POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethe set for UFC 249

UFC confirms Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje for UFC 249, WrestleMania 36 thoughts on the two shows, notes on Boneyard and Firefly Funhouse matches, Raw tonight & more.

POST IT NOTES

**Our WrestleMania 36 Night 2 POST Show is posted on the site and the usual spots on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher, etc. We did shows after both nights of WrestleMania with two hours of reaction and reviews.

**Wai Ting and I are back tonight with Rewind-A-Raw to review tonight’s episode following WrestleMania. We will also be reviewing the WWE 24 special on Edge ‘The Second Mountain’ that was released Sunday and take your feedback & questions at the end of the show.

**Jim Ross will be stopping by for a POST Interview this Wednesday on the site to promote Under the Black Hat: My Life in the WWE and Beyond. We will have a preview of that interview on Rewind-A-Raw as Ross discusses the Boneyard and Firefly Funhouse matches from WrestleMania.

**On Tuesday, Wai Ting and I will have a bonus review of Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness available for members of the POST Wrestling Café. You can leave feedback to the series on the POST Wrestling Forum.

POST SCHEDULE

*Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting
*Tuesday:
POST Review of Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness
*Wednesday:
POST Interview with Jim Ross
*Wednesday:
Rewind-A-Dynamite with John & Wai
*Wednesday:
upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
*Thursday:
Café Hangout – Live at 3 pm Eastern for Patrons
*Friday:
Rewind-A-SmackDown (Patreon)
*Sunday:
Thunderstruck with WH Park & guest Wai Ting (Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Samoa Joe, TNA Bound for Glory 2005)

WRESTLEMANIA THOUGHTS

**The most discussed elements of WrestleMania 36 will be the company’s embrace of pre-produced presentations with the Boneyard and Firefly Funhouse matches. Both got over well to the vast majority and will almost certainly be re-visited.

**In the case of the Boneyard match, it delivered on a formula that can extend the career of one of the company’s most successful characters and limit the physicality necessary of a traditional match. It was the Final Deletion with a major WWE budget put behind it and all its resources for a major Undertaker match at WrestleMania. It’s an interesting question of the level of physicality this entails versus a standard match and how much more leeway WWE’s medical end would be open to a character like Sting doing this. There are many possibilities but for The Undertaker to show up once a year, this is the style that would suit him best as he vanquishes the heel that gets out of line and calls out The Undertaker.

**The Firefly Funhouse seemed to have more debate regarding how the segment landed but no one is arguing the thought and cleverness, and I’ll argue sophistication for a WWE produced piece. There has been a range of those believing it was one of the best segments they’ve ever done, to those that despised it. I fell in the middle and was intrigued enough from our feedback that I re-watched the segment. On first viewing, it was a lot being thrown at you at once and my new rule is that I’ll have to watch these more than once because it’s damn near impossible to take beat-by-beat notes as its airing and catch every element. I’m not crazy about anything in the body of the program that leans on portions of the industry that everyone knows but makes zero sense in the storyline. John Cena not turning heel is one of those that you can twist to fit a narrative but losing and ‘putting Bray Wyatt over’ is a step too far. But, is this even the body of the show? Is this its own world they’ve created where leeway is that much more? It would be silly to argue the downside of the Firefly Funhouse from a story standpoint whereas the Boneyard match had a man buried alive and will return from the dead.

**On the second viewing of the Funhouse segment, my biggest compliment is that this segment achieved something that virtually never happens in WWE and that rewarded those that have followed WWE their entire lives. Not every joke or reference may land but it was a great utilization of their tape library, tying all the clips to form a story about John Cena’s motivations, the conflicted nature he holds deep down of the fans booing him with that great montage of clips from One Night Stand, Money in the Bank 2011, losing to The Rock at WrestleMania, etc. If you got the references, it was a reward for your year’s as a fan instead of the typical belief that everything ends after a pay-per-view cycle and history is rarely leaned on. The thought and creativity for what we’re accustomed to in WWE were far and above the standard. The next question is how you utilize The Fiend character and embed him into the world of WWE and not just as this island of the Firefly Funhouse.

**After the successful execution of these segments the next question is how you follow up and how much of this style of the content does the fanbase want out of this product? I think we can learn from Lucha Underground that as something new and fresh, it’s embraced but too much of it can be a turnoff over time. Even with the Broken Universe, when they went and did an entire episode dedicated to ‘Total Nonstop Deletion’, it was too much for the entire length of a show.

**As a two-night experiment, the best result was the shorter length of each show and is something you would at least be open to in the future. For the company, it’s weighing what the value is of booking a stadium for two nights as opposed to one and what would the result be when there are years WrestleMania doesn’t sell out for the one night. However, even if split the audience that will pick between one night or the other, if you take a gate of $15 million for a WrestleMania and instead, wind up with two gates of $9 million, is that worth it? To me, the decision of running two nights is less on the live event business or more so the distribution options. This year saw the company re-embrace the pay-per-view industry while also plastering the spectacle of WrestleMania on ESPN and Fox properties. Would a Fox or ESPN be willing to buy the distribution rights for one night or two nights of programming next year? Could you run a Saturday night WrestleMania on a network that features a portion of the card that is also designed to sell people on the larger matches the following night on pay-per-view? It may be tough to make any decisions in time for 2021 with so much locked in ahead of time and the current state of the world was making plans that far outcomes with a risk. You also need the right card for two nights as I couldn’t see a large demand ticket wise for this year’s show split over two nights compared to one where the biggest parts of each show were the two taped segments.

**I mentioned this several times, but with WrestleMania over the company is now facing the challenge of producing more content for this Friday and beyond. What we watched over the past two nights would have likely carried them well into the month of May had they opted to promote ‘WrestleMania Month’ on Raw and SmackDown where 2-3 matches aired per show mixed with archived content, promos, and shoulder programming. For the talent, production staff, and everyone else involved in these marathon tapings, I feel awful that they are looking at the prospect of having to do this all over again unless a better solution is found. I was not a fan of AEW continuing their tapings either, but to their credit, they are in a position where they don’t have to tape again for a long time with all the content that has banked. The sacrifice for WWE would have been the Fox Sports deal to stream WrestleMania, and additional sign-ups for the network but it would have alleviated the stress of pressing forward and most of all, abide by the clear-cut instructions from the Government and medical experts to stay home and do their part.

**The match that disappointed was Edge and Randy Orton that simply went way too long and lost most of the audience. It had the highest anticipation with the best-built program of WrestleMania coupled with Edge’s first singles since match 2011. From a physical standpoint, I thought it was an amazing achievement that Adam Copeland looked great and could go for the length of time after everything he’s been through. But the structure of this match didn’t resonate, and it never ended. It was odd because when the match began, I was hooked and several minutes in felt confident this was going to be the match of the show. By the 18-minute mark, that was not the case and it just kept going and going and going. It felt like one of the Boiler Room Brawls from the past, took for granted being in this empty setting for so long with no crowd reaction. Long-term, I don’t think it matters as there is a laundry list of big matches for Edge to have and he strikes me as someone that will be as critical of this match as anyone else but also learn from the mistakes rather than blame the audience.

**The spot involving the weight machine and using it as a choking device never should have aired. I saw the spot and it immediately took my mind to Chris Benoit but thought I would have been one of the few to draw that comparison. I wasn’t and should not have been left out after the editing process. That story is so fresh in everyone’s mind with the recent Vice TV documentary and that’s not a small documentary.

** Beside the Boneyard and Funhouse segments, which can’t be compared to the others, I felt the best matches of the weekend were Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley from night 2 and Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens from night 1. Night 1 was the show I preferred as it was more consistent from start-to-finish and ended on a high note with the Boneyard Match. For night 2, I wanted to see Drew McIntyre and Brock Lesnar have an actual match but you can’t argue with the way Lesnar lost and McIntyre felt like a megastar at the end, which would have been amazing inside a stadium and wasn’t the case here. It was the right finish and time for McIntyre to win, but the template was almost identical to Goldberg vs. Braun Strowman. In the first match, it was four spears followed by four power slams and Strowman wins – the next night, Lesnar is stopped on the fourth F-5 and lost after four Claymores. It was too glaring of a formula watching it on back-to-back nights.

POLL RESULTS

The Firefly Fun House? (3,876 votes)

Loved it: 79.3%
Hated it: 20.7%

Which night did you prefer? (1,436 votes)

Night 1: 59.3%
Night 2: 40.7%

WRESTLING NEWS

**Tonight’s episode of Raw was taped during the week of tapings at the Performance Center but they haven’t announced anything on the show. On the WrestleMania broadcast, they were actively promoting the Money in the Bank event for May 10th, although never mentioned the original location of Baltimore, which I would imagine is not an option for this show to take place.

**Dave Meltzer reported on Wrestling Observer Radio that Michael Hayes was the lead in charge of the Boneyard Match with Paul Levesque also heavily involved with Jeremy Boras also involved in the process. Meltzer added that the Firefly Funhouse was led by Bruce Prichard and Bray Wyatt with John Cena also adding his input for changes to the piece.

**Following WrestleMania on Sunday night, the WWE Network ran a preview of an upcoming series called ‘The Last Ride’ chronicling The Undertaker out-of-character from 2017 through 2020. The 13-minute teaser looked great with Mark Calaway explaining the physical limitations that have forced him to be reduced to such a limited schedule. He did two matches in 2017 but one was the Royal Rumble and was brief, he did five in 2018, and two in 2019. It was a big hurdle for him to admit on camera he can’t do a full-time schedule even though it’s been the case for a decade at this point. It’s a very interesting period to have cameras on Calaway considering the nature of his loss at WrestleMania 33 in 2017 and appearing to retire at the end, why he came back, the limited nature of his match with John Cena at WrestleMania in 2018, the Bill Goldberg match last year, on top of the physical ailments he has. I cannot imagine what the legitimate number is for his surgeries over the years, but he speaks about them as routine and it strikes you in this feature watching him walking in the lobby of the hotel in 2017 limping. In some ways, it makes you think that this past weekend would be a high note to go out on.

**AEW has announced a tag match with Kenny Omega & Michael Nakazawa vs. Best Friends has been added to this Wednesday’s episode of Dynamite.

**The following matches have been advertised for AEW Dark on Tuesday night at 7 pm Eastern:
*Kip Sabian vs. Tony Donati
*QT Marshall vs. Lee Johnson
*Wardlow in action

**All Japan was set to start their Champion Carnival today but announced last week the tournament was off. Instead, they held an empty arena show at Shin-Kiba 1st Ring on Monday. The show was headlined by a six-man tag with new Triple Crown champion Suwama teaming with Kento Miyahara and Zeus against Shuji Ishikawa, Jake Lee, and Yuma Aoyagi that went to a 60:00 draw.

**Charlie Adorno, who is the fan that has attended every WrestleMania since 1985 spoke with Justin Barrasso at SI.com about the end of his own streak. Adorno told SI that he did speak with people at the company, who wanted him to attend if there was any way they could allow a select number into the WWE PC:

A couple of people internally wanted me to come. They even said that if some fans were allowed in, I’d be at the top of the list. So, there was definitely talk about the possibility, but with all of the strict guidelines, they were already at capacity for the amount of people they could have in the building. It wasn’t meant to be. If it was possible, I would have been there.

**The WWE stock closed at $35.08 on Monday.

**Damian Abraham has several interviews on his Turned Out A Punk podcast over the past few days with Amy Dumas, David Starr, and Effy.

**DEFY, Progress Wrestling, and PCW Ultra are gearing up for joint shows this summer. The groups are coming together for shows on July 30th in Los Angeles at ILWU Memorial Hall, July 31st and August 1st at Washington Hall in Seattle, and August 2nd in Portland at the Crystal Ballroom with tickets on sale this Friday at 10 am Pacific.

**The latest episode of We are Stardom features a Lumberjack match between Mayu Iwatani and Saki Kashima from March 8th inside an empty Korakuen Hall:

**This week’s Being the Elite features a match involving The Young Bucks:

MMA NEWS

**The UFC officially announced on Monday that Tony Ferguson will fight Justin Gaethje on Saturday, April 18th at a location to be determined. Dana White made the announcement and it will be for the interim lightweight title. It was reported by ESPN on Sunday that the promotion was close to securing a location believed to be on the West Coast of the United States. The pay-per-view card does not have a full lineup of fights announced yet.

**Over the weekend, a civil suit was filed against UFC president Dana White filed by Ernesto Joshua Ramos for breach of contract. Ramos pleaded guilty after being arrested and accused of trying to extort $200,000 for an unnamed businessman, who the civil suit identified as White. The civil suit outlines that there was a videotape Ramos had possession of that allegedly featured White having sex with a dancer from a Las Vegas-based strip club, who was Ramos’ girlfriend and she taped the encounter without White’s knowledge in October 2014. Ramos claims he was under the impression if he pleaded guilty and thus, White would not be identified, that he would be paid $450,000 for not disclosing White’s name. Ramos’ lawyer claims White turned on the deal in April 2016.

White issued the following statement on Saturday regarding the suit:

I just found out that a bullshit lawsuit was filed against me yesterday. This guy went to federal prison for trying to extort me over five years ago. Now he’s hired a lawyer who is also a convicted felon, and he’s trying to extort me again for $10 million. He got no money from me last time and he won’t be getting any money from me this time. I look forward to the court dismissing this quickly so I can get rid of these scumbags forever.

**KSNV out of Nevada reported that Station Casinos, run by Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, is donating $1 million to the state’s emergency relief fund to assist with the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. The owners will also forego their salaries throughout the pandemic.

*****
WRESTLEMANIA 36 NIGHT 2 POST SHOW
John Pollock & Wai Ting are back to review WWE WrestleMania 36 Night 2 featuring John Cena vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt in a Firefly Fun House match, Brock Lesnar vs. Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship, and Edge vs. Randy Orton.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/04/05/live-link-wrestlemania-36-night-2-post-show-1015pm-et/
*****

REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 4/3/20: Strowman replaces Reigns, The Life and Crimes of New Jack
John Pollock and Wai Ting review the final Friday Night SmackDown before WrestleMania 36 featuring the announcement of Roman Reigns’ replacement. Plus, a review of Dark Side of the Ring: “The Life and Crimes of New Jack”.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/04/04/rewind-a-smackdown-4-3-20-strowman-replaces-reigns-new-jack-on-dsotr/
*****
THUNDERSTRUCK #24: Liger & Murahama vs. KENTA & Marufuji
WH Park and John Carroll from Voices of Wrestling’s Wrestling Omakase talk for the first time to review Jushin Liger & Takehiro Murahama vs. KENTA & Naomichi Marufuji in a match to determine the first-ever NOAH Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/04/04/thunderstruck-24-liger-murahama-vs-kenta-marufuji-7-16-03-w-john-carroll/
*****
WWE WrestleMania 36 Night 1 POST Show
John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE WrestleMania 36 Night 1 featuring The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles in a Boneyard Match main event that everyone is talking about. Plus, Goldberg defends the WWE Universal Championship against Braun Strowman.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/04/04/live-link-wrestlemania-36-night-1-post-show-1030pm-et/
*****
BWE Retro Edition: TWC International Showdown (2005)
Martin, Benno & Jamesie take a look back at The Wrestling Channel’s International Showdown 2005, one of the biggest wrestling events to take place in the UK during the 2000s featuring CM Punk, Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, AJ Styles, and Mitsuharu Misawa.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/04/02/bwe-retro-edition-twc-international-showdown-2005/
*****
Café GRANDE Hangout: Live Charity Q&A with Special Guests
John Pollock and Wai Ting couldn’t do their live show in Tampa this year, but that won’t stop them from bringing it to your homes with the first-ever Café Grande Hangout.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/04/02/cafe-grande-hangout-live-charity-qa-with-special-guests-free-stream-at-2pm-et/
*****
upNXT 4/1/20: Hostage Situation
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review the April 1st edition of WWE NXT featuring Damian Priest vs. Dominik Dijakovic vs. Keith Lee for the North American Championship.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/04/02/upnxt-4-1-20-hostage-situation/
*****
REWIND-A-DYNAMITE 4/1/20: Release the Hounds

John Pollock and Wai Ting review AEW Dynamite from an undisclosed location. Featuring Cody & Darby Allin taking on Sammy Guevara & Shawn Spears ahead of next week’s TNT Championship tournament.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/04/02/rewind-a-dynamite-4-1-20-release-the-hounds/
*****

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About John Pollock 1741 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling.He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.