POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: WWE-DraftKings deal, Charly Arnolt joins ESPN full-time

WWE and DraftKings announce deal, Charly Arnolt joins ESPN full-time, UFC vs. Jon Jones, preview for Raw, latest on Poirier-McGregor & more.

POST IT NOTES

**It’s a big week at POST Wrestling with our first-ever POST Podcast Day this Saturday from Noon-6 pm Eastern for all Patrons. All the details of the shows and personalities involved are available on the site.

**Wai Ting and I will be LIVE with Rewind-A-Raw tonight at 11:15 pm ET tonight for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**On Tuesday, Rewind-A-Wai will be focusing on the Brian Pillman – Loose Cannon DVD the WWE released in 2006 with a sizable look at the career of Pillman. This show will be released Tuesday for members of the POST Wrestling Café.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw (LIVE at 11:15 pm ET for Double Double+ Patrons)
Tuesday: Rewind-A-Wai #83: Brian Pillman – Loose Cannon DVD (Patreon)
Tuesday: DEEP IMPACT with Davie Portman (upNXT feed)
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite (LIVE at 10:15 pm ET for Dbl Dbl+ Patrons)
Wednesday: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman (LIVE at 10:15 pm ET on Twitch.tv/upNXTpodcast)
Wednesday: Shot in the Dark with John Siino (upNXT)
Thursday: POST Interview – Dr. Alex Patel
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (LIVE at 10:15 pm ET for all Patrons)
Saturday: POST PODCAST DAY at Noon ET for all POST Wrestling Café members
Sunday: MCU L8R with Wai Ting & WH Park (Patreon)

WRESTLING NEWS

**Tonight’s episode of Raw is advertising the following as WrestleMania draws closer with two episodes left:
*Non-title Match: Matt Riddle vs. Sheamus
*A contract signing between Asuka and Rhea Ripley

**Mike Johnson at PWinsider.com reports that Charlotte Flair is backstage at Raw.

**We would like to send our condolences to those that knew Blade Braxton. His long-time partner at the Wrestlecrap site, RD Reynolds, alerted people of his passing on Sunday.

**WWE enters the final week of its residency at Tropicana Field with an extremely busy schedule. By the end of the week, they will have taped both go-home episodes for WrestleMania with Raw and Friday Night SmackDown done in advance, along with the taping of the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony over two nights. WWE has occupied Tropicana Field since December and will begin at the Yuengling Center on Monday, April 12th after WrestleMania.

**Friday Night SmackDown finished with 2,191,000 viewers on Fox this past Friday coming off Fastlane. The show was up 4.7 percent in viewers while the 0.57 in the 18-49 demographic was even with the previous week. SmackDown finished second for the night among network programs behind ABC’s Shark Tank. SmackDown was #1 among all network shows that night in the 18-34 demo with a 0.39.

**In Canada, Friday’s edition of SmackDown averaged 172,700 viewers and 65,500 in the 25-54 demographic on Sportsnet 360. On the sports chart, it was fourth behind the Toronto Raptors vs. Phoenix Suns, Winnipeg Jets vs. Calgary Flames, and Toronto Blue Jays vs. Philadelphia Phillies games.

**Here are the matches for tonight’s episode of AEW Dark: Elevation streaming at 7 pm ET:
*Jon Moxley vs. Bill Collier
*Hikaru Shida & Tay Conti vs. Jazmine Allure & Tesha Price
*Scorpio Sky vs. Mike Sydal
*Jungle Boy vs. Jack Evans
*Orange Cassidy & Chuck Taylor vs. JD Drake & Ryan Nemeth
*Ethan Page vs. Fuego Del Sol
*Private Party vs. Bear Country
*Frankie Kazarian vs. Danny Limelight
*Ryo Mizunami vs. KiLynn King
*Penelope Ford vs. Leila Grey
*Alan “5” Angels vs. Preston “10” Vance vs. D3 & Vary Morales
*QT Marshall & Lee Johnson vs. Adam Priest & Aaron Frye
*The Gunn Club vs. Rex Lawless & Milk Chocolate
*Joey Janela vs. Chandler Hopkins
*AEW Rising Star profile: Bear Country

**Charly Arnolt and ESPN have announced a contract extension and a new full-time position for the host beginning in early April. Arnolt (formerly “Charly Caruso” in WWE) will continue to co-host the First Take, Her Take podcast along with appearances on First Take and SportsCenter as well as SportsNation on ESPN+. Arnolt posted a statement confirming the end of her tenure working with WWE:

I am SO excited to announce I have accepted a full-time position with ESPN! ✨ It feels so rewarding to take this next step in my career with a company that has really fostered my growth, and given me a bounty of huge opportunities, since first bringing me on board in 2018.

**WWE and DraftKings have announced a partnership with the latter becoming the official gaming partner of WWE. The deal will launch with a free-to-play pool at WWE’s two-night WrestleMania 37 set of shows.

Pursuant to the agreement with WWE, DraftKings will receive an exclusive license to media assets and in-game branding for WWE pay-per-view events. Additionally, both WWE fans and DraftKings customers will be able to participate in a number of integrated, free-to-play pools contests and products and experience digital promotion and program integration.

The press release did not include financial terms or the length of the deal.

**Manuel Alfonso Andrade Oropeza will do his first interview since leaving WWE, tonight at 7 pm ET with Hugo Savinovich. The former Andrade requested and was eventually, granted his WWE release after not being utilized on television since last October’s WWE Draft.

**Rob Van Dam spoke with FOX Sports’ Ryan Satin about how he found out he was being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and that it was John Laurinaitis who revealed the news:

I’ve known him since 93, because I used to wrestle with him in Japan. From ’93 to ’97, I spent many, many long hours on long bus rides, sitting in cold arenas in the winter, hot in the summer and ferry boat rides. We did a lot of traveling around Japan that time. You get to know somebody a little better when you’re stuck with them all the time like that. So, I’m proud to call Johnny a friend, and it was really cool to get the call from him.

**Ring of Honor COO Joe Koff is a guest on the ROH Strong podcast and discussed ROH’s viewership reach when assessing their syndicated model.

**On the Wrestling Perspectives podcast, IMPACT wrestler Eric Young revealed that he recently tore his ACL at the last set of television tapings in Nashville, Tennessee. Young, 41, believes he suffered a complete tear during a match with James Storm that airs Tuesday night. Young wrestled in two follow-up matches that week before learning of the injury. He will undergo surgery and is estimating his recovery will be 6-9 months and is hopeful of returning in six months. He added during the interview that it’s the first major injury of his career dating back to 1998, which is remarkable how durable he has been over his career.

**Emily Pratt at FanByte looks back at the bizarre-yet-captivating match between Go Shiozaki and Kazuyuki Fujita that took place one year ago today.

**SLAM Wrestling has a Q&A with Andrew Calvert, the author of From Nanjo to the Sheik: Tales from Toronto Wrestling, which is a book I would recommend for a thorough history of wrestling in the city, the key players, The Sheik’s impact, the switch to Mid-Atlantic, and the WWF taking over the city during the expansion years.

**New Japan’s “Road to Sakura Genesis” card takes place Tuesday from Korakuen Hall and streams at 5:30 am ET featuring Kota Ibushi, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima vs. Will Ospreay, Jeff Cobb & The Great O-Khan. Monday’s show at Korakuen Hall drew 388 people with Will Ospreay, The Great O-Khan & Jeff Cobb defeating Kota Ibushi, Yuji Nagata & Tomoaki Honma in the main event.

**On Sunday’s DDT card at Korakuen Hall in front of 669 fans, Jun Akiyama retained the KO-D Openweight Championship defeating Kazusada Higuchi in his first championship defense. Purolove.com added that Akiyama is set to defend the title next against Danshoku Dino on Sunday, April 11th. The promotion has also revealed that this year’s Wrestle Peter Pan event will take place on August 21st from Fujitsu Stadium Kawasaki on the grounds that previously held Kawasaki Stadium.

**A new edition of WWE Untold premieres this Sunday on the WWE Network focusing on the match between Edge and Mick Foley at WrestleMania 22 in April 2006.

**Being the Elite Ep. 249 “Contentment”.

**Michael Hayes turns 62 today.

**The WWE stock closed at $56.09 on Monday.

MMA NEWS

**ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reports that the trilogy fight between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor is not finalized but said to be “close”. The date the UFC is targeting is Saturday, July 10th with White noting over the weekend that they are planning to run a card at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Helwani added that the plan is for fans to be in attendance for the proposed rematch between Poirier and McGregor. It’s a very tough fight for McGregor given the way the two performed in January and whether McGregor is giving himself the proper time to adjust and improve. For any talk that Poirier was “left out” of the title picture, this fight will be massive from a financial side with Poirier likely to be heavily favored and with a win, sets himself as the logical contender to fight the winner of Charles Oliveira vs. Michael Chandler for the title.

**Stipe Miocic posted his first statement after his loss to Francis Ngannou:

First and foremost, I’m ok. I know that fall wasn’t my most graceful fall, but I was unconscious, so it happens

To my family friends and fans, especially Croatia & Cleveland..

I love you and I’m sorry. I hate letting you down. To my team, thank you. I know you feel every loss just as much as I do. We win as a family, we lose as a family. Losses aren’t fun, they always sting for a while, but that’s the beast of this business. You can’t win them all, and it’s important to understand that losing is just as much a part of sports (and life) as winning. Don’t ever forget God will always put you where you’re meant to be at that exact moment. You can’t dwell on what you should have done better, but you can learn and improve from it and come back more prepared next time.

Unfortunately, I deviated from game plan. I felt great coming into the second round, I saw it was beginning to go as planned. He was getting very winded, and I came in over zealous and unprotected. I wasn’t in a good posture to take the hit. He saw the opening, and did what any great fighter would have done.

That was my error that I accept, it wont happen again. Lastly, I’d like to congratulate @francisngannou and his team on a well earned victory. Saturday night was your night, enjoy your victory! For now, I’m going to enjoy the down time, spend some time with my family, and welcome our son into the world this summer… stay tuned, God bless

**After UFC 260, the Fight of the Night bonus was awarded to Vicente Luque and Tyron Woodley, and the Performance of the Night bonuses went to Francis Ngannou and Sean O’Malley with each receiving $50,000. Jamie Mullarkey had a spectacular knockout of Khama Worthy that would have been a bonus recipient on most nights.

**The games have already begun regarding Jon Jones as the next contender to fight new heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou. Jones had made it clear that he is willing to take the fight providing the financial side of the equation makes sense for him. In usual Dana White fashion, his public interpretation is that it means he doesn’t really want the fight. If that were the case, every fighter on every card would make identical figures and if they refused, “they don’t really want to fight”. We have established tiers of fighters on the UFC pay scale and when a fighter bends that scale to further enhance their value, this is the strategy of White to place public pressure by attacking a fighter’s vulnerable spot – their ego and public perception.

No one doubts how big a fight of that magnitude would be from the combination of Jones moving to heavyweight, challenging for the title in another division, and the opponent being Francis Ngannou with one of the greatest highlight reels you can assemble. For the UFC, it’s a tougher economic picture when you eliminate live gates, but the April and May pay-per-views suggest the UFC is reversing that strategy and housing full capacity arenas for its pay-per-views.

Jones has cemented his legacy at light heavyweight and Ngannou represents an enormous challenge. You only have leverage so often, and it’s a delicate balance of how much you push and when you decide to pull without risking the fight entirely. White’s public stance is that Derrick Lewis will be the next in line, if an agreement cannot be reached with Jones, knowing Lewis will fight for drastically less and in turn, do drastically less business. That fight requires a lot of promotional manipulation or ignoring of the previous one as Ngannou and Lewis had an all-time terrible fight in July 2018 as both had extreme trepidation of the other’s power.

**Tyron Woodley has issued a statement after his loss to Vicente Luque at UFC 260, which was the former welterweight champion’s fourth consecutive defeat:

Shit was going really well until it wasn’t. My camp pushed me in ways I haven’t been pushed in a while. I committed, and swore to myself I would bring the tiger out that earned me gold. I saw the opportunity for the KO and got too excited. Payed a big cost. I don’t regret my aggression as that’s what God created me to do. @luquevicente is a tough and humble fighter. Was an honor to share the cage with you tonight.

**Liverpool native Paddy Pimblet has signed with the UFC. The Cage Warriors veteran is 26-years old and enters the UFC with a 16-3 record. He has been fighting professionally since 2012 and entered the Cage Warriors promotion in July 2013. Pimblett returned to action last weekend with a victory over Davide Martinez after one year of inactivity. Pimblett is a former 145-pound champion with Cage Warriors but moved up to lightweight after losing the title.

**Donald Cerrone turns 38 today.

**The celebration in Ngannou’s home country of Cameroon this past Saturday:

FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Jack Hermansson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan at UFC 262 on May 15 (UFC)

ON THIS DATE

 

 

*****
UFC 260 POST SHOW: Miocic vs. Ngannou 2 
John Pollock and Phil Chertok are back with the UFC 260 POST Show where Francis Ngannou knocked out Stipe Miocic to become the UFC heavyweight champion.
*****
MCU L8R: “The Star-Spangled Man”
Wai Ting & WH Park review The Falcon & The Winter Soldier Ep. 2 as we meet John Walker, the new Captain America. Bucky’s meeting with a former Korean War opponent reveals a horrifying secret to Sam.
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN 3/26/21: Bryan Added to WM Title Match
John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE SmackDown featuring the fallout from Fastlane, Daniel Bryan’s attempt to get into the Universal title match at WrestleMania & all the day’s news.
******
POST PURORESU: New Japan Cup Finals, AJPW, GLEAT 
On the first of several bonus episodes of POST Puroresu, WH Park is joined by puroresu aficionado Joey Bay to talk about recent happenings in the Japanese wrestling scene including New Japan Cup Finals, AJPW and GLEAT.
*****
UFC 260 PREVIEW SHOW
John Pollock is joined by James Lynch and Cody Saftic to preview the UFC 260 card and the latest news in the industry.
*****
BTWA #7: NXT TakeOver – Dallas (2016)
Martin Bushby & Andrew Thompson are back with another round of Wrestling Adventure. This month, they are joined by Omar Pleya to look back at NXT TakeOver: Dallas from 2016.
*****
upNXT 3/24/21: Love Will Tear Us Apart
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review the March 24th 2021, episode of WWE NXT featuring KUSHIDA vs Jordan Devlin and a contract signing between Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole!
*****

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About John Pollock 3872 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.