POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Fallout from the All Elite Wrestling Rally

News and notes from the All Elite Wrestling rally, issues with AEW merchandise at WWE tapings, Liddell-Ortiz feud, Harold Meij's statement & lots more

POST IT NOTES

**We have a new edition of Rewind-A-SmackDown with Wai Ting and I reviewing the All Elite Wrestling rally and the many news items from that event along with our own thoughts. Then, we are joined by Graham, a fan that attended the SmackDown tapings and was initially told to leave the building because of an AEW shirt he was wearing and returned with a different shirt and got in. This was a big story Tuesday night with all the details below, but I encourage people to listen to this interview for his account. Plus, we review Tuesday’s episode of SmackDown Live.

**The Double Shot is back for members of the POST Wrestling Café with Wai Ting and I providing extra reviews of Being the Elite’s “After Wrestle Kingdom” episode, the latest episode of MLW Fusion and the big angles that have recently taken place, a lengthy discussion on the Priscilla Kelly clip from the past week and the many reactions it led to, as well as the 20th-anniversary of Mick Foley’s first WWF title win. If you sign up for the Café, you will have instant access to this show and the entire archive, including the recent reviews of Wrestle Kingdom 13, ECW Massacre on 34th Street, and ECW One Night Stand 2005.

**We will have a new edition of the British Wrestling Experience up today with Martin Bushby and Benno being joined by Will Cooling from Fighting Spirit Magazine.

**I wanted to send my best wishes to Larry Csonka of 411mania.com/wrestling. Csonka suffered a leg injury recently and has sadly led to the lower part of his left leg being amputated. Csonka wrote television reports for the Live Audio Wrestling website around 2004 and that was the first time I interacted with him. He is a tremendous writer and has an incredible pace he works at reviewing every wrestling television program out there on a routine basis. I have an incredible amount of respect for his work and hope you can take a moment to keep him in your thoughts as he goes through his recovery.

POST WRESTLING SCHEDULE:

*Wednesday: British Wrestling Experience with Martin Bushby, Benno, and Will Cooling
*Thursday: upNXT with Braden Herrington and Davie Portman
*Thursday: Café Hangout (Live at 3 pm Eastern for Double Double + members of the POST Wrestling Café, podcast version out free on Friday)
*Friday: MCU review on “The Avengers” with guest Brent Chittenden (Patreon)
*Saturday: NXT UK TakeOver POST Show with Martin Bushby and Benno
*Sunday: The MMA Prediction Show with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani (Patreon)

WRESTLING NEWS

**The big announcements from Tuesday’s All Elite Wrestling rally included the “Double or Nothing” card scheduled for Saturday, May 25th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The event will run in conjunction with Starrcast II from May 23rd through 25th.

The talent announcements included Chris Jericho, PAC, Joey Janela, Penelope Ford, MJF, Dr. Britt Baker, a talent exchange with CIMA’s OWE group in China, and speeches from Cody, The Young Bucks, Hangman Page, Brandi Rhodes, and SCU.

The press conference achieved what it needed to by leaving the audience excited for what is to come and based on the talent announcements alone, I feel they would have an incredible first day of ticket sales for Double or Nothing. There wasn’t a television deal announced, and Cody alluded to the idea that they want to be strategic in rolling out their announcements and knew Chris Jericho appearing would be a huge deal alone. He didn’t state a deal was signed for a television outlet but winked at the camera hinting that it was close. Depending on the level of a network they land on and the money involved, that is the major item to watch for.

On the technical front, it was almost impossible to hear the audience and it was tough because so many of the performers played to the crowd and the crowd audio was bad. It wasn’t a slick press conference that you would see from WWE, UFC, or New Japan, but they were relatively small issues. If the live stream had died or been unable to support the number of people watching it, that would be a disaster and they pulled that off. The general feeling was people are excited to see what happens next, are cautiously optimistic this can work, and the talent announcements accentuated that optimism.

They have also announced a second event after the May 25th card with a show in Jacksonville, Florida, but no date or arena was announced.

**One of the stories on Tuesday was an issue regarding fans at SmackDown wearing All Elite Wrestling merchandise. Prior to SmackDown, I heard from two people regarding issues getting into the arena because of their AEW merchandise. One of them was named Graham and appeared on Rewind-A-SmackDown to explain what happened. He came from the rally with a friend and decided at the last minute to buy tickets to SmackDown and had his AEW shirt on that he just purchased. As he was entering the arena with his ticket, security told him that he could not come in with that shirt and according to Graham, was told it was a call made by the WWE. Graham’s story was that he offered to buy a WWE shirt instead but was told he had to leave and change his shirt. He added that there was someone there wearing a shirt with a WWE logo on it. He was able to go to his car, changed the shirt and go through a different entrance to get into the arena. When Graham approached the same security guard later, he filmed the interaction, where he explained that they were told no AEW shirts were allowed but that stance has changed and were allowing people into the arena with the outside shirts.

This was compounded with other examples of fans stating they were given WWE shirts to place over top of their AEW shirts, turn their AEW shirts inside out, and a story from Scrump (who works for Pro Wrestling Tees) and a friend of his going to the box office and being denied tickets because of their AEW apparel they were wearing. The two returned later that night and were sold tickets and got into the show.

The WWE did contact POST Wrestling later that night after we requested a statement on the issue. The representative told us that fans wearing AEW merchandise are “not banned” from their live events but did not go into further detail about the stories from the night. In a separate statement to Pro Wrestling Sheet, the WWE told the outlet that there was no directive to turn people away with AEW merchandise.

**Tuesday’s episode of SmackDown Live averaged 2,032,000 viewers on the USA Network. The show went against the U.S. Presidential address at 9 pm that aired on the major networks. This week’s number was down slightly from last week’s episode on New Year’s Day that averaged 2,091,000 viewers.

**In a segment taped for Twitter, Cody announced that Monty Sopp a.k.a. Billy Gunn has been hired by All Elite Wrestling as a road agent. Cody also revealed during a media scrum that they have hired Chris Harrington from the Wrestlenomics podcast. POST Wrestling confirmed that Harrington had been working with AEW for several months and was flown to Japan with the group for the recent Wrestle Kingdom card.

**Cody also added that any injuries sustained in an All Elite Wrestling ring will be covered by the promotion. He added that Joey Janela will be able to continue hosting his Spring Break events with Game Changer Wrestling and Chris Jericho will be able to run his cruise.

**Brandi Rhodes clarified her statement regarding equal pay for the female competitors at All Elite Wrestling with a statement posted on Wednesday:

Equal pay means equal opportunity regardless of sex. It does not mean that everyone will be paid the exact same salary regardless of their position. It means the gender pay gap does not apply. An entry level woman won’t make less than an entry level man because of her gender.

**Lars Sullivan was originally slated to work a dark match at Monday’s Raw and was replaced by EC3, who defeated Curt Hawkins on the show. Then, Sullivan was scheduled for a dark match at Tuesday’s SmackDown taping and didn’t wrestle the match on that show either. We cannot confirm what the reason was, but Mike Johnson of PWinsider.com did report that Sullivan was backstage in Orlando on Monday during the day.

**The documentary on Kenny Omega that was shot for TSN is complete and been delivered. The production team is awaiting an official air date for the special. In a correction from earlier, we had listed HBO Canada running the documentary as well. It is possible it may air on HBO Canada in the future because both networks are owned by Bell Media, but the documentary will premiere exclusively on TSN.

**New Japan president Harold Meij posted a lengthy statement on the health of New Japan Pro Wrestling considering the recent departures. The following portions of the statement were translated on Twitter by New Japan announcer Chris Charlton:

Talent will come & go. That’s life. Half of Japanese people have had more than one occupation. More overseas. There are different life stages, priorities change. What counts is that while here, ppl shine as bright as possible & produce the best product possible for us. Our job as a business in New Japan is to make sure our wrestlers are not spending their life worrying about ticket sales, living expense, feeding their family, or injury. They need to be able to focus on the ring. I often see talk along the lines of “since Meij came in, they’re only looking at international, they don’t care about Japan.” That couldn’t be more wrong. New Japan has gotten to the stage that the world has taken notice of it and we can do these things abroad. I’m not pushing the company international; if anything it’s the other way round. I’m doing my job as a professional to fulfill very strong demand. I didn’t get this job because I’m foreign. International business is one string to my bow. There’s a lot more I can do, and a lot more I have to do in Japan. I have done, and am doing a lot, more than you can see, to increase revenue. This is a Japanese company. I want to bring that Japanese excellence, that New Japan ism, as is, unchanged, to fans in Japan and all over the world. For now, don’t worry. Enjoy the ride. Enjoy Fantasticamania.

**Lavie Margolin reports that Ring of Honor will have a sellout this Saturday for their television tapings at Center Stage in Atlanta. The venue holds 700 people and there were 22 tickets remaining at last check. This would be their fifth straight sellout at Center Stage.

**Women of Honor champion Kelly Klein has signed a new contract with Ring of Honor.

**Joey Ryan has stated that he will be back from injury and wrestling full-time in February. Ryan revealed in November that he had suffered a left pectoral tear and underwent surgery. Ryan’s injury led to a heavily-publicized match last November between Nick Gage and David Arquette with the latter replacing Ryan at Game Changer Wrestling’s L.A. Confidential card.

**The WWE stock closed at $78.92 on Wednesday.

**Here is the updated card for the WWE’s Royal Rumble following this week’s television:
*Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman for the Universal title
*Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles for the WWE title
*Ronda Rousey vs. Sasha Banks for the Raw women’s title
*Asuka vs. Becky Lynch for the SmackDown women’s title
*Sheamus and Cesaro vs. The Miz and Shane McMahon for the SmackDown tag titles
*30-man Royal Rumble
*30-woman Royal Rumble

**Below are the full media scrums with Cody and Tony Khan from Tuesday’s rally in Jacksonville:

MMA NEWS

**ESPN is working on a “30 for 30” documentary on the rivalry between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. In the early stages of their careers, both were managed by Dana White prior to White’s ownership stake in the UFC in 2001 that led to his inability to be a manager and promoter. In June 2002, Liddell defeated Vitor Belfort on a card that was set up for Fox Sports’ Best Damn Sports Show Period and it was considered a lock he would fight Ortiz next. In his place, was Ken Shamrock and the UFC went with the grudge feud between Ortiz and the Lion’s Den and led to the biggest UFC pay-per-view in the Zuffa era with a reported figure of 150,000 buys in November 2002.

Liddell waited his turn and fought Renato Babalu Sobral on the same UFC 40 card that night, even though he was promised a title fight and could have sat and waited. Ortiz defeated Shamrock and in the post-fight interview, was asked about fighting Liddell and said it would take a lot of money to fight a friend and didn’t seem as adamant on the fight happening. It led to an impasse with the promotion where an interim light heavyweight title was created in June 2003 and was considered a formality that Liddell would defeat Randy Couture, who was coming down in weight and force the hand of Ortiz to make the fight. Couture pulled off the upset defeating Liddell and then in his first title defense in September 2003, defeated Ortiz.

With no title in play, the fight was finally made for April 2004 at UFC 47 and Liddell stopped Ortiz in the second round of their light heavyweight fight.

The feud was rekindled in 2006 after Ortiz defeated Forrest Griffin and Ken Shamrock twice that year to set up the rematch at UFC 66 in December. Liddell won the light heavyweight title from Couture in April 2005 and was on fire as a pay-per-view draw, as was Ortiz with both doing huge business as the UFC was exploding during this era. Liddell won the rematch in a bout that did just under 1,000,000 buys.

A third fight was set for June 2010 after both coached the Ultimate Fighter, but an injury to Ortiz removed him from the UFC 115 event and Rich Franklin took his place. It would turn out to be Liddell’s final fight until his recent comeback, against Ortiz for Golden Boy MMA, which was a sad night for Liddell.

ESPN has not announced an airdate for the documentary.

**The main event of the UFC’s Fight Night card on Saturday, March 9th will feature heavyweights, Junior dos Santos and Derrick Lewis meeting in the main event. The former heavyweight champion Dos Santos is coming off wins over Blagoy Ivanov and Tai Tuivasa in 2018 while Lewis defeated Alexander Volkov at UFC 229 in October and returned weeks later to fight heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 230 and was submitted in the first round. The main card will stream live on ESPN+ and takes place from the Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas.

**ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reports that a strawweight title fight between Rose Namajunas and Jessica Andrade will take place at UFC 237 on May 11th in Brazil. Namajunas only fought once in 2018, defeating Joanna Jedrzejczyk by unanimous decision in a rematch from November 2017. Andrade unsuccessfully challenged for the 115-pound women’s title in May 2017, losing to then-champion Jedrzejczyk. Andrade has won her last three fights since the loss, including one of the best knockouts of the year in her last fight when she stopped Karolina Kowalkiewicz at UFC 228 in Dallas, Texas. A city and arena have not been announced for the UFC 237 card yet.

**The UFC’s second card on ESPN on Saturday, March 30th, will take place from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. ESPN reports that a strawweight fight between Michelle Waterson and Karolina Kowalkiewicz will take place on that card.

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About John Pollock 1128 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.