POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE – Preview of the G1 matches this weekend feat. Kenny Omega vs. Tetsuya Naito

A preview of this weekend's G1 tournament matches featuring Omega vs. Naito & Tanahashi vs. Suzuki, Jim Ross provides health update from injuries, four more names announced for the Mae Young Classic, Jeff Hardy discusses back issues, a preview of the UFC's card in Idaho, two Bellator shows this weekend & more.

POST IT NOTES

**Today’s POST Wrestling Café bonus show is a review of Season 2 of GLOW on Netflix. Wai Ting and I spent close to two hours reviewing the recently released season and discussing the major themes and characters this season, storyline developments, the ongoing feud between Debbie & Ruth, the episode centered around Tamme’s Welfare Queen character, “The Good Twin” episode and what is set up for a potential third season. This was a very enjoyable show to do and we also took lots of questions and feedback at the end of the show. This show is available for all members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**Wai Ting and I also released a POST Production video this week as we document the progress of POST Wrestling, discuss where we were in our lives last summer compared to 2018, recent developments, our participation at Starrcast & more. All video content on the POST Wrestling Café is available to “Double Double” and above members.

**Our G1 coverage for POST Wrestling Café members begins Saturday night as Wai Ting and I will be back to review the first night of the tournament with the A Block matches. We will also have a G1 show Sunday to review the first night of the B Block. If you sign up for any of the tiers, you will receive all bonus shows, including 19 G1 podcasts between now and August 12th.

**On Saturday, Chris Charlton will be releasing the latest EGGSHELLS Podcast Companion show and this week he documents the 1992 cards from the Tokyo Dome with Paul “The Mauler” Lazenby from the Killing the Town podcast.

**Wai Ting and I will also have a show Sunday reviewing the WWE’s Extreme Rules pay-per-view.


WRESTLING NEWS

**The 28th edition of the G1 Climax kicks off Saturday morning from Ota Ward Gymnasium in Tokyo and will stream live at 5:30 am Eastern on New Japan World. The tournament is the biggest of the year with the highest concentration of match-of-the-year contenders. This year’s tournament has a lot of intrigue with the multiple avenues they can venture down regarding the blocks winners and eventual tournament victor. With a new IWGP heavyweight champion it places Kenny Omega in a different role as the champion that will have several challenges set up by the end, there is an ongoing story of Kazuchika Okada’s post-championship metamorphosis with new music, gear & even hair color, the hungry new blood of Jay White, Hangman Page, Tama Tonga & Juice Robinson are in store for big matches in the tournament and will interesting to see their placement by the end, and the tournament culminates with three nights at Budokan Hall featuring the latest Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi match and the delivery of the rematch between Omega and Kota Ibushi on the eve of the final night. Below is the card for Saturday’s opening night of the G1:
*Kazuchika Okada vs. Jay White – It’s not rare to have the superstars have a bad start to the tournament. While Okada’s losses have been rare, this tournament could see a handful with the story of Okada’s fall from the greatest title reign of this generation to set up his redemption mid-way through the tournament for a strong finish. White winning this match is very viable as he is coming off his own major loss to Juice Robinson. White has been a major project this year following an excursion to North America, returning with a featured spot at Wrestle Kingdom with the addition of the “Switchblade” moniker and paired with Hiroshi Tanahashi. His big matches with Tanahashi, Kenny Omega, and Hangman Page were all satisfying, but not career-making. It was his performance against Juice Robinson last weekend that may have solidified his standing and sends White into the G1 with a lot of buzz and opportunity. When White joined the CHAOS faction this past January, he had stated that he was coming for the leader Okada one day so there is a backstory.
*Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Minoru Suzuki – This is a big rematch from their New Beginning match, where Suzuki was given storyline credit for Tanahashi’s time off selling the effects of the heel hook. Suzuki is due for a big run in the G1 and has been having a strong year, especially his work at Rev Pro of late. Tanahashi getting his win back should be saved for a card in the fall when it can be maximized and it’s possible they start the G1 with two major upsets, even though Okada and Tanahashi are going to be alive by the time they have their Budokan Hall match.
*Michael Elgin vs. EVIL – These two have a tremendous chemistry that dates to Ring of Honor and should be another high-quality affair. Elgin is in tremendous shape and cemented his spot in New Japan with his debut performance at the G1 in 2015. Either guy winning shouldn’t be a surprise, EVIL is always on the cusp of reaching the next level but then dials it back. His major match of the G1 is a rematch with Kazuchika Okada in the same building he beat him in last year’s tournament, which was probably the best match of EVIL’s career.
*Hangman Page vs. Bad Luck Fale – I’m very high on Page having a great G1 but there is so much depth that standing out is going to be very difficult. Fale has dropped a ton of weight and there is curiosity both from an in-ring standpoint of how he looks and in the booking regarding his relationship to the Firing Squad after last weekend’s angle (although, he is paired in tags with Tanga Loa on the undercards). I imagine Fale wins this one and has his usual strong showing until the final days.
*Togi Makabe vs. Yoshi-Hashi – They have the distinction of being the first match of the tournament and should be an easy-to-impress audience. Makabe doesn’t have too many G1 tournaments left and Yoshi-Hashi needs to justify his inclusion. Yoshi-Hashi had a great tournament in 2016 that surprised me but came back to reality in 2017 with a subpar outing. I imagine Makabe wins this one, although predictions for the G1, especially in the first week, are not based on predictability but to surprise.
*Kenny Omega & Chase Owens vs. Tetsuya Naito & Sanada
*Kota Ibushi & Yujiro vs. Zack Sabre Jr. & Taka Michinoku
*Juice Robinson & David Finlay vs. Guerrillas of Destiny
*Tomohiro Ishii & SHO vs. Toru Yano & YOH
*Hirooki Goto & Jado vs. Toa Henare & Ren Narita


**The G1 continues early Sunday morning at 2 am Eastern with the following tournament matches:
*Kenny Omega vs. Tetsuya Naito – This is a rematch of the final in 2017 and the 2016 B Block final and among the top pairings in the industry. This has a high probability of being the best match this weekend and should be one of the best in the tournament. A win by Naito will be telling and ensures a future championship match between the two. The bar is exceptionally high for this.
*Kota Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre Jr. – This is the type of match that emphasizes how intricate the booking of the G1 is. You isolate the top priorities in the tournament whether it’s the guys who will be alive going into the final three nights, the stories to tell and who is not going to be a priority. Given Zack Sabre Jr’s huge run during the New Japan Cup that did wonders for his standing, I don’t see him being a major factor in the G1. He should get enough points to have a good showing, but because the B Block is so loaded, you make decisions on who isn’t going to shine. The thing is, if Ibushi is one of those major names to be alive at the end (and given the match with Omega, he should be), it doesn’t mean he needs a big start. Often, the key guys can start off slow and then come on throughout the tournament and that’s a story on its own. So, Ibushi losing here is possible. In the case of Okada, Tanahashi, Omega, and Ibushi, I can see at least two of them losing this weekend, it would be hard to imagine all four losing.
*Sanada vs. Hirooki Goto – This could be the sleeper match this weekend as it doesn’t have the attractive qualities so many other matches have. I’m not sold on either guy being elevated beyond their present level. Goto will come out with a performance that blows the roof off and then reverts just as quickly. This is Sanada’s third G1 and it’s time to cash in on the potential everyone places on him and needs 2-3 major performances.
*Juice Robinson vs. Tama Tonga – I don’t see how Tonga can lose this match after the angle last weekend. He needs to have a big presence in the G1 and went from one of the least interesting participants into a major one. A lot of people see Tonga pinning Omega in their tournament match to set up a September or October title defense, if that’s the case, his losses should be infrequent. Tonga requires a lot of booking care and he also needs to have the greatest month of his career.
*Tomohiro Ishii vs. Toru Yano – The two partners meet in their first match with Yano stating he will not cheat and will use his amateur wrestling skill throughout the G1. I love having Yano in the G1 and will be fine if he’s still in the G1 five years from now. The elimination of Yujiro this year was a big positive but I’m glad they didn’t omit Yano. He is also a great tool when the math forces certain guys to lose and a loss to Yano isn’t a major hindrance to anyone as serves as a non-canon member of the roster in some ways.
*Hiroshi Tanahashi & David Finlay vs. Jay White & YOH
*Kazuchika Okada & Gedo vs. Tanga Loa & Bad Luck Fale
*Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado vs. Togi Makabe & Toa Henare
*EVIL & Bushi vs. Yoshi-Hashi & SHO
*Michael Elgin & Shota Umino vs. Hangman Page & Chase Owens

**New Japan has released the full cards for the G1, including the undercard tags for each day of the tournament. The major announcement is that Rey Mysterio will be working the final night of the G1 at Budokan Hall against an unannounced opponent on Sunday, August 12th. It will be Mysterio’s first match for New Japan Pro Wrestling with the news following last weekend’s card at the Cow Palace, that seemed a logical show for Mysterio to work on. It was reported this week in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Mysterio has not signed with the WWE, but talks are progressing. At this time, Mysterio is still scheduled for the “All In” event on September 1st.

**On Jim Ross’ podcast this week, he provided an update on his rib injury from this past Saturday at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. Ross bruised the left side of his ribs and lung, which also caused some issues for his sternum with concerns about contracting pneumonia. As a result, he missed two appearances this week with one scheduled Asheville, North Carolina for the Headlock for Hunger organization of which Ross is a spokesman. Ross was also scheduled to appear in Knoxville, Tennessee for Glen Jacobs’ mayoral race in Knox County. Josh Barnett was a guest on the show and felt they were being disrespected during the sequence with Jay White throwing Juice Robinson into the guardrail that led to the injury to Ross. Ross and Barnett confirmed that the two apologized afterward and were sincere, with Barnett added that he gave them a lecture. Barnett called the ring crew’s lack of care for the set up “a gross oversight” and cited the timekeeper who had the guardrail come down directly on his knee in a separate incident.

**Ring of Honor COO Joe Koff spoke to the New York Post on the promotion running Madison Square Garden over WrestleMania Weekend. Koff stated that there was “correspondence” between ROH and Madison Square Garden since the date was pulled last month. On the Garden’s change in stance regarding ROH running the building, Koff stated:

I think that’s a question better asked of Madison Square Garden because we were very aggressive in wanting that date and we thought we had that date, but we did what we had to do as a business. [MSG] did what they had to do as a business and I guess all of a sudden there was a phone call and we were able to work it out. That’s probably their story to tell because they made the call and said let’s get on the phone and see if we can work this out. They wanted us. They knew that we would be good promotion. I think they were just looking for a satisfactory outcome for all parties.

**The WWE has announced four additional participants for the Mae Young Classic tournament with Io Shirai, Nicole Matthews, Jinny, and Kacy Catanzaro joining Katlyn and Rhea Ripley in the 32-woman tournament set for August 8th and 9th.

The 28-year old Shirai was expected to join the WWE last year, but after further evaluation, the WWE rescinded her offer due to a reported neck injury. Shirai returned to Stardom where she has worked the past year and was cleared to compete. She got a second look by the company with Tokyo Sports reporting that Shirai was leaving for the WWE this past May.

Matthews has been wrestling for over 12 years and a native of British Columbia, where she gained her first exposure through the ECCW promotion and has worked with SHIMMER since 2007.

Jinny was recently part of the WWE’s UK events at Royal Albert Hall, although was in the middle of a four-way match with Toni Storm, Killer Kelly and Isla Dawn, where she suffered an injury and was edited out of the match when it aired the following week.

Catanzaro is 28-years old and has a background with American Ninja Warrior, which led to a WWE tryout in early 2017 and later signed. Catanzaro has only been training for a short time but has worked on NXT live events.


**Lucha Underground saw an enormous increase this week with 156,000 viewers watching Wednesday’s episode on the El Rey Network, up from 88,000 the prior week. This week’s episode featured Mil Muertes defeating Cage for an Aztec Medallion, as well as The Mack and Ivelisse securing medallions. The closing scene featured the first appearance of Killer Kross, who instructed Paul London to murder Mascarita Sagrada, and he obliged so it appears the Mascarita Sagrada character has been written off.

**The Raw crew is on the road tonight with a show in Charleston, West Virginia with a main event six-man tag advertised with Roman Reigns, Bobby Lashley & Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens, Jinder Mahal & Elias. On Saturday, the Raw crew is in Wheeling, West Virginia, and the SmackDown crew is in Canton, Ohio with AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura advertised. The Extreme Rules show is Sunday night from Pittsburgh.

**Jeff Hardy was interviewed by the Canton Repository to promote Saturday’s house show in Ohio. Hardy discussed the decision to limit the use of the Swanton at live events and citing his lower back issues:

Lately, my lower back has really been bothering me to the point where I haven’t been doing the swanton as much in the live events just to protect it. I think looking forward I’m gonna have to be more like that, because nothing lasts forever. I’ve been real lucky, and naturally on TV I always want to go all out, but in the live events, I might have to hold back a little.

**Pro Wrestling Guerrilla is at the Globe Theatre tonight in Los Angeles for ‘Threemendous V’ with the following card:
*The Young Bucks vs. The Rascalz for the PWG tag titles
*WALTER vs. Brody King
*Matt Riddle vs. Marty Scurll
*David Starr vs. Dalton Castle – it’s pretty insane that Castle is still wrestling after dropping the ROH title
*Rey Fenix vs. Trevor Lee
*Penta El Zero M vs. Rey Horus
*Jeff Cobb vs. Joey Janela

**Impact Wrestling has added a 5150 Street Fight between the two versions of LAX as well as a singles match between Tessa Blanchard and Allie for the Slammiversary card next weekend in Toronto. Below is the updated card:
*Austin Aries vs. Moose for the Impact Wrestling title
*Su Yung vs. Madison Rayne for the Knockout’s title
*Matt Sydal vs. Brian Cage for the X Division title
*Tommy Dreamer vs. Eddie Edwards in a House of Hardcore Match
*Sami Callihan vs. Pentagon Jr. in a Hair vs. Mask Match
*LAX vs. LAX in a 5150 Street Fight
*Johnny Impact vs. Fenix vs. Rich Swann vs. Taiji Ishimori
*Allie vs. Tessa Blanchard

**The WWE has a profile on the coaches at the Performance Center with comments from Matt Bloom, Sara Amato, Shawn Michaels, Norman Smiley, Terry Taylor, Robbie Brookside, Steve Corino, Serena Deeb, Scott Garland, and Johnny Moss describing their roles at the PC.

**Sean Waltman turns 46 years old today.


MMA NEWS

**The UFC will be in Boise, Idaho on Saturday night for a Fight Night card from the CenturyLink Arena. It’s a card not receiving much attention but is a very intriguing one. On top is a heavyweight fight with Junior Dos Santos in his first fight since May 2017 after being flagged by USADA, but later proved he took a legitimately tainted supplement. Ivanov first became well-known after defeating Fedor Emelianenko in a Sambo contest in 2008 and led to a career in mixed martial arts. Ivanov nearly died in 2012 during a stabbing at a bar in which the blade penetrated his heart and hospitalized for over three months. It is a miracle that he lived, much less fought again and would become WSOF’s heavyweight champion in 2015. Since returning from the stabbing, he has gone 9-1 with the lone defeat at the hands of Alexander Volkov, which could very well be a future UFC heavyweight champion.

This card features the return of Chad Mendes, who was suspended for two-years by USADA in 2016 and hasn’t fought since his knockoff loss to Frankie Edgar in December 2015. Mendes is 33 years old now and it’s hard to gauge what the time off will mean and if he returns slower or less explosive with his wrestling. His teammate is Sage Northcutt, who is returning to welterweight despite his only losses in his career coming at welterweight. Northcutt was a big lightweight so the move up was inevitable and is fighting Zak Ottow, who stopped Mike Pyle in his last fight this past March.

Cat Zingano has lost her last three fights but has been very inactive. That losing streak began with her 14-second loss to Ronda Rousey in February 2015. She didn’t fight again until July 2016 and dropped a decision to Julianna Pena and took another prolonged hiatus until this past March where she dropped a split decision to Ketlen Vieira, who would likely be fighting Amanda Nunes if she wasn’t looking at the Cris Cyborg fight a weight division higher. Reneau has proven to be a very difficult opponent at bantamweight and just submitted Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann in her last fight in February.

Jessica Aguilar and Jodie Esquibel had their fight rebooked for this card after Aguilar was pulled the day of their fight back in June in Utica, New York. The commission was concerned with a medical issue for Aguilar and pulled her from the card.

The card begins at 6:30 pm Eastern on Fight Pass and features the following fights with weigh-in results:

MAIN CARD (10 pm Eastern on FS1, TSN 5 in Canada)

*Junior Dos Santos (247.5) vs. Blagoy Ivanov (257.5)
*Sage Northcutt (170) vs. Zak Ottow (171)
*Dennis Bermudez (146) vs. Rick Glenn (146)
*Niko Price (170) vs. Randy Brown (171)
*Myles Jury (146) vs. Chad Mendes (146)
*Cat Zingano (136) vs. Marion Reneau (136)

PRELIMINARY CARD (8 pm on FS1, Fight Network in Canada)
*Alejandro Perez (136) vs. Eddie Wineland (136)
*Alex Volkanovski (145.5) vs. Darren Elkins (145)
*Said Nurmagomedov (126) vs. Justin Scoggins (125.5)
*Kurt Holobaugh (145) vs. Raoni Barcelos (145.5)

FIGHT PASS CARD (6:30 pm)
*Liz Carmouche (126) vs. Jennifer Maia (126)
*Elias Garcia (125) vs. Mark De La Rosa (125)
*Jessica Aguilar (115.5) vs. Jodie Esquibel (116)


**Bellator is running two cards this weekend with Bellator 202 tonight from Thackerville, Oklahoma and the main card running at 9 pm Eastern on the Paramount Network. Below is the card:
*Julia Budd vs. Talita Nogueira for the featherweight title
*Eduardo Dantas vs. Michael McDonald
*Chris Honeycutt vs. Leo Leite
*Ernest James vs. Valentin Moldavsky

On Saturday night, they have a tape-delayed event from Rome, Italy. Saturday’s card will feature both mixed martial arts and kickboxing with the MMA portion running at 9 pm Eastern on the Paramount Network with the following lineup:
*Patricio “Pitbull” Freire vs. Daniel Weichel
*Alessio Sakara vs. Jamie Sloane
*Andrey Koreshkov vs. Vaso Bakocevic
*Will Fleury vs. Alen Amedovski
*Simone La Preziosa vs. Maxim Radu
*Michele Martignoni vs. Simone D’Anna

**James Lynch at Fightful recently spoke to Paige VanZant, who is set for arm surgery next Thursday after her initial injury didn’t heal after her loss to Jessica Rose-Clark this past January. VanZant is optimistic of fighting before the end of the year after recovering from the surgery. Her fiancé, Austin Vanderford is fighting on next week’s edition of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. VanZant also spoke about the potential of working in the WWE in the future.

**Alan Jouban has confirmed MMA Today’s report that he will not be fighting Danny Roberts later this month in Hamburg, Germany. Jouban suffered a neck injury and will be having an MRI conducted to confirm the extent of the injury. The two middleweights were set to fight July 22nd in Germany.

**Jim Edwards at MMANytt was the first to report that lightweight fighter Norman Parke has signed a deal with Bellator MMA. Parke won the lightweight tournament on TUF Smashes in 2012 and fought for the UFC 2016 and left the organization after a decision loss to Rustam Khabilov. Since leaving the UFC, he has gone 4-1 with 1 no contest fighting for ACB, BAMMA, KSW and most recent for the BRAVE organization where he defeated Myles Price by unanimous decision last month.

**ONE Championship returns on July 27th with a card from Manila in the Philippines. The card will be headlined by Martin Nguyen fighting Kevin Belingon for the interim bantamweight championship, below is the full card:
*Martin Nguyen vs. Kevin Belingon for the interim bantamweight title
*Shannon Wiratchai vs. Shinya Aoki – Lightweight
*Renzo Gracie vs. Yuki Kondo – Welterweight
*Eduard Folayang vs. Aziz Pahrudinov – Lightweight
*Garry Tonon vs. Rahul Raju – Lightweight
*Chris Ngimbi vs. Armen Petrosyan – Kickboxing fight
*Panicos Yusuf vs. Han Zi Hao – Muay Thai fight
*Joshua Pacio vs. Pongsiri Mitsatit – Strawweight
*Rene Catalan vs. Stefer Rahardian – Strawweight
*Xie Bin vs. Sor Sey – Featherweight

*****
GLOW Season 2 Review
John Pollock & Wai Ting review the second season of GLOW on Netflix, discuss the major themes & characters, storylines, the handling of Ruth vs. Debbie, the character of Sam Sylvia, “The Good Twin” episode & more
https://www.patreon.com/posts/20038512
*****
upNXT 7/12/18: It’s Not Coming Home
Braden Herrington & Davie Portman react to England’s loss to Croatia and review this week’s NXT, featuring one of the best television matches of the year, Kairi Sane declaring her intention to secure her treasure and they take your feedback
https://upnxt.podbean.com/mf/download/ereth2/upNXT-July12.mp3
*****
BWE 7/11/18: NJPW/RevPro Strong Style Evolved UK, Frontline Wrestling

Martin Bushby, Oli Court & Benno review the recent New Japan / RevPro cards feat. Ishii vs. Suzuki, Okada vs. ZSJ, WALTER vs. Nagata and also chat Will Ospreay’s new promotion and World of Sport’s ITV timeslot
https://britishwrestlingexperience.podbean.com/mf/download/3vewqd/180711_BWE.mp3
*****
G1 PRIMER WITH WAI TING & WH PARK
A preview of New Japan’s G1 Climax tournament with profiles of each participant, history of the G1 and storylines going into this year’s event
https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/kekzp6/180711_PURO_G1_PRIMER.mp3
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 7/10/18: Team Hell No & New Day vs. Bludgeon Brothers & Sanity
John Pollock & Wai Ting review SmackDown, chat Styles vs. Nakamura, 10-man tag, a preview of Extreme Rules, and your feedback
https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/vmf8w3/180710_RASD.mp3
*****
DOUBLE SHOT 7/10/18: Being the Elite Ep. 110, WWE/UFC TV Deals, Total Bellas
John Pollock & Wai Ting go through the SBJ article on the recent television negotiations and Wai reviews Total Bellas and the latest episode of Being the Elite
https://www.patreon.com/posts/19976542
*****
REWIND-A-RAW 7/9/18: Extreme Rules Go-Home Show
John Pollock & Wai Ting review Raw from Boston, discuss the injuries to Hiromu Takahashi and Jim Ross from Saturday’s Cow Palace card, USADA’s statement on when Brock Lesnar can fight & your feedback
https://postwrestling.podbean.com/mf/download/8rb8xn/180709_RAR.mp3
*****
NJPW G1 Special in San Francisco Review w/ Wai Ting, Dan “The Mouth” Lovranski & Mike Murray (Patreon)
https://www.patreon.com/posts/19935349
*****

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About John Pollock 583 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.