POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: New Beginning in Osaka Preview

A preview of the New Beginning in Osaka card, Gauntlet match added to SmackDown, Salvatore Bellomo passes away, Fenix suffers injury, Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch announced for Raw and& lots more.

POST IT NOTES

**Wai Ting and I will be back Monday night Rewind-A-Raw to review both Raw and the New Beginning in Osaka card.

**We have the UFC 234 POST Show on the site with Phil Chertok joining me to review Saturday’s card from Melbourne, Australia. The two of us ran through the entire card, discussed Israel Adesanya’s performance against Anderson Silva, the latest on Robert Whittaker and how the main event fell out hours before the fight, who stood out on the undercard, the “ESPN effect”, Kelvin Gastelum’s handling of the title situation, and more. You can download this show directly or listen on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play etc.

**The feedback thread is up for this Friday’s Rewind-A-Wai covering the WWE King of the Ring 2002 card.

WRESTLING NEWS

**New Japan Pro Wrestling will hold their New Beginning in Osaka card early Monday morning at 3 am Eastern from the Edion Arena. The card is their biggest of the tour and highlighted by Hiroshi Tanahashi defending the IWGP heavyweight title against Jay White. The show will feature Kevin Kelly and Don Callis on English commentary for New Japan World. Below is the full card:
*Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jay White for the IWGP heavyweight title – They have done a great job building White as a threat for the title since defeating Kazuchika Okada at Wrestle Kingdom. It’s very reminiscent of Okada’s first title win in February 2012, ending Tanahashi’s title reign and everyone thought Okada wasn’t ready. White winning the title would not surprise me and would be a loud statement that he is their guy and 2019 is about White entering the top mix. Tanahashi retaining the title would allow for the biggest potential matches in the next few months between Okada, Chris Jericho, and Tetsuya Naito, but he can’t be the long-term champion anymore.
*Kazuchika Okada vs. Bad Luck Fale – I can’t see Okada losing on a second consecutive big show after the loss to White in January. This will be one of Fale’s better matches in a long time and I think the audience will get into it. Okada feels more popular than ever and this could propel him into the New Japan Cup and would be the favorite to win the tournament.
*Taiji Ishimori vs. Ryusuke Taguchi for the IWGP junior heavyweight title – With KUSHIDA gone, the junior heavyweight division doesn’t have a major babyface beyond Taguchi. I hope they don’t put the title on Taguchi as I see Ishimori and Shingo Takagi being the rivalry to pull the trigger on the next title change down the road. This should be very good as you’ll have Taguchi with his working boots on and show everyone why he’s a very versatile performer that shouldn’t be limited to the comedy label.
*Guerrillas of Destiny vs. Togi Makabe and Toru Yano
*Tomoaki Honma and Yoshi-Hashi vs. Chase Owens and Yujiro
*Tetsuya Naito, Bushi & Shingo Takagi vs. Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado
*EVIL and Sanada vs. Shota Umino and Ayato Yoshida – This could be a great 10-minute match and a strong showcase for Umino and Yoshida against the tag champions.
*Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iizuka & Taka Michinoku – This should set up Iizuka’s retirement match on February 21st with Tenzan involved and has been built up throughout the tour.

It does feel like New Japan needs to do something significant to give the company a shot in the arm creatively. Gedo is not the style of booker than throws out longterm plans for a short-term fix, so if there is a title change, I would assume it was in the plans for some time this year. The company has been hit beyond the loss of the Elite members because they have also been without Kota Ibushi and Will Ospreay on these shows and Hiromu Takahashi is an even bigger loss with KUSHIDA gone. The undercard looks like a standard New Japan undercard and the show will be graded based on the level of the top three matches and the booking of the main event, which has a lot of interest as either outcome will be notable as people try and figure out what they will do at Madison Square Garden in April.

**A family member announced that former journeyman wrestler Salvatore Bellomo passed away on Saturday after battling cancer. Following many stints throughout Canada, including Stampede Wrestling and for Frank Tunney in Toronto, Bellomo was most remembered for his time working in the World Wrestling Federation in the mid-’80s, often in an enhancement role. Bellomo remained attached to the business beyond his WWF years going to CWA in Austria, working for Eastern Championship Wrestling and later the reincarnated Extreme Championship Wrestling in the ’90s. He became the Pennsylvania-based WXW champion in September 2000 and held it until January 2001. Bellomo was 67 years old.

**The WWE has announced that Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins will be appearing on Raw Monday night in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Rollins has been removed from the upcoming live events schedule but is expected to be evaluated whenever he is at television.

**This Tuesday on SmackDown from Toledo, Ohio, they will be having a Gauntlet match involving Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, Randy Orton, Samoa Joe, Mustafa Ali, and Jeff Hardy to determine who is the last entrant in the Elimination Chamber match.

**Rey Fenix was injured during a tag match on Friday’s AAW event in Austin, Texas. The match saw Fenix executive a backflip off the middle turnbuckle into a reverse cutter and was in immediate pain when he landed the reverse cutter. The match quickly went to the finish as Fenix was tended to and went to the hospital. On Saturday, the promotion stated that Fenix suffered a muscle contusion and will be back to 100% but requires rest. Fenix did not wrestle Saturday night but is advertised for next weekend’s Impact Wrestling tapings in Las Vegas.

**This past weekend at the WWE’s Raw house show events, Elias has been playing a babyface in matches against Drew McIntyre. Elias had the line of the weekend in Ottawa Friday when he cut a promo stating that McIntyre was as popular as Ottawa Senators’ owner Eugene Melynk. The tag matches with Bobby Roode and Chad Gable vs. The Revival appears to have been the standout matches of the weekend on the Raw shows. Each card has been headlined by Braun Strowman taking on Baron Corbin.

**The Raw crew is in Saginaw, Michigan today with Ronda Rousey working the show. The SmackDown crew has a show in Fort Wayne, Indiana tonight and a Monday night show in Canton, Ohio.

**Apollo Crews and his wife Linda just had their second child, Kai Isaac.

**WrestleCon has announced first four matches for the U.S. vs. The World event on Friday, April 5th at the Hilton Midtown Hotel at 11 am:
*MJF vs. Ethan Page
*Brian Cage vs. Masato Tanaka
*Puma King vs. Sammy Guevara
*The Rascalz vs. R.E.D. from Dragon Gate

**MLW is advertising a long list of names for “Intimidation Games” on March 2nd when the promotion returns to Cicero Stadium in Chicago. Among those advertised to appear includes Tom Lawlor, Pentagon Jr., Fenix, The Hart Foundation, LA Park, Low Ki, MJF, Rey Horus, Daga, Jacob Fatu, Simon Gotch, Hijo de LA Park, and others.

**Progress Wrestling has announced Ilja Dragunov and Travis Banks for the Super Strong Style tournament that takes place May 4-6 at the Alexandra Palace.

**Progress holds their Chapter 84 card on February 24th in Camden, which has sold out. The show is headlined by Walter vs. Chris Ridgeway for the Progress title and features an open challenge by Trent Seven for the Atlas title, Jordan Devlin vs. Travis Banks (the match was that scheduled at TakeOver and then Finn Balor replaced Banks), Jinny vs. Nina Samuels, and Bea Priestley vs. Millie McKenzie.

PAY-PER-VIEW REWIND

NJPW New Beginning in Osaka 2018
Saturday, February 10th, 2018 at Edion Arena
*Yuji Nagata over Katsuya Kitamura
*Yoshinobu Kanemaru and El Desperado over Roppongi 3K
*KUSHIDA, Ryusuke Taguchi, Togi Makabe & Michael Elgin over Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, Takashi Iizuka & Taka Michinoku
*Tomohiro Ishii, Jay White & Toru Yano over Juice Robinson, David Finlay & Toa Henare
*Bushi over Gedo
*Tetsuya Naito over Yoshi-Hashi
*Will Ospreay over Hiromu Takahashi to retain the IWGP junior heavyweight title
*Hirooki Goto over EVIL to retain the NEVER Openweight title
*Kazuchika Okada over Sanada to retain the IWGP heavyweight title

MMA NEWS

**The UFC lost its main event hours before UFC 234 on Saturday with the news that Robert Whittaker was rushed into surgery after complaining about abdominal pain. His management team issued a statement outlining his issues:

On behalf of Rob, we would like to update fans on his condition. Last night at roughly 9 pm Rob began experiencing intense abdominal pains that were brought to the attention of the UFC doctors. After several hours of observation he was admitted to the hospital at 3 am. Rob is just out of duel surgery for a twisted and collapsed bowel in addition to an internal hernia of the intestine and will be recovering in hospital for several days. Rob will want to speak to his fans directly when he can. Rob is devastated that today’s fight will not go ahead. Up until 5 minutes before going into surgery Rob was insisting he would fight, but advice was that a blow to his stomach could be fatal. Rob will come back stronger and ready for what is to come. Thanks to the UFC, Kelvin, and his team for your professionalism.

This is the second time Whittaker was unable to fight in Australia as he was removed from last year’s UFC 221 card in Perth due to illness when he was scheduled to fight Luke Rockhold. The title picture consists of Whittaker, Kelvin Gastelum, and Israel Adesanya and will come down to Whittaker’s recovery process. UFC president Dana White said the timetable given was 4-6 weeks, but that may be optimistic for something as severe as described.

For his part, Gastelum showed up at the Rod Laver Arena wearing a UFC championship title (it was the flyweight title as Henry Cejudo was there with Gastelum during the week) and proclaimed himself the new champion. Gastelum was playing it up to keep his name in the mix because the natural conclusion was that Adesanya was going to have a big win over a legend on this card and could easily bypass Gastelum to fight Whittaker instead. A lot of people thought it was a low shot to take at Whittaker, who had just gone through surgery. Whether successful or not for Gastelum, this type of PR is encouraged and at times rewarded with the clear message that just winning fights and relying on what is fair is not going to lead you anywhere. I didn’t agree with Gastelum but I completely understood why he did it

**The UFC 234 card drew an announced crowd of 15,238 and a gate of $2.5 million (U.S.). The news that Whittaker was off the card didn’t start breaking until approximately 7 am local time in Melbourne so there wasn’t much time to adjust and the arena looked packed.

**The Fight of the Night bonus was awarded to Israel Adesanya and Anderson Silva, which I expected because of the spotlight it had but the best fight on the card was Kyung Ho Kang vs. Teruto Ishihara on the prelims. The two Performance of the Night bonuses went to Montana De La Rosa and Devonte Smith. Smith had an excellent performance and then a great interview after the fight with Jon Anik. Smith was in the headlining spot on the ESPN prelims and I feel he did a great job of getting himself over in front of a large audience.

**Next weekend, the UFC is running a Sunday night card on ESPN from Phoenix, Arizona with Cain Velasquez fighting Francis Ngannou. It will be the first fight Velasquez has had since July 2016 and in theory, should create a lot of problems for Ngannou that were evident when he fought Stipe Miocic. It’s the first main card on ESPN with Velasquez having the distinction of headlining the first card on Fox in November 2011 and this one. This show will also be going head-to-head with the Elimination Chamber event. Here is the full card for next weekend:

MAIN CARD (9 pm Eastern on ESPN)
*Cain Velasquez vs. Francis Ngannou
*Paul Felder vs. James Vick
*Cortney Casey vs. Cynthia Calvillo
*Alex Caceres vs. Kron Gracie
*Bryan Barberena vs. Vicente Luque
*Andre Fili vs. Myles Jury

PRELIMINARY CARD (7 pm on ESPN)
*Jimmie Rivera vs. Aljamain Sterling
*Manny Bermudez vs. Benito Lopez
*Ashlee Evans-Smith vs. Andrea Lee
*Nik Lentz vs. Scott Holtzman

FIGHT PASS CARD (5:30 pm)
*Jessica Penne vs. Jodie Esquibel
*Renan Barao vs. Luke Sanders
*Alexandra Albu vs. Emily Whitmire

**Here are the main card results from the Bellator event in Newcastle, England on Saturday and the first event in their new European series:
*Patricky “Pitbull” Freire def. Ryan Scope by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
*Corey Browning def. Aaron Chalmers by heel hook at 0:20 of Round 3
*Chris Bungard def. Terry Brazier by rear-naked choke at 2:06 of Round 1
*Fabian Edwards def. Lee Chadwick by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)

**Bellator returns with two shows next weekend from Uncasville, Connecticut. On Friday night, the Bellator 215 card features Matt Mitrione taking on Sergei Kharitonov in the main event, which airs on Paramount Network and DAZN. Saturday’s card from the same venue features Paul Daley vs. Michael “Venom” Page, former heavyweight champion Vitaly Minakov vs. Cheick Kongo, and Mirko Cro Cop vs. Roy Nelson. The latter card will air on DAZN and Sky Sports in the U.K. and Ireland.

*****
UFC 234 POST Show: Israel Adesanya vs. Anderson Silva

John Pollock and Phil Chertok review UFC 234 from Melbourne with Israel Adesanya vs. Anderson Silva after losing the main event due to Robert Whittaker undergoing emergency surgery.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/02/10/ufc-234-post-show-israel-adesanya-vs-anderson-silva/
*****
Café Hangout: WWE Q4 & Full Year 2018 Earnings Report
John Pollock and Wai Ting are joined by Wrestlenomics / Fightful’s Brandon Howard Thurston to discuss WWE’s Q4 and full year 2018 earnings reports which shed a lot of light on Crown Jewel, WWE Network, live event attendance and other indicators of success for the company in 2018.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/02/08/wwe-q4-full-year-2018-earnings-report-w-brandon-thurston-cafe-hangout-live-2-7-19/
*****
POST MOVIE REVIEW: Iron Man 3 (2013)
John Pollock & Wai Ting review the seventh Marvel Cinematic Universe film, Iron Man 3 (2013). We discuss why director Shane Black took over for Jon Favreau, the performance of Robert Downey Jr. as a PTSD-suffering Tony Stark following the events of The Avengers, the controversial swerve involving Ben Kingsley’s The Mandarin, and more.
https://www.patreon.com/posts/24553011/
*****
AEW Double or Nothing Press Conference Reaction

John Pollock and Wai Ting react to All Elite Wrestling’s press conference in Las Vegas with Kenny Omega’s signing, match announcements, and more names added for Double or Nothing.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/02/08/aew-double-or-nothing-press-conference-reaction/
*****
upNXT 2/7/19: BugenHaagen-Dazs
Braden Herrington & Davie Portman review this week’s edition of WWE NXT including Drew Gulak vs. Matt Riddle, Sky Pirates & Bianca Belair vs. Baszler, Duke & Shafir, and the debut of a very… interesting jobber.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/02/07/upnxt-2-7-19-bugenhaagen-dazs/
*****
BWE 2/6/19: Progress Chapter 83, NXT UK, Worlds Collide, OTT, EVE, Rev Pro
Martin and Benno are joined by Will Cooling of Fighting Spirit Magazine to talk Progress Chapter 83 (CCK vs. Swords Of Essex), NXT UK (Walter debut), WWE Worlds Collide (Tyler Bate vs. Adam Cole), OTT Contenders 13 (Devlin vs. A-Kid) and Pro Wrestling Eve resurrecting the Battlebowl concept for their latest show.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/02/06/bwe-2-6-19-progress-chapter-83-nxt-uk-worlds-collide-ott-eve-rev-pro/
*****
DOUBLE SHOT 2/6: WWE Worlds Collide, MLW Superfight, BTE, BFG Feature

John Pollock and Wai Ting chat the WWE’s World Collide tournament on the WWE Network, MLW Superfight from this past Saturday, Being the Elite Episode 137, a feature on Bound for Glory & more.
https://www.patreon.com/posts/24505441
*****
RASD 2/5/19: Becky slaps HHH, injury news, WWE returns to Saudi Arabia
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE SmackDown as Becky Lynch and Triple H engage in a heated confrontation, Daniel Bryan took on Jeff Hardy in a non-title match, WWE returns to Saudi Arabia, roster injury updates and more.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/02/06/rasd-2-5-19-becky-slaps-hhh-injury-news-wwe-returns-to-saudi-arabia/
*****

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About John Pollock 826 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.