POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE 5/23 – ESPN and UFC confirm domestic rights deal

ESPN has confirmed that they have obtained the UFC's domestic television rights, schedule of events for 2019, UFC to maintain control of the production, anniversary of Owen Hart's passing, the premiere date for WWE's next reality show, opening round matches for the WWE's U.K. tournament, Mauro Ranallo promotes documentary & more.

POST IT NOTES

**This week’s edition of Rewind-A-SmackDown is up on the site and features Wai Ting and I reviewing a very good edition of the show. We discuss the setup for the Last Man Standing Match, the pairing of Lana with Aiden English, the Daniel Bryan submission win over Jeff Hardy, the added participants to the women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match, Jeff Hardy’s backstage interview, and more. We also chat about the highlights of the Best of the Super Juniors tournament with recommended matches from the first four nights and rundown of Tuesday’s show from Korakuen Hall. Plus, we chat the recent “Table for 3” shows with Edge & Christian and The Hardys, and the episode with Jeff Jarrett, Road Dogg, and Elias. You can subscribe to POST Wrestling on Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play.

**We will have a new edition of Keep It 2000 with Brian Mann and Nate Milton reviewing the July 31st, 2000 episode of WCW Monday Nitro during the buildup to the New Blood Rising event. Here is the iTunes link to subscribe to the Keep It 2000 feed.

**On Thursday, Braden Herrington & Davie Portman return for a new edition of upNXT as they run through tonight’s episode.

**Rewind-A-Wai returns Friday with a review of ROH’s Global Wars 2014 card from Toronto. You can post feedback & questions for the show on the POST Wrestling Forum. The event features the following lineup and you can sign up for access to the show on the POST Wrestling Café:
*Adam Cole vs. Kevin Steen for the ROH title
*AJ Styles & Karl Anderson vs. Kazuchika Okada & Gedo
*Shinsuke Nakamura & Jado vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Jushin Thunder Liger
*The Young Bucks vs. Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov vs. Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA for the IWGP junior heavyweight tag titles
*Roderick Strong vs. Cedric Alexander
*reDRagon vs. The Briscoe Brothers vs. Jimmy Jacobs & BJ Whitmer
*Takaaki Watanabe vs. Michael Elgin
*Mike Bennett vs. ACH



WRESTLING NEWS

**ESPN made the announcement on Wednesday confirmed reports that the UFC was coming to their network and entering into a multi-year deal beginning in January 2019 with 42 events scheduled for the first year.

Variety broke the story Tuesday night that the UFC’s entire television package had been secured by ESPN and will take effect at the expiration of the Fox deal. ESPN secured the rights with a deal worth $300 million annually and $1.5 billion over five years. The $300 million figure includes the previously reported ESPN+ deal that called for 15 Fight Night events on the streaming platform, as well as Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, a new series being developed by IMG, pre and post-fight shows for the Fight Night cards, and access to the UFC’s library of events.

It would be hard not to look at the impact the WWE’s deal with Fox affected Fox’s desire to spend the type of money the UFC wanted for their renewal. Earlier this week, it was reported that SmackDown will go to Fox in the fall of 2019 with the network spending $205 million per year and committing over $1 billion to the series over five-years. Earlier this year, it was reported by John Ourand at Sports Business Journal that Fox had made a bid of $200 million to renew the UFC’s domestic rights, $50 million more than what UFC ended up accepting from ESPN. That said, it is still an enormous increase for the UFC from their seven-year deal with Fox, which had escalators built in and believed to be paying the UFC $160 million for this final year of the deal.

The ESPN deal breaks down to 20 UFC cards on ESPN+, 10 cards on ESPN’s linear channel, the broadcast of 12 pay-per-view preliminary cards and the ancillary programming for ESPN+. It is likely that the UFC will produce several events for Fight Pass, which would bring the total number of cards in 2019 to approximately 45-46, including pay-per-view events.

The hidden value of the ESPN deal is the coverage they will receive on the network’s linear outfits. Yes, the UFC is receiving fewer rights fees than envisioned but they have maintained pay-per-view as a big revenue stream and ESPN will certainly put lots of emphasis on their major fight cards, which comes with tremendous value.

It is staggering when you consider that after all the announcements are made official that ESPN, Fox, and NBC Universal will be committing approximately $3.5 billion over the next five-years to the UFC and WWE.

**ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro commented on the UFC deal:

ESPN’s unparalleled multimedia platform is the perfect home for the UFC and will deliver tremendous value to both parties.  UFC fans are passionate and loyal and we plan to bring the full power of ESPN’s live coverage, powerful storytelling and unmatched distribution to serve them in an unprecedented fashion. We can’t wait to get started.

UFC president Dana White on the ESPN deal:

Every year for the last 18 years, we have taken this sport and brand to another level. We find innovative ways to promote our athletes and build stars. Today is another monumental day for UFC, our athletes, and our fans. We are now part of the ESPN family, recognized around the world as the pinnacle in sports broadcasting. I am very excited for this next chapter for UFC.

**Dana White also spoke to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto and stated that the UFC would retain control of the production of their shows and provided the following quote:

“The fans are happy with the way our show is presented, and the networks are too, which is why we get these deals done. Our production is incredible, we do an amazing job and we’ll continue to”.


**Here are the matches for tonight’s episode of NXT for tonight’s show at 8 pm:
*Ricochet & Velveteen Dream vs. Lars Sullivan
*Kairi Sane vs. Lacey Evans
*Heavy Machinery vs. TM61

**The Best of the Super Juniors tournament resumes Thursday morning with a card from the Ukaru Chan Arena at 5:30 am Eastern on New Japan World with the following card:
*KUSHIDA & Shota Umino vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & Yota Tsuji
*Marty Scurll & Chase Owens vs. Chris Sabin & Tomoyuki Oka
*Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado vs. SHO & Yoshi-Hashi
*Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi vs. Dragon Lee & Toa Henare
*Bushi vs. Tiger Mask – A BLOCK
*ACH vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru – A BLOCK
*Taiji Ishimori vs. Flip Gordon – A BLOCK
*Will Ospreay vs. YOH – A BLOCK

**The upcoming “Miz & Mrs.” series will debut on the USA Network on Tuesday, July 24th at 10 pm Eastern immediately following SmackDown Live.

**The date May 23rd is always one for remembrance as it was this date in 1999 when Owen Hart died at the age of 34. At the time, it became the biggest story in the history of professional wrestling after Hart fell from the rafters of Kemper Arena during a planned entrance for his pay-per-view match with The Godfather. Hart broke away from the harness and fell into the ring and was declared dead shortly afterward. For any fan that was watching that show, while you didn’t see the fall, the announcement later in the show by Jim Ross of Hart’s death will never escape your memory and probably the most chilling experience I’ve ever had watching a wrestling show.

**The AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura match at Money in the Bank will be a “Last Man Standing Match” on June 17th at the Allstate Arena. They set up the stipulation with a good angle on Tuesday night with Nakamura laying out Styles with the Kinshasa and counting to ten. It established a reason for the match and the idea that Styles cannot get up from the Kinshasa.

**Lana and Naomi both qualified for the women’s Money in the Bank Ladder on Tuesday’s episode of SmackDown Live. Lana defeated Billie Kay quickly with a facebuster and Naomi defeated Sonya Deville. They join Ember Moon, Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Natalya, and Alexa Bliss. The final spot will be decided with a Gauntlet Match on Raw this Monday involving Sasha Banks, Bayley, Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan, Mickie James, and Dana Brooke.

**The WWE has announced the opening round matches of the upcoming U.K. tournament at the Download Festival and below are the matches:
*Jack Gallagher vs. Drew Gulak
*Ashton Smith vs. Joseph Conners
*James Drake vs. Flash Morgan Webster
*Kenny Williams vs. Dave Mastiff
*Travis Banks vs. El Ligero
*Zack Gibson vs. Amir Jordan
*Tucker vs. Joe Coffey
*Jordan Devlin vs. Tyson T-Bone

The winner of the tournament will challenge Pete Dunne for the U.K. title on Tuesday, June 19th, at Royal Albert Hall in London. The WWE has also announced Aleister Black & Ricochet vs. Velveteen Dream & EC3 for the June 19th event.

**Brian Campbell of Showtime sits down with Mauro Ranallo to discuss his upcoming “Bipolar Rock ‘N Roller” documentary. The special premieres on Friday night at 9 pm Eastern on Showtime and in Canada on TMN 2 at 10 pm.

**Here is another interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.

**Ranallo also spoke to Anthony Sulla-Heffinger of Yahoo about the documentary and how Bas Rutten helped him out at a low point in 2003.


**Impact Wrestling will be holding a Slammiversary press conference on Monday, June 4th at the Real Sports Bar in downtown Toronto at Noon Eastern. Austin Aries, Moose, Su Yung, and Madison Rayne are scheduled to appear as they promote tickets going on sale for the July 22nd pay-per-view at The Rebel Entertainment Complex in Toronto.

**The WWE stock closed at $57.21 on Wednesday.

**Impact has announced that Austin Aries will take on Rich Swann at the “One Night Only: Zero Fear” pay-per-view taping on Sunday, June 3rd at the Don Kolov Arena in Mississauga, Ontario.

**Joey Janela will face Maxwell Jacob Friedman at MLW’s television tapings on Thursday, June 7th at the Gilt Nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

**Bellator president Scott Coker confirmed on Wednesday that Roy Nelson will not be fighting at Bellator 200 this Friday after Mirko Cro Cop was removed from the fight due to a knee injury.

**On Tuesday, the UFC announced that former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum has been notified of a possible USADA violation during an out-of-competition sample that was collected on April 25th. The news comes one-day after it was reported by Ariel Helwani at MMA Fighting that Werdum was set to fight Alexey Oleynik at the UFC’s Fight Night event that is scheduled for Moscow, Russia in September. Werdum’s manager, Ali Abdel-Aziz, spoke to MMA Fighting and described it as a “misunderstanding” and is denying that Werdum took anything illegal.

**LFA has announced a card for Friday, June 29th in Phoenix, Arizona and will be headlined by Matthew Frincu vs. Christian Aguilera in a welterweight fight and a bantamweight bout between Casey Kenney and Roman Salazar. The card will air live on AXS TV from the Comerica Theatre.


TELEVISION REVIEW

Ring of Honor (May 20th)
-This week’s show was headlined by Cody, Marty Scurll & Hangman Page defeating SoCal Uncensored in a very good six-man tag. Page hit the slingshot lariat and got the winning fall. After the match, Scurll missed with the umbrella and accidentally knocked out Cody, who they are building tension between with both wanting the next ROH title shot against Dalton Castle.
-They have started a long-term buildup with Jay Lethal working his way back to the ROH title and got a big win on this show pinning Punishment Martinez with the Lethal Injection. It is clear they are building something big to payoff this chase by Lethal as Martinez has been heavily protected in booking and just pinned Tomohiro Ishii at Supercard of Honor. The audience went nuts for a sequence of six consecutive suicide dives by Lethal. Lethal wore yellow boots and pink trunks as a tribute to Randy Savage, as this episode aired in some markets on the anniversary of Savage’s passing in 2011.
-Joey Daddiego was back and is being portrayed as a journeyman wrestler and dressed up like a seasoned boxer with his hands wrapped and in a hoodie. He faced Shane Taylor, another monster they are pushing heavily, and it ended in a no contest with Taylor choke slamming the referee and security.
-Cody cut a taped promo with Brandi and announced he would face Castle for the title. Over the last few weeks, he has done promos alongside Marty Scurll and they argue over who is facing Castle next. It is leading to a three-way match at Best in the World next month in Baltimore.

*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 5/22/18: Daniel Bryan vs. Jeff Hardy, Nakamura reveals stipulation, Table or 3 review, and update on the Best of the Super Juniors tournament with recommended matches
https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/qhquip/180522_RASD.mp3
*****
REWIND-A-RAW 5/21/18: Lashley’s Sisters, Fox-WWE Deal, Total Bellas season premiere
https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/xyjt2z/180521_RAR.mp3
*****
POST MOVIE REVIEW – Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
https://www.patreon.com/posts/18878778/
*****
upNXT 5/17/18: “Oney” Brits Allowed
https://upnxt.podbean.com/mf/download/i34qra/upNXT-MAY17-2018.mp3
*****
BWE 5/16/18: WWE UK, SSS16, Epic Encounter, Wrestle Queendom, World of Sport
https://britishwrestlingexperience.podbean.com/mf/download/xrp7k4/180516_BWE.mp3
*****

Subscribe to POST Wrestling
https://postwrestling.com/subscribe

POST Wrestling Forum
https://forum.postwrestling.com

Support our Patreon – The POST Wrestling Café
http://www.patreon.com/POSTwrestling

Follow us
Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube

About John Pollock 1835 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling.He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.