POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Profiles on UFC Hall of Fame inductees

Profiles tonight's UFC Hall of Fame inductees, MLW announces pay-per-view, re-visiting the Titan Sports trial of '94, a study on ROH's attendance & lots more.

POST IT NOTES

**On this week’s edition of the Café Hangout, Damian Abraham joined Wai Ting and I in-studio for the full show to chat the final two episodes of ‘The Wrestlers’ on Viceland. We discussed his travels to the Democratic Republic of Congo and ‘Body Slamming Homophobia in Mexico’ along with the prospects for a second season, the positive and negative reaction to the series, his hosting, and lots more. Plus, we previewed the first night of the G1 on Saturday in Dallas and took your phone calls. The Café Hangout airs every Thursday at 3 pm Eastern for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**This month’s edition of ASK-A-WAI is available to all members of the POST Wrestling Café. Wai Ting and I spent over an hour taking your mailbag questions to discuss tons of topics, including AEW, New Japan, Chris Jericho, Becky Lynch, Impact, milk bags, and when Wai and I plan to retire.

**On Thursday, Cody Saftic returned to the POST Office and chatted with me for over an hour as we previewed UFC 239, the buzz for the card, the prospects of either Thiago Santos or Holly Holm winning, Luke Rockhold’s move up to light heavyweight, the UFC’s Hall of Fame, this year’s inductee, and the changing landscape of MMA media over the past few months.

**Braden Herrington and Davie Portman have launched their own BDE Official YouTube channel with lots of content going up. Their latest additions include this week’s edition of upNXT and a review of Spiderman: Far from Home.

**Below is the video version of our G1 Climax Primer with WH Park, Wai Ting and I previewing the tournament:

**This weekend, we have a lot of shows coming out and below is the best way to follow the schedule:
*Saturday: G1 Climax Night 1 POST Show – Wai Ting and I will be LIVE for Double Double+ members of the Café at 11 pm Eastern following the show and taking your calls after our review. The podcast version will be free for everyone. Starting next weekend, the G1 Climax reviews will be available to members of the POST Wrestling Café.
*Saturday: Cruel Summer with WH Park & Wai Ting reviewing the 2001 G1 final between Keiji Mutoh and Yuji Nagata
*Sunday: Cruel Summer with WH Park & Dylan Fox reviewing the 2002 final between Masahiro Chono and Yoshihiro Takayama
*Sunday: Impact Wrestling Slammiversary POST Show with John Pollock & Nate Milton

WRESTLING NEWS

**The big show of the weekend is New Japan’s opening night of the G1 Climax from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. We will have coverage of the show throughout the night on Saturday and a POST Show with Wai Ting and I going live at 11 pm Eastern. Below is the full card, beginning at 6 pm Eastern on AXS TV and New Japan World outside the U.S.:
*Guerrillas of Destiny vs. Roppongi 3K in a non-title match
*Tomohiro Ishii & Shota Umino vs. Jeff Cobb & Ren Narita
*Jay White & Chase Owens vs. Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi
*Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi & Bushi vs. Juice Robinson, Jushin Thunder Liger & Toru Yano
*Will Ospreay vs. Lance Archer – A BLOCK
*EVIL vs. Bad Luck Fale – A BLOCK
*Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Sanada – A BLOCK
*Kota Ibushi vs. KENTA – A BLOCK
*Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi – A BLOCK

**Our own Mike Murray was at the G1 Climax press conference on Friday and filed a report on the main page with quotes from the field of participants. Everyone spoke at the press conference except for Jon Moxley, who was not there. After the press conference, the media spoke to various performers.

**WH Park has an extensive preview of the G1 Climax going through each participant, his pick to win, and isolating the matches to keep your eye on throughout the tournament.

**Lavie Margolin has researched Ring of Honor’s attendance figures at the halfway mark of 2019. In his study, he has ROH drawing a record-setting 35,729 people, which is a new record and up 10% from the same point in 2018 with an average of 1,489 per show compared to 1,412 in 2018. The bad news is what you would assume and how the health of their business looks dramatically different when you exclude the G1 Supercard from Madison Square Garden, which was the most successful show in company history and sold out immediately over WrestleMania weekend. If you remove the G1 Supercard, they have drawn 19,195, which is down 28% from the same point last year and are averaging 834 per show this year compared to 1,213 in 2018.

**MLW’s Court Bauer announced to SI.com that the promotion will stage its first pay-per-view on Saturday, November 2nd from Cicero Stadium in Illinois. ‘Saturday SuperFight’ will feature all the championships being defended with Bauer telling the outlet the seeds will be planted throughout the summer to climax at the November show. Justin Barrasso of SI added in his report that the pay-per-view will be available on all cable and dish carriers within the United States and Canada with negotiations to stream the show worldwide. Bauer initially launched MLW in 2002 and had television in Florida on the Sunshine Network and shut down in 2004. After resurrecting the brand as a podcast network in 2012, Bauer eventually returned to promoting wrestling shows in the fall of 2017 and struck a television deal the following year with beIN Sports, which hosts their weekly Fusion program on Saturday nights at 9 pm Eastern.

**This week marks 25 years since the beginning of the steroid distribution trial involving Vince McMahon and Titan Sports. David Bixenspan has obtained court records and other files related to the trial and is writing extensively about it. Bixenspan recently launched a subscriber-based newsletter called ‘Babyface v. Heel’ on Substack. His first piece of the ongoing series titled ‘The Boys Need Their Candies’ (a quote from Chief Jay Strongbow to Titan executive Anita Scales. CORRECTION: We had previously stated Pat Patterson was the one to deliver the line but it was Strongbow) is free to read and beginning next week will be available for $5 per month or $50 for the year. In the first piece, it looks at several memos and focuses on Scales, who was clearly against the usage of Dr. George Zahorian at their Pennsylvania shows while Patterson urged Scales to assign the doctor to an event on December 26, 1989. When Linda McMahon learned of a potential state department investigation involving Zahorian through lawyer Jack Krill, she called off the plans to assign Zahorian after initially backing Patterson’s request with Scales. The piece also contains testimony from Dr. Zahorian’s separate trial in 1991 and his affinity for the wrestlers that he prescribed and essentially became a pharmacy for these performers with quotations from Bret Hart’s 2007 autobiography that categorized the supply Zahorian was providing to the locker room.

**The SmackDown crew has a live event on Saturday in Utica, New York tonight with Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler, Bayley vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Alexa Bliss, and Finn Balor vs. Andrade being advertised. The Adirondack Bank Center was promoting 2-for-1 ticket sales from Thursday until tonight at 11 pm. The Raw crew has a show in Washington, D.C. on Saturday night with Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin in a Street Fight, Ricochet vs. AJ Styles vs. Cesaro for the United States title, and Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Lacey Evans for the Raw women’s title (so, Alexa Bliss is being advertised locally on both shows Saturday night). There are live events on Sunday night in Binghamton, New York, and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Raw is in Newark, New Jersey on Monday night from the Prudential Center.

**WWE has announced two matches for Raw on Monday night with Roman Reigns and a mystery partner against Shane McMahon & Drew McIntyre. Plus, they have announced a mixed tag with Seth Rollins & Becky Lynch vs. Andrade & Zelina Vega for the final episode of Raw heading into Extreme Rules.

**Here are the matches for tonight’s episode of Impact Wrestling at 10 pm Eastern for the final episode before Slammiversary this weekend:
*Rich Swann & Willie Mack vs. Johnny Impact & John E. Bravo
*Trey vs. Dez vs. Wentz
*Madison Rayne vs. Kiera Hogan
*Laredo Kid vs. Rohit Raju
*TJP vs. Ace Austin

**A new edition of WWE ‘24’ focusing on Batista will premiere on the WWE Network this Monday following Raw. They have also announced an edition of ‘Chronicle’ focusing on Ricochet that premieres on Saturday, July 13th following the EVOLVE 131 show on the network.

**PWG has announced that Darby Allin is the latest entrant into this year’s Battle of Los Angeles tournament joining A-Kid, Jonathan Gresham, and Artemis Spencer.

**Daniel Bryan discusses how he came up with the name EVOLVE ahead of the promotion’s launch in 2010.

**Impact Wrestling also has a streaming event tonight at 8 pm Eastern from San Antonio, Texas. The ‘Bash at the Brewery’ event will stream live on Impact Plus at 8 pm Eastern and on Fite.tv and will be headlined by Sami Callihan taking on Rob Van Dam.

**Georgia Smith, the daughter of Diana and the late Davey Boy Smith, has joined the MLW broadcast team and will begin on Saturday’s Kings of the Colosseum live broadcast on beIN Sports at 9 pm Eastern.

**MLW has also added a match between Gringo Loco and Zenshi to Saturday night’s taping at Cicero Stadium.

**The WWE stock closed at $75.15 on Friday.

MMA NEWS

**The UFC’s annual Hall of Fame ceremony takes place tonight from The Pearl at the Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada. The UFC’s version is closer to WWE’s version where there isn’t a voting process or transparency regarding who selects the entrants and what the criteria are. Everyone has different views on what a Hall of Fame should be and in the case of WWE and UFC, there are those involved that take it seriously and a legitimate accolade, while others may dismiss it. Both WWE and UFC have addressed major omissions over the years with WWE adding Bruno Sammartino and addressing other critical holes through the Legacy Wing, although it’s easily the most transparent Hall of Fame and just about everyone is eligible for inclusion. In the UFC’s version, the major name missing is Frank Shamrock, who I feel will go in eventually, but there are years of baggage attached to that one.

The initiative was a passion project of former executive Ant Evans, who eventually received the green light despite a failed first pitch to Lorenzo Fertitta. The Hall of Fame was not a big deal for the company until the past few years and having a platform like Fight Pass that was hungry for original content. The early inductions were limited to in-cage presentations at events and quick speeches at Fan Expos. In 2017, they turned it into a ceremony like WWE’s version. I felt last year’s show was the best one they produced to date, including a fantastic tribute to the late Bruce Connal.

Tonight’s ceremony streams live at 10 pm Eastern on Fight Pass with the following inductees:

*Michael Bisping (Modern Era Wing): If it came down to voting, I feel Bisping would be in. It’s debatable if he would be in without the middleweight title win in the twilight of his career in 2016. He had enormous charisma and was a name fighter coming out of the U.K. when the UFC was aggressively going into that area of the world. He was always a fighter that could headline a Fight Night and be solid support on a pay-per-view. His story was one of always losing when it counted most when he was one fight away from a title show. He lost to Dan Henderson at UFC 100, Chael Sonnen in January 2012, and Vitor Belfort in January 2013. As a major opponent of PED usage and TRT exemptions, his frustrations grew when you looked at the fighters that claimed victories over him. At a time, he was among the most hated fighters especially after a spitting incident at UFC 127 in 2011 when he spat towards the corner of opponent Jorge Rivera after a video was produced mocking Bisping in the lead-up. In time, he became very popular and has parlayed his skills to broadcasting where he has improved greatly since the beginning.

*Rashad Evans (Modern Era Wing): Evans was the heavyweight contract winner on the second season of Ultimate Fighter in 2005, defeating Brad Imes and then competed at light heavyweight. When it comes to highlighting reel knockouts, his wins over Sean Salmon and Chuck Liddell are among the most replayed in UFC history. In December 2008, he defeated Forrest Griffin and won the light heavyweight title but failed to defend it, losing to Lyoto Machida less than six months later. As a draw, he had huge fights with Quinton Jackson and Jon Jones with the former being one of the most successful non-title fights in UFC’s history. As great a fighter as Jones is, his rivalries with Evans and Daniel Cormier have been the ones that elevated his status most. Evans is right on the fence for me and it comes down to how exclusive you feel the Hall of Fame should be. He left Jackson-Wink and helped launch the Blackzilians and became a mentor to a generation of Florida-based fighters, including current welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. If you include drawing power as part of the criteria, he’s in. Strictly on fighting and the Hall of Fame is reserved for the absolute best of a generation, it’s more of a debate and you can’t cherry-pick his resume and ignore the final three years of his career.

*Rich Franklin (Pioneer Wing): Franklin was a former middleweight champion and became a star during the UFC’s boom period in 2005. On the first TUF Finale that is remembered for the Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar, it was Franklin that headlined the card defeating Ken Shamrock and was designed to catapult Franklin’s star. Franklin defeated Evan Tanner in June 2005 to win the championship and become a coach on the second season of TUF with Matt Hughes. Unlike the first season, the coaches wouldn’t fight afterward with Hughes holding the welterweight title. Franklin was the antithesis of the MMA stereotype and marketed hard as a math teacher turned fighter that was well-spoken and everything the UFC coveted in its image upgrade. In March 2006, the UFC promoted the U.S. vs. Canada pay-per-view (which Dana White told me at the time he hated) where Franklin defeated David Loiseau in the main event and Loiseau was never the same fighter afterward. Franklin’s run at middleweight was offset by the arrival of Anderson Silva, who defeated Franklin for the title in October 2006 and again in a rematch the following year. Franklin served as the lifesaver when the UFC was in a pinch for the main event or someone to fill in and fighting high-end fighters throughout his career. He returned to light heavyweight in 2008 and had notable victories over Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva twice. His last fight took place in November 2012 where he was knocked out by Cung Le in China. Today he serves as an executive for ONE Championship.

*Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida (TUF 9 Finale on June 20, 2009): This was the consensus choice for Fight of the Year in 2009 and the first round is still among the best rounds you are going to witness. Sanchez won the fight by split decision that night and re-watching the fight, it is insane that two judges didn’t score Round 1 as a 10-8 for Sanchez. Sanchez dominated the first round with unbelievable striking out of the gate and a head kick knockdown that Guida recovered from. In the second, Guida takes Sanchez down and is on his way to securing the round when Sanchez unloads with elbows from the bottom and I felt did enough to win the round. In the third, Guida gets the round through his wrestling although Sanchez threatened with a choke but never had his back and didn’t seem to have it locked. I had it 29-27 for Sanchez. It’s an amazing fight and being in the small venue of The Pearl Concert Theatre gave a more intimate feel and the audience was going nuts.

**We have a feature on the site looking back at all the Fourth of July week cards the UFC has put on dating back to 2006 and some of their biggest events ever.

**The UFC’s summer press conference takes place later today at 5:30 pm Eastern with Max Holloway, Frankie Edgar, Daniel Cormier, Stipe Miocic, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Dustin Poirier scheduled to attend to promote their upcoming fights.

**The UFC 239 card takes place Saturday night from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and is the strongest card they have presented this year. It is their biggest card since the deal with ESPN+ obtaining the exclusive U.S. rights to their pay-per-views. Under the old model, I would estimate this card doing around 350,000 – 400,000 buys and that is contingent on how influential Jon Jones is for casual interest. Jones has drawn well over his past two fights since December with Alexander Gustafsson and Anthony Smith and is the draw on this one. Amanda Nunes and Holly Holm is one of the most interesting fights on the card as it’s surely Holm’s last opportunity at the bantamweight title and has the chance to be the first two-time champion in the women’s bantamweight class. Nunes has been unstoppable and cemented her spot as the top female fighter of all-time but hasn’t translated into superstar status within the sport. Luke Rockhold stands to gain a lot with a victory over Jan Blachowicz and I could see him fast-tracked into a title fight if he looks great. He has not fought since February 2018 when he was knocked out by Yoel Romero and there’s plenty of questions to see how he adjusts at the higher weight class. When he is on point, Rockhold is among the best fighters out there.

The fighters all made weight in Friday morning with the following lineup and weigh-in results:

MAIN CARD (10 pm Eastern on pay-per-view)
*Jon Jones (205) vs. Thiago Santos (204.5) for the UFC light heavyweight title
*Amanda Nunes (135) vs. Holly Holm (133.5) for the UFC women’s bantamweight title
*Jorge Masvidal (170.5) vs. Ben Askren (171)
*Luke Rockhold (204.5) vs. Jan Blachowicz (205.5)
*Michael Chiesa (170.5) vs. Diego Sanchez (169)

PRELIMINARY CARD (8 pm Eastern on ESPN)
*Gilbert Melendez (145.5) vs. Arnold Allen (145.5)
*Marlon Vera (136) vs. Nohelin Hernandez (136)
*Claudia Gadelha (115) vs. Randa Markos (116)
*Alejandro Perez (135.5) vs. Song Yadong (135.5)

FIGHT PASS CARD (6:15 pm Eastern, ESPN+)
*Edmen Shahbazyan (185) vs. Jack Marshman (185)
*Ismail Naurdiev (171) vs. Chance Rencountre (170.5)
*Pannie Kianzad (135) vs. Julia Avila (135)

**Five Questions with our own Phil Chertok chatting this weekend’s UFC 239 card.

**Ariel Helwani conducted one of the craziest interviews you will ever see when he spoke to Diego Sanchez on Thursday. This is a better promo than just about anyone in professional wrestling and Sanchez is doing close to 17 minutes of material off the top of his head.

**Luke Thomas was a guest on Submission Radio with Kacper Rosolowski and Denis Shkuratov to discuss his decision to stop doing The MMA Hour, the difficulties in transitioning from the previous incarnation of the show with Ariel Helwani, and some hints regarding his next project that will likely be announced early next week.

**Robin Black spoke to VICE about branching out on his own with his fight analysis and recalls his first MMA fight.

**Below is the latest edition of UFC Embedded going into Saturday’s card:

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CAFÉ HANGOUT – July 4, 2019

It’s the season finale of Viceland’s The Wrestlers and host Damian Abraham joins John Pollock and Wai Ting in-person for the entire show. We chat the series as a whole and the final two episodes dealing with Witch Catch wrestling in the Congo and Exóticos battling homophobia in Mexico, plus your calls!
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/07/05/vicelands-the-wrestlers-finale-damian-abraham-in-studio-cafe-hangout/
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ASK-A-WAI: Ask Us Anything! (July 2019)

John Pollock and Wai Ting answer their patrons’ questions from the POST Wrestling Forum in the July 2019 edition of Ask-A-Wai.
https://www.patreon.com/posts/28141374
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upNXT 7/4/19: “Anybody Can get Lucky, Once”

The BDE chat all about the July 3rd Edition of WWE NXT including Tyler Breeze vs. Roderick Strong, Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs. Cameron Grimes from the NXT Breakout Tournament, and Adam Cole’s championship tour in Cleveland.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/07/04/upnxt-7-4-19-anybody-can-get-lucky-once/
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POST Interview: Cody Saftic

Cody Saftic returns to the POST Office to chat with John Pollock about UFC 239, Jones vs. Santos, Nunes vs. Holm, the UFC Hall of Fame, the changing media landscape & more.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/07/04/post-interview-cody-saftic-on-ufc-239-hall-of-fame-media-landscape/
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NJPW G1 Climax 29 Primer

Join John Pollock, Wai Ting and WH Park as they preview pro wrestling’s biggest tournament of the year in their NJPW G1 Climax 29 Primer.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/07/04/njpw-g1-climax-29-primer/
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RASD 7/2/19: Knock Knock Who’s There?

John Pollock and Wai Ting review Tuesday’s WWE SmackDown featuring a must-see promo exchange between Kofi Kingston and Samoa Joe.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/07/03/rasd-7-2-19-knock-knock-whos-there/
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REWIND-A-RAW 7/1/19: Raw E. Dangerously

After last week’s news that Paul Heyman has been named the Executive Director of WWE Raw, John Pollock and Wai Ting review Monday’s show to see what changes, if any, would be evident.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/07/02/rar-7-1-19-raw-e-dangerously/
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CRUEL SUMMER #10: Manabu Nakanishi vs. Kensuke Sasaki (2000)

WH Park is joined by JP Houlihan of the GRAPPL Spotlight podcast to discuss the finals of NJPW’s tenth annual G1 Climax tournament: Manabu Nakanishi vs. Kensuke Sasaki from August 13, 2000.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/06/30/cruel-summer-10-manabu-nakanishi-vs-kensuke-sasaki-2000-w-jp-houlihan/
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AEW FYTER FEST POST SHOW

Wai Ting & Davie Portman review AEW Fyter Fest from Daytona Beach, FL headlined by Jon Moxley vs. Joey Janela in an Unsanctioned Match.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2019/06/30/aew-fyter-fest-post-show/
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About John Pollock 1000 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.