POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE 3/9 – Preview of ROH’s 16th Anniversary pay-per-view

A preview of Ring of Honor's 16th-anniversary pay-per-view, Brock Lesnar faces The Miz tonight, Bloomberg article on UFC's TV negotiations, Bobby Fish undergoes surgery, WWE releases three performers, New Japan Cup begins with first day's results, wXw 16 Carat tournament matches, Impact's Crossroads show review, and more.

POST IT NOTES

**This week’s Rewind-A-Wai is up for members of the POST Wrestling Café with a near three-hour review of WrestleMania 20 from March 2004. Wai Ting and I go through the entire card with Chris Benoit winning the World title in the main event and how difficult this match is to view in context today, the disaster between Bill Goldberg and Brock Lesnar on their last show with the company, which matches hold up better today than others, the plight of the SmackDown roster coming out of this event and we take lots of questions and feedback. To listen to the show, all you have to do is sign up for a “1 Milk 1 Sugar” membership or above at the POST Wrestling Café and you will have access to this show, an exclusive Café RSS feed, and the ability to listen to all of our Patreon bonus shows at https://www.patreon.com/POSTwrestling.

**We have a new edition of British Wrestling Experience up on the main site with Martin Bushby, Oli Court, and Benno reviewing Progress Wrestling Chapter 64, Fight Club Pro’s “Tribute to Francois Trebec” and a preview of the big wXw 16 Carat tournament that is always one of the highlights of the year. The three also chat about the latest with 5 Star Wrestling and much more. You can download the show on the site and that link also includes how you can subscribe to the British Wrestling Experience on iTunes & iOS, Android, Google Play, Stitcher, TuneIn and more.

**Wai Ting and I will be back on Sunday night with a WWE Fastlane Post Show and we will also be going through the ROH 16th Anniversary pay-per-view on that show.

WRESTLING NEWS

**The New Japan Cup tournament kicked off on Friday with two opening round matches from Korakuen Hall. Juice Robinson defeated Yujiro in 16:09 and was one of the best Yujiro matches I can recall and they built up enough near falls to allow you to believe Yujiro could win. The two fought into the crowd with Robinson dropped onto the chairs causing a cut on his back. Robinson kicked out of the Miami Shine and Tokyo Pimps before making a comeback with a powerbomb and Pulp Friction for the win. Michael Elgin and Tomohiro Ishii had an outstanding main event that went 29:05 and was every bit the level of a big G-1 match. Some of the highlights included a sit-out Splash Mountain off the turnbuckle, Elgin’s deadlift from the turnbuckle into a Falcon Arrow and the match-ending Burning Hammer from Elgin for the surprise win. I felt Ishii had a solid chance of winning the entire tournament, so it was a notable upset that he was eliminated in the first round. Saturday’s show will be interesting with Hiroshi Tanahashi’s return since the injury angle at the hands of Minoru Suzuki. Tanahashi has been eliminated in the first round of the New Japan Cup the last three years and there is the story of Tanahashi returning too quickly and upset by Taichi or you could go the complete opposite with Tanahashi winning the tournament and opting to face Suzuki for the title instead of going after the IWGP heavyweight title.

**Kevin Kelly and Chuck Taylor did the English commentary for the tournament matches on Friday.

**Ring of Honor returns to pay-per-view tonight with the 16th Anniversary card from Sam’s Town in Las Vegas, Nevada at 9 pm Eastern. The show will also be available through the Honor Club streaming service. Below is a preview of the card:
*Dalton Castle vs. Jay Lethal for the ROH title –
This is Castle’s first major title match since winning the title at Final Battle (he defended the title against Punishment Martinez). Lethal has consistently been great in big matches for the promotion and this should be a very good main event. I don’t think anyone buys a title switch this early into Castle’s run but doesn’t mean the match shouldn’t be compelling. I don’t feel Castle has cemented himself in the top spot yet, so this match comes with a lot of pressure to deliver on top.
*The Hung Bucks vs. Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, and Scorpio in a Las Vegas Street Fight for the ROH six-man tag titles –
I cannot imagine this failing to be spectacular and the high point of the show for the audience. This feud has been presented very well on television with the story that SoCal Uncensored’s contracts expire at the end of 2018 and their insurance is by controlling a set of titles, so they cannot be fired by Joe Koff. You can go either way on the finish with SoCal either continuing to chase the titles or have them win the titles and they keep them at all cost for the rest of 2018.
*Cody vs. Matt Taven –
I don’t know how the audience will react to this match given both are heels, although Cody has been doing the best work of his career that he’s going to have a difficult time keeping audiences against him. Cody has the big match at Supercard of Honor and should win without any controversy. They should have a promo or something involving Kenny Omega to push the match for Supercard of Honor.
*Hiromu Takahashi vs. Flip Gordon –
Takahashi is the lone New Japan representative on the pay-per-view and this follows Gordon’s win over Takahashi and KUSHIDA at Honor Rising. If this match steals the show, I won’t be surprised, and Gordon appears to be the next breakout junior heavyweight that New Japan has plans for. I have very high expectations for this one and Takahashi will be very popular to the ROH base.
*Motor City Machine Guns vs. The Briscoes for the ROH tag titles –
The Briscoes have quietly been one of the best things on any wrestling program since the heel turn. The character shift has been a breath of fresh air for Jay and Mark and I’ve been very impressed with their promo work together during this lead-up. The Briscoes as heel tag champions is something fresh and would go with the title switch in this match. A heel Briscoes team facing The Young Bucks feels like a big tag match they could build to later this year.
*Kenny King vs. Silas Young for the ROH Television title –
They just aired the title change on television and it was a fine match. I expect this to go on early in the show and King probably retains.
*Punishment Martinez vs. Marty Scurll –
The story is that Scurll has been complaining that he has never received an ROH title shot and wants to face the winner of Castle vs. Lethal after this show. This is another match that could be very good. I like Martinez a lot, he’s a good promo and is very athletic for his size with tons of potential. Scurll is just about the best opponent he could ask for. Martinez just challenged for the title and Scurll would be a viable program for Castle coming out of this show so could see Scurll winning.

**The pre-show matches for ROH tonight will feature Sumie Sakai taking on Hana Kimura in their first-round match of the Women of Honor tournament and there will also be a quarter-final match between Brandi Rhodes and Tenille Dashwood. The two matches will be airing on Facebook Live prior to the pay-per-view.

**The WWE’s Raw crew has a house show at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota tonight. The card will feature a singles match between Brock Lesnar and The Miz. The Raw crew (minus Brock Lesnar) heads to Oshawa, Ontario on Saturday. The SmackDown crew begins Saturday night in Corbin, Kentucky at the Corbin Arena and featuring Baron Corbin.

**The New Japan Cup continues on Saturday morning with a card at 4 am Eastern on New Japan World from Aichi with the following lineup:
*El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Ryusuke Taguchi and Ren Narita
*Yuji Nagata and Shota Umino vs. Juice Robinson and David Finlay
*Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano vs. Michael Elgin and Tomoyuki Oka
*Togi Makabe and Toa Henare vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Takashi Iizuka
*Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr, and Taka Michinoku vs. Tetsuya Naito, Sanada, and Bushi
*Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, Yoshi-Hashi, and Chuckie T. vs. Kota Ibushi, Yujiro, Chase Owens, and TBA
*Bad Luck Fale vs. Lance Archer in the New Japan Cup tournament
*Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Taichi in the New Japan Cup tournament

**This weekend is the annual wXw 16 Carat Gold Tournament from Oberhausen, Germany and is traditionally one of the best tournaments of the year. Last year’s tournament featured one of the best matches of 2017 with WALTER vs. Ilja Dragunov. The tournament will take place over the next three days and below is the card for today’s card featuring the opening round matches:
*Emil Sitochi vs. Ivan Kiev vs. Julian Pace vs. Julian Nero in Alternates Match for the tournament
*David Starr vs. TBA in the opening round
*Mark Haskins vs. Travis Banks
*Keith Lee vs. Avalanche
*Alexander James vs. Chris Brookes
*Matt Riddle vs. Da Mack
*Jonah Rock vs. Timothy Thatcher
*Matt Sydal vs. Lucky Kid
*Absolute Andy vs. Marius Al-Ani

**Bobby Fish suffered a knee injury this past weekend at an NXT live event and underwent surgery on Thursday in Birmingham, Alabama. Dave Meltzer reported that Fish had minor tears in his ACL and MCL and is expected to miss 5-6 months.

**Mike Johnson reported at PWinsider.com that the “Ultimate Deletion” was being filmed at the Hardy Compound on Thursday in Cameron, North Carolina. Johnson added that he was told Jeremy Borash was on site working on the shoot.

**Impact Wrestling will be airing this past Sunday’s “Last Chancery” event from Mississauga, Ontario on Twitch at 8 pm Eastern tonight. The show was produced in conjunction with Destiny Wrestling at the Don Kolov Arena and features the following matches: Austin Aries vs. Kongo Kong vs. Matt Sydal for the Impact title, Allie vs KC Spinelli, Alberto El Patron vs. Moose, Eli Drake vs. Marcus Burke, Trevor Lee vs. Josh Alexander, Petey Williams vs. Idris Abraham vs. Phil Atlas, Desi Hit Squad vs. Cody Deaner and Jake Something, and Tyson Dux vs. Braxton Sutter.

**The WWE officially announced following Wednesday’s NXT episode that Takeover will be headlined by Andrade Cien Almas vs. Aleister Black for the NXT title. The show takes place on Saturday, April 7th at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.

**Three performers were released by the WWE this week with Abbey Laith, Sage Beckett, and Guangming Go being let go this past Wednesday. Pro Wrestling Sheet was the first report Laith’s release while Squared Circle Sirens reported Beckett’s release and the Wrestling Observer site confirmed Go’s departure.

Laith previously worked under the name Kimber Lee and had been wrestling since 2011. She was signed at the same time as Beckett in January 2017 and had some appearances on NXT television before the Mae Young Classic. Laith defeated Jazzy Gabert and Rachael Evers before losing to Mercedes Martinez in the tournament.

Beckett (MaryKate Dunigan Glidwell) was trained at the Team 3-D Academy and competed as Rossie Lottalove and was signed by the WWE in January 2017. She was a part of the Mae Young Classic tournament and lost in the opening round to Bianca Belair.

Go was a Chinese wrestler, who was signed in 2016 and was being used in a bodyguard role at live events under the name Ming.

**The WWE has announced a deal with GOL out of Spain to air the WWE’s weekly recap shows. Beginning this week, they will be airing Bottom Line on Saturdays at 3 pm, Afterburn on Sundays at 3 pm, and Experience will air at 1 pm and will have Spanish commentary.

**Konnan underwent hip replacement surgery on Thursday morning. He posted a photo on Friday morning and said the surgery was successful.

**Ethan Carter III had his first NXT match on Thursday night at the live event in Dade City, Florida where he defeated Kassius Ohno. The show was headlined by Pete Dunne defeating Oney Lorcan, which sounds like a spectacular match on paper.

**New Japan Pro Wrestling has announced that Katsuya Kitamura and Hikuleo are off the current tour due to injury. New Japan stated that Kitamura is sidelined with a concussion and was the reason his singles match with Manabu Nakanishi was removed from the anniversary card this past week. The concussion occurred during a tag match with Kitamura and Manabu Nakanishi facing Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano. Hikuleo has a right knee injury with the New Japan site stating it occurred on March 3rd where he teamed with Yujiro against Juice Robinson and Toa Henare.

**SI.com reported on Thursday that Bruce Prichard has been hired by MLW to serve as a senior producer on the production end. Prichard will be working with the existing team that includes Nelson Sweglar (who served as the WWE’s head of production throughout the 80’s), Alex Greenfield (former lead writer on SmackDown), Robert Karpeles (former member of the WWE creative staff), MSL, and Court Bauer.

**The Kenny Omega vs. Jay White U.S. title match from the New Beginning in Sapporo card will be airing on AXS TV on Friday night at 8 pm Eastern with Jim Ross and Josh Barnett calling the match.

**Robbie E. (Rob Strauss) has announced he will be launching a podcast on the MLW network called “Why It Ended”. The show will feature weekly guests that had short runs on television or have disappeared from the industry. The podcast is set to launch on Wednesday, March 14th at www.mlw.com.

TELEVISION REVIEWS

Impact Wrestling (March 8th)

-Results: Santana and Ortiz over Trevor Lee and Caleb Konley to retain the Impact tag titles, Matt Sydal over Taiji Ishimori to win the Grand championship, Allie over Laurel Van Ness to win the Knockout’s title, Bobby Lashley and Brian Cage over OVE, Austin Aries over Johnny Impact to retain the Impact title
-This was the “Crossroads” special and was the best episode since the new regime came in.
-The show was largely a wrestling based show with a number of good matches, including a strong match between Austin Aries and Johnny Impact to close the show and Aries winning clean with the brainbuster. After the match, Alberto El Patron came out laughing at Aries and is the next title program for Aries. Both gelled together in the main event, it got a lot of time for a television main event and rather than going the lazy route of El Patron interfering, they did a clean finish and then introduced the next challenger and was more effective.
-They followed up on the Eddie Edwards injury from last week by showing him being tended to after the match and being taken away in the ambulance. Callihan came out with OVE with his baseball bat, which will be his weapon of choice from now on. They didn’t show any of the coverage it received on TMZ, which I was surprised by.
-Allie won the Knockout’s title in Laurel Van Ness’ farewell with Gail Kim congratulating Allie when she walked backstage. It wasn’t the strongest match on the show, but it had a feel-good ending with Allie finally winning the title and between Allie, Laurel, and Rosemary, you have three very strong characters, and each is different from the other.
-Brian Cage joined the handicap match with Lashley against OVE and won the match for the team. After the match, Cage wouldn’t shake Lashley’s hands and is going to lead to those two have a mini program.
-Impact is usually a show that drags after the first hour and can be very difficult to get through and this show was a departure from that trend. It was an easy show to watch, good wrestling throughout, some characters that are standing out and was a positive week for Impact.

MMA NEWS

**Bloomberg Technology has a story on the UFC’s ongoing television rights negotiations. In the article, it states that talks between the UFC and Fox have slowed down of late with the figure of $200 million being cited as the offer Fox has put out there for the renewal, which had been previously reported. While not going into too much depth, the article did speculate on the possibility of Fox going after the WWE rights rather than UFC with the note that the WWE’s numbers have also declined but are still healthier than the UFC’s numbers. Lee Berke, who is a sports media consultant spoke to Bloomberg and felt that even with the struggles the UFC is experiencing, feels that they will still do well with their next television contract. The seven-year pact with Fox expires at the end of 2018.

**The main event of UFC 224 on Saturday, May 12th will be UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes defending her title against Raquel Pennington in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The fight was earmarked for the event, but this past weekend UFC president Dana White was leaning towards Nunes fighting Cris “Cyborg” Justino instead. It did not appear Justino would be likely to return so quickly for a fight of that magnitude in May and was throwing out the idea of fighting in July as more realistic. Nunes and Pennington were originally scheduled to fight last December at UFC 219 but was postponed when Pennington broke her leg in October in a nasty accident while hunting and driving an ATV that flipped over. Pennington has won her last four fights dating back to September 2015 and last fought in November 2016 at UFC 205 where she earned a unanimous decision victory over former bantamweight champion Miesha Tate.

**UFC strawweight Cynthia Calvillo has accepted a six-month suspension from USADA after testing positive for a marijuana metabolite during an in-competition test last December. The drug test was taken on December 30th, on the date of her fight with Carla Esparza at UFC 219, which Calvillo lost by unanimous decision. The suspension is retroactive but can be reduced to a three-month suspension if she completes a drug awareness and management program.

**Last Friday’s Bellator 195 event on the Paramount Network averaged 465,000 viewers featuring the bantamweight title fight between Darrion Caldwell and Leandro Higo. The number is only slightly below the Bellator 194 number of 476,000 viewers for a much bigger card involving the Matt Mitrione vs. Roy Nelson Heavyweight Grand Prix fight.

**UFC light heavyweight Ion Cutelaba has accepted a six-month suspension from USADA for one of the more unique infractions. Cutelaba was tested out-of-competition October 19th and 20th last year and disclosed that he had undergone ozone therapy. USADA discovered that the treatment he admitted to using involved a blood transfusion, which is now allowed without the fighter having been issued a therapeutic use exemption in advance. Due to Cutelaba’s disclosure ahead of time, he was only handed a six-month suspension as opposed to a two-year suspension and will be eligible to return after May 6th. Cutelaba is 2-2 in the UFC and last fought in June 2017 where he knocked out Henrique da Silva in 22 seconds.

*****
REWIND-A-WAI – WRESTLEMANIA XX (Patreon only)
John Pollock and Wai Ting go almost three hours reviewing WrestleMania 20 with the disaster between Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg, Chris Benoit’s title win and viewing it today, The Undertaker’s return and tons more.
https://www.patreon.com/posts/rewind-wai-6-xx-17448189
*****
BRITISH WRESTLING EXPERIENCE 3/8/18: Progress Chapter 64, Fight Club Pro “A Tribute to Francois Trebec”, wXw 16 Carat Preview, 5 Star Wrestling
https://britishwrestlingexperience.podbean.com/mf/download/y8mddk/180308_BWE.mp3
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 3/6/18: Zayn Swerves Owens, Braun & Alexa Flirt
https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/c68vh3/180306_RASD.mp3
*****
NJPW 46TH ANNIVERSARY REVIEW (Patreon only)
https://www.patreon.com/posts/17403218
*****
REWIND-A-RAW 3/5/18: Rousey & Angle Receive WM Opponents, Hardy’s Ultimate Deletion
https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/i6eq5e/180305_RAR.mp3 
*****
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.
https://www.patreon.com/posts/17301615
*****

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About John Pollock 584 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.