POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Fyter Fest vs. Great American Bash Preview

A preview of AEW Fyter Fest and NXT's Great American Bash, UFC approved for more cards, Kris Levin comments on Anthem investigation, big UFC numbers & more.

POST IT NOTES

**Our monthly ASK-A-WAI mailbag show is available for all members of the POST Wrestling Café. This month, we discussed lots of topics including the departure of Bill Watts from WCW, the need to create new and younger fans, how WWE uses their social media platforms, arguments for and against Brock Lesnar ending The Undertaker’s streak, Bobo Brazil, and many non-wrestling subjects as well.

**We are back tonight with lots of coverage of the AEW and NXT shows. Wai Ting and I will have Rewind-A-Dynamite with a review of Fyter Fest and a rundown of the day’s news. Braden Herrington & Davie Portman will be back with upNXT discussing the first night of the Great American Bash and will also have a live stream of their show at YouTube.com/upNXT. Plus, Andrew Thompson will have coverage on the site of the key news items from both shows.

**Andrew Thompson has a great interview posted with Stu Bennett discussing what was in store at Lucha Underground, doing commentary work for the NWA up until shooting halted, and his new movie “I Am Vengeance: Retaliation”. You can also subscribe to Andrew Thompson’s YouTube channel for all his interviews.

**On Thursday, we will be joined by Dr. Alex Patel to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and his experiences as a frontline worker. We have posted a thread on the POST Wrestling Forum if you have questions for Dr. Patel.

**There is a big bio on the life of “Killer” Tim Brooks on the site following the news of his passing this week.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: Rewind-A-Dynamite
Tonight: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Thursday: POST Interview – Dr. Alex Patel
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (LIVE at 10:15 pm Eastern for all Patrons)
Saturday: POST Puroresu with John Pollock & WH Park
Sunday: The Long & Winding Royal Road with WH Park & guest Scrump (Misawa & Akiyama vs. Hayabusa & Shinzaki, Nov. 1997)

WRESTLING NEWS

**Tonight, AEW and NXT kick off their two-weeks specials of Fyter Fest and the Great American Bash with both sides loading up their events that have added intrigue following last week’s performance from NXT. Fyter Fest has been promoted for the last month with the significance of a pay-per-view but presented on free television. NXT revealed they would hold a double title match on July 8th going against the second week of Fyter Fest prior to branding both July 1st and July 8th as the Great American Bash, a name coined by Dusty Rhodes when booking for Jim Crockett Promotions.

It was a shock that NXT hit their second-highest viewership of 2020 last week with 786,000 viewers against AEW’s lowest viewership and demo rating in its history. NXT was bolstered by its largest head-to-head rating in the over 50 audience scoring a 0.42, so a big reason for the increase was its older audience. In the 18-49 demo, it was still AEW’s night, although it was AEW’s lowest rating ever in the demo.

For tonight, AEW has matches involving Cody, Kenny Omega, Hangman Page, and MJF as its biggest stars on the show. The promotional pieces for Cody and Jake Hager show a simple but effective build and are the best candidate to headline the show. I can see them opening the show with the AEW tag title match as both shows need to start big to grab viewers and hopefully, hold onto them. NXT will also have limited commercial breaks that will invariably frontload the show. NXT has the added task of building up to next week’s episode that has the double title match while AEW has their card set for July 8th. The outstanding question regards Jon Moxley and whether he will be available or not for the match with Brian Cage, which would be taping on Thursday.

NXT has picked up steam over the past week off the fumes of last week’s number and a strong list of matches they have revealed. When announced over the weekend, Io Shirai vs. Sasha Banks gained a lot of attention as a first-time match and could be a difference-maker viewership-wise.

Creatively, I’ve found NXT to be in a rut where it’s broken away from its initial calling card of being a strong wrestling show with minimal outside elements. There is nothing wrong with episodes heavy on promos, skits, and content outside of Full Sail, but it hasn’t been riveting quality. The Undisputed Era’s feuds with Velveteen Dream and Dexter Lumis have felt like a drain on its audience, Roderick Strong is playing a paranoid character out of a different era and is the style of presentation NXT broke away from during the brand’s initial rise six years ago, and Rhea Ripley has fallen in the wake of the Charlotte Flair feud and almost feels like a call-up would be necessary to hit the “reset” button on her.

It’s been offset by a strong introduction of Karrion Kross and Scarlett Bordeaux as a tremendous main event act and it was a major feather in the caps of Keith Lee, Johnny Gargano, and Finn Balor to perform so well in last week’s numbers with a quality match to boot.

**NXT is taping both episodes of the Great American Bash today at Full Sail University to air tonight at 8 pm ET on the USA Network and next Wednesday on the USA Network. Below is tonight’s advertised line-up:
*Io Shirai vs. Sasha Banks in a non-title match
*Roderick Strong vs. Dexter Lumis in a Strap Match
*Candice LeRae vs. Dakota Kai vs. Tegan Nox vs. Mia Yim in a #1 contender’s elimination match
*Timothy Thatcher vs. Oney Lorcan
*Rhea Ripley vs. Aliyah & Robert Stone – if Ripley loses, she joins the Robert Stone Brand

**AEW will be holding night one of Fyter Fest at Daily’s Place and taping the second show on Thursday with the following line-up for tonight’s episode at 8 pm ET on TNT:
*Cody vs. Jake Hager for the TNT title
*Kenny Omega & Hangman Page vs. Best Friends for the AEW tag titles
*Hikaru Shida vs. Penelope Ford for the AEW women’s title
*MJF & Wardlow vs. Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy
*Private Party (w/ Matt Hardy) vs. Santana & Ortiz

**The quarter-final matches of the New Japan Cup are set and will take place Thursday morning streaming at 6 am Eastern on New Japan World with the following matches:
*Tomohiro Ishii vs. Hiromu Takahashi
*Kazuchika Okada vs. Taiji Ishimori
*SANADA vs. Taichi
*EVIL vs. Yoshi-Hashi

**The semi-finals of the New Japan Cup will take place Friday and then New Japan is off until the two Osaka cards on July 11th and 12th, which will be the first shows in front of fans for the promotion since February. Osaka-jo Hall will be open to 1/3 of its capacity, which translates to approximately 4,000 people.

**Suwama retained the Triple Crown defeating Shotaro Ashino on Tuesday’s All Japan card. I was told the main event is excellent and worth checking out. The empty arena show took place at Shin-Kiba 1st Ring. We will discuss the highlights of this card on POST Puroresu this Saturday with WH Park.

**Lucha Blog reported that El Audaz (Domencio Bazan Leon) died on Tuesday at the age of 73. He is not to be confused with the 22-year old Audaz in CMLL that shares the name that the promotion controls.

**Former Impact Wrestling referee Kris Levin spoke to Nick Hausman of Wrestling INC regarding a 2019 investigation by the promotion regarding allegations of sexual harassment by an official. This was confirmed by Impact’s parent company Anthem Sports and Entertainment with a statement acknowledging the investigation and that an “external human resources consultant” conducted an investigation with the allegations “proven to be completely without merit” and no disciplinary action taken with the full statement below from last December:

Anthem confirms that an allegation of inappropriate behavior by a member of the Impact Wrestling executive team was made by a former talent, but not until many months after the talent had been released. These allegations played no part in the decision by Impact Wrestling to release the talent. Once the allegation was made, Anthem engaged an external human resources consultant to conduct an investigation, who retained independent counsel for advice on the matter. An inquiry was held in consultation with the complainant and the allegations were proven to be completely without merit. The matter is closed. No disciplinary action was deemed necessary and none was taken.

Levin spoke to Hausman about his interview with the third-party investigator:

I was called by a woman who said she was a neutral third-party investigator, hired by Anthem, in order to look into allegations of sexual harassment and putting employees in unsafe working conditions, messing with people’s contracts and things like that. I told her what I knew, under the guarantee that I would be doing so anonymously and off the record. She just said, ‘I need to build my case and need to know the context of this.’ I said if they find out, they’ll retaliate. She said, ‘No one will know.’ So, I told her everything.

I testified in a way that paints the executives in a negative light. I had finally had enough and decided that I could bet on myself and didn’t need to be at a place that treated me so disrespectfully. So, in late December I messaged a handful of people from the office who I considered friends who I hadn’t involved in this just because it was outside of their purview. I gave a very ambiguous message saying I’m thankful for the time I had here and appreciate the friendship and all the opportunities but I’m parting ways.

Levin stated that 20 minutes after sending this message, he received a call and was told they were going in a new direction and would not require Levin. This occurred at the end of 2019.

It was later reported by David Bixenspan that the third-party investigator had a history of working for Anthem CEO Leonard Asper. Through e-mails he obtained, Bixenspan determined this was Michelle Hall, who listed working at Canwest (the company founded by the Asper family) from 2004-2010 as its Senior Vice President of People on her LinkedIn account. On the same account, there is no mention of work with Anthem.

After the interview with Levin, Wrestling INC reached out to Impact Wrestling to respond to Levin’s comments and received a response that they don’t discuss or comment on internal matters and deny the allegations he had made. After that, Wrestling INC added that they received a follow-up, which may have included them on the e-mail by mistake and included Michelle Hall, who had an Anthem e-mail address:

Following the e-mail statement that we received from Anthem regarding Kris’ allegations we got one more e-mail from Anthem. This e-mail simply said “FYI” and had three people cc’d on it: Ed Nordholm (CCO of Anthem/President of Impact), Frank Tanki (GM of AXS TV) and Michelle Hall. Hall does not list Anthem as a current employer of hers via her LinkedIn page, but we felt it’s worth noting that both she and Nordholm had “@anthemse.com” e-mail addresses. The e-mails that Bixenspan obtained also featured Michelle Hall with the same “@anthemse.com” e-mail address.

**To promote tonight’s Fatal 4-Way match on NXT, Dakota Kai spoke with Newsweek on her return after tearing her ACL, the heel turn at TakeOver: War Games last November, working alongside Raquel and shared the following thought on the #SpeakingOut movement:

I was aware of it all coming out and the happenings. The girls and guys that were speaking out were people that I know. They were friends. It comes down to being a good person. I think when you look at it, it was across the whole scene. It was everywhere. I just…honestly I just wish the best for wrestling as a whole. These stories were coming from years ago across many different promotions. I really do hope a lot of people start taking this industry in a positive direction. We’re all a part of it. I just hope people see this and we got to be better. Just be a good person. It’s not that hard.

**Nikki Bella provided an update after their mother Kathy underwent successful brain surgery on Tuesday:

Mama Bella had a very successful surgery! Can’t thank you all enough for your prayers, love, light and beautiful words! Can’t wait for my Mom to see how loved she is. It’s going to mean the world to her. Now prayers for her recovery! And thank you to the surgeons who took such incredible care of her. Can’t thank you all enough! Feeling very blessed and grateful right now. So relieved and happy. Can’t wait to squeeze my Mom! She’ll be in ICU for a few days but when I can she’s getting a really big hug and kiss! @mrjohnlaurinaitis thank you for being her and our family’s rock! We all couldn’t have gotten through today without you! Love you!

**Renee Young has announced she has submitted a manuscript for an upcoming cookbook she is releasing. This was the news she had been teasing over the past few days.

**Stephanie Chase has an interview with Corey Graves and Carmella discussing their new podcast together called Bare With Us. They discussed recently moving in together, their experience shooting Total Divas, and that “it wasn’t even us” compared to who they are now, and what to expect on their new show.

**Here is the updated card for Slammiversary on Saturday, July 18th after Tuesday night’s episode:
*Trey vs. Ace Austin vs. Eddie Edwards vs. TBA for the vacant Impact Wrestling title
*Jordynne Grace vs. Deonna Purrazzo for the Knockouts title
*The North (Ethan Page & Josh Alexander) vs. Ken Shamrock & Sami Callihan for the Impact tag titles
*Willie Mack vs. Chris Bey for the X Division title
*Taya Valkyrie vs. Rosemary vs. Susie/Su Yung vs. Kylie Rae vs. Kimber Lee vs. Kiera Hogan vs. Havok vs. Alisha Edwards vs. Tasha Steelz in the Knockouts Gauntlet Match

Impact is promoting the pay-per-view around the tease of numerous surprises involving ex-WWE talent that will be free to appear with their 90-day no-compete clause expiring. On Tuesday’s show, there was a shot of Eric Young’s old “Super Eric” costume during a promo along with Scott D’Amore on the phone with two “Good Brothers”. This follows a recent segment where EC3’s previous theme music played during an episode.

There was no explanation for the Impact title being vacated nor any mentions of Tessa Blanchard or Michael Elgin following their removal from the match. There was a strong promo from Tommy Dreamer, who was busted open by Moose and appears to be setting up a match for the pay-per-view with Moose demanding an apology or will sue Dreamer and Impact for defamation of character. There weren’t any strong matches on Tuesday’s episode but it’s clear they are elevating Trey to become a larger player. In the main event, he lost by disqualification to Madman Fulton, and given Trey is on the ascent and in the title match at Slammiversary, this could have been an opportunity for a big victory to propel him into the top mix but that’s a small quibble.

There was a backstage interview where Gia Miller was interviewing Moose and I can’t recall seeing worse camera work for a major show. It was zooming in and out, was shaking all over the place, and felt like you were watching someone who had never shot using a camera before.

**There is an editorial looking at the role of various platforms when it comes to policing cyberbullying in the wake of Hana Kimura’s death in May.

**FS1 will be airing the 2018 Royal Rumble next Tuesday night in its WWE pay-per-view timeslot. This was the first year they held a women’s Royal Rumble and featured the debut of Ronda Rousey.

MMA NEWS

**Nolan King at MMA Junkie reported Wednesday that the Nevada Athletic Commission approved a slew of dates for the UFC to run throughout the month of August. This included episodes of Dana White’s Contender Series for August 4th, August 11th, August 18th, and August 25th. The following dates for fight cards have also been approved by Nevada:
*Saturday, August 1st (UFC Fight Night: Holly Holm vs. Irene Aldana)
*Saturday, August 8th: (UFC Fight Night: Derrick Lewis vs. Aleksey Oleinik)
*Saturday, August 15th (UFC 252: Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier)
*Saturday, August 22nd (UFC Fight Night)
*Saturday, August 29th (UFC Fight Night)

**UFC performed strongly this past Saturday night with the Fight Night card headlined by Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker. The main card and prelim card finished in the top two slots among all cable programming. The main card at 8 pm Eastern averaged 1,070,000 viewers and 0.43 in the 18-49 demographic, which blew away everything else. The prelims from 6-8 pm on ESPN did 635,000 viewers and 0.24 in the main demo. Even more impressive, is that the prelims went against a NASCAR race on Fox. Compared to the card the previous weekend headlined by Curtis Blaydes vs. Alexander Volkov, this week’s main card was up 17% in viewers and 34% in the 18-49 demographic. The prelims were up 24% in viewers and 60% in the demo.

**UFC president Dana White shared the following video with the amenities in place for the upcoming shows on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi and noting they have administered over 2,000 tests:

**In an interview with MMA Junkie, Paul Felder revealed he will be calling all four cards on Yas Island in July beginning with UFC 251 on Saturday, July 11th, and subsequent cards on July 15th, July 18th, and July 25th.

**Invicta FC returns on Thursday night and has already announced a follow-up event for the end of July. Following this week’s show, the promotion returns with Invicta FC 41 on Thursday, July 30th in Kansas City without fans in attendance. The July 30th card will be headlined by Janaisa Morandin taking on Montserrat Ruiz in a strawweight fight. The card will be streamed on Fight Pass.

**Here are the weigh-in results for Thursday’s Invicta FC 4- card in Kansas City, Kansas:
*Emily Ducote (115.2) vs. Juliana Lima (115.5)
*Lindsey VanZandt (105.2) vs. Alesha Zappitella (105.7)
*Chelsea Chandler (145) vs. Liv Parker (145.7)
*Laura Gallardo (125.1) vs. Trisha Cicero (126)
*Genia Goodin (115.9) vs. Shelby Koren (115.9)

**Due to a medical issue involving DeAnna Bennett, her flyweight fight with Victoria Leonardo was removed from the card when Bennett could not weigh in. Invicta noted that Leonardo was paid her show money and did make weight for the canceled fight.

**Arianny Celeste of the UFC has announced she is expecting her first child with boyfriend Taylor King. The due date set for the end of September. Celeste, 34, has been working with the UFC since 2006.

ON THIS DATE

 

 

******
ASK-A-WAI: Ask Us Anything! (July 2020)

John Pollock and Wai Ting answer their patrons’ questions from the POST Wrestling Forum in the July 2020 edition of Ask-A-Wai
https://www.patreon.com/posts/38800165/
*****
REWIND-A-RAW 6/29/20: It’s Not Fair to Flair

John Pollock and Wai Ting review a taped edition of WWE Raw featuring a Double Contract Signing, all the latest news from the industry, and a preview of the week ahead at POST Wrestling.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/06/30/rewind-a-raw-6-29-20-its-not-fair-to-flair/
*****
THE ROCKY MAIVIA PICTURE SHOW #18: G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)

This month on The Rocky Maivia Picture Show, Nate Milton welcomes the Associate Producer & Social Media Manager of upNXT, John Siino into the theater to review 2013’s “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”!
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/06/27/the-rocky-maivia-picture-show-18-g-i-joe-retaliation-2013-w-john-siino/
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 6/26/20: WWE COVID-19 & Taping Chaos

John Pollock & Wai Ting go through a packed day of news with the latest on WWE’s COVID-19 cases, updated taping schedule, talent releases, and a review of WWE SmackDown’s Tribute to The Undertaker.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/06/27/rewind-a-smackdown-6-26-20-wwe-covid-19-taping-chaos/
*****
BRITISH WRESTLING EXPERIENCE: #SpeakingOut
Martin, Benno & Jamesie are joined by Emma G of the Journey Through Guerrilla Island podcast to talk the #SpeakingOut movement and the allegations that have rocked both the British and Irish Wrestling scene, as well as the wider wrestling world.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/06/26/british-wrestling-experience-speakingout/
*****

Browse the POST Wrestling Store
https://store.postwrestling.com

Subscribe to POST Wrestling
https://postwrestling.com/subscribe

POST Wrestling Forum
https://forum.postwrestling.com

Support our Patreon – The POST Wrestling Café
http://www.patreon.com/POSTwrestling

Follow us
Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube

About John Pollock 5502 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.