POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Brian James no longer co-head writer of SD

Brian James no longer the co-head writer of SmackDown, AEW announces six-man for Fyter Fest, Dark Side of the Ring viewership, Pat McAfee shares story from 'Mania & more.

Photo Courtesy: WWE


**On Friday, we will be releasing our POST Wrestling LIVE in New York Q&A from this past Sunday. This show will be available to members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**Braden Herrington and Davie Portman have a new edition of upNXT discussing their trip to New York for WrestleMania Weekend, the hangover episode of NXT, and taking your feedback.

**On this week’s edition of the Double Shot for Patrons, Wai Ting and I have reviews of the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, the premiere edition of Viceland’s Dark Side of the Ring, Being the Elite, and the WWE Untold: Sting feature.


**On Thursday, All Elite Wrestling announced that Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks will take on PAC, Pentagon Jr., and Fenix at Fyter Festival on Saturday, June 29th. The event is scheduled to take place from the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Florida as part of the CEO gaming convention that weekend.

**There have been several changes to WWE’s writing staff. Both Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer and Mike Johnson at PWinsider.com have reported that Brian James is no longer one of the co-head writers of SmackDown. In terms of James’ spot on the staff, as head writer of SmackDown, he worked under Dave Kapoor and all answered to Vince McMahon. Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet added that James is still with the company and will be transitioned to another role that has yet to be determined citing several possibilities.

**The other news involved Robert Evans, formerly R.D. Evans on the independent scene, who has left the company. On Wednesday, Sean Waltman shared a story on his 1-2-360 podcast from the Hall of Fame on Saturday. Waltman said that a writer was fired when Bret Hart mentioned Vince McMahon during the Hart Foundation’s induction speech. Evans has since put out a statement that he, in fact, quit the company. Evans had been a writer with the company since 2016.

**The premiere episode of Viceland’s Dark Side of the Ring series averaged 154,000 viewers. The episode covering the relationship between Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth was the first of six episodes scheduled to air as part of the series.

**On the new WWE Untold: Sting feature on the WWE Network, Paul Levesque explained why he beat Sting at WrestleMania 31 and the plans for the following year’s show. Levesque explained that he was scheduled to face The Rock at WrestleMania 32 in 2016 and was the reason he needed to beat Sting the year prior. The two shot an angle in October 2014 on SmackDown teasing a future match, but Rock’s schedule didn’t allow the match to take place, although Rock did appear on that show in Dallas in April 2016. Levesque and others interviewed on the Untold piece all acknowledged that in hindsight (and for some, foresight) that Sting should have won the match. On the same card where Levesque defeated Sting, they did the angle with The Rock and Ronda Rousey getting physical with Levesque and Stephanie McMahon.

**Pat McAfee shared a story from WrestleMania on his show this week that nearly led to him walking out of his Watch Along webcast. It stemmed from an issue with his wardrobe choice to wear tuxedo shorts on the kickoff show. According to McAfee, Michael Cole told him not to wear jorts and then yelled at McAfee when he saw him wearing the tuxedo shorts. McAfee was upset enough that he was prepared to leave after being yelled at in front of others. The producer for the five-hour Watch Along that McAfee was set to host, went to Vince McMahon and he approved of the tuxedo shorts with Cole later apologizing to McAfee. The funniest part of this story is comparing his attire to Shawn Michaels’, who wore a t-shirt with a tie and looked completely ridiculous on the kickoff panel.

**Tuesday’s episode of SmackDown Live averaged 2,199,000 viewers on the USA Network. The number was up slightly from last week’s audience and nearly identical with the show coming out of Fastlane last month, so WrestleMania didn’t add anything above last month’s post-PPV interest. The larger story is the year-to-year drops for Raw and SmackDown.

The former was down 25% from last year and SmackDown was down 26%. This year, Raw went against the finals of the NCAA basketball tournament, which it didn’t in 2018. The last time Raw after ‘Mania and the NCAA went against each other was in 2017 and Raw did 3,787,000 viewers that night or 23% higher than this year’s audience figure.

There is a very good chance that the Superstar Shakeup episodes next week could do higher numbers than this past week. Last year’s shakeup did 3.62 million on Raw and 2.77 million on SmackDown.

**Cedric Alexander will face Oney Lorcan on next week’s episode of 205 Live from Montreal.

**Enzo and Big Cass are now going by the names nZo and caZXL and are calling themselves the Free Agentz.

**Tuesday’s episode of Miz & Mrs. averaged 997,000 viewers on the USA Network immediately following SmackDown. It was the same number they did the previous week.

**The NWA has released the brackets for the Crockett Cup tag tournament on Saturday, April 27th from the Cabarrus Arena in Concord, North Carolina. The NWA is working with Ring of Honor, CMLL, and New Japan for the tournament with the following opening round matches:
*The Briscoe Brothers vs. The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express
*PCO and Brody King vs. Yuji Nagata and Satoshi Kojima
*Flip Gordon and Bandido vs. Stuka Jr. and Guerrero Maya Jr.
*Crimson and Jax Dane vs. Winners of a wild card battle royal that night

The show will be headlined by Nick Aldis defending the NWA title against Marty Scurll and will also feature Jazz defending the NWA women’s title against Allysin Kay (formerly Sienna in Impact Wrestling) and Willie Mack will defend the National title against Colt Cabana. Ian Riccaboni will be calling the show with Jim Cornette and Joe Galli.

**WWE has announced that tickets will go on sale this Friday for Raw at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on July 1st. The significance of that date is that WWE is running the arena five days before New Japan will hold the first night of the G1 Climax in the same venue. Tickets for the G1 Climax went on sale last month and did not get off to a strong start with plenty still available.

**Impact Wrestling has signed a renewal with Channel 5 in the U.K. with the flagship show moving to 5STAR, which is owned by Channel 5. Impact will be air on Friday nights at 11 pm beginning on April 26th. Impact had previously been airing on 5Spike.

**The WWE Network has added a never-before-seen match between Ted DiBiase and Tom Magee to their Hidden Gems section. The match was taped on December 7, 1988, for an episode of Wrestling Challenge, which never aired.

**The WWE stock closed at $95.06 on Thursday.

**Impact Wrestling has released a great feature on Josh Alexander, who was recently signed by the company after years on the Ontario independent scene:


**There was a court hearing on Wednesday regarding Conor McGregor’s incident last month where he smashed a fan’s cell phone and left with the phone. McGregor did not attend the hearing, but his team pleaded not guilty on his behalf to the felony robbery charge and a misdemeanor for criminal mischief. McGregor is scheduled to make a court appearance on April 30th and a trial is set to begin May 13th. TMZ has since obtained video of the incident and posted the footage that was shot outside the Fountainbleu Hotel in Miami Beach last month:

**In a post online, McGregor responded to a fan asking about his footwork in the fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov last October at UFC 229. McGregor stated he broke his foot three weeks before the fight. McGregor was stopped in the fourth round by the UFC lightweight champion on a card that drew a reported figure of 2.4 million buys, shattering the UFC’s pay-per-view record.

**Shelean Uaiwa, the estranged girlfriend of BJ Penn, was granted a restraining order from the UFC Hall of Famer last fall. MMA Junkie’s Steven Marrocco reported that Uaiwa first received the restraining order last October in Hawaii citing abuse during their time together. The order has been extended through October 2021. Penn had Uaiwa had two children together with Penn now being allowed supervised visits with the children and limited contact with Uaiwa through their attorneys. MMA Junkie reached out to Penn’s attorney, who stated that the record was, “incomplete information” with some documents not released by the court. Uaiwa accused Penn of verbal and sexual abuse during their relationship with allegations that Penn has been a drug addict since he was 14.  Penn has not been arrested or charged with anything related to these accusations. Penn is also scheduled to fight Clay Guida on May 11th at UFC 237 in Brazil.

**The UFC 236 pay-per-view takes place Saturday from the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. The card is comprised of two interim title fights to crown interim champions at lightweight and middleweight. Featherweight champion Max Holloway is coming up to lightweight to fight Dustin Poirier in a fight that could be one of the best this year. A win for Holloway may expedite his exit from featherweight as most assumed he would make the jump to lightweight, just a matter of when. The middleweight fight pits undefeated Israel Adesanya against Kelvin Gastelum, who had only been stopped once in his career when he was submitted by Chris Weidman in July 2017. The winner of that fight seems a lock to fight champion Robert Whittaker later this year. A fight between Whittaker and Adesanya in Australia could be a massive show for the UFC, although Whittaker has been snake bitten when it comes to fights booked in Australia.

The larger story of this Saturday’s card is how it performs on ESPN+ with this show being the first ESPN+ exclusive card for the U.S. The latest figure for the streaming service was released in February with the company announcing it has surpassed 2 million subscribers. That is a far cry from the universe of over 100 million homes with traditional pay-per-view access. It is unlikely that ESPN+ will release the number of buys for this weekend’s show as it’s going to be a steep decline from the range of purchases the UFC has enjoyed. Long-term, this will be an interesting issue for the fighters and how this affects their bonus structure for the ones that had pay-per-view points. If their deals transfer over and are still based off buys, it’s a big loss for the top fighters. I would assume many would try and negotiate for a higher guarantee to make up for the loss in pay-per-view revenue.

**ESPN was the first to report that Luke Rockhold will fight Jan Blachowicz in a light heavyweight fight at UFC 238 on July 6th. The UFC has confirmed that the former middleweight champion will fight Blachowicz during International Fight Week in Las Vegas. Rockhold last fought in February 2018 where he was knocked out by Yoel Romero and has endured a rough stretch since losing the title to Michael Bisping in June 2016. The path to a championship fight at light heavyweight could be a shorter one with Rockhold possessing a stronger marquee value than Johnny Walker and Dominick Reyes, who would appear next in line if Jon Jones defeats Thiago Santos on the same UFC 238 card in July. Blachowicz had a four-fight winning streak until being stopped by Santos this past February.

**Here is Episode 3 of the UFC Embedded series for this week’s card:


John Pollock & Wai Ting review the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, Viceland’s Dark Side of the Ring on Randy Savage and Elizabeth, WWE Untold: Sting, and Being the Elite.
RASD 4/9/19: SD After Mania, The Best in the World Greg Hamilton

John Pollock and Wai Ting review Tuesday’s episode of SmackDown as The New Day celebrate Kofi’s WrestleMania title win, The Hardys challenge The Usos for the SmackDown tag titles, and announcer Greg Hamilton digs deep to please Shane McMahon.
RAR 4/8/19: Raw After WrestleMania 35, Dead Man Walking with Elias

John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE Raw After WrestleMania 35 from the Barclays Center featuring an appearance by The Undertaker to interrupt Elias, a Title vs. Title bait-and-switch match involving Seth Rollins and Kofi Kingston.
WWE WrestleMania 35 POST Show

John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE WrestleMania 35 from the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. We discuss our live experience attending the longest show in WWE history featuring Becky Lynch defeating Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair in the first women’s WrestleMania main event.
ROH & NJPW G1 Supercard POST Show (WM Road Diary Day 3)
John Pollock and Wai Ting review Ring of Honor and New Japan’s G1 Supercard from Madison Square Garden with Kazuchika Okada regaining the IWGP heavyweight title. Plus, an update on the Bret Hart incident at the WWE Hall of Fame.
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Braden Herrington and Davie Portman are LIVE in Brooklyn to review NXT TakeOver: New York. They are joined by friends of the show Scrump & Jesse from The 6 to give their live perspectives.
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WrestleMania Road Diary Day 1
John Pollock and Wai Ting check in from New York with Day 1 of their WrestleMania Road Diary. The two document their trip from Toronto and a brush with their mortality. Plus, reviews of Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport and MLW’s Rise of the Renegades.

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About John Pollock 5505 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.