POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: MLW signs with ICM Partners

MLW signs with ICM Partners to shop for a big deal, Paul Levesque's comment about Paige, main event for Bloodsport III, talent added to WrestleCon Supershow, interview with David Benoit & more.

POST IT NOTES

**This week’s edition of Rewind-A-Raw is a solo show I did with a review of WWE Raw, the major news items from the past few days, quick thoughts on the NXT UK TakeOver and Impact Hard to Kill shows, my trip home from Japan, and your feedback.

**The 2020 MMA Prediction Show with Ariel Helwani will be released on Thursday for everyone. We are releasing it tonight for members of the POST Wrestling Café at 9 pm Eastern.

**On Wednesday, I’ll be joined by Damian Abraham in-studio for Rewind-A-Dynamite as we’ll chat about the first week of their ‘Bash at the Beach’ series of shows and Damian’s thoughts on AEW going into 2020. Plus, Braden Herrington and Davie Portman will have a new edition of upNXT that night to chat NXT from Full Sail University.

POST SCHEDULE

*Tonight: The 2020 MMA Prediction Show with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani (Patreon early release)
*Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John Pollock & Damian Abraham
*Wednesday: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
*Thursday: The 2020 MMA Prediction Show with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani (free version)
*Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (Patreon)
*Saturday: The Rocky Maivia Picture Show with Nate Milton & guests Kris from L.A. and Hanzi (“Faster” starring Dwayne Johnson)
*Saturday: UFC 246 POST Show with John Pollock & Phil Chertok
*Sunday: Thunderstruck with WH Park & guest JP Houlihan (Jushin Liger vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru from July 2004)

WRESTLING NEWS

**MLW has signed with ICM Partners that will see the agency shop their product with the intent of landing a major broadcast and/or streaming rights deal. MLW, which initially ran shows from 2002-04, resurfaced in 2017 under the guidance of company CEO Court Bauer. In early 2018, the group struck a deal with BeIN Sports to carry their weekly Fusion program on both their English and Espanol channels. The rights to MLW Fusion are up this spring and this would indicate that the promotion is going in an aggressive pursuit of landing a major rights deal.

The press release also notes the launch of MLW Studios that ICM will partner with to offer original scripted and non-scripted programming.

MLW is at a pivotal point of its existence and seeking out ICM indicates they will have experienced agents out in the field shopping the product. Once Anthem Sports purchased AXS TV, it eliminated Impact Wrestling as programming for any streaming or broadcast outlets that may have had an interest in professional wrestling. The same goes for Ring of Honor that is also owned by a broadcaster and with the two promotions serving as content for their ownership, it eliminates their ability to be shopped elsewhere with their purpose to provide content in-house. That leaves MLW and the NWA as available programming for suitors that may or may not view AEW as proof that non-WWE wrestling can be viable and attract audiences in the 18-49 demographic.

BeIn Sports was an outlet for MLW, but the problem was the lack of eyeballs on that station with a recent report listing BeIn Espanol at an average of 11,000 viewers in prime time and 5,000 for the English version. Most are likely following Fusion through YouTube where the company has been wise to make the show available and keep people aware of their show. The promotion staged its first pay-per-view this November and continue to run monthly television tapings with the latest taking place just outside of Dallas, Texas this past weekend. From a live event perspective, MLW

ICM recently sold 33% of its company to a private equity firm called Crestview Partners. The deal saw Crestview inject $150 million into ICM but for a minority stake. ICM launched in 1975 and was owned by Rizvi Traverse Management until 2012. A group of 30 ICM partners purchased the company from Rizvi with CEO Chris Silbermann staying on as CEO following this recent deal with Crestview.

ICM also represents John Cena.

**This past weekend, Paul Levesque did a sit-down chat with various media members ahead of the NXT UK TakeOver show. While addressing a question about potential clearances for Edge (Adam Copeland) and Paige (Saraya Jade-Bevis), Levesque made an off-putting joke stating first that Edge has children and Paige ‘maybe she probably has some, she doesn’t know of’.

Paige acknowledged the clip stating, ‘Even my boss jokes about me…no wonder you guys still do it too’.

It was a very awkward line from Levesque and my hope would be that he regretted stating it given Paige’s openness regarding the abuse she has endured since a tape of her was leaked several years ago and caused her enormous harassment. When she was interviewed in 2018 on Lilian Garcia’s podcast, she described what she had gone through:

“That scarred me, just people invading my privacy, to the point where sometimes I don’t want to go out. People are just looking at me bad. I was out with my friend. We were just sitting there having a Bloody Mary. This guy comes up to my friend and says, ‘That’s the porn star.’

I cried in the toilet. I find it really hard to be close to anybody. And that’s the reason why. When they came out, I barricaded myself in the house for a couple of months. I was so sad to the point I was contemplating suicide. I was on the floor, I was so low. I got so skinny, I ended up collapsing with exhaustion in hospital in England. They told me at the time it was like stress-induced anorexia.”

Even worse, was a story from Paige on an episode of Total Divas where she revealed having a miscarriage when she was younger and that she may not be able to have children.

The point is not whether Levesque was attempting to be malicious and I would hope he wasn’t. The point is that it was an insensitive comment towards someone that must endure daily comments about that tape and had endured great pain in the wake of it. Even worse, is that this wasn’t a random person on Twitter it was one of her superiors and an executive within the company. At best, it can be labeled as a highly inappropriate and unprofessional comment for someone of Levesque’s status in the company.

There were other comments from those within the company supporting Paige after the joke was made including ones from Renee Young, The Bella Twins, and Nia Jax.

**GCW has revealed the main event for Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport III during WrestleMania week with Josh Barnett taking on Jon Moxley. The two were scheduled to have a match last year, which was canceled due to Moxley’s staph infection that also removed him from AEW’s All Out pay-per-view in August. This year’s Bloodsport event takes place on Thursday, April 2nd at 8 pm from The Cuban Club in Ybor City as part of The Collective shows under the Game Changer Wrestling banner. It is the third consecutive year that Bloodsport has taken place during WrestleMania week with last year’s show headlined by Barnett vs. Minoru Suzuki and also featured former UFC fighters Frank Mir and Dan Severn taking part.

**On tonight’s edition of WWE Backstage, The Usos will be the guests and Xavier Woods will be part of the panel chat at 11 pm Eastern on FS 1.

**Below are the matches for tonight’s edition of NWA Power at 6:05 pm Eastern on the promotion’s YouTube and Facebook sites:
*The Wild Cards & Scott Steiner vs. Team Ricky Morton – Morton chooses two partners and if he wins, he faces Nick Aldis for the NWA title next week
*Zane Dawson vs. Dave Dawson in the NWA Television title tournament
*Melina vs. Ashley Vox
*Eddie Kingston & Homicide vs. Aron Stevens & The Question Mark
*Footage of Nick Aldis appearing at Ring of Honor’s show in Atlanta over the weekend

**Here is the lineup for AEW Dark tonight at 7 pm Eastern from last week’s show in Southaven, Mississippi:
*Nyla Rose vs. Shanna
*Brandon Cutler vs. Darby Allin
*Billy & Austin Gunn vs. Shawn Spears & Peter Avalon

**Here are the matches for tonight’s edition of Impact Wrestling coming off Hard to Kill at 8 pm Eastern on AXS TV:
*A sit-down interview with Tessa Blanchard
*Moose vs. Eddie Edwards vs. Fallah Bahh vs. Ace Austin (from a House of Hardcore show)
*Joey Ryan vs. Johnny Swinger
*Rob Van Dam and Katie Forbes celebrate Van Dam’s win

Coming off the pay-per-view this past Sunday, it’s worth noting that this was the first pay-per-view for Impact Wrestling since moving to AXS TV in October. In theory, they are reaching significantly more people as it’s a giant upgrade from the Pursuit Channel but still below the penetration that Pop TV and Destination America had and nowhere near Spike. I wouldn’t expect that we will hear a number that the show did on Sunday but it’s an interesting figure to see if any new fans have found the product and were willing to purchase the show after more than two months on AXS TV. The company went with its longest built story of Tessa Blanchard’s quest for the title and paid it off. Although, the story of the chase was muted throughout the weekend in light of the stories shared about Blanchard and taking over any buzz the show may have had.

**Here are the lineups for AEW Dynamite and NXT on Wednesday night:

**WrestleCon has made some big announcements for the annual Mark Hitchcock Memorial Supershow for WrestleMania week. They have announced Will Ospreay, Bandido, and Shingo Takagi for the card that takes place Thursday, April 2nd ay 8 pm.

**MLW has added a match between Brian Pillman Jr. and Jimmy Havoc to their Fightland card on Saturday, February 1st from the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia. The card will also feature Jacob Fatu defending the MLW world title against CIMA and Davey Boy Smith Jr. taking on Erick Stevens.

**In an update on the ending to the Ken Shamrock vs. Madman Fulton match from ‘Hard to Kill’, Mike Johnson reported that the shoulder injury was a storyline injury to Fulton.

**Mike Johnson added in his reporting that Brian Cage has yet to sign with anyone with his Impact deal up. It had been reported over the weekend he was AEW bound, and he could end up there, but I was told the same as Johnson that as of Sunday he had not put pen to paper anywhere. I did ask if Cage was going to Mexico City for the tapings this weekend and have yet to hear a response.

AEW Dynamite at the Watsco Center in Coral Gables, Florida:
*The Young Bucks vs. Kenny Omega & Hangman Page vs. Santana & Ortiz vs. Best Friends in a #1 contender’s match
*MJF, The Butcher & The Blade vs. Dustin Rhodes, Diamond Dallas Page & QT Marshall
*PAC vs. Darby Allin
*Jon Moxley vs. Sammy Guevara
*Kris Statlander & Hikaru Shida vs. Awesome Kong & Mel
*Cody responds to MJF

NXT at Full Sail University:
*Matt Riddle & Pete Dunne vs. Mark Andrews & Flash Morgan Webster in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
*KUSHIDA & Alex Shelley vs. Zack Gibson & James Drake in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
*Battle Royal to determine the next challenger for the NXT women’s title

**This Friday’s edition of SmackDown from Greensboro, North Carolina will feature a Tables match between Roman Reigns and Robert Roode.

**Next week’s Raw from Wichita, Kansas will feature a ladder match between Andrade and Rey Mysterio for the United States title, a mixed tag with Bobby Lashley & Lana vs. Rusev & Liv Morgan, and another appearance from Brock Lesnar. It is also the go-home edition of Raw leading into the Royal Rumble.

**Houston Mitchell at the L.A. Times wrote about the passing of La Parka (real name Jesus Huerta Escoboza) at the age of 55.

**The latest edition of WWE 24 will cover last year’s WrestleMania and premieres on Sunday, January 26th following the Royal Rumble on the WWE Network.

**WFTS, an ABC affiliate in Tampa recently profiled J.J. Dillon (Jim Morrison) and learning under Eddie Graham in Florida.

**Rocky Romero is holding a seminar this Saturday at 1 pm prior to the Black Label Pro event in Crown Point, Indiana. The attendance fee is $40 with the seminar taking place at 1 pm at the RDS Gym at 1260 Arrowhead Crescent.

**New Japan is holding meet-and-greets at the upcoming U.S. shows with various talent announcements. On January 24th in Tampa, there will be meet-and-greets with the Guerrillas of Destiny and Toru Yano, January 26th in Nashville with Yoshi-Hashi and Yujiro, January 27th in Raleigh with Satoshi Kojima and Jeff Cobb, January 30th in Miami with Kota Ibushi, Rock ‘N’ Roll Express, TJO, Jado, and Chase Owens, and February 1st in Atlanta with Hiroshi Tanahashi, Yuji Nagata, Ren Narita, and FinJuice.

**ECCW is back this Friday with the first night of their annual Ballroom Brawl event from The Commodore Ballroom. It’s a loaded show with Bandido taking on Artemis Spencer, Jeff Cobb facing Eddie Osbourne along with El Phantasmo, Alex Zayne, and Tony Deppen advertised.

**The CWA presents ‘No Surrender’ this Saturday from the Maumelle Event Center in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The show is headlined by a match between Jerry Lawler and Arkansas heavyweight champion Matt Riviera in a match being billed as ‘Title vs. Career’, which will include Dave Brown on commentary with Bill Dundee. There is also a match between Tim Storm and Davey Boy Smith Jr. The promotion has released a video hyping up this weekend’s show.

**WLW (World League Wrestling) holds its first card of 2020 this Saturday from the Race Arena (named after the late Harley Race) in Troy, Missouri at 198 Cherry Blossom Way. The card is headlined by WLW champion Sean Patrick defending against Jon Webb, plus ZC Hendricks vs. Derek Stone, and Moses vs. Stephan Newton. Bell time is 7 pm and the doors open at 6. The card is being taped for their television show on MyZouTV in Columbia, Missouri and for KQ2 out of St. Joseph.

**OTT’s next card is on Saturday, February 1st at the Ringside Club in Dublin headlined by OTT champion David Starr and LJ Cleary. The promotion has noted that the show is sold out. Their next major event is ScrapperMania 6 on March 13th at National Stadium in Dublin.

**Femme Fatales is holding a show at St. Anthony’s Hall in Ottawa, Ontario on Friday, February 21st. They are advertising LuFisto, Nicole Savoy, KC Spinelli, Priscilla Kelly, Kimber Lee, and Alexia Nicole for the card.

**Pro Wrestling Revolution out of San Francisco has announced that The Great Sasuke will be making his Northern California debut on April 18th at John A. O’Connell High School at 2355 Folsom Street.

TWEET OF THE DAY

VIDEO

*****
RAR 1/13/20: “Buddy Christ”
John Pollock is solo to review Raw from Kentucky, chat about David Starr and Gabe Sapolsky, Tessa Blanchard’s weekend, NXT TakeOver UK & Hard to Kill.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/01/14/rar-1-13-20-buddy-christ/
*****
IMPACT HARD TO KILL POST SHOW
Brian Mann & Nate Milton are joined on the Satellite Of Hate by POST Wrestling’s Andrew Thompson. The guys break down the latest news from AEW and ROH, discuss the latest Twitter-fueled wrestling controversy, and review Impact Wrestling’s first PPV of the year!
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/01/13/impact-hard-to-kill-post-show-a-keep-it-2000-special/
*****
BWE 1/12/20: NXT UK TAKEOVER BLACKPOOL 2 POST SHOW

Benno and Jamesie are joined by Benno’s co-hosts on the GRAPPL Spotlight podcast, JP Houlihan and Joe Lemon to discuss the third NXT UK TakeOver, from Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom. They chat all the highs and lows from the show with a top to bottom review and talk about the current state of NXT UK as it goes into the BT Sport era.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/01/12/bwe-1-12-20-nxt-uk-takeover-blackpool-2-post-show/
*****
THUNDERSTRUCK: JUSHIN LIGER VS THE GREAT SASUKE (4/16/1994)

WH Park and Jamesie of The British Wrestling Experience talk for the first time to discuss one of Jushin Liger’s most famous matches as he faces The Great Sasuke during the Super J-Cup from April 16, 1994.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/01/12/thunderstruck-12-jushin-liger-vs-the-great-sasuke-4-16-94-w-jamesie/
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 1/10/20: A Game of Family Roode
John Pollock is joined by WH Park from Japan to review Friday Night SmackDown featuring The Usos vs. King Corbin & Dolph Ziggler.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/01/10/rasd-1-10-20-a-game-of-family-roode-w-wh-park/
*****
REWIND-A-DYNAMITE 1/8/20: “Poppin’ Bottles” w/ upNXT
Braden Herrington & Davie Portman fill in for John & Wai once more as they review the January 8th edition of AEW Dynamite featuring Kenny Omega & Hangman vs. Private Party.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/01/09/rewind-a-dynamite-1-8-20-poppin-bottles-w-upnxt/
*****
THE WORST OF 2019 SHOW

It’s POST Wrestling’s WORST OF 2019 SHOW as John Pollock & Wai Ting and upNXT’s Braden Herrington & Davie Portman review the very worst that professional wrestling had to offer this past year.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/01/09/the-worst-of-2019-show/
*****
upNXT 1/8/20: “Johnny Promo”

Braden Herrington & Davie Portman are back to chat all about the January 8th edition of WWE NXT featuring a Fatal Four Way match to determine the Number 1 Contender for the NXT North American Championship.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/01/09/upnxt-01-08-2020-johnny-promo/
*****

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About John Pollock 1830 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling.He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.