POST IT NOTES
**Tonight, we have Rewind-A-Dynamite covering Fyter Fest with Wai & I, while Braden Herrington & Davie Portman will be back with upNXT covering the second week of the Great American Bash. Andrew Thompson will have coverage of the main news items on the site to watch out for.
**This week’s Rewind-A-Wai turned into a very fun review of Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years. We discussed the December 1995 episode guest-starring Bret Hart as “Luther Root” and did our best to understand this series and Hart’s involvement during that period. Plus, the star of the show & Espresso Executive Producer Jay Hunter from OSW Review stopped by to explain the series and his assessment of Cowboy Bret’s performance. This show is available to all members of the POST Wrestling Café.
**On Thursday, Phil Chertok will join me for our UFC 251 Preview Show as we look at this Saturday’s card and break down the fights. This Saturday, Phil and Eric Marcotte will be doing a watch along at YouTube.com/POSTwrestling beginning at 10 pm Eastern when the pay-per-view begins. I’ll be joining right after the main card ends and we’ll have the UFC 251 POST Show streaming live on the YouTube channel and available afterward as a podcast. During the pay-per-view, you can also interact with Phil & Eric on the POST Wrestling Discord channel.
**Martin Bushby, Benno & Jamesie will be back Thursday night with a new edition of the British Wrestling Experience.
Tonight: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John Pollock & Wai Ting
Tonight: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Thursday: UFC 251 Preview Show with John & Phil Chertok
Thursday: British Wrestling Experience with Martin Bushby, Jamesie & Benno
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (LIVE at 10:15 pm ET for all Patrons)
Saturday: UFC 251 POST Show with John & Phil Cherok (LIVE at YouTube.com/POSTwrestling)
Sunday: NJPW Dominion POST Show with John, Wai & Mike Murray (Patreon)
**Earlier today, WWE performer Matt Riddle posted a video statement addressing allegations made by Candy Cartwright (Samantha Tavel). Riddle admitted to having an affair with Tavel and informed his wife of the affair and said he cut off communication with her, but she continually tried to contact him. Riddle denied any sexual assault and sexual abuse claims made and accused Tavel of using the Speaking Out movement to ruin his career. The response from Riddle comes several days after Tavel posted a comment denying the stalking charges and posted a photo of the two together that she said was from last year.
**Earlier this week, former ROH wrestler Kelly Klein outlined allegations against current Ring of Honor performer Jay Lethal, as well as wrestler J-Rocc, who did a few matches for the company in 2017-18. Klein wrote:
When @JRoccDaddy harassed a female member of @ringofhonor locker room, he was told to leave and was not welcome back. MULTIPLE women brought complaints & evidence of sexual misconduct/harassment by Jay Lethal. ROH ignored/covered it up. They only take action when convenient.
It’s hard when your faves get called out. Imagine what it’s like to be targeted/harassed by that person & not protected because he/she is a “favorite.” People can be talented, friend to many, good for community, & also take advantage of & abuse others. Not mutually exclusive.
In fact, qualities that make it hard to accept that a “favorite” could do something horrible are the things they use to gain access to victims & escape accountability. They don’t usually wear a sign or broadcast their bad intentions.
Jay Lethal responded with the following statement on Monday night:
It has always been my choice to use silence to keep my dignity, refrain from publicly attacking people I’m not fond of, and relying on who I have been as a person to speak for itself. I’ve also never wanted to use MY platform to boost or give attention to any negativity. I do however know and realize that some people will sadly take my silence to mean something else.
The #speakingout movement has given me hope that the industry that I’ve chosen to give my life to will become a better place. I’ve wanted to stand in support of all those brave enough to share their painful stories. Unfortunately I was afraid to due to the lies that are being said about me.
I have never and would never sexually harass, sexually assault, rape or force myself on anyone. I would never use my status to deny anyone opportunities. Even now, it pains me to know that defending myself might somehow tarnish an important movement and cast doubt on real, troubling experiences.
As well, J-Rocc responded to the allegations with the following post:
Anybody who knows me knows who and what I am. I’ve made plenty of mistakes. Never ever maliciously. Lessons were learned. Professionally and personally. I would never upset or hurt anyone intentionally, and work every single day to be better than yesterday. And that continues
Easy for cyberbullies to use their clout with half-truths and agendas. One person’s “harass” is someone else’s misunderstanding – but then again when you’re a bad human being yourself, you always assume the worst of anybody first. I made a bunch of mistakes there, but not that. And in case that wasn’t direct enough: I did not harass anyone. I did not even have an inappropriate conversation. Period. Believe what you will from there.
**Farrah Akase, who has been translating the stories covering Hana Kimura’s suicide and the role that Fuji TV and Terrace House played has reported on the following from the second part of an article that includes comments from Hana’s mother, Kyoko Kimura:
*Hana had been a fan of Terrace House since she was in her teen years
*Cast members on the show were paid 100,000 yen per month, equivalent to $1,000 (U.S.) when they filmed outings with their friends they paid out of pocket
*Their contracts were strict limiting their ability to leave the house until the producers allowed them, violation of the contracts came with heavy fines ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 (U.S.)
*There was a scandal in 2014 where cast members went public with allegations of sexual harassment and staged scenes & relationships leading to Fuji TV canceling the series
*They later began working with Netflix and the same director was used for both iterations of the series
*The director was interviewed for the article and when asked about staging scenes, directed their questions to Fuji TV
*Those working on the article spoke with Fuji TV president Ryunosuke Endo, who denied the allegations and wanted to know who provided the testimonies
*Endo said they were still investigating the claims and cast members were asked for their full consent ahead of time
*Cast member Kai Kobayashi spoke on the record for the article stating he called to apologize to Hana on May 15th (days before she died), he knew from the start the scene was staged and they were going to meet up when the coronavirus subsided
**The Unseen Japan Twitter account translated comments made by Kai Kobayashi to the Bunshun outlet regarding instructions he was given by an assistant director for Terrace House. Kobayashi says when he was filming a scene with Hana for their first date, they were jumping on a trampoline and the AD told him that it wasn’t interesting and told him “What if you feel her up or something?” with Kobayashi adding that such requests were “typical” on the show. The article added that Fuji TV is denying that staff instructed Hana to escalate tension during the costuming scene to help ratings, although those around Hana dispute Fuji TV’s assertion.
**AEW and NXT present their second week of specials with the continuation of Fyter Fest and the Great American Bash. Last week’s results saw NXT with 792,000 viewers (their second-best number of 2020) but only 0.22 in the main demo. AEW did 748,000 viewers but was sixth for the night on cable with 0.29 in the demo.
This week, the marquee match is Adam Cole vs. Keith Lee with both championships on the line and a spoiler photo that made its way online last week indicating the winner. Personally, I don’t think the photo is going to make any difference and of the relatively small number to see the photo, it would probably push many to want to watch how it unfolds.
For AEW, the match promoted the most tonight is Chris Jericho vs. Orange Cassidy with Jericho promoting that it’s one of the best matches of his career. When the two did their show-closing brawl two weeks ago, it was a disappointing quarter-hour figure but that doesn’t mean the match will have the same fate. Several people threw out the booking idea of Mike Tyson appearing and knocking out Jericho to lead to the finish, which is a great idea to book the match and set up the pay-per-view match. However, I would promote Tyson appearing IF he were to appear on tonight’s show, which there is no knowledge he is. This show was taped last week and teasing a Tyson appearance and a knockout would have made for a great seven-day hype job. Last week, they closed with the AEW tag title match and while they got destroyed in viewership by Sasha Banks vs. Io Shirai, they still won the demo in the last quarter, which is a feather in its cap considering Best Friends are not a main event act.
Realistically, both shows should be aiming for goals beyond one-week victories. Each should be aiming for a young audience that is willing to spend money on their product. AEW has been judicious when it comes to saving their biggest matches for the right time and has not been a company to hot-shot while NXT is doing exactly that with tonight’s double title match on two-weeks of promotion. NXT skews much older and that’s been the difference the last two weeks with their over fifty audience at 0.42 and 0.40, which is on the show’s high-end in that demographic. AEW can’t get caught in the game of one-upping NXT each week because their priority should be peaking for All Out in September where revenue is scarce during the pandemic beyond their television rights and the loss of a live gate hurts AEW more than any WWE property.
AEW returns next week with “Fight for the Fallen” featuring the AEW title match between Jon Moxley and Brian Cage and we’ll see if NXT sets up anything significant to counter next week.
Here is the card for tonight’s AEW Fyter Fest special airing at 8 pm Eastern on TNT, as well as TSN2 and TSN5 in Canada:
*Kenny Omega & Hangman Page vs. Private Party for the AEW tag titles
*Chris Jericho vs. Orange Cassidy
*The Young Bucks & FTR vs. Rey Fenix, Pentagon Jr., The Butcher & The Blade
*Joey Janela vs. Lance Archer
*Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky vs. Brodie Lee, Stu Grayson & Colt Cabana
*Nyla Rose in action
*An announcement by Taz
For NXT’s Great American Bash, the following matches have been announced for the show taped last Wednesday and airing at 8 pm Eastern on the USA Network:
*Adam Cole vs. Keith Lee for the NXT & NXT North American titles
*Candice LeRae vs. Mia Yim in a Street Fight
*Johnny Gargano vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott
*Drake Maverick & Breezango vs. Santos Escobar, Joaquin Wilde & Raul Mendoza
**AEW’s Puppy Battle Royale they promoted last week will air on its YouTube channel at 10 pm Eastern following Fyter Fest.
**Keith Lee spoke with Alex McCarthy at TalkSport about tonight’s match with Adam Cole. Lee was asked about the photo that leaked last week after the match and gave the following response whether it bothers him:
Not at all, man. When you think about it, as you say ‘apparent leaks’, look, at the end of the day the only way someone knows what happens is when it airs.
For those people that think that they’ve unloaded some big mystery or something is one thing, but the only thing that makes me sad in the scenario is how many of them are trying to ruin it for other people, because there is the potential for it.
Then again, some people could be very happy about it. If that were to change because of the scenario, I don’t know… I just feel like that is not good for people.
And then for the people that don’t want that potential spoiler or whatever it may be, it’s not fun for them either.
To me, it shows me how uncool some people can be, but at the end of the day, you don’t really know what’s happening until it happens and that’s just the truth of the matter.
**Paul Levesque spoke to Justin Barrasso at SI.com about programming the Great American Bash against Fyter Fest:
Obviously there are counter-programming decisions, but I can tell you exactly how this came about. Almost all of these storylines were headed where they are now. There was a gap, timing wise, between In Your House and what will become the SummerSlam TakeOver, and you need a halfway point and a build. This is that halfway point. So it doesn’t change our decision-making process. I don’t counter-book, I book what’s right for NXT.
**On Tuesday, WWE announced the hiring Kristina Salen as its new Chief Financial Officer with her role beginning effective August 3rd. Salen will assume the position that Frank Riddick III had held as its interim CFO since the end of January when George Barrios and Michelle Wilson left WWE. Riddick will maintain a position on WWE’s board of directors. Salin previously served as the CFO of Etsy and later as CFO & COO of Translation Enterprises/United Masters before moving to Moda Operandi as its CFO.
Salin was offered a base salary of $730,000 with incentives to target at a rate of 50% of her salary. It also includes $500,000 worth of Class A common stock in the equity she receives. Salin will report directly to Vince McMahon.
**Nikki & Brie Bella signed with the SMAC Entertainment agency, which is run by Michael Strahan and Constance Schwartz-Morini. The two are also represented by WME, Leslie Sloane, and Jami Kandel at Vision PR, and Ziffren Brittenham LLP.
**The latest addition for Impact’s Slammiversary pay-per-view is a match between Moose and Tommy Dreamer. It is being billed for the “TNA title”, which is the unrecognized title Moose is walking around with.
**Madison Rayne has been added to the Knockout’s Gauntlet Match at Slammiversary joining Rosemary, Havok, Kiera Hogan, Susie, Taya Valkyrie, Tasha Steelz, Kimber Lee, Kylie Rae, Nevaeh, and Alisha Edwards. The winner will receive a future Knockouts title match.
**Tuesday’s episode of Impact was highlighted by a video package involving promos from Eddie Edwards, Trey, and Ace Austin ahead of their four-way match with the mystery person at the pay-per-view for the vacant Impact title. Whether it’s the adjustments they have had to make with Tessa Blanchard and Michael Elgin’s removal from the show, I do feel the television has not been great the past two weeks. The hook for the pay-per-view are the mystery free agents showing up and crowning a new champion, that’s it. The North is a great team and the program with Sami Callihan & Ken Shamrock as the unlikely teammates are working fine and I expect the match to be good. The women’s division is loaded but there aren’t many stories connected to the division beyond Deonna Purrazzo going Jordynne Grace’s title. It’s probably not fair to judge based on this current cycle of television because it was all shot with the intention of Tessa Blanchard defending her title in a five-way match and who knows how much surgery they have needed to perform on these episodes to may them coherent given the changes afterward.
**Michael McCann at Sportico breaks down Oliver Luck’s lawsuit against Vince McMahon following his termination as the XFL’s commissioner earlier this year.
**Friday Night SmackDown this past week finished with 1,777,000 viewers and 0.4 in the 18-49 demographic, the lowest SmackDown has performed on Fox. It will only be a concern if this week’s numbers are similar are indicative of a fall in popularity for the program. This past Friday included Donald Trump’s speech at Mt. Rushmore and generated a lot of increases among cable news shows on Friday night, plus it was 4th of July weekend and may have played a factor.
**The following statement was issued to POST Wrestling from MLW’s COO Jared St. Laurent regarding the status of Brian Pillman Jr. after his appearance on AEW Dark this week and a direct message conversation between Pillman and Saieve Al Sabah indicating he asked for his release:
Brian is not released and is fully aware of our schedule, which includes events October 3rd and December 5th pending the state of the pandemic. We put the health of our talent/staff and their family and our fans before bookings, which is why we are not running at the moment. We’ve been in contact with Brian to relay this. If he elects to perform elsewhere under the terms of his deal, he certainly has our full blessing to do so.
**This Friday’s edition of SmackDown is advertising the following with the episode taped last Thursday:
*New Day vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro for the SmackDown tag titles
*Bayley & Sasha Banks vs. Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross in a non-title match
*Jeff Hardy appearing on Miz TV
**The WWE stock closed at $45.86 on Wednesday.
**An interesting case to follow is the Auditor General of Canada ruling that the Canadian Commercial Corporation that brokered a deal to supply light-armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia, did not adequately consider the human rights issues in Saudi Arabia. This has been a controversial deal in Canada, which was brokered by the Stephen Harper-led government but approved by the current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
ON THIS DATE
**American Top Team coach Mike Brown won’t be going to Abu Dhabi to work in the corner of Jorge Masvidal. Combate was the first to report that Brown tested positive for COVID-19 while in Las Vegas where he was required to be tested prior to flying to Yas Island. Brown joins a list including Pedro Munhoz, his coach Gabriel Oliveira, Gilbert Burns, Vagner Rocha, and coach Greg Jones as those flagged by UFC prior to heading to Abu Dhabi for several upcoming cards on the island. MMA Fighting spoke with Gabriel Oliveira, who had cornered two fighters at the Apex in Las Vegas and didn’t fail any tests but felt sick after he went back to Florida and had a fever. (CORRECTION: We had originally listed Herbert Burns among the names testing positive, this was not correct as it was Gilbert Burns’ coach Vagner Rocha that tested positive).
**As noted above, bantamweight Pedro Munhoz has tested positive for COVID-19 and is off of the July 15th card on Yas Island where he was set to fight Frankie Edgar. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported that the positive test was discovered prior to both fighters heading to Abu Dhabi, adding that Edgar did not fly over. The July 15th card next Wednesday will be headlined by a featherweight fight between Calvin Kattar and Dan Ige.
**Paul Felder will not be calling this Saturday’s UFC 251 card as he is being held back in the U.S. as a precaution after potential exposure to COVID-19. On his podcast, Michael Bisping said Felder must quarantine for 14 days after encountering someone with the virus, although Felder has not tested positive. Felder’s management team tells MMA Fighting that they are optimistic that Felder can get over to Abu Dhabi for the cards on July 18th and 25th after Felder was originally going to do all four. Bisping will take over Felder’s gigs.
**UFC 61 took place on this date in 2006 featuring the second fight between Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock after a season of Ultimate Fighter behind them. While the UFC’s fortunes changed in 2005 with the success of TUF, their pay-per-view business blew up the next year. The first stunning number was at UFC 60 when Matt Hughes defeated Royce Gracie with 600,000 buys with a UFC record that lasted just over a month before Ortiz vs. Shamrock shattered it with 775,000. The funny thing is that with a record-setting show, UFC 61 was a terrible card with a brutal heavyweight title fight between Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski, and fans left unsatisfied when Shamrock protested the stoppage to referee Herb Dean. It wasn’t a bad stoppage and Shamrock was in trouble, it ended up being a happy accident that led to a third fight between then on free television in October 2006 that woke up the sports and advertising community to the power of the UFC brand with that fight doing a giant number during the MLB playoffs.
**MMA Fighting reported that a featherweight between Jimmie Rivera and Cody Stamann has been added to next Wednesday’s UFC card on Yas Island. While the two regularly compete in the UFC’s bantamweight division, they will fight at 145 pounds for this one. Rivera is coming off losses to Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan while Stamann has gone 2-1-1 in his last four fights and coming off a decision victory against Brian Kelleher last month at UFC 250.
**Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports that the UFC is working on a light heavyweight fight between former title challengers Thiago Santos and Glover Teixeira for September 12th. Santos has not fought since UFC 239 in July 2019 where he had a hell of a fight with Jon Jones amidst several injuries sustained. Santos tore his left LCL, PCL, MCL, and meniscus and suffered a partial tear in his right ACL before losing by split decision to Jones. Teixeira, 40, has won his last four fights and is coming off a dominant TKO victory over Anthony Smith this past May. Teixeira lost to Jones in his lone UFC title fight back in May 2014 and has gone 9-3 since that fight. Under normal circumstances, this would be an important fight regarding the next contender, but no one knows when Jones will fight again or if an interim title will be introduced.
**Below are the first two episodes of UFC Embedded for UFC 251 this Saturday:
REWIND-A-WAI #65: “Lonesome Dove” starring Bret Hart (1995)
John Pollock and Wai Ting review Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years – “Day of the Dead” (S2E10) from December 14, 1995 guest-starring Bret Hart as “Luther Root”.
upNXT MOVIE REVIEW: Hamilton – The Musical (2020) w/ Nate Milton
Braden Herrington is joined by friend of the show, Nate Milton to review the smash-hit sensation: Hamilton: An American Musical – The Movie!
REWIND-A-RAW 7/6/20: Eye Rolling Stipulation
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE Raw featuring Bayley vs. Asuka, the latest COVID-19 news in WWE, the contractual status of Rey Mysterio, UFC 251 updates and more.
POST INTERVIEW: Emily Pratt talks Speaking Out movement
John Pollock & Wai Ting are joined by Emily Pratt (freelance writer for FanFyte and Deadlock; formerly of Uproxx) to discuss the Speaking Out movement, responses from wrestling promotions, fan perceptions of accused talent, the media’s handling of the stories, and more.
THE LONG & WINDING ROYAL ROAD
The Long & Winding Royal Road’s first episode with WH Park looks at a hidden gem as he and Scrump of the PWTcast take a look at a match from the 1997 Real World Tag League (Day 10): Hayabusa & Jinsei Shinzaki vs. Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama.
POST PURORESU: New Japan Cup, Master Wato, G-1 Update
John Pollock & WH Park chat about the New Japan Cup, G-1 Climax news, Master Wato, Jun Akiyama to DDT, AJPW Dojo doc, talent leaving Zero1, and light tubes!
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 7/3/20: WWE mask policy, EVOLVE, NXT/AEW ratings
John Pollock & Wai Ting review Friday Night SmackDown featuring Sheamus’ long-awaited Toast to Jeff Hardy. Plus, today’s news including WWE’s new mask policy, EVOLVE sold to WWE, G-1 Climax update, and we take your phone calls.
POST INTERVIEW: Dr. Alex Patel
John Pollock & Wai Ting welcome back Toronto-based critical care physician Dr. Alex Patel to discuss the latest information and studies on COVID-19; WWE, AEW & UFC’s handling of shows during the pandemic; plus answers to your questions from the POST Wrestling Forum.
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