POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: WWE Backstage covers George Floyd & protests

WWE Backstage addresses George Floyd & the protests, Sami Zayn's statement, JTG remembers Shad Gaspard, CM Punk on Jeff Hardy angle & more.


**Earlier today, we put up an interview with Damian Abraham discussing the late Grant Berkland, who wrestled as Danny Havoc. Berkland died this past weekend at the age of 34 and was profiled on Abraham’s series “The Wrestlers” on Viceland. Abraham spoke with us about his memories of Berkland, spending a lot of time with him, and Berkland’s retirement match in 2017 and subsequent return over the past year.

**Tonight, Wai Ting and I will be back with a new Rewind-A-Dynamite to chat about AEW’s show tonight, go through the news, and take your feedback. As always, we will be giving away a shirt from the POST Wrestling Store with all members of the Café eligible to win.

**We have launched a poll on the POST Wrestling Forum to determine the winner of the POST Puroresu theme song contest.

**The June 2020 edition of ASK-A-WAI is up on the site and this was a great show. The two of us spent two hours answering questions from the mailbag with a lot of great questions this month. This show is available for all members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**On Thursday, I’ll be joined by Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie & USA Today to discuss all the latest MMA news heading into UFC 250 this weekend, the status of Jon Jones with the company, and more.

**Davie Portman has his Tuesday night reports up on the site with a review of Impact Wrestling and a rundown of AEW Dark.


Tonight: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John Pollock & Wai Ting
Tonight: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Thursday: UFC 250 Preview with John Pollock & Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (LIVE for all Patrons)
Saturday: UFC 250 POST Show with John & Phil Chertok
Sunday: Total Recall Season Finale (Patreon)
Sunday: The Long & Winding Royal Road with WH Park (History of the Triple Crown)
Sunday: NXT TakeOver: In Your House POST Show with Braden & Davie


**From Sami Zayn in a post on Wednesday:

Nothing happens in a vacuum.

It is alarming, to put it mildly, to see the militarization of police and increased brutality as people take to the streets demanding racial justice. And yes, in some instances protests have gotten violent. I know some are concerned about opportunists causing property damage, looting, and innocent people getting hurt (but are strangely apathetic when governments and multi-national corporations commit much larger scale theft, violence, and murder, but that’s another talk for another day).

However, you can not just be angry at what we are seeing today without being twice as angry at what caused all of this.

Ask yourself, how did we get to this point? I promise the answers you’ll find are far more upsetting than anything you see on the news tonight.

Things need to change. People are being pushed to the brink on all fronts, when it comes to the racial, economic, social, and ecological injustices that have been carried out at a breakneck pace over the past decades, and they can’t take much more.

My only hope is that perhaps this chaos forces us, on an individual and a societal level, to really confront these issues and implement real changes going forward.

Much love to you all.

**WWE issued the following statement on Tuesday:

WWE supports an inclusive society and condemns racial injustice. We stand beside our Black performers, employees, and fans around the world, and encourage everyone to use their voice to speak against racism. We offer our sincere condolences to the family of George Floyd and the families of countless others who have lost their lives due to senseless violence.

**Prior to Tuesday’s episode, Impact Wrestling also released a statement regarding the murder of George Floyd and the protests that have followed:

Tonight’s episode of IMPACT! Is dedicated to George Floyd and his family.

IMPACT Wrestling is proud to engage with our fans every Tuesday night during the show, but tonight we will be silent.

IMPACT Wrestling stands against racism and violence, in support of diversity and inclusion – for everyone.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Floyd family and all who have endured social injustice.

**The protests were also addressed in a segment on WWE Backstage with host Renee Young speaking with Mark Henry, Booker T. and CM Punk on the issues at large:

**The Florida Department of Health announced on Wednesday that Florida had its largest jump of confirmed COVID-19 cases since April 17th. From Tuesday to Wednesday, there were 1,317 new cases and brings the total number to 58,764. In a report from The Hill, they noted that testing has also increased within the state and could be a contributing factor. On Wednesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced plans for 64 of the state’s 67 counties will move into phase two of their re-opening process. This excludes Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties. This allows bars and pubs to operate at 50% capacity and full capacity outside for dine-in service along with movie theatres, bowling alleys, and entertainment venues opening at 50% capacity. For reference, AEW’s shows in Jacksonville are in Duval County, and the WWE PC & Full Sail University are located in Orange county.

**Here are the matches advertised for tonight’s episode of AEW Dynamite, taped last Thursday at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida:
*Cody vs. Jungle Boy for the TNT championship
*Chris Jericho vs. Colt Cabana
*Kenny Omega & Hangman Page vs. Jimmy Havoc & Kip Sabian for the AEW tag titles
*Nyla Rose vs. Big Swole
*Brian Cage in action
*Tony Schiavone interviews FTR

Hopefully, they re-air the great Tully Blanchard promo that was released this past week as it was one of the better ones this year.

**NXT has a strange strategy for tonight’s episode that will feature a significant portion dedicated to their Prime Target special promoting this Sunday’s TakeOver: In Your House. The following matches are scheduled for tonight’s show:
*Drake Maverick vs. El Hijo del Fantasma in the finals of the Cruiserweight title tournament
*Candice LeRae vs. Mia Yim

**JTG was a guest on WWE’s ‘The Bump’ on Wednesday to share more about the late Shad Gaspard and their time in OVW and their call-up in 2006:

We wanted to represent hip-hop, we wanted to express our culture during that era. When we first we came out, we know that at the time the reason we were brought was because Vince McMahon loved the Dave Chappelle show and we were doing a lot of those types of skits in Louisville, Kentucky, and OVW. We did some skits and we had great chemistry on screen because we were friends and we just knew each other without speaking.

Being aligned with John Cena in 2008 as ‘CTC’:

That was the most fun I had in my career. John Cena taught us a lot especially working the house shows and live events. He taught us a lot of hints and tips, a lot of unwritten rules in the business, helping us to get to that level. When we were with John Cena, we were main eventing the live events.

**During WWE Backstage, there was a panel discussion on the angle involving Jeff Hardy from last Friday’s episode of SmackDown. CM Punk, who worked with Hardy in 2009 during the Straight Edge Society run, shared his feelings on the angle:

I’m speaking from experience because obviously I worked extensively with Jeff and he, at that point, was maybe not in a great spot in his life – both mentally and physically.

My thing with this segment and this story is that somebody’s sobriety is very fragile and it’s very important. So, we discuss whether they should do this with Jeff or shouldn’t do this with Jeff and you talk about Jeff’s okay with, maybe it was his idea, he greenlit it, thumbs up – To me, it’s the responsibility of the writers, promoter, whoever to get in front of that and say ‘No, we’re not doing that to Jeff again, we don’t need him to be in this position’.

I think cleaning your life up and being sober is a thing to be proud and we can champion that in different ways, I think this is the wrong way to go about it, you don’t put him in a front of a moving car.

**In its familiar timeslot of 11 pm Eastern, WWE Backstage did 121,000 viewers on Tuesday night with CM Punk part of the panel and guest Daniel Bryan. The FS 1 airing of WrestleMania 31 was not listed among the top 150 cable programs on Tuesday.

**Impact Wrestling ran a teaser video for Slammiversary at the end of Tuesday’s episode featuring several of the performers released by WWE. The video saw a mystery person in a hoodie watching a news report on the releases that led to quick cuts of Eric Young, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, Curt Hawkins, Mike Bennett, Maria Kanellis, EC3, and Drake Maverick. There was also an image of a Bulgarian flag. All those performers had 90-day no competes, which would be up in time for Slammiversary that was advertised for Saturday, July 18th. The company is making the choice to run a Saturday night pay-per-view after traditionally holding their pay-per-views on Sundays.

**Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate, and Trent Seven re-released their original British Strong Style shirt and have raised an estimated £20,000 that will be donated to Black Lives Matter.

**Canadian Wrestling Elite (CWE) is going to run an event with limited fans on Friday, June 12th. The show is scheduled for Rookies Sports Bar in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and will be limited to 100 tickets being sold. On the event page, the promotion is stating that masks are recommended but are not listed as being mandatory.

**Japan Today reported that two members of the Yomiuri Giants of the Central League have tested positive for traces of the coronavirus after being subjected to antibody testing. The report states 220 people in the Giants’ organization took the antibody test. After the two results, all members of the organization will undergo a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test by Thursday with Wednesday’s practice game canceled. The league is targeting a return date of June 19th.

**Kurt Angle spoke to SI.com and gave the following reason for turning down a position to manage Matt Riddle on SmackDown:

WWE offered me a job to manage Matt Riddle. Unfortunately, I turned it down. I just have so much going with my business, Physically Fit Nutrition, and I need to make sure it succeeds before I do anything else.

I’m almost 100% I won’t wrestle again, but if I did, that’s the direction I would have went. I imagine WWE was going to go with me managing Riddle and then, eventually, probably a match between the two of us.

**On Sunday, ‘The Bump’ will be presenting a special Sunday edition of the show on WWE’s social media platforms. The show will air at 10:30 am Eastern with guests Shawn Michaels, Sean Waltman, Mauro Ranallo, Keith Lee, and Mia Yim promoting that night’s TakeOver: In Your House event.

**Christian will host an edition of ‘The Peep Show’ on this Monday’s episode of Raw with Edge as the guest. Next Monday’s show is the go-home show leading into Backlash and Edge’s rematch with Randy Orton.

**Suge D on the origin of his outfit that led to the creation of ‘Pineapple Pete’ while speaking on Talk is Jericho.

**The WWE stock closed at $47.73 on Wednesday.

**All Japan will hold an empty venue card this Sunday at the 2AW gym with the following card streaming on AJPW.tv:
*Suwama & Yusuke Okada vs. Shotaro Ashino & Kuma Arashi
*Shuji Ishikawa vs. Jake Lee
*Kento Miyahara & Yoshitatsu vs. Zeus & Izanagi
*Tajiri vs. Yuma Aoyagi
*Koji Iwamoto & Hikaru Sato vs. Takao Omori & Hokuto Omori
*Francesco Akira vs. Atsuki Aoyagi

**Pro Wrestling NOAH’s next big show is June 14th and will be an empty arena show headlined by Go Shiozaki vs. Akitoshi Saito for the GHC heavyweight title and Takashi Sugiura vs. Masao Inoue for the GHC National title.

**The latest edition of Stardom’s “We Are Stardom” features a May 2017 match between Kairi Hojo (Kairi Sane) and Mayu Iwatani for the Wonder of Stardom title and a June 2017 match between Io Shirai and Iwatani for the same title.


**The UFC pulled in another solid number for this past Saturday’s Fight Night card headlined by Gilbert Burns defeating Tyron Woodley. The main card on ESPN averaged 1,021,000 viewers and a 0.42 in the 18-49 demographic making it #20 on cable Saturday. The prelims also ran on ESPN from 6-9 pm Eastern and did 615,000 viewers. It didn’t hit the level of the Fight Night card from May 16th featuring Alistair Overeem vs. Walt Harris that did 1,198,000 viewers and 0.22 in the main demo.

**UFC featherweight Felicia Spencer speaks with Ariel Helwani about this Saturday’s title fight against Amanda Nunes, what she learned from the loss to Cris Cyborg, how she approaches her weight cut to 145, and how the empty arena atmosphere could be a benefit for her.

**It was first reported by MMA Planet that former UFC and WEC fighter Takeya Mizugaki has retired from the sport. The 36-year old last fought in August 2019 for Rizin and has a career going back to 2005 fighting for Shooto.

The first fifteen fights of his career were in Japan and then came to WEC debuting against Miguel Torres in April 2009 challenging for the bantamweight title and losing by decision. He went 2-3 in WEC with wins against Jeff Curran and Rani Yahya and fought Urijah Faber in November 2010 where he was submitted.

Mizugaki moved to the UFC after WEC folded and fought for the company from 2011 until 2016. He enjoyed a five-fight win streak that included victories against Bryan Caraway, Erik Perez, and Francisco Rivera but ended when he fought Dominick Cruz at UFC 178 in September 2014. The fight was Cruz’s first since 2011 and was a massive comeback for the former champion. Mizugaki went 1-4 in his last five fights before leaving the UFC.

He fought for ACB, DEEP, and Rizin and ends his career with a record of 23-14-2. In his last fight, he was knocked out by Manel Kape in Nagoya.

**The UFC has released the first episode of this week’s Embedded series prior to UFC 250 on Saturday night:




POST INTERVIEW: Damian Abraham remembers Grant Berkland

John Pollock speaks with Damian Abraham on the passing of Grant Berkland a.k.a. Danny Havoc, who died this past week at the age of 34.
ASK-A-WAI: Ask Us Anything! (June 2020)

John Pollock and Wai Ting answer their patrons’ questions from the POST Wrestling Forum in the June 2020 edition of Ask-A-Wai.
REWIND-A-RAW 6/1/20: George Floyd (Oct. 16, 1973 – May 25, 2020)

John Pollock and Wai Ting start off this week’s show with an important discussion with POST’s Andrew Thompson & Nate Milton on the murder of George Floyd and the outcry over the past week. We then discuss today’s wrestling news and review tonight’s WWE Raw.
POST PURORESU: The History of Pro Wrestling NOAH
John Pollock & WH Park are back for a packed edition of POST Puroresu including the history of Pro Wrestling NOAH & their launch in the spring of 2000.
TOTAL RECALL: Total Bellas Season 5, Ep. 7 & 8
Wai Ting and Pauline are back to review Total Bellas Season 5, Episode 7 “Bella Vs. Bella” & Episode 8 “Off the Deep End”.
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 5/29/20: Jeff Hardy Hit-and-Run, Matt Riddle to SD
John Pollock and Wai Ting discuss Friday Night SmackDown from the WWE Performance Center featuring an alleged drunk hit-and-run accident to kick off the show.
Martin, Benno & Jamesie are once again joined by Andy Ogden of Graps & Claps Audio in a special mixtape episode looking back at classic matches from European wrestling. Those include Owen Hart vs. Marty Jones, Bryan Danielson vs. Zack Sabre Jr., and Chris Hero vs. Tyler Bate.

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About John Pollock 5617 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.