POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE 5/18 – Randy Orton undergoes knee surgery for meniscus tear

Randy Orton undergoes knee surgery, Variety reports on frontrunners to land SmackDown with additional information, Taiji Ishimori pins Will Ospreay to kick off the Best of the Super Juniors, The Revival appear at NXT event, Shane McMahon has surgery for a hernia, remaining participants of the WWE's U.K. tournament & more.

POST IT NOTES

**This week’s Patreon bonus show is a special movie review with Wai Ting and I reviewing the 2014 film “Captain America: Winter Soldier” from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Wai helps guide me through the entire history of the Captain America character, his role in the MCU, our thoughts on the inaugural Captain America film, future possibilities with the pending sale of Fox’s major assets to Disney, the reveal; of Bucky Barnes in the film, Georges St-Pierre as Batroc, and we take lots of your feedback. The show is available now for members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**Wai Ting and I have a 20+ minute POST Production video up discussing the WWE’s domestic television rights package, the Hollywood Reporter, the fate of SmackDown Live, what this means for the rest of the wrestling industry and a lot more. This is available for all “Double Double” & above members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**The latest edition of upNXT is up on the site with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman reviewing this week’s NXT episode, which featured a tremendous main event with The Undisputed Era vs. Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch.

**We have a live report from the WWE’s Raw event in Vienna, Austria featuring Ronda Rousey in a six-woman tag match teaming with Ember Moon & Natalya against The Riott Squad.

**I wanted to remind everyone that Dan “The Mouth” Lovranski has launched a YouTube series called “Slipped Through the Cracks” reviewing classic vinyl. You can click on the link and subscriber to the series and go through his backlog of reviews.


WRESTLING NEWS

**The biggest story of the week, and probably of the year, is on the WWE’s domestic television rights package. Earlier this week, The Hollywood Report reported that Raw was expected to remain with NBC Universal with a rights increase “up to three times” its current value. The specifics were not reported, but Sports Business Journal has reported that the entire WWE package on NBC Universal was worth $180 million in 2017, which includes SmackDown Live and Total Divas / Bellas. On Thursday, Variety had a story that Fox, Facebook, and Amazon as frontrunners to land SmackDown, which NBC would not be attempting to retain because of the high renewal rate for Raw. Variety also threw out the option of placing SmackDown Live onto the WWE Network, which sounds like a ridiculous idea given the rights fees at play and the new subscribers it would require to make that transfer viable for the WWE.

The Variety piece also speculated on the idea of SmackDown becoming a three-hour program. While the wrestling consumer would scoff at that notion, many of the players bidding on the rights to the show would be unlikely to feel the same. It is a lot easier for a Fox to bid such a high amount spread out over 156 hours of yearly content versus 104 hours. If you’re a streaming property, the more content the better and as we have seen from the WWE Network, the statistic of “hours streamed” is a metric that a streaming service can boost with an additional hour of SmackDown each week.

**David Bixenspan at Deadspin also has a piece on the WWE’s television rights and the questions that still loom from the Hollywood Reporter story. Bixensapn also discusses the role the company has taken is adapting to an entertainment outlet and how Stephanie McMahon has played a large factor in the perception of the company.

**The WWE stock is through the roof from this past week’s projections with shares closing at $51.42 on Friday as the company hit all-time highs this week.

**The WWE has confirmed that Randy Orton recently underwent knee surgery for a meniscus tear in his left knee. The company had a brief update on Orton, who stated he knew he needed surgery since late last year. A meniscus tear is not a major injury, but they did not provide a timetable for Orton’s return to the ring. WrestlingNews.com was the first to report the news of Orton’s surgery and stated that took place last Tuesday and is expected to return in July.

**The Best of the Super Juniors tournament began on Friday from Korakuen Hall and will run through June 4th. The main event saw Taiji Ishimori defeat IWGP junior heavyweight champion Will Ospreay in their non-title tournament match and sets up Ishimori for a title challenge down the road, possibly at Dominion if he wins the tournament. Ishimori won with a suplex into a gutbuster, which he is calling the Bloody Cross after he blocked the OsCutter. Tiger Mask, YOH, and ACH also picked up tournament wins. We have a full report on the show posted on the site.

**The Best of the Super Juniors tournament continues Saturday with a live show at 5:30 am from Korakuen Hall on New Japan World with the following card:
*Shota Umino vs. Ren Narita
*Will Ospreay, YOH & Yoshi-Hashi vs. ACH, Tomoyuki Oka & Tiger Mask
*Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Flip Gordon & Toa Henare
*Taiji Ishimori & Chase Owens vs. Sanada & Bushi
*Dragon Lee vs. SHO – B Block
*El Desperado vs. Ryusuke Taguchi – B Block
*KUSHIDA vs. Chris Sabin – B Block
*Hiromu Takahashi vs. Marty Scurll – B Block

**At Thursday night’s NXT event in Oklahoma City, The Revival made a surprise appearance and lost to Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly. Given how lost they are on Raw, The Revival returning to NXT would not be the worst idea as they have never gotten much of a chance since their call-ups with injuries that set them back and are now a backburner tag team. The live event was headlined by a fatal four-way with Ricochet over Velveteen Dream, Lars Sullivan, and Killian Dane.

**The WWE’s European tour wraps up this weekend with the Raw crew holding an event in Paris, France on Saturday, which is Ronda Rousey’s final date of the tour. SmackDown has a show in Amsterdam on Saturday at the Ziggo Dome and they conclude Sunday in Munich, Germany. Monday’s episode of Raw will be in Albany, New York starring Bobby Lashley’s sisters.


**For the second consecutive week, Impact did not face competition from the NBA playoffs and saw an increase in their viewership for Thursday’s episode on POP TV. This week’s show averaged 326,000 viewers and featured a main event of Pentagon Jr. & El Hijo del Fantasma vs. Austin Aries & Matt Sydal. This is up from last week’s average of 295,000 viewers. This week’s show did go against the Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning game, which did 2,051,000 viewers on NBC Sports Network.

**Shane McMahon underwent surgery last Friday to treat an umbilical hernia he was diagnosed with prior to WrestleMania. McMahon was touch-and-go for WrestleMania after coming down with a case of acute diverticulitis as well as a hernia. It was significant enough that Chris Jericho was contacted as a replacement option for McMahon in the tag match with Daniel Bryan against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, but ultimately McMahon ended up working the match.

**The WWE announced the remaining eight participants for the upcoming U.K. tournament. On Friday they announced Travis Banks, Flash Morgan Webster, Jordan Devlin, Tucker, Drew Gulak, Ashton Smith, and James Drake for the tournament. They join Zack Gibson, Joe Coffey, Kenny Williams, El Ligero, Jack Gallagher, Dave Mastiff, Amir Jordan, and Joseph Conners in the 16-man tournament where the winner earns a U.K. title shot against Pete Dunne next month at Royal Albert Hall.

**Tonight’s episode of Major League Wrestling “Fusion” will feature the following matches on beIN Sports at 8 pm Eastern:
*Rey Fenix vs. Pentagon Jr. in a #1 contender’s match
*Jason Cade & Jimmy Yuta vs. The Dirty Blondes in an Elimination Match
*Kotta Brazil vs. Trey Miguel

**The WWE has released a theme song for Mauro Ranallo.

*****
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About John Pollock 306 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.