POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE 3/16 – WWE holds WrestleMania 35 press conference

The WWE holds a press conference for WrestleMania 35 announcement, notes on Louisiana commission, Brock Lesnar's final match before WrestleMania, Ronda Rousey launches sports management company, New Japan Cup finalist, Fabulous Moolah dropped from women's battle royal title, reviews of Impact Wrestling & NXT, and more.

POST IT NOTES

**It’s Friday and that means Wai Ting and I have a Patreon bonus show for members of the POST Wrestling Café. On today’s show, we decided to do something different and have a review of the Oscar-winning Netflix documentary “Icarus”. The documentary begins as a journey for filmmaker and test subject Bryan Fogel as he looks to starts a program of performance-enhancing drugs to see if we can improve his performance as a cyclist while also skirting the drug testing of the sport. It evolves into a much bigger story involving the Russian Government, a state-wide doping program and the eventual ban on Russia from this year’s Winter Olympics. We’ve received some positive reaction to this show and you can sign up now to gain access to this show and our archives on Patreon at http://www.patreon.com/POSTwrestling.

**For Double Double and Espresso members of the Café, you can also access a video version of the “Icarus” review at https://www.patreon.com/posts/video-netflix-17583884.

**On Sunday, we will have this month’s Roundtable show with Braden Herrington and Bartender Dave joining Wai Ting and myself.

WRESTLING NEWS

**The WWE held a press conference Friday morning to announce that WrestleMania 35 is returning to MetLife Stadium on Sunday, April 7th, 2019. John Saboor, who is the EVP of special events for the company, led the press conference with Stephanie McMahon, Paul Levesque, Ronda Rousey, and John Cena among those speaking. Braun Strowman, Alexa Bliss, Nia Jax, Titus O’Neil, Apollo, and Nikki Bella were also on hand for the announcement. The news was first reported back in January by Barstool Sports that MetLife Stadium would host the event for the second time this decade with WrestleMania 29 taking place from the venue in April 2013. The Barclays Center in Brooklyn will be the site of next year’s Hall of Fame ceremony, NXT Takeover, Raw, and SmackDown Live. With the Barclays Center housing all of those events, it would seem likely that SummerSlam weekend will take place at a different location next year after running at the Barclays Center since 2015.

**The Louisiana Boxing & Wrestling Commission was scheduled to have a meeting last Thursday to go over several topics, including whether certain variations of a piledriver would be allowed during the series of shows in the state over WrestleMania Week. POST Wrestling had specifically inquired about the use of the tombstone, which everyone would assume will be used by The Undertaker at WrestleMania, and the Canadian Destroyer. We had been told that both moves would be brought up at the meeting, but we have inquired with multiple members of the commission over the past week and not been given a response regarding the status of those moves. We also asked about whether any promotions, including the WWE, had attempted to get an exemption to use blood and/or piledrivers on their events and are awaiting a response. Both blood and piledrivers are banned on professional wrestling events in the state of Louisiana, although we have been told privately that exceptions have occurred over the years. It is also worth adding that The Undertaker did use the tombstone at WrestleMania in 2014 in New Orleans during his match with Brock Lesnar.

**The WWE made the somewhat surprising announcement on Thursday that they are dropping The Fabulous Moolah’s name from the promotion of the women’s battle royal at WrestleMania. The key was that Mars Wrigley Confectionary (the parent company of WrestleMania’s title sponsor, Snickers) received a lot of negativity over the Moolah story and issued a statement that using Moolah’s name was “unacceptable”. The battle royal will simply be marketed as the “WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal”. Stephanie McMahon posted the following statement regarding the name change:

Thank you @WWEUniverse for using your voice. What remains most important is that the “@WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal” will be a historic match and is part of @WWE’s unwavering commitment to our Women’s Division. #WomensEvolution #ChangeTheName

**Hiroshi Tanahashi advanced to the finals of the New Japan Cup on Friday by defeating Juice Robinson in the main event at Korakuen Hall. Tanahashi will face the winner of the Sanada vs. Zack Sabre Jr. match that takes place on Sunday with the finals taking place next Wednesday. I would imagine that Zack Sabre Jr. is the likely opponent for Tanahashi and draws on their history going back to the G-1 last summer. Sabre submitted Tanahashi twice during the G-1 with a win in their round robin match and on the final night in a multi-man tag match. Tanahashi avenged those losses by defeating Sabre in September at the Destruction card. While Tanahashi’s comeback has been one of the big components of this year’s tournament, the big push has been on Zack Sabre Jr. with big wins over Tetsuya Naito and Kota Ibushi and adding Taka Michinoku as his mouthpiece to make him a complete package. If the idea is to have Kazuchika Okada attempt to break the record for title defenses at Dominion in June, it would mean only having one more title match before Dominion, which would tie the record. A Tanahashi win could set up an Intercontinental title match with Minoru Suzuki at Sakura Genesis and forego an Okada title match at Sumo Hall and instead save the record-tying title match for one of the Dontaku cards in May, which they would likely want a title match on as they are running two Dontaku cards this year.

**Impact Wrestling’s television numbers continue to show an upward trend for the month of March with an average of 350,000 viewers watching Thursday night’s episode on POP TV. This month the show has averaged 347,000 viewers compared to 293,750 for the month of February and are the best numbers the show has produced since last July. This week’s show was highlighted by the Feast or Fired Battle Royal in the main event slot.

**The WWE has a big house show tonight at Madison Square Garden in New York City with Brock Lesnar’s final wrestling match before WrestleMania. Lesnar is scheduled for a three-way match with Kane and Braun Strowman for the Universal title. John Cena, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, Alexa Bliss, and Sasha Banks are also advertised for tonight’s show.

**The Raw crew heads to Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday night with Roman Reigns and John Cena as the top talent advertised. The SmackDown crew starts Saturday night in Odessa, Texas. Both the Raw and SmackDown television tapings will take place from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas this week.

**The WWE has acknowledged the knee injury to Tyler Bate and posted a story on Friday that Bate and Trent Seven are out of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament.

**Jan Murphy of Postmedia had the chance to speak with Ronda Rousey this past week as she was doing media ahead of WrestleMania.

**Konnan posted an updated following hip replacement surgery. He was released from the hospital seven days after the operation and will be on antibiotics for the next nine weeks. He noted that if the surgery is deemed to be unsuccessful he will have to have the procedure repeated at a later date.

**All Japan Pro Wrestling will be launching their streaming service this Monday and will be offering the service for free for those that sign up for the duration of March. The service will then be available for 900 yen ($8.49 U.S, $11.11 Canadian) per month. The free access will include the promotion’s next major card on March 25th with “Power Dream Series” featuring Joe Doering vs. Kento Miyahara for the Triple Crown. The service will also be carrying the Champion Carnival cards, beginning April 7th.

**Tonight’s episode of New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV will feature matches from the New Beginning in Osaka card from last month with the following airing tonight at 8 pm Eastern:
*Hirooki Goto vs. EVIL for the NEVER Openweight title
*Will Ospreay vs. Hiromu Takahashi for the IWGP junior heavyweight title

**AXS will be airing Strong Style Evolved live on Sunday, March 25th at 8 pm Eastern and will also be airing a replay of the event on Friday, March 30th at 8 pm.

**MLW has announced that Santana Garrett and Priscilla Kelly will have a singles match at their “World Championship Finals” card on Thursday, April 12th in Orlando, Florida at the Gilt Nightclub.

**Below is the full WrestleMania 35 press conference from Friday morning:

**The WWE stock closed at $36.98 on Friday.

TELEVISION REVIEWS


Impact Wrestling (March 15th)

-The main event was the “Feast or Fired” match with Eli Drake, Moose, Petey Williams, and Ethan Carter III retrieving the four briefcases and will be opened on next week’s show. The suspense regarding who will be fired will be difficult to contain.
-The main event for the “Redemption” pay-per-view was set up between Austin Aries and Alberto El Patron. They had a backstage interview that McKenzie Mitchell was conducting with Aries when El Patron interrupted and led to a very well-executed segment involving Aries and El Patron. The interview was to promote Aries’ book about becoming a vegan, so El Patron interrupts and attempts to make amends with Aries by presenting him a bottle of wine a large steak. Both men were great in the segment and did not feel overly scripted or produced with both showcasing their acting and it worked well with a sense of tension throughout the segment.
-Matt Sydal revealed his spiritual advisor to be play-by-play announcer Josh Mathews and this segment came off as the opposite of the Aries and El Patron segment. This didn’t work at all for me, it was also done when Jeremy Borash was still with the company with the idea they would transition Mathews away from the announcer’s desk and into a managerial role, so it’s unknown if he will hold a dual role as they don’t have a lot of options for a new play-by-play announcer. The Sydal spiritual angle hasn’t resonated with me at all and I didn’t care for this segment.
-Father James Mitchell appeared to confront Jimmy Jacobs and cut a great promo about Jacobs resurrecting the monster Abyss, who entered the arena and attacked Kongo Kong and led to a Monster’s Ball Match being announced for next week’s television. Mitchell is a tremendous performer and it’s beyond me why he has not been a full-time manager for the last decade in the industry.
-There was also a backstage segment with Eli Drake firing Chris Adonis on the phone so that’s the last you’ll hear of Adonis, who abruptly gave notice at the last set of tapings.
-There are several storylines that are coming together on the show and there is a good nucleus of talent. The program is still stuck in the transitional period of writing performers off the show (Ethan Carter III, Bobby Lashley) and having their regular core talent become the focus of the show.

NXT

-This was a busier edition of the show than usual with four matches, a segment with Tommaso Ciampa and a contract signing.
-The show closed with Zelina Vega coming out for the signing in lieu of Andrade Cien Almas and confronting Aleister Black in the ring. Black made some short jokes and led the crowd to chant, “too short”. Black brought out Candice LeRae, who attacked Vega to end the show.
-The U.K. title match between Pete Dunne and Roderick Strong was easily the best match on the show and ended with a run in by The Undisputed Era. Dunne and Strong fought them off and will lead to the two teaming up in the weeks to follow.
-The Ciampa segment was the same as the week prior, the fans had been handed out Johnny Gargano signs before the tapings and held them up for Ciampa, who never said a word and then left.
-The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic featured The Street Profits defeating Heavy Machinery after Montez Ford hit a top rope splash and pinned Otis Dozovic. The other tournament match featured Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe defeating Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss.
-The other match on the show was a quick match with Dakota Kai catching Lacey Evans in less than one minute. After the match, Shayna Baszler came out to attack Kai but was saved by Ember Moon. Baszler applied a kimura with Kai returning and helping Moon, who landed the Eclipse onto Baszler and they announced a rematch between Moon and Baszler for Takeover.
-This was a fast-paced episode compared to most weeks and got a lot of the key elements in place for Takeover. The whole card is largely known by now and they have three weeks of television to properly promote the show. It’s hard to gauge what NXT will look like next month as you would imagine there will be several call-ups after WrestleMania and there is no shortage of performers waiting on the sidelines to be introduced on television for NXT and fill those vacated slots.

MMA NEWS

**The UFC has an afternoon card on Saturday from the O2 Arena in London, England, which airs on Fight Pass and will feature the following fights:

MAIN CARD (5 pm Eastern on Fight Pass, Fight Network in Canada)
*Fabricio Werdum vs. Alexander Volkov
*Jimi Manuwa vs. Jan Blachowicz
*Terrion Ware vs. Tom Duquesnoy
*Leon Edwards vs. Peter Sobotta

PRELIMINARY CARD (1:45 pm on Fight Pass)
*John Phillips vs. Charles Byrd
*Danny Roberts vs. Oliver Enkamp
*Hakeem Dawodu vs. Danny Henry
*Paul Craig vs. Magomed Ankalaev
*Kajan Johnson vs. Stevie Ray
*Mark Godbeer vs. Dmitriy Sosnovskiy
*Nad Narimani vs. Nasrat Haqparast

**MMA Junkie reported on Thursday that the UFC has pulled the fight between Jack Marshman and Brad Scott for Saturday’s card in London. There was concern over Marshman’s weight cut for his first fight at the welterweight division and led to the fight’s removal from the card.

**Ronda Rousey has launched her own combat sports management team with One Fight Management. Her only client at this time is 20-year old boxing prospect Ferdinand Kerobyan, who just signed with Golden Boy Boxing on Thursday.

**Ariel Helwani reports at MMA Fighting that a heavyweight bout between former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski and Tai Tuivasa at UFC 225 on Saturday, June 9th in Chicago, Illinois. Arlovski snapped a four-fight win streak last November and is now on a two-fight winning streak following a decision victory over Stefan Struve earlier this month. Tuivasa made his UFC debut last year and has two stoppage wins within the promotion with victories over Rashad Coulter and Cyril Asker.

**The UFC has announced they will hold their first live event in Liverpool, England at the Echo Arena on Sunday, May 27th, with Darren Till headlining the card against an opponent to be announced. The Fight Night event will also feature a pair of fights that have been announced with TUF Nations winner Elias Theordorou taking on Trevor Smith and a bout between Dan Kelly and Tom Breese. Both the UFC and Bellator will be running cards in England that weekend with Bellator 200 taking place on Friday, May 25th at the O2 Arena in London.

*****
PATREON BONUS: Review of Netflix documentary “Icarus” with John Pollock & Wai Ting
https://www.patreon.com/posts/netflix-review-17580567
*****
KEEP IT 2000 – Ep. 26 – “Hacksaw Is Ready”
Brian Mann and Nate Milton welcome Mouse Jones to review the June 26th, 2000, episode of WCW Monday Nitro.
https://keepit2000.podbean.com/mf/download/2v7kum/Keep-It-2000-June-26-2000.mp3
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 3/13/18 – Owens & Zayn Attack Shane, Asuka & Charlotte face off
https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/hpwgmm/180313_RASD.mp3
*****
REWIND-A-RAW 3/12/18 – John Cena challenges The Undertaker, Reigns confronts Vince
https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/zcvzkz/180312_RAR.mp3
*****
WWE FASTLANE POST SHOW
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE Fastlane, ROH’s 16th Anniversary card, the first three nights of the New Japan Cup, and take your feedback & questions.
https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/emtzw4/180311_FASTLANE.mp3
*****
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
*****

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About John Pollock 349 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.