POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: A preview of the Royal Rumble

John Pollock previews the Royal Rumble, a look at Worlds Collide tonight, AEW has a big on-sale figure, SD number, Justice Pain passes away, NWA notes & more.

POST IT NOTES

**We did a special live edition of Rewind-A-SmackDown on Friday and I wanted to thank everyone that called in and joined the chat room. On the show, we did reviews of SmackDown and the NWA ‘Hard Times’ event along with previews of Worlds Collide, the Royal Rumble, and going through the news of the day. Plus, lots of your phone calls on the show including WH Park’s review of this past week’s Stardom show at Korakuen Hall. This show is available now for all members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**Braden Herrington and Davie Portman will have a Worlds Collide POST Show tonight on the site following the show from Houston, Texas.

**On Sunday, a new edition of Thunderstruck drops with WH Park chatting with Martin Bushby of the British Wrestling Experience about the March 1996 match between Jushin Thunder Liger and Shinjiro Otani.

**Our Royal Rumble POST Show will be live approximately 15 minutes after the Royal Rumble ends on Sunday night. If you’re a Double Double, Iced Capp or Espresso member of the Café you can watch the show and call in. The free version will be out Monday morning. Wai Ting and I will be joined by Mike Murray for Sunday’s show.

WRESTLING NEWS

**The WWE’s Worlds Collide event takes place from the Toyota Center tonight in Houston, Texas for their first of two nights in the city. On paper, this could be as good as any WWE show in months with a stellar lineup. The matches having very little story going into them as it’s essentially hot matches presented in a vacuum. It doesn’t have the feel of a TakeOver special but for two-and-a-half hours, I think this will easily be a well-received show and the tag match involving DIY and Moustache Mountain could be the top match this weekend. The pre-show starts at 6:30 pm Eastern and below is the card:
*Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish vs. WALTER, Alexander Wolfe, Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel
*Rhea Ripley vs. Toni Storm for the NXT women’s title
*Finn Balor vs. Ilja Dragunov
*Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa vs. Tyler Bate & Trent Seven
*Angel Garza vs. Jordan Devlin vs. Isaiah Scott vs. Travis Banks for the Cruiserweight title
*Kay Lee Ray vs. Mia Yim on the pre-show

**Mauro Ranallo is calling the Showtime Championship Boxing card tonight at the Barclays Center, so Tom Phillips will be doing play-by-play for Worlds Collide tonight. Tonight is a rare night where all three of Ranallo’s employers – WWE, Bellator, and Showtime have cards going on.

**Here is the updated card for Sunday night’s Royal Rumble at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas with the kickoff show at 5 pm Eastern and the main show at 7:

*30-man Royal Rumble – The story is Brock Lesnar with this year’s Rumble essentially providing two winners if they have one person eliminate Lesnar to set up his WrestleMania program and another winning the actual match. The favorite to eliminate Lesnar would have to be Drew McIntyre, Cain Velasquez (not officially announced but expected for the match), Aleister Black, or a left-field choice from SmackDown. On SmackDown, you could have Roman Reigns win the entire thing as I can’t see many other viable choices on SmackDown’s end. Kofi Kingston has been shut out of the main title mix since losing in October and I thought he could have been a larger focus in this year’s Rumble. Kingston and John Morrison seem poised to have a battle of the near-elimination spots. In terms of surprises, many are expecting Edge and if he’s coming back and doing WrestleMania then this is the time to pull the trigger on it. It doesn’t feel like the right time for The Undertaker, Bill Goldberg, or John Cena as nothing has been teased and I would only bring one of them back if there was a major program slated for ‘Mania involving a roster member. The men’s match has a lot more stories and options and part of that is a lack of announcements ahead of time for the women’s version.

*30-woman Royal Rumble – The consensus favorite is Shayna Baszler, who hasn’t been announced nor has NXT even been brought up aside from the Rumble ‘numbers video’ that did advertise three brands being part of the Rumble matches. Baszler and Becky Lynch are the logical destinations for WrestleMania but that doesn’t mean Baszler has to win this match as she could appear in different ways, but this would be my way of kicking off her Raw run. The SmackDown women’s side is wide open with either Bayley or Lacey Evans leaving as champion and that would lead me to believe Sasha Banks is being held off for one of them. Charlotte Flair is always an option and could get the marathon spot to last the longest even if she loses. This is the match that seems reserved for NXT entrants, surprises, and other things to make up for the lack of depth with, so few names announced heading into it.

*The Fiend Bryan Wyatt vs. Daniel Bryan in a Strap match for the Universal title – Bryan has been able to have the best match with this character in trying environments. I would love to see the red lightning ditched but it’s been used in all the segments leading in and I think it’s here to stay. The Fiend has been the main character on SmackDown and it’s only natural to assume he’s heading into WrestleMania as champion. I have higher hopes for this match than I did before the TLC match. I still maintain a Bryan vs. Reigns program going into ‘Mania would be better long-term for the show and for Reigns but it seems they are married to The Fiend and I don’t see a title change in this one.

*Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin in a Falls Count Anywhere match – This one probably goes on early and then the men’s match closes the show. They had a disappointing TLC match last month and hopefully, the stipulation inside a baseball stadium benefits them. The stipulation can allow for Corbin to have assistance from Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode and steal the win to keep this program going while Reigns can come back later and either win the Rumble or at least eliminate Corbin. Ultimately, you have to expect Reigns in the ‘Mania title program and Corbin can keep him busy until then.

*Becky Lynch vs. Asuka for the Raw women’s title – It’s a simple story and Lynch avenging last year’s loss should be the finality to it. It would make sense that the loser ends up in the Rumble as they need bodies for that one.

*Bayley vs. Lacey Evans for the SmackDown women’s title – This could go either way. They are heavily invested with Evans that I can’t see her as a transitional opponent for Bayley. Evans winning the title isn’t out of the realm of possibility or at least the program continues with a non-finish. Bayley has done remarkably well in transitioning to a heel and they pushed this match hard on the ‘go-home’ show on Friday. It’s a big platform for Evans in front of a big crowd and first major match as a babyface.

*Andrade vs. Humberto Carrillo for the United States title – This could be a victim of landing on the pre-show when the audience could be arriving and not fully into it. Carrillo is one of the projects on Raw and this is probably the first chapter of a long story between the two. Zelina Vega getting involved to assist Andrade seems like a logical ‘out’ to keep the title with Andrade and not harm Carrillo with the loss.

*Sheamus vs. Shorty G – I don’t expect much here other than a spirited effort from G before he’s killed with a Brogue kick.

**AEW had a huge on-sale date on Friday for their episode of Dynamite at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that the company sold 10,000 tickets, which includes a pre-sale from earlier in the week. The Newark episode is set for Wednesday, March 25th.

**Friday night’s episode of SmackDown did 2,470,000 viewers on the overnight figures with the final number out Tuesday. The show averaged 2,548,000 in the first hour and 2,391,000 in the second. They were the top network programming with adults 18-49 and 18-34 with a 0.7 and 0.5 respectively in those demos.

**We have an obit posted on the site for Chris Wilson, who wrestled as Justice Pain throughout the late 90’s and 2010s primarily for Combat Zone Wrestling. Wilson died this past week with the news coming out Friday evening from CZW. Wilson was the older brother of Nick Gage, who wrestled on Friday night for Game Changer Wrestling. Wilson was only 41 years of age and it is unknown what the cause of death was.

**While appearing with Sonya Deville on Bradley Martyn’s YouTube channel during a workout, Mandy Rose stated she recently signed a new five-year contract with WWE. Rose (real name Amanda Saccomanno) competed on the 2015 season of Tough Enough where contracts were awarded to Sara Lee and Josh Bredl. Rose was still signed by the company and started out in NXT in January 2016. Rose and Deville made their main roster debut in November 2017 as sidekicks for Paige, who would only wrestle for another month before sustaining an injury that would halt her in-ring career. The two are members of the SmackDown roster with Rose having an ongoing story with Otis of Heavy Machinery.

**Below are the matches for tonight’s episode of MLW Fusion at 9 pm Eastern on BeIn Sports from the recent tapings in Texas:
*Jimmy Havoc vs. Mance Warner in a No Ropes Barbed Wired match
*Low Ki vs. Chandler Hopkins
*Puma King & Drago vs. Injustice vs. Low Rider & Taurus (Taurus also had a match on Impact Wrestling this week from their tapings in Mexico City last weekend)

**Ken Anderson missed the NWA ‘Hard Times’ event where he was scheduled to be part of the Television title tournament and face Tim Storm. On the broadcast, they stated he was not medically cleared to compete. POST Wrestling has reached out for an update and it’s unknown if he will be at the NWA tapings this weekend.

**The NWA’s next pay-per-view is set for April. On Friday’s ‘Hard Times’ broadcast, Stu Bennett said they were moving to a larger venue, but no location or date was announced. The next show will be built around the Crockett Cup.

**While TSN in Canada does monitor AEW Dynamite and has the ability to censor, we were told that the heavy crowd censoring from this past week’s episode was not done on their end.

**The main news coming out of ‘Hard Times’ was Ricky Starks becoming the Television champion defeating Matt Cross, Tim Storm, and Trevor Murdoch in the finals of the tournament. Eli Drake & James Storm won the NWA tag titles with Drake pinning Ricky Morton after hitting the Gravy Train in a three-way match with The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express and The Wilds Cards. The other title change saw Thunder Rosa pinning Allysin Kay after hitting the Thunder Driver in the best match on the show. There is a full rundown of the show on the main page and a review on Rewind-A-SmackDown.

**Daniel Bryan’s new WWE shirt he was wearing on SmackDown is a special eco-friendly one that WWE has put out. Bryan stated that the shirt is made of organic cotton and recycled materials. In addition, Bryan has partnered with American Forest to plant a tree for every shirt that is sold.

**Dominic Garrini will hold an open invitation Prize Fight Challenge at MLW’s Fightland card next Saturday at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia.

**The Daily Beast did a profile on AEW wrestler Nyla Rose.

**On Friday, the WWE fell over 4% and closed at $59.66.

**New Japan Pro Wrestling continues its U.S. tour on Sunday evening at the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee with the following lineup:
*Alex Coughlin & Ren Narita vs. Misterioso & Alex Zayne
*Yoshi-Hashi vs. Karl Fredericks
*Colt Cabana & Toru Yano vs. TJP & Clark Connors
*Jeff Cobb vs. Satoshi Kojima
*Yuji Nagata vs. Lance Archer
*Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Yujiro – once upon a time this headlined a Power Struggle card in 2012 for the IWGP title
*Juice Robinson, David Finlay & Rocky Romero vs. Guerrillas of Destiny & Chase Owens

**The U.S. tour continues Monday in Durham, North Carolina, Thursday in Miami, and Saturday in Atlanta.

*As of Wednesday, BetOnline has Roman Reigns as the favorite to win the Rumble followed by Drew McIntyre, Brock Lesnar, CM Punk, Kevin Owens, Cain Velasquez, and Edge. They also have Conor McGregor, Hulk Hogan, Logan Paul, Rob Gronkowski, Steve Austin, and Shawn Michaels listed with 100/1 odds of winning it.

On the women’s side, the favorite to win the Rumble is Shayna Baszler with 2/5 odds followed by Ronda Rousey, Charlotte Flair, Rhea Ripley, Sasha Banks, and Lacey Evans.

Bray Wyatt, Becky Lynch, Bayley, and Roman Reigns are the favorites to win their singles matches on the pay-per-view.

PAY-PER-VIEW REWIND

WWE Royal Rumble 2019
Sunday, January 27th 
Phoenix, Arizona at Chase Field
*Bobby Roode & Chad Gable over Scott Dawson & Rezar
*Shinsuke Nakamura over Rusev to win the United States title
*Buddy Murphy over Akira Tozawa, Kalisto & Hideo Itami to retain the Cruiserweight title
*Asuka over Becky Lynch to retain the SmackDown women’s title
*The Miz & Shane McMahon over Sheamus & Cesaro to win the SmackDown tag titles
*Ronda Rousey over Sasha Banks to retain the Raw women’s title
*Becky Lynch won the women’s Royal Rumble match
*Daniel Bryan over AJ Styles to retain the WWE championship
*Brock Lesnar over Finn Balor to retain the Universal title
*Seth Rollins won the men’s Royal Rumble match

MMA NEWS

**The UFC has a show from the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina tonight beginning at 5 pm Eastern and streaming on ESPN+. Below is the full card and we will have a report on the site later tonight:

MAIN CARD (8 pm Eastern on ESPN+)
*Junior dos Santos (247) vs. Curtis Blaydes (248)
*Michael Chiesa (170.5) vs. Rafael dos Anjos (170)
*Alex Perez (125.5) vs. Jordan Espinosa (126)
*Hannah Cifers (114.5) vs. Angela Hill (116)
*Darko Stosic (205) vs. Jamahal Hill (205.5)

PRELIMINARY CARD (5 pm on ESPN+)

*Bevon Lewis (186) vs. Dequan Townsend (185)
*Nik Lentz (146) vs. Arnold Allen (145.5)
*Justine Kish (126) vs. Lucie Pudilova (126)
*Montel Jackson (135.5) vs. Felipe Colares (135)
*Lina Lansberg (135) vs. Sara McMann (135)
*Tony Gravely (135) vs. Brett Johns (136)
*Herbert Burns (146) vs. Nate Landwehr (146)

**Bellator 238 has a show from The Forum in Inglewood, California with the prelims kicking off at 7:30 pm Eastern on DAZN, Bellator.com and the Bellator app. The main card streams at 10 pm on DAZN with the following main card fights:
*Julia Budd (144.5) vs Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino (143.8) for the Bellator featherweight title
*Adam Borics (144.9) vs. Darrion Caldwell (144.6) in the Featherweight Grand Prix Quarter-final
*Henry Corrales (145.3) vs. Juan Archuleta (145.5)
*Sergio Pettis (135) vs. Alfred Khashakyan (135.9)
*Raymond Daniels (169.8) vs. Jason King (169.7)
*Ava Knight (114.5) vs. Emilee King (115.2)

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RASD 1/24/20: SmackDown, Hard Times & Royal Rumble Preview
John Pollock & Wai Ting have a special live show to review Friday Night SmackDown & NWA Hard Times, plus a preview of Worlds Collide and Royal Rumble, and your calls.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/01/25/rasd-1-24-20-smackdown-hard-times-royal-rumble-preview/
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BRITISH WRESTLING EXPERIENCE: The Best of the 2010s

Martin is back with Benno and Jamesie to discuss their favorite matches, moments and memories from the 2010s of European wrestling.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/01/24/bwe-1-24-20-best-of-the-2010s/
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upNXT 1/22/20: “We’re Not On A Boat”

Braden Herrington & Davie Portman are back to chat all about the Worlds Collide “Go-Home” edition of WWE NXT featuring Roderick Strong vs. Keith Lee for the North American Championship, TWO tag team matches in the semi-Finals of the Dusty Classic, Shotzi Blackheart vs. Shayna Baszler, and Io Shirai vs. Toni Storm.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/01/23/upnxt-1-22-20-were-not-on-a-boat/
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REWIND-A-DYNAMITE 1/22/20: “I’m On A Boat”

John Pollock and Wai Ting review AEW Dynamite on tape from Chris Jericho’s Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Rager at Sea.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/01/23/rewind-a-dynamite-1-22-20-im-on-a-boat/
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REWIND-A-WAI #53: AJW DREAMSLAM I

John Pollock and Wai Ting review All Japan Women’s Dream Slam I from April 2nd, 1993 as AJW, JWP Joshi Puroresu, LLPW, FMW, and EMLL come together to put on dream matches at the height of an early 90’s Joshi Puroresu boom.
https://www.patreon.com/posts/33343730/
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REWIND-A-RAW 1/20/20: New Tag Champions, Royal Rumble Go-Home
John Pollock and the returning Wai Ting go through the go-home edition of WWE Raw leading into the Royal Rumble.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/01/21/rewind-a-raw-1-20-20-new-tag-champions-royal-rumble-go-home/
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About John Pollock 4276 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.