POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Eli Drake announces he is a free agent

Eli Drake announces his free agency, reaction to Atsushi Aoki's passing, more on the ROH story from Portland, Nurmagomedov-Poirier announced, MLW notes from Milwaukee & more.

POST IT NOTES

**We are happy to announce that on SummerSlam weekend, we will be presenting POST Wrestling Live in Toronto. Wai Ting and I will be hosting this show on Sunday, August 11th at the John Candy Box Theatre at Second City in downtown Toronto. There will be a live Q&A show at 1 pm followed by a meet-and-greet for everyone. Tickets are available now with a $5 discount for members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**Rewind-A-Raw is available on the site with Wai Ting and I reviewing Monday’s episode from Austin, Texas. On the show, we discussed the passing of Atsushi Aoki, the ROH story from Portland on Sunday night, reaction to NXT TakeOver in Bridgeport, and discussing the finals of the Best of the Super Juniors tournament for Wednesday night. Plus, we discuss our upcoming live show in Toronto over SummerSlam weekend and we take your feedback to Raw.

**We will be back tonight with Rewind-A-SmackDown with a review of the show and we’ll also dedicate some time to discussing Jon Moxley’s interview with Wade Keller over the weekend.

**My full interview with Jeff Marek from the recent Owen Hart documentary will be released Wednesday afternoon for members of the POST Wrestling Café.

POST WRESTLING SCHEDULE
*Tonight: Rewind-A-SmackDown
*Wed: POST Profile Bonus – Jeff Marek Full Interview (Patreon)
*Wed: The Double Shot – Best of the Super Juniors final review (Patreon)
*Thurs: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
*Thurs: Café Hangout w/ Damian Abraham (Live at 3 pm ET, Dbl Dbl+)
*Fri: ASK-A-WAI (Patreon)
*Fri: WWE Super Showdown Review w/ guests Karim Zidan and Will Cooling
*Sat: Cruel Summer “1993” w/ WH Park & Damon MacDonald
*Sat: UFC 238 POST Show w/ John Pollock & Phil Chertok
*Sun: Cruel Summer “1994” w/ WH Park & Mavs Gillis
*Sun: NJPW Dominion POST Show w/ John Pollock & Wai Ting (Patreon)

WRESTLING NEWS

**The SmackDown and 205 Live tapings will take place from Laredo, Texas for the final stop before most of the crew heads to Saudi Arabia for the Super Showdown event this Friday. Tonight’s show is being promoted around Bill Goldberg’s appearance for his lone appearance prior to the match with The Undertaker. The WWE is advertising both Goldberg and The Undertaker in their live events section. The following has been announced for tonight:
*Bill Goldberg’s appearance
*Moment of Bliss with Bayley
*An interview with Lars Sullivan

**It was reported Monday night that All Japan wrestler Atsushi Aoki had died as a result of a motorcycle accident at age 41. Aoki was the reigning AJPW junior heavyweight champion, having just won the title a few weeks ago at Korakuen Hall and was set for a title defense against former partner Hikaru Sato. All Japan president and long-time colleague Jun Akiyama held a press conference and said he was the first to arrive at the hospital after being contacted by the police. Akiyama said he will speak to Aoki’s family about a potential tribute show in the future. The Eastern Lariat podcast has put together a show looking back at Aoki’s career following the news of his passing.

**The finals of the Best of the Super Juniors will go down Wednesday morning and stream live at 5:30 am Eastern on New Japan World. On Monday night, they released the full card:
*Shingo Takagi vs. Will Ospreay in the BOSJ final
*Juice Robinson vs. Jon Moxley for the IWGP United States title
*Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jay White
*Kazuchika Okada & Rocky Romero vs. Marty Scurll & Brody King
*Kota Ibushi, Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma & Toa Henare vs. Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, Sanada & Bushi
*Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr., Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Douki vs. Tomohiro Ishii, Yoshi-Hashi, Toru Yano, Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask
*Taiji Ishimori, El Phantasmo & Robbie Eagles vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & Roppongi 3K
*Dragon Lee, Titan & Shota Umino vs. Bandido, Jonathan Gresham & Ren Narita

**Eli Drake (Shaun Ricker) announced Tuesday that he is officially a free agent after finishing up with Impact Wrestling. Drake issued the following statement on his time with Impact and announcing his free agent status:

After 4 year with Impact Wrestling, some ups, some down, I would like to thank them for the overall great experience. Through those years, I had the fortune of carrying 3 different title belts, having my own talk show (Fact of Life), and was always given the trust to craft my own promos, virtually from day 1. I appreciate the chance that was taken on me and the trust I was given, as well as the friends and experiences I gained along the way. I wish Impact Wrestling nothing but continued success and growth going forward. Today, I am OFFICIALLY a FREE AGENT.

**The story that seems to have received the most traction over the past two days was the incident in Portland, Oregon at the Ring of Honor event. It’s a case of listening to both sides and trying to arrive at a reasonable conclusion as to what occurred. Bully Ray, Angelina Love, Velvet Sky, and Mandy Leon have all commented on the matter stating that the fan, Josh Ketch, was harassing them with inappropriate language and gestures made towards them. Ketch outlined his response to the entire situation while adding he will no longer attend Ring of Honor events after this past weekend.

Ring of Honor stated on Monday they were conducting an internal review on the situation. At the very least, a protocol needs to be in place regarding what constitutes the line being crossed at events. Secondly, when that line has been crossed, the appropriate actions should be taken by security at the venue and not having fans brought backstage and left with a wrestler.

**MLW drew 742 people on Saturday for their first show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which they were happy with and described it as a “healthy start”. One of the big news items from the show was that they broke their existing merchandise record and their new “Aloha Von Erich” shirts sold out. Marshall & Ross Von Erich were said to have received a big reaction for their six-man tornado match teaming with Tom Lawlor against Contra. They seemed to be very high on Austin Aries, who worked the show on Saturday and while it wasn’t said if he’s been booked for future shows, it seems like the promotion is keen on using him.

**Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics Radio has put together a tremendous audio show detailing the WWE’s deal with the Government of Saudi Arabia and explaining the broader issues at play.

**Ring of Honor has announced Dragon Lee vs. Dalton Castle and Flip Gordon vs. Rush for the Best in the World pay-per-view on Friday, June 28th in Baltimore, Maryland at the UMBC Event Center.

**PWG has announced that the annual Battle of Los Angeles tournament will take place September 19th, 20th and 22nd, which means there will be shows Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. This means the Saturday is open, which Dave Meltzer reported was due to a booking at the venue. It opens the door for another company to run a loaded show with talent and fans having nothing to do that night and remaining in the city for Sunday’s show.

The makeup of the field for BOLA this year will intriguing because of so many past names signed to contracts and will force them to go seek out new names. I say this all the time, and I’m not holding my breath on a change, but if this year doesn’t feature talent from ROH, AEW, and other companies, it would eliminate the restriction of broadcasting the show with talent that is free to appear on a live streaming event. Every year, PWG leaves lots of money on the table because it’s one of the most sought-after tournaments and I think they would great business broadcasting the shows through Fite or another streaming service.

**On the WWE Performance Center site, they have the new names for several performers. Trevor Lee will now be identified as Cameron Grimes, Jessie Elaban is now Jessi Kamea, Adrian Jaoude is listed as Arturo Ruas, Luke Menzies will be Ridge Holland, and Eric Bugenhagen will be known as Rik Bugez.

**ECW Press will be releasing Soulman: The Rocky Johnson Story written by Johnson with historian Scott Teal on September 3rd. Later this year, Mayor Kane: My Life in Wrestling Liberty will be released through Center Street Publishing with a release date listed for November 26th.

**Hikaru Shida has noted she will be on tour in Japan and won’t be part of the Fyter Fest show on June 29th in Daytona Beach, Florida. The Japanese tour will be her final one before moving to the United States.

**Garrett Kidney has a story on the history of Impact Wrestling with Tuesday marking 15 years since the promotion premiered on Fox Sports Net. In Kidney’s article, he mentions that there have been 776 episodes of Impact Wrestling since 2004 that cover five networks.

**Dustin Rhodes will be a guest on Wednesday’s edition of Talk is Jericho.

**MLW has announced that Dr. Wagner Jr. and his son El Hijo de Dr. Wagner Jr. will be working for the group on Saturday, July 6th. The two will be part of the Fusion television tapings that night at Cicero Stadium in Chicago, which has become a very strong market for the promotion.

**OTT’s next major card is WrestleRama III at the National Basketball Arena in Dublin on Sunday, June 23rd. The card will feature OTT champion Jordan Devlin defending against Sean Guinness, a rematch between David Starr and Walter, and Darby Allin vs. Scotty Davis in the top matches.

**Sting is the latest name announced for Starrcast III over All Out weekend in Chicago, Illinois. Sting joins Mick Foley as the first names announced for the convention.

MMA NEWS

**UFC president Dana White appeared on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Tuesday and confirmed that Khabib Nurmagomedov will defend the lightweight title against Dustin Poirier on September 7th in Abu Dhabi. The fight will serve as the headliner of the UFC 242, which is the promotion’s first card in Abu Dhabi since April 2014. In an interview with ESPN, Nurmagomedov’s manager Ali Abdelaziz confirmed that his client has signed a new multi-fight contract with the organization that contains a unique clause. If Georges St-Pierre is to ever fight again, Nurmagomedov would be the one to fight him, according to Abdelaziz. He added that Nurmagemdov’s cousin Abubakar and training partner Zubaira Tukhugov are under contract to the UFC following suspensions after the post-fight brawl at UFC 229 involving Conor McGregor.

**After his fourth consecutive loss this past Saturday, UFC light heavyweight Jimi Manuwa has announced his retirement at age 39. Manuwa has been competing since July 2008 and rose up on the U.K. MMA scene fighting primarily for UCMMA and was signed by the UFC in 2012. During his tenure with the promotion, he went 6-6. His best stretch occurred several years ago when he defeated Ovince Saint Preux and Corey Anderson in back-to-back fights. He was poised to move into title contention when he was upset by Volkan Oezdemir in July 2017 and knocked out in 42 seconds by the future title challenger. It was the start of Manuwa’s slide as he followed that loss with defeats at the hands of Jan Blachowicz, Thiago Santos, and Aleksandar Rakic this past weekend.

**Nick Hein has also announced his retirement following a loss at this past Saturday’s UFC card in Stockholm, Sweden. The 35-year old was defeated by Frank Camacho with four seconds remaining in the second round of their lightweight fight. Hein had fought for nearly ten years, arriving in the UFC in May 2014 and defeated Drew Dober. After winning three consecutive fights from June 2015 until September 2016, he lost his last three to Davi Ramos, Damir Hadzovic, and Camacho. He retires with a record of 14-5 with one no contest.

**A nagging arm injury is going to force UFC fighter Paige VanZant to undergo a third operation on her right arm. ESPN was the first to report the news of the pending surgery, it’s an issue VanZant has dealt with since breaking the arm in a January 2018 fight against Jessica Rose-Clark. She had two surgeries on the arm that kept her out of action for the rest of 2018 and returned this past January to defeat Rachael Ostovich. She told ESPN she hopes to be out three months after surgery and one fight remaining on her current UFC deal.

**MMA Fighting is reporting that Leslie Smith is expecting to make her Bellator debut against Sinead Kavanagh on Friday, July 12th in Thackerville, Oklahoma. Smith finished out her contract with UFC and was not offered a new deal, despite winning two fights in a row over Irene Aldana and Amanda Lemos. She has not fought since July 2017 and will be fighting Kavanagh at featherweight.

*****
RAR 6/3/19: Brock-And-Switch Tactics, Atsushi Aoki Passes Away
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE Raw featuring the go-home show to Super ShowDown, we debate the ROH-Bully Ray story, AJPW’s Atsushi Aoki passes away.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/06/04/rar-6-3-19-brock-and-switch-tactics-atsushi-aoki-passes-away/
*****

Cruel Summer #2: Masahiro Chono vs. Rick Rude (1992)
WH Park welcomes Matt McEwen to discuss the finals of NJPW’s second G1 Climax tournament: Masahiro Chono vs. Ravishing Rick Rude from August 12, 1992.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/06/02/cruel-summer-2-masahiro-chono-vs-rick-rude-1992-w-matt-mcewen/
*****
NXT TakeOver: XXV POST Show
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review NXT TakeOver: XXV from Bridgeport featuring Johnny Gargano vs. Adam Cole for the NXT title in the main event.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/06/02/nxt-takeover-xxv-post-show-with-braden-herrington-davie-portman/
*****
Cruel Summer #1: Keiji Mutoh vs. Masahiro Chono (1991) w/ John Pollock
WH Park welcomes John Pollock to discuss the finals of NJPW’s inaugural G1 Climax tournament: Keiji Mutoh vs. Masahiro Chono from August 11, 1991.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/06/01/cruel-summer-1-keiji-mutoh-vs-masahiro-chono-1991-w-john-pollock/
*****
Café Hangout feat. Andreas Hale, Sebastian Suave & Damian Abraham

Andreas Hale talks minority representation in wrestling, Sebastian Suave on OWE coming to Toronto, and Damian Abraham talks MVP on The Wrestlers in this week’s Café Hangout.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/05/31/wrestling-stereotypes-owe-smash-the-wrestlers-ep-2-cafe-hangout/
*****
Rewind-A-Wai #37: Thunder in Paradise (1993)
John Pollock and Wai Ting review the 1993 straight-to-video feature film, Thunder In Paradise starring Terry “Hulk” Hogan.
https://www.patreon.com/posts/27254154
*****
upNXT 5/29/19: The Road to Bridgeport
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review this week’s edition of WWE NXT featuring Kushida vs. Drew Gulak, Bianca Bel Air vs. Mia Yim, plus all the build & predictions for this Saturday’s TakeOver: XXV.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/05/30/upnxt-5-30-19-the-road-to-bridgeport/
*****
DOUBLE SHOT: Jon Moxley on Talk is Jericho, Starrcast panels, Being the Elite

John Pollock & Wai Ting review Jon Moxley’s interview on Talk is Jericho, Starrcast panels (Young Bucks & Cody, Dustin Rhodes, Bret Hart & Tom Magee, Arn Anderson), Being the Elite & more.
https://www.patreon.com/posts/27235026
*****

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About John Pollock 944 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.