POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Slammiversary, UFC ratings, Bellator

A look at Saturday's Slammiversary, a breakdown of Wednesday's ratings, Scott Coker speaks on Bellator's return, Apollo Crews & Bayley interviews & more.


**It is a live edition of Rewind-A-SmackDown tonight at 10:15 pm Eastern as Wai Ting & I review Friday Night SmackDown, discuss the latest news, preview Extreme Rules, and take your phone calls. The LIVE option is available to all members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**On Saturday night, Nate Milton and Davie Portman will join me for the Impact Slammiversary POST Show with a thorough review of the card and discussing the latest on Impact Wrestling. This will be a free show and will be out on the main POST Wrestling feed late Saturday night.

**Wai Ting and I will be back Sunday night for the Extreme Rules POST Show and we will be going LIVE for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso members of the POST Wrestling Café with a review of the show and taking calls.

**Next Tuesday on Rewind-A-Wai, we will review Pro Wrestling NOAH’s “Destiny” card from July 2005 at the Tokyo Dome. The card is headlined by the final match between Mitsuharu Misawa and Toshiaki Kawada, and a first-time meeting between Kenta Kobashi and Kensuke Sasaki. The feedback thread is on the POST Wrestling Forum.


Tonight: Rewind-A-SmackDown (LIVE at 10:15 pm Eastern for all Café members)
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)


**WWE is back at the Performance Center to tape tonight’s edition of Friday Night SmackDown heading into the Extreme Rules show on Sunday night. Here is what has been advertised for tonight’s show:
*AJ Styles vs. Matt Riddle for the Intercontinental title
*A mystery guest on Moment of Bliss
*Firefly Funhouse segment with Bray Wyatt

**On Saturday night, Impact Wrestling presents its biggest show since the pandemic began with its Slammiversary pay-per-view from Skyway Studios in Nashville, Tennessee. Impact has held several tapings at the studio during the past few months with bulk tapings of matches to fulfill their television obligations, including its international commitments. The matches are tough as Impact isn’t putting people in the crowds for added sound, but I am on the side of applauding that move rather than critiquing it. The fewer people involved, the safer the environment becomes and there is a need to point out companies that are taking added steps in terms of precaution even to the detriment of the atmosphere.

The pay-per-view is built around the mystery of who is appearing on the show with all the promotion geared around that question and the tagline that “our world changes”. All the talent released in April is free to appear with the no-compete clauses expiring this week, and the NXT releases have been free since May. Of the WWE releases, I don’t think any specific name is going to create a buzz as a standalone appearance but it will be the long-term effect they have if Impact can better utilize some of these performers. Unfortunately, surprise appearances are so tied to the reaction of the reveal that you must forfeit in this climate, so it will be incumbent on the announcers to create that moment when the reveals are made. In promotional videos, they have teased tons of names including shots of Sting and Kurt Angle, and sets the expectation level high for someone of that magnitude to appear.

Impact pay-per-views always serve as an update on where the promotion stands with the general fanbase. It is a tough period to judge given interest in pro wrestling is down across the board without fans. After launching on AXS TV last year, it hasn’t appeared that Impact has made any kind of dent increasing its popularity but no one in wrestling can say they are doing that. Conversely, UFC has had a phenomenal run of shows with two massively successful pay-per-views and throwing out this past Wednesday’s card, a very solid viewership on television for its cards. But, comparing ESPN and AXS TV as platforms isn’t even worth addressing other than to say, that AXS TV as a platform has not appeared to elevate Impact much beyond its base it served prior to getting on the new network.

As a wrestling card, it looks like a decent show on-paper that could overachieve in certain areas. I’m very high on Impact’s women’s division and if nothing else, the Gauntlet Match was a great excuse to put a graphic together showing the audience the depth of its division with all the women in the company. That match lends itself to a surprise appearance(s) and sets up a future title match for the winner. The Knockouts title match between Jordynne Grace and Deonna Purrazzo has been built well and they have treated Purrazzo as a major acquisition in the lead-up to this match.

The North has become a great act in Impact not just as the cornerstone of the tag division but they’re very versatile with their contrasting personalities that work in backstage and on-location scenes, which was helpful when they had to shoot footage in Canada and send it in. The match against Sami Callihan & Ken Shamrock (The Scorpion & The Frog) is an easy story to follow coming out of the latter’s program and coming together as partners that don’t trust each other.

The match involving Moose and Tommy Dreamer seems like a pathway for Moose to have a wild match, defeat Dreamer, and set-up a Title vs. Title program with the winner of the four-way main event.

Here is the full card for Saturday’s show at 8 pm Eastern on Fite TV and traditional pay-per-view:
*Trey vs. Eddie Edwards vs. Ace Austin vs. TBA for the vacant Impact Wrestling title
*Ethan Page & Josh Alexander vs. Sami Callihan & Ken Shamrock for the Impact tag titles
*Jordynne Grace vs. Deonna Purrazzo for the Knockout’s title
*Willie Mack vs. Chris Bey for the X Division title
*Moose vs. Tommy Dreamer for the TNA title
*Taya Valkyrie vs. Kylie Rae vs. Havok vs. Kiera Hogan vs. Tasha Steelz vs. Madison Rayne vs. Rosemary vs. Susie vs. Alisha Edwards vs. Kimber Lee vs. Nevaeh in a Gauntlet for the Gold Match
*Dez & Wentz vs. TBA

**Andreas Hale interviewed WWE U.S champion Apollo Crews for Sporting News on this Sunday’s Extreme Rules show. Crews spoke about his call-up to the main roster after WrestleMania 32 in April 2016, is one of eleven people of color to be currently holding titles within WWE, and the idea of an updated Nation of Domination in today’s landscape. Regarding the past year and the struggles prior to this latest run with the title, he gave the following answer regarding that process and keeping a positive attitude:

Mentally, it was tough. I never thought about quitting, but staying motivated was really tough. But I’ve always had my fiancé and two kids at home. No matter what was going on with my professional career they looked at me no different. I was always still their hero. That’s so great to have because when things are going bad professionally it’s so nice to have that support system at home. How could I ever quit and tell my kids not to be a quitter in life? I wanted to show them that you can accomplish anything through hard work. I had to show them with my actions.

**Stephanie Chase at Digitial Spy has an interview with Bayley discussing her role with Sasha Banks across WWE’s three shows. She continued to push for a tag match against Trish Stratus & Lita at SummerSlam and is hopeful of the company doing a follow-up Evolution event.

**GRAPPL has released a roundtable discussion hosted by JP Houlihan with guests Emily Pratt, Stephanie Chase, and Will Cooling discussing the Speaking Out movement, the wrestling media’s function during stories like this, and comparisons to other outlets.

**The Cauliflower Alley Club has postponed its annual reunion that was scheduled for September in Las Vegas. The pandemic made this reunion problematic given the ages of so many attendees and the enhanced protocols. The reunion has been re-scheduled for April 25-28, 2021. The Gold Coast Hotel is going to refund room deposits while reservations for the April dates will be open starting December 1st. Those with tickets have the option of receiving a full refund, donating the ticket to the CAC Benevolent Fund and receive a tax write off, or leave the deposit on hand to receive a seat at the reunion next April.

**On Saturday, Ring of Honor is launching a roundtable discussion hosted by Ian Riccaboni with guests Caprice Coleman, Shane Taylor, Jay Lethal, Jonathan Gresham, and Kenny King to discuss police brutality, Black Lives Matter and racism within professional wrestling.

**The WWE Network has released a 14-minute WWE The Day Of focusing on Edge going into the match with Randy Orton at Backlash.

**Black Label Pro has added a match between Kylie Rae and Blake Christian for their card “We’re Back” on Saturday, August 22nd at the RDS Gym in Crown Point, Indiana, and streaming on IWTV.

**Stardom held its card at Korakuen Hall today featuring the semi-finals of the Wonder of Stardom title tournament. In the first match, Giulia defeated Konami followed by Tam Nakano beating Natsuko Tora to set-up the final for the title that was vacated by Arisa Hoshiki in May. The finals between Giulia and Tora will take place on July 26th at Korakuen Hall. Today’s show also saw Maika win the vacant Future of Stardom title by defeating Saya Iida and Saya Kamitani. (Courtesy: STRIGGA at Purolove)

**Stardom has added cards for August 22nd and 23rd that is being billed as “Stardom Yokohama Cinderella 2020” at the new Yokohama Budokan venue.

**All Japan has an empty arena show on Saturday morning that will stream on AJPW.tv with the following line-up:
*Suwama & Shuji Ishikawa vs. Isami Kodaka & Yuko Miyamoto for the AJPW tag titles
*Yusuke Okada vs. Seigo Tachibana in a Hair vs. Hair Match
*Kento Miyahara & Francesco Akira vs. Hokuto Omori & Kuma Arashi
*Zeus & Izanagi vs. Shotaro Ashino & Yusuke Kodama
*Hikaru Sato & Dan Tamura vs. Yuma Aoyagi & Atsuki Aoyagi
*Jake Lee, Tajiri & Koji Iwamoto vs. Yoshitatsu, Takao Omori & Black Menso-re

**Here are the matches for MLW’s Underground program on Saturday night where its new format focuses on 2002-04 shows the promotion ran. The show airs at 10 pm Eastern on beIN Sports and its YouTube channel at 6:05 pm:
*Satoshi Kojima vs. Jerry Lynn for the MLW title
*Terry Funk vs. Chris Candido in a No DQ Match
*Dr. Death Steve Williams & PJ Freidman in action

**Bet Online has released odds for Extreme Rules this Sunday. Bray Wyatt is the -150 favorite to beat Braun Strowman in the Wyatt Swamp Fight, Drew McIntyre is a massive -2000 favorite over Dolph Ziggler, Asuka is listed at -300 to beat Sasha Banks, Bayley is -600 against Nikki Cross, Apollo Crew is -450 over MVP, and Seth Rollins is -150 to beat Rey Mysterio.

**Mojo Rawley (Dean Muhtadi) turns 34 today.


**All of the fighters made weight for UFC’s second Fight Night event in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. There was concern all week regarding headliner Deiveson Figueiredo, who recently tested positive for COVID-19, but they believed it was a false positive as he had tested positive back in May for it. They re-tested him and got the green light to travel to Abu Dhabi and underwent additional testing and quarantine periods and will be fighting on Saturday. Added to the concerns, was that Figueiredo missed weight for the last fight with Joseph Benavidez and they had Alexandre Pantoja on the card as a back-up. However, Figueiredo made weight and the winner of Saturday’s rematch will be the new UFC flyweight champion. In their last fight in February, Figueiredo won by TKO in the second round but was not awarded the vacant title after missing weight by 2.5 pounds.

Here is the full card for Saturday’s show and results from the weigh-ins:

MAIN CARD (8 pm Eastern on ESPN+)
*Deiveson Figueiredo (125) vs. Joseph Benavidez (125) for the vacant UFC flyweight title
*Kelvin Gastelum (186) vs. Jack Hermansson (186)
*Marc Diakiese (156) vs. Rafael Fiziev (156)
*Ariane Lipski (126) vs. Luana Carolina (126)
*Askar Askarov (126) vs. Alexandre Pantoja (125)

*Roman Dolidze (206) vs. Khadis Ibragimov (206)
*Grant Dawson (150) vs. Nad Narimani (150) – Catchweight fight
*Joel Alvarez (156) vs. Joe Duffy (155.5)
*Brett Johns (136) vs. Montel Jackson (136)
*Malcolm Gordon (135) vs. Amir Albazi (136)
*Davi Ramos (156) vs. Arman Tsarukyan (156)
*Carlos Felipe (261) vs. Serghei Spivac (240)

**UFC’s Wednesday night Fight Night was not a big success ratings-wise. It was a big departure from their Saturday night cards and wasn’t a show heavy on stars while also going against the NASCAR All-Star Race. The main card averaged 536,000 viewers and was 16th for the night on cable with a 0.22 in the 18-49 demographic. All five main card fights went to a decision, including the five-round featherweight main event where Calvin Kattar defeated Dan Ige, so they didn’t go off the air until 1:08 am Eastern. The preliminary card did 434,000 viewers and a 0.17 rating in the demo featuring Khamzat Chimaev over John Phillips in the featured fight.

**For an interesting comparison, below are the demo figures for the UFC main card, NASCAR (for the race beginning at 8:30 pm ET), AEW & NXT from Wednesday night:

ADULTS 18-49
NASCAR: 0.35
AEW: 0.29
UFC: 0.22 (0.17 for the prelims)
NXT: 0.14

NASCAR: 0.23
AEW: 0.18
NXT: 0.14
UFC: 0.11 (0.07)

MALES 18-49
NASCAR: 0.48
AEW: 0.40
UFC: 0.33 (0.27)
NXT: 0.27

ADULTS 18-34
NASCAR: 0.20
UFC: 0.17 (0.14)
AEW: 0.16
NXT: 0.05

NASCAR: 0.11
AEW: 0.10
UFC: 0.10 (0.05)
NXT: 0.09

MALES 12-34
NASCAR: 0.22
AEW: 0.20
UFC: 0.17 (0.17)
NXT: 0.02

ADULTS 25-54
NASCAR: 0.54
AEW: 0.35
UFC: 0.27 (0.21)
NXT: 0.19

NASCAR: 1.36
NXT: 0.36
AEW: 0.30
UFC: 0.21 (0.18)

**Bellator president Scott Coker spoke with Mike Heck of MMA Fighting on the promotion’s return next Friday in Uncasville, Connecticut. Coker noted they had talks regarding five different locations, including the option of a soundstage in Los Angeles. Coker said the issue with the soundstage was other television shows that are shooting. He didn’t get into details on the specifics of testing, although mentioned the fighters would be tested before they traveled to Uncasville, which saves them a step, and is an option UFC should consider for the future as step one before traveling to the anchor city. He described their set-up in Uncasville as an “ecosystem” that they could be running until the end of September or even the end of the year. Coker only mentioned the Paramount Network and didn’t say anything regarding its relationship with DAZN, which they have not advertised as an outlet for the July 24th with the undercard airing on its YouTube channel. Finally, Coker addressed a question about Paige VanZant following the completion of the final fight on her UFC deal and said that they “definitely want to have with her”.

**In a separate interview with MMA Junkie, Coker elaborated on the testing protocol:

Everybody will be tested and make sure they are not positive before they can even book the flight and get on the plane. Then the same thing when they get to the venue. The Mohegan Sun is working with the tribe and a testing lab there at a university so we get results back quickly. There will be testing going on every day. … We have a plan we are proud of, and we can implement to create a very safe environment for our fighters, our commissioners, our staff, and we’re ready to go.

**Coker also confirmed to MMA Junkie that their next event will be on Friday, August 7th.

**ESPN’s Ariel Helwani interviewed UFC strawweight Rose Namajunas after her decision victory against Jessica Andrade last weekend. Namajunas suffered a broken nose in the third round of the fight and having a deviated septum, said is expecting to have surgery on it. Namajunas said there were challenges during the time in Abu Dhabi such as food arriving at odd hours, media obligations that conflicted with the awkward sleeping schedule given the time zone difference, and having to fight at an irregular time but said it got better by the end of the week. She expects to fight champion Zhang Weili next and is hopeful of fighting again this year after her nose is fixed.

**Paige VanZant spoke to Damon Martin at MMA Fighting after her loss to Amanda Ribas last Saturday at UFC 251. VanZant didn’t pay attention to Dana White’s comments after the fight, where he said she got “smoked” against Ribas and should probably test free agency. VanZant was paid $46,000 for the fight with Ribas (and would have doubled that, if she won) adding that she’s made $46,000 from fighting in the past eighteen months due to injuries as her last fight was with Rachael Ostovich in January 2019.

**Luke Thomas at Morning Kombat has a thorough dissection of the Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway fight, which he called the most challenging fight he has ever tried to break down.

**Combate is reporting that Bellator is working on putting together a rematch between light heavyweights Phil Davis and Lyoto Machida for September 11th. They fought at UFC 163 in August 2013 where Davis won by unanimous decision. Since losing the Bellator light heavyweight title to Ryan Bader in June 2017, Davis has gone 4-1 and is coming off victories against Liam McGeary and Karl Albrektsson in 2019. Machida debuted for Bellator in December 2018 and has gone 2-1 with wins against Rafael Carvalho and Chael Sonnen and is coming off a split decision loss to Gegard Mousasi last September.

**Booker T. had Ariel Helwani on his podcast this week to discuss last weekend’s UFC 251 card, judging issues, and next month’s fight between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier.


Ace Steel tweeted out the following on Friday reflecting on this match where he sat in the front row:

The energy in the building that night was insane. I was in the front row so I had to play “fan” as opposed to a trainer viewing his family kick ass and rock our hometown. Fun fact: though I hung out at the venue all day I didn’t know the finish. So my pop was genuine





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About John Pollock 5646 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.