POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE 4/22 – WWE Network listing Greatest Royal Rumble for a five-hour window

The WWE Network is listing the Greatest Royal Rumble for a five-hour window, a big preview of tonight's Impact Wrestling pay-per-view, Netflix series looks at Donald Trump's political inspiration, winners of the WWE's Saudi Arabian tryouts, Kevin Lee dominates Edson Barboza, World of Sports announces taping, and more.


**Tonight on the site, Nate Milton and I will have a review of the Impact Wrestling “Redemption” pay-per-view after it finishes up. We will run through the card and take your feedback to the event and your interest level in Impact Wrestling in 2018. That show will be available for everyone on the main page late tonight and through iTunes and any other podcast program you use by searching for POST Wrestling.

**This week, we will have two bonus shows on the POST Wrestling Café with a review of the Greatest Royal Rumble on Friday and a new Rewind-A-Wai next Sunday reviewing WWF Backlash 2000.

**Wai Ting and I will be back Monday night with Rewind-A-Raw to discuss Raw from St. Louis and take your feedback.



**Impact Wrestling returns to pay-per-view tonight with “Redemption” their first pay-per-view since Bound for Glory last October and first under the latest regime. It would be overstating the point to classify as Impact being hot, but they experienced a notable jump in television viewership throughout March and it’s clear that they have grown the regular viewership on POP TV. The relationship with Lucha Underground has been an advantageous one, bolstering Impact’s WrestleCon event and putting a more attractive lineup together for tonight’s card. On the Lucha Underground front, they have seen a drop into anonymity since their second season and having their talent involved will at least spark some renewed interest when their next season begins in June. Tonight’s show in Orlando at Universal Studios will be followed by four nights of television tapings with Impact pumping out nine episodes this week. They will be taping additional television in Windsor on June 1st and 2nd.

In terms of business, I don’t suspect this pay-per-view will make much of a dent purchase-wise. The show is being priced at $39.95 and $44.95 in High Definition. While on the surface it feels like they are pricing themselves out of the market and alienating any new viewers created with such a steep price, the argument is that only Impact’s most loyal fans are buying this show, so you should make as much as you can off a small number of people. The most important element tonight is to have a show people are talking about tomorrow and going beyond hot matches but also delivering some newsworthy items that create interest in the product and make fans believe this was a show they should have watched. On paper, it’s a very good lineup and the focus on pay-per-view should be blown away shows that start building buzz for a product that’s been cold up until now for years.

Here is tonight’s card:
*Austin Aries vs. Pentagon Jr. vs. Fenix for the Impact Wrestling title – They aired the WrestleCon match on television this week and it was short enough that you didn’t feel they gave away the match with no interest in the follow-up. Given the position, if Aries as the “belt collector” and so much built around him, he would be the obvious pick to win the match and get his win back after losing at WrestleCon, although Fenix took the fall. This has the potential to be great and should have a lot more time than the WrestleCon match. Pentagon and Fenix have torn it up in front of every live audience they appear in front of, so hopefully that translates to the Impact Zone and the audience enhances rather than detracts.
*Matt Sydal vs. Petey Williams for the X Division title – Williams is cashing in his “Feast or Fired” briefcase for the title shot and the story is that it’s been ten years since he was X division champion. This could be a great match as well, although it would seem to necessitate Josh Mathews being involved. It’s been very clunky on television with Mathews disappearing from the booth during Sydal’s segments as he’s playing two roles on the show. Sydal and Mathews have not clicked at all and I would use this show or the following television to eliminate Mathews from this position. Mathews screwing up and costing Sydal the match could be one way to get the title onto Williams.
*LAX vs. Scott Steiner and Eli Drake for the Impact tag titles – The segment introducing Steiner as the partner was done very well with Steiner and Konnan going back-and-forth. Steiner is great for the role of the maniac that comes in for one big match a year and is treated as their version of Sonny “Roughhouse” Fargo, escaping the mental institution for a few matches a year. The chemistry between Steiner and Drake was evident in the few segments that aired over the past two weeks and if Steiner could do a quick run, I would opt to just put the titles on them and drop them at television this week. The key with Steiner is not overexposing him. I could also see a scenario with LAX retains the titles and Steiner sticks around as Drake’s “muscle” and assumes the role of Chris Adonis, which would be an upgrade given Steiner’s charisma.
*Allie vs. Su Yung for the Knockout’s title – Allie is one of the most underrated babyfaces in wrestling and it’s a case of fewer eyes on the product so she isn’t mentioned with other top babyface acts. Yung has come in with a big push and wouldn’t surprise me if they put the title on her to feud with Allie and Rosemary after the pay-per-view.
*Sami Callihan, Jake & Dave Crist vs. Tommy Dreamer, Eddie Edwards & Moose in a House of Hardcore Match – This should be a wild brawl with all the weapons you can envision with oVe taking lots of risks and Callihan’s comeuppance from Edwards. The Callihan vs. Edwards feud has sparked notable interest in the product and has led to some of Edwards’ best promo work, which is not his strong suit. Moose was lumped into this but should stand out as he towers over the others and always works hard. This could be a big hit to the live audience or a negative if they aren’t into the weapons and hardcore style because nothing is worse as a viewer than weapon shots and dangerous stunts being met with little reaction.
*Taiji Ishimori vs. Cage vs. Trevor Lee vs. El Hijo del Fantasma vs. Dezmond Xavier vs. DJZ – This will be the insane opener with millions of dives, lots of high flying and trying to set the tempo at a high point. Cage is in role Lashley vacated as the athletic monster and would be surprised if he didn’t win this match and is elevated to the top mix in the subsequent television tapings.
*Aerostar vs. Drago – Even if the audience isn’t familiar, I expect they will be by the end of the match. This could steal the show and if they get 12-14 minutes, this could easily be the best match on the card. The two are feuding in Lucha Underground after Drago left Aerostar and Fenix to join Kobra Moon. I don’t know if their Lucha Underground stories will be referenced or not.
*Taya Valkyrie vs. Kiera Hogan – This match was just added on Sunday to complete the card.

**The WWE’s Greatest Royal Rumble event is scheduled for a five-hour window on the WWE Network this Friday. The kickoff show is listed from 11 am-Noon Eastern and the main show is slotted from Noon – 5 pm. The show currently has ten matches announced with seven titles matches, John Cena vs. Triple H, The Undertaker vs. Rusev in a Casket Match and the 50-man Royal Rumble. The WWE is advertising Rey Mysterio and Great Khali for the show as well with both expected to be participants in the Rumble.

**WALTER won the PWG title on Saturday night defeating champion Keith Lee and Jonah Rock in the main event three-way. Lee only held the title for one-month after defeating Chuck Taylor in March. On the first night of All-Star Weekend, Excalibur announced to the audience that sale of the American Legion Post has not gone through yet, so there is a chance that the May 25th show will not be the final PWG event at the venue.

**The WWE announced the following eight winners of this past week’s four-day tryout session in Saudi Arabia with at least one of the winners set to appear in Friday’s 50-man Royal Rumble match:
*Hussain Aldagal, background in volleyball and bodybuilding
*Mansoor Al-Shehail, he was trained by Dory Funk Jr.
*Faisal Kurdi, fought at Saudi FC 1 in Feb. 2017 in an amateur bout and was submitted in the second round, also has a Muay Thai kickboxing background
*Nasser Bawazer, he fought for Saudi FC 1 in February 2017 and was his only amateur MMA fight where he won by submission
*Khalid Alhothali, bodybuilding competitor with boxing and jiu-jitsu training
*Abdullah Almagrabi, a boxing trainer and listed as a karate champion
*Faisal Allabboudy, background in boxing and swimming
*Asaad Alshareef, background in Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling

**World of Sport has announced television tapings in May set for Epic Studios in Norwich, England. The tapings are scheduled for Thursday, May 10th, Friday, May 11th, and Saturday, May 12th with tickets available for free. World of Sport held tapings back in 2016 and aired a pilot on ITV on December 31st, 2016, but the series was not picked up with no additional tapings taking place. Jim Ross has announced that he will not be working on these tapings as he called the pilot in 2016.

**The SmackDown crew has a house show in Chattanooga, Tennessee tonight and are in Bowling Green, Kentucky on Monday. AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Charlotte, and Randy Orton are the top talent advertised on both shows.

**Monday’s episode of Raw is in St. Louis, Missouri with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman appearing for the first time since WrestleMania. The Raw crew has an insane week after arriving back from South Africa for Raw and then turning around and heading to Saudi Arabia for this Friday’s Greatest Royal Rumble event.

**The WWE has announced a tag match with Asuka and Becky Lynch vs. Peyton Royce and Billie Kay for this week’s episode of SmackDown Live from Louisville, Kentucky.

**New Japan Pro Wrestling has a card Monday morning from Korakuen Hall at 5:30 am Eastern headlined by El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Hiromu Takahashi and Bushi for the IWGP junior heavyweight tag titles. They are also running Korakuen Hall on Tuesday morning at 5:30 am with Jay White vs. David Finlay for the U.S. title. Both shows will be available on New Japan World.

**There is a new Netflix series called “Donald Trump: An American Dream” examining Trump’s rise as real estate developer and his segue into politics. On the episode detailing his political aspirations, they trace it back to Jesse Ventura with footage of the two at WrestleMania 5 in Atlantic City. They noted how much of an admirer Trump was of Ventura when he became Governor of Minnesota in November 1998, to the point that Trump flew to Minnesota to meet with Ventura’s team to find out their secret to winning the election. The two were so close at one point that when Trump was first dangling the idea publicly of running for President in 2000, he held a press conference with Ventura introducing Trump, who would have run on the Reform Party ticket, but declined to run after Pat Buchanan opted to run that year and was destroyed in the November 2000 election. The show tries to link Trump’s style of approach to Ventura’s with the implication that Trump took the blueprint of Ventura’s campaign in Minnesota and adopted a lot of his methodology and attitude towards the media and public.



**The UFC’s Fight Night event in Atlantic City on Saturday night drew 9,541 to Boardwalk Hall for a gate of $923,720. We have a full report on the show posted on the main page, here are the quick results from the event:
*Tony Martin def. Keita Nakamura by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
*Corey Anderson def. Patrick Cummins by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
*Siyar Bahadurzada def. Luan Chagas by KO at 2:40 of Round 2
*Ricky Simon def. Merab Dvalishvili by technical submission at 5:00 of Round 3
*Ryan LaFlare def. Alex Garcia by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
*Dan Hooker def. Jim Miller by KO at 3:00 of Round 1
*Aljamain Sterling def. Brett Johns by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
*David Branch def. Thiago Santos by KO at 2:30 of Round 1
*Justin Willis def. Chase Sherman by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Frankie Edgar def. Cub Swanson by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
*Kevin Lee def. Edson Barboza by TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at 2:18 of Round 5

**The Fight of the Night bonus was awarded to Ricky Simon and Merab Dvalishvili and the Performance bonuses went to David Branch and Siyar Bahadurzada for $50,000 each. If Kevin Lee had made weight, it would have been hard to deny him a bonus for that one-sided destruction of Barboza in the main event.

**They announced on Saturday’s UFC broadcast that former welterweight champion Matt Serra will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame during International Fight Week in Las Vegas in July. Serra was responsible for arguably the biggest upset in promotional history when he stopped Georges St-Pierre at UFC 69 in April 2017 to win the welterweight title. When it comes to the biggest upsets historically, the others that come close are Holly Holm’s win over Ronda Rousey in November 2015, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou stopping Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at PRIDE 33 in February 2007, and Fabricio Werdum submitting Fedor Emelianenko on June 2010. Serra noted on the broadcast that Ray Longo would be inducting him into the Hall of Fame.

**The UFC’s card in Santiago, Chile next month has been hit with the top two fights falling apart. Combate was the first to report that headliner Santiago Ponzinibbio was off the card due to injury and the UFC is seeking a new opponent for Kamaru Usman. The same outlet also reported that light heavyweight Volkan Oezdemir will not be able to leave the United States for his fight against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua due to an ongoing third-degree felony battery case that Oezdemir is in the middle of, stemming from an incident at a nightclub last year. MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani added that the UFC is likely to rebook Oezdemir vs. Rua for another card later this year rather than find a new opponent for Rua. All the star power of the show was locked into the top two fights, so you would expect the UFC being aggressive to find a suitable replacement for Ponzinibbio to keep Usman on the card.

**Nolan King at MMA Today was the first to report that former NFL player Greg Hardy will be fighting for a UFC contract on the next season of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Hardy has been fighting at the amateur level and is currently 3-0 with three stoppage victories. Hardy was a Pro Bowl defensive end during his NFL tenure but does come with baggage stemming from a 2014 arrest for domestic violence and an additional arrest in 2016 for cocaine possession. In 2014, Hardy was found guilty of assaulting a female and issuing threats and sentenced to 18-months of probation. Hardy appealed the decision with the victim failing to appear in court and the charges were dropped due to the victim not being located, the charges were expunged from Hardy’s record in 2015.

upNXT 4/19/18: A New Beginning…Again
BWE 4/18/18: WWE UK returns, ITV World of Sport rumours, RevPro Live in New Orleans
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 4/17/18: Superstar Shake-Up Night 2

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About John Pollock 5596 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.