POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: History of head-to-head wrestling in Canada

The history of wrestling airing head-to-head in Canada prior to NXT vs. AEW tonight, report on Marty Scurll, Tony Khan speaks & lots more.

Photo Courtesy: WWE

POST IT NOTES

**We have our latest POST Movie Review covering Rocky Balboa from 2006 available for those in the POST Wrestling Café. On the show, Wai Ting and I were joined by Ed Boxler, who has done past reviews with us. We discussed watching this film on opening night in Toronto in 2006, the resurrection of the franchise, Sylvester Stallone turning in an excellent performance and making you forget Rocky V, Antonio Tarver’s portrayal of Mason “The Line” Dixon, how this film ranks among all the Rocky films, and we chat about the state of the theatre industry during the pandemic. Next month, we will continue our reviews as we chat about the 2015 film “Creed”.

**Davie Portman and Andrew Thompson have a review of IMPACT Wrestling from Tuesday night, which was headlined by Moose defending the TNA title against Jake Something, plus Tony Khan and several other AEW personalities appearing in the weekly paid advertisement segment.

**Wai Ting and I are LIVE tonight with Rewind-A-Dynamite at 10:15 pm ET for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso members of the POST Wrestling Café. The free version of the show will be out early Wednesday morning as we review Dynamite, discuss the Paul Wight signing, and lots more.

POST SCHEDULE

Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John & Wai (LIVE at 10:15 pm ET for Dbl Dbl+ Patrons)
Wednesday: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman (upNXT feed)
Wednesday: Shot in the Dark with John Siino (upNXT feed)
Thursday: Bushby & Thompson’s Wrestling Adventure (Eddie Guerrero “Cheating Death, Stealing Life” doc)
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John & Wai (LIVE at 10:15 pm for all Patrons)
Sunday: NJPW Castle Attack POST Show with John & Wai (Patreon)
Sunday: Rewand-A-Vision with Wai Ting & WH Park (Patreon)

WRESTLING NEWS

**Tonight, AEW and NXT will go head-to-head in Canada for the first time as Sportsnet 360 broadcast NXT from 8-10 pm ET as part of its extended agreement with WWE.

While the head-to-head battle between Raw and Nitro from 1995-2001 is romanticized, it was never the case in Canada because the shows never went against each other. There were several years where neither show aired live on Monday nights consistently.

In Ontario, the first time I was able to see Raw on any basis was when they began broadcasting on The New VR (now CTV Two Barrie), which also carried the Toronto Raptors broadcasts when the team launched in the 1995-96 season. It was not always consistent and there were weeks when it either didn’t air, would be pre-empted, or get last week’s episode.

TSN began airing Raw and eventually fell into a consistent time slot of 4 pm ET on Tuesdays. This allowed WWF to have a timeslot that would not be impacted by live sports or TSN’s studio programming, including SportsDesk (now SportsCentre) and then, Off the Record which began in September 1997 as a daily show at 6 pm with host Michael Landsberg. The synergy between pro wrestling and Off the Record was a boon for the network as Landsberg conducted many great sit-down interviews with the likes of Vince McMahon, Eric Bischoff, Bret Hart, Steve Austin, The Undertaker (out of character in 2002), and countless others.

Following WCW was even tougher because you needed a higher cable package to receive TBS to watch WCW Saturday Night and WCW Pro. When Nitro launched, there was no Canadian option unless you had a satellite. In 1996, Nitro began to air on the Hamilton-based station CHCH on Sundays with a one-hour edited version hosted by CHCH personality Mark Robinson. It was a six-day delay and cut down to one hour, which was better than nothing but a very difficult way to keep up with the product. Then, TSN picked up the rights to Nitro, which illustrated the power TSN had in the country to get both companies and also tells you the lack of alternative options (Sportsnet did not launch until October 1998 while Headline Sports, later The Score and now Sportsnet 360, was still very small in comparison to TSN).

I first saw Nitro on TSN in December 1997 where it came on late at night and eventually settled into a time slot of Wednesdays at 3 pm ET where they ran the entire three-hour version as a lead-in for Off the Record. Raw was on fire during 1998 and in August, the WWF Canadian office announced that Raw would start airing live on Monday nights in October. For the duration of the Monday Night War, you had Raw airing most Monday nights at 9 unless there was a major sporting event that bumped them, and Nitro aired from 3-6 pm ET on Wednesdays.

When Nitro expanded to three hours, they also added Thunder during the same month on Thursday nights airing on TBS. Then, in August 1999, WWF added SmackDown on UPN in the U.S. and it was similar where those in Canada needed a higher cable package to get the UPN affiliate in Canada. Technically, the two aired head-to-head in Canada but neither were on major broadcast outlets for Canadians. In November 2000, SmackDown was picked up by Headline Sports, a network that would be rebranded as The Score and sold to Rogers in 2012 where it became Sportsnet 360.

The final head-to-head scenario occurred in early 2010 during TNA’s brief run on Monday nights on Spike TV. Spike was available in Canada, so Canadians got the show live, and it did air against Raw, although with a caveat. During this time, due to certain restrictions, Raw began at 9:15 pm ET each Monday and aired on a fifteen-minute delay from the U.S. version. This lasted for several years until they finally aired at the regular 9 pm start time but the delay was still in effect in 2010 when TNA aired on Spike and had a head start in Canada. TNA only lasted a few months and by the spring, they returned to Thursday nights.

**Here are the matches and segments airing on NXT tonight at 8 pm ET on the USA Network & Sportsnet 360 in Canada:
*No Disqualification Match: Santos Escobar vs. Karrion Kross
*Non-Title Match: Io Shirai vs. Zoey Stark
*Non-Title Match: Johnny Gargano vs. Dexter Lumis
*Xia Li vs. Kacy Catanzaro
*Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Drake Maverick & Killian Dane
*Adam Cole explains his actions against Kyle O’Reilly

**Below are the matches and segments for AEW Dynamite tonight at 8 pm ET on TNT and TSN 2 in Canada:
*Face of the Revolution Qualifier: Lance Archer vs. Rey Fenix
*Women’s Eliminator Semi-Final: Dr. Britt Baker vs. Nyla Rose
*Jon Moxley vs. Ryan Nemeth
*Jake Hager vs. Brandon Cutler
*Hangman Page vs. Isiah Kassidy
*Ricky Starks & Brian Cage vs. The Varsity Blonds
*More information on Paul Wight’s signing, his broadcast partner, and AEW Dark: Elevation
*AN APPEARANCE BY STING!

**Regarding AEW’s additional hour of programming on TNT, this was Tony Khan’s response on Twitter when it was asked about:

That’s also still happening in 2021! And we’ll have more info tonight on #AEWDynamite about the arrival of @PaulWight here in @AEW, and about the launch and details for #AEWDark: Elevation, which is coming very soon!

**Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp reported that former Ring of Honor talent and co-booker Marty Scurll was backstage at a recent set of tapings for NJPW Strong in California. Since the story has come out, Emily Pratt at Fan Byte is reporting that a source informed her that Scurll did appear at the taping on January 22nd and was involved in an angle with Rocky Romero. After a lengthy investigation, ROH and Scurll parted ways earlier this year following Scurll being named during the Speaking Out Movement last summer. The allegations and Scurll’s response last June can be viewed from the link attached.

**On the Paul Wight signing with AEW, Mike Johnson at PWinsider.com reports that Wight’s deal with WWE expired last month and was quietly moved to the Alumni section of its website on 2/19. Wight’s last on-screen appearance occurred on Legends Night on 1/4 where he was verbally dressed down by Randy Orton along with several other legends booked that night. The long-term deal with AEW ends a 22-year relationship between Wight and WWE since he left WCW in early 1999.

**IMPACT Wrestling averaged 170,000 viewers and a 0.04 in the 18-49 demographic on AXS TV on Tuesday. They finished 113th among cable programs for the night and down from last week’s average of 197,000 viewers and a 0.06 in the demo.

**The second episode of “Young Rock” on NBC finished with 3,611,000 viewers and a 0.77 in the 18-49 demographic. The show finished second for the night in the demo behind “This Is Us” but the drop was significant with a decrease by 32 percent in viewers and a drop of 23.7 percent in the 18-49 demo.

**Tony Khan appeared on Wrestling Observer Live with Bryan Alvarez & Mike Sempervive on Tuesday to promote AEW’s next two weeks of big shows. Khan hyped up tonight’s match between Lance Archer and Rey Fenix as a big match and was adamant that only one would enter the ladder match at Revolution (as opposed to a disputed finish where both are added). Khan first saw Tay Conti at an NXT live event around 2017 and thought she had great potential that far back, and if you’ve watched her the past few months that had more than proven true. Khan noted one of the toughest recruits when AEW was launching was Trent Beretta, who had a solid role with New Japan Pro Wrestling. He said he put the “full-court press” on Trent and noted there were others he tried to convince, that turned him down and now they regret it. On “The Forbidden Door”, he stated that anything is possible and anybody from any company could appear on Dynamite.

**Khan also spoke to PWinsider.com in a lengthy interview covering the relationship with Shaquille O’Neal, tonight’s episode of Dynamite, and gave the following answer regarding the clearance of Sting after the powerbomb he took from Brian Cage last week:

He’s been cleared, he’s been fully cleared. He’s been training with Darby and sparring partners and he’s been fully cleared to wrestle. In his training, one thing he’s done to get ready with his sparring partners is a powerbomb. In terms of getting ready for this, I was more than fine with it and in fact called it. At that point when he’s taking them in training, it’s time for the live crowd. So he was completely cleared to do it and wanted to do it and he wanted to get out there and wrestle. Sting is going to be on Dynamite tomorrow (tonight) looking for payback and all bets are off now. Sting’s cleared to wrestle and he wants to wrestle and this is how he wanted to end his wrestling career in-ring was in AEW and come in and go out the way he always wanted to go out with great matches.

He’s been preparing for this and I expect Sting to have a great performance on March 7th. He has very high expectations for this match and his comeback here, and I do too. I thought Brian did a great job with the powerbomb and certainly got people talking about the match in a very positive way and created conversation about, “Is Sting going to be OK? Is this all right?” Well that was the idea, we’re trying to create that conversation but the most important thing is he is OK and he walked through the curtain…that’s not going to be an easy moment, it took a lot out of him but at the same time, he came out of it in one piece and it’s what he wanted.

**The Kickstarter campaign for Our Heroes Rock is closing in on $40,000 (U.S) after two days since launching. The project is led by Big E. of the WWE, journalist Andreas Hale, and graphic designer Jonathan Davenport to create an animated series for children and adults that celebrates black heroes utilizing a mix of hip hop, science fiction, and storytelling. For more on the project, we have a 27-minute interview on the site with Ettore “Big E.” Ewen.

**Susan Levison, the head of WWE Studios spoke with Sports Pro Media about WWE’s long-form documentary programming and appealing to both its audience and projects that extend beyond just wrestling fans.

**On this week’s edition of Between the Sheets with Kris Zellner & David Bixenspan, they covered the week of February 16-23, 1993. It is about as detailed a rundown as you will find on both the death of Kerry Von Erich and the defamation suit filed by WWF against Phil Mushnick and the New York Post over their coverage of the ring boy scandal in the early ‘90s. The subject matter is very graphic covering suicide and descriptions of sexual abuse involving minors, as a warning for those planning to listen. When it comes to the early ‘90s scandals, it’s a series of stories that Bixenspan knows from every angle and has researched exhaustively to explain the story from all sides.

**There was a great segment involving Lance Storm with Bryan Alvarez on the Wrestling Observer site discussing the WWE’s third-party restrictions. Storm spoke from the perspective of someone that worked on the road in WWE with a downside guarantee with the comparison of when he returned in 2019 as a producer and was making a set salary figure. He also raised some suggestions of ways WWE could temper some of the road costs for performers such as striking deals for reduced rates on rental cars, meal prep, and other ideas.

**NJPW’s Road to Castle Attack tour runs Thursday at Korakuen Hall streaming at 4 am ET on New Japan World. It’s the final stop before the two shows at Osaka-jo Hall this weekend. Below is the line-up:
*IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Titles: El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori (champions) vs. El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
*Kota Ibushi, Yuji Nagata & Tomoaki Honma vs. Tetsuya Naito (who has missed several shows due to a knee injury), SANADA & Shingo Takagi
*Jay White & Guerrillas of Destiny vs. Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI
*Kazuchika Okada, SHO & Toru Yano vs. EVIL, Chase Owens & Dick Togo
*Hiroshi Tanahashi, Satoshi Kojima & Yota Tsuji vs. Will Ospreay, Jeff Cobb & The Great O-Khan

**The WWE stock increased nearly 3 percent on Wednesday and closed at $49.81.

**Cesaro will be a guest on WWE’s After the Bell podcast on Thursday with Corey Graves & Vic Joseph.

**The WWE Network launched on this date in 2014 just days before they presented the NXT Arrival special, which was an important show in company history. If you want to focus on one match that grabbed the larger audience’s attention that pushed the women talent forward, it was the title match on that card between Paige and Emma with the women’s matches becoming a staple of the early TakeOver specials and would eventually lead to wholesale changes on Raw and SmackDown.

MMA NEWS

**UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko will defend her championship against Jessica Andrade on 4/24 at UFC 261, according to UFC president Dana White. The news was reported by ESPN with Shevchenko attempting to defend her title for the fifth time. The division has been sparse for challengers given Shevchenko’s dominance with the options appearing to be Andrade or Lauren Murphy. Andrade has only fought once at flyweight as she came down to the weight class last October and beat Katlyn Chookagian by TKO in the first round.

**Sage Northcutt will return for his first fight since 2019 when he takes on Shinya Aoki for ONE Championship. Ariel Helwani of ESPN reports that Northcutt, 24, will compete on 4/28 when ONE airs on TNT with the two fighting at 170 pounds. After leaving the UFC once his contract expired, Northcutt joined ONE Championship on a three-fight winning streak and was knocked out by Cosmo Alexandre in May 2019. Aoki last fought for ONE in January where he submitted James Nakashima and has been doing pro wrestling regularly for DDT.

**In a disturbing story reported by ESPN’s Marc Raimondi, veteran fighter Travis Fulton has between indicted on three counts of federal child pornography charges. Fulton, 43, is facing charges of sexual exploitation of a child, possession of child pornography, and receipt of child pornography according to the documents ESPN obtained. If convicted, Fulton faces up to 70 years in prison with the charging document stating that Fulton attempted to get a minor under the age of 18 to “engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual depictions of such conduct” several months ago. He is also charged with knowingly possessing or attempting to possess “visual depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct on a flash drive, including a depiction of a minor under 12 years old.” Another charge he faces is receiving and attempting to receive child pornography by interstate and foreign commerce with a camera and flash drive allegedly purchased outside his home state of Iowa. Fulton was most known for having the most fights on record with a reported 320 MMA fights going back to 1996 along with 75 boxing fights between 1999 and 2019.

**The UFC’s Fight Night card from Las Vegas this Saturday features another heavyweight main event with Jairzinho Rozenstruik taking on Cyril Gane. Rozenstruik rebounded from his first pro loss to Francis Ngannou by stopping former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos last August at UFC 252. Gane is 30-years old with a perfect 7-0 record and 4-0 in the UFC. Gane also holds a win over Junior dos Santos, who he defeated by TKO last December at UFC 256 in his most high-profile win. It’s a similar story to last weekend’s fight between Derrick Lewis and Curtis Blaydes where the winner can also advance so far with Jon Jones expected to fight the winner of Stipe Miocic and Ngannou, who fight on 3/27. On paper, it would seem that the winner of this weekend’s fight could be positioned to fight Derrick Lewis to figure out a future challenger for the title.

Here is the full card for this Saturday airing on ESPN+ in the U.S:

MAIN CARD (8 pm ET on ESPN+)

*Jairzinho Rozenstruik vs. Cyril Gane
*Nikita Krylov vs. Magomed Ankalaev
*Montana De La Rosa vs. Mayra Bueno Silva
*Jimmie Rivera vs. Pedro Munhoz
*Angela Hill vs. Ashley Yoder
*Alex Caceres vs. Kevin Croom

PRELIMINARY CARD (5 pm ET on ESPN+)

*Thiago Moises vs. Alexander Hernandez
*Alex Oliveira vs. Ramazan Kuramagomedov
*Alexis Davis vs. Sabina Mazo
*Alonzo Menfield vs. William Knight
*Vince Cachero vs. Ronnie Lawrence
*Dustin Jacoby vs. Maxim Grishin

FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Ramazan Kuramagomedov vs. Alex Oliveira at UFC Fight Night this Saturday (MMA Junkie)

Angela Hill vs. Ashley Yoder at UFC Fight Night this Saturday (UFC)

Gavin Tucker vs. Dan Ige at UFC Fight Night on March 13 (MMA Fighting)

Krzysztof Jotko vs. Sean Strickland at UFC Fight Night on May 1 (MMA Junkie)

Maurice Greene vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima at UFC Fight Night on May 8 (MMA Junkie)

Matt Schnell vs. Alex Perez for UFC on May 15 Event TBA (MMA DNA)

Felicia Spencer vs. Danyelle Wolf at UFC Fight Night on May 22 (BJPenn.com)

ON THIS DATE

 

 

*****
DEEP IMPACT 2/23/21: “Sanctioned”
Davie Portman and Andrew Thompson review IMPACT Wrestling from February 23rd, 2021 headlined by Moose vs Jake Something for the newly sanctioned TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
*****
POST MOVIE REVIEW: Rocky Balboa (2006)
John Pollock & Wai Ting are joined by Ed Boxler to review Rocky Balboa (2006) as retired boxer and widower Rocky Balboa attempts an unlikely comeback for one final fight against heavyweight champion, Mason “The Line” Dixon.
*****
REWIND-A-RAW 2/22/21: Elimination Chamber Fallout
John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE Raw following the Elimination Chamber event, plus NXT going live in Canada, Hiromu Takahashi out for six months & more.
*****
POST INTERVIEW: Ettore “Big E.” Ewen chats Our Heroes Rock!
John Pollock is joined by Ettore “Big E.” Ewen of WWE to discuss Our Heroes Rock, a project that celebrates black history.
*****
WWE ELIMINATION CHAMBER 2021 POST SHOW
John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE Elimination Chamber 2021 featuring Raw and SmackDown Elimination Chamber matches, a MITB cash-in, several title changes, and Edge revealing his choice of WrestleMania opponent.
*****
REWAND-A-VISION: Episode 7 “Breaking the Fourth Wall”
Wai Ting & WH Park are joined by Scrump to review WandaVision Episode 7 as the cast deals with the effects of Wanda’s “Hexpansion”. A major villain reveals their role behind-the-scenes all along.
*****
TRMPS: Central Intelligence (2016) w/ Andrew Thompson
This month, Nate Milton is joined by his podcast-nephew, Andrew Thompson (POST Wrestling, Andrew Thompson Interviews) to review 2016’s hit action-comedy, “Central Intelligence”!
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 2/19/21: Elimination Chamber Go-Home
John Pollock and Wai Ting are back to review Friday Night SmackDown featuring Edge all over the show, a preview of Elimination Chamber, and your open calls.
*****

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About John Pollock 5516 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.