POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Xavier Woods’ speech, MMA media cuts, WWE schedule

Xavier Woods speaks on racism, MMA media cuts, WWE's taping schedule, UFC 250 fight back on, Total Bellas' ratings, ROH fined, Bobby Fulton update, UFC 250 weight-ins & more.

POST IT NOTES

**Wai Ting and I will have Rewind-A-SmackDown LIVE tonight at 10:15 pm Eastern with a review of SmackDown, a discussion about today’s news items, and then it’s onto your phone calls to discuss whatever subjects you would like for the duration of the show. All members of the POST Wrestling Café can watch the show and call tonight. The podcast version will be available immediately afterward for all Café members.

**Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie joined me Thursday to preview UFC 250, discuss the Dana White vs. Jon Jones saga, the leverage for fighters in the ESPN era, covering the sport during the pandemic, and many other topics.

**On Saturday night, our UFC 250 POST Show will stream live immediately after the pay-per-view at YouTube.com/POSTwrestling. Subscribe to the channel and you’ll be alerted when we are going live as Phil Chertok & I review UFC 250 and will also answer questions from the chat room at the end.

**The next edition of Total Recall with Wai Ting & Pauline will be released on Saturday for members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**This Sunday, it’s the launch of WH Park’s new monthly series The Long & Winding Royal Road looking at All Japan throughout the ‘90s. His first episode will look at the history of the Triple Crown with Joseph Montecillo.

**Later that night, Braden Herrington & Davie Portman will have an NXT TakeOver: In Your House POST Show reviewing the card and will also be hosting a live watch along on the upNXT YouTube channel beginning at 7 pm Eastern.

POST INTERVIEWS

 

POST WEEKEND SCHEDULE

FRI: Rewind-A-SmackDown (LIVE at 10:15p ET) [Patreon]
SAT: Total Recall [Patreon]
SAT: #UFC250 POST Show (LIVE at http://YouTube.com/POSTwrestling)
SUN: Long & Winding Royal Road w/ WH Park
SUN: upNXT presents – NXT TakeOver (Watch-Along at http://YouTube.com/upNXT)

WRESTLING NEWS

**I thought this was an incredible speech from Xavier Woods (Austin Watson) while speaking with Alex Mendez and Caleb Simmons on the Twitch Rivals stream:

My entire life I have had to spend to figure out how to present myself as non-threatening and if you haven’t been in that situation or understood something like that – it’s a lot. Because even if someone may hate me, the onus is on me to deal with it, not on them there is no pressure on them to deal with their hate and their pain. While in my house, as a child, I had to have this talk, I had to get this talk, my parents had to give me this information. Not so that I could be smarter, not so that I could do better, it’s so that I could stay alive. That was the first goal in our house – survive amongst people who might not want you to survive.

I want this all to stop it’s been happening for too long. It’s not just become a problem now, it hasn’t just become a problem the last ten years, twenty years. This has been a problem since black people were brought to America. Everything we’ve done is just ask to not be executed. Unarmed people getting murdered in the middle of the street? People being shot 41 times by undercover police while they’re just trying to get in their door? Sleeping in your bed where you’re supposed to be safe? People busting in and shooting, murdering you? And, people seem to not care or when people hear about it and their response is ‘well, what were you doing to make that happen?’ Why is it on us? It’s always on us and I hate it and I’m terrified with the coronavirus because I have a three-year-old and an eight-month-old. And now, I have to also worry about the fact that the country, the society hasn’t changed enough in the lifetime of my grandfather and my father and myself, that my kids are going to have to deal with this stuff too.

**A statement issued by Ring of Honor on Friday:

ROH stands with the peaceful protests occurring around the country that are forcing important conversations and actions to address racism in this country.

ROH supports a diverse, inclusive community that treats all people with the respect and dignity that they deserve, and we will use our platform to expose instances of racism and prejudice in all forms.

We also extend our sincere condolences to the Floyd family and hope that as a country we can come together and ensure incidents like this never happen again.

**Friday Night SmackDown is a taped show that was done last week at the WWE Performance Center. The episode will build off last week’s angle with Jeff Hardy with a segment promoted as a “tell-all” from Hardy about what happened. They have also announced a face-to-face segment between AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan prior to their Intercontinental title match on next week’s show. Below are the matches and segments for tonight’s show:
*Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross vs. Bayley & Sasha Banks for the WWE women’s tag titles
*The Miz & John Morrison’s “warning” for Braun Strowman
*Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles have a “face-to-face”
*Jeff Hardy’s side of the story
*Oney Lorcan vs. Tehuti Miles on 205 Live
*Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs. Jack Gallagher on 205 Live

**Here is the how the WWE main roster taping schedule will look like for the rest of June:
*Monday, June 8th – 1 episode of Raw and 1 episode of Friday Night SmackDown (minus Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles, which has already been taped)
*Sunday, June 14th – WWE Backlash pay-per-view
*Monday, June 15th – 1 Raw and 1 SmackDown (to air that week)
*Tuesday, June 16th – 1 Raw and 1 SmackDown (to air on June 22nd and June 26th)
*Monday, June 29th – 1 Raw and 1 SmackDown (to air that week)
*Tuesday, June 30th – 1 Raw and 1 SmackDown (Raw on July 6th and SmackDown on July 10th)

**The Wrestling Observer Newsletter had reported last month that the NXT tapings in June would take place on June 9th (to air the following night), June 17th (for that night and June 24th), and July 1st (for that night and July 8th).

**New Japan Pro Wrestling has called a press conference for Monday night at 11 pm Eastern (Tuesday at Noon in Japan). It comes after Bushiroad stated its intentions to resume shows of its sports and entertainment properties, including New Japan and Stardom.

**Jinder Mahal posted an update announcing he recently underwent surgery to address some knee problems. He did not indicate what type of surgery he had or the timetable for a return. Mahal last worked at a set of tapings last month with his final match airing on the May 22nd edition of WWE Main Event. He had previously missed ten months of action from June 2019 until his return this past April.

**The Baltimore Sun is reporting that in addition to AEW, the Maryland State Athletic Commission has also fined Ring of Honor for the use of weapons and blood last year. AEW was issued a fine of $10,000 over the match between Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley last November at “Full Gear” in the state. Conversely, ROH was fined $4,000 for the usage of a barbed wire baseball bat at last December’s Final Battle match between Bully Ray and Mark Haskins. It notes the fine could be lowered to $2,000 if ROH if the company doesn’t commit further violations this year (it’s arguable if they even get a chance to run a show in Baltimore this year).

**Bobby Fulton announced on Friday that his cancer is gone. He was diagnosed with throat cancer back in December at the age of 59. Fulton was part of The Fantastics teaming with the late Tommy Rogers.

**Thursday’s season finale of Total Bellas did 411,000 viewers and was 41st for the night on cable with a 0.17 in the main demographic. It was their lowest viewership this season and down 8% from last week. The move to Thursdays saw the season average 490,000 viewers. The first half of Season 5 had the benefit of having “Keeping up the Kardashians” as its lead-in. The move from Sundays to Thursdays represented an increase of 12.4%.

**AEW will be taping Fyter Fest on July 1st and 2nd, so the second week’s show will be taped six days in advance. They are advertising that all titles will be defended on the shows with Jon Moxley vs. Brian Cage for the AEW title and Kenny Omega & Hangman Page vs. Best Friends for the tag titles already confirmed.

**WWE has a job posting for a lead writer position on the SmackDown brand.

**The WWE’s stock rose 2.5% on Friday closing at $48.19.

**Jon Moxley’s opponent next Tuesday on AEW Dark will be Robert Anthony. The two have their roots in CZW with Anthony defeating Moxley to win the CZW heavyweight title in February 2011. Here is the full lineup for Dark on Tuesday:
*Jon Moxley vs. Robert Anthony
*The Butcher & The Blade vs. Pineapple Pete & Anthony Gatena
*Santana & Ortiz vs. Musa & Brady Pierce
*Scorpio Sky & Frankie Kazarian vs. Low Rida & Fuego Del Sol
*Luchasaurus & Marko Stunt vs. Peter Avalon & Brandon Cutler
*QT Marshall vs. Zack Clayton
*Sonny Kiss vs. Christopher Daniels
*Lee Daniels vs. “5” from the Dark Order

**Those with tickets to AEW Dynamite at the Prudential Center in New Jersey have received an update. The show is now being rescheduled to Wednesday, February 24, 2021. The show was originally set for March 25th and was to feature their inaugural “Blood & Guts” match. Once the shutdown began in mid-March it was moved to July 22nd before this latest postponement.

**AEW has also announced that the episode of Dynamite in Rochester, New York that was moved to July 8th has been postponed again to Wednesday, November 11th. Those with tickets to either show in Newark or Rochester will have their ticket honored on the new dates and refunds are available at the point of purchase.

**We send our condolences to the family and friends of Chris Hyatte, who was a former writer with Al Isaacs’ Scoops Wrestling site and 411 Wrestling. Hyatte’s cousin posted on his account that he passed away on Thursday. His reviews of Raw, Nitro and other programming were known as the ‘Mop-Ups’. In a post by 411, they noted he had been having health issues but was set to end his rounds of dialysis, which he said occurred on May 15th. The official cause of death is not known. In a post back in April, he revealed he was suffering from renal failure, congenital heart failure, and diabetes at the age of 50. He stated his intentions of ending dialysis and aware that he wouldn’t last much longer after that decision was made and “let nature take its course. Yes, nature. This isn’t suicide. Not really.”

**Here is the full card for Sunday’s NXT TakeOver: In Your Event that begins at 7 pm Eastern on the WWE Network:
*Adam Cole vs. Velveteen Dream in a Backlot Brawl for the NXT title (this match was taped last week)
*Keith Lee vs. Johnny Gargano for the NXT North American title
*Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley vs. Io Shirai for the NXT women’s title
*Tommaso Ciampa vs. Karrion Kross
*Finn Balor vs. Damian Priest
*Mia Yim, Shotzi Blackheart & Tegan Nox vs. Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez

**Impact Wrestling will be making an announcement on the future of the Impact world championship on Tuesday’s episode. Current champion Tessa Blanchard has not appeared on television since the shutdown began in March and they just wrapped up a #1 contender’s tournament that was won by Ace Austin.

**Chris Jericho will be back on commentary for next Wednesday’s episode of AEW Dynamite.

**H20 Wrestling is holding a tribute for the late Grant Berkland/Danny Havoc tonight on the Independent Wrestling streaming platform. Company founder Matt Tremont will speak about Havoc and will air a 2019 match involving Havoc with H20. They will also be airing several live matches on the stream tonight.

**Nick Aldis was a guest on TSN 1200 in Ottawa with Lee Versage and Zach McGibbon and spoke about NWA’s business since the pandemic hit:

We just actually had our best revenue month ever so it’s actually sort of interesting when you really break it down and that’s net I mean obviously we’ve had months of pay-per-view and stuff where obviously the revenue is significantly more but in terms of net yeah we actually had our best month ever. So, it is interesting. We’ve tried to make a negative and turn it into a positive because we’ve now got all these other revenue streams and we have all this other content which will hopefully allow us to be a bit more attractive to sponsors and to partners in that world. I look at it as when one of your senses is taken away the others become more heightened. It is almost like that where we’ve been able to realize our potential in some other areas. 

**Ring of Honor has added a bunch of matches from 2006 to their Honor Club service including Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness, Sara Del Rey vs. Daizee Haze, The Briscoes vs. Austin Aries & Roderick Strong, Bryan Danielson vs. KENTA vs. Samoa Joe, KENTA vs. Roderick Strong, Danielson & Christopher Daniels vs. Christian Cage & Colt Cabana, Nigel McGuinness vs. Jay Lethal, and a seven-person match with Joe vs. Necro Butcher vs. Chris Hero vs. BJ Whitmer vs. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Adam Pearce vs. Homicide.

**A story on Greg Oliver receiving the James C. Melby Award from the Cauliflower Alley Club (the annual CAC reunion has been postponed this year where Oliver was to receive the award) with Oliver discussing his approach to journalism in the field of professional wrestling.

MMA NEWS

**On Friday, there were significant layoffs at The Athletic with their MMA section being decimated. Of the 46 layoffs representing 8% of its staff, it included Dann Stupp, Josh Gross, Chad Dundas, and Chuck Mindenhall. The Athletic has been doing excellent MMA reporting in the year since their vertical launched (full disclosure, I’m a subscriber and have been since the vertical launched). This is a real hit to MMA journalism and comes after a week where they did some of their finest work with their fighter survey identifying problems in the industry regarding unionization, weight-cutting, sponsorships, and a host of other subjects.

Dann Stupp launched what is now MMA Junkie, but was originally UFC Junkie and became a go-to site for breaking news beginning in the mid-2000s. Gross has been covering MMA since April 2000 and is a pioneer in the space as an excellent reporter. Mindenhall is a fantastic writer and has written some of the best pieces in MMA journalism throughout his career at ESPN, MMA Fighting, and at The Athletic. Dundas previously worked at Bleacher Report, ESPN, and along with Ben Fowlkes have been doing the Co-Main Event Podcast for close to a decade.

It’s an awful day for MMA media to see this site decimated by cuts with nearly half the MMA writers let go. The Athletic’s MMA section covered so many important stories, had the most unique subjects and ideas, and were doing tremendous work.

**The UFC 250 weigh-ins took place on Friday, below are the results and a look at Saturday’s full card:

MAIN CARD (10 pm Eastern on pay-per-view)
*Amanda Nunes (145) vs. Felicia Spencer (144.5) for the UFC women’s featherweight title
*Raphael Assuncao (136) vs. Cody Garbrandt (136)
*Aljamain Sterling (136) vs. Cory Sandhagen (135.5)
*Neil Magny (171) vs. Anthony Rocco Martin (170.5)
*Sean O’Malley (136) vs. Eddie Wineland (136)

PRELIMINARY CARD (8 pm ET on ESPN & ESPN+)
*Alex Caceres (146) vs. Chase Hooper (145.5)
*Gerald Meerschaert (185.5) vs. Ian Heinisch (185.5)
*Cody Stamann (145.5) vs. Brian Kelleher (146)
*Charles Byrd (184.5) vs. Maki Pitolo (185.5)

FIGHT PASS CARD (6:30 pm on ESPN+, Fight Pass outside the U.S.)
*Jussier Formiga (126) vs. Alex Perez (126)
*Devin Clark (205.5) vs. Alonzo Menifield (205)
*Evan Dunham (149.5) vs. Herbert Burns (149.5) – 150 pound catchweight fight

**TSN 1/4/5 in Canada will be carrying the UFC 250 prelims beginning at 7 pm Eastern on Saturday.

On paper, I think this may be a very strong card action-wise. Commercially, any success this card has on pay-per-view would be due to fan’s have a big appetite for live sports. If this were in the regular economy, I wouldn’t anticipate this card doing any business and even with the string of successes on pay-per-view for UFC and AEW, I can’t imagine this one does well.

The bantamweight division is intriguing with two big fights within the division as Aljamain Sterling takes on Cory Sandhagen along with Raphael Assuncao taking on the returning Cody Garbrandt. The expectation is that Petr Yan will fight Jose Aldo for the vacant title after Henry Cejudo’s retirement but the two fights on Saturday should lead to the next contender. From a merit standpoint, the winner of Sterling and Sandhagen should get the fight but I can also see Garbrandt leapfrogging everyone if he’s impressive and stops Assuncao. Garbrandt has flirted with a move down to flyweight that I don’t think makes a lot of sense for him but if he loses to Assuncao then perhaps it’s more realistic an option.

Also, there is Sean O’Malley who is not ready for a title fight but if he looks great against Eddie Wineland then he’ll be catapulted in the division.

In the main event, Amanda Nunes is a giant favorite, although everyone has watched enough fights to know better than to count out a massive underdog. Spencer went three rounds with Cris Cyborg and is a natural featherweight as opposed to a bantamweight bulking up to fight at the higher weight. For the sake of the division, it would be great for Spencer to win and have a big story coming out of UFC 250 while Nunes is still the bantamweight champion.

**Ian Heinisch was temporarily off the UFC 250 card but is back on set to fight Gerald Meerschaert. Damon Martin of MMA Fighting first reported the fight was off Thursday with Anthony Ivy set to replace Heinisch. This occurred after one of Heinisch’s cornermen tested positive for COVID-19, according to TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter. Later, it was revealed to be a false-positive with the cornerman cleared, and Heinisch was re-inserted to the card and will fight Saturday night.

**Dana White was a guest on Steve-O’s Wild Ride and spoke about the UFC welterweight title picture. White stated the contenders to fight champion Kamaru Usman are Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal, Leon Edwards, and Gilbert Burns after his win over Tyron Woodley. White said they would be reaching out and seeing who wants to fight Usman (which obviously comes with a financial component beyond the simple question of who wants to fight the champion). White added that Burns wants to turn around immediately and fight Usman now.

**During the UFC 250 virtual media day, welterweight Anthony Rocco Martin stated his fight with Neil Magny is the last on his existing UFC contract. Martin moved up to welterweight in April 2018 and has gone 5-1 at the new weight.

**ESPN’s latest 30 for 30 release is ‘Be Water’ focusing on Bruce Lee and premieres this Sunday at 9 pm Eastern. It also airs in Canada at the same time on TSN 3/4/5. Slate has a review of the documentary and the subjects covered including his role in Hollywood’s representation of Asians and pushing to move away from stereotypes.

**Here is the latest episode of UFC Embedded prior to UFC 250:

ON THIS DATE

 

 

*****
UFC 250 Preview with Mike Bohn
John Pollock chats with Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie & USA Today about the UFC 250 card, Dana White vs. Jon Jones & covering the sport during the pandemic.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/06/04/ufc-250-preview-with-mike-bohn-of-mma-junkie-usa-today/
*****
upNXT 5/3/20: You Can Thank Me Now

Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review the June 3rd, 2020 edition of WWE NXT featuring Drake Maverick vs. El Hijo del Fantasma in the finals for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship. The BDE start the show off with an important discussion about Black Lives Matter.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/06/04/upnxt-5-3-20-you-can-thank-me-now/
*****
REWIND-A-DYNAMITE 6/3/20: “Welcome to the Jungle”, Fyter Fest dates

John Pollock and Wai Ting review AEW Dynamite featuring the start of Cody’s TNT Championship Open Challenge as he defends against Jungle Boy. Plus, Page & Omega defend their tag titles against Sabian & Havoc.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/06/04/rewind-a-dynamite-6-3-20-welcome-to-the-jungle-fyter-fest-dates/
*****
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.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/06/03/post-interview-damian-abraham-remembers-grant-berkland/
*****
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.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/06/03/post-interview-damian-abraham-remembers-grant-berkland/
*****
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.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/06/03/ask-a-wai-ask-us-anything-june-2020/
*****
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.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/06/02/rewind-a-raw-6-1-20-george-floyd-oct-16-1973-may-25-2020/
*****
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.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/05/31/post-puroresu-the-history-of-pro-wrestling-noah/
*****

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About John Pollock 1837 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling.He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.