POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE 3/7 – Hogan vs. Gawker book to be developed into a movie


**This week’s edition of Rewind-A-SmackDown is up on the site with reviews of SmackDown, 205 Live, and the Mixed Match Challenge. Wai Ting and I also go through the card for Fastlane, take your feedback and more. The show is available at https://www.postwrestling.com/2018/03/07/rewind-a-smackdown-3-2-18-zayn-swerves-owens-braun-alexa-flirt/.

**We also did a Patreon bonus show on Tuesday reviewing New Japan’s 46th Anniversary card that featured Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay and Minoru Suzuki vs. Togi Makabe for the Intercontinental title. That show is available to our Café members at https://www.patreon.com/posts/17403218.

**On Friday, we will be releasing a new Rewind-A-Wai for members of the POST Wrestling Café. This week we are reviewing WrestleMania 20 from Madison Square Garden in 2004. If you would like to provide any feedback or questions for the show, there is a thread on the POST Wrestling Forum.

**The deadline to submit your New Japan Cup brackets is Thursday night at 10 pm Eastern and brackets can be sent to john@POSTwrestling.com.

*Thursday: British Wrestling Experience with Martin Bushby, Oli Court, and Benno
*Friday: Rewind-A-Wai (WrestleMania 20, Patreon)
*Sunday: WWE Fastlane and ROH 16th Anniversary review


**Deadline has reported that the rights to the recently released book by Ryan Holiday covering the Gawker vs. Hulk Hogan case, have been purchased by Blackrock Productions. The book is called “Conspiracy – Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker and the Anatomy of Intrigue” and was written by Ryan Holiday. The trial was also the subject of the 2017 documentary “Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press”, which was produced for Netflix and was also featured at the Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto last year. Following the release of a sex tape involving Hulk Hogan by Gawker Media, Hogan filed a suit that was later revealed to be funded by Peter Thiel and led to a $140 million judgment in favor of Hogan. The end result was a $31 million settlement that was worked out between Gawker and Hogan in late 2016.

**Tuesday’s episode of SmackDown Live averaged 2,590,000 viewers on the USA Network. The number was down 3.8% from last week’s episode, which featured John Cena’s advertised appearance on the show.

**Monday’s episode of Raw averaged 3,030,000 viewers over three hours on the USA Network. It would the lowest number for Raw since football competition ended in January.

The show began with 3,302,000 viewers in the first hour, which kicked off with the major angle of the show involving Ronda Rousey and the announcement of the mixed tag match for WrestleMania. The audience experienced a small drop in the second hour to 3,267,000 viewers and then saw the usual big drop in hour three with a 16.5% drop down to 2,729,000 viewers. The third hour featured the show-closing segment involving Paul Heyman and Roman Reigns, although Reigns was never mentioned as appearing throughout the show and only stated that Heyman would be responding to Reigns’ promo from the prior week.

It would seem the best strategy is to position your major segments for the first two hours of the show as nothing is going to hold the second-hour audience. Over the past two months, we have seen the 25th Anniversary of Raw and Ronda Rousey’s first Raw appearance unable to hold the audience at the second-hour level and it’s clear that a certain percentage is done watching wrestling after two hours. Conversely, since football ended the third hour has never gone lower than this week’s third hour and it says regardless of what is thrown into the third hour, that roughly 2,700,000 viewers will be the floor for the third hour. That means you can get away putting something of less importance in the closing segment of the show while maintaining that floor and put your major segments as the hooks for the first two hours when the most amount of eyes will be on the program.

**NXT is taping television tonight at Full Sail University and will cover all the remaining episodes leading into Takeover on WrestleMania weekend. If you are attending tonight’s taping, we would appreciate any results and notes by sending them to john@POSTwrestling.com.

**I wanted to make a brief mention for our Canadian readers regarding a new series that Wai and I have discussed called “The Wrestlers”, which is limited to airings on the Canadian version of VICE. The show is hosted by Damian Abraham, who has been a frequent guest of ours in the past and once the show has a wider release in the U.S., I’m sure we will have him on to discuss further. The series is one of the best I have ever watched regarding the subcultures within professional wrestling and the depth at which the series delves with the personalities in each show. Episodes include traveling to Japan and covering Stardom, one dedicated to MVP and his struggle with his limited time in the industry before walking away, traveling to Mexico and focusing on Pimpinela Escarlata, the version of professional wrestling that exists within the Republic of the Congo among the ten episodes produced. I would heavily encourage you to seek this series out if you have access to VICE in Canada.

**Here are the matches that are scheduled for tonight’s episode of NXT at 8 pm Eastern on the WWE Network:
*The Authors of Pain vs. TM61 in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
*Killian Dane vs. Aleister Black

**Brock Lesnar is currently listed for the following dates through WrestleMania:
*Friday, March 9th for the house show in Minneapolis against The Miz
*Friday, March 16th for the house show at Madison Square Garden against Kane and Braun Strowman
*Monday, March 12th for Raw in Detroit, Michigan
*Monday, March 26th for Raw in Dallas, Texas
*Sunday, April 8th at WrestleMania in New Orleans

Lesnar is not currently listed for the WrestleMania go-home episode of Raw on April 2nd in Atlanta or the night after WrestleMania edition of Raw in New Orleans.

**The WWE’s Cruiserweight title tournament is down to four men remaining after Tuesday night’s episode of 205 Live. Next week’s show from Indianapolis will feature the first semi-final match between Cedric Alexander and Roderick Strong and the winner will face the winner of Mustafa Ali vs. Drew Gulak (no date has been announced yet for that match).

It has been more than a month since 205 Live was revamped with a serious style of presentation, heavier emphasis on match quality, and more defined characters with less reliance on comedy and stereotypes. The show is unquestionably a better one but is still hurt by the atmosphere of the shows. After WrestleMania, the next step should be to get this show out of the current position of following the SmackDown tapings. One idea is booking a 1,000 – 2,000 seat venue once a month and taping four episodes in front of a livelier audience and airing those episodes in the post-SmackDown slot on the WWE Network. The emphasis on being live versus taped is overblown and has not impeded NXT or Ring of Honor. Impact Wrestling being a taped product isn’t the death knell other than their taping schedule of 12 episodes a week is incredibly taxing on the performers and the live crowd, but no one is arguing 205 Live should adopt that intense of a taping schedule.  In the short term, word of mouth regarding hot matches will circulate for 205 Live and encourage people to tune in as opposed to watching the show live each week and having no expectation level. In short, the atmosphere is doing a disservice to the talent on the show that in any other arena would be tearing the house down with some of the matches presented over the past month and instead it feels as though the crowd is on life support.

**The New Japan Cup tournament begins this weekend with all of the shows streaming on New Japan World, below are the tournament matches and start times for the opening round matches:
*Friday, March 9th at 4:30 am Eastern: Michael Elgin vs. Tomohiro Ishii, Juice Robinson vs. Yujiro
*Saturday, March 10th at 4 am: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Taichi, Lance Archer vs. Bad Luck Fale
*Sunday, March 11th at 3 am: Tetsuya Naito vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Kota Ibushi vs. Yoshi-Hashi
*Monday, March 12th at 6 am: Chuck Taylor vs. Sanada, Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Toru Yano

**John Cena was interviewed by SI about his role on this year’s WrestleMania card and suggested an idea of sitting out this year’s show to tell a longer story involving his character being in decline. It was also mentioned in the piece that he had obligations with Nickelodeon on Tuesday night and was the reason he couldn’t be at SmackDown in Green Bay.

**Here is the updated card for the WWE’s Fastlane show this Sunday at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio:
*AJ Styles vs. John Cena vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin in a six-pack challenge for the WWE title
*The Usos vs. New Day for the SmackDown tag titles
*Bobby Roode vs. Randy Orton for the U.S. title
*Charlotte vs. Ruby Riott for the SmackDown women’s title
*Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev
*Becky Lynch and Naomi vs. Carmella and Natalya

**John Cena will be a guest on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” on NBC tonight.

**Renee Young missed Raw and SmackDown this week as she was sick. She stated that she will be back this Sunday at Fastlane in Columbus, Ohio.

**Friend of the site, Chris Charlton, has launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for his next book project. The subject is the history of every pro wrestling event to take place at the Tokyo Dome and is called “Eggshells: Pro Wrestling in the Tokyo Dome”. The initial goal of $5,000 to cover all the costs associated with the production of the book was reached in under 24 hours and a stretch goal has been introduced to provide hardcopy books for those at a certain level of funding. In addition to working with us in the past, Charlton is the author of “Lion’s Pride: The Turbulent History of New Japan Pro Wrestling” that received tremendous reviews and has been referenced on New Japan broadcast by Kevin Kelly.

**MLW is back on Thursday night in Orlando at Gilt Nightclub with “Spring Break ‘18” and will feature the following lineup: MVP vs. Low Ki in an “Unsanctioned Match”, ACH (replacing Tom Lawlor) vs. Matt Riddle in the semi-finals of the MLW title tournament, Jimmy Havoc vs. Shane Strickland in the semi-finals of the tournament, Darby Allin vs. Joey Janela in a “Fans Bring the Weapons Match”, Brody King vs. Sami Callihan, Garza Jr. vs. Ultimo Ninja, Jason Cade and Jimmy Yuta vs. The Dirty Blondes, Vandal Ortagun vs. Barrington Hughes, and Lance Anoa’i vs. Maxwell Jacob Freidman. The full show will be available at a later date at www.MLW.tv.

**New Japan’s next Lion’s Gate Project show will take place Tuesday, April 10th and stream on New Japan World.

**The WWE stock closed at $38.50 on Wednesday.


**A heavyweight fight between Alistair Overeem and Curtis Blaydes has been announced for the UFC 224 card on Saturday, June 9th at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Overeem will be 38 years old by the time this fight takes place and is looking to rebound from a knockout loss to Francis Ngannou, which was one of the most vicious of 2017 at UFC 218 last December. Blaydes has won his last three fights (it should be recognized as a five-fight win streak but one of those wins was overturned in Texas after he tested positive for marijuana). Blaydes last fought at UFC 221 last month and defeated Mark Hunt by unanimous decision in Australia.

**Former UFC middleweight and welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani this past Monday. St-Pierre stated he will likely fight again but has no timetable as he wants to see how his body responds and fully recover from colitis, which is the ailment that led to his vacating of the middleweight title. St-Pierre believes the disease was brought on by stress and overeating to move up to middleweight. He is open to fighting again and mentioned lightweight being a possibility but is only interested in fights that will enhance his legacy and be big fights.

**Luke Rockhold was also on The MMA Hour and indicated that his days fighting at middleweight could be over. Rockhold cited the last number of weight cuts being very hard on his body and is eyeing a return at light heavyweight. He stated that the third fight with Michael Bisping would be his ideal choice, preferably at light heavyweight and put out the idea of the two fighting in July during International Fight Week. Michael Bisping told MMA Fighting after the interview that he has not been offered a fight with Rockhold for July 7th, which is the date of UFC 226 during International Fight Week. The two each hold a win in their series with Rockhold submitting Michael Bisping in November 2014 and Bisping stopping Rockhold at UFC 199 in June 2016 to win the UFC middleweight title.

**The UFC has added two more fights to the Fight Night card on Saturday, April 21st in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Ryan LaFlare returns after a knockout loss last July to Alex Oliveira and will take on Alex Garcia. Tony Martin will be fighting Keita Nakamura on the same card with Martin making the move up to welterweight following a split decision loss to Olivier Aubin-Mercier last September.

**A documentary on the life of the late Charles “Mask” Lewis will be released on April 3rd through Gravitas Ventures with filmmaker Bobby Razak having worked on the film for several years. Lewis was one of the co-founders of the Tapout brand (which was sold after Lewis’ passing and is now seen all over WWE programming) and died after a car wreck in 2009. The documentary will be available on Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play and you can watch the trailer here.

REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 3/6/18: Zayn Swerves Owens, Braun & Alexa Flirt
REWIND-A-RAW 3/5/18: Rousey & Angle Receive WM Opponents, Hardy’s Ultimate Deletion
ASK-A-WAI – Ask Us Anything
John Pollock and Wai Ting answer any and all of their patrons’ questions from the members-only section of the POST Wrestling Forum.
KEEP IT 2000: Ep. 25 – “Rock ‘n Roll, Make-Up, Fire” with Robert Karpeles (June 19, 2000)
Former WWE creative member and @WWECreative_ish mastermind Robert Karpeles joins Brian Mann and Nate Milton to discuss a surprise Russo-less Nitro.

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About John Pollock 1128 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.