POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Cesaro reflects on WWE tenure, Jon Huber

Cesaro remembers Jon Huber, Kofi Kingston on Kofi Mania without fans, Konnan back home after health issue, Dana White vs. Media & more.

Photo Courtesy: WWE

POST IT NOTES

**Rewind-A-SmackDown is LIVE at 10:15 pm ET for all Patrons tonight. Wai Ting and I will be reviewing Friday Night SmackDown after it concludes, preview the Elimination Chamber show, and open the phone lines for the rest of the show. The Friday shows also generate a lot of interesting calls and topics and all subjects are welcome.

**The Rocky Maivia Picture Show drops on Saturday with host Nate Milton welcoming Andrew Thompson as they review “Central Intelligence” starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. This show will be available on the main POST Wrestling feed.

**On Sunday night, Wai Ting and I will be live immediately following the Elimination Chamber show for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**The second edition of The Wellness Policy has been released as Wai Ting & Jordan Goodman review the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, and take your phone calls.

POST SCHEDULE

Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John & Wai (LIVE at 10:15 pm ET for all Patrons)
Saturday: The Rocky Maivia Picture Show with Nate Milton & Andrew Thompson (“Central Intelligence”)
Sunday: Rewand-A-Vision with Wai Ting & WH Park (Patreon)
Sunday: WWE Elimination Chamber POST Show (LIVE for Dbl Dbl+ Patrons)

WRESTLING NEWS

**Edge will be appearing at the start of Friday Night SmackDown tonight.

**Friday Night SmackDown is the go-home episode for Elimination Chamber on Sunday, which is a show completely built around the two Elimination Chamber matches. Hopefully, there will be some clarity tonight regarding the line-up for Sunday. The show has lost the match between Asuka and Lacey Evans after the pregnancy announcement on Monday by Evans, and Keith Lee was listed as questionable for the three-way match for the United States title. Throughout the pandemic, the company has been much more economical with the length of its pay-per-views and this is a card that can easily get by with fewer matches. The two Chamber matches could go 25-30 minutes, and they are promoting Roman Reigns defending the Universal title against the winner of the SmackDown match. Below is what they are advertising for tonight’s show:
*Edge to appear at the start of the show
*Jey Uso, Sami Zayn & King Corbin vs. Kevin Owens, Daniel Bryan & Cesaro
*Ariya Daivari vs. August Grey on 205 Live
*The Bollywood Boyz & Ever-Rise vs. Jake Atlas, Curt Stallion, Mansoor & Ashante “Thee” Adonis on 205 Live

**Here are the matches scheduled for NJPW Strong airing tonight at 10 pm ET on New Japan World:
*El Phantasmo vs. Lio Rush
*Hikuleo vs. Fred Rosser
*Rocky Romero, Misterioso & Adrian Quest vs. Barrett Brown, The DKC & Rey Horus

**The funeral for Tom Cole took place today and was broadcast online. There is an obit for Cole on the funeral home’s website. Cole took his life last Friday at the age of 50 and leaves behind his wife Jennifer, and his daughters Alexandra, Julianna, and Noelle. We have a story on his life posted on the site.

**Cesaro spoke with the NY Post about Sunday’s pay-per-view and his long road to receiving this recent push to the upper mix. He was asked if he ever considered leaving the company:

Yeah. So, I’m extremely stubborn. (Laughs). It’s a good and a bad thing obviously, but I really enjoy entertaining people and I really enjoy traveling all over the world and that’s what kept me going. I still believe in hard work paying off and that’s what I wanted to do. Of course, you start to think, OK what are other options or other possibilities. How can improve my standing maybe through some outside ventures or whatever?  But in the end, I just figured OK when the right moment comes I’ll be ready and I’ll knock it out of the park.

Cesaro was also asked about his friendship with the late Jon Huber and reminisced about their friendship and time working together in CHIKARA:

I once read this quote. Friends are like stars. You may not always see them but they’re always there for you. That’s how it was with him because I’ve probably known him since 2005, which is like a year after I moved to the United State we first met. We were always in contact, we always did indy shows together, we did CHIKARA, we did Ring of Honor together and he came to WWE about a year after me. We started being on the road together and we just had that bond from back in the day and coming from the same upbringing.

When he came down to the Philadelphia area, he would always stay at my place. I kept an extra mattress in my bedroom just to pull out to the living room for him to stay so he had a place to sleep on that wasn’t the couch of the floor back in the day. So I’ve known him forever and it’s still hard to grasp that I’m not going to see him because it’s always like, “I’ll see you again when I see you around” because it’s the wrestling business we see each other again. It’s just hard. We had a similar sense of humor, so my bad jokes made him groan, and he would try to get me with bad jokes. We’d just stir the pot. He was a very good complement (to me) and was a lot of fun to be around.

**Kofi Kingston spoke to Bleacher Report to promote the Elimination Chamber this Sunday. With this year’s event missing fans, Kingston reflected on the 2019 show that began the organic rise of Kofi Mania and how different that would have been without fans:

The crazy thing is that I feel like if the Elimination Chamber two years ago happened without fans in the crowd, I don’t know if I would have gotten the drive and the push that I got. It was 99 percent fan-driven. You got into the arena, and everyone would be chanting my name. You felt a certain kind of energy.

Honestly, I don’t think that anything will ever have the same level of energy as that first championship title run that I had Just the whole story going into it was something really special, really unique. Daniel Bryan, the perfect opponent, being in the same shoes a year or two earlier. You really couldn’t have written it any better than it happened, and the fact is that it was organic. The unfortunate thing is that it came at Ali’s expense because he ended up getting injured and if he doesn’t get injured, I’m not even in that spot at all. I’m still thankful that it all happened the way it did because, again, it was organic.

**Earlier this week, it was reported that Konnan (Charles Ashenoff) had been hospitalized due to a kidney issue and had tested positive for COVID-19. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported he had been hospitalized but has since provided an update that he is home and doing better. In a statement to the Observer, Ashenoff said he had been bedridden for three days last week, went to the hospital and his kidneys were failing. He was released on Thursday from the hospital. We wish Konnan a full recovery now that he’s back home.

**Brandon Thurston at Wrestlenomics reported that certain WWE employees have received a stock award valued at $3,000 that will vest in March. This comes after last week’s news where employees were informed that promotions and raises had been put on hold and was said to have hurt morale considering the combination of working throughout the pandemic and the company having a record-setting year with both revenue and profitability.

**The U.K. Supreme Court dismissed an appeal on Friday by Uber, standing by an October 2016 ruling to recognize Uber drivers as workers allowing them basic rights including minimum wage and a pension. The Guardian outlines that there is a difference between classification a “worker” and an “employee”, each holding more rights than an independent contractor. The next step is determining how much compensation the workers are due. Uber has stated the ruling only applies to a small number of drivers that were involved with this specific case.

**The deadline for the GoFundMe to assist with the legal costs for Pelle Primeau (Pelle Tsichlis) is this weekend. Tsichlis was named in a defamation lawsuit filed by Joey Ryan (Joseph Meehan) last summer. His goal is set at $25,000 and needs approximately $8,000 to reach that mark. Tsichlis has stated he will be able to utilize what has been raised if he falls short of the goal but will need a new plan to raise the difference.

**The premiere of “Young Rock” finished with 5,315,000 viewers and a 1.01 in the 18-49 demo on NBC this past Tuesday. Among network programs, it was #2 for the night behind “This Is Us” (also on NBC) and trailed the same show for the second spot among adults 18-34 and adults 25-54. The series centers around Dwayne Johnson as he’s running for president in 2032 and reflecting on his life to endear himself to voters as relatable. The stories center around three eras of his upbringing – as a child growing up around pro wrestling, as a teenager in high school, and playing football as a young adult for the University of Miami as a defensive tackle. In the premiere, there were roles assigned for Andre the Giant, The Wild Samoans, The Iron Sheik, and the Junkyard Dog. One of the executive producers of the series is Nahnatchka Khan, who is the sister of WWE president and chief revenue officer Nick Khan.

**Sami Zayn did a wide-ranging interview with Ryan Satin at Fox Sports promoting Elimination Chamber. They discussed his character work over the past year, an actual mini-documentary in the works, and a lot of reflection on his time wrestling for PWG and the ethos of that company.

Because all these other companies at the time wanted to get bigger. Ring of Honor wanted to get bigger. Every company wanted to get bigger. PWG I don’t think really ever cared about traveling and running shows here, running shows there.

They just wanted to do what they did very, very well and they did. You know what I mean? And the fact that it was in that Reseda Legion Hall, by the end, by the time I was finishing up there, it was a hot ticket. You couldn’t get in. There’d be lines around the building.

So, it actually kind of created more of a buzz and more demand that you couldn’t just go and whatever. So, I don’t know. Special—all this to say—very, very special times for me.

**Here is the footage of the angle involving Kyle O’Reilly being taken out on a stretcher after NXT went off the air Wednesday night. Those in attendance were concerned that O’Reilly was actually hurt with someone tweeting that they thought he had a seizure, which he did not. It came out shortly after that it was a storyline with Cole hitting O’Reilly with a brainbuster on the steps near the end of the program.

**Matt Cardona spoke with Chris Van Vliet that he only agreed to two Dynamites and a pay-per-view with AEW and didn’t want to commit to anyone after being in WWE for as long as was. He stated he received a text on the Friday before IMPACT’s Hard to Kill pay-per-view to appear, although had been in talks with them prior and is still a free agent.

**New Japan’s Road to Castle Attack tour continues Saturday in Yamagata with a show headlined by Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, SHO & Toru Yano vs. EVIL, Jay White, Chase Owens & Gedo. Tetsuya Naito is off the show due to his knee injury. The company will host shows at Korakuen Hall on Monday and Thursday next week before the two Castle Attack shows next weekend at Osaka-jo Hall.

**In lieu of a new edition of Fusion, MLW will be airing a 2003 episode of MLW Underground next Wednesday.

**The WWE stock closed at $46.81 on Friday.

MMA NEWS

**Four fighters missed weight today for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card. Rafael Alves was 11.5 pounds over the featherweight limit and his fight against Patrick Sabatini is off the card. Jared Gordon and Drako Rodriguez were fined 30 percent of their purse, and Ketlen Vieira was fined 20 percent for missing weight. Here are the results from today’s weigh-in:

MAIN CARD (8 pm ET on ESPN+, TSN 5 in Canada)
*Curtis Blaydes (259) vs. Derrick Lewis (263)
*Ketlen Vieira (138*) vs. Yana Kunitskaya (135.5)
*Charles Rosa (146) vs. Darrick Minner (146)
*Chris Daukaus (234) vs. Aleksei Oleinik (240)
*Phil Hawes (185) vs. Nassourdine Imavov (185.5)
*Andrei Arlovski (249.5) vs. Tom Aspinall (244.5)

PRELIMINARY CARD (5 pm ET on ESPN+)
*Jared Gordon (150*) vs. Danny Chavez (145)
*Drakkar Klose (156) vs. Luis Pena (155.5)
*Eddie Wineland (135.5) vs. John Castaneda (136)
*Julian Erosa (145.5) vs. Nate Landwehr (146)
*Rafael Alves (157.5*) vs. Patrick Sabatini (145.5)
*Casey O’Neill (125.5) vs. Shana Dobson (126)
*Chas Skelly (146) vs. Jamall Emmers (145.5)
*Aiemann Zahabi (136) vs. Drako Rodriguez (140.5*)
*Serghei Spivak (245) vs. Jared Vanderaa (265)

**ESPN reported that Belal Muhammad has agreed to fight Leon Edwards in less than one month on the UFC Fight Night card set for March 13th. Edwards was initially scheduled to fight Khamzat Chimaev, who has removed himself from the fight due to lingering effects from COVID-19. Muhammad is making a quick return after defeating Dhiego Lima this past Saturday at UFC 258. Edwards is a perennial contender at welterweight and winner of his last eight fights but has not competed since July 2019. For Muhammad, he has won eight of his last nine fights and a victory over Edwards will greatly advance his position in the division.

**Former UFC bantamweight Bryan Caraway is facing four felonies after alleging stealing an ATV that belonged to ex-girlfriend Miesha Tate. ESPN’s Marc Raimondi reports that Caraway has been charged with fraud, first-degree attempted theft, filing a false insurance claim, and making a false statement on a vehicle title in the state of Washington. Caraway is accused of allegedly stealing the ATV in December 2018, obtaining insurance after Tate took the ATV back, and claiming it to be stolen just three days after obtaining the insurance policy. Caraway missed a court appearance with a bench warrant issued for his arrest until Caraway contacted the prosecutor’s office. When Caraway first reported the ATV was stolen, he said it had been gifted to him by Tate and showed a vehicle title with her signature, which the investigation has evidence was allegedly forged. Caraway is set for an arraignment hearing on Thursday, March 11th. The 36-year old Caraway fought for the UFC from 2011-18 where he went 6-4 ending his tenure after losses to Cody Stamann and Pedro Munhoz. He last fought in July 2019 for Battlefield FC defeating Raja Shippen.

**Karim Zidan at The Guardian took a critical look at UFC president Dana White’s relationship with the media. This stems from the most recent issue involving White and ESPN reporter Ariel Helwani after a video posted by the reporter condemning the actions of Gina Carano for her social media posts that led to her exit from Lucasfilm. White was asked about Carano and said for everyone to “leave Gina alone” and went on to refer to Helwani as “a douche” for posting a video and making the story about him. The lack of response from ESPN for several days drew criticism on the broadcaster for not supporting its journalist until releasing a brief statement supporting Helwani but not condemning White. Zidan also tied the piece to White’s video he posted at the end of the year attacking the media that criticized him at the start of the pandemic and past incidents with media that has led to several reporters banned from covering UFC events on-site including Loretta Hunt, Josh Gross, and Jonathan Snowden.

**Bellator is introducing a rankings system that will be released in April. Like the UFC model, the panel of those submitting rankings will be made up of media members. The 15 media members listed are George Garcia, Nolan King & John Morgan (MMA Junkie), Jeff Cain & Ken Pishna (MMA Weekly), Brian Campbell (CBS Sports), Rodrigo Del Campo (Claro Sports), Rob DeMello (KHON Hawaii), Jason Floyd (The MMA Report), Amy Kaplan (FanSided), John Hyun Ko (South China Morning Post), Mark LaMonica (Newsday), Igor Lazarin (TASS Russia), Shakiel Mahjouri (Fightful), and Joe McDonagh (Cageside Press).

The criteria for inclusion on the rankings is fighting for Bellator at least once in the past fifteen months, retired fighters can stay eligible for 60 days after announcing their retirement, and there will be rankings for all weight classes with a men’s and women’s pound-for-pound list. Several reporters have noted they were asked to participate but declined. Josh Gross noted that it is part of the guidelines of the MMAJA (Mixed Martial Arts Journalists Association) to not participate in promotional rankings.

**The PFL (Professional Fighters League) has completed another round of funding of $65 million bringing their total funding to $175 million. The latest round was from Ares Capital, Elysian Park Ventures, and Knighthead Capital. The company will launch its next season on Friday, April 23 with six events scheduled through June 25 covering the regular season.

**LFA 100 takes place tonight with a card on Fight Pass streaming at 9 pm ET with the following fights:
*Vacant Flyweight Championship: Victor Altamirano vs. Nate Smith
*Flyweight: Karlee Pangilinan vs. Charles Johnson
*Featherweight: Jorge Juarez vs. Steven Nguyen
*Lightweight: Gerald Scott vs. Tommy Aaron
*Bantamweight: Christian Natvidad vs. Evan Woolsey

FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Gregor Gillespie vs. Brad Riddell at UFC Fight Night on March 20 (NZ Herald)

Johnny Eduardo vs. Anthony Birchak at UFC Fight Night on March 20 (MMA Junkie)

Tony Gravely vs. Nae Maness at UFC Fight Night on April 17 (MMA Junkie)

Sam Hughes vs. Loma Lookboonmee at UFC Fight Night on May 1 (MMA Fighting)

Gina Mazany vs. Priscila Cachoeira for the UFC on May 15 (MMA Fighting)

ON THIS DATE

 

 

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SHOT IN THE DARK 2/17/21
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DEEP IMPACT 2/16/21: “FinJuice”
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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.