POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: AEW PPV, NHL-Disney deal, Andrade’s status

AEW Revolution trending strongly, a deeper look at the NHL-ESPN deal, the status of Andrade, Muto's title defense, UFC returns to ABC & more.

Photo Courtesy: All Elite Wrestling


**Tonight, Wai Ting and I will be LIVE with Rewind-A-SmackDown for all members of the POST Wrestling Café beginning at 10:15 pm ET. As always, we will take your calls at the end of the show discussing whatever topics you’d like following our review of SmackDown and covering the news topics.

**WH Park will be joined by Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics on Saturday for The Long & Winding Royal Road as they venture back to December 1996 for the finals of the Real-World Tag League with Mitsuharu Misawa & Jun Akiyama vs. Toshiaki Kawada & Akira Taue.

**On Sunday, it’s the finale of Rewand-A-Vision as Wai and WH review Assembled: The Making of WandaVision, the documentary behind the Disney+ series. Next week, they will launch a weekly show covering Falcon & Winter Solider with the shows available to all members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**We have the March edition of POST Puroresu available with WH Park and I reviewing Stardom’s Budokan Hall event from last week, a recap of the New Japan Cup with predictions on the rest of the tournament, Shinjiro Otani among the participants in the Champion Carnival, and a look at this Sunday’s NOAH card featuring Keiji Muto vs. Kaito Kiyomiya for the GHC Championship. As a reminder, all members of the POST Wrestling Café will receive 20 percent off the POST Puroresu t-shirt in the POST Wrestling Store with the sale lasting until this Monday at Midnight ET.

**Wai Ting is the guest with Martin Bushby & Benno this week on The British Wrestling Experience discussing the state of Progress Wrestling and their recent return with new chapter events.

**We have a feedback thread open for next Tuesday’s edition of Rewind-A-Wai covering EVOLVE 1 from January 2010 headlined by Kota Ibushi and Davey Richards.


Tonight: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John & Wai (LIVE at 10:15 pm ET for all Patrons)
Saturday: The Long & Winding Royal Road with WH Park & Brandon Thurston (Misawa & Akiyama vs. Kawada & Taue, Dec. 1996)
Sunday: Rewand-A-Vision with Wai Ting & WH Park (Assembled: The Making of WandaVision doc)
Monday: Rewind-A-Raw (LIVE at 11:15 pm ET for Double Double+ Patrons)


**While the reaction to the closing moments of AEW’s Revolution suggests a diminished view of the event, the latest report from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter states the pay-per-view is on pace to be AEW’s most successful. While the pay-per-view numbers from cable providers are not yet known, the B/R Live streaming figures were reportedly up more than 50 percent from the November pay-per-view while streaming numbers outside the U.S. were up 20 to 40 percent. If the traditional pay-per-view outlets follow the same pattern, then it will blow away the previous record set in May for Double or Nothing of 120,000 buys.

There were several factors you can attribute to the success of the show but without question, the heaviest promotion was reserved for the novelty of an Exploding Barbed-Wire Death Match. A key part of the promotion was leaving the audience’s imagination to envision what the match would entail with AEW’s presentation of a Japanese concept. It promised violence and explosions, the latter being a critical element that didn’t live up to the hype. Other factors would include running on a Sunday night, which is interesting because if the number had been poor it would have been easy to point to the NBA All-Star Game as siphoning off potential viewers, and yet the show succeeded on a different night with a significant sports event airing. The company is sticking with the Sunday night experiment in May for Double or Nothing on Memorial Day weekend and guarantees the avoidance of UFC and Boxing competition.

The final few days leading into the pay-per-view centered around the mystery signing, which will always gain a lot of discussions but I’m not sold that anyone not buying the pay-per-view was going to change their mind over the reveal of a signing. Whenever a company teases a surprise, it’s a game of hyping up your announcement but also allowing your fanbase to let their imaginations run wild. AEW has a savvy audience and most were aware of the probability of Christian Cage being the surprise given the news that he didn’t have a talent contract with WWE.

Finally, how does AEW interpret this success? The numbers bear that the Exploding Barbed-Wire Death Match was a tremendous hook for the show with two of their prime characters, but the payoff was terrible and it’s hard to envision the company being able to promote this type of match on pay-per-view. My gut says with the passage of time, they will be able to try this again, and ultimately, if there is a hot rivalry that warrants it and the storyline is built well, it can sell again but it will instantly bring back the memories of this ending. It’s one of the reasons I felt AEW focused too much on the botch aspect of the explosions on Dynamite and not enough on the “war” that Omega and Moxley had to put over the brutality of the match and sell that aspect of it. They were right to address the elephant in the room unlike WWE, who in a similar position with the “time standing still” ending with Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens at the Royal Rumble, never brought it up again. However, they needed a balance and sell the severity of what the two went through as this career-altering type of match. Instead, Moxley showed zero ill effects of the match and taking a One-Winged Angel through a chair and Omega was his regular self during the promo segment in the ring.

There is much that AEW can learn from this show both in what they did right and what fell short but the fact this pay-per-view is on pace to be their most financially successful, makes it an intriguing thought exercise of the building blocks of the show and the handling of its fallout.

**It’s been interesting to see the reaction and analysis from those covering the NHL’s new seven-year deal with Disney & ESPN mainly because of how it covers a lot of ground we discuss frequently for this industry. The belief is that the deal will work out to an average annual value of $410-$425 million with a secondary deal still to be struck by the NHL with another media partner.

One of the biggest aspects of the deal is that it’s heavily based on providing content for ESPN+ and the further migration of content to the streaming platforms of the cable giants. While the NHL will receive coverage on ABC and ESPN for four of the seven Stanley Cup Finals those years and 25 games per season on network or cable, the bulk is focused on ESPN+. The secondary deal has a direct correlation to WWE because if NBC doesn’t become the co-rights holder for the NHL, that changes the programming scenario for the USA Network, which is expected to carry a lot of hockey this year for the duration of its existing deal and the pending shutdown of the NBC Sports Network.

I have seen a lot of analysis that by the end of this deal it will be viewed as one ahead of its time with the streaming emphasis. That is what all these providers are banking on with Amazon Prime, Hulu, ESPN+, HBO Max, Peacock, and Paramount Plus vying for their share of the audience’s attention and subscription commitment. It differs from WWE’s strategy that has remained with its core product being available to most people through Fox and the USA Network while having its foothold on its own streaming platform up until this past announcement to license the WWE Network to Peacock. The NHL is more of a prestige brand that doesn’t do the television numbers that WWE does but does command higher ad rates. That said, the NHL is an interesting league to compare because they are not the NBA or MLB, much less the NFL but valuable enough that ESPN sees them as a driver for streaming subscriptions.

Another huge benefit is that the NHL is now ingrained within the ESPN ecosystem that transfers to its talk shows, coverage on SportsCenter, and an overall incentive to promote the league given its financial commitment. Today, I still feel you need linear television to attract new fans while streaming is a destination spot for fans seeking your product and aware of its existence on your platform. That could be changing at a rapid pace and ESPN+ hovers above 12 million subscribers and has proven an effective platform for the UFC to do monster numbers for its big pay-per-view events.

The pandemic has caused lots of uncertainty but it appears the NHL is going to come out of this strong from a media rights perspective and that bodes well for WWE, as the NHL is closer in proximity than leagues like the NFL that are Teflon and will command top dollar regardless of the economic situation. It only strengthens WWE’s leverage to have multiple streaming entities thriving and competing that create more incentive for an aggressive pursuit of WWE, who will also have several years of results to display regarding its effect on Peacock’s success.

**It was first reported by Wrestling INC that Andrade (Manuel Alfonso Andrade Oropeza) requested his release from WWE earlier this week with Fightful confirming the report adding that the performer has not been granted his release yet.

Prior to joining WWE, he performed as the masked La Sombra and unmasked in September 2015 at CMLL’s 82nd Anniversary card losing to Atlantis before joining WWE. He started in NXT in early 2016 wrestling as Manny Andrade and later as Andrade Cien Almas, eventually being paired with Zelina Vega his manager. Almas became NXT Champion in November 2017 defeating Drew McIntyre and later defended the title against Johnny Gargano at NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia in January 2018 in one of the best matches in NXT history.

It wasn’t long before he was brought to the main roster, losing the NXT title to Aleister Black and being drafted to SmackDown with Vega. His main roster run has been hampered with inactivity and a reduced role from his NXT tenure. The highlights of his main roster run had been a program with Rey Mysterio that provided some strong television matches and a brief tag team with Angel Garza last year before they broke the pair up. Last October, Andrade was never drafted and has not appeared on television since. The performer has also changed his Twitter handle and bio removing the references to WWE.

UPDATE: It was reported on Friday night by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that WWE has denied Andrade’s request for a release at this time.

**Friday Night SmackDown airs at 8 pm ET tonight on Fox with two episodes until Fastlane. Here is what they have announced for tonight’s show:
*A contract signing between Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan
*The Kevin Owens Show feat. Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair
*The return of Big E.

**The qualifying matches for the New Japan Cup USA tournament continue on tonight’s edition of NJPW Strong at 10 pm ET with the following matches:
*New Japan Cup USA Qualifying Match: Fred Rosser vs. JR Kratos
*New Japan Cup USA Qualifying Match: Hikuleo vs. Jordan Clearwater
*Sterling & Logan Riegel vs. Barrett Brown & Adrian Quest

**We want to send best wishes to NXT referee Tom Castor, who suffered a torn biceps and will need surgery. He posted the following statement on the injury he sustained:

How awesome was the match between @shirai_io and @tonistorm_ from this past Wednesday night?!? Little did I know when I handed Io her championship that this would end up being my last match for the foreseeable future.

Yesterday morning, I unfortunately tore my bicep off the bone which will now require surgery.

As disappointed as I am, I am also a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. When I broke my ankle in 2019, I grew so much mentally and physically. I came back from that injury in better shape, more focused and more confident than I’d been in years. I have no doubt that through this new injury I will continue to grow yet again.

I know what the road ahead of me looks like. I know what work needs to be done. I’m already focused and determined to come back as soon as possible and rejoin my team.

No matter the length of this journey, I’m ready for it. I’ll be back soon. Because I love wrestling!

**ROH has announced that Shane Taylor, Moses & Kaun will defend the Six-Man Tag Titles against Bandido, Flamita & Rey Horus at the 19th Anniversary pay-per-view that airs on Friday, March 26th.

**The New Japan Cup had a day off Friday and resumes with four consecutive nights from Saturday through Tuesday. There are some great matches coming up this weekend and the strong assumption of some great matchups down the stretch in the later rounds. Saturday’s show takes place from Aichi with Hirooki Goto vs. Shingo Takagi and Minoru Suzuki vs. KENTA. Both look stellar in their own way and I’d lean toward Takagi and KENTA advancing, although re-visiting Takagi and Suzuki will generate zero complaints. On Sunday, it’s Will Ospreay vs. Zack Sabre Jr. and Yuji Nagata vs. SANADA where Ospreay and SANADA would seem the favorites to advance. I would love to see a match between Ospreay and Nagata, but I can’t see any way that Nagata upsets SANADA. Then on Monday, it’s Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jay White and YOSHI-HASHI vs. David Finlay. I could see both matches going either way, but I’d favor White advancing and then facing off with Finlay as you have that history between them that adds something to the match.

**Thursday’s New Japan Cup card in Ehime drew 616 fans featuring EVIL over Jeff Cobb and Toru Yano over The Great O-Khan in the second round.

**IMPACT Wrestling has its Sacrifice special airing Saturday night on IMPACT Plus at 8 pm ET with the following line-up:
*Unification Match for the IMPACT & TNA Heavyweight Titles: Rich Swann vs. Moose
*Knockouts Championship: Deonna Purrazzo (champion) vs. ODB
*IMPACT Tag Team Championship: The Good Brothers (champions) vs. Juice Robinson & David Finlay
*Knockouts Tag Team Championship: Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz (champions) vs. Jordynne Grace & Jazz
*X Division Championship: TJP (champion) vs. Ace Austin
*Hold Harmless Match: Brian Myers vs. Eddie Edwards
*James Storm & Chris Sabin vs. Deaner & Jake Something
*Black Taurus & Crazzy Steve vs. Reno Scum
*Tenille Dashwood & Kaleb with a K vs. Havok & Nevaeh

**Pro Wrestling NOAH has a big show Sunday with Great Voyage in Fukuoka that will be available on Wrestle Universe and through FITE TV, which provides English commentary from Stewart Fulton and Mark Pickering.

The focus of the show is on the main event with Keiji Muto’s first defense of the GHC Championship against Kaito Kiyomiya, who previously held the title and lost a match to Muto last year. Muto recently signed a two-year pact with NOAH with his title win against Go Shiozaki last month drawing over 4,000 to Budokan Hall. It seems too quick to immediately have Muto drop the title even if the argument is that Kiyomiya is the one that should unseat Muto. They have also hinted at Shiozaki having a rematch with Muto as he refused to shake the new champion’s hand after dropping the belt. If it were a different performer, the best outcome would be a time limit draw but there is no justification for having Muto go that long at this stage of the game, and would be a poor idea. The intrigue is in the chase of someone beating Muto because once the title reign is over that takes some of the air of his sails for the remainder of this run unless he’s phased down into multi-person tags and I’d want to ride this wave for a bit longer given the success of last month’s show. The Fukuoka event will stream late Saturday night at 1 am ET with the following card:
*GHC Championship: Keiji Muto (champion) vs. Kaito Kiyomiya
*Katsuhiko Nakajima, Masa Kitamiya, Manabu Soya & Tadasuke vs. Go Shiozaki, Naomichi Marufuji, Takashi Sugiura & Kotaro Suzuki
*GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship: Seiki Yoshioka (champion) vs. Atsushi Kotoge
*Kenoh, Haoh & Nioh vs. Kazuyuki Fujita, Kendo Kashin & NOSAWA Rongai
*Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Junta Miyawaki
*Akitoshi Saito vs. Muhammad Yone
*Shuhei Taniguchi, Hajime Ohara & YO-HEY vs. Yoshiki Inamura, Kinya Okada & Yasutaka Yano

**Stardom has a show at Shin-Kiba 1st Ring on Saturday headlined by Mayu Iwatani, Starlight Kid & Saya Iida vs. Natsuko Tora, Saki Kashima & Ruaka. On Sunday, in Shinjuku Face, Maika & Himeka defend the Goddesses of Stardom titles against Mina Shirakawa & Unagi Sayaka, plus a three-way match with its top singles champions with Utami Hayashishita (World of Stardom) vs. Tam Nakano (Wonder of Stardom) vs. Natsupoi (High-Speed).

**The WWE stock closed at $57.21 on Friday.

**The GLEAT promotion (pronounced “Great”) has announced that the Stronghearts contingent of CIMA, El Lindaman, T-Hawk, and Issei Onitsuka has joined the promotion. The company was launched last year by LIDET Entertainment, which are the previous owners of Pro Wrestling NOAH. GLEAT hired Kiyoshi Tamura as its Executive Director and announced the signing of Minoru Tanaka this past February.

**Greg MosorJak has a story at SLAM Wrestling on the passing of North Carolina wrestler Douglas Summerville, who died of cancer on Wednesday at 44. On the local scene, he wrestled as Cold Cash D and later as “Luther Thesz” with Summerville eventually starting his own promotion called High Volume Pro Wrestling.

**Robbie Fox at Barstool Sports was in Jacksonville, Florida last week appearing on Dynamite. He conducted a series of interviews that are available on his YouTube channel with The Young Bucks, Colt Cabana, Jerry Lynn, Excalibur, and Jon Moxley.

**Stephanie Chase at Digital Spy spoke with Stephanie McMahon-Levesque on the female representation among the WWE’s writing staff. McMahon-Levesque cited the recent addition of Christine Lubrano as its new senior vice president of creative operations and spoke about the program between Sasha Banks and Bayley last year.

**Joseph Montecillo, who does tremendous video breakdowns and analysis, looks back at the feud between Samoa Joe and Nigel McGuinness on ROH’s official YouTube channel.

**Next week’s episode of MLW Fusion will include Los Parks defending the MLW tag titles against Myron Reed & Jordan Oliver airing Wednesday at 7 pm ET.

**A match between Tasha Steelz and Trish Adora has been added to Allie Kat’s Real Hot Girl Shit on Friday, April 9th as part of The Collective: Remix events at The Cuban Club in Ybor City, Florida.

**Natalya discusses International Women’s Month on Good Day DC on FOX 5.

**The real highlight of the weekend, this looks incredible.


**Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card is an ESPN+ show and will also air on TSN 5 in Canada. The main event features Leon Edwards in his first fight since July 2019 and rides an eight-fight winning streak into the fight with Belal Muhammad, who is replacing Khamzat Chimaev. Muhammad just fought at UFC 258 last month where he defeated Dhiego Lima but went three rounds with Lima and it’s a major turnaround for a top welterweight in Edwards. Edwards would serve as a strong candidate to challenge Kamaru Usman next if he is victorious. Below are the results from Friday’s weigh-in:

MAIN CARD (8 pm ET on ESPN+, TSN 5 in Canada)

*Leon Edwards (170.5) vs. Belal Muhammad (170)
*Misha Cirkunov (205) vs. Ryan Spann (206)
*Dan Ige (145.5.) vs. Gavin Tucker (146)
*Davey Grant (135.5) vs. Jonathan Martinez (136)
*Manel Kape (125.5) vs. Matheus Nicolau (125.5.)
*Eryk Anders (186) vs. Darren Stewart (185.5)

*Angela Hill (115.5) vs. Ashley Yoder (116)
*Ray Rodriguez (135.5) vs. Rani Yahya (136)
*Marcelo Rojo (145.5.) vs. Charles Jourdain (145.5.)
*Rafa Garcia (156) vs. Nasrat Haqparast (156)
*J.J. Aldrich (125.5) vs. Cortney Casey (126)
*Jinh Yu Frey (115.5) vs. Gloria de Paula (115.5)
*Matthew Semelsberger (169.5) vs. Jason Witt (171)

**The UFC returns to network television with a second card on ABC scheduled for Saturday, April 10th. The announcement was made that the UFC Fight Night card that day will be moved up several hours to air on the network. The prelims will be simulcast on ESPN and ESPN+ beginning at Noon ET with the main card airing on ABC and ESPN+ at 3 pm headlined by a middleweight fight between Darren Till and Marvin Vettori. This follows the UFC’s inaugural event on ABC that aired this past January featuring Max Holloway vs. Calvin Kattar that resulted in an average audience of 1,220,000 viewers with 471,000 viewers in the 18-49 demo.


Sam Alvey vs. Julian Marquez at UFC on ABC 2 on April 10 (MMA Junkie)

Justin Tafa vs. Jared Vanderaa at UFC Fight Night on May 22 (MMA Fighting)

Youssef Zalal vs. Sean Woodson at UFC Fight Night on June 5 (MMA Junkie)

Luigi Vendramini vs. Fares Ziam at UFC 263 on June 12 (MMA Junkie)



POST PURORESU: Stardom Budokan Review, New Japan Cup
John Pollock & WH Park chat the New Japan Cup, May’s stadium shows, a review of Stardom’s Budokan Hall show, and preview Muto-Kiyomiya.
BWE: Progress returns, RevPro, Meiko Satomura vs. Kay Lee Ray, wXw
Martin & Benno are joined by Wai Ting to talk about the controversial return of Progress and their Chapter 105 show. They also talk about NXT UK and the match between Kay Lee Ray & Meiko Satomura.
upNXT 3/10/21: “What Took Ya So Long?”
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review the March 10th, 2021 episode featuring Adam Cole vs Finn Balor for the NXT Championship!
REWIND-A-DYNAMITE 3/10/21: The Outer Circle
John Pollock & Wai Ting review AEW Dynamite featuring Revolution fallout and handling of its botched ending, WWE Hall of Fame news, NXT announcements, New Japan Cup update & more.
SHOT IN THE DARK: Kay Lee Ray vs. Meiko Satomura, New Japan Cup USA
John Siino reviews this week’s editions of AEW Dark, NXT UK, 205 Live, NJPW Strong, Ring of Honor and Main Event in under 15 minutes on Shot In The Dark.
DEEP IMPACT 3/9/21: “Unified”
Davie Portman and Andrew Thompson review IMPACT Wrestling from March 9th 2021, featuring a HUGE announcement concerning the IMPACT and TNA World Heavyweight Championships where the winner will face AEW Champion Kenny Omega at Rebellion.
ASK-A-WAI: Ask Us Anything! (March 2021)
John Pollock and Wai Ting answer their patrons’ questions from the POST Wrestling Forum in the March 2021 edition of Ask-A-Wai.

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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.