POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Subjects raised by Big E. on Talking Smack

A deeper look at the issues raised by Big E. on Talking Smack, Ric Drasin passes away, MLW set to return, New Japan Road notes & more.

Photo courtesy: WWE

POST IT NOTES

**Our WWE Payback POST Show is available on the site and wherever you download podcasts. Wai Ting and I provide a review of the show, the main event featuring Roman Reigns regaining the Universal title, Keith Lee’s quick win over Randy Orton, and the directions coming out of the show.

**Our friends Nate Milton & Marcus Vanderberg at The Kings of Sport have announced that money from any new Patreon sign-ups in September will be donated to the Jackie Robinson Foundation, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and the American Cancer Society as a way to honor the legacy of the late Chadwick Boseman.

**Tonight, Wai Ting and I have our fifth straight show in as many days with Rewind-A-Raw coming off WWE Payback. We will be going through all the latest news and going over our schedule this week and for Café members in September. Plus, a review of Raw and your feedback at the end of the show.

**Andrew Thompson will have an interview up on the site Tuesday chatting with AC Mack.

**On Tuesday, it’s Rewind-A-Wai #69 as Espresso Executive Producer Justin Killian has chosen WCW’s Halloween Havoc 1991 event featuring Lex Luger vs. Ron Simmons for the WCW title, the Chamber of Horrors Match, Stunning Steve Austin vs. Dustin Rhodes, Oz, Van Hammer, The Creatures & more. You can still post feedback on the POST Wrestling Forum and the show will be released for all members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**Braden Herrington & Davie Portman will be releasing upNXT on Wednesday afternoon following Tuesday’s episode of NXT. You can also catch their WWE Payback Watch Along with Davie, John Siino, and B Detroit.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting
Tuesday:
Rewind-A-Wai #69: WCW Halloween Havoc 1991 (Patreon)
Wednesday: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Wednesday:
Rewind-A-Dynamite with John & Wai
Thursday: British Wrestling Experience with Martin Bushby & Benno
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (LIVE at 10:15 pm ET for all Patrons)
Saturday:
AEW All Out POST Show (LIVE for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso Patrons)
Sunday:
The Long & Winding Royal Road with WH Park & guest JP Houlihan (Jumbo Tsuruta vs. Mitsuharu Misawa, 6/8/1990)

COMMENTARY

On this past weekend’s edition of Talking Smack, they re-visited the prior week’s discussion between Big E. and The Miz to shift the discussion from the handling of Kofi Kingston into Big E’s on-screen portrayal. Big E. noted his hesitancy to return one week later after their initial debate received lots of attention, stating WWE has a pattern of doing something great and then, beating it into the ground. It was not lost on viewers the implication of last week’s statements by Big E. that Black performers have to work that much harder for success.

The result on Saturday’s show was a forum for Big E. to justify his character’s actions noting when New Day began they had many detractors and the idea saved his career through trusting their collective instincts.

Hearing the conviction in his words and confidence behind his abilities, it placed a spotlight on the potential of Big E. as a player in the top-end of the company as he came off like a main event star. Whether that is capitalized with on-screen remains to be seen but was evident in the match story against Sheamus and using the debate of whether he relies too much on comedy for the panel debate on the kickoff show.

It does remove the uncomfortable talking points Big E. raised the previous week regarding Kofi Kingston’s 11-year wait for a main event run and implying (without directly stating) that Black performers have to work that much harder for that one opportunity while a performer like The Miz received countless chances with the idea privilege exists in this company.

There has always been the defense that if Vince McMahon sees money in a performer it doesn’t matter what race someone is. There have definitely been storylines and characters steeped in racial overtones and that does lay at the feet of the company when it comes to the stories they have told in its history related to minorities and many examples of uncomfortable portrayals or fitting certain performers into a narrow one-dimensional portrayal.

One can explore this further by asking why Vince McMahon has not seen a higher ceiling for some performers and McMahon unable to relate given his life experience compared to a Black performer in his 20s and 30s, thus having a limited scope of the stories to tell with these performers and placing them in the best scenarios to connect with its audience.

Kofi Kingston is a performer that has charisma, is a very good in-ring performer, an ability to move merchandise, and has never had a controversy throughout his career. He was the recipient of multiple start-and-stop pushes with the most famous in 2010 when he beat Randy Orton on Raw at Madison Square Garden and followed with a quick pin on Orton at the Survivor Series. But inevitably he would find his way back to the Intercontinental and U.S. title level, forming makeshift teams until the New Day began in 2014.

His title reign will be remembered for an incredible moment at WrestleMania 35 that ended up as the feel-good moment of the show and a match that delivered in every way. WWE does deserve credit for adjusting its original plans for Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania sensing there was something there with Kingston that they lucked into after Mustafa Ali was injured. Instead of ignoring the fan response and being locked into their plan, they adjusted on the fly and WrestleMania was better for it.

The actual title run was a mixed bag as he didn’t skyrocket business and had fine programs and feuds but never felt like the top guy in the company despite a lengthy run. That happens, and it has in the past with many champions holding the title for their first time but the way in which he lost the title to Brock Lesnar in seconds and immediately was plugged back to the tag division without being booked to react to the title loss, soured many on Kingston being presented as a main event failure.

There are talents that are anointed as the top guy and the company will have more patience if they believe that the performer will ultimately make it, which is what I took from Big E’s critique. In 1999, Triple H won the title in August and was not knocking it dead throughout the fall where he was presented as the guy and was working with all the top guys. By the end of 1999, the jury was still out on Triple H as the top heel to build the company around. Enter Mick Foley and it was the final piece that got Triple H to that level in the eyes of the audience and led to the best in-ring year of Triple H’s career. In a year where the company lost Steve Austin for most of it, The Rock and Triple H shouldered a heavy amount and the company didn’t skip a beat. That’s one example where a champion didn’t click immediately but with patience and faith, he made it.

The argument Big E. presented was how much waiting was required for a performer such as Kingston and that the bar is much higher for the company to see the main event level potential in its Black performers. Today, they are pushing several Black stars that you can see they are serious with including Apollo Crews, Bobby Lashley, and now Keith Lee. It isn’t a question of whether WWE will push Black talent but rather, are there inherent obstacles to overcome? This comes down to a 75-year old white billionaire with a world view that is steeped in professional wrestling and a life that revolves around this industry. It’s a valid question when it comes to McMahon, who has always praised the symbolism and actions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. but also stated in 2018 that there would be no kneeling in the revamped XFL.

In 2020, these issues are being vocalized instead of kept quiet and Big E. is clearly someone that sees his platform as one that comes with a responsibility and opened a discussion, on a WWE platform no less, that furthers a complicated subject and one that WWE is unlikely to continue on its own.

WRESTLING NEWS

**Tonight’s episode of Raw from the Amway Center is live following WWE Payback. Last week’s show did its best figures since the night after WrestleMania in April. They could be due for a drop as they come back to Earth and ultimately, aspects like the ThunderDome are going to become the norm as opposed to an attraction but for now, it has proven to be a short-term success with the jury out if it’s sustained. Coming off another pay-per-view, Raw may experience another week of strong viewership depending on the momentum from Sunday’s show. The following has been advertised for tonight:
*Rey Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins

**It was pointed out by many that Brock Lesnar’s page on the WWE Shop site has been taken down and he isn’t listed among all the talent with merchandise pages. In further reporting, Mike Johnson at PWinsider.com has learned that Lesnar is technically a free agent and that “negotiations have paused” with WWE.

Lesnar has not appeared on WWE programming since WrestleMania 36 where he dropped the WWE title to Drew McIntyre in a match taped in March. In Johnson’s report, he added that this isn’t the first time Lesnar’s contract has lapsed before a new deal was reached.

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer added that Lesnar’s deal expired after WrestleMania and that WWE is in no rush to complete a deal as they don’t have anything for him until they are back doing large-scale events. The removal of his WWE Shop page coincides with his merchandising deal expiring. On the surface, it appears similar to what’s going on between UFC and Conor McGregor where the company doesn’t want to stage a fight with McGregor without the ability to have a live gate.

We will discuss this story further on Rewind-A-Raw.

**Former wrestler, trainer, bodybuilder, and actor Ric Drasin has died at the age of 76 with his family issuing a statement on Sunday:

This is Sami, Adam, and Shane. It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we have to announce the passing of our father. He was everything to us. A father, role model, and friend. Not only was he an inspiration for countless people, but he truly cared for those around him. His life was steered by the desire to uplift and share his positivity. He always found a way to brighten the room with his humor. Ric’s immeasurable presence will be with us all forever.

Drasin was trained by the late Johnnie Mae Young and debuted in 1965 and wrestled in California including for the LeBells. He stopped in the AWA but his Cagematch profile only lists one taping he did for the group where he beat George Gadaski (who is the answer to the trivia question of Ric Flair’s first opponent in 1972), and Don Reese. In 1984, he did some jobs in the WWF losing to Big John Studd and Alexis Smirnoff when they came to Los Angeles.

Drasin was involved in many industries having some success in the film industry where his most high-profile role was on The Incredible Hulk playing the demi-Hulk. Drasin is also credited with designing the logo for the World Gym, which he created in 1978. He gave wrestling promoting another try in 1985 with the American Wrestling Federation and found a role as a trainer in California that included Rusev, Luchasaurus, and Jungle Boy. He was very active on social media including a YouTube channel that had over 100,000 subscribers.

Drasin put out several books including So, You Want to be a Wrestling Promoter?, Bodybuilding for Dumbells, The Ricapedia of Steroids, and The Time of My Life.

Last week, his son Adam posted an update that his father was admitted to the hospital with a kidney and knee issue. He was set to be in the hospital for another three weeks and was awaiting another knee replacement.

**Steve Bryant at SoCalUncensored.com has a story on Drasin, who wrote for their site in the early 2000s.

**MLW is set to return with television tapings scheduled for October. In speaking to SI.com, company CEO Court Bauer stated new episodes will start airing in November with a weeknight in primetime on the Fubo Sports Network, Saturday nights on beIN Sports, and their content will exist on DAZN. Bauer added that they have hired Mike Kitlas as their COVID Compliance Officer and that those working the tapings will be tested prior to getting on a plane, again once they land, and during the tapings. In the piece, Bauer stated they could be changing the name of their show from MLW Fusion to MLW Underground, which is the name of its original show when the company ran from 2002-04. The talent listed for the first set of tapings includes Jacob Fatu, Tom Lawlor, Alex Hammerstone, Myron Reed, Salina de la Renta, Richard Holliday, Brian Pillman Jr. (who has been working AEW dates and expressed his desire to get out of his MLW contract earlier this summer), and Calvin Tankman.

**The next WWE event is Clash of Champions on Sunday, September 27th inside the Amway Center. There was confusion on the Payback broadcast where they ran an ad with the date of September 20th immediately followed by Michael Cole and Corey Graves promoting the correct date. We had it immediately confirmed to us that the event is September 27th.

**Mike Johnson at PWinsider.com reports that WWE and Stu Bennett a.k.a. Wade Barrett is in negotiations for a full-time role as an announcer. Bennett stepped in at the last set of NXT tapings filmed last Wednesday to serve as the third voice alongside Vic Joseph and Beth Phoenix. Prior to the shutdown, Bennett became the color analyst for NWA Power replacing Jim Cornette when the company severed ties with him. Johnson added that the idea of Bennett being added to the NXT UK team has been discussed.

**The storyline injury for Drew McIntyre is a “hairline jaw fracture” from the three punt kicks last Monday. On Raw, they were teasing it could be a career-ending skull fracture.

**The final night of the New Japan Road tour will be on Saturday, September 11th at Korakuen Hall featuring two title matches. The NEVER Openweight Six-Man tag champions Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & Yoshi-Hashi will defend the titles against Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano & SHO. The show will feature the finals of the IWGP junior heavyweight tag title tournament with the top point-getters in the round-robin advancing to the finals on this date. This is also New Japan’s last show prior to the G1 Climax beginning the following weekend.

**The New Japan Road tour begins this Thursday in Saitama headlined by Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI vs. EVIL, Taiji Ishimori & Gedo.

**Below is the line-up for Tuesday’s edition of Impact Wrestling at 8 pm Eastern on AXS TV:
*Eddie Edwards vs. Eric Young for the Impact Wrestling title
*Rob Van Dam vs. Sami Callihan
*Ace Austin & Madman Fulton vs. Dezmond Xavier & Zachary Wentz
*Reno Scum vs. Rhino
*Deonna Purrazzo hosts a “Black Tie Affair”

**Here are the matches scheduled for AEW Dark on Tuesday night at 7 pm Eastern:
*Allie vs, Cassandra Golden
*Abadon vs. Dani Jordyn
*Shawn Dean vs. Kip SabianBilly & Austin Gunn vs. Donnie Janela & Ryan Rembrandt
*Brandon Cutler & Peter Avalon vs. Private Party
*Anna Jay vs. Red Velvet
*Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy vs. Jon Cruz & David Ali
*Frankie Kazarian vs. Angelico
*Santana & Ortiz vs. Faboo Andre & Ryzin
*Shawn Spears vs. Eddie Taurus
*Ricky Starks vs. Tony Donati

**The next edition of Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions will be released on the WWE Network this Sunday with guest Jerry Lawler.

**Ring of Honor has released the final entrants in the Pure Title tournament with Fred Yehi, Delirious, and Silas Young completing the 16-man field. The tournament will begin airing over the weekend of September 12th with the new episodes that were recently filmed in Baltimore. The full list of opening-round matches will be announced next Monday but they have confirmed one of the matches will be Matt Sydal vs. Delirious.

**For whatever reason, The Howard Stern Show has been uploading a lot of clips of wrestling personalities that have appeared in the past. They have recently added interview clips with Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, John Cena, Roddy Piper, and Hulk Hogan.

**The WWE stock closed at $44.07 on Monday.

**This week’s edition of Being the Elite will The Young Bucks finding some Kenny Omega figures and a recap of Hangman Page being thrown of The Elite.

**Jeff Hardy is 43 today, Mickie James turns 41, and Ember Moon is 32.

ON THIS DATE

 

 

*****
WWE PAYBACK 2020 POST SHOW
John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE Payback 2020 featuring Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman vs. The Fiend for Universal Championship and Keith Lee vs. Randy Orton.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/08/31/wwe-payback-2020-post-show-live-link/
*****
NJPW SUMMER STRUGGLE POST SHOW
John Pollock and Wai Ting review NJPW Summer Struggle in Jingu as EVIL defends his IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Title against former stablemate Tetsuya Naito inside the open-air Jingu Stadium.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/08/29/njpw-summer-struggle-in-jingu-post-show/
*****
CRUEL SUMMER #29: Kota Ibushi vs. Jay White (2019) w/ Stephanie Chase
Cruel Summer returns and WH Park is back to talk about the finals of NJPW G1 Climax 29 with UK-based wrestling journalist, Stephanie Chase: Kota Ibushi vs. Jay White from August 12, 2019.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/08/29/cruel-summer-29-kota-ibushi-vs-jay-white-2019-w-stephanie-chase/
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 8/28/20: Heyman & Zayn Return, WWE Payback Preview
John Pollock and Wai Ting chat Friday Night SmackDown featuring the returns of Paul Heyman and Sami Zayn. Plus, AEW’s ratings from Thursday, AEW selling tickets to more shows, and a preview of WWE Payback.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/08/29/rewind-a-smackdown-8-28-20-heyman-zayn-return-wwe-payback-preview/
*****
REWIND-A-DYNAMITE 8/27/20: Fans return, Mox-MJF signing, Dark Order celebration

John Pollock and Wai Ting review a Thursday edition of AEW Dynamite in front of limited fans featuring a Jon Moxley-MJF contract signing, Dark Order celebrating Brodie Lee’s TNT title win, and a Tables Match between Matt Hardy and Sammy Guevara.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/08/28/rewind-a-dynamite-8-27-20-mox-mjf-signing-dark-order-celebration-hardy-guevara/
*****
upNXT 8/26/20: “Krossed Out”
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review the August 26th edition of WWE NXT including Karrion Kross vacating the NXT Championship due to injury and William Regal setting up a Fatal Four Way 60-Minute Iron Man Match next week between Adam Cole, Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa and Finn Balor for the vacant championship.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/08/27/upnxt-8-26-20-krossed-out/
*****
BONUS SHOW 8/26/20: Raw & AEW Ratings, ThunderDome Problems, New Japan
John Pollock and Wai Ting are back with another bonus show covering the latest news including WWE Raw & Saturday Night Dynamite ratings, and a review of Wednesday’s New Japan card featuring KOPW matches.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/08/26/bonus-show-8-26-20-raw-aew-ratings-thunderdome-problems-new-japan/
*****

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About John Pollock 5608 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.