POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Amanda Huber details her husband’s battle

Amanda Huber details the final months of Jon Huber's life, Royal Rumble & New Beginning previews, Weidman-Hall off, NXT UK signings & more.

Photo Credit: All Elite Wrestling

POST IT NOTES

**We are LIVE tonight at 10:15 pm ET for all members of the POST Wrestling Café with Rewind-A-SmackDown. On the show, we’ll be reviewing SmackDown, preview the Royal Rumble, and open the phone lines for those watching live. The podcast version will be posted for Café members later tonight.

**We have an interview on the site with Jimmy Korderas from Aftermath discussing his past experiences and memories of the Royal Rumble as well as looking at this Sunday’s show.

**On Saturday, Wai Ting and I will be doing a short review of the New Beginning in Nagoya for members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**The big show this weekend is our Royal Rumble POST Show on Sunday night. We will be LIVE for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso members of the POST Wrestling Café with a review of the show and taking calls.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: Rewind-A-SmackDown (LIVE at 10:15 pm ET for Café members)
Saturday: New Beginning in Nagoya POST Show (Patreon)
Sunday: Rewand-A-Vision with Wai Ting & WH Park (Patreon)
Sunday: WWE Royal Rumble POST Show (LIVE for Dbl Dbl+ Patrons)

WRESTLING NEWS

**Amanda Huber was a guest on the AEW Unrestricted podcast on Thursday and gave a detailed timeline of the final months of Jon Huber’s life. Amanda said Jon was a very private person and didn’t want to be recognized outside of wrestling, which he did love just not the fame aspect.
*The first sign of an issue came when Jon couldn’t finish a workout on his Peloton and proceeded to take his temperature but no fever was detected with the immediate concern that it might be COVID. This was the same day that Jon recorded the Unrestricted podcast with Tony Schiavone and Aubrey Edwards, which came out on Monday, October 26th (based on the timeline, it sounds like this was taped the previous Monday)
*On Tuesday (presumably Oct. 20th), he continued to have trouble on his Peloton workout but still didn’t have a fever. He went to Jacksonville on Tuesday night prior to the Dynamite tapings. He was COVID tested and was negative, but Doc Sampson was concerned and didn’t want him to enter the bubble and was sent home.
*Huber quarantined in a different bedroom and did develop a fever later that week and went to urgent care on Friday, October 30th. He was diagnosed with “bronchitis and allergies” and Jon didn’t think that was it and felt he had pneumonia.
*On Sunday, Amanda demanded Jon go to the hospital. The fever had gone down but his oxygen levels were down to 52 (which they tested multiple times because they thought it had to be a mistake as a normal level is 95-100 while someone having an asthma attack is around 85). He was put on oxygen and continued to test negative for COVID-19.
*He was moved to ICU on Wednesday, October 28th for one-on-one care with the doctors convinced it would turn out to be COVID.
*The day before Halloween, Amanda was told they needed to transfer Jon outside of Tampa. This was when Amanda got in touch with personnel at AEW with Jon facing a potential lung transplant.
*On Halloween, Jon crashed and was intubated, and was an incredibly difficult day. Jon was airlifted to Jacksonville, Florida to the Mayo Clinic to put Jon an ECMO machine. Amanda called this the most stressful and traumatic day of her life to this point and the prognosis was grim.
*She was so grateful for the staff at the Mayo Clinic helping both Jon and herself the entire time
*Amanda was adamant about no one in AEW letting the news of Jon’s condition getting out publicly and it was Amanda that addressed the locker room
*The autopsy report hasn’t been sent yet they are led to believe the cause of death was Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (scarring of the lungs), but they don’t know why
*Jon started showing signs of getting better after they began the process of seeking a transplant with Jon waking up
*He was taken off a ventilator and put on straight oxygen but then things went bad after having a panic attack and it kept getting worse in December
*The doctor informed Amanda that Jon needed either a lung transplant or end-of-life care. A transplant would have ended his wrestling career and he would be immunocompromised.
*They found an infection in Jon’s lungs and later, it was ruled he couldn’t get the transplant because of it
*On Christmas Eve, Amanda was home with her kids and was told she needed to get back to Jacksonville with his heart and kidneys failing. She was not happy with how that news was relayed by the doctor and had been assured she could spend two days with her children for Christmas. On Christmas night, she returned to the Mayo Clinic to begin the end of life care.
*Amanda contacted Cody Rhodes and Big E. to help Amanda tell Brodie Jr. that Jon was going to pass away. Shawn Spears, Peyton Royce, and Tyler Breeze also came to the hospital to say goodbye.
*Due to COVID, they couldn’t hold a funeral for Jon and treated the December 30th episode of Dynamite as his funeral. She couldn’t risk other people’s health by holding a funeral.

**The big show of the weekend is the Royal Rumble airing Sunday night with the kickoff at 6 pm ET and the main show at 7. From an interest level, this is a year where there has been a heavy reliance on the history and legacy of the show with few stories going into the Rumble matches. Up until Monday, Daniel Bryan was the only performer to state his intentions of why winning the Rumble was important and providing a rooting interest behind someone winning. They did a great job adding Edge on Monday and he is the other story that should heighten interest in the match. On the women’s side, there has been nothing beyond people declaring themselves eligible.

Ideally, you want to have a handful of characters that you can sell as viable winners. That means promo time explaining why this match is important, the significance of headlining WrestleMania, also important, how significant a set-back a loss would represent. It’s not explored enough that when you have a big match it’s not just the elevation the winner achieves but the consequences and handling of the loss by the opposing end. Stories for winners and losers can each be compelling – for the sake of recency, Dustin Poirier established himself as one of the all-time great lightweights with his win this past weekend and is primed to fight for the lightweight title. Conversely, most of the dialogue this week has centered on Conor McGregor and what’s next for him, the critique of his strategy, if he has declined, and overall, its anticipation for both of their next fights. This cannot be achieved every month for WWE but it should be the goal and coming out of the Rumble to have one winner and 2-3 finalists that are taken in different directions due to the loss places an overarching significance on the Royal Rumble itself and spins off several stories to peak in April.

Most years, you can see the hints and teases for the top WrestleMania matches, and this year, it’s very bare. Hopefully, coming out of Sunday a clearer direction for the top talent will be evident as the real build for April begins.

As of now, the card looks like this:
*WWE Championship: Drew McIntyre (champion) vs. Bill Goldberg
*WWE Universal Championship Last Man Standing Match: Roman Reigns (champion) vs. Kevin Owens
*Women’s Tag Team Championship: Asuka & Charlotte Flair (champions) vs. Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler
*30-man Royal Rumble
*30-woman Royal Rumble

Over the past week, they set up a future SmackDown women’s title match between Sasha Banks and Carmella, and a United States title match between Bobby Lashley and Riddle but neither match has officially been announced for Sunday.

**New Japan Pro Wrestling will hold its first of three New Beginning cards on Saturday morning at 3:30 am ET from Nagoya with a five-match show. Due to the new restrictions imposed, the show is airing earlier in the evening in Japan and this entire tour features smaller match cards.

The major match is the main event between Shingo Takagi and Hiroshi Tanahashi in a first-ever singles match. This one comes with high expectations with Takagi coming off one of the biggest matches of his career earlier this month with Jeff Cobb at Wrestle Kingdom. I would expect a very different type of match with Tanahashi, who will likely showcase a different side of Takagi that I’m interested to see and obviously, is a strong sign for Takagi to be placed in the main event position with such an established star. Tanahashi’s story is that he has been beaten down by injuries and struggled throughout 2020 but made a big comeback defeating The Great O-Khan at Wrestle Kingdom, so the idea of a title change to put the NEVER title on the major name is a viable option and creates a similar dynamic to John Cena holding the United States title in 2015 and facing more unlikely opponents.

Here is the line-up streaming on New Japan World:
*NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi (champion) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
*No Disqualification: Will Ospreay vs. Satoshi Kojima
*Loser Loses the Mongolian Chop: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. The Great O-Khan
*Kota Ibushi, SHO, Tomoaki Honma & Master Wato vs. SANADA, Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI
*Kazuchika Okada & Toru Yano vs. EVIL & Yujiro

**WWE confirmed several signings assigned to the NXT UK brand on Friday. Joining Meiko Satomura are Tony Gill, Metehan Kocabasoglu, and Bailey Matthews. Gill is the former Gursinder Singh in the Desi Hit Squad with IMPACT Wrestling. Kocabasoglu is 27-years old and wrestled as Lucky Kid where he is a former wXw Shotgun and tag team champion, as well as the winner of the 2019 16 Carat Gold tournament. Matthews is the son of William Regal, although they didn’t list the connection in the press release. Matthews began wrestling in 2018 and was training in New Japan for a time.

**Game Changer Wrestling’s 24-hour Fight Forever fundraiser begins tonight at 8 pm ET with the proceeds going to the independent talent working the shows. There will be 18 shows over the 24-hour period beginning with the Wind of God show at 8 featuring Lio Rush vs. Blake Christian in a 2/3 Falls Match. The stream is free on YouTube and through FITE TV. When GCW announced the event, they stated that all performers would need to produce a negative COVID test to perform and promoter Brett Lauderdale has stated anyone not booked or have permission cannot attend. We have a guide for all the shows & matches for the 24-hour stream.

**Here are the advertised segments for tonight’s edition of Friday Night SmackDown airing at 8 pm ET on Fox heading into the Royal Rumble:
*Bayley vs. Bianca Belair
*A sit-down interview with Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens, hosted by Michael Cole

**On 205 Live, the following matches are scheduled:
*Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart vs. Marina Shafir & Zoey Stark in the Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
*August Grey vs. Jake Atlas

**Here are the matches listed for NJPW Strong tonight at 10 pm ET streaming on New Japan World:
*KENTA, El Phantasmo & Hikuleo vs. Lio Rush, Fred Rosser & TJP
*Rocky Romero vs. Chris Dickinson
*The DKC vs. Clark Connors

**MLW’s usage of former NBA referee Tim Donaghy provided the promotion a lot of sports coverage over the past two days. The debut of Donaghy on this past Wednesday’s edition of Fusion was covered by Yahoo Sports, the Tampa Bay Times, SI.com, CBS Sports, and Fox News among the outlets that wrote about his involvement. Donaghy appeared during the main event and assisted Richard Holliday in defeating Savio Vega in their Caribbean Strap Match. In 2008, Donaghy was sentenced to 15 months in prison for his role in a gambling scandal in the NBA

**Bill Goldberg was a guest on After the Bell with Corey Graves & Vic Joseph and shared his thoughts about the current attitude of the talent, the reaction to his return, and the differences from his era.

**After Wednesday’s segment where Cody and Red Velvet agreed to face SHAQ & Jade Cargill, the following was taped on the Inside the NBA set with SHAQ confirming the match and doing some tongue-in-cheek comedy with the panel:

**This Sunday, the WWE Network will air the premiere of the new series WWE Icons. The first episode of the series focuses on Rodney Anoa’i a.k.a. Yokozuna. There will also be a post-show after each episode called WWE Icons Revisited hosted by Matt Camp and Ryan Pappolla with Bret Hart, Rikishi, and Sgt. Slaughter appearing this Sunday’s post-show.

**IMPACT Wrestling has added a tag match with Rich Swann & Tommy Dreamer against Moose & Chris Bey for next Tuesday’s episode. The show will include a non-title match between TJP and Rohit Raju, Jordynne Grace vs. Susan (Su Yung), Josh Alexander vs. Sawyer Fulton, Havok vs. Tasha Steelz, and an appearance by Private Party and Matt Hardy. The show is coming off its highest viewership this year with 186,000 viewers this past Tuesday on AXS TV.

**Earlier this week, Brian Blair of the Cauliflower Alley Club confirmed that the annual reunion has been postponed again. The latest change has moved the event from April 2021 to the tentative dates of September 13-15, 2021 in Las Vegas at the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino. All those that have purchased tickets will have their tickets changed to the new dates.

**The WWE stock closed at $56.34 on Friday.

REVIEWS

For WWE Network recommendations, the WWE Chronicle on Bianca Belair was excellent. The performer was open about past struggles with bulimia and depression and a level of openness few would be willing to share. She fell into pro wrestling by fluke as Mark Henry discovered her on social media through her CrossFit videos and recruited her for a tryout at the Performance Center and led her into the industry. It would be impossible to watch this feature and not root for her success in the company as she comes off so likable and is among the best athletes in the company.

The network has also released My Way: The Life and Legacy of Pat Patterson with Patterson sharing his journey from growing up poor in Quebec and leaving home at a young age and making it in wrestling. There is very rare footage of his time in San Francisco wrestling for Roy Shire courtesy of Jim Fitzpatrick, which greatly assists that chapter of the documentary. It’s impossible to have an in-depth documentary on Patterson condensed to one hour but they covered a fair amount of his pre-WWWF days focusing on San Francisco, his relationship with Louie Dondero, the advent of the Royal Rumble, his influence on the next generation of talent with Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, and The Rock crediting Patterson with their success, and his announcement that he was gay on Legends’ House. The documentary is a nice overview of his career but it’s only a starting point if you want to learn a deeper history on Patterson and for that, I would recommend the obits from Dave Meltzer, Pat Laprade, and the book written by Bertrand Hebert.

MMA NEWS

**Chris Weidman was scheduled to fight Uriah Hall at UFC 258 on February 13th but the fight has been removed after Weidman contracted COVID-19. The news was reported by ESPN’s Ariel Helwani stating that Weidman recently tested positive for the virus. The report adds that the hope is moving the fight to UFC 261 on April 24th, but the plans are not finalized yet. Weidman and Hall were scheduled to be part of the main card at UFC 258 underneath the welterweight title fight between Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns. Weidman (15-5) last fought in August 2020 where he defeated Omari Akhmedov by unanimous decision and earned his first win since July 2017. Hall (16-9) has won his last three fights and is coming off a TKO victory against Anderson Silva last October.

**UFC bantamweight Raquel Pennington (11-8) has been issued a six-month suspension by USADA after taking two banned substances. Pennington self-reported that she had taken 7-keto-DHEA and AOD-9064 and led to a urine sample conducted on November 17, 2020, that detected both substances in her system. Pennington stated she was prescribed the substances by a doctor for a medical issue and later discovered they were on the banned list and informed USADA. Pennington will be eligible to fight on May 17, 2021. Pennington released a statement on Thursday prior to USADA announcing the sanction. The 32-year old last competed in June last year where she defeated Marion Reneau by decision.

**The Huntington Beach City Council will hold a vote this Monday regarding Tito Ortiz’s position as Mayor Pro Tempore on the council and could lose the position. The role is a ceremonial one and if voted off, he would still retain his city council seat after being elected to the seat this past November. A recommendation has been made that the council conducts a vote of no confidence, remove Ortiz from his leadership role as Mayor Pro Tem, and final an alternate city council member to fill the role until the end of 2021.

**Anthony Rocco Martin (17-6) has parted way with the UFC and is now a free agent. MMA Junkie reported the news with Martin being quoted in their report. Martin, 31, started competing for the UFC in 2014 as a lightweight and went 4-4 before moving to welterweight. At the higher weight, he won his next four fights before losing my majority decision to Demian Maia in June 2019. After bouncing back with a win against Ramazan Emeev in November 2019, he is coming off a decision loss to Neil Magny last June.

**Big John McCarthy and Josh Thomson share their views on the news that Ben Askren will be fighting Jake Paul in a boxing fight on April 17th.

FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Seungwoo Choi vs. Youssef Zalal – UFC Fight Night, February 6 (MMA DNA)

Ricky Simon vs. Brian Kelleher – UFC 258 on Feb. 13 (Bloody Canvas)

Kai Kara-France vs. Carlos UIberg – UFC 259 on March 6 (Combate)

Chase Sherman vs. Parker Porter – UFC Fight Night on April 17 (MMA Fighting)

ON THIS DATE

 

 

 

*****
POST INTERVIEW: Jimmy Korderas from Aftermath
John Pollock is joined by former WWE referee Jimmy Korderas of Aftermath TV to discuss the Royal Rumble.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2021/01/29/post-interview-jimmy-korderas-from-aftermath-tv/
*****
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Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review the January 27th edition of WWE NXT featuring Finn Balor & Kyle O’Reilly vs Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan in the main event!
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https://www.postwrestling.com/2021/01/27/shot-in-the-dark-1-27-21-men-womens-dusty-classic-the-walk-off/
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John Siino reviews this week’s editions of AEW Dark, 205 Live, NXT UK, NJPW Strong, Ring of Honor and SHINE in under 15 minutes on Shot In The Dark.
https://www.postwrestling.com/2021/01/27/shot-in-the-dark-1-27-21-men-womens-dusty-classic-the-walk-off/
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*****

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About John Pollock 5435 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.