrawl III card from 1993, you can post it on The Forum at https://forum.postwrestling.com/t/feedback-wcw-superbrawl-iii-white-castle-of-fear/1652/7. The show will be released this Friday for all members of the POST Wrestling Café at www.POSTwrestlingCafe.com.

**For those in the Toronto area, Jason Agnew’s Two Strikes comedy show is taking place Thursday night at 9:30 pm at Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West).

SHOWS THIS WEEK:

*Tonight: British Wrestling Experience with Martin Bushby, Oli Court, and Benno
*Friday: Rewind-A-Wai – WCW SuperBrawl III (Patreon only)
*Sunday: WWE Elimination Chamber Post Show with John Pollock and Wai Ting

WRESTLING NEWS

**On Wednesday, I spoke with Russell Naquin of the Louisiana Boxing & Wrestling Commission, who oversees professional wrestling with the state regarding the upcoming events during WrestleMania Week in and around New Orleans. Below are the notes from our conversation
-Blood and piledrivers are prohibited on professional wrestling events within the state. The reason for the banning of piledrivers is because of an injury to a performer several years ago. In cases such as this, I defer to the “Lance Storm Rule” of not banning dangerous moves but banning dangerous performers executing maneuvers that can be done safely.
-All promoters running shows do require some type of license to promote, however, Louisiana allows existing promoters with licenses in the state to loan their licenses to others. As an example, if I was a local promoter in Lafayette, I could lend my promoter’s license to Ring of Honor for that weekend.
-All performers are required to have blood work completed on behalf of the promotion to show that they are HIV negative, and Hepatitis B and C negative. The blood work cannot be more than six-months-old.
-The promotion is required to present the proper paperwork on the day of the show to show that all talent has had the requisite blood work completed before they wrestle.
-A license for a wrestler within the state costs $25.
-Talent will also be subjected to a ringside physical at the venue on the day of the show with the Louisiana commission providing an official at every show, as well as an EMT in attendance at the shows.

**The following matches are scheduled for tonight’s episode of NXT at 8 pm Eastern on the WWE Network from the Center Stage tapings in Atlanta:
*Nikki Cross vs. Vanessa Borne
*Velveteen Dream vs. No Way Jose
*Andrade Cien Almas vs. Johnny Gargano for the NXT title – if Gargano loses, he leaves NXT

**With the launch of Honor Rising, the plan is for Ring of Honor to provide live commentary for all the live events that will be streaming on the new service. Ian Riccaboni will be at of the events the promotion puts on with the exception for the Honor Rising events, which New Japan World has the exclusive streaming rights on. The ability to stream the live events is available to all subscribers, which starts at $9.99 per month with other options of paying $99.99 for the year or a VIP membership at $119.99, which includes all the pay-per-views as part of the VIP fee.

**Dade Hayes at Deadline had an in-depth look at the UFC’s forthcoming domestic rights package coming due with FOX. The piece examines both the UFC and FOX’s place in the marketplace with the UFC’s seven-year deal signed in 2011 expires at the end of 2018. The deal had escalators built in and it is believed they are making $165 million in the final year of the pact. With the pending sale of the majority of 21st Century Fox to Disney, it leaves FOX in a precarious position to beef up live sports and news programming with the major Thursday Night Football they signed being the first sign of this initiative. The article outlines the plight of the UFC from the loss of major stars, the unpredictable nature of preserving stars, and the overall watered-down product the UFC has become as a weekly television product. All signs point to the UFC receiving a healthy increase on their existing deal and Hayes reiterating an offer FOX has been believed to have made worth $200 million per year.

Deadline added that Fight Pass currently has 400,000 subscribers and is up from 330,000 when the UFC was sold in July 2016. To compare to the WWE Network, their service had a total of 1,547,000 subscribers worldwide and 1,471,400 of those being paid subscribers as of December 31st, 2017. On the surface, you would take that as the WWE having better success and you can argue that point. However, the UFC has 400,000 subscribers and are still thriving in the pay-per-view industry with their audience spending in the neighborhood $65 a month and doing a healthy profit even for the smallest pay-per-view cards.

The subject of the UFC signing an exclusive digital deal was discussed with ESPN set to launch their own streaming service and looking for destination sports programming. It was outlined the article by one analyst that it would be a big step back for the UFC to go all digital and return to a niche sport after branching out into the mainstream sports world over the past decade. There may be a time that a sports league can thrive as a digital exclusive, but I don’t think 2019 is that time, especially for a product like the UFC and would make it incredibly difficult to create new stars on a digital platform. I don’t see this as likely as the worst-case scenario for the UFC appears to be a modest but still healthy increase from FOX.

Perhaps the most interesting story of 2018 is UFC and WWE shopping their domestic rights at the same time and how one could impact the other. If UFC signs a new deal with FOX, it likely signals that both products will remain with their current homes, however, UFC not renewing with FOX puts the WWE in a leverage position with FOX in need of hours of weekly programming to fill and the WWE becomes an enticing proposition to step in and replace the UFC. It isn’t all that different from the situation Spike TV was in back in 2005 when they publicly announced they were stepping away from negotiations to renew the WWE programming package because they had a new hot product in the UFC they could dedicate their resources to. Spike was able to double down with the UFC as their flagship product and remained in the professional wrestling space by adding Spike TV in the fall of 2005.

**Charlotte vs. Ruby Riott for the SmackDown women’s title and Bobby Roode vs. Randy Orton for the United States title have been added to the WWE Fast Lane event on Sunday, March 11th in Columbus, Ohio.

**Below are the brackets for the remainder of the WWE’s Cruiserweight title tournament on 205 Live with the final scheduled for WrestleMania on Sunday, April 8th:
*Cedric Alexander vs. TJP (scheduled for February 27th)
*Roderick Strong vs. Kalisto (February 27th)
*Buddy Murphy vs. Mustafa Ali (March 6th)
*Drew Gulak vs. Mark Andrews (March 6th)

**The NXT crew begins a series of live events in Canada on Thursday. The tour starts in Mississauga at the Hershey Center, and continues with St. Catharines on Friday, Peterborough on Saturday, and then in Barrie, Ontario on Sunday.

**Brock Lesnar returns to Raw this Monday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California as the hard push for WrestleMania begins following the Elimination Chamber show.

**The Crash has announced that Rey Mysterio vs. Bestia 666 will headline their March 17th card in Tijuana, Baja California. Mysterio is the promotion’s heavyweight champion and will be defending the title. The card will also feature Rich Swann (in his first match since leaving the WWE) teaming with Arkangel Divino taking on Shane Taylor and Mr. 450.

**Pro Wrestling Guerilla is running their next Reseda card on Friday, March 23rd (which is smart as there will be a lot of travelers that weekend for the New Japan card in Long Beach that will likely try to attend this show as well). The following matches have been announced for “Time is a Flat Circle”: Chuck Taylor vs. Keith Lee for the PWG title, Matt Riddle vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Will Ospreay vs. Adam Brooks, Dezmond Xavier vs. Zachary Wentz, Jeff Cobb vs. Jonah Rock, Brody King vs. Jake Atlas vs. Eli Everfly vs. Douglas James, and Rey Horus vs. Joey Janela. Tickets for the show go on sale next Tuesday at 11 pm Eastern.

**MLW has announced that Sami Callihan will take on Brodie King at the “Spring Break ‘18” card on Thursday, March 8th in Orlando at the Gilt Nightclub.

**Impact Wrestling is offering a deal where anyone that buys first or second row tickets to their WrestleCon show on April 6th will have access to a meet-and-greet prior to the show. The meet-and-greet will feature Moose, Matt Sydal, Eli Drake, and Eddie Edwards.

**The WWE stock closed at $35.53 on Wednesday.

MMA NEWS

**Due to the UFC’s concerns with Gilbert Burns weight cut this week, the promotion has removed his fight with Olivier Aubin-Mercier from this Saturday’s card in Orlando, Florida. The card will proceed with the remaining 12 bouts with the Burns vs. Aubin-Mercier fight originally scheduled for the Fight Pass portion.

**The UFC has officially added a middleweight fight between Vitor Belfort and Lyoto Machida to the UFC 224 card on May 12th in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Between the two, they have 48 fights within the UFC and both are former light heavyweight champions. Belfort is stating this will be the final fight of his career and he will be 41 years old by the time this fight takes place. Belfort last fought in June 2017 where he defeated Nate Marquardt by unanimous decision and Machida is coming off a decision win over Eryk Anders earlier this month.

**Derrick Lewis stated on Instagram that he suffered a metacarpal fracture in his left hand during this past Saturday’s heavyweight bout with Marcin Tybura. Lewis stopped Tybura in the third round of their bout in Austin, Texas.

**The UFC held their first Sunday night card of 2018 this past weekend. It has been a pattern of FS 1 to host a UFC card following the Daytona 500 on FOX. This past weekend’s main card averaged 893,000 viewers on FS1, headlined by Donald Cerrone stopping Yancy Medeiros in the opening round of their welterweight fight. The preliminary card also ran on FS1 and averaged 675,000 viewers with Carlos Diego Ferreira defeating Jared Gordon in the featured bout. The main card was almost identical to the Saturday Fight Night card the prior weekend, which averaged 839,000 with Lyoto Machida vs. Eryk Anders.

**Bellator’s card from this past Friday averaged 476,000 viewers on the Paramount Network featuring Matt Mitrione defeating Roy Nelson in the second Heavyweight Grand Prix fight. The viewership was down significantly from last month’s Grand Prix fight between Quinton Jackson and Chael Sonnen, which a more promoted card in conjunction with the Paramount Network launch.

*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 2/20/18: Fast Lane Matches Announced, Buddy Murphy’s 205 Live Debut
https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/qcz8km/180220_RASD.mp3
*****
REWIND-A-RAW 2/19/18: The Longest Match in WWE History; Jeff Jarrett Hall of Fame
https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/gy3e3q/180219_RAR.mp3
*****
POST ROUNDTABLE #2 (w/ VICE’s Damian Abraham)
https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/qfws8k/180218_ROUNDTABLE2.mp3
*****
PATREON BONUS SHOW: WWF “Battle at Royal Albert Hall ‘91” Coliseum Home Video Release
https://www.patreon.com/posts/wwf-coliseum-at-17021263
*****
KEEP IT 2000: Ep. 24 – “Soldberg” with Jordan Breen (June 12, 2000)
https://keepit2000.podbean.com/mf/download/fftmq5/Keep-It-2000-June-12-2000.mp3
*****

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About John Pollock 539 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.