POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: WWE & Saudi Arabia issue release on expanding partnership

WWE announces expanded deal in Saudi Arabia, AJ Styles and Natalya comment on flight delays, NXT talent at Raw, Hulk Hogan on 'The Goldbergs', Mayu Iwatani wins title & more.

Photo Courtesy: WWE


**Wai Ting and I did a Power Struggle POST Show on Sunday night with a full review of the card from Sunday in Osaka, Japan. We went through all the matches, the return of Hiromu Takahashi to set up a title match at Wrestle Kingdom, Chris Jericho’s challenge issued to Hiroshi Tanahashi, and setting the pieces in place for the two Tokyo Dome cards in January. This show is available to all members of the POST Wrestling Cafe.

**Wai Ting and I are back with Rewind-A-Raw tonight to go through the show from the Nassau Coliseum, discussing all the major news items, and taking feedback and questions.

**We have a feedback thread posted for this week’s Rewind-A-Wai where he will review the NJPW New Beginning in Osaka show from February 2014. This card was headlined by Kazuchika Okada vs. Hirooki Goto for the IWGP heavyweight title.


**The latest edition of Thunderstruck hosted by WH Park and chatting with Richard “Benno” Benson about the November 2004 match between Jushin Thunder Liger and Bryan Danielson in Ring of Honor:

**Phil Chertok and I review Saturday’s UFC 244 card from Madison Square Garden:


*Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting
*Tuesday: Rewind-A-Wai #48: NJPW New Beginning in Osaka 2014 (Patreon)
*Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John Pollock & Wai Ting
*Wednesday: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
*Thursday: Cafe Hangout with guest Damian Abraham (Live at 3 pm ET for all Patrons)
*Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (Patreon)
*Saturday: AEW Full Gear POST Show with John & Wai
*Sunday: Thunderstruck Ep. 3 with WH Park & guest Joey Bay (Liger vs. Rey Mysterio from Starrcade ’96)


**In the middle of all the fallout from last week’s flight delays in Saudi Arabia, WWE has issued a press release announcing the expansion of its partnership with the General Entertainment Authority of Saudi Arabia. The press release states that its long-term partnership will include a second annual large-scale event through 2027. The initial deal, which was under the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia, was announced in early 2018 with the first show under the deal taking place in Jeddah in April followed by Crown Jewel in November 2018 and two more events in 2019. The company has never stated that the deal called for two events per year, so this comes as an official announcement regarding the number of events per year but more than anything, a public statement that they are committed to working with Saudi Arabia and vice versa. We will be discussing this on Rewind-A-Raw tonight.

Following the historic Crown Jewel event in Riyadh, WWE (NYSE: WWE) and the Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA) have expanded their live event partnership through 2027 to include a second annual large-scale event.  WWE and GEA also continue to work towards the completion of a media agreement in the MENA region.

This long-term partnership demonstrates WWE and GEA’s commitment to bring sports entertainment to the region and supports Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

**The WWE has come out and addressed the Crown Jewel event being delayed on MBC Action in Saudi Arabia last Thursday. The company issued a statement to Forbes.com contributor Alfred Konuwa and denied the allegations stating that the feed issues had nothing to do with payments. The company added that there is a strong relationship with its partners in Saudi Arabia. We did reach out to WWE regarding why the feed was delayed but have not been given a response.

**Natalya was a guest with Jim Norton and Sam Roberts on Monday promoting tonight’s Raw in Uniondale, New York and was asked about last week’s travel delays:

I wasn’t stuck on a plane for too long because we were told to get off the plane. We boarded the plane after the show and the flight attendants said, ‘Hey, there is a mechanical issue’. So, when I’m told there is a mechanical issue on an airplane, I get off and I stay off until it’s fixed. It was a wild couple of days.

After the initial question, they moved and discussed the match with Lacey Evans last week. She discussed going to Jeddah this past June with Alexa Bliss and not knowing if they would get the match at Super Showdown, which did not happen.  

**On his Mixer account, AJ Styles outlined his experience from the past few days getting out of Saudi Arabia in the wake of the news coverage of the travel delays. Styles reiterated the mechanical problems that the charter flight experienced coupled with issues among flight personnel that had clocked out leaving the WWE talent and staff waiting. Styles said he did not know what when down between Vince McMahon and those running the show but added it’s not his job to speak about that. Below is a transcript from the two videos:

From the first clip:

We got to the airport; they weren’t letting us board. What was the problem? Not really sure, I heard there was a fuel truck in the way and the guy that drove the fuel truck had left to go home. I know, this makes no sense. Why would the fuel guy leave when he knew he had a plane that was leaving, doesn’t make much sense?

Then, there were some paperwork issues and then finally, after at least four or five hours we get on the plane. Then, they found something going on with the fuel ‘something or other’. It was broken. Now, people can say what they want, ‘No, it wasn’t broken, I don’t know’, but I talked to the pilot on that fourteen-hour flight, the pilot, I guess they take naps, too. So, he came out and we were all chatting and sitting around, talking. I said ‘Oh, so what happened?’ and he said, ‘Listen, there was a problem, that’s a real thing’ and I said, ‘Okay’.

The problem was, is we spent all that time from 1 o’clock until 6 or 8 in the morning waiting to board this plane, then getting on the plane, then telling us we can’t go anywhere because the pilots and everybody had timed out. From the pilots, from the help, they can only go for so long before they’re not able to fly because they can’t go for 24 hours at a time. So, they had to go back to a hotel, we had to find a hotel.

Were there guns, did they come out and go ‘Everybody off the plane? No. That didn’t happen’. My wife called me in a panic, and she’s scared to death and I go, ‘Babe, listen, we’re just not able to go anywhere. It’s not a big issue, nobody has threatened to kill us. There was none of that going on, nobody was going to get murdered, none of that ever happened. There was no threat.

From the second video:

I had the best sleep of my life in this hotel because I hadn’t slept because of jetlag. So, I know it sounds worse, it’s almost blown up to as if, you know, we were on the verge of being killed. That wasn’t the case.

I have no idea what happened with Vince and the Prince or the King, or whoever was putting on the show. I have no idea what happened. That’s not my job to say anything. My job is to go to work. Was I pretty angry about not getting home because I missed my son’s wrestling match? You have no idea; you have no idea how angry I was. But, if this is out of our hands, if it’s out of the pilot’s hands then there is nothing we can do. There is no point of getting mad and angry about something I have no control of.

So, I’m home now and I’m happy to be here. We’ll find out as we go along why things happened, or we won’t. I don’t know what’s going to happen going forward, it’s just going to be what it’s going to be. And, I’ll deal with it when I need to but I’m not going to throw WWE under the bus either, that’s not how I work. I am a guy who is committed to making the best product that I can and it’s not going to do me any good to throw good people under the bus, there are a lot of good that people that work for WWE and I will not make them look bad. There are a lot of people that were on that plane with me.

Until I know more, I’m not going to say more, I’m not going to say anything negative that’s not who I am as a person and if I did find out and I was offended, I will go to the source, believe me on that one.

**Tonight’s episode of Raw takes place from the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. They have announced Brock Lesnar will be appearing on the show as he is now considered a Raw talent and continuing his feud with Rey Mysterio. As of now, no matches have been announced for the show. Raw is going against the Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants game.

**Mike Johnson at PWinsider.com reported on Monday that NXT champion Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, Damian Priest, and Matt Riddle are at the building where Raw is taking place.

**Dave Meltzer was a guest on Sunday Night’s Main Event with Jason Agnew and discusses additional details that he has gathered from the circumstances behind the travel delay:

There were people who were working on the plane without a doubt, wrestlers told me there were people working on the plane and they were told there was a mechanical delay but they didn’t believe it. Again, I don’t know the situation, I think it was a combination of the fact that there was the showdown between Vince and the Prince earlier in the day. One person told me there were military guards that were there and the whole situation didn’t add up. Aside from Vince McMahon and a couple of other people I don’t think anyone really knows what happened.

This is what we know, as of September 30th they were not paid for the last show and other money. They were owed about $66 million from the Saudis on September 30th, which may have been two shows it certainly included the last show. They also didn’t have a television deal that they thought they were going to have. Now, they did get $60 million of that money recently, exactly when we don’t know but it was sometime between September 30th and October 31st. Something happened with Vince, they pulled the feed in Saudi Arabia of the television show. It did air about forty minutes later, so it aired on tape delay rather than live and that had to do with something. People in the company, unofficially, were saying it was a money issue between the sides and then they did the show and when they tried to leave the plane had mechanical problems. They were sitting there waiting for six hours and then they were told that the pilot’s time was up and they couldn’t go until later, and then that flight ended up not happening. Later, they finally did go about 25 1/2 hours later.

**Following speculation last week that the door had been opened between AEW and New Japan Pro Wrestling, Nick Jackson has shut down those theories. This subject was heightened after the entrance video for Kenny Omega last week that displayed Kota Ibushi holding the G1 trophy. Jackson responded to a fan on Twitter by saying,

It’s really not happening. Been asked this thousands of times and telling the truth is always best. Don’t want fans holding onto something that has zero chance of happening.

**Jackson went on to note that the group gave New Japan 4-6 months to plan without them and contrasted that to AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows, who Jackson said informed New Japan the night before when the three were WWE bound in early 2016. Styles lost to Shinsuke Nakamura at Wrestle Kingdom 10 that year and was attacked the following night at New Year’s Dash in his final appearance. Gallows and Anderson continued with New Japan and wrapped up in February.

**Pat McAfee spoke about the experience of being added to Friday Night SmackDown last Friday at the last-minute. McAfee said he flew home from Waco, Texas and was scheduled to go to Memphis, Tennessee for College GameDay.

He received a text from Paul Levesque at 1:42 pm asking if he was home and McAfee said, ‘yes’. Levesque called him and told McAfee he had not pitched it to Vince McMahon but asked if he could get to Buffalo for commentary. McAfee was set to fly to Memphis five-hours later and had no way to get to Buffalo.

He contacted several plane company’s to try and get to Buffalo and was unable to. He reached out to Pete Ward, the COO of the Indianapolis Colts and explained the story and had the chance to call SmackDown on Fox. He asked if there was anyway Colts owner Jim Irsay could fly him to Buffalo. McAfee received a callback and they were able to fly him there. Levesque sent a text to confirm he would be on the show.

He landed around 6:15 pm eastern in Buffalo and got to the arena and said he had the time of his life calling the show

**The WWE stock has not bounced back after taking a big hit following last Thursday’s Q3 earnings report. The stock was down 5% on Monday and closed at $53.12.

**AEW has announced that the January 8th episode of Dynamite will take place from the Landers Arena in Southaven, Mississippi with tickets going on sale this Friday. They are billing it as the ‘anniversary edition’ with the show taking place one year after the first press conference to announce the formation of the promotion.

**AEW has added a tag match with Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara vs. Kenny Omega & Hangman Page for this Wednesday’s episode of Dynamite in Charlotte, North Carolina. They have also added PAC vs. Trent to the show. This is the go-home episode before the Full Gear pay-per-view on Saturday night.

**Hulk Hogan will be appearing as a guest on the November 6th episode of ‘The Goldbergs’ on ABC. Hollywood Life has the following description of the episode:

During the episode, Murray decides to buy WrestleMania tickets to spend time with Barry and Adam, but he buys fake tickets so they can’t get in. Meanwhile, Beverly forms her own neighborhood watch group when the Frentas decide neighbor Jane Bales will be the Watch Captain and not her. Even though Barry and Adam can’t get in, they’re still going to get the WrestleMania treatment when Hulk shows up!

**Dragon Gate held its Gate of Destiny card in Osaka on Monday featuring Ben-K retaining the Open the Dream Gate title in the main event over Masato Yoshino. In other titles matches, Eita & Big R Shimizu defeated Ryo Saito & Yasushi Kanda to keep the Open the Twin Gate titles, the Strong Machines defeated Naruki Doi, Jason Lee & Dragon Kid to retain the Open the Triangle Gate titles, and Kaito Ishida defeated Susumu Yokosuka to win the Open the Brave Gate title. The show featured Lenny Leonard and Larry Dallas providing English commentary on Dragon Gate’s streaming service.

**Kyle O’Reilly discusses living with Type-1 diabetes and being told that a career in professional wrestling would be impossible.

**Lenny Leonard and Larry Dallas are staying in the country to call this Thursday’s Dragon Gate show at Korakuen Hall headlined by Big R Shimuzu & Eita vs. Ultimo Dragon & Yasushi Kanda.

**The Starrcast coverage on Fite TV begins this Friday with numerous panels set to stream on the service. Friday’s lineup will kick off with a show at 10 am eastern hosted by Colt Cabana, a panel with Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus at Noon, The Young Bucks at 1:30 pm, Jon Moxley at 3 pm, a show on Jim Crockett at 7 pm, and a Starrcast Talk Show with numerous guests at 8:30 pm.

**Mayu Iwatani is the new World of Stardom champion after defeating Bea Priestley in the main event of Monday’s show at Korakuen Hall. Iwatani defeated Priestley at the Best of Goddess 2019 show becoming a two-time World of Stardom champion. During the match, there was a frightening spot as Iwatani attempted a ‘rana off the top turnbuckle that appeared to be a counter from Priestley into a powerbomb or Iwatani following the counter with a ‘rana. Iwatani landed horribly coming down on her neck. Priestley had held the title since May of this year when she beat Kagetsu. The card also featured Arisa Hoshiki defeating Jamie Hayter to retain the Wonder of Stardom title.

**On Sunday’s Power Struggle card, IWGP United States champion Lance Archer set up a title match with David Finlay for this Saturday’s New Japan Showdown card in San Jose, California. It is the only match announced, thus far, which remains an issue for New Japan’s overseas event where card announcements come at the end of the existing cycle. The card is San Jose will be streaming live on New Japan World at 10 pm eastern and will run head-to-head with the AEW Full Gear show.

**MLW has added a Falls Count Anywhere match between Mance Warner and Jimmy Havoc to this Saturday’s Blood & Thunder television tapings. The show takes place from the Gilt Nightclub in Orlando, Florida following the promotion’s inaugural pay-per-view this past Saturday night.

**Revolution Pro has announced that Speedball Mike Bailey & Mao will face Rampage Brown & The Great O-Kharn to unify the British tag titles at the British J-Cup card on November 24th at York Hall in London. In addition to the one-night tournament, Tessa Blanchard will be facing Gisele Shaw on the card.

**Progress Wrestling has added their Chapter 97 card ‘Sex Robots Will Eventually Be Capable of Murder’ is available on Demand Progress.

**A new episode of WWE Ride Along will air tonight on the WWE Network following Raw featuring the OC, Dana Brooke, and Mojo Rawley.

John Pollock & Wai Ting review NJPW Power Struggle 2019 featuring Jay White vs. Hirooki Goto for the IWGP Intercontinental title and the surprise return of an NJPW star from injury.
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Braden Herrington and Davie Portman are back to chat all about this week’s WWE NXT featuring a HUGE announcement for NXT TakeOver: War Games III.

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About John Pollock 4406 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.