POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Nine straight nights of WWE begins

WrestleMania Week begins, go-home Raw notes, SmackDown ratings, Titus O'Neil & Ozzy Osbourne set for HOF, WWE working with Cameo & more.

Photo Courtesy: WWE


**I wanted to start by thanking everyone that joined us for POST Podcast Day on Saturday. This was one of the most rewarding and enjoyable events we have ever done at the site and was met with lots of positive feedback. We are consistently blown away by the support of this community and it came together seamlessly on Saturday. I owe a big thanks to those that helped make it possible with Davie Portman, Braden Herrington, Martin Bushby, Richard Benson, Gary Michael Cappetta, Nate Milton, Kris Ealy, Andrew Thompson, Marcus Vanderberg, Damian Abraham, Tim 2oolman, Ariel Helwani, and Wai Ting. Plus, all of you that watched any or all the shows and called during the final two hours we were live. For members of the POST Wrestling Café, the video version of the entire day is available now.

**Rewind-A-Raw is LIVE tonight at 11:15 pm ET with Wai Ting and I reviewing the final Raw before WrestleMania, going over the massive week coming up, sharing our thoughts on Sakura Genesis, and lots more. The show will be LIVE for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**We have our WrestleMania Week Guide listing all the shows and matches taking place this week in and around Tampa.

**Phil Chertok has all the information for this Friday’s first-ever POST Wrestling Discord Böttle Royal™ taking place Friday at 6 pm ET.

**upNXT has released their Worst WrestleMania Matches Ever show from POST Podcast Day.

**The Kings of Sport have released Saturday’s episode of The Nubian Wrestling Advocates featuring Nate Milton, Andrew Thompson, Kris Ealy & Marcus Vanderberg from POST Podcast Day.

**Today, we have an interview with Pro Wrestling Spotlight host John Arezzi about his new book Mat Memories. Arezzi spoke with us about working with Greg Oliver on the book, his unique set of careers, his coverage of the ‘90s sex scandal, dealing with the WWF as a media member, his appearance on the Phil Donahue Show in March 1992, and lots more. Mat Memories is available everywhere through ECW Press on Tuesday.

**Wai Ting and WH Park were joined by Shane McDonough on the latest MCU L8R to dissect episode three of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier starring Baron Zemo.

**WH Park is the guest on this week’s PWT Cast with Scrump & Stank.



Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw (11:15pm ET for Double Double+ patrons)
Tuesday: WrestleMania 37 Roundtable Preview
Tuesday: Andrew Thompson interviews John Skyler
Wednesday: NXT TakeOver Night 1 POST Show with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite (10:15 pm for Double Double+ Patrons)
Wednesday: Shot in the Dark with John Siino (upNXT feed)
Thursday: NXT TakeOver Night 2 POST Show with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Thursday: Jon Alba of Spectrum Sports 360 in Tampa for WM Week
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown (10:15 pm ET for all patrons)
Saturday: WrestleMania 37 Night 1 POST Show (LIVE for Double Double+ patrons)
Sunday: MCU L8R with WH Park & Nate Milton (Patreon)
Sunday: WrestleMania 37 Night 2 POST Show (LIVE for all patrons)


**The busiest week of the year begins as WWE embarks on nine consecutive nights of shows beginning with tonight’s taped edition of Raw and going through NXT’s move to Tuesday nights beginning next week. The company lightened its load somewhat by taping Raw, Friday Night SmackDown, and the Hall of Fame at Tropicana Field last week prior to its residency ending. For NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver, this Wednesday’s show is more about Peacock than it is having a strong number on the USA Network.

The Rogers guide in Canada is listing the following timeslots for the major events this week:
*WWE Hall of Fame on Tuesday: 8-9:30 pm ET and 9:30 – 11 pm ET (one show for each class covering 2020 & 2021)
*NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver Night 1: 8-10 pm (both nights are listed for both Sportsnet 360 and the WWE Network in Canada)
*NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver Night 2: 8-10:15 pm
*WrestleMania 37 Night 1: 8-11 pm
*WrestleMania 37 Night 2: 8-11 pm ET

Unlike the previous era of the WWE Network where “total number of minutes consumed” was a statistic they leaned on and led to marathon-length events, these shows have significantly shorter windows than previous years. Even if WrestleMania goes a little longer each night than what’s listed, the shows are much closer to last year’s length and made for a much better-received set of shows. There is also the reduction in Kickoff show length going from the standard two-hour format for WrestleMania and instead, one-hour kickoff panels each night. The Hall of Fame is listed for 90 minutes and seems likely that many speeches will be rushed. The Bella Twins shared their story that they had a fifteen-minute speech prepared and were told to edit it down to 3-5 minutes. Sean Waltman has also stated on his podcast that there were no inductors for the recipients, which was probably the right call given so many inductions and attempting to fit it into a 90-minute window. Unlike past years, the Hall of Fame is taped, so it’s not a case where it’s out of their control if someone goes long and ignored the time cues. (UPDATE: The Hall of Fame is listed as two 90-minute specials with the 2020 and 2021 classes separated).

The Hall of Fame has the following description from WWE.com:

The Class of 2020, comprised of The nWo, The Bella Twins, JBL, British Bulldog and Jushin “Thunder” Liger, will be joined by a new class of Inductees for 2021, including Kane, Rob Van Dam, The Great Khali, Molly Holly and Eric Bischoff. 

For the first night of NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver, it appears to be much more important to send people to Peacock than worrying about the viewership on the USA Network. Last week, Paul Levesque stated that the Peacock version of TakeOver won’t have commercial breaks whereas the USA Network will. For the audience that is going to be drawn by the line-up, it seems like a no-brainer to choose the Peacock version over the USA Network. It’s interesting that WWE is following suit and advertising the first night of TakeOver for the WWE Network in Canada, which would have to be a Rogers approved decision, as they are the Canadian distributor of the WWE Network and the rights holder in Canada through Sportsnet 360.

**Here are the matches advertised for tonight’s go-home edition of WWE Raw airing at 8 pm ET on the USA Network:
*Non-Title Match: Bobby Lashley vs. Cedric Alexander
*Non-Title Match: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler vs. Asuka & Rhea Ripley
*Drew McIntyre vs. King Corbin
*Xavier Woods vs. AJ Styles

**The only people with question marks regarding their status for WrestleMania are Charlotte Flair and Bayley in terms of key people without spots yet. The multi-team women’s tag match should be officially announced tonight after the various teams had a brawl on Friday Night SmackDown. The multi-team match is expected to take place Saturday and the winners to challenge Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler on Sunday.

**Friday Night SmackDown finished with 2,137,000 viewers on Fox and a 0.57 in the 18-49 demographic. The show was down 2.5 percent in viewers and stayed flat in the demo. SmackDown was third among all network programs behind ABC’s Shark Tank and Blue Bloods on CBS in the 18-49 demo and finished second for the night in the 18-34 demo with 0.37.

**In Canada, it was a rare week where Friday Night SmackDown did not finish in the top ten sports programs for the night. The competition included games involving the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, and Curling coverage with SmackDown finishing under 202,000 viewers on Sportsnet 360.

**WWE has confirmed that Titus O’Neil will receive the Warrior Award on Tuesday night’s Hall of Fame special. The news was first reported by Fightful Select with O’Neil speaking to the Tampa Bay Times about receiving the award and his contributions to the Tampa community. Previous recipients of the award include Connor Michalek, Joan Lunden, Eric LeGrand, and Sue Aitchison.

**Dave Meltzer at the Wrestling Observer Newsletter confirmed that Ozzy Osbourne will be part of the Hall of Fame class on Tuesday as a celebrity induction. Osbourne was shown in the advertising after last week’s set of taped ceremonies. Osbourne was a part of WrestleMania 2 in April 1986 where he was in the corner of The British Bulldogs when they won the WWF tag titles from The Dream Team of Brutus Beefcake & Greg Valentine. Osbourne also performed live on a 2007 episode of SmackDown and was a guest host on Raw in 2010.

**Lio Rush has put out a statement (which at last check had been deleted) addressing the story involving the AAA Cruiserweight title he won on MLW Fusion from Laredo Kid. The match aired in February and was acknowledged on AAA’s social media, yet Laredo Kid continued being promoted as champion after the match aired. After a report the two promotions had a miscommunication that led to the title change, MLW’s Court Bauer was contacted by Fightful and he pointed out that AAA advertised the match prior and aired it in Mexico on YouTube. In Rush’s statement today, he denied there was a scheduling issue for him to go to Mexico and drop the title back to Laredo Kid and indicated that AAA was just going to proceed as though it was a mistake and continue billing Laredo Kid as champion.

**WWE and Cameo are working together this week with a promotion for WrestleMania. Twenty-five performers will be available for 15 cameo sessions each on a first-come-first-serve basis throughout the week ending on Friday. The sessions start at $150 and are listed as high for $500 for Cameos from Randy Orton and Shane McMahon. The $400 tier includes Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, Alexa Bliss, and AJ Styles. Those between $150-$250 includes Sheamus, Xavier Woods, Cesaro, John Morrison, Sami Zayn, The Miz, Drew McIntyre, Braun Strowman, Bianca Belair, Bobby Lashley, Damian Priest, Apollo Crews, Riddle, Kofi Kingston, Big E., Rhea Ripley, Asuka, Omos, Apollo Crews and Kevin Owens.

**Independent wrestler Akira has revealed he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is off several shows this week in Tampa, Florida. The performer was scheduled for the ICW No Holds Barred events on Thursday & Friday, and Alex Colon’s Planet Death on Saturday. ICW has announced a new main event for Thursday’s show with New Jack & Carnage Crew vs. The Rejects & Neil Diamond Cutter.

**The WWE stock closed at $55.49 on Monday.

**WWE revealed that Jayar Donlan, the company’s Executive Vice President of Advanced Media, will be named as one of Sports Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” award recipients this June. Donlan will be profiled in the June 28th issue of SBJ and part of a ceremony honoring the 2020 and 2021 recipients this fall in New York City. Donlan is a marketing graduate from Georgetown University and has been with WWE since 2013 holding key positions in WWE’s social media, and digital content departments. In August 2018, he was promoted to his current EVP role in Advanced Media.

**WWE and G4 are partnering to produce a video game competition series this fall hosted by Xavier Woods. The competition will feature a variety of content creators squaring off by playing various video games. WWE will be listed as an Executive Producer on the series that both sides will be bringing to market.

**Kayla Braxton and Universal Champion Roman Reigns will be chatting on Clubhouse Tuesday at 6 pm ET.

**John Cena appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert tonight at 11:35 pm ET on CBS.

**Below is the line-up for AEW Dark: Elevation tonight at 7 pm ET on the AEW YouTube channel:
*Max Caster vs. Colt Cabana
*Scorpio Sky & Ethan Page vs. Matt & Mike Sydal
*Dr. Britt Baker vs. Alex Gracia
*Matt Hardy vs. Alan “5” Angels
*Big Swole vs. Jazmin Allure
*Ryo Mizunami vs. Tesha Price
*The Butcher, The Blade & Private Party vs. Adam Priest, Ryzin, D3 & Fuego Del Sol
*Hangman Page vs. Bill Collier
*Lance Archer vs. Baron Black
*Michael Nakazawa vs. Vary Morales
*Preston “10” Vance vs. Danny Limelight
*The Varsity Blonds vs. Carlie Bravo & Dean Alexander
*Paul Wight’s Showcase: John Silver

**IMPACT Wrestling has added a six-woman tag for the show’s move to Thursday beginning this week. The following matches are advertised for this week’s show on AXS TV:
*Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers vs. Rich Swann, Willie Mack & Eddie Edwards
*Havok, Jordynne Grace & Rosemary vs. Alisha, Tenille Dashwood & Navaeh
*Deaner vs. Chris Sabin
*Sami Callihan & TBD vs. XXXL

**Being the Elite Ep. 250 “Reflection”.

**Charlotte Flair (Ashley Fliehr) turns 35 today and Diamond Dallas Page is 65.


**On Friday, UFC president Dana White announced that UFC 262 sold out the Toyota Center “in minutes” for the card in Houston, Texas next month. The post by White stated 17,000 would attend the May 15th card headlined by Michael Chandler fighting Charles Oliveira for the vacant lightweight championship, and a five-round non-title fight between Nate Diaz and Leon Edwards. It marks the second consecutive sell-out after tickets for UFC 261 at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena were sold out right away for the April 24th card in Jacksonville, Florida.

**On the Bellator 255 broadcast on Friday, it was announced that women’s featherweight champion Cris “Cyborg” will defend her championship against Leslie Smith on May 21st on Showtime. The fight is a rematch from May 2016 when the two fought at UFC 198 in a 140-pound catchweight fight, which was won by Cyborg with a first-round TKO. Cyborg defeated Julia Budd in January 2020 to become the 145-pound women’s champion and made a successful defense last October against Arlene Blencowe. Smith joined Bellator in 2019 and has gone 2-1 with the organization and is coming off a decision victory against Amanda Bell last September.

**Beginning with Friday’s debut on Showtime, Bellator is no longer utilizing Mike Goldberg as one of its play-by-play announcers. The former voice of the UFC joined Bellator in June 2017 and has alternated with Mauro Ranallo on the promotion’s broadcasts over the past three years. Bellator president Scott Coker stated it was a production decision and gave the following answer when asked about the decision following Friday’s card, which was transcribed by MMA Junkie:

It was a production decision and they decided to move forward. That’s where we stand. But you know what? This is the kind of business that, you never know. If there’s boxing on one side and Mauro is doing it, who knows what will happen in the future? But that’s the way it rolled out.

**ESPN spoke with Dana White and reports that a verbal agreement is in place for welterweights Gilbert Burns and Stephen Thompson to fight on July 10th. The fight would be part of the UFC 264 card, which will be headlined by the trilogy fight involving Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor. Burns was stopped in the third round by welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in his last contest at UFC 258 in February, ending a six-fight winning streak. Thompson has won his previous two fights with decision wins against Vicente Luque and Geoff Neal.

**The delayed featherweight championship fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega will be put off further as the two have been tabbed as the coaches for the next season of Ultimate Fighter. ESPN spoke with UFC president Dana White, who informed the outlet of the decision with filming to begin later this month. Volkanovski was set to defend the 145-pound championship against Ortega at UFC 260 on March 27th but was canceled after Volkanovski tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in the U.S.

The reality series that propelled the UFC in 2005 has been idle since the promotion left Fox and began its relationship with ESPN in 2019. The last domestic version of the series took place in 2018 with coaches Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum featuring Juan Espino earning the heavyweight contract and Macy Chiasson winning the women’s featherweight contract.

**ESPN’s Ariel Helwani spoke with Alexander Volkanovski about all the stress of contracting COVID-19, his fight with Brian Ortega being canceled, and more. Volkanovski arrived in the U.S. two weeks prior to his fight, which was scheduled for March 27th.

**This Wednesday is the first of four consecutive weeks for ONE Championship on TNT. For the month of April, they will air cards at 10 pm ET on Wednesdays immediately following AEW Dynamite. Its first week will feature Adriano Moraes vs. Demetrious Johnson in the main event for the promotion’s flyweight championship, and Eddie Alvarez taking on Iuri Lapicus from Singapore.



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About John Pollock 3944 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.