POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Dean Malenko signs with AEW

AEW signs Dean Malenko, a look at Double or Nothing heading into the weekend, highlights of Cody & Young Bucks panel, an update on Rey Mysterio, BOSJ standings & more.

POST IT NOTES

**Beginning Monday, we will start posting the full interviews I conducted for the Owen Hart documentary on the POST Wrestling Café. This Monday will feature the chat I did with Jimmy Korderas and will be available to all subscribers.

**On the Café Hangout this week, we spent the first portion of the show going through the “making of” the Owen Hart audio documentary on the site. Then, Damian Abraham joined us to chat about the first episode of “The Wrestlers” that premiered on Viceland this past Wednesday. Damian will be on every week throughout the series.

**We also have our monthly MCU review out today covering Avengers: Age of Ultron from 2015. On this month’s show, Nate Milton joined Wai Ting and I to review the film and discuss the character of Ultron, the reason people are not as high on the film, what was set up for future films, Tony Stark vs. Steve Rogers, the scenes involving Black Widow and Hulk, end credit scene & more. This show is up for all members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**On Sunday night, we will have an interview with Fred Ottman posted on the site.

**Michael Hamflett has written a review of our Owen Hart documentary on the What Culture site and we thank him for the coverage.

WRESTLING NEWS

**All Elite Wrestling announced the signing of Dean Malenko (Dean Simon) on Friday as a senior producer and coach. Malenko spent 19 years with WWE until leaving the company this past April where he served as a producer since his retiring from in-ring work. He went to the WWF in January 2000 in a major coup by the company alongside Chris Benoit, Eddy Guerrero, and Perry Saturn and was a major talent shift that drastically WCW’s talent core they maintained even as business was declining in 1999.  Malenko was immediately announced for Starrcast II after his departure from WWE was reported in April.

**Double or Nothing is the big focus this weekend with Saturday night’s pay-per-view from the sold-out MGM Grand Garden Arena. The company will be under an intense microscope from the fanbase but ultimately, this fall is the important launch of the company when it debuts on TNT. Saturday’s show looks like a fantastic card on paper and there is a heightened interest following the reception “All In” received and the promise of a viable alternative to WWE, which hasn’t been pulled off since WCW and ECW went out of business. They are equipped with money, minds, and momentum and now its time for the execution phase with Saturday representing the first step.

On Sunday, everything will be magnified and dissected from the show’s presentation, length, price tag, match quality, and a dozen other areas. The pay-per-view number is a good test to see what audience has been picked up since “All In” and if the TNT announcement spurs on a lapsed audience to tune in and see what this promotion is all about. I am anticipating this show performs better than “All In” because of strong word-of-mouth from the first show, more mainstream outlets covering AEW, the key characters known to a wider audience, and the addition of Chris Jericho. That said, this show also doesn’t have the star power of Rey Mysterio and Kazuchika Okada that the first show had.

One of the many questions I have that I haven’t seen poised elsewhere, is Kenny Omega’s effect, specifically to the Canadian market. We have seen through history the impact a strong personality can have on this market from Bret Hart maintaining the WWF’s business in Canada even when they were underneath WCW in the U.S, and of course, Georges St-Pierre’s rise with the UFC. Since “All In”, Omega had a widely distributed documentary in Canada, and did a media run that got him onto many mainstream outlets across the country where he came off tremendously. I’m not expecting Omega to take this pay-per-view and do a blockbuster number, but I do feel his profile has risen since September.

With this lineup, it’s going to be a strong show with wrestling matches, but the big test comes this fall and the larger question of whether this promotion can multiply its audience and become a viable national touring brand that represents its value to Turner through its prime time audience, ability to send its audience to B/R Live, and attract advertisers willing to spend money on non-WWE wrestling.

**I caught the Starrcast panel with Cody and The Young Bucks and below were some of the highlights:
-Cody bragged about their U.K. television deal with ITV 4 and flat-out said the WWE’s deal “sucks” compares to theirs
-Cody joked he had overbooked the Casino Battle Royale and there could be 22 people in it
-The guys had spent their money ahead of “All In” and it was Tony Khan who opted to use his private jet to get Chris Jericho onto the show for the surprise attack on Kenny Omega. This story had been told in length by Jericho on his podcast as he had a Fozzy show immediately after in Kansas and made it in time.
-Nick Jackson and Cody ragged on the design of the 24/7 title and said “no thought” went into it and that “our belts will look good”.
-Of the things Cody is most looking forward to Saturday is his brother wrestling in front of this audience as his career is coming to an end.
-Paul Turner is the head referee for the group with Cody and the Bucks asked to select their favorite referees. They wanted Tiger Hattori from New Japan, but he is retiring. The other officials are Earl Hebner, Rick Knox, Audrey Edwards, and Bryce Remsburg.
-They tried to get Michael Buffer for “All In”, but he cost too much. This led to a funny moment as the MC in the crowd taking questions was their current in-ring announcer Justin Roberts, who called them on it.
-They credited Tony Khan with the television deals being pulled off and has delivered on everything, so far.
-Matt Jackson was the first one to speak with Khan and had to Google him but was open to what he was discussing. Nick and Cody were more skeptical. The finally met Khan last August in London, England (presumably during the ROH set of shows) and Khan was at “All In”.
-They repeated that when they launch their weekly show, they will be touring and not stationed in one place.

**It is a big weekend with the Starrcast events taking place from Caesar’s Palace and the Tuscany Suites & Casino in Las Vegas. Friday’s panel shows on Fite.tv include Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler at 1 pm, Behind the Paint with Sting & Tony Schiavone at 1 pm, NITRO: 83 Weeks with Eric Bischoff at 3:30 pm, The Taz Show Live at 3:30 pm, an Arn Anderson panel at 5:30 pm, and the Double or Nothing Press Conference and Weigh-In at 7 pm (the latter being free to watch).

**The full card for Double or Nothing is below, beginning with the “Buy-In” pre-show at 7 pm Eastern that will stream on B/R Live and AEW’s YouTube channel:
*Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho
*The Young Bucks vs. Pentagon Jr. & Rey Fenix for the AAA tag titles
*Cody vs. Dustin Rhodes
*Dr. Britt Baker vs. Nyla Rose vs. Kylie Rae
*Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky vs. CIMA, T-Hawk & Lindaman
*Aja Kong, Emi Sakura & Yuka Sakazaki vs. Hikaru Shida, Riho Abe & Ryo Mizunami
*Best Friends vs. Angelico & Jack Evans
*Kip Sabian vs. Sammy Guevara on the pre-show
*Casino Battle Royale (Announced: Jimmy Havoc, Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus, Joey Janela, Dustin Thomas, Sonny Kiss, Brandon Cutler, Ace Romero, Brian Pillman Jr., MJF, Isiah Kassidy, Marq Queen, Sunny Daze, Glacier, Michael Nakazawa, Billy Gunn and Shawn Spears) – there are four slots open, although Cody jokingly stated he accidentally booked one too many and there may be 22 people in the match

**Double or Nothing was promoted during TNT’s broadcast of the Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks game on Thursday night with the show being available on B/R Live.

**The WWE has the weekend off and return Monday with Raw taking place from the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Once again, they are not holding a SmackDown house show Monday night so all talent can be available for Raw. The SmackDown and 205 Live tapings are in Tulsa, Oklahoma Tuesday night.

**Rey Mysterio provided an update on his shoulder injury from this past weekend at the Money in the Bank show. Mysterio stated that he suffered a separated AC joint and received PRP (platelet-rich plasma) treatment on his left shoulder.

**The Best of the Super Juniors tournament is off Saturday and resumes Sunday with another ten-match show from Chiba. The show airs Sunday morning at 5:30 am Eastern on New Japan World with the following tournament matches: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Ren Narita, Jonathan Gresham vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Rocky Romero vs. Douki, Marty Scurll vs. Titan, Bandido vs. Bushi, Shingo Takagi vs. Tiger Mask, El Phantasmo vs. YOH, Dragon Lee vs. Taka Michinoku, Will Ospreay vs. Robbie Eagles, and Taiji Ishimori vs. SHO.

**Going into the weekend, the A Block is led by Shingo Takagi with 12 points and is undefeated. He is followed by Taiji Ishimori (10), Dragon Lee (8), Jonathan Gresham, SHO, and Marty Scurll (6), Tiger Mask, Titan, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru (4), and Taka Michinoku (0). The B Block has a tie for first between El Phantasmo and Will Ospreay with 10 points each, Robbie Eagles and Ryusuke Taguchi (8), Bushi, YOH, and Bandido (6), Rocky Romero (4), Douki (2), and Ren Narita (0).

**I wanted to link to a thread on Reddit where a user has gone back to look at footage from the Over the Edge event in May 1999. Throughout the show, you can see a blood stain on the ring that had been assumed to be from Owen Hart. In going back, there was a segment on Sunday Night Heat where The Hardys and Michael Hayes were the victims of a bloodbath by The Brood and that appears to be where that stain on the mat came from, not from Owen Hart. I had been mistaken about this fact myself and regret that error.

**Gail Kim is auctioning off her gear she wore at the recent Rebellion card from her retirement match with Tessa Blanchard. The proceeds will be going towards the Go Fund Me campaign that has been set up for Ashley Massaro’s daughter, Alexa. The auction is already up to $700 U.S. for Kim’s gear and ends next Thursday.

**Here are the matches announced for tonight’s episode of Impact Wrestling at 10 pm Eastern from the tapings in Philadelphia at the 2300 Arena:
*Tommy Dreamer vs. Rob Van Dam
*Taya Valkyrie vs. Madison Rayne for the Knockout’s title
*LAX vs. Ethan Page & Josh Alexander for the tag titles
*Sami Callihan vs. Fallah Bahh

**TSN has posted the entire interview that Michael Landsberg conducted with Vince McMahon in July 1999 on “Off the Record” following Owen Hart’s death.

**Marc Raimondi of ESPN spoke to AEW president Tony Khan, Cody, Dave Meltzer, and MGM’s vice president of arena booking Sid Greenfeig about Saturday’s card. Greenfieg compared the demand for tickets to a Conor McGregor or Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight or a high-demand musical act. They expect over 10,000 people in attendance for the show at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.  Raimondi also spoke with Ring of Honor COO Joe Koff, who was complimentary towards Cody and The Young Bucks and said they were smart people, cautioned they had only done one show and to re-visit after they had more shows under their belt. Finally, Fite TV COO Mike Weber added that “All In” was the third most-purchased show in the streaming platform’s history trailing two fights between Gennady Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

**Doric Sam has a great feature on Brandi Rhodes on The Undefeated discussing her role as the chief brand officer of All Elite Wrestling, the accomplishments in his career, her background as a figure skater and migrating to professional wrestling, the expectations with her last name, and discussing the deal with KultureCity.

**Andreas Hale of The Sporting News followed MJF around throughout WrestleMania weekend and has a big story on the 23-year old.

**Marcus Vanderberg of Yahoo and the Kings of Sport podcast spoke to Conrad Thompson about Starrcast II. Thompson discussed the lessons learned from the first convention where he felt he spent too much time focusing on the stage shows and not enough on logistics. He was hopeful of selling 800 tickets to the first one and sold 10,929. He said among the improvements for this weekend’s convention is utilizing two host venues, the creation of an app along with the experience of the first behind them.

**Ruth Kapelus has a piece on The Daily Hive writing why Bret Hart deserves a spot on Canada’s Walk of Fame. WWE has also put out a piece pushing for Hart’s inclusion.

**Mick Foley was at the PFL (Professional Fighters League) card on Thursday night at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island.

**Don Callis noted that he will be returning to New Japan for the Dominion card on June 9th in Osaka. Earlier in the week, Impact will be taping television on June 6th and 7th at the Melrose Ballroom in New York City.

**MLW has added a match between Ace Austin and Air Wolf for next Saturday’s Fury Road show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

*****
Café Hangout: Owen Hart 20 Years Later, Damian Abraham on “The Wrestlers”

ohn Pollock shares details about the making of his Owen Hart: A POST Profile audio documentary. Damian Abraham joins us for a weekly post-discussion about his Viceland series, The Wrestlers.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/05/24/owen-hart-20-years-later-damian-abraham-on-the-wrestlers-cafe-hangout/
*****
POST MOVIE REVIEW – Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

John Pollock, Wai Ting and special guest Nate Milton review the eleventh Marvel Cinematic Universe film, Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).
https://www.patreon.com/posts/27084875
*****
upNXT 5/23/19: Original Garganobro

Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review this week’s edition of WWE NXT featuring Johnny Gargano & Matt Riddle vs. Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/05/23/upnxt-5-23-19-original-garganobro/
*****
DOUBLE SHOT: Double or Nothing Preview, WWE 24 Becky Lynch, Ali Chronicle

John Pollock & Wai Ting preview Double or Nothing with AEW’s content going into the show, plus WWE 24 on Becky Lynch and WWE Chronicle: Ali.
https://www.patreon.com/posts/27065686
*****
RASD 5/21/19: Dolph Ziggler returns, Reigns vs. Elias, RuTruth

John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE SmackDown featuring the return of Dolph Ziggler and the continuation of R-Truth’s reign as 24/7 champion.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/05/22/rasd-5-21-19-dolph-ziggler-returns-reigns-vs-elias-rutruth/
*****
RAR 5/20/19: Beast in the Bank, 24/7 title, Becky 1 Belt

John Pollock is back with Wai Ting to review WWE Raw featuring Mick Foley’s announcement of a new 24/7 title and Brock Lesnar teasing a cash-in on either Seth Rollins or Kofi Kingston.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/05/21/rar-5-20-19-beast-in-the-bank-24-7-title-becky-1-belt/
*****
Owen Hart’s Final Day: A POST Profile 

John Pollock goes back to May 23rd, 1999, the night Owen Hart tragically passed away in Kansas City, Missouri. Featuring original interviews from those that knew Hart and covered his passing.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/05/20/owen-harts-final-day-a-post-profile/
*****

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About John Pollock 1130 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.