POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: XFL in talks with Fox and ESPN, per report

Sports Business Journal reports that the XFL is in talks with Fox and ESPN, an update on John Cena for the Royal Rumble, Henry Cejudo and Nikki Bella, Aiden English added to 205 Live commentary team & more.

POST IT NOTES

**We have this week’s edition of Rewind-A-Raw up on the site with Wai Ting and I reviewing Monday’s show from Oklahoma City. Off the top, we chat about the schedule on the site this week, all the news from the past few days, an update on John Cena, ESPN+ has a big weekend, the passing of Otto Bahn and your feedback and questions.

**Wai Ting and I are back with Rewind-A-SmackDown tonight to cover the final episode before the Royal Rumble. We will also go through the latest news and take your questions & feedback.

**We will also have a new edition of the Double Shot tonight for members of the POST Wrestling Café with reviews of:
-Impact Wrestling from last week
-WWF Superstars from June 6, 1992
-Total Bellas, Episode 2 of Season 4
-Being the Elite Episode 135

**On Wednesday, Benno will be joined by Fighting Spirit Magazine’s Will Cooling to chat the latest news and shows on the British Wrestling Experience.

**Jimmy Korderas of Aftermath TV will join us on the Café Hangout this Thursday at 3 pm Eastern for a Royal Rumble Preview. You can tune in to watch if you are a Double Double, Iced Capp or Espresso member of the POST Wrestling Café.

**Some podcast episodes I would recommend this week:
This Card is Going to Change: The AI Wrestling crew out of Cleveland discuss the “Contract Era”, how the independent wrestling scene is going to change and the effects on their own promotion.
Between the Sheets: Kris Zellner and David Bixenspan recap one of the craziest weekends in WCW history from January 2000. This was leading into the Souled Out event where Bret Hart and Jeff Jarrett were both pulled due to concussions and the card was revamped. The result was Vince Russo being out as the head writer in favor of a committee led by Kevin Sullivan and the departures of Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, and Perry Saturn.

WRESTLING NEWS

**John Ourand and Terry Lefton of the Sports Business Journal are reporting that the XFL is in deep talks with ESPN and Fox ahead of the league’s relaunch in February 2020. SBJ reports that talks are ongoing talks with the networks that would allow XFL games to be broadcast on the ABC and its ESPN cable property, as well as Fox and FS 1. Ourand added that the deals could be announced as early as next week.

Conversely, Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian’s Alliance of American Football league begins to play in just over two weeks on February 9th with a deal in place with CBS. SBJ adds that CBS will be running promotional material for the league during their broadcast of the Super Bowl on February 3rd and the AAF is in talks to have games broadcast on the NFL Network this season, although that has not been announced yet, but the report pegs the odds of a deal with the network as “likely”.

While the long-term viability of these leagues is questionable, the immediate demand for live sports has shown each league to be in great shape from an exposure level with these potential deals in place. The AAF is getting a one-year jumpstart on the XFL and the public will decide if a spring league is viable.

The XFL will be returning to a crowded market with competition from the AAF, but also have the advantage of seeing the successes and failures of the AAF’s first year and learn from those lessons as they prepare for their own launch. The XFL does have brand recognition, but it’s a negative legacy among sports media. That said, the XFL’s rollout and the game plan has been the opposite of Vince McMahon’s approach in 2000 and 2001.

The AAF will have franchises in Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Orlando, Arizona, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and San Diego with a ten-week season. The playoffs will feature four teams qualifying with the championship game scheduled for the weekend of April 26-27 in Las Vegas and the game being played at Sam Boyd Stadium.

The XFL will begin to play on February 8, 2020, with franchises in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay, and Washington, D.C. with a ten-game season and two-weeks of playoffs.

**John Cena is not expected to be at the Royal Rumble Sunday with the storyline explanation that he suffered an ankle injury at the hands of Drew McIntyre. We were told that Cena was never scheduled to be in the Royal Rumble match, and it was designed for an angle with Lars Sullivan, who would have taken Cena out before the Rumble as Cena was not available for this Sunday. Cena is about to begin production in Vancouver for the film “Playing with Fire”, which is set to begin February 4th. The film is expected to be released in March 2020.

**Here are the announcements segments scheduled for tonight’s WWE tapings in Wichita, Kansas for the final show before the Royal Rumble:
*A face-to-face between Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles with Vince McMahon as the moderator
*Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade in a 2-of-3 falls match
*Samoa Joe vs. Mustafa Ali
*Cesaro vs. The Miz
*Mandy Rose vs. Naomi
*Kalisto vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Hideo Itami on 205 Live

**UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo was a guest on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday to discuss his victory on Saturday over T.J. Dillashaw. Cejudo mentioned that he was recently on a flight with the Bella Twins and admitted on the show to have a crush on Nikki. The clip was isolated and sent to Nikki, who seized on the publicity opportunity and responded, stating they could train together and maybe go out (while also working in a well-placed plug for the Bellas’ wine). The result has been ESPN pumping out this response and turning it into a larger story.  Ariel Helwani appearing on Total Bellas this season was not listed during the MMA Prediction Show, so that was a missed opportunity on my behalf.

**Aiden English is being added to the 205 Live commentary team through WrestleMania. English will be taking the spot of Percy Watson and joining Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness while still being a member of the SmackDown roster. English has barely been used on television since the abrupt end to his program with Rusev and has been trying out commentary at the WWE Performance Center.

**On Raw, Braun Strowman had his first real match since surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow (at TLC, he did nothing with Baron Corbin other than stand on him for the pin). It was not announced if he will be in the Royal Rumble match this Sunday. It was announced on the show that Alexa Bliss will be in the women’s Royal Rumble. Bliss has been out of action since October dealing with symptoms from a concussion she sustained.

**The UFC has announced that Justin Gaethje will fight Edson Barboza in the main event of their March 30th card in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Gaethje has had an incredible series of fights since coming to the UFC in 2017, is coming off a knockout victory over James Vick last August. Barboza is coming off his own knockout win in December when he stopped Dan Hooker. The main card in Philadelphia will be airing on ESPN.

**MLW has announced the following matches will be airing on their live special on beIN Sports on Saturday, February 2nd from Philadelphia:
*Low Ki vs. Tom Lawlor for the MLW title
*Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix vs. The Hart Foundation for the MLW tag titles

**Ring of Honor has announced that Mayu Iwatani is being brought in for their television tapings on February 9th in Lakeland, Florida and will work the following night on a live Honor Club show in Miami.

**The XFL has hired Jeffrey Pollack to serve as the President and Chief Operating Officer for the league. Pollack has previously worked for the NBA, NASCAR Digital Entertainment, and served as the commissioner for the World Series of Poker from 2005 until 2009. He had been working within the Los Angeles Chargers organization until this move to the XFL. Pollack is also the half-brother of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

**Phil Strum at the Poughkeepsie Journal has a story on wrestler Vik Dalishus (Rob Begley) and his long road to recovery for this Friday’s Northeast Wrestling show. Begley shattered his leg in December 2017 when he jumped off the turnbuckle to the floor. It resulted in a broken tibia, fibula, ankle, and bones in his foot. There was another setback in March where he broke his tibia and steel plate in his leg and ended up having four surgeries, including contracting an infection in the leg that could have led to amputation if not treated in time. He was finally cleared in October for physical activity to begin rehab. He mentioned in the story that David Arquette heard about his injury and reached out to help. Dalishus will be teaming with Hale Collins to face Jimmy Preston and Brian Milonas this Friday for Northeast Wrestling’s event at the Hudson Valley Community Center in Poughkeepsie.

**Lavie Margolin at Wrestling Inc looks at the streaming numbers for Impact Wrestling and AAA from Twitch this past week. He notes that Impact peaked with 7,866 live viewers for this past Friday’s episode, compared to a high of 10,422 for the debut on Twitch the week prior. Impact was the most-watched program among wrestling programming on the service with AAA in second place.

**New Japan’s Road to New Beginning cards begin this Saturday. New Japan World will be streaming the shows on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday with KUSHIDA’s final match with the company taking place next Tuesday against Hiroshi Tanahashi at Korakuen Hall. The tour leads into the New Beginning in Sapporo cards on February 2nd and 3rd.

**Impact Wrestling has announced a renewal with MVStv in Mexico (the station underwent a rebranding last November from 52MX). Impact began running on the station last July with the new deal including the pay-per-view events, monthly One Night Only specials and Impact airing Saturday nights at 9 pm local time.

**WWE has announced a licensing agreement with New Era Cap. The designers will create special caps for big events like the Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series and select performers and legends. WWE branded merchandise will be introduced to the market in April.

**The WWE stock closed at $80.09 on Tuesday.

**Ring of Honor is running three cards this week from Texas with a show on Thursday in Dallas, Friday in Houston, and Saturday in San Antonio. The three shows will stream live on Honor Club with the following card on Thursday at 8:30 pm Eastern: PCO and Brody King vs. Vinny Marseglia and TK O’Ryan in the Tag Wars tournament, Rocky Romero vs. Matt Taven, Bandido vs. Silas Young, Marty Scurll vs. Rhett Titus, Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham vs. Mark Haskins and Tracy Williams in the Tag Wars tournament, Dalton Castle and The Boys vs. The Briscoes and Shane Taylor, Jeff Cobb vs. Clark Connors in a Proving Ground match, Juice Robinson and David Finlay vs. Karl Fredericks and Alex Coughlin in the Tag Wars tournament.

**MLW has announced a sponsorship deal with GoDaddy for its future live events. Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the promotion, but the deal will go into effect immediately with the Superfight card from Philadelphia that airs live on beIN Sports on February 2nd at 8 pm Eastern.

**Black Label Pro has announced that Orange Cassidy will defend the Independent Wrestling championship against Tom Lawlor on Friday, March 9th.

**The IPW promotion out of the UK has announced that Pac will be working their card on Wednesday, February 20th at the Westgate Hall in Canterbury.

**Here a tribute video for Peter Corneil (Otto Bahn) from the team at Cross Body Pro Wrestling:

TELEVISION REVIEW

Ring of Honor (Jan. 21st)

RESULTS: Eli Isom over Façade, Rush over TK O’Ryan, Silas Young over Beer City Bruiser in a Hardcore match
-Eli Isom and Façade had a very good match for television, and you can see a lot of upside in both performers. Isom nearly killed himself on a dive to the floor. Façade has lots of flashy offense and hit a springboard step up dive to the floor, hit the Neon Hammer and a flying dropkick before being hit with a big lariat and lost after Isom hit an implant DDT.
-Kelly Klein announced every match she is in will be a title match for the Women of Honor championship.
-Rush defeated TK O’Ryan with The Kingdom feuding with the CMLL star. Rush is very on point with his timing and milking everything with the audience. He won with a running seated dropping to the corner. After the match, he was distracted by Vinny Marseglia and Matt Taven attacked Rush from behind as they play off the CMLL Anniversary card from last year. The Kingdom hit Rush with a triple conchairto.
-The main event felt like a big blow off match that you would see on a pay-per-view. They worked hard and used lots of weapons with the crowd hit-and-miss with their reactions. Highlights included the Bruiser landing a cannonball off the apron while Young was seated in a chair, Young knocked Bruiser off the top turnbuckle onto four chairs that were set up in the ring, he attacked Bruiser with a chair after using zip ties around his wrists, Bruiser was freed after Brian Milonas assisted him with Young eventually winning with Misery.
-The show was good with a well-worked main event and the opener was fun for the time they had. The show could benefit from more promos and non-wrestling segments to present more variety and advance certain stories and build up future matches on television beyond just announcing next week’s lineup at the end.

*****
RAR 1/21/19: David vs. Goliath, John Cena Update, Rumble Go-Home
It’s the final Raw before the Royal Rumble with an update on the status of John Cena, Ronda Rousey teams with Natalya against Sasha Banks and Bayley, Brock Lesnar appears with Paul Heyman and Vince McMahon in the opening segment, Braun Strowman has his first match back against Finn Balor and more.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/01/22/rar-1-21-19-david-vs-goliath-john-cena-update-rumble-go-home/
*****
UFC ON ESPN+ POST Show with John Pollock & Phil Chertok
John Pollock is joined by Phil Chertok to review the UFC’s debut card on ESPN+ featuring Henry Cejudo defending the UFC flyweight title against T.J. Dillashaw, the debut of Greg Hardy, and the 30th UFC fight for Donald Cerrone.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/01/20/ufc-on-espn-post-show-henry-cejudo-vs-t-j-dillashaw/
*****
Café Hangout LIVE 1/17: WWE talent requesting releases, Jericho Talks AEW Deal
John Pollock and Wai Ting discuss recent reports of The Revival and Mike & Maria Kanellis requesting their releases from the WWE. Plus, Chris Jericho dishes details about his AEW deal on his latest podcast.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/01/18/wwe-stars-request-releases-jericho-talks-aew-deal-cafe-hangout-live-1-17-19/
*****
TRMPS #1: The Scorpion King (2002) w/ Brian Mann

Welcome to the debut edition of The Rocky Maivia Picture Show! Nate Milton realizes that he can’t “Stand Alone” on his first episode, so he invites Brian Mann (Complex, “Keep It 2000”) into the theater to review Dwayne Johnson’s first major foray into the movie business, 2002’s The Scorpion King.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/01/18/trmps-1-the-scorpion-king-2002-w-brian-mann/
*****
REWIND-A-WAI #28: NXT TakeOver Dallas (2016)

John Pollock and Wai Ting review NXT TakeOver: Dallas featuring the WWE debut of Shinsuke Nakamura against Sami Zayn. We also discuss a blood-filled main event featuring Finn Balor vs. Samoa Joe that consisted of a number of medical interruptions.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/01/18/rewind-a-wai-28-nxt-takeover-dallas-2016/
*****
upNXT 1/17/19: JC & Chris Lightning, Kassius Ohno vs. Keith Lee

Braden Herrington & Davie Portman chat this week’s episode of NXT featuring Keith Lee vs Kassius Ohno, Johnny Gargano vs Humberto Carrillo, and the MUCH anticipated return of… JC & Chris!
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/01/17/upnxt-1-17-19-jc-chris-lightning-kassius-ohno-vs-keith-lee/
*****
DOUBLE SHOT 1/16: Nigel McGuinness & Gene Okerlund specials, Total Bellas Season 4

John Pollock and Wai Ting review the recent WWE Network specials on Nigel McGuinness and Mean Gene Okerlund, a review of the season premiere of Total Bellas and Being the Elite.
https://www.patreon.com/posts/24012991
*****

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About John Pollock 4276 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.