POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Kevin Owens on WWE’s mask policy

Kevin Owens speaks on WWE's new policy regarding masks, a report on UFC 251's buys, Volkanovski vs. Holloway, final SmackDown number & more.

POST IT NOTES

**The New Japan Dominion POST Show is available for all members of the POST Wrestling Café. Wai Ting and I were joined by Mike Murray for a review of Dominion, thoughts on EVIL’s title win, joining The Bullet Club, Saturday’s Osaka card, and other notes from the New Japan Cup that Mike has covered on the site.

**We also have the UFC 251 POST Show that is available for download with Phil Chertok and I reviewing Saturday’s card. Thanks to everyone that tuned into the live stream of the POST Show on our YouTube channel and those hanging out in the Discord chat throughout the pay-per-view with Phil and Eric Marcotte.

**Tonight, we are doing a special LIVE edition of Rewind-A-Raw for all members of the POST Wrestling Café beginning at 11:15 pm Eastern. We had an issue with our scheduling on Friday night and could not do a live edition of Rewind-A-SmackDown, so tonight is a make-good and we will be back live this Friday night after SmackDown. On the show tonight, we will preview the week coming up, go through a lot of news items, and then review Raw.

**On Tuesday, it’s the conclusion of our MCU reviews for now as we are caught up. Tuesday’s review will focus on last summer’s Spider-Man: Far From Home release starring Tom Holland. We will also be announcing what will be taking the place of our MCU reviews on the show. You can still post feedback to the film on the POST Wrestling Forum.

**On Tuesday, Andrew Thompson will have an interview on the site with wrestler Savannah Evans.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw (LIVE at 11:15 pm Eastern for all Patrons)
Tuesday: MCU Review of Spider-Man – Far From Home (Patreon)
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John & Wai
Wednesday: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (LIVE at 10:15 pm ET for all Patrons)
Saturday: Impact Slammiversary POST Show with John Pollock, Nate Milton & Davie Portman
Sunday: WWE Extreme Rules POST Show with John & Wai (LIVE for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso Patrons)

WRESTLING NEWS

**Here are the matches for tonight’s episode of Raw, taped on July 3rd at the WWE Performance Center and billed as a “Night of Grudge Matches”:
*Bayley & Sasha Banks vs. Asuka & Kairi Sane for the WWE women’s tag titles
*Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens
*R-Truth vs. Randy Orton
*Viking Raiders vs. Andrade & Angel Garza in an Elimination Tag Match

**Kevin Owens did several media interviews promoting tonight’s match with Seth Rollins on Raw and discussed WWE’s implementation of fines for those not wearing masks in the Performance Center. In speaking to SI.com, Owens acknowledged that went to WWE regarding his concerns and led to stricter protocol with the addition of fines for infractions:

It’s been brought up—at first, the masks weren’t being taken seriously enough. Eventually, a fine system was implemented to make sure people took it seriously. That came from me. I thought that the masks weren’t being worn seriously enough, so I went and talked to the people in charge. They immediately did what they could to remedy the situation. I don’t blame anybody for the mask thing. It’s easy to forget how important those masks are. Some people just straight up believe that the masks don’t make a difference, and that’s their belief. But if we’re all going to work together and we’re all trying to keep each other safe, I think it matters. If you’ve had somebody in your family affected by this the way my family was, it’s a lot easier to remember that these masks make a huge difference. These masks do make a difference, and I felt it was important for people to take that seriously. I was pleased that the company felt the same way and made sure to get the message out to everybody that this is a big deal. That’s why, in the end, I decided to come back. I feel comfortable going back to work, and I feel as safe as I can be there.

In a separate interview with Arda Ocal of ESPN, Owens added that he has never had any issue voicing his concerns with WWE:

I have never once been afraid to tell the company that I couldn’t go to a show or something like that because something was happening with my family. They’re always extremely receptive. The company’s never made me feel like my career or my spot or anything like that could be in jeopardy. It’s the same here with this situation. I tell them how I feel, they respect how I feel. Even with the mask, that could be seen as something kind of small, right? But it wasn’t. I brought them my concern, and it was immediately taken very seriously.

**Friday Night SmackDown finished with 1,900,000 viewers on Fox with 0.5 in the 18-49 demographic. While it was up from last week’s all-time low on Fox, this past Friday was still its third-lowest episode to air on Fox. However, SmackDown was #1 in the key demographic among network programming on Friday night with the other networks in re-runs. The show finished at 0.2 in 18-34 and 0.6 in 25-54.

**In Canada this Wednesday, AEW will air on TSN2 at 8 pm Eastern while TSN5 will carry the UFC card beginning at 8 pm followed by a post-show at 12:30 am.

**New Japan announced that the attendance for Saturday’s New Japan Cup Final was 3,318 and Sunday’s Dominion show was 3,898 at Osaka-jo Hall. The venue was set up to hold 1/3 of its capacity.

**Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs posted a notice acknowledging a spike in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths with Jacobs asking people to follow the prescribed guidelines to slow the spread of the virus. Jacobs was criticized earlier this month when the Knox County Board of Health voted on an ordinance to mandate masks being worn in certain buildings. The vote passed 7-1 with Jacobs being the lone dissenting vote.

**AEW is advertising a speaking segment with Chris Jericho for this Wednesday’s “Fight for the Fallen” show with Jericho making an announcement.

**Mike Johnson at PWinsider reports that the trial involving Luc C. Vu has been delayed. Vu was arrested after independent wrestler Matt Travis (Matt Palacios) was struck and killed while riding his bicycle last November. Vu has been charged with reckless driving, failure to yield to a bicyclist, failure to obey a traffic device, driving left of a pavement marking, and failure to exercise due care. It is unknown whether Vu was aware he had struck Travis, who died at the age of 25.

**The ICW East Coast promotion ran an indoor event on Saturday in front of 180 fans in Milton, West Virginia at the volunteer fire department. A fan that attended the show contacted us and said that most people were wearing masks but others either wore them incorrectly or didn’t have them on. The attendee added that there was a hand sanitizer station at the door and masks were provided to some people. The person that contacted us added that during a meet-and-greet, a wrestler did shake hands and didn’t wear a mask during an interaction with a fan.

In West Virginia, there is an order to wear masks indoors for those aged 9 and older. It requires those to wear face coverings if they are in a confined space and social distancing isn’t possible. But, it is up to the businesses to enforce the order and there aren’t criminal charges or governmental action for those not obeying the order.

**Stardom has a card this Friday at Korakuen Hall with the semi-finals of the Wonder of Stardom title tournament with Giulia vs. Konami and Tam Nakano vs. Natsuko Tora. There will also be a match with Saya Kamitani vs. Saya Iida vs. Maika with the first one to pin both opponents winning the vacant Future of Stardom title. The promotion continues July 23rd in Osaka, July 24th in Nagoya, and back to Korakuen Hall on July 26th.

**This Friday, the WWE Network will release a bonus episode of “The Last Ride: Tales from the Deadman” with the show being uploaded at 10 am Eastern that day. They will air the episode immediately after Extreme Rules on Sunday night.

**FITE TV will be offering a Spanish-language broadcast of this Saturday’s Slammiversary pay-per-view. The streaming service has announced that Jorge Milhe and Javier Sahagun will provide the Spanish-language commentary. The event airs Saturday night at 8 pm Eastern.

**The debut of the USA Network series “Cannonball” hosted by The Miz (Mike Mizanin) averaged 771,000 viewers last Thursday. The show was 19th for the night on cable with 0.20 in the 18-49 demographic.

**The WWE stock fell 3.7% on Monday and closed at $44.48.

**Black Label Pro will return with a show named “We’re Back!” on Saturday, August 22nd from the RDS Gym in Crown Point, Indiana. The event will stream on IWTV at 7 pm Eastern that night, which is the same night of NXT TakeOver.

**MLW has begun selling face masks in their online store. They have MLW, CONTRA Unit, Injustice, and LA Park designs available.

ON THIS DATE

 

MMA NEWS

**Mike Coppinger of The Athletic is reporting that UFC 251 did 1.3 million buys on ESPN+. The number would represent a massive success for the card and a signal of the added value of Jorge Masvidal’s presence on the card, which I would cite to be the biggest draw on the show above three title fights being presented. The buys being reported would represent the highest the UFC has done on ESPN+ and surpassing this past January’s pay-per-view headlined by Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone, which did one million buys. Additional reporting from Sports Business Journal states the show did 1.3 million total buys with at least 900,000 on ESPN+.

As of February, ESPN+ had reported over 7.6 million subscribers to the streaming service.

**The most contentious debate following UFC 251 was the scoring of the featherweight title fight where Alexander Volkanovski defeated Max Holloway by split decision. Judges Clemens Werner and Mark Collett scored it 48-47 for Volkanovski and David Lethaby scored it 48-47 for Holloway. All three agreed that Holloway won Rounds 1 and 2 and that Volkanovski won Rounds 3 and 4 (which I thought were the debatable ones). They disagreed on Round 5 with Werner and Collett scoring it for Volkanovski (which most agreed with), and Lethaby gave the final round to Holloway.

I did score the fight 48-47 for Volkanovski and would be in the minority but I’ve seen many have that card, as well. On MMA Decisions, of the 27 reporters that scored the fight (including me), 18 had it for Holloway and 9 for Volkanovski.

The problem is that Holloway would have won this fight based on totality as his first two rounds were stronger than any of Volkanovski’s rounds, which were razor-close in the third and fourth with Round 5 clearly for him, in my opinion.

One of the issues is that there isn’t enough distinction between points awarded for the round. Holloway won the first two rounds, but no one would argue those were 10-8 rounds. Therefore, he receives the same credit for those strong rounds as Volkanovski did for razor-close rounds, with both receiving 10-9.

I disagree that this was a “robbery” and if everyone agrees the two rounds being debated were very close, then you can’t be stunned that some saw the rounds for Volkanovski. It’s a fight I hope to find time to re-watch this week as I’m not married to my scorecard, but all you can do is judge what is in front of you. The judges don’t get the benefit of rewinding the round or going back to retroactively award Holloway because they thought he won the fight even though the scorecard doesn’t match what they believe.

This introduces a discussion about different point systems and going to the PRIDE model where a fight was judged overall. There are positives and negatives with every system and as much criticism as the current one receives, typically, the right person wins but it’s not flawless. I would love a system where we use more 10-8s, 10-7s, and even 10-6s rather than introduce half-points instead of using what’s available to its full potential and have a wider range of scorecards that can better decipher a strong round from a narrow one.

Inherently, the PRIDE system can present flaws where a fighter that has a tremendous first round but wavers down the stretch may not receive the proper credit if the opponent finishes strong in the last round with that final impression on the judges, even though he lost the first two rounds. In this system, you are given credit for every round and it resets every five minutes. It’s the reason the term “you have to beat the champion” lacks any comprehension of how the scoring system works and that a challenger can win the title regardless of whether the score is 50-43 or a super-close 48-47 card for the challenger.

**Coming off the heavily-debated decision loss, Max Holloway had a very classy message he shared on Monday:

Just landed in Vegas for another quarantine and was told some guys in the media are receiving threats for saying my fight was not a robbery. This is not ok. I appreciate everyone who wants to ride for me but that ain’t it. Life isn’t fair. It’s even more unfair for many many other people in the world than it will ever be for me. People are unemployed right now with no end in sight and it’s not their fault. It is what it was. Nothing changed for me as a fighter. We proved our point. I still have my five belts at home. I’m 28 and healthy. Blessed era continues. Bless yourself.

**UFC flyweight Deiveson Figueiredo was cleared to fly to Abu Dhabi over the weekend, according to a report from ESPN’s Ariel Helwani. The fighter had tested positive for COVID-19 last week, but his team believed it was false positive as Figueiredo tested positive for the virus in May. He was re-tested on Saturday and it came back negative. Helwani reported that the flyweight would travel from Sao Paulo, Brazil to Paris, France, and arrive in Abu Dhabi late Tuesday evening. Like all fighters, he will have to undergo additional testing in Abu Dhabi prior to his scheduled fight with Joseph Benavidez this Saturday.

**The Fight of the Night bonus at UFC 251 was awarded to Rose Namajunas and Jessica Andrade while the Performance of the Night bonuses went to Jiri Prochazka and Davey Grant with each receiving a $50,000 bonus.

**During his post-fight media Q&A, UFC president Dana White stated:
*He called it “bad judging” referring to the Alexander Volkanovski split decision over Max Holloway
*He felt it was a horrible stoppage in the Petr Yan win over Jose Aldo and should have ended sooner
*Paige VanZant finished out her UFC contract after the loss to Amanda Ribas and White said after fighting inconsistently, being injured, and getting “blown out in the first round” that he feels she should test free agency
*White said it was possible when asked about going to New Zealand later this year as he’s heard they are doing things with fans
*All the spectators attending the event were tested numerous times
*If anything happens to Deiveson Figueiredo, it is likely Alexandre Pantoja could take his spot as he is fighting Askar Askarov on Saturday’s show
*He had no thoughts when asked about changing the pay structure where fighters have a show and win bonus system in place compared to a flat rate to fight

**On Saturday’s broadcast, UFC announced that the bantamweight fight between Pedro Munhoz and Frankie Edgar has been moved to UFC 252 on Saturday, August 15th. The two were scheduled to fight this Wednesday in Abu Dhabi but Munhoz tested positive for COVID-19 and was taken off the card. They have also added a bantamweight fight between Sean O’Malley and Marlon Vera to the UFC 252 card, which is headlined by the trilogy bout between heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier.

**Jared Gordon was left without any coaches or cornermen for his fight this Wednesday due to positive COVID-19 cases. So, Gordon is going to have a unique scenario as commentator Paul Felder will step away from the booth on Wednesday to corner Gordon along with Eric Nicksick.

**This Wednesday, the UFC will hold it second of four shows this month in Abu Dhabi. The prelims on ESPN & ESPN+ will go head-to-head with AEW and NXT this week but the main card doesn’t begin until 10 pm Eastern. Below is the card:

MAIN CARD (10 pm ET on ESPN/ESPN+)
*Calvin Kattar vs. Dan Ige
*Tim Elliott vs. Ryan Benoit
*Jimmie Rivera vs. Cody Stamann
*Molly McCann vs. Talia Santos
*Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Mounir Lazzez

PRELIMINARY CARD (7 pm on ESPN/ESPN+)

*John Phillips vs. Khamzat Chimaev
*Jared Gordon vs. Chris Fishgold
*Ricardo Ramos vs. Lerone Murphy
*Modestas Bukauskas vs. Andreas Michailidis
*Liana Jojua vs. Diana Belbita
*Jack Shore vs. Aaron Phillips

******
NJPW DOMINION 2020 POST SHOW

John Pollock & Wai Ting are joined by New Japan Cup reporter Mike Murray to review NJPW Dominion 2020 from Osaka-Jo Hall featuring an IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Championship match between Tetsuya Naito and EVIL, and the return of fans!
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/07/12/njpw-dominion-2020-post-show-tetsuya-naito-vs-evil/
*****
UFC 251 POST SHOW: Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal

John Pollock & Phil Chertok present the UFC 251 POST Show featuring Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal for the UFC welterweight title.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/07/12/ufc-251-post-show-kamaru-usman-vs-jorge-masvidal/
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 7/10/20: Lacey Evans Turned Heel During Karaoke

John Pollock & Wai Ting review Friday Night SmackDown featuring the New Day defending the SmackDown tag titles, a Karaoke Showdown, a breakdown of the Fyter Fest and Great American Bash ratings & more.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/07/11/rewind-a-smackdown-7-10-20-lacey-evans-turned-heel-during-karaoke/
*****
BWE: #SpeakingOut (Continued), WWE releases, Matt Riddle, wXw, OTT

Benno & Jamesie are again joined by Emma of the Journey Through Guerrilla Island podcast to continue the conversation about the Speaking Out movement. The three talk about the news coming out of WWE with releases of Ligero and Travis Banks, the suspension of Joe Coffey, as well as the allegations against Matt Riddle and his video statement.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/07/09/bwe-speakingout-continued-wwe-releases-matt-riddle-wxw-ott/
*****
UFC 251 PREVIEW SHOW: Usman vs. Masvidal

John Pollock & Phil Chertok are back with their UFC 251 Preview Show ahead of this Saturday’s card from Abu Dhabi on Yas Island.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/07/09/ufc-251-preview-show-usman-vs-masvidal/
*****
REWIND-A-DYNAMITE: AEW Fyter Fest Part 2

John Pollock and Wai Ting review AEW Fyter Fest Part 2 featuring Chris Jericho vs. Orange Cassidy, plus a rundown of the news including Matt Riddle’s video statement, WWE ratings, and a review of WWE 365: Ricochet.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/07/09/rewind-a-dynamite-7-8-20-aew-fyter-fest-part-2-wwe-365-ricochet/
*****
upNXT 7/8/20: “The Great American Bash” Part Deux

The BDE chat all about Night 2 of The Great American Bash featuring a “Winner Takes All” DOUBLE Championship main event between North American Champion Keith Lee and NXT Champion Adam Cole.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/07/09/upnxt-7-8-20-the-great-american-bash-part-deux/
*****

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About John Pollock 1892 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling.He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.