POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Matt Cardona on WWE release, 2011-13

Matt Cardona speaks on his WWE release, The Undertaker doc, UFC expected to have COVID-19 testing, ESPN survey on empty arena sports, ARP statement & more.

POST IT NOTES

**Wai Ting are I are back tonight with a new Rewind-A-Raw to discuss the latest news, tonight’s taped edition of Raw, and take your feedback & questions at the end of the show.

**On Tuesday, it’s our monthly ASK-A-WAI mailbag show answering all the questions submitted in the POST Wrestling Forum thread from the past month.

**On the latest POST Puroresu, WH Park and I go through the status of many of the promotions in Japan and how they are functioning during the pandemic. We also review last week’s All Japan card and the Great Sasuke documentary that is now available on YouTube and reaction to NOAH’s Global Tag League.

**There is a new POST Puroresu t-shirt available in the POST Wrestling Store, with the design from Robert Pearson.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting
Tuesday: ASK-A-WAI mailbag show (Patreon)
Wednesday: UFC 249 Preview Show with John Pollock & Phil Chertok
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite
Wednesday: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Thursday: Café Hangout – LIVE at 3 pm Eastern for all Patrons
Friday: Rewind-A-SnackDown (Patreon)
Saturday: UFC 249 POST Show with John & Phil Chertok
Sunday: WWE Money in the Bank POST Show (LIVE for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso Patrons)

WRESTLING NEWS

**Tonight’s episode of Raw is a taped show from last week, which serves as the go-home Raw for Money in the Bank. As we reported over the weekend, AJ Styles is expected to return on tonight’s show and is figured into the Money in the Bank show. The following has been announced for tonight’s show at 8 pm Eastern:
*The ‘Last Chance Gauntlet’ match for the final spot in the MITB Ladder match
*Drew McIntyre vs. Murphy in a non-title match
*The Street Profits vs. The Viking Raiders for the Raw tag titles
*Ricochet & Cedric Alexander vs. Shane Thorne & Brendan Vink

**Friday Night SmackDown finished with 1,885,000 viewers on Fox last Friday, so the number fell from the overnight figure. The show did a 0.5 in the 18-49 demographic. This would be their lowest viewership mark on Fox since launching on the network last October. They were down 6% from the week prior and is the first time the number has finished under two million viewers on Fox.

**Matt Cardona (formerly Zack Ryder) spoke on Busted Open Radio today regarding his WWE release and whether he was expecting the call to come that he would be part of the cuts:

We all got this mass text to watch this Vince McMahon video explaining that these cuts would be happening, so I can’t say unexpected. I don’t know if I’ve ever said this before, I never resigned my contract, so my deal was going to be up in August and I had been dealing with contract negotiations for over a year and the anxiety I had about it –  Do I stay? Do I go? Do I stay? Do I go? It was really eating me up. So, when that call was made and I was released, the decision was made for me, so instantly I was relieved, you know what I’m saying? Because the anxiety that I had for over a year subconsciously, consciously, it was instantly gone and I felt, like, I felt so excited because I want to work, I want to do stuff, I want to be creative.

So, to now be able to do whatever I want – I’ve been fortunate that I was with WWE for fourteen years. I got in when I was 20 years old. I grew up there. I grew up as a wrestler, I grew up as a man but it’s time for me to go out there and do it my way and do my thing, to fail on my own, to succeed on my own. I feel like it’s Christmas morning.

Cardona also went into the rise of his Z! True Long Island Story in 2011 and how WWE didn’t capitalize on the organic popularity swing he enjoyed and fast-forwarding to watching WrestleMania in 2013 from a private box instead of being on the show:

I’m not going to lie, I saw when I was doing the YouTube show in 2011, I saw my hard work getting rewarded and I was rewarded by the fans, right? They would bring my signs or chant my name at shows I wasn’t even at or buy my merch, and it kind of forced WWE to use me. So, I loved getting my hard work rewarded by the fans, and then, I was continuing the YouTube show, and instead of seeing everything go up, it was going down and down fast. I should have knocked on the door and asked Vince McMahon straight-up ‘What’s going on? What can I do to change what’s going on?’, but I didn’t. So, I can only blame myself because I don’t know what was said behind those doors. If I presented myself and asked maybe I would know. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t realize what was going on, that my career was going downhill fast. 2011 I worked my way up, then two years later WrestleMania in New York/New Jersey I literally was watching the show from Miz’s friend’s and family press box and felt like a total loser, it sucked.

**The first episode of ‘The Last Ride’ chronicling The Undertaker will premiere this Sunday after Money in the Bank on the WWE Network. The first episode is titled ‘Chapter 1: The Greatest Fear’ with the following description:

Get a rare and revealing look at Mark Calaway, the man behind The Undertaker, as he prepares for the final match of his storied WWE career against Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 33.

**NBC Universal has revealed an organizational restructuring placing its television networks and the new Peacock streaming network under one division as NBC Universal Television and Streaming. The division will be overseen by Mark Lazarus and will include their cable properties, meaning the USA Network and E! will be under this division. Lazarus will report to NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell.

**The WWE closed at $44 on Monday and was up 0.5%.

**ESPN conducted a fan survey of 1,004 sports fans with 65% responding that were in favor of sports returning, even if it wasn’t open to fans. When the subject of sports returning to empty venues with the athletes stationed in hotels and closely monitored, the approval rate grew to 76% of fans in favor. Among those considered ‘avid sports fans’, 88% said they would watch as much as sports as they could when it returns.

This is a major subject that we will get some evidence to support or debunk over the next few weeks with UFC. We have the data to see the impact empty arenas have had on the pro wrestling audience, which appeared to be 1-2 weeks of a novelty factor and engaged interested before the declines took off. For SmackDown, there was a delay, but they have caught up to the audience erosion over the last three weeks.

Slowly, more sports are rolling out with NASCAR set to return with several races this month and on Monday, ESPN announced they will begin airing daily baseball games from South Korea’s Korea Baseball Organization beginning Tuesday.

This weekend, the UFC should have a strong response to UFC 249 as it’s a loaded show and their first since March 14th (an afternoon show that didn’t draw well on television several days into the shutdown phase in the U.S.). May 13th and May 16th are going to be indicative of what the average appetite for UFC is going to be. Even in regular circumstances, running three shows in one week would be taxing and I’m not convinced that just being on television is enough – or else, pro wrestling would have seen a surge in its viewership, and it’s been the opposite.

**The NFL has stated all games played in the 2020 season will be played in the United States with the elimination of five international games. The league had been planning to hold four games in London, England with two at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and two at Wembley Stadium and one game in Mexico City at Azteca Stadium during the next season.

**In Canada, AEW Dynamite is listed for TSN1 and TSN2 this Wednesday night at 8 pm Eastern. On TSN2, they will be airing the Andre the Giant HBO documentary immediately following Dynamite.

**WWE has announced that Karrion Kross will have his in-ring debut on NXT this Wednesday, which was taped last week. Below is the updated lineup for Wednesday’s show at 8 pm Eastern on the USA Network:
*Adam Cole vs. Velveteen Dream for the NXT title
*Charlotte Flair vs. Io Shirai for the NXT women’s title
*Dominik Dijakovic vs. Johnny Gargano
*Karrion Kross vs. TBA
*Finn Balor returns to call out his attacker

**Ethan Page of Impact Wrestling was a guest on The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast and spoke about how Impact has handled their canceled events. Page noted that they have been paid for three canceled shows and then received a full day’s pay for 2-3 hours of work last week when he and Josh Alexander filmed something for television.

Personally, I have nothing but good things to say during this entire thing. We had three events canceled that we got paid for and we didn’t even have to leave the house,” revealed Page. “In my contract, it says if I don’t perform, I don’t get paid. But I didn’t perform, and they still paid me. That just shows a different character than most companies in this situation and I’ll be happy to pay that forward, maybe even just telling you how good they’re treating us might be able to help them out.

Last week we did end up filming something for Impact that we got a full day’s pay for and it probably took 2-3 hours out of my day. So, they’re going out of the way to make sure that the people are still doing work for them are still being taken care of. It’s almost a work from home situation. We’re stuck in Canada but we’re a big part of the show as tag champions and they’re making sure that we’re still able to be a big part of the show.

**Lacey Evans was a recent guest on The Walkway Fight Club show with host Steven Muehlhausen and spoke about the recent cuts and furloughs by WWE:

It’s terrible. I take it hard because I know what it’s like to come from no money and come from a rough childhood upbringing. I know what rock bottom feels like. I know what that sick feeling in your stomach feels like when you don’t know what you’re going to do. That’s all that I could think about is ‘Man, what are they going to do?’

“This hits them last minute. But I also do know that WWE is very supportive. They do what they have to do, but they make sure that everybody has what they need and is taken care of, and to the point of going forward. But it’s just a crappy feeling. I just can’t imagine being in that position. I also know of going back to the military, of being able to adapt and overcome. You just got to keep pushing. You can’t let life no matter what it is; no matter what cards you’re dealt with, you keep got to keep playing, you got to play your hand, and you got to play to the best of your ability. I mean, it’s hard. Like I said, me being a mother, I’ve got to get up the next day. I’ve got to pour my cup of coffee and I got to keep on pushing. It reminds me to be prepared and not only to be prepared myself but to prepare my child because you never know. You can’t count your chickens before they hatch. You got to save for a rainy day. A lot of emotions and thoughts come through. I just keep them all in my prayers and wish them the best and then do the best that I can to continue to keep pushing and be good at my job and continue to learn and do the best that I can in there.

**MLW has moved its June 12th event at Cicero Stadium in Chicago to June 2021. The event will now take place on June 5, 2021, due to the ongoing pandemic. MLW last ran an event on Friday, March 13th in conjunction with AAA in Tijuana, Mexico, which are the shows that are currently airing for MLW Fusion.

**All Japan has announced that due to injury, Yuma Aoyagi is off Tuesday’s card, which takes place at 6 am Eastern and streams on AJPW.tv with the following card:
*Suwama & Shuji Ishikawa vs. Kento Miyahara & Yoshitatsu for the All Japan tag titles
*Jake Lee & Koji Iwamoto vs. Shotaro Ashino & TBA
*Yusuke Kodama vs. Yusuke Okada
*Jun Akiyama & Jiro Kuroshio vs. Takao Omori & Black Menso-re
*Zeus vs. Tsugataka Sato
*Dan Tamura & Hokuto Omori vs. Tajiri & Francesco Akira
*Izanagi vs. Hikaru Sato

**This Saturday, Pro Wrestling NOAH will hold an empty arena show featuring two title matches. In the main event, Takashi Sugiura will defend the GHC National title against Katsuhiko Nakajima and GHC junior heavyweight tag champions Hayata & Yo-Hey defend their titles against Yoshinari Ogawa & Kotaro Suzuki. The show will air on DDT Universe and Samurai TV.

**FS1’s Tuesday night block of WWE programming will begin at 7 pm Eastern with ‘The Best of WWE: Ric Flair’, followed by similar episodes on Edge at 8 pm, Brock Lesnar at 9 pm, and Roman Reigns at 10 pm. WWE Backstage will air at 11 pm with Aleister Black joining the show.

**Mike Mooneyham remembers the late Blackjack Mulligan in his weekly column for the Post and Courier.

**Colt Cabana released the first of ten episodes titled ‘The Quarantine Series’ speaking with wrestlers affected by the pandemic and shutdown of wrestling shows. His first guest is Matt Cross, who lost a booking in Costa Rica the week the pandemic began on this side of the world.

**The latest episode of Being the Elite ‘An Old Carny Trick’:

MMA NEWS

**In Marc Raimondi’s latest reporting for ESPN, it appears there will be testing for COVID-19 among the fighters and cornermen this week in Jacksonville, Florida. Raimondi stated that sources have informed him that the UFC will administer both the diagnostic swab test and antibody test. Brian Hughes, who is the Jacksonville chief administrator added that the UFC will pay to have the arena sterilized between the fight cards scheduled for May 9th, 13th, and 16th at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. He also added that the city’s hospitals are prepared if fighters need to be transported and noted there is more hospital capacity today than there was pre-COVID-19. In the ESPN piece, Jon Anik confirmed he would be calling the May 9th and May 13th shows and will self-quarantine back home. There may be a schedule for fighters to weigh in this Friday to avoid a large number arriving at the same time.

**With the Florida State Boxing Commission regulating the upcoming events, it has led to the Association of Ringside Physicians (ARP) adjusting its stance on combat sports events occurring during the pandemic. The ARP had initially recommended all events be postponed back on April 6th. Over the weekend, their updated guidance was reflected in a new statement:

The Association of Ringside Physicians recognizes that the circumstances regarding the COVID-19 pandemic are continually changing and evolving. As stay-at-home orders are relaxed, athletic commissions and combat sports governing bodies are looking to restart operations. Although it is impossible to eliminate all risk associated with COVID-19, precautions can be made to reduce the risk of viral transmission. Many athletic commissions, organizations and promotors are developing new guidelines to limit exposure to all involved at events, including athletes, their teams, commission personnel and support staff.

Combat sports event procedures regarding COVID-19 precautions should be actively developed, regularly reviewed and modified based on the evolving knowledge and scientific evidence put forth by public health authorities. These guidelines should also involve local and regional public health officials as well as infectious disease experts and epidemiologists. Our thoughts continue to be with those who have been and will be affected by this disease. We remain steadfast in our mission to serve, protect and educate all involved in combat sports. If any combat sports organization would like help in developing its guidelines, the Association of Ringside Physicians can provide assistance and guidance.

**The UFC has released a countdown special for UFC 249 previewing the title fights with Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje and Henry Cejudo vs. Dominick Cruz.

**In Canada, the UFC 249 televised prelims will be airing at 8 pm Eastern this Saturday on TSN1 and TSN4 featuring Anthony Pettis vs. Donald Cerrone in the featured fight. The early prelims will be streaming at 6 pm Eastern on ESPN+ and Fight Pass for those outside the U.S.

**Daniel Cormier is urging UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic to sign the contract for their trilogy fight. Cormier is throwing out August as the timeframe for the fight to take place. Last week, Miocic spoke with James Lynch of The Score and said he is not considering fighting right now due to the lack of adequate training during the pandemic.

**Corey Erdman at Boxing Scene takes a look at how that sport may take its baby steps in the journey towards returning. Citing examples of boxing taking place in South Korea and Nicaragua, Erdman believes it could be a case of a more regionalized focus with match-ups involving fighters specific to a region given the travel and cost limitations for promoters. It’s a point that hasn’t been explored too much with MMA or pro wrestling. The UFC has the financial incentive and ability to stage fights on an island involving international fighters but for smaller promotions, the usage of international fighters is going to be increasingly tougher and may force promotions to rely on cards made up of one to two key fights and keeping costs down with a regional flavor to the undercard. For pro wrestling, I think of a group like PWG that if they can’t run their venue at full capacity or fans are unwilling to attend in large numbers, they have the option of either not running, or possibly, limiting the number of fly-ins and focus more on those in California.

**TSN5 in Canada is replaying UFC 207 tonight at 7:30 pm Eastern featuring Amanda Nunes vs. Ronda Rousey for the UFC bantamweight title from December 2016. This is also the last time Dominick Cruz fought when he lost the UFC bantamweight title to Cody Garbrandt with Cruz returning this Saturday.

ON THIS DATE

 

*****
POST PURORESU: Great Sasuke Documentary, All Japan 4/30

John Pollock & WH Park provide updates on the major promotions, a review of All Japan’s recent show & The Great Sasuke documentary, plus several show announcements.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/05/03/post-puroresu-great-sasuke-documentary-all-japan-4-30/
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 5/1/20: “Karma’s a Bitch, Bitch”, David Schultz Dark Side of the Ring

John Pollock and Wai Ting review Friday Night SmackDown featuring two Money in the Bank Qualifying Matches with Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler and Mandy Rose vs. Carmella. Plus, today’s news and “Dr. D” David Schultz on Dark Side of the Ring.
https://www.patreon.com/posts/36650564
*****

BRITISH WRESTLING EXPERIENCE 5/1/20: Riptide Wrestling ‘The Storm’

Martin is back with Benno and Jamesie to review one of the last British wrestling shows of 2020, Riptide Wrestling’s “The Storm”. They rundown the whole show including Travis Banks vs. Chuck Mambo and Spike Trivet vs. Jordan Breaks.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/04/30/british-wrestling-experience-5-1-20-riptide-wrestling-the-storm/
*****
Café Hangout: Curtis Axel released, Empty Arena TV ratings

Join John Pollock and Wai Ting for the Café Hangout as they discuss Curtis Axel’s release, television ratings during WWE and AEW’s era of empty arena programming, this week’s WWE NXT, Dark Side of the Ring and more.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/04/30/cafe-hangout-wwe-aew-empty-arena-ratings-analysis/
*****
upNXT 4/29/20: “Speed Really Isn’t My Thing”

Braden Herrington is joined by friend of the show, Scrump to review the April 29th edition of WWE NXT featuring Charlotte Flair vs. Mia Yim.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/04/30/upnxt-4-29-20-speed-really-isnt-my-thing/
*****
REWIND-A-DYNAMITE 4/29/20: TNT Championship Semi-Finals

John Pollock and Wai Ting review AEW Dynamite with the semi-finals of the TNT Championship tournament featuring Cody vs. Darby Allin and Lance Archer vs. Dustin Rhodes.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/04/30/rewind-a-dynamite-4-29-20-tnt-championship-semi-finals/
*****

REWIND-A-WAI #60: WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event (Oct. 29, 1988)

John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event #17 featuring Rick Rude vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Hulk Hogan vs. King Haku. We discuss the wrestling landscape of 1988, the political commentary of Jesse and Vince, the very unique aesthetics of late 80’s WWF TV, and more.
https://www.patreon.com/posts/36506905/
*****

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About John Pollock 1836 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling.He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.