POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Dr. Alfonso Morales passes away at 71

Dr. Alfonso Morales passes, Final Battle, Kevin Owens chats Roman Reigns feud, Omega & Callis interview, three added to Quebec Hall of Fame.

POST IT NOTES

**We have extended the deadline for the POST Wrestling Jingle Contest for the annual Christmas Show. Submissions can be posted on the POST Wrestling Forum until Sunday night at 7 pm Eastern or email to john@postwrestling.com. The Christmas Show will be released on December 24th.

**Wai Ting and I will be LIVE at 10:30 pm Eastern tonight with Rewind-A-SmackDown. We will be reviewing SmackDown and will be joined by John Siino after the ROH Final Battle ends and he’ll provide a quick review of that card. Plus, we will preview TLC and have lots of time for phone calls for the Patrons to join us live. This show is available both live and by download for members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**On Sunday, we will have our LIVE TLC POST SHOW immediately after the card with Wai Ting and I going live for our Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**The POST Wrestling News Update was released earlier today with Wai Ting and I going through Wednesday’s AEW and NXT ratings, the passing of Dr. Alfono Morales, and the line-up for Friday Night SmackDown:

WRESTLING NEWS

**Dr. Alfonso Morales, who was an institution in Lucha Libre, passed away on Thursday at the age of 71 following several years of illness. Due to the unique roles he held and the power of Televisa, Morales was among the most influential figures for long period. Morales was primarily known for his work broadcasting Boxing and Lucha Libre in the country including calling CMLL and AAA while the two sides were at war. Morales didn’t work for either company but rather for Televisa, who added AAA to their programming when Antonio Pena launched the rival start-up in 1992. He was also a reporter and was among the founders of Super Luchas magazine and later became editor-in-chief at Box y Lucha, which is a position held for ten years that ended in 2008 when he stepped down. In 2012, he was part of the class voted into the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame receiving 74 percent of the votes in his region and joining Mick McManus, John Cena, Hans Schmidt, Lou Albano, and Gus Sonnenberg. There are two great stories on Morales in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and the Super Luchas site.

**Friday Night SmackDown will be airing on FS1 tonight as the final stop before this Sunday’s TLC event. It’s also the last live edition of the show in 2020 as the Christmas Day show will be taped in advance. Here are the matches & segments that are being advertised for tonight at 8 pm Eastern on FS1:
*SmackDown Tag Championship: The Street Profits (champions) vs. Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode
*Bianca Belair vs. Bayley
*Sami Zayn hosts “The Sami Awards”
*Carmella’s champagne toast prior to TLC

**FS1 will also air Talking Smack at 10 pm Eastern with hosts Kayla Braxton, Paul Heyman, and Booker T. They are advertising an interview between Jay Glazer and Dwayne Johnson, as well as Charlotte Wilder speaking with Sasha Banks. After Talking Smack, FS1 will air a replay of SmackDown at 11 pm Eastern.

**It’s the third time SmackDown will air on FS1 due to the Pac-12 Championship. In October 2019, the episode averaged 888,000 viewers and 0.27 in the 18-49 demo. This past October, it did 881,000 viewers and a 0.25. Tonight’s episode has the benefit of not going against the World Series, which was the necessity behind FOX moving SmackDown in the last two instances.

**Ring of Honor presents its annual Final Battle card tonight with the pre-show at 8 pm Eastern and the pay-per-view begins at 9. On the creative front, ROH has made a lot of changes to its presentation since returning in the empty arena setting, and more often than not, it’s an easy-to-watch hour of television that has opted to lean into the environment rather than try and hide the fact that there are no fans. It’s akin to a professional wrestling version of Ultimate Fighter where each match gets placed into its context with sit-down interviews with the subjects explaining why the match is important and what they are fighting for. Not every match is going to have equal substance, but it appears the goal is to give the viewer at home a reason to care beyond just presenting matches to fill out an hour. This past year, they were set to reintroduce the Pure Championship, which was delayed due to the pandemic and worked out because that style of wrestling works best for this format and environment and they’ve leaned on this concept through the talent that can pull it off effectively.

Given it’s the end of the year, the natural question becomes contract situations at a time when the free agency market can be attractive. Earlier this week, ROH COO Joe Koff spoke with PWinsider.com noting they are in talks with ROH Champion Rush and Television Champion Dragon Lee regarding their deals, so the outcomes of their matches will be notable. Mike Bennett and EC3 have noted they haven’t signed long-term deals and that’s smart given the uncertainty in the industry, and anyone with a name could receive multiple suitors, and that drives your demand up.

With the talent removed from the show due to precautions, the updated line-up will be announced during the pre-show. EC3 was scheduled to face Jay Briscoe, while Bandido & Flamita were set to team with Rey Horus and defend the Six-Man Tag Titles. Kenny King is also off but was never announced for a match.

Here is the card for tonight’s show:
*ROH Championship: Rush (champion) vs. Brody King
*ROH Television Title: Dragon Lee (champion) vs. Winner of four-way on the pre-show
*ROH Tag Championship: Jay Lethal & Jonathan Gresham (champions) vs. Mark Briscoe & PCO
*ROH Pure Championship: Jonathan Gresham (champion) vs. Flip Gordon
*Matt Taven & Mike Bennett vs. Vincent & Bateman
*Pure Tag Rules: Tracy Williams & Rhett Titus vs. Fred Yehi & Wheeler Yuta
*Pre-show: Danhausen vs. Brian Johnson
*Pre-show: Tony Deppen vs. Dak Draper vs. Josh Woods vs. LSG (winner faces Dragon Lee on the pay-per-view)

**Lucha Blog wrote about the ruling that Mexico City and Mexico State will return to a red health code due to the COVID-19 hospitalizations making all non-essential businesses closed until January 10th. The wrestling promotions have yet to announce any changes following this news with the major card being CMLL’s iPPV on Christmas Day featuring Bandido vs. Volador Jr. in jeopardy. It’s unknown how effective this will be enforced with thecubsfan adding in his post that CMLL had special permission to start running shows before a previous red code period expired while other promotions ran secret shows.

**Superstar Billy Graham (Wayne Coleman) has been hospitalized due to infection, according to his wife Valerie. In a Facebook post, she stated he has contracted an infection in his big toe with some bone involvement. She added that due to COVID-19 restrictions, she is not able to stay with him inside the hospital. There is information for a GoFundMe campaign at the Facebook link to assist with his medical costs.

**Sean Ross Sapp at Fightful spoke with Kevin Owens to promote TLC this weekend and the WWE Chronicle special premiering on Saturday. Owens discussed the recent change to the Roman Reigns character and their feud in the lead-up to Sunday’s TLC match:

Yeah so, Roman has never been better, right? Everybody, pretty sure, can agree on that. And, he’s showing a side that a lot of people, ironically, have been waiting for him to show for a very long time because of the crowd reactions he used to get, and whatnot. Everybody would wonder ‘why don’t they just embrace that?’ and now he’s embracing it at a time when crowds can’t react to him, which is ironic as well but he’s really doing well in that new attitude and that new way of carrying himself and it’s pretty awesome to see. Of course, it makes me want to match it but that’s true of any time I’ve worked with Roman, even when the roles were reversed.

He’s very passionate about what we do, so am I, and there’s different levels of passion in different people but when you work with someone as passionate as you are to create good moments and memorable moments and stories and all that stuff it, naturally, brings your level up as well. It’s been really enjoyable – and it’s not just him, (Paul) Heyman and Jey Uso have been so great in their roles as well, it’s just really cool. It’s very refreshing for me, to be involved with all those guys in the way we’re doing it now. I hope it continues, for sure.

Owens also stated that the WWE Chronicle special that airs this weekend on WWE Network was shot over the past few weeks. He said the crew only followed him around for two SmackDown tapings and came once to his home.

**The Quebec Wrestling Hall of Fame has three new additions for 2020. This year, they are inducting LuFisto, Yukon Eric, and Henri Deglane (who is inducted as a Pioneer). Historian Pat Laprade has biographies for the three entrants in 2020, which were voted on by a committee consisting of former and current wrestlers, and others that have followed the history of wrestling in Quebec closely.

**Kenny Omega and Don Callis are the guests on Talk is Jericho discussing their alliance. The two are largely speaking in-character but there is enough to also see what their goals are including Omega’s desire to create rather than re-invent or copy past tropes within professional wrestling. Omega said something interesting that he had reservations about when they set up the match with Chris Jericho at Wrestle Kingdom 13 wondering if the New Japan fanbase would accept two foreigners in such a prominent position on the card and it sounded like the overwhelming success of the match reinforced his instincts to think outside the box rather than the safe bet. Omega also spoke about the match with Laredo Kid at TripleMania XXVIII this past Saturday:

**In an interview with Fightful.com, PCO stated he signed a two-year extension with ROH last year and his current deal expires on December 1, 2021.

**Nug Nahrgang from Aftermath on Sportsnet 360 spoke with Intercontinental champion Sami Zayn on the past year including his hiatus when the pandemic began:

It’s been an interesting year, to say the least. In some ways, I think it’s been some of the best work of my WWE career for sure. Even though there’s been this big gap in 2020 where I wasn’t there for about five months, it still feels like I was doing some good things before and some really good things after. So, all said I think 2020 has been a really good year despite the fact there’s a big chunk missing there, so it’s been interesting, but I’ve really dug it.

Zayn also explained the shift in his character as the “manipulator” that doesn’t outright cheat but works within the framework of a match to bend the rules, and a desire to have a lengthier match/program with Rey Mysterio.

**The WWE stock declined more than 2 percent and closed at $46.41 on Friday.

**Mike Bennett posted one last promo before tonight’s Final Battle match with Matt Taven against Vincent & Bateman.

**BetOnline has released odds for WWE’s TLC event on Sunday with the following listings:
*Drew McIntyre (-600) vs. AJ Styles (+350)
*Roman Reigns (-2000) vs. Kevin Owens (+650)
*Sasha Banks (-500) vs. Carmella (+300)
*New Day (+150) vs. The Hurt Business (-200)
*Bray Wyatt (-300) vs. Randy Orton (+200)

**Ring of Honor’s Dalton Castle spoke with SLAM Wrestling about ROH’s return during the pandemic, performing without fans, and utilizing other platforms to perform.

**Piper Niven will face Jinny on the January 7th episode of NXT UK with the winner receiving a future NXT UK women’s title shot against Kay Lee Ray. They have also announced a future NXT UK title match between WALTER and Heritage Cup winner A-Kid but no date has been announced.

**Those in the industry with birthdays today include Steve Austin, Trish Stratus, Anthony Bowens of The Acclaimed, and Rob Van Dam.

PAY-PER-VIEW REWIND
ROH Final Battle
Friday, December 13, 2019

*Silas Young & Josh Woods over Dalton Castle & Joe Hendry
*Kenny King over Rhett Titus
*Jeff Cobb over Dan Maff
*Bandido & Flamita over  Marty Scurll & Flip Gordon
*Vincent over Matt Taven
*Mark Haskins over Bully Ray
*Alex Shelley over Colt Cabana
*Maria Manic over Angelina Love
*Dragon Lee over Shane Taylor to win the ROH Television title
*Jay Lethal & Jonathan Gresham over The Briscoes to win the ROH tag titles
*PCO over Rush to win the ROH World Title in a No DQ Match

MMA NEWS

**The UFC ends its year with a stacked Fight Night card from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card has lost two fights this week due to positive COVID-19 tests with Aiemann Zahabi revealing he has the virus and his fight with Drako Rodriguez is off. Earlier today, the UFC announced that Karl Roberson has withdrawn from his fight with Dalcha Lungiambula due to a positive COVID-19 test.

Below is the full card with results from the weigh-ins on Friday:

MAIN CARD (7 pm ET on ESPN+, TSN 2 in Canada)
*Stephen Thompson (170) vs. Geoff Neal (171)
*Jose Aldo (136) vs. Marlon Vera (135)
*Michel Pereira (170) vs. Khaos Williams (169.5)
*Marlon Moraes (135.5) vs. Rob Font (136)
*Gillian Robertson (125) vs. Talia Santos (126)
*Marcin Tybura (255) vs. Greg Hardy (266)

PRELIMINARY CARD (4 pm on ESPN+)
*Anthony Pettis (170) vs. Alex Morono (170.5)
*Sijara Eubanks (136) vs. Pannie Kianzad (135.5)
*Deron Winn (194.5) vs. Antonio Arroyo (194) – 195 pound catchweight fight
*Tafon Nchukwi (186) vs. Jamie Pickett (184.5)
*Cody Durden (126) vs. Jimmy Flick (125)
*Christos Giagos (159.5) vs. Carlton Minus (159) – Giagos stepped in on short notice to replace Rick Glenn and it’s a 160 pound catchweight fight

**Michael Bisping is claiming that the management for Logan & Jake Paul reached out to his side about a potential fight with Bisping stating he is willing to do it.

**Kayla Harrison was scheduled to fight Jozette Cotton on Thursday for Titan FC but the fight fell apart the day prior due to weight cutting issues for Cotton. Promoter Lex McMahon spoke with MyMMANews and said he was contacted by the fighter that she was unable to get below 180 pounds for the scheduled lightweight fight with Harrison and had been hospitalized due to dehydration. That is a scary amount she was attempting to cut to make 156 pounds and thankfully, she stopped the process.

**James Lynch spoke with former UFC bantamweight champion Miesha Tate regarding the potential of fighting again. Tate noted when she retired in 2016 that she had six fights left on her UFC deal, so she would not be able to compete anywhere but the UFC. She sounded very open to the idea of doing a grappling match with Cris Cyborg if they could work out the logistics. Tate serves as an executive with ONE Championship and retired after her loss to Raquel Pennington at UFC 205 in November 2016. Earlier that year, she won the women’s bantamweight title defeating Holly Holm at UFC 196 but lost in her next fight to current champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 200. Tate is 34 years old now and retired with a record of 18-7 and was part of one of the most influential fights in women’s history when she fought Ronda Rousey for the first time in March 2012 for Strikeforce, which greatly assisted in the change of attitude the UFC had regarding women’s fights in the promotion.

**Fighters Only has revealed that Dolph Lundgren will host the annual Fighters Only World MMA Awards airing Saturday, December 26th at 9 pm Eastern on the CBS Sports Network.

FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Matheus Nicolau vs. Tagir Ulanbekov (UFC 257 on January 23rd)

Frankie Edgar vs. Cory Sandhagen (February 6, per Ariel Helwani)

Jake Matthews vs. Sean Brady (UFC 259, Date TBA, MMA Fighting)

ON THIS DATE

*****
POST NEWS UPDATE

John Pollock and Wai Ting discuss today’s top stories from POSTwrestling.com including AEW & NXT ratings from Wednesday, the death of legendary Lucha Libre broadcaster Dr. Alfonso Morales at 71, and the line-up for tonight’s WWE SmackDown.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/12/18/aew-nxt-ratings-dr-alfonso-morales-dead-at-71-post-news-12-18/
*****
BTWA #4: NJPW King of Pro Wrestling (2016)
Martin Bushby & Andrew Thompson are back with the final Wrestling Adventure of 2020. This month, they are joined by Sonal Lad from Sonalslife to look back at NJPW King of Pro Wrestling 2016.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/12/17/btwa-4-njpw-king-of-pro-wrestling-2016/
*****
REWIND-A-DYNAMITE: Kenny Omega vs. Joey Janela, RAW tanks
John Pollock and Wai Ting review AEW Dynamite featuring Kenny Omega vs. Joey Janela, discuss the disastrous Raw numbers, IMPACT’s viewership and the ROH Final Battle card.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/12/17/rad-12-16-20-kenny-omega-vs-joey-janela-raw-rating-tanks/
*****
upNXT: “Kool Kyle vs. Mean Pete”
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review WWE NXT featuring Kyle O’Reilly vs Pete Dunne to determine Finn Bálor’s challenger for the NXT Championship.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/12/17/upnxt-12-16-20-kool-kyle-vs-mean-pete/
*****
upNXT IMPACT Review: “Bullet Club Reunited”
Davie and Andrew are back to rundown IMPACT Wrestling featuring Kenny Omega reuniting with The Good Brothers in a fantastic closing angle.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/12/16/impact-review-12-15-20-bullet-club-reunited/
*****
ASK-A-WAI: Ask Us Anything! (December 2020)
John Pollock and Wai Ting answer their patrons’ questions from the POST Wrestling Forum in the December 2020 edition of Ask-A-Wai.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/12/15/ask-a-wai-ask-us-anything-december-2020/
*****
REWIND-A-RAW: The Nightmare Before TLC, Goldberg Untold
John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE Raw featuring Hide-and-Seek and attempted murder, the updated card for Wrestle Kingdom 15, WWE Untold: Goldberg’s Streak, AEW/NXT line-ups and more.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/12/15/rewind-a-raw-12-14-20-the-nightmare-before-tlc-goldberg-untold/
*****

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About John Pollock 2747 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling.He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.