POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Mark Calaway chats WWE drug testing on JRE

Mark Calaway discusses WWE's drug testing on Joe Rogan's podcast, Stephanie McMahon discusses fans attending WM, UFC 258 main event & more.

Photo courtesy: WWE


**We have our latest edition of Rewind-A-Wai available for POST Wrestling Café members covering the December 2014 Stone Cold Podcast where Steve Austin interviewed Vince McMahon. We have received a lot of compliments for the show as we spent over two hours discussing and analyzing one of the last long-form interviews that McMahon has done. We spoke about his assessment of the locker room six years ago, Cesaro, the departure of CM Punk (this interview occurred several days after Punk’s interview on the Art of Wrestling podcast), his relationships with Shane McMahon and Jim Ross, the first year of the WWE Network, scripted promos, the death of the territories, and many other subjects. Plus, a wild week of news including Dixie Carter speaking about TNA’s move to Destination America, Dana White comments on CM Punk days before his signing is revealed, New Japan World launches, RAW ratings that week & more.

**The annual POST Wrestling Royal Rumble Pool is officially open and it’s free to submit your picks. The deadline for submissions is 3 pm ET on Sunday, January 31st and then, we will announce the winners later that week.

**We have made the first edition of REWAND-A-VISION available for everyone as Wai Ting & WH Park review the first two episodes of the Disney+ series. This will be a weekly series on the POST Wrestling Café with the next show released this Sunday for Patrons.

**We are live tonight at 10:15 pm ET with Rewind-A-Dynamite for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso members of the POST Wrestling Café as we discuss tonight’s show and the day’s news.

**Braden Herrington & Davie Portman will have a new edition of upNXT, which they record live at 10:15 pm on Twitch.tv/upNXTpodcast.

**On Tuesday, we ran an interview with Paul Lazenby discussing the passing of Paul “The Polar Bear” Varelans, who died over the weekend after his battle with COVID-19. Lazenby knew Varelans well during their time in Japan together when Lazenby was competing for Pancrase. We also have an obit on the site covering Varelans’ career.


Tonight: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John & Wai (LIVE at 10:15 pm ET for Double Double+ Patrons)
Tonight: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Thursday: The Wellness Policy with Wai Ting & Jordan Goodman (LIVE at 3 pm ET for all Patrons)
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (LIVE at 10:15 pm ET for all Patrons)
Saturday: UFC 257 POST Show with John Pollock & Phil Chertok (LIVE on YouTube.com/POSTwrestling)


**Here are the matches and segments for tonight’s edition of AEW Dynamite airing at 8 pm ET on TNT and TSN1 in Canada:
*Chris Jericho & MJF vs. Santana & Ortiz vs. Jake Hager & Sammy Guevara
*Hangman Page, Colt Cabana, John Silver & Alex Reynolds vs. Angelico, Jack Evans, Serpentico & Luther (-1 Birthday Celebration Match)
*Matt Hardy & Private Party vs. Matt Sydal & Top Flight
*Cody Rhodes vs. Peter Avalon
*Leyla Hirsch vs. Penelope Ford
*Jon Moxley in action
*Sting appears to congratulate Darby Allin
*Kenny Omega appears with Don Callis
*An update from Miro on his new butler “Charles Taylor”

**Here is the line-up of announced matches for NXT tonight at 8 pm ET on the USA Network:
*Fight Pit Match: Tommaso Ciampa vs. Timothy Thatcher
*Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic: Johnny Gargano & Austin Theory vs. KUSHIDA & Leon Ruff
*Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic: Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel vs. Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado
*Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic: Mercedes Martinez & Toni Storm vs. Kayden Carter & Kacy Catanzaro

**Below is the line-up for tonight’s edition of MLW Fusion airing at 7 pm ET on Fubo Sports and YouTube:
*MLW World Heavyweight Championship: Jacob Fatu (champion) vs. ACH
*Jordan Oliver vs. Simon Gotch
*Daivari vs. Zenshi
*Alicia Atout interviews Salina de la Renta
*Tom Lawlor addresses his attack on ACH

**Monday’s episode of RAW in Canada averaged 246,200 viewers on Sportsnet 360 going against the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Winnipeg Jets.

**Mark Calaway is the guest on the latest edition of the Joe Rogan Experience. One of the subjects was the WWE’s Wellness Policy and Calaway providing some insight regarding his current contractual situation and the required testing on a yearly basis, which he stated were random tests:

Before I switched my contracts and now, I’m not a talent, I’m a Legend, or whatever they call it. I’d only work two or three times per year, this was at the end of my career, but I was still under a regular contract. Under a regular contract, you have to have four mandatory tests – four mandatory piss tests and two blood tests every year. Well, they’d get to the end of the year, it would be December going into Christmas and I’d get a call, “Uh, you need to go to such and such lab for a piss test” and I hadn’t been in a ring for six or seven months but they, “oh shit, we forgot about him”, you’ve got have those piss tests. Okay, well that’s three and then, sure enough, the next day, I’d get another phone call “go back to the lab” and I’d have to go two days in a row to get tested to make sure I have everything.

In 2016, after Brock Lesnar failed two drug tests administered by USADA when he fought Mark Hunt at UFC 200, the WWE stated at the time that “WWE’s talent wellness program does not apply to part-time performers such as Brock Lesnar.”

If you’re curious about the UFC fighters that are tested by USADA, they list that in 2020 there were 3,551 tests conducted for 719 athletes or 4.9 tests per fighter.

**Stephanie McMahon-Levesque spoke with The Wrap’s Tony Maglio on the WrestleMania 37 announcement for Raymond James Stadium this year. The two-night event is set for Saturday, April 10th, and Sunday, April 11th and comes 45 days after the stadium will host this year’s Super Bowl game. About fans attending WrestleMania, McMahon-Levesque stated:

Currently we are hopeful to have fans. We’re not announcing any capacity plans at this point.

**Tuesday’s episode of IMPACT served as the send-off for Taya Valkyrie after three years with the company. Mike Johnson at PWinsider.com reported that Valkyrie’s deal ended last month but she stuck around to wrestle Deonna Purrazzo at Hard to Kill. The storyline closure saw Valkyrie revealed as the one who shot John E. Bravo and was taken off into custody with the joke that she will either be taken to a correctional facility in Jacksonville or Stamford. Valkyrie has been wrestling for over a decade and gained her first notoriety wrestling for AAA before migrating to Lucha Underground alongside her future husband Johnny Mundo (John Hennigan). She debuted for IMPACT in September 2017 and won the Knockouts Championship from Tessa Blanchard and held the title for over a year before losing it to Jordynne Grace in January 2020.

**WWE announced the signings of Priscilla Kelly, Elayna Black, and Lacey Ryan. Kelly will now be known as Gigi Dolin, Black will be Cora Jade, and Ryan’s new name is Zoey Stark. Dolin & Jade will be teaming in the Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic while Stark will team with Marina Shafir with the tournament starting Wednesday night on NXT.

**On Wednesday’s edition of The Bump, Chad Gable hinted that producer Jason Jordan is working on a potential comeback. The 32-year sustained a neck injury that required surgery in 2018 and last wrestled at the Royal Rumble that year. Gable gave the following answer on The Bump (transcription from Robert Defelice at Fightful)

Just speaking from a personal standpoint, he became one of my best friends throughout the process and still is. It’s unfortunate what happened with his injury, but you never say never. He’s working on it, he’s trying to get back, and who knows? A reunion is always something that I would never be against.

**Friday Night SmackDown finished with 2,261,000 and 869,000 with the 18-49 demo on FOX. Throwing out the Christmas episode, it would be SmackDown’s highest figure since November 20th for a show that was built around Roman Reigns and Adam Pearce. Among network programs on Friday, SmackDown was second in 18-49s behind a new episode of Shark Tank on ABC. SmackDown edged out Shark Tank in adults 18-34 for #1. This episode also went against the Dallas Mavericks vs. Milwaukee Bucks games on ESPN that did 1,306,000 viewers and 0.50 in the demo.

**On next week’s edition of IMPACT, they have promoted the following matches:
*Matt Cardona & Josh Alexander vs. Ace Austin & Madman Fulton
*Joe Doering vs. Cousin Jake
*Eddie Edwards vs. Brian Myers
*Tenille Dashwood vs. Rosemary

**Voices of Wrestling has published the FSM 50 ranking the top fifty wrestlers of 2020.

**WWE’s Charly Caruso (Charly Arnolt) will be co-hosting ESPN’s new First Take, Her Take podcast with Kimberley A. Martin and Chiney Ogwumike.

**Karl Anderson (Chad Allegra) turns 41 today.

**New Japan Pro Wrestling resumes its Road to New Beginning tour on Thursday with a show in Saitama headlined by a ten-man tag with Kota Ibushi, Hiroshi Tanahashi, SHO, Tomoaki Honma & Master Wato vs. SANADA, Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI.


**The UFC confirmed on today’s broadcast that UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman will defend his championship against Gilbert Burns on Saturday, February 13th at UFC 258 from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fight was first reported by MMA Fighting earlier this month. The pair were scheduled to fight for the title last July at UFC 251, but Burns was removed from the card after contracting COVID-19 with Jorge Masvidal taking the fight on short notice. A second attempt to make the fight last December fell apart when Usman withdrew from the fight due to injury. Burns is 19-3 and has won his previous six fights and last competed in May last year where he earned a decision against former champion Tyron Woodley.

**The UFC has also announced that Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev are now booked to fight on Saturday, March 13th.

**The UFC opened the broadcast of today’s main card with a graphic for the late Paul Varelans, who debuted for the promotion at UFC 6 in July 1995.

**The UFC’s debut on ABC from this past Saturday averaged 1,220,000 viewers featuring the Max Holloway vs. Calvin Kattar main event. The main card averaged 471,000 viewers in the 18-49 demo. The last 84 minutes of the UFC card went against the L.A. Rams vs. Green Bay Packers game that did 26.5 million viewers as well as facing college basketball competition. One year ago, in the same slot, ABC had an NBA game between the L.A. Clippers and New Orleans that did 1,471,000 and 510,000 in the key demo as a comparison but the NFL playoff competition last year was much stronger. Given the competition of the NFL, I thought the UFC number was a good figure to hit but not a blow away figure either. You couldn’t ask for a better main event and the synergy of presenting a significant Fight Night card one week before a major pay-per-view would seem like a formula worth trying again after this one. It’s as much to Disney’s advantage as UFC’s to use ABC to promote the coming pay-per-view for ESPN+ subscribers.

**Conor McGregor told The Mac Life that he’s sticking to his prediction of finishing Dustin Poirier within sixty seconds but acknowledges it could go later. He said that Max Holloway is “in the pipeline” for a fight against him but would have to be lightweight. The two fought in August 2013 when both were featherweights and was the fight McGregor sustained the knee injury that took him out for a year. He said he’ll be back training two days after UFC 257.

**Mark Pickering spoke with Shinya Aoki prior to his fight against James Nakashima this Friday, which airs on B/R Live and YouTube. They spoke about training during the pandemic, the influence of Karl Gotch, wrestling for DDT & other subjects.

**This Saturday, TSN5 in Canada has a huge block of UFC programming leading into UFC 257 featuring fights involving both sides of Saturday’s main event. Their schedule on Saturday is as follows:
*Noon ET – Countdown to UFC 257
*1 pm – Conor McGregor vs. Chad Mendes (UFC 189 from July 2015)
*1:30 pm – McGregor vs. Nate Diaz II (UFC 202 from Aug. 2016)
*2 pm – McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez (UFC 205 from Nov. 2016)
*2:30 pm – Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje (April 2018)
*3 pm – McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov (UFC 229 from Oct. 2018)
*4 pm – Poirier vs. Max Holloway II (UFC  236 from April 2019)
*5 pm – Poirier vs. Dan Hooker (June 2020)

TSN1 and TSN5 will be airing the Countdown to UFC 257 special at 7 pm ET followed by the prelims at 8 pm. The UFC 257 post-show is scheduled for 1 am ET on TSN 5.



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John Pollock and Wai Ting review Friday Night SmackDown featuring the updated Universal title match for the Royal Rumble as the show is built around… a contract signing.

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About John Pollock 5653 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.