POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Teddy Hart released by MLW

MLW announces they have released Teddy Hart, finals teams in the World Tag League, a big weekend for combat sports, a look at DAZN, WrestleMania week events & lots more.


**Tonight, Wai Ting and I will have Rewind-A-SmackDown discussing tonight’s show from Fayetteville, the build for TLC, and a look ahead at what is coming up this weekend. Plus, we will take your feedback & questions. This show will be available late tonight for members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**The latest edition of Five Questions with Phil Chertok, looks at the recent announcement of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson fighting next April, Saturday’s UFC card from Washington, where Justin Gaethje fits in among the lightweights, and Saturday’s fight between Tito Ortiz and Alberto Rodriguez.

**Thursday’s episode of the Café Hangout is up on the site with Wai Ting and I welcoming writer and historian Greg Oliver from SLAM Wrestling to the show. Greg and co-author Steven Johnson have recently released The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Storytellers that is a fascinating read about many key figures in the history of the industry with excellent research throughout the book. On the show, we also went through Wednesday’s AEW and NXT ratings, our thoughts on NXT from the night before, and lots of your phone calls.

**On Sunday, WH Park will be joined by Joel Abraham for the latest edition of Thunderstruck to review Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Taichi from May 2017.

**We will have a bonus show out Sunday for Café members with a review of the final night of New Japan’s World Tag League tournament.


**Tonight’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown on Fox takes place from the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, North Carolina. They have announced a match between Roman Reigns and Dolph Ziggler, a follow up on Daniel Bryan, and King Corbin vowing to ‘humiliate’ Reigns.

**WWE’s annual Tribute to the Troops special was taped on Friday at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina. They have not announced the show’s air date yet.

**MLW sent out a notice on Friday that they have come to terms on the release of Teddy Hart. MLW did not elaborate on the circumstances behind the release. Hart lost the MLW middleweight title to Myron Reed last month in Orlando and was written off television with the fireball attack by Josef Samael. The initial idea behind the fireball angle was to set up a feud between the Hart Foundation and CONTRA Unit with Hart coming back in January, but those plans changed and ended up being his final appearance.

Hart was not at the tapings on Thursday night, but the release was said to be agreed upon over the past day.

**New Japan’s World Tag League wraps up Sunday with the final show from Hiroshima. It is down to EVIL & Sanada (26 points and a 13-1 record), David Finlay & Juice Robinson (12-2 with 24 points), and the IWGP tag champions the Guerrillas of Destiny (12-2 with 24 points). On Sunday’s show, the Guerrillas of Destiny are facing Tomohiro Ishii & Yoshi-Hashi and EVIL & Sanada face Robinson & Finlay. It seems set up for Ishii & Yoshi-Hashi to play spoilers and beat the Guerrillas and then the tournament comes down to the other match with the winning team taking the World Tag League. I’m very high on Robinson & Finlay winning the entire thing, although we’ve seen multiple teams end up in the tag title match at Wrestle Kingdom and with two Tokyo Dome shows, there could be several scenarios involving teams challenging. Below is the card for Sunday’s show that streams live at 2 am Eastern late Saturday night on New Japan World:
*Lance Archer & Minoru Suzuki vs. KENTA & Yujiro
*Jeff Cobb & Mikey Nicholls vs. Shingo Takagi & Terrible
*Colt Cabana & Toru Yano vs. Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale
*Guerrillas of Destiny vs. Tomohiro Ishii & Yoshi-Hashi
*Juice Robinson & David Finlay vs. EVIL & Sanada
*Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi
*Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare vs. Hirooki Goto & Karl Fredericks
*Kazuchika Okada & Roppongi 3K vs. Kota Ibushi, Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask

**Throughout the World Tag League, the IWGP tag champions GOD have lost to EVIL & Sanada, and Colt Cabana & Toru Yano. The team of Cabana & Yano was booked strong with a win over the current champions and the only team to beat EVIL & Sanada, so far.

**ACH (Albert Hardie Jr.) made a surprise appearance at the MLW tapings on Thursday night at the Melrose Ballroom. He wrestled at the tapings teaming with Muhammed Lawal against Kotto Brazil & Jordan Oliver, which will air on a future episode of Fusion. The promotion has announced ACH has been added to the January 11th tapings in North Richland Hills, Texas at the NYTEX Sports Centre.

**This past Tuesday’s edition of Total Divas did 247,000 viewers on E! The average is the show’s second-lowest in the history of the series with one episode remaining this season. The move to Tuesday nights has seen the show sink in viewership with this season, by far, the lowest in its history since 2013.

**NXT will not have new episodes on Christmas and New Year’s Day on the USA Network. The final taping of the year at Full Sail University is on December 18th for the loaded show with Adam Cole and Shayna Baszler defending their titles. The next Full Sail taping will be Wednesday, January 8th. That means no shows from either AEW or NXT on Christmas Day, but AEW will be running on New Year’s Day with a new show from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida.

**Thursday night’s NXT house show in Jacksonville, Florida featured all women’s matches.

**EVOLVE is running cards tonight and Saturday with their final set of shows for the year. Tonight’s show is from Livonia, Michigan, and streams on Club WWN at 8 pm Eastern with the following matches:
*WALTER vs. Timothy Thatcher in a non-title match
*Josh Briggs vs. JD Drake for the EVOLVE title
*AR Fox & Leon Ruff vs. Matt Sydal & Andrew Everett for the EVOLVE tag titles – Ruff was featured on NXT this past Wednesday losing to the Forgotten Sons
*Eddie Kingston, Sean Maluta & Joe Gacy vs. Babatunde, Arturo Ruas & Anthony Gutierrez
*Shotzi Blackheart vs. Reina Gonzalez
*Curt Stallion vs. Anthony Greene in an Extreme Rules match
*Liam Gray & Adrian Alanis vs. Mat Fitchett & Davey Vega
*Brendan Vink vs. Colby Corino
*Harlem Bravado vs. TBA

**Saturday’s card in Chicago at the Logan Square Auditorium is headlined by WALTER vs. Josh Briggs in a non-title match.

**Tommaso Ciampa will be doing a meet-and-greet at the EVOLVE cards this weekend.

**Impact Wrestling is presenting ‘No Surrender’ on Saturday night in conjunction with Pro Wrestling Revolver. The card takes place from Dayton, Ohio and will stream on Impact Plus at 8 pm Eastern with the following matches:
*Sami Callihan vs. Rich Swann for the Impact title
*Taya Valkyrie vs. Jessicka Havok for the Knockout’s title
*Ace Austin vs. Eddie Edwards in a Tables match
*Brian Cage vs. Acey Romero vs. Willie Mack vs. Madman Fulton vs. Crash Jackson in a Hoss Fight Scramble
*Trey Miguel vs. Tyler Matrix vs. Logan James
*Michael Elgin vs. Larry D
*Rosemary vs. Madison Rayne
*Mahabali Shera & Rohi Raju vs. The Crists vs. Dez & Wentz
*An appearance by Rhino

**Here are the matches for Saturday’s episode of MLW Fusion at 9 pm Eastern on beIN Sports and the YouTube version will be up immediately afterward at 10 pm:
*Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Brian Pillman vs. CONTRA Unit
*Savio Vega vs. Leo Brien in a Swamp Fight
*An invitational battle royal

**Game Changer Wrestling has released its updated schedule for WrestleMania week for ‘The Collective’ series of shows. The events will take place at The Cuban Club in Ybor City, Florida, highlighted by Joey Janela’s Spring Break IV. Here is the current schedule:

Thursday, April 2

*11 am – Jimmy Lloyd’s D-Generation F
*Noon-2 – Wrestling With Stereotypes panel
*3 pm – For The Culture
*8 pm – Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport
*11:59 pm – Absolute Intense Wrestling

Friday, April 3
*10 am – Noon – Wrestling Observer Q&A with Dave Meltzer
*11 am – TBA
*3 pm – Pizza Party Wrestling
*4-6 pm – The Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana
*8 pm – Joey Janela’s Spring Break IV
*11:59 pm – Black Label Pro (in the ballroom)
*11:59 pm – Markus Crane’s Bondage A-Go-Go (in the cantina)

Saturday, April 4
*11 am – Effy’s Big Gay Brunch
*3 pm – Glory Pro (Ballroom)
*3 pm – Wrestling with Wregret (Theatre)
*8 pm – Freedoms
*11:59 pm – Warhausen’s Wrestlevania (Ballroom)
*11:59 pm – Suburban Fight (Cantina)

**WrestleCon will be running their WrestleMania week events from The Ritz in Ybor City and have announced the following shows:

Thursday, April 2
*4 pm – Europe vs. The World
*8 pm – The Mark Hitchcock Memorial Wrestlecon Supershow
*11:59 pm – Ybor After Dark variety and comedy show

Friday, April 3
*11 am – Tokyo Joshi Pro with DDT
*3 pm – Ethan Page’s Body Guy Extravaganza
*7 pm – Impact Wrestling

Saturday, April 4
*11 am – Pro Wrestling Revolver’s Pancakes and Piledrivers 4
*3 pm – Festival de Lucha
*7 pm – Joey Ryan’s Penis Party

**Wrestlecon will also host a convention from Friday, April 3rd through Sunday, April 5th at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa with tickets going on sale today on their website.

**The WWE stock closed at $63.21 on Friday.

**All Japan’s Real-World Tag League concludes on Monday with three shows left. On Saturday, they have two Tag League matches on the card from the Kitamoto City Sports Center:
*Joe Doering & Jun Akiyama vs. Tajiri & KAI
*Zeus & Ryoji Sai vs. Shuji Ishikawa & Suwama

**DEFY Wrestling is holding their card of 2020 on January 3rd at Washington Hall in Seattle, Washington. They have announced Alex Hammerstone vs. Sonico and Matt Sydal vs. Matt Cross for that event.


**The UFC has confirmed that Frankie Edgar will step in to fight Chan Sung Jung on December 21st in Busan, South Korea. Jung’s original opponent, Brian Ortega, suffered a partial tear of his ACL and was forced to withdraw from the fight. Edgar is still being advertised for his original January 25th fight against Cory Sandhagen in Raleigh, North Carolina.

**ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reports that Liz Carmouche has been cut by the UFC, according to her manager Kyle Stoltz. It is a strange one as Carmouche’s last fight was challenging flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko, this past August where Carmouche lost by unanimous decision. Carmouche, 35, was involved in the historic fight with Ronda Rousey in February 2013, which was the first women’s fight in UFC history. During her UFC career, she went 5-5 including wins over former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade and upcoming flyweight title challenger Katlyn Chookagian. Prior to the Shevchenko loss, she had wins over Jennifer Maia and Lucie Pudilova going into the rematch with Shevchenko.

**UFC strawweight Cynthia Calvillo missed weight on Friday morning for her fight against Marina Rodriguez on Saturday in Washington, D.C. Calvillo stepped onto the scale at 120.5 pounds, missing the maximum allowance by 4.5 pounds and will be fined 30% of her purse, according to MMA Junkie. Featherweight Matt Sayles also missed weight coming in at 148.5 pounds and was fined 20%.

Below is the full card for the UFC’s card on ESPN Saturday night:

MAIN CARD (9 pm Eastern on ESPN)
*Alistair Overeem (248) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (250.5)
*Cynthia Calvillo (120.5*) vs. Marina Rodriguez (115.5)
*Ben Rothwell (265.2) vs. Stefan Struve (265.3)
*Aspen Ladd (136) vs. Yana Kunitskaya (135.1)
*Cody Stamann (135.2) vs. Song Yadong (135.2)
*Ricky Simon (135.2) vs. Rob Font (135.1)


*Thiago Alves (171) vs. Tim Means (171)
*Jacob Kilburn (145.3) vs. Billy Quarantillo (145.2)
*Matt Sayles (148.5*) vs. Bryce Mitchell (145.2)
*Joe Solecki (155.6) vs. Matt Wiman (155.3)

FIGHT PASS CARD (6 pm on ESPN+, Fight Pass)

*Virna Jandiroba (115) vs. Mallory Martin (115.5)
*Trevor Smith (185.5) vs. Makmud Muradov (185.3)

**This weekend, there are several big events across the combat sports world with the biggest appearing to be the rematch between heavyweights Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz, Jr. Their first fight in June was among the bigger upsets this decade with Ruiz stopping the favorite in the seventh round. The rematch is taking place in Saudi Arabia that has drawn similar reactions to WWE and other events going there and the ‘sport washing’ it represents. However, from the outside looking in, it appears that most media and fans are treating this as a huge fight and the location of the fight is a factor but not a turnoff.

It was reported recently that DAZN has surpassed eight-million worldwide subscribers with 90% outside of the U.S. The streaming platform has spent incredible sums of money, playing the long game in the hopes of becoming an essential service that will one day pay for these expensive attractions to bring in subscribers. To me, the lesson of DAZN on the combat sports side is one that everyone is aware of and that is stars fighting stars. Yes, this fight on Saturday will be big but DAZN hit a home run through the unlikely appeal of KSI and Logan Paul, who have done enormous business despite purists scoffing. Yes, it would upset fans of the UFC because it’s viewed as the pinnacle of the sport but Logan Paul and KSI are closer to the direction CM Punk should have been handled fighting someone with equal celebrity value for maximum impact and the hope of keeping that attraction preserved for the future. Instead, Punk’s appeal was squeezed for it’s worth against Mickey Gall and the hope that at least you’d have a viable fighter in Gall benefiting from the attraction of Punk. Instead, Punk was blown out and showed a fraction of the interest in his second fight while Gall has had a fine career since the victory in 2016 but isn’t anywhere near superstar level.  The UFC is probably not the setting for a KSI vs. Logan Paul style of promotion but then, neither was CM Punk having his first pro fight. When it comes to spectacle fights, you’re either in or you’re out and UFC went halfway with Punk that long term, did a strong number on pay-per-view, and that was it. The only residual effect was more people that normal saw Stipe Miocic beat Alistair Overeem that night at UFC 203.

**That commentary segues into Combate Americas first pay-per-view on Saturday night. The show takes place from Hidalgo, Texas with Tito Ortiz fighting former WWE champion Alberto Rodriguez a.k.a. Alberto El Patron/Del Rio. Unlike Punk, Rodriguez does have a background as both amateur wrestler and mixed martial artists with fourteen pro fights on his resume. However, the last one was in 2010 and is best remembered for fighting Mirko Cro Cop on the first PRIDE Bushido event in October 2003. In that fight, under the mask as Dos Caras Jr., Rodriguez was knocked out and is viewed as a spectacle due to the nature of wearing the mask. Ortiz may be older but is perfectly equipped to fight at a certain level and there is no denying the training he puts in. Ortiz should be a major favorite for this fight, but the true test is convincing people to buy this on pay-per-view. I see this as a fantastic idea for a free television card but putting this main event together necessitated that revenue stream. Last year, Ortiz and Chuck Liddell reportedly drew 40,000 buys on traditional pay-per-view last year.

Combate does have a following and has done strong viewership per the standards on MMA on Univision. PPV is another animal and with a price tag of $29.95 (U.S.) on the same day you have a huge boxing fight and are head-to-head against a free UFC card, that is a tough ask of fans. For me, if this tops 10,000 buys it would be notable and can’t see if being much higher. They have marketed the fight aggressively with Ortiz and Alberto doing a lot of media leading up to the fight. I would imagine there was a lesson Ortiz learned last year with Liddell that name value alone isn’t selling people on the fight.

It’s an interesting weekend to see what attracts the most eyes, if DAZN has more success with a celebrity fight than a heavyweight championship boxing fight, if Combate has a fight that people are willing to pay to see, and if there is significant crossover among the key combat sports events including the UFC’s free card on ESPN.

**Combate scored big this week announcing that Jorge Masvidal will join play-by-play commentator Max Bretos and analyst Julianna Pena on the broadcast on Saturday. Below is the full main card that airs on pay-per-view Saturday night at 9 pm Eastern:
*Tito Ortiz vs. Alberto ‘El Patron’ Rodriguez – 210-pound catchweight fight
*Melissa Martinez vs. Desiree Yanez for the strawweight title
*Dani Barez vs. Joao Camilo
*Levy Marroquin vs. Enrique Gonzalez
*Rey Trujillo vs. Gaston Reyno
*Dulce Garcia (pro wrestler Sexy Star) vs. Anali Lopez Hernandez

**LFA has announced a deal with FIGHT GLOBE, who will be distributing their product outside of the U.S. and Canada to international markets. The promotion was recently removed from AXS TV after the purchase by Anthem Sports and Entertainment but recently announced a deal to broadcast on UFC Fight Pass.

**KSW is holding a card from Gliwice, Poland on Saturday afternoon at 1 pm Eastern headlined by Mamed Khalidov vs. Scott Askham. The show will be available at KSWTV.com.

**UFC president Dana White was interviewed on The Rich Eisen Show to promote this weekend’s card, Conor McGregor’s return with Donald Cerrone, Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson, the status of Stipe Miocic, and striking a deal with Floyd Mayweather Jr.


What event are you most interested in watching this weekend? (520 votes)

Joshua vs. Ruiz Jr. on DAZN – 47%
NJPW World Tag League Final – 24%
Ortiz vs. Alberto on Combate – 15%
UFC on ESPN – 14%


**After Tuesday’s Rewind-A-Wai covering the Royal Rumble from 2000, we received additional feedback on the UK’s airing of WWF events during this era. The Rumble was the first pay-per-view that aired on Channel 4 and was mentioned during the broadcast. This feedback is from listener Jamie Stocker:

Basically at the peak of WWF/WCW stardom here part of WWF’s contract was always firmly with Sky Satellite TV and to this day still is (until the new year where it leaves for the first time to BT). Channel 4 a major free to air terrestrial tv network which is in every UK household (whereas Sky at the time was around a quarter) wanted a piece of the WWF seeing the ratings and popularity. WCW was on a cable channel so getting some WWF was a great shout. On the other side, Sky was not happy about the surprise, unannounced Miss Kitty nudity at Armageddon 1999 and wanted to spread the risk of WWF complaints elsewhere a little.

So Channel 4 knew what they were in for you would have thought so initially they signed a deal late in 1999 to air Heat on a Sunday which they aired on afternoons (to which WWF actually wanted late night 10 pm unedited, at the end of the run it moved to midnight or similar and ratings died)

Anyway, so the deal also included 5 PPVs a year on free to air TV the first being the royal rumble 2000. This aired totally live and as per the live feed and is the copy I actually still have from my friend at school(never gave it back!) and have since ripped the VHS copy to my external drive (as it was first ever event and the importance of it in the UK, I assume many versions do not exist.)

Being the first live WWF event they had was badly produced by 4. Channel 4 is like any other commercial station and takes regular breaks every 15 mins so during the event they were taking ad breaks after every undercard match and coming back midway through the next segment so until the WWE Network launched I had NEVER seen nor known about the “Terri no!” interview, angle being checked by the doctor etc.

My copy ends at Tazz winning the first match…AD BREAK… comes back to Bubba in the ring cutting his promo. If I remember another bit comes back midway through the Miss Rumble contest and ultimately, the street fight and Rumble is uninterrupted purely due to the length of them.

Now, Channel 4 although being shown at 1am and on an “edgy” channel (having late chatline numbers advertising post-watershed, adult-type content on late night) felt that the violence and nudity was too much on the event and decided they they weren’t going to renew when the deal was up nor show it live.

The next show No Way Out and Wrestlemania where Sky Sports standard sport channel (included with your sports package) but then starting with Backlash on Channel 4 it went on an hour tape delay starting at 2am featuring targeted edited ad breaks, digitised blood in shots of blood, crowd cuts on things they felt that had too and frozen images on weapons shots, giving it the same treatment that Smackdown was getting on Saturday mornings on Sky at 10 am.

This type of editing really spelled the end for free PPVs on nationwide TV with viewer complaints etc and as a result Channel 4 got let out of their contract early and Sky agreed to take the 5 PPVs back that Channel 4 had and to offer them on PPV at a discount price to Sky viewers, If I remember in the end all but the UK exclusive PPVs (Rebellion and the like) were live on the Sky Sports channel around this time which was the same that broadcast RAW etc until the mid to late 00s where there slowly moved them off sky sports onto the PPV channel each month to all of them by 2010.

Cafe Hangout
John Pollock and Wai Ting are joined by veteran wrestling writer Greg Oliver to discuss his latest book, The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Storytellers. We also discuss the closest week of AEW-NXT ratings yet.
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REWIND-A-WAI #50: WWF Royal Rumble 2000 (Patreon)
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWF Royal Rumble 2000 headlined by Triple H (c) vs. Cactus Jack in a Street Fight for the WWF Championship in Madison Square Garden. Plus, a tables match between The Dudleys vs. The Hardys, Tazz’s WWE debut, and a Miss Royal Rumble Bikini Contest.
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THUNDERSTRUCK: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. El Samurai (April 30, 1992)

WH Park and Dylan Fox of The Eastern Lariat podcast have a fun discussion on the finals of the Top of the Super Junior III tournament from April 30, 1992, between Jushin Liger and El Samurai.

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About John Pollock 5646 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.