POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: TNT President discusses the AEW renewal

TNT president speaks on the renewal of AEW, McGregor & Cerrone make weight, many stories on McGregor, stipulation added to Reigns vs. Roode & more.

POST IT NOTES

**I’ll be back with another solo show tonight for Rewind-A-SmackDown, which will be available to members of the POST Wrestling Café. I’ll have a full review of tonight’s show from Greensboro and go through the latest news, including Wednesday’s AEW and NXT rating notes and last-minute notes heading into UFC 246. Plus, your feedback and questions at the end of the show.

**The annual MMA Prediction Show is now out for everyone as ESPN’s Ariel Helwani joins me. It’s the 8th annual show the two of us have done going back to observer our predictions for 2019 and then play a new game of “Likely/Unlikely” for 2020. This is always a popular show and a lot of fun to do, so we hope you enjoy it. It is available on the POST Wrestling feed and through the POST Wrestling YouTube channel.

**I also did a bonus show for members of the POST Wrestling Café with a preview of UFC 246 and looking deeper into Conor McGregor’s return and the many issues it raises.

POST SCHEDULE
*Saturday: The Rocky Maivia Picture Show with Nate Milton and guests Kris from L.A. & Hanzi (“Faster” starring Dwayne Johnson)
*Saturday: UFC 246 POST Show with John Pollock & Phil Chertok
*Sunday: Thunderstruck with WH Park & guest JP Houlihan (Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru from July 2004)
*Monday: Rewind-A-Raw feat. The return of Wai Ting

POST WRESTLING VIDEOS

WRESTLING NEWS

**Tonight’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown takes place from Greensboro, North Carolina with the following announced for the show:
*Roman Reigns vs. Robert Roode in a Tables match – the winner gets to choose a stipulation for the Reigns vs. King Corbin match at the Royal Rumble
*Sasha Banks vs. Lacey Evans
*Big E. vs. John Morrison – this will be Morrison’s first WWE match since November 2011

**TNT President Kevin Reilly spoke to Variety about the network’s extension with All Elite Wrestling that was announced this past week. Reilly told the outlet that discussions began over the holidays regarding an extension and added:

This is a startup. It’s already over-delivered out of the gate. That’s really when you want to hit the gasoline a little bit. The guys already have ideas about additional talent and things they want to do and I wanted to incentivize them as a partner to do that. We also wanted to gave fans and talent who potentially want to come work with us the sense that this is here to stay. You can invest in it, it’s here to stay, and it’s only going to get better.

Reilly repeated what he told Tony Maglio of The Wrap, that they will take AEW Dark and adapt it for the network as TNT appears to be the destination for the second show, which will continue to focus on newer talent:

We just figured, ‘Let’s bring it onto the network and make it a place where you truly plant up and coming talent. I think we’ll start doing more packages there and filming some behind-the-scenes stuff, not for the matches that night but with other talent to plant stories and grow things that could eventually become another show in and of itself.

Reilly also noted to Variety that there are no plans of putting the second show on Monday nights, which would not only go opposite Raw but also Monday Night Football, which is something Tony Khan has been adamantly against.

**KENTA has been added to ROH’s Supercard of Honor card on Saturday, April 4th in Lakeland, Florida. KENTA joins Will Ospreay, Jay White, and El Phantasmo as the New Japan representation on the WrestleMania weekend event.

**Dwayne Johnson wrote a glowing tribute to his father Rocky on Friday. It is the first public comment that Dwayne has made since the news of Rocky’s passing broke on Wednesday.

**Ryan Satin at Pro Wrestling Sheet has reported that Kalisto has signed a new deal with WWE.

**MLW had a strong showing this past weekend for their Fusion tapings in North Richland Hills, Texas. According to company officials, they drew 1,387 paid with 1,450-1,500 inside the building. They will be returning to the NYTEX Sports Center in the city on Saturday, May 2nd and there are plans to expand the number of seats for their return. It was also described to me as their best night in terms of merchandise sales with The Von Erichs leading the way with 40% of sales, so the combination of the Von Erichs and Texas seems to be a winning formula for the company. It is one of the more underrated signings of 2019 in terms of an act coming into a company and directly affecting their business.

**EVOLVE has a show from Ybor City, Florida tonight at 7 pm Eastern on WWN Live with the following card:
*Josh Briggs vs. Anthony Greene in a non-title, No DQ match
*Davey Vega & Mat Fitchett vs. Eddie Kingston & Joe Gacy for the EVOLVE tag titles
*AR Fox vs. Brendan Vink
*Curt Stallion vs. Dexter Lumis
*Brandi Lauren vs. Indi Hartwell
*Avery Taylor vs. Santana Garrett
*Adrian Alanis vs. Denzel Dejournette
*Liam Gray vs. Leon Ruff vs. Anthony Gutierrez vs. Stephen Wolf

**On Saturday, EVOLVE is in Orlando for a show at 7 pm with Josh Briggs vs. Dexter Lumis for the EVOLVE title in the main event.

**Below are the matches for Saturday’s episode of MLW Fusion at 9 pm Eastern on BeIn Sports:
*Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Brian Pillman Jr. in the Opera Cup Final
*Myron Reed vs. El Lindaman for the MLW middleweight title
*Savio Vega vs. Gino Medina in an NYC Street Fight

**Charlotte Flair spoke to talkSport about the TLC match with Becky Lynch against the Kabuki Warriors, the injury to Kairi Sane, and teaming with Lynch after their long feud.

**Marty Scurll has been announced for the NWA Power tapings on Sunday, January 26th. The promotion will hold it’s ‘Hard Times’ pay-per-view next Friday from the GPB Studios in Atlanta followed by tapings on Saturday and Sunday.

**Conversely, Nick Aldis will be at the ROH Free Enterprise card in Baltimore on Sunday, February 9th and is challenging Scurll to a match. The show is free for those requesting tickets at the UMBC Event Center. Following the promo being posted, ROH has stated that it will be a tag match with Aldis teaming with Rush against Scurll and ROH champion PCO.

**AAA is sending talent to MLW’s Fightland card on Saturday, February 1st at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia. The promotion has also added Alex Hammerstone vs. T-Hawk for the National Openweight title and Tom Lawlor vs. Killer Kross to this show.

**The Wrap reported that Nikki Bella will be featured on Nickelodeon’s prank show “The Substitute” where she will go undercover playing several characters to trick children. She will be dressed to play an eccentric gym teacher, an awkward speech teacher, and a career counselor that is obsessed with clowns.

**Ring of Honor will hold a Women of Honor tryout combine on Friday, March 27th and March 28th and is open to any wrestlers with at least one year of experience. Those trying out must get to the ROH Dojo on their own and at least one developmental deal will be offered. Delirious, Jonathan Gresham, Will Ferrara, Angelina Love, Sumie Sakai, Ian Riccaboni, and Todd Sinclair will be among those in attendance to scout and instruct.

**The WWE stock closed at $62.85 on Friday.

**Fite TV is going to be carrying the New Beginning in Osaka card on Sunday, February 9th at 2 am Eastern (right after the UFC 247 card with Jon Jones vs. Dominick Reyes). The show will be available for $24.99 U.S. with Tetsuya Naito vs. KENTA for the Double Championship, Jon Moxley vs. Minoru Suzuki for the United States title (which Fite is using as the promotional hook on its website), and Hiromu Takahashi vs. Rye Lee for the IWGP junior heavyweight title as the top three matches. The card also streams live on New Japan World.

WRESTLING VIDEOS

 

MMA NEWS

**Here is the full card for Saturday’s UFC 246 pay-per-view with the results from Friday’s weigh-in:

MAIN CARD (10 pm Eastern on pay-per-view)

*Conor McGregor (170) vs. Donald Cerrone (170)
*Holly Holm (135.5) vs. Raquel Pennington (136)
*Aleksei Oleinik (238) vs. Maurice Greene (243)
*Claudia Gadelha (115.5) vs. Alexa Grasso (121.5*) – this fight has been canceled
*Anthony Pettis (155.5) vs. Diego Ferreira (155.5)

PRELIMINARY CARD (8 pm on ESPN, TSN 3 & 5 in Canada)

*Maycee Barber (126) vs. Roxanne Modafferi (125)
*Sodiq Yusuff (146) vs. Andre Fili (145.5)
*Askar Askarov (126) vs. Tim Elliott (125.5)
*Drew Dober (155.5) vs. Nasrat Haqparast (156)

ESPN+/FIGHT PASS (6:15 pm)
*Aleksa Camur (204) vs. Justin Ledet (205)
*Ode Osbourne (135) vs. Brian Kelleher (136)
*JJ Aldrich (125.5) vs. Sabina Mazo (126.25*) – Mazo missed by ¼ of  a pound and was the last fighter to weigh in

**Alexa Grasso came in at 121.5 pounds for her strawweight fight and over by 5.5 pounds. Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports that the fight has been canceled by the Nevada Athletic Commission due to the disparity in weight. It is the second time Grasso has missed weight in her career. Due to a medical issue, she was advised to stop cutting weight for her August 2017 fight with Randa Markos and came in at 119 pounds. Grasso went on to win that fight by split decision.

**ESPN is reporting that a UFC middleweight championship fight is expected to headline UFC 248 on Saturday, March 7th. While contracts have yet to be signed, it is expected that champion Israel Adesanya will make the first defense of his championship against Yoel Romero on that date in Las Vegas, Nevada at the T-Mobile Arena. Paulo Costa was viewed as the logical contender for Adesanya but underwent surgery on his left biceps this past October and led to the door opening for Romero, who will receive some criticism given he has lost his previous two fights. Adesanya won the title this past October by stopping Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 in Melbourne, Australia.

**Jorge Masvidal held a press conference in Las Vegas while in town and spoke about potential fights in 2020. The big one is clearly Conor McGregor if he defeats Donald Cerrone this Saturday. Masvidal acknowledges that McGregor is a much bigger fight than going for welterweight champion Kamaru Usman as Masvidal vs. McGregor would do enormous business. Masvidal stated his hands are recovering from injuries in 2019 and gave a timeline of April for his next fight, although stated June would be preferable.

**ESPN senior writer Kevin Van Valkenburg traveled to Ireland ahead of this weekend’s fight to assess how the allegations attached to Conor McGregor are playing a factor in the Irish support for the fighter. For the lengthy feature, he spoke with John Kavanagh, as well as Irish Independent reporter Ewan MacKenna, who wrote a book on McGregor and has covered him throughout his career. Van Valkenburg also spoke with Irish fans regarding their opinion of McGregor shifting considering the changes they have observed in his character.

**Karim Zidan at Bloody Elbow has written a piece on the UFC’s handling of Conor McGregor considering the litany of legal issues he has faced along with the two sexual assault investigations that the New York Times reported on. While many can get swept up in the idea of McGregor’s return fight and focus on fight week, it’s impossible not to acknowledge this enormous cloud that follows McGregor and will continue to do so until there is a conclusion regarding these investigations, of which McGregor has not been charged. McGregor’s management has denied the allegations with McGregor adding he has not done anything wrong. During his interview last week with Ariel Helwani, McGregor denied the allegations and stated that “Time will reveal all. Time will tell all.”

It was very telling to see the audience’s response when reporter Morgan Campbell asked McGregor about these accusations at Wednesday’s press conference, was booed by the audience and persisted to get an answer.

This week has served as an exercise in image enhancement for McGregor. He has been a model citizen all week with no drama, no trash talk, arriving early for the press conference on Wednesday, and presenting himself in as positive a light possible and I don’t think that’s a coincidence that by returning to fight and approaching the fight in this manner, that he is hopeful of changing the negative narrative surrounding his reputation. Stars are always going to have longer leashes provided by the public as they weight the moral implications of supporting such a star that is juxtaposed by the entertainment, they provide the consumer. McGregor is not the first, nor last fighter that will force fans to question who and what they are supporting and whether they draw the line between what happens inside the cage and out, or if it’s a larger gray area that makes it difficult to support monetarily.

**Morgan Campbell is covering this week’s UFC event for the New York Times and put out a story with Kevin Draper regarding McGregor’s allegations and the outcome from Campbell’s questions at Wednesday’s press conference.

**ESPN was the first to report that welterweights Tyron Woodley and Leon Edwards will headline the UFC’s March 21st card in London, England at the O2 Arena. Woodley, 37, has not fought since last March when he lost the welterweight title to Kamaru Usman in a one-sided affair at UFC 235 and led to his first loss since 2014. Edwards, 28, has struggled to gain traction in the loaded weight class despite a magnificent record of 18-3 and a winner of his past eight fights since May 2016. His last loss was to current champion Kamaru Usman in December 2015 and holds victories over Donald Cerrone, Gunnar Nelson, and Rafael dos Anjos in his last three fights.

**UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski provided an update on his hand and possible contenders when speaking to The Score’s James Lynch. During the chat, he seemed less interested in a rematch with Max Holloway after watching their UFC 245 fight.

**Earlier this week, a middleweight fight between former champion Robert Whittaker and contender Jared Cannonier fell off the March 7th UFC 248 card. Whittaker had to remove himself due to undisclosed reasons but did issue the following statement:

I’m sorry to all my friends, supporters and family for not being able to fight in March. A lot has happened over the 12 last months and I need to take some time now to be with my family, slow things down and to refocus. Sorry to everyone again but I’ll be back. The best is yet to come.

MMA VIDEOS

 

*****
THE 2020 MMA PREDICTION SHOW WITH ARIEL HELWANI

John Pollock welcomes ESPN’s Ariel Helwani for their annual Prediction Show as they look ahead to what the year 2020 has in store for MMA.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/01/16/the-2020-mma-prediction-show-with-ariel-helwani/
*****
POST BONUS: UFC 246 PREVIEW WITH JOHN POLLOCK

John Pollock previews this Saturday’s UFC 246 card headlined by Conor McGregor taking on Donald Cerrone, a rundown of the entire card, and notes from Wednesday’s press conference.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/01/16/post-bonus-ufc-246-preview-with-john-pollock/
*****
RAD 1/15/20: BASH AT THE BEACH W/ DAMIAN ABRAHAM

John Pollock is joined by Damian Abraham from Turned Out a Punk to review AEW Dynamite, discuss their TNT renewal, the passing of Rocky Johnson & more.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/01/16/rad-1-15-20-bash-at-the-beach-w-damian-abraham/
*****
upNXT 1/15/20: “Joint Manipulation”

Braden Herrington & Davie Portman are back to chat all about the January 15th edition of WWE NXT featuring a Battle Royal.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/01/16/upnxt-01-15-20-joint-manipulation/
*****

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/
*****

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About John Pollock 1495 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.