POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Arn Anderson to manage Cody, Jim Smallman’s farewell, WWE-Sky Sports

Bobby Lashley & Lana's wedding on Raw, Arn Anderson to manage Cody, WWE's final show on Sky Sports, Jim Smallman's farewell to Progress, a look at the UK scene & more.


**Wai Ting and I are back with Rewind-A-Raw tonight following the show in Hartford. We will also have a preview of the upcoming week and our coverage from Japan. Plus, the news of the day and your feedback.

**This is a great week to join the POST Wrestling Café as we will be doing lots of extra shows from Japan including our two Wrestle Kingdom POST Shows this weekend for Café members. Plus, you will get the ‘Best of 2019’ show on Tuesday as opposed to waiting for the free version on Thursday. If you are signing up, it is best to wait until January 1st, so you are only billed for one month as you get charged immediately. It’s $6 U.S. per month and that gives you a minimum of two extra shows per week (there will be more this week) and access to our entire archive since 2017.

**The latest edition of Thunderstruck features STRIGGA of the Eastern Lariat podcast joining WH Park to review Liger & Takehiro Murahama taking on Infinity from February 2003.

**While I’m in Japan, Andrew Thompson will be handling the news coverage on the site. We will also have Braden Herrington and Davie Portman reviewing AEW Dynamite while we are gone, and we have some cool shows planned for Sunday, January 12th following the NXT UK: TakeOver and Impact Wrestling ‘Hard to Kill’ events.

*Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting
*Tuesday: The BEST OF 2019 Show (Early release for Patrons)
*Wednesday: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman (Review of AEW Dynamite)
*Thursday: The BEST OF 2019 Show (Free version)
*Friday: Bonus show from Japan (Patreon)
*Saturday: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom Night 1 POST Show (Patreon)
*Sunday: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom Night 2 POST Show (Patreon)
*Sunday: Thunderstruck with WH Park & Mavs Gillis (Jushin Liger vs. Owen Hart, April 1991)
*Monday, Jan. 6: NJPW New Year Dash POST Show (Free)



**Tonight, is the final episode of Raw for 2019 and will be a live show from the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut. They are coming off one of the lowest watched episodes in Raw history for the taped edition from Des Moines last week and will combat that with a wedding segment. The Bobby Lashley and Lana wedding will be the focus of the show and is usually a strong strategy for attracting viewers. In addition, they have announced a rematch between Aleister Black and Buddy Murphy from TLC.

**There will be follow up involving Randy Orton from Sunday’s house show in Hershey, Pennsylvania. During a match with AJ Styles, Orton’s knee gave out and they stopped the match. We were told this was a storyline and that Orton is fine with it designed to set up something for Raw. It was also the same knee Orton’s been selling on television for the past two weeks stemming from the calf crusher submission during a match with Styles on December 16th.

**The SmackDown crew has a show at the Staples Center in Los Angeles tonight and then get the week off until SmackDown in Memphis this Friday. The Raw crew resumes their schedule on Saturday for a combined house show in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

**Arn Anderson is set for his first regular on-air role with a wrestling program since WCW went out of business. Anderson, 61, will serve as Cody’s personal advisor beginning this Wednesday on the episode of Dynamite from Jacksonville, Florida. AEW issued a press release announcing the addition of a second for Cody ahead of his match with Darby Allin this week. As one of the best promos of his generation, Anderson joined WWE immediately after WCW went out of business in 2001 and served as a road agent until his tenure came to an end last year. Amazingly, Anderson was never utilized as a mouthpiece for any talent despite a glaring hole in that department.

**There are two significant events happening today in the UK and Ireland. First, is the end of an era with Sky Sports broadcasting its final episode of Raw before their deal expires and WWE moves to BT Sport. It ends a 30-year partnership between the promotion and the broadcaster and a reduction in scope with BT Sport in far fewer homes than Sky Sports. The second was today’s Progress Wrestling Chapter 100 show, which marks the final event for Jim Smallman. Smallman helped launch the company with John Briley in March 2012 and later joined by Glen Joseph. Smallman is synonymous with the promotion’s ring announcer that is closer to an MC for the evening mixing his background in stand-up comedy with the traditional duties of a ring announcer. Smallman will be dedicating his time to WWE where he is one of the key people with NXT UK. Smallman’s in-ring announcing duties will be handed off to Matt Richards.

**The Daily Star conducted a big interview with Smallman ahead of Chapter 100 as he reflected on launching the promotion, the memorable matches, and feuds that helped build the company and shared his thoughts on the state of the UK scene.

Smallman is in a difficult role as a major appeal of Progress was the ‘punk rock alternative’ that shunned the norms of a battered scene in the UK that desperately needed rehabilitation. Progress was a big part of that revival where the British scene got the attention of a worldwide audience through thriving companies, electric crowds and some of the top undiscovered talents that would ascend to stardom outside of Europe. Then, Progress got into business with WWE and naturally, you can’t be espousing the same mantra when you’re attached to the industry juggernaut nor expect someone like Smallman to critique the good and bad WWE has brought to the scene.

It is unrealistic to think everything is going to be on upward curve forever,” Jim said, “But everyone involved in the business side of professional wrestling in this country is sensible. It is now a sustainable industry.

Me resigning triggered quite a lot of that stuff, but [PROGRESS] isn’t going anywhere. I literally just got another job, I am busy, I want to see my family.

Unfortunately the negative of social media is that it is a place for people to complain about stuff. It is sad when companies cease to exist – but there are also plenty of new companies.

Look at how many wrestling companies there are in the UK compared to when PROGRESS started. It strikes me as that is something that is thriving.

Many performers in the UK and Ireland are now signed to WWE and making money at a profession they may not have expected to ever earn a full-time living from. It has come at the expense of promotions being hurt in the process, which was inevitable and most that studied history saw the writing on the wall years ago when NXT UK took form.

The argument against NXT UK is that it’s hardly a self-sufficient operation, which has amounted to a WWE Network show with tapings and no touring while the talent is somewhat stuck. They need to fill that television time and augments their growth of progressing to NXT proper or realizing main roster aspirations. NXT moving to the USA Network should open more opportunities and has for Pete Dunne along with the Worlds Collide event in January.

The future of Progress will come down to how much WWE values having the company operating in its current form and the workload of the same guys helping NXT UK and maintaining Progress on the side. It’s been expected forever that Progress would be added to the WWE Network but is there a demand for both NXT UK and Progress and being produced by the same people?

While not at their peak, Progress is still a strong brand in the UK and Ireland, and one could argue that the Progress brand would be more beneficial than ‘NXT UK’ in its current form as it exists as a non-touring WWE Network exclusive, although re-branding NXT UK would admit it’s a brand that isn’t growing beyond its geographical region. It would also end up like ECW in 2006 where it’s in name only to its ardent fanbase. For maximum growth, you do need the WWE/NXT association.

The loss of stars in the UK was inevitable as they gained notoriety and more promotions took notice. Had it not been the launch of NXT UK, many of those stars would have been signed and moved to Orlando, gone to AEW, or recruited to New Japan because that’s where the industry was heading. If you’re Tyler Bate, one of the top young wrestlers in the industry, you would likely want any of those three options over his current role in NXT UK where few are following the product. The pressure adds for those that don’t have youth on their side like Bate, who should have 20 years staring him in the face while others are in the prime of their careers and want to be cashing in now.

**CM Punk stated he would be returning to WWE Backstage on Tuesday, January 21st.

**Tuesday’s episode of Impact Wrestling on AXS TV will feature part two of their year-end awards. They will be naming the winners for Tag Team of the Year, Wrestler of the Year, and Match of the Year hosted by Josh Mathews and Scott D’Amore. They will have a new episode on Tuesday, January 7th leading into ‘Hard to Kill’ that weekend, which is headlined by Sami Callihan vs. Tessa Blanchard for the Impact title.

**MLW has added a triple threat tag match to this Saturday’s Zero Hour television taping in Texas. Drago & Puma King will take on El Hijo de LA Park & Taurus and Jordan Oliver & Kotto Brazil. The tapings take place from the NYTEX Sports Centre in North Richland Hills.

**DEFY Wrestling is holding a card this Friday at Washington Hall in Seattle featuring Matt Sydal vs. Matt Cross as well as Psychosis teaming with Guillermo Rosas facing Eli Surge & Icarus.

**Carl Ouellet a.k.a. ‘PCO’ turns 52 years old today. He just won the ROH title earlier this month from Rush at Final Battle.

**OTT has released the stellar match between Jordan Devlin and David Starr from Dublin this past October. From start-to-finish it the best presentation of any match I’ve seen this year beginning with Shaun Ryan’s video hyping the match, the unbelievable crowd, and payoff to the story.

THUNDERSTRUCK #10: Jushin Liger & Takehiro Murahama vs. Infinity (2/1/03)

WH Park and STRIGGA of The Eastern Lariat discuss a hidden gem tag team match from Osaka Pro Wrestling as Jushin Liger & Takehiro Murahama face off against Infinity (Black Buffalo & Tsubasa) for the Osaka Pro Tag Team Titles.
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 12/27/19: Fruitcakes & Heartbreaks

Wai Ting delivers a special solo review of WWE SmackDown headlined by Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz vs. Baron Corbin in a No. 1 Contender’s Match for the WWE Universal Championship.
BRITISH WRESTLING EXPERIENCE 12/27/19: Year in Review 2019

Martin, Benno, and Jamesie are joined by Benno’s co-hosts on the GRAPPL Spotlight podcast, JP Houlihan and Joe Lemon to discuss the year that was 2019 in British and European wrestling.
ASK-A-WAI: Ask Us Anything! (End of 2019)

John Pollock and Wai Ting answer their patrons’ questions from the POST Wrestling Forum in the End of 2019 edition of Ask-A-Wai.
KEEP IT 2000: Ep. 34 – “S.O.L.” with Peter Rosenberg (November 6, 2000)

The stockings are hung on the Satellite of Hate for a surprise Christmas special. Brian Mann and Nate Milton are joined by Hot 97 and ESPN’s Peter Rosenberg to review the WCW Nitro that kicked off the legendary Battle Dome invasion.

It’s the annual POST Wrestling Christmas Show with John Pollock & Wai Ting joined by many surprise guests, plus the annual Jingle Contest.

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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.