POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE 4/2 – WrestleMania Week kicks off with tons of news

A preview of the final Raw before WrestleMania, Big Show announces new WWE contract, Mark Henry's inductor for the Hall of Fame, ROH's parent company receiving lots of criticism, Joe Koff speaks on ROH's involvement with "All In", a report on WrestleMania Week ticket sales, latest on Will Ospreay, POST's WrestleMania Week schedule, and more.

POST IT NOTES

**Wai Ting and I have a bonus show for members of the POST Wrestling Café with a review of Sunday’s Sakura Genesis card from Sumo Hall. We go through the entire show, discuss the final three matches, including two excellent matches with Kazuchika Okada vs. Zack Sabre Jr. and Will Ospreay vs. Marty Scurll, we discuss Ospreay’s injury during the match, the feuds set up coming out of the show and take your feedback. The show is available for Café members on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/posts/17916641.

**This week is the biggest week in the short history of our site, with enormous coverage of WrestleMania Week scheduled over the next week. We are going to produce our regular shows with reviews of Raw, SmackDown, a new British Wrestling Experience, and upNXT. We will also have several bonus-shows throughout the week. All the WWE review content will be free for everyone with Braden Herrington and Bartender Dave reviewing NXT Takeover on Saturday night, and Wai Ting and I reviewing WrestleMania on Sunday night. Wai and I will be doing several shows from New Orleans for members of the POST Wrestling Café on Patreon with reviews of WaleMania, Rev Pro, WWN Supershow, Joey Janela’s Spring Break II, Progress on Saturday, Supercard of Honor, and stories and notes from New Orleans.

For those that sign up for the “1 Milk 1 Sugar” level subscription ($6 per month), you will have access to all the bonus audio we are doing this week. For those at $12 and higher tiers, you will have access to all the bonus audio, as well as additional video content we will be producing. You can sign up today at Patreon.com/POSTwrestling and that gives you access to our entire library of bonus shows since launching the site in December.

**Wai Ting and I are back tonight with a big Rewind-A-Raw to review the final Raw before WrestleMania, we will also be taking your questions and comments about Raw, WrestleMania Weekend, and other topics.

**Wai Ting and I will also be hosting the podcast panel at WaleMania this Thursday night at Republic New Orleans at 828 S Peters Street. Mark Henry, Dave Meltzer, MVP, and Sean Mooney are among the many that will be stopping by for the panel chat. All the information is at http://www.walemania.com/.

**On Tuesday morning, I’ll be a guest on The Alan Michael Show on 103.7 The Game in Louisiana to chat WrestleMania Week at 11:30 am Eastern.

WRESTLEMANIA WEEK AT POST WRESTLING:
*Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw
*Tuesday: Rewind-A-SmackDown
*Wednesday: British Wrestling Experience with Martin, Oli, and Benno previewing British cards in New Orleans
*Thursday: upNXT with Braden Herrington and Bartender Dave
*Friday: LIVE from NOLA (Patreon) – John Pollock and Wai Ting chat their travels to New Orleans, WaleMania, and mini-reviews of Rev Pro, the WWN Supershow, and Joey Janela’s Spring Break
*Saturday: LIVE from NOLA (Patreon) – John Pollock and Wai Ting review Progress Wrestling and ROH’s Supercard of Honor
*Saturday: NXT Takeover Post Show with Braden Herrington and Bartender Dave
*Sunday: WrestleMania 34 Post Show with John Pollock and Wai Ting

WRESTLING NEWS

**Tonight, is the final episode of Raw before WrestleMania with a show from the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. All the major players are expected on the show tonight with Brock Lesnar, Ronda Rousey, and John Cena all advertised. One would expect The Undertaker to appear on tonight’s show to answer Cena’s challenge, but he is not advertised. The show will be highlighted a “Face off” segment involving Rousey, Kurt Angle, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon in what has been a well-booked feud since the Elimination Chamber with limited physicality and two excellent features involving both teams. They are also advertising a singles match between Finn Balor and Seth Rollins for the show.

**The SmackDown crew has a house show in Knoxville, Tennessee tonight with AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, and a tag match with Randy Orton & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev & Aiden English advertised.

**Will Ospreay is set to be checked out to assess what damage he did to himself during his match with Marty Scurll on Sunday’s Sakura Genesis card. We can report that Ospreay did contact the promotions he is booked with for New Orleans and alerted them that there is a chance he won’t be able to do the shows because of the injury. Ospreay is currently scheduled for the following shows: EVOLVE 102 on Thursday night against AR Fox, Progress on Friday at Noon against Mark Haskins, Friday at 4 pm for Rev Pro in a six-man tag, Friday at 8 pm at the WWN Supershow against Matt Riddle, Saturday at Noon for Progress against Austin Theory, and Saturday at 3 pm for CZW against Dezmond Xavier.

**The WWE Network is currently listing the WrestleMania kickoff show from 5-7 pm Eastern and the main show from 7 pm-Midnight with the possibility of the show lasting seven hours from the start of the kickoff. There are expected to be a total of 14 matches with 13 announced and one pending with John Cena vs. The Undertaker yet to be officially added.

**One of the things to watch out for this week with all the shows going on in New Orleans is the medicals that need to be presented to the commission. We were told by one promoter that some talent has yet to complete their medicals and we even heard of one case where a performer (on a non-WWE show) is refusing to have their medicals completed. When I spoke to the commission, we were told a representative would be present at the shows and medicals would need to be presented. As I reported back in February, wrestlers must have licenses to wrestle within the state, blood work must be completed to show they are HIV negative, as well as Hepatitis B and C negative and the blood work cannot be more than six-months-old. We were also told a physical would need to be completed on the day of the event.

**The WWE has announced the first five entrants for the 50-man Royal Rumble match in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia later this month. Daniel Bryan, Braun Strowman, Bray Wyatt, Kane, and Big Show have been announced for the battle royal with tickets for the event going on sale Friday, April 13th. Big Show has been out of action since September and this is the first match he has been advertised for and signals that a return is imminent. The event is scheduled for Friday, April 27th at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium. The WWE also confirmed in the news release on Monday that the event will be streaming live on the WWE Network and will also be available on pay-per-view outside of the Middle East. Below is the updated card for the show:
*John Cena vs. Triple H
*The Miz vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe in a Ladder Match for the Intercontinental title
*Sheamus and Cesaro vs. The Hardys for the Raw tag titles
*50-man Royal Rumble feat. Daniel Bryan, Braun Strowman, Bray Wyatt, Kane, and Big Show

**Brandon Howard at WrestlingINC looks at how ticket sales are faring for all the major events in New Orleans this weekend. Below are some highlights from Howard’s analysis and data that been compiled by Jacob Cohen:
-WrestleMania, Takeover, and Raw have minimal tickets remaining on Ticketmaster and should be sold out by the time the shows take place. The Hall of Fame and SmackDown are not selling at the same pace with both events selling for as low as $25 on Ticketmaster.
-Supercard of Honor has been a huge success with Cary Silkin stating that just over 100 tickets are remaining as it appears ROH will top 5,000 paid for the show. This Saturday’s show will smash the previous ROH record of 3,500 sold at last year’s Supercard of Honor event in Lakeland, Florida featuring The Hardys vs. The Young Bucks.
-The best selling events at the WWN shows at the Pontchartrain Convention Center are led by Joey Janela’s Spring Break II with 1,129 tickets sold, followed by Friday’s Progress show at 1,044 (although Progress is selling at higher price and has a bigger gate advance than Spring Break), the second Progress show has sold 725 tickets and the WWN Supershow stands at 667 tickets sold as of March 30th when this data was last updated.
-The WrestleCon events do not include general admission tickets so it’s not an accurate comparison with the WWN shows, but WrestleCon is led by the Supershow on Thursday night with 428 tickets sold (Golden Lovers vs. Chuckie T. & TBA), followed by Impact vs. Lucha Underground at 345, Pro Wrestling Revolver at 340, and House of Hardcore at 229 tickets sold, all as of March 30th.

**Joe Koff recently spoke to Marc Raimondi at Cageside Seats and was asked about the “All In” event this September. Up until this point, it had been vague how much involvement Ring of Honor would have in the show and this painted a picture that ROH is handling the event:

Koff: One of the things we pride ourselves on is listening to our talent and trying to be collaborative with our talent. This was important to them and they really feel they can do that (sell 10,000 tickets) and I don’t want to stand in the way. Ring of Honor is gonna have its involvement, because we’re still the business end of that company.

Their track record with me as far as creative ideas and pulling off creative things has been very good so far. I think they’re owed that respect from my side to their side to watch this develop. So, it could be a very exciting show.

Raimondi: You think they’ll get that 10,000 sold?

Koff: Well, not “they.” We. We all hope. We’re All In together. It’s an equal reflection on all of us and both of us. I don’t see why not. I mean, this is all of our time to see what kind of influence we have on this business. It’s gonna be good. I’m very excited about it.

**Here is an update from Leon “Vader” White after undergoing open heart surgery last week:

5 days since my surgery & it has been some the worst pain I have ever endured. The Hospital staff has been excellent and my surgeon was fantastic. I am greatful for the life I’ve had & the opportunitny to continue to live. THANK YOU JESUS.

**Big Show will be inducting Mark Henry into the WWE Hall of Fame on Friday night at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Hall of Fame special is currently listed for a three-hour block on the WWE Network, beginning at 8 pm Eastern in addition to a one-hour red carpet special at 7 pm.

**Just to confirm what Wai and I were discussing on Sunday’s Sakura Genesis show, Kenny Omega did not suffer a broken orbital bone and Kota Ibushi did not suffer a concussion during last weekend’s tag match in Long Beach, California.

**There is a lot of focus on Ring of Honor’s parent company, the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which is awaiting approval from the FCC for their $3.9 billion purchase of the Tribune Media company. Over the weekend, Deadspin produced a video that showed multiple Sinclair owned affiliated reading identical messages in a scene right out of “They Live”. Sinclair has always faced criticism for their far right-leaning slant and was put under a microscope by John Oliver last summer, who dedicated 18 minutes to analyzing Sinclair. They are going to get significant coverage this week in light of a tweet issued by President Donald Trump, defending Sinclair and calling them “superior” to both CNN and NBC. In the initial Deadspin report, they include Ring of Honor as one of Sinclair’s properties.

**Bill Simmons of HBO spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the upcoming Andre the Giant documentary that premieres on the network Tuesday, April 10th. Simmons said that when Connor Schell and himself launched the ESPN 30 for 30 series in 2009, they had a list of 12 documentaries they wanted to make, and Andre the Giant was one of the subjects. He explained that the WWE was very insular at the time and Vince McMahon has always stated that, “we don’t work well with others”. That stance has evolved when it makes business sense for the company and it allowed HBO to get on board with the WWE (Simmons left ESPN in 2015 when his contract was up and joined HBO). From those that have seen it, the documentary has received a lot of praise and we will be discussing it heavily next week on the site after it airs.

**The WWE Network has added 37 episodes of WCW Saturday Night from April 1992 – January 1993. The new episodes begin with the April 4th episode where they rebranded the “World Championship Wrestling” program into “WCW Saturday Night” and featured Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura hosting the new-look show from Center Stage in Atlanta. This was a month before Bill Watts was hired by WCW as the Vice President of Wrestling Operations and Kip Frey was re-assigned within the company. Under the “WCW Saturday Night” banner, the show ran through June 2000 in the familiar 6:05 pm timeslot.

**Paul “Big Show” Wight rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Monday. Wight participated in an interview to promote WrestleMania this weekend. He said the rumors of him retiring are false and he signed a new multi-year contract in January. He said he will be still be competing in the ring, but also working on other projects.

**Paul Heyman spoke to Digital Spy to promote WrestleMania and was asked about Hulk Hogan returning to the company. Heyman stated it comes down to how the fans would react (probably a hero’s welcome if he were to show up at a show), how sponsors would react (I would imagine very leery), and how the chairman would react (which is probably a direct reaction to the sponsor’s stance). Heyman was also asked about why he was chosen to induct Bill Goldberg into the Hall of Fame:

I am inducting Goldberg because that was Bill Goldberg’s specific request to WWE. Bill Goldberg personally requested that I induct him into the Hall of Fame. I have such respect for Goldberg as so far the one person who has truly taken the fight to Brock Lesnar in WWE. I also got a chance to witness him behind the scenes as a man, a husband, a father and I have the utmost respect for him as a human being and am honoured to be the one to encapsulate this moment for him and be the one to formally induct him into the Hall of Fame. I also understand his WCW audience’s passion that somebody from WCW be the one that inducts Bill into the Hall of Fame, but this was his wish and I would suggest that it is much a personal wish as it is a professional wish.

**The second part of Nigel Sherrod’s interview with Michael McCoy is now online. McCoy is the son of Susie May McCoy, who wrestled as Sweet Georgia Brown and was the subject of a scathing 2006 article in The Columbia Free Times with descriptions of her treatment as a female wrestler. Michael McCoy has come out to defend The Fabulous Moolah over the allegations that have been brought up by former wrestlers attached to Moolah and led to the name change of the women’s battle royal at WrestleMania this weekend.

**The eBook version of “Best Seat in the House” by Justin Roberts was having a sale for $0.99 Sunday on Amazon, but it appears the sale is still ongoing. The book is one I would recommend as Roberts provides a view of the WWE from an internal perspective with the head games played. If you don’t buy into all the stories of Vince McMahon’s obsessions with specific words being used, and attention to detail on every last element of the show, it is quite the look at McMahon and also provides one of my favorite stories of Vince from Roberts’ last night with the company in 2014 and his instructions for telling the audience to “drive home safely.”

**A new episode of “Ride Along” will air on the WWE Network tonight following Raw with AJ Styles and Bobby Roode traveling together, as well as Jinder Mahal with Sunil Singh.

**NXT has announced dates for May 17th in Oklahoma City, May 18th in Dallas, May 19th in San Antonio, and May 20th in Houston with tickets going on sale this Friday for all four events.

**Mustafa Ali cuts another great promo, which I hope airs on 205 Live on Tuesday:

**Eli Drake of Impact Wrestling will be doing a media conference this Wednesday at 2 pm Eastern.

*****
NJPW Sakura Genesis 2018 Review (Patreon)
John Pollock and Wai Ting review Sunday’s Sumo Hall card, featuring Kazuchika Okada vs. Zack Sabre Jr., The Golden Lovers vs. Cody and Hangman Page, and Will Ospreay vs. Marty Scurll
https://www.patreon.com/posts/17916641
*****
ASK-A-WAI: Ask Us Anything! (April 2018)
https://www.patreon.com/posts/17854492
*****
upNXT 3/29/18: EC3 debuts, Ricochet smiles, Roddy wrestles
https://upnxt.podbean.com/mf/download/pxy5mi/UPNXTMAR292018.mp3
*****
KEEP IT 2000: Ep. 27 – “My Heart Will Go On” with Chris Urbanowicz (July 3, 2000)
https://keepit2000.podbean.com/mf/download/cg43m4/Keep-It-2000-July-3-2000.mp3
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 3/27/18: Bryan issues WM challenge, Nakamura’s mind games
https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/7mmvii/180327_RASD.mp3
*****
REWIND-A-RAW 3/26/18: Cena mimics Undertaker, Ronda Rousey vs. Absolution
https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/pdcfeg/180326_RAR.mp3
*****
NJPW Strong Style Evolved Review w/ Dan Lovranski
John Pollock & Wai Ting review the Strong Style Evolved card and chat with Dan Lovranski, who attended the card in Long Beach as well as the PWG show on Friday night.
https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/mjt2xf/180326_NJPW_SSE.mp3
*****

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About John Pollock 944 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.