POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: DAZN increases its U.S. pricing structure

DAZN has increased its pricing in the U.S., New Japan Cup semi-finals, David Starr's promo on Sinclair, UFC SVP speaks on ESPN+ deal and lots more news.


**On the POST Wrestling Café today, Wai Ting joins us from his vacation in Hawaii for the April edition of ASK-A-WAI. On this month’s show, Wai and I go through 35 of your listener-submitted questions. Topics include AEW talent prospects, a comparison of Brian Cage to Killer Kross, GIF accounts and their value to promotions, Umaga’s WWE run, the legacy of Konnan, WWE house shows, toothbrush preferences and more. This show drops monthly with questions submitted on the POST Wrestling Forum and is available to all members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**Damian Abraham stopped by POST Office West on Thursday for an in-studio chat. The two of us covered many topics, including his unreleased wrestling documentary series for VICE, his trips worldwide, hanging out with Atsushi Onita, going to the home of Rossy Ogawa, and tons more.

**Braden Herrington and Davie Portman have another upNXT Movie Review and are joined by POST Puroresu’s WH Park to review “The Raid: Redemption” from 2011.

**Braden and Davie have also launched their own upNXT Pro Wrestling Tees store with three shirts available.

**This Sunday, I will have a bonus show on the POST Wrestling Café with a review of the New Japan Cup Final. Wai Ting returns Monday night for Rewind-A-Raw.


**The Raw crew has a show in Trenton, New Jersey with Baron Corbin vs. Braun Strowman advertised for the main event. The same crew is in Utica, New York with Dean Ambrose also advertised for the Raw shows. The SmackDown crew begins Saturday in Elmira, New York with AJ Styles, Charlotte Flair, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Samoa Joe among those advertised. Daniel Bryan is advertised for Sunday’s card in Buffalo.

**Impact Wrestling is holding television tapings in Windsor, Ontario tonight and Saturday. Both shows are sold out at St. Claire College and some positive news for the promotion from the live events side of their business. These are the final tapings before the promotion runs the “United We Stand” event on April 4th in Rahway, New Jersey and the Rebellion pay-per-view in Toronto on April 28th. Lance Storm is working these tapings as a producer.

**The final two New Japan Cup cards take place Saturday and Sunday with both shows scheduled for Nagaoka in Niigata. Saturday’s card will feature the semi-finals of the tournament at 4 am Eastern on New Japan World and below is the complete card:
*Colt Cabana, Michael Elgin, Yuya Uemura & Yota Tsuji vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi
*Shota Umino and Ren Narita vs. Shingo Takagi and Bushi
*Minoru Suzuki and Killer Elite Squad vs. Togi Makabe, Toru Yano & Toa Henare
*Will Ospreay and Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Zack Sabre Jr. and Taichi
*Tetsuya Naito and EVIL vs. Kota Ibusji and Tomoaki Honma
*Jay White, Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens & Hikuleo vs. Hirooki Goto, Juice Robinson, Yoshi-Hashi & Mikey Nicholls
*Kazuchika Okada vs. Tomohiro Ishii in the semi-finals of the New Japan Cup
*Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Sanada in the semi-finals of the New Japan Cup

**The finals of the New Japan Cup take place late Saturday night at 2 am Eastern on New Japan World.

**AXS TV will be airing the following matches from the first round of the New Japan Cup tonight at 8 pm Eastern:
*Tetsuya Naito vs. Kota Ibushi
*EVIL vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

**Here are the matches for tonight’s episode of Impact Wrestling at 10 pm Eastern on Twitch, Pursuit Channel and Fight Network in Canada:
*Moose vs. Trey
*Eli Drake and Eddie Edwards vs. Fallah Bahh and KM
*Ace Austin vs. Damien Drake
*Willie Mack vs. Ethan Page
*Rich Swann vs. Sami Callihan for the X title

**There was a big story this past week involving independent wrestler David Starr and a promo he cut prior to a scheduled match with Ring of Honor champion Jay Lethal. Starr, who is not shy with his political beliefs, cut a promo on Ring of Honor and Sinclair Broadcasting and referring to the parent company as a “far right wing, extremist propaganda machine”. The promo was taken down shortly afterward with Starr issuing the following:

Last night, I posted a promo for my historic championship match on April 21st against Ring of Honor Champion Jay Lethal in Netanya, Israel for Israeli Pro Wrestling Association. I have been asked by the powers that be to remove said promo. Out of respect to IPWA, who have already paid for Jay’s very expensive flight & accommodation, I will comply. My complying with this request is not an admission of wrongdoing or a retraction. I stand by my entire statement and do not regret any of my actions regarding this subject.

The promo was saved by Ryan Satin at Pro Wrestling Sheet, who has posted it in full. The story was also covered by David Bixenspan at Deadspin.

**The WWE stock fell almost 6% on Friday, closing at $86.71 after opening at $91.28.

**Jim Ross appeared on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” this past week to discuss his pending departure from the WWE when his contract expires next week. Ross said his people are talking with AEW reiterated his desire to stay busy, noting that he was only booked twice by WWE in 2018. Ross’ two assignments over the past year were at the 25th anniversary of Raw special last January and a part of the pre-show panel at the Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia last April. His two-year contract with WWE expires next Friday.

**Here are the matches scheduled for Saturday night’s episode of MLW Fusion at 9 pm Eastern on beIN Sports from the recent tapings at Cicero Stadium:
*LA Park vs. Mance Warner in a Deathmatch
*Brian Pillman Jr. vs Alex Hammerstone
*Myron Reed vs. Gringo Loco

**NXT has officially announced that Velveteen Dream will defend the North American title against Matt Riddle at TakeOver: New York on Friday, April 5th. Below is the updated card for the Barclays Center:
*Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole in a 2/3 Falls match for the vacant NXT title
*Velveteen Dream vs. Matt Riddle for the North American title
*Shayna Baszler vs. Io Shirai vs. Kairi Sane vs. Bianca Belair for the NXT women’s title
*Pete Dunne vs. WALTER for the United Kingdom title
*War Raiders vs. Ricochet & Aleister Black or Forgotten Sons for the NXT tag titles (the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic will air on March 27th)

**MLW has announced that Fenix will take on Air Wolf and Rey Horus face Ace Austin on Thursday, April 4th at the Melrose Ballroom in Queens.

**Taryn Terrell is featured in “The Dirt”, which is the new biopic on Motley Crue that was released Friday on Netflix. Terrell appears in the film as a mud wrestler and shared photos from the set on her Instagram account.

**The Destiny Wrestling and Fight Club Pro event on Thursday, April 4th during WrestleMania Week has announced a four-way match with Trey Miguel, Penelope Ford, Jake Atlas, and Kip Sabian. The winner will be crowned the first Destiny NEXT Generation champion. The card is scheduled for the NYC Arena at 3 pm on the Thursday of WrestleMania Week.

**Nate Webb will take on Session Moth Martina in a “5 O’Clock Somewhere Last Person Standing” match at GCW’s Orange Cassidy card. This show is replacing the previously announced Nova Pro card on Saturday, April 6th, at Noon at the White Eagle Hall in Jersey City.


**On Thursday, DAZN announced a major increase to their subscription price for users in the United States. After launching in several international markets in 2016, the streaming service launched in the U.S. in 2018 with former ESPN president John Skipper on board as its executive chairman. The service allowed for a 30-day free trial for those in the U.S. with a $9.99 per month price tag after the trial’s expiration.

This week’s news was that the monthly fee would double to $19.99 per month or the option of spending $99.99 for one-year and emphasizing the value in the yearly option than paying month-to-month. Those that signed up for the $9.99 option will be grandfathered in and allowed to keep the old price for one-year if they sign up before Monday.  In Canada, the service had already been priced at $19.99 ($14.90 U.S.), although the one-year subscription is $150 ($111.78 U.S.).

The strategy for all streaming platforms is to get new users in the door with the hopes that they will stick with the service and allow their free trial period to lapse to create paying consumers. DAZN saw trends that provided evidence of subscribers that signed up for one specific event and then drop the service, treating an event like a singular pay-per-view and avoid a long-term commitment. This announcement eliminates the free trial period and users will have to spend $19.99 up front if they are only dropping in to watch a singular event and then drop the service immediately.

DAZN is spending exorbitant amounts to secure top programming, led by a $365 million deal over 11 fights with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

**Former fighter Frank Shamrock is being accused of animal cruelty with WFAA out of Dallas reporting that Shamrock left a dog inside of a vehicle at a Texas airport for several days. Shamrock spoke to the news outlet and said the dog belonged to his mother with Shamrock in town helping her move. He said she was unable to continue caring for her dogs with one placed in a shelter and claimed no other shelter would take the second one. The report goes on to state that authorities believe the dog was left in the back of a truck from March 2nd through 7th at the airport with some food and water. Shamrock defended his choice believing the dog may not be alive if he didn’t do what he did and is willing to return to Texas if he is charged.

After the story came out, Shamrock was upset with how he was portrayed in the report and issued the following comment on his Instagram account:

This is #fakenews@abcnews Edited to create a story. Very sad. Rebecca Lopez you should be ashamed of yourself, I am not being investigated and only took the call to help bring #awareness to #animalcruelty and #elderabuse. Funny how you don’t report the All the facts – just the names that create headlines.

**Bellator 218 takes place tonight from Thackerville, Oklahoma with the main card airing at 9 pm Eastern on Paramount Network and DAZN. Below are the fights on the main card:
*Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Georgi Karakhanyan
*Valentin Moldavsky vs. Linton Vassell
*Anatoly Tokov vs. Gerald Harris
*Will Lavine vs. Norbert Novenyi

**LFA has a live card at 10 pm Eastern tonight on AXS TV from Dallas, Texas. The card features Casey Kenny taking on Vince Cachero for the vacant interim bantamweight title.

**The UFC returns with a Fight Night card from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday night. The intriguing elements of the show include Anthony Pettis moving up to welterweight as he looks at another weight class to reinvent himself. Pettis will be fighting former title contender Stephen Thompson, who needs a big outing to keep his head above water among the mounting list of contenders at welterweight. For Thompson, he benefited greatly from Kamaru Usman’s title victory over Tyron Woodley after Thompson fought Woodley twice with a draw and loss.

The main card features a flyweight fight between Jussier Formiga and Deiveson Figueiredo. Formiga has won three while Figueiredo is undefeated with four wins in the UFC. Typically, the winner of the fight would be considered next in line for a flyweight title fight but the fate of that division is in flux. A decision will need to be made on the division’s future and whether current champion Henry Cejudo will move up in weight to fight for the now-vacant bantamweight title or stay at flyweight and defend his title.

Justin Willis is coming off a win over Mark Hunt but should have a tougher challenge in his bout with Curtis Blaydes, who also holds a win over Hunt over the past 13 months. Blaydes was mounting a strong campaign until being stopped in the opening minute of his fight with Francis Ngannou last November and will attempt to rebound in this fight.

The weigh-ins took place on Friday and below is the card with weigh-in results.

MAIN CARD (8 pm Eastern on ESPN+, TSN 3 in Canada)
*Stephen Thompson (170.5) vs. Anthony Pettis (171)
*Curtis Blaydes (262) vs. Justin Willis (266)
*John Makdessi (154) vs. Jesus Pinedo (155.5)
*Jussier Formiga (126) vs. Deiveson Figueiredo (126)
*Luis Pena (148.5*) vs. Steven Peterson (146)
*Maycee Barber (126) vs. JJ Aldrich (125)

PRELIMINARY CARD (5 pm on ESPN+, Fight Pass)
*Bryce Mitchell (145.5) vs. Bobby Moffett (145.5)
*Marlon Vera (135.5) vs. Frankie Saenz (135.5)
*Alexis Davis (125) vs. Jennifer Maia (126)
*Angela Hill (116) vs. Randa Markos (116)
*Chris Gutierrez (135.5) vs. Ryan MacDonald (135.5)
*Eric Shelton (126) vs. Jordan Espinosa (126)

Luis Pena missed weight for his featherweight fight and will be fined 30% of his purse.

**David Shaw, the UFC’s SVP of International and Content, appeared on The TSN MMA Show with Aaron Bronsteter to discuss the ESPN+ deal. Shaw noted that ESPN will be the ones to set the price points of the UFC pay-per-view events in the U.S. and it will at their discretion to release buy figures. Shaw added that there will be 12 pay-per-view events this year following the UFC 233 event being removed from the schedule in January.

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About John Pollock 5598 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.