POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: NXT TakeOver vs. Mike Tyson, Nick Khan speaks

The final AEW and NXT head-to-head, TakeOver preview, Nick Khan speaks on WWE, Bayley comments on status, Tony Khan on additional hour & more.

Photo Courtesy: WWE

POST IT NOTES

**The NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver POST Show hosted by Braden Herrington & Davie Portman will be LIVE at 10:15 pm ET tonight at Twitch.tv/upNXTpodcast. The two will also be doing a live Watch Along during TakeOver on their stream, if you want to join them beginning at 8 pm. The podcast version will be up immediately afterward with a full review of NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver Night 1.

**Wai Ting and I will be LIVE at 10:15 pm ET with Rewind-A-Dynamite for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso members of the POST Wrestling Café. We will review AEW Dynamite, go over some of the events taking place Thursday, share our thoughts on the Hall of Fame, and take your feedback.

**There is a bonus show available for members of the POST Wrestling Café covering today’s news including a preview of TakeOver & AEW tonight, Mike Tyson appearing on Dynamite, WWE Raw ratings, Bayley’s interview with talkSPORT, and more.

**John Siino’s latest edition of Shot in the Dark covers AEW Dark & AEW Dark: Elevation, last week’s edition of NXT UK, NWA Powerrr, 205 Live, NJPW Strong, Ring of Honor, and WWE Main Event.

**There will be a lot of shows coming out over the next few days. On Thursday, I’ll be chatting with reporter Jon Alba from Spectrum Sports 360 in Tampa covering WrestleMania Week. The British Wrestling Experience will be releasing their “History of WCW in Europe” show on Thursday featuring Gary Michael Cappetta from POST Podcast Day and we are hoping to do some bonus shows over the next few days on the POST Wrestling Café.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: NXT TakeOver Night 1 POST Show with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Tonight: Rewind-A-Dynamite (10:15 pm for Double Double+ Patrons)
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)

WRESTLING NEWS

**NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver Night 1 takes place from the Capitol Wrestling Center with a two-hour show scheduled for both the USA Network and streaming on Peacock. The show is set to air on both Sportsnet 360 in Canada and the WWE Network internationally allowing for those to watch the commercial-free version outside of the U.S. as well. It’s a solid lineup airing at 8 pm ET with a 7 pm pre-show:

*NXT Women’s Championship: Io Shirai (champion) vs. Raquel Gonzalez – They have a lot to follow and it’s the biggest match of Gonzalez’s career. Gonzalez seems destined for a major babyface role whether in NXT or eventually, the main roster. Shirai has held the title since June and might be time to go with Gonzalez, who has been groomed for months for a top spot. Shirai would be a great addition on Raw or SmackDown and will be interesting to see who, if any, performers are moved, or they want to keep their roster intact for the move to Tuesdays. The women’s division has more depth but the loss of Shirai does open a slot for a new top babyface to emerge and ultimately, I see Gonzalez in that role down the line.

*WWE United Kingdom Championship: WALTER (champion) vs. Tommaso Ciampa – They’ve only had a few weeks, but they’ve done a strong job promoting this match. Last week’s promo by Ciampa and WALTER’s demeanor at Tuesday’s press conference has made this feel like a big match. The story of Ciampa getting older, having a life outside of wrestling, and getting away from the killer he was several years ago has been told effectively and casts doubt towards the finish. It opens the door for an NXT performer to win the title and travel to the U.K., although that doesn’t seem like a logical plan in the immediate future given the pandemic. The expectation is the two have a war and even if Ciampa comes up short, can claim to have taken WALTER to the limit and that can work, as well. The other factor is Timothy Thatcher and how he could play into the match and potentially realign himself with WALTER after teasing it.

*NXT Tag Team Championship: MSK vs. James Drake & Zack Gibson vs. Raul Mendoza & Joaquin Wilde – My expectations are very high for this. MSK has the chance to be a real effective act aimed at a younger audience and be the company’s next Hardy Boyz. MSK could not have had a better TakeOver debut in February and the talent in this match should be firing on all cylinders given the stage they have. I’m a big fan of Gibson and Drake and with Legado del Fantasma added to the mix, I don’t want to call this a potential sleeper match because I think everyone expects it to be great, but it might be even better. Mendoza & Wilde could benefit the most from winning the titles and establishes another team in the division that I could see them winning as a surprise. The outcome means far less than the actual match and any team winning will work.

*Gauntlet Eliminator Match: LA Knight vs. Dexter Lumis vs. Bronson Reed vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs. Cameron Grimes vs. Leon Ruff – The rules are that Ruff and Scott will start the match and every three minutes, a new participant joins the match. So, this one probably has to go at least 18-20 minutes. The story has been Lumis and Johnny Gargano but that’s a deflating match to promote after this match. I would say the options are Lumis and Bronson Reed, with the latter being the type of match you would want for a TakeOver while Lumis can be wrapped up on television. It’s a new concept for NXT combining the Royal Rumble and a Gauntlet Match and will come down to the way the match is laid out.

*KUSHIDA vs. Pete Dunne – Hopefully, this one isn’t shortchanged as they could easily go out and have a spectacular 18-20 minutes but on a card with a two-hour window, that’s hard to imagine. Technically, this could be the best match of the night and one of the best this week but comes down to length as this was largely thrown together quickly.

**The TakeOver pre-show at 7 pm ET will feature a match between Toni Storm and Zoey Starks. The pre-show panel will consist of Sam Roberts, Mickie James, former UFC & Bellator broadcaster Jimmy Smith, and reporter Arash Markazi.

**AEW Dynamite will go up against NXT TakeOver with Mike Tyson making his return to the promotion after appearing last spring and teasing a future match with Chris Jericho. Typically, Tyson has worked in these situations but it’s the strongest NXT line-up that AEW has ever gone against. AEW has only lost in the 18-49 demographic once and that was in December 2019 when Rhea Ripley beat Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women’s Championship and led to AEW reassessing and came out of the gate strong with its New Year’s Day show in 2020. In the grand scheme, tonight’s numbers are bragging rights and nothing more as NXT is moving and no one is going to paint this period any differently because of one night.

The game changed in January 2020 when AEW received its new contract with TNT and guaranteed financial stability and a long-term commitment with the network while NXT wasn’t the roadblock for the promotion getting off the ground. The pandemic affected AEW with the loss of live gates and was primed for that massive show at the Prudential Center but having that new deal with TNT was the epitome of “timing is everything”.

Here are the matches and segments advertised for AEW Dynamite at 8 pm ET on TNT:
*Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers vs. Jon Moxley & The Young Bucks
*TNT Championship: Darby Allin (champion) vs. JD Drake
*Tay Conti vs. The Bunny
*Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus vs. Bear Country
*Hangman Page vs. Max Caster
*The Inner Circle speak
*Mike Tyson returns

From a viewership standpoint, it features a lot of the big players for AEW with Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, and Jon Moxley wrestling, Darby Allin has proven to be effective in his championship matches, The Inner Circle is coming off a big return, you should get some follow-up with the Cody Rhodes angle, and you have Mike Tyson.

**There is a Hall of Fame report covering the ceremonies from Tuesday on the site. The 2020 and 2021 classes were each presented as 90-minute specials and individualized shows with separate hosts for each. For this year especially, I think one class would have been enough in a 90-minute block because wrestling matches can work with the ThunderDome audience, but speeches were much tougher. There were the usual restrictions regarding time and limited many such as Eric Bischoff from even attempting to address his career and what he contributed, instead he focused on being grateful and wrapped up quickly. Molly Holly’s speech was short, but she came off so well and used her limited time to name off various crew members, and was the speech that stood out most to me. She provided a lengthier speech for WWE on their YouTube channel and thanking many more involved in her career. In future years, there are several big names they can lean on to headline the event from The Rock, The Undertaker (next year being in Dallas would make sense for that one), Paul Levesque, John Cena, Brock Lesnar (which would be great with Paul Heyman inducting him), and it’s a given that Dave Bautista will go in after this year fell apart.

**Colin Cowherd has a big interview with WWE president Nick Khan describing the WWE’s place in the media landscape, Vince McMahon running the company, their international plans, and added that Ronda Rousey and Becky Lynch would return in the future.

**We want to send our thoughts and best wishes to NXT performer Shotzi Blackheart. She posted a message that her stepdad suffered two heart attacks and is currently in a coma:

Its been a rough week. Ive never been this heartbroken. My step dad is in a coma after 2 heart attacks. I was able to visit him and I’m hopeful but It isn’t looking good. Energy is powerful so please send prayers/ positive vibes ANYTHING to the man that taught me to ride a bike.

**Mike Johnson at PWinsider.com has an interview with Tony Khan discussing the state of AEW, NXT moving to Tuesdays, the future with Shaquille O’Neal and the company, criticism of too much blood, and handling criticism. Khan clarified a recent comment by Chris Jericho on Talk is Jericho implying that TNT didn’t want AEW doing unannounced surprises and instead, maximizing their impact by announcing ahead of time:

I know, because I was the one who had it, that’s not exactly how the conversation with TNT went but there’s a balance between announcing things in advance like we’ve done with Mike Tyson coming in for this week or with Paul Wight coming in, telling fans in advance when something’s coming or surprises that came out of nowhere like when Sting showed up. And I think that’s a great balance to have and I think we’ll be doing both. So with Mike we announced in advance but I would never, and let me make it clear, TNT never said, “Don’t do surprises.” They thought that was great and they’ve had a huge reaction to Sting and in doing the announcement with Paul they were excited to do one with a press release and it was a great strategy, we did a great number and it was a huge interest and it built huge search traffic and it built a lot of buzz and now Paul is a big part of our family and for everybody that’s been involved in Elevation, he’s brought a lot more eyeballs on Elevation, it’s been a huge, huge success for us.

Khan also spoke about the future hour of programming they would be introducing and stating its importance to their strategy:

Going forward, I’m really excited about the 3rd hour on TNT that’s going to launch this year in 2021. That’s another reason why I’ve put together such a deep roster because in addition to Dynamite and our YouTube shows, Dark and Dark Elevation, we’re going to have another hour on TNT where I want to have the top stars and I don’t intend for that to be a backseat hour. I think it’s going to be every bit as strong as Dynamite. I want it to be one of our flagship shows.

**The plethora of events in Tampa get underway on Thursday with the beginning of the GCW and IWTV cards along with the second night of NXT TakeOver in the evening. The highlights of Thursday include TakeOver, Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport featuring the long-awaited Jon Moxley vs. Josh Barnett match, GCW’s For the Culture, Jimmy Lloyd’s D-Generation F, and the opening round matches of the Acid Cup tournament that look outstanding. The Acid Cup show airs at 3 pm ET on FITE TV and includes a tournament match between Arez and Aramis that should tear the house down and features some of the top independent talents.

**Sami Zayn did an angle where he showed up at the gym where Logan & Jake Paul were training as Jake Paul prepares for his fight next weekend with Ben Askren.

**ESPN’s Ariel Helwani spoke with Big E. about his match with Apollo Crews at WrestleMania this weekend. Big E. admitted he didn’t know what a Nigerian Drum Match is, in a joking manner at the start of the interview. He noted the likes of Roman Reigns, Asuka, Bayley, and Sami Zayn among those that have performed really well during the pandemic era with live crowds.

**Bayley spoke with Alex McCarthy of talkSPORT and was asked why she doesn’t have a match scheduled as of yet for WrestleMania:

I cannot give you an honest answer, dude. I don’t know. I’m sorry guys, it just didn’t happen. Even if there was something, I don’t know if I would tell you guys to spoil it. But yeah, it’s OK. I’ll be here for a long time. I might just jump the barricade and steal my own moment if they won’t give me one. I’ll just steal it.

Bayley also confirmed in the same interview that she doesn’t have any injuries and is not the person to ask why she has not wrestled on SmackDown since February.

**Rob Van Dam spoke with the Battle Creek Enquirer about his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame and what the honor meant to him:

Being inducted into the Hall of Fame probably means more than being a world champion because there are probably a lot of world champions that will never be in the hall of fame. To have Vince McMahon stand up during the induction ceremony and tell me that I changed the style of the business was probably the highest compliment I could imagine.

**Former WWE writer and Seven Bucks Productions’ Brian Gewirtz was interviewed by Dave Hillhouse of SLAM Wrestling. The story covered the role Gewirtz has played to produce “Young Rock” on NBC and helping explain the intricacies of professional wrestling to those involved with the series including co-creator Nahnatchka Khan, who is the sister of WWE president Nick Khan. Gewirtz served as a writer with WWE from 1998-2012.

**MLW is airing an old episode of MLW Underground in place of Fusion tonight at 7 pm ET. The matches on the show will feature Jimmy Yang vs. Sonjay Dutt and Jerry Lawler vs. Terry Funk from the first iteration of MLW.

**On The Kurt Angle Show this week, Angle discusses his WrestleMania 22 match with Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont. These three had an unbelievable sprint that night and if they had ten extra minutes it would have been in contention for match of the year. WWE just uploaded the entire match from April 2, 2006.

**All Japan’s Champion Carnival begins this Friday with a ten-man round-robin tournament over the few weeks that wraps up May 3rd. The opening night of the Carnival takes place from Osaka at the smaller Edion Arena with the following round-robin matches:
*Jake Lee vs. Shotaro Ashino
*Shuji Ishikawa vs. Koji Doi
*Shinjiro Otani vs. Yuma Aoyagi
*Kento Miyahara vs. Zeus
*Suwama vs. Kohei Sato

This line-up looks great and the question mark will be Otani and how he holds up with a month’s worth of hard matches that the tournament demands. He is 48 years old and is the featured outsider for this year’s Carnival with unique and fresh matches, which is as big a draw for me as anything in this year’s field. This is a nice mix of performers and the matches should be strong over the next several weeks. After Friday, they continue with shows on Saturday in Nagoya and Sunday in Niigata.

MMA NEWS

**ONE Championship begins their month of events on TNT with a card airing at 10 pm ET immediately after AEW Dynamite. It will be interesting to see if there is cross-promotion from AEW, with the hope of retaining a sizable amount of the wrestling audience and a similar strategy Spike TV utilized when introducing the Ultimate Fighter. Unfortunately, it’s a really tough night as you would imagine many of the AEW fans watching Dynamite are going to be more inclined to go watch TakeOver if they aren’t watching it live. ONE Championship will be running cards every Wednesday night this month and below are the fights scheduled for TNT tonight:
*Flyweight Championship: Adriano Moraes (champion) vs. Demetrious Johnson
*Eddie Alvarez vs. Iuri Lapicus

**John Nash at Bloody Elbow has a tremendous piece breaking down the structure of the UFC, how it differs from boxing, an assessment of what Jon Jones is worth, and the UFC’s ability to establish itself as fight promoter, sanctioning body, and broadcaster all wrapped into one.

**MMA Fighting has confirmed that the middleweight fight between Kyle Daukaus and Aliaskhab Khizriev has been removed from this Saturday’s UFC on ABC card due to COVID-19 protocols. The site reports it will be rescheduled.

**Bellator 256 is this Friday following its launch on Showtime last week. They have finalized the card, which is headlined by a quarterfinal fight in the promotion’s Light Heavyweight Grand Prix as Ryan Bader will face off with Lyoto Machida in a rematch from August 2012 when Machida knocked out Bader in the UFC. Bader is still the Bellator heavyweight champion but is competing in the 205-pound tournament. Bader lost the light heavyweight title last August to Vadim Nemkov by TKO in the second round. Machida is coming off losses to Gegard Mousasi and Phil Davis. Below are the main card fights airing on Showtime at 9 pm ET this Friday:
*Light Heavyweight Grand Prix: Ryan Bader (27-6, 1 NC) vs. Lyoto Machida (26-10)
*Flyweight: Liz Carmouche (14-7) vs. Vanessa Porto (22-8)
*Featherweight: Adam Borics (16-1) vs. Jeremy Kennedy (16-2, 1 NC)
*Featherweight: Cat Zingano (11-4) vs. Olivia Parker (4-1)
*Lightweight: Goiti Yamauchi (25-4) vs. Dan Moret (14-6)

**Combate Global (the former Combate Americas) is holding a show this Friday from Miami, Florida and airing on Univision and TUDN USA, as well as Televisa Canal 5 in Mexico. The show is headlined by a North American Flyweight Championship fight between Edgar Chairez and Mefi Monterroso, and a co-feature fight between bantamweights David Martinez and Gianni Vasquez.

**UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman chats with ESPN about his rematch with Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261 on April 24th.

**Former UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley is a guest on The No Chill Podcast with Gilbert Arenas and Mike Botticello.

**The PFL (Professional Fighters League) have announced the promotion of Loren Mack as its new Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications:

As Senior Vice President, Mack will play a broader role in growing the brand and business of the PFL, which includes further international expansion to the biggest MMA markets across the globe, while also building a team of like-minded individuals to work with, who are as passionate and as driven. Prior to joining the PFL, Mack had experience working with the biggest sports and media organizations in the world, starting his career with the UFC and also held the title of Director of Communications for BeritaSatu Media Holdings, the largest media organization in Indonesia.

FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Saul Rogers vs. Mads Burnell at Bellator 257 this Friday

Maycee Barber vs. Miranda Maverick at UFC Fight Night on July 24 (ESPN)

Aspen Ladd vs. Macy Chiasson at UFC Fight Night on July 24 (ESPN)

ON THIS DATE

 

 

*****
WM WEEK BONUS: TakeOver Preview, Tyson on AEW, Raw Ratings
John Pollock provides a bonus news update looking at TakeOver Night 1, Mike Tyson added to Dynamite, Raw ratings, Bayley speaks on WM status.
*****
SHOT IN THE DARK: NJPW Strong Championship, NXT UK debuts
John Siino reviews this week’s editions of AEW Dark, AEW Dark: Elevation, NXT UK, NWA Powerrr, 205 Live, NJPW Strong, Ring of Honor, and Main Event in under 15 minutes on Shot In The Dark.
*****
WRESTLEMANIA 37 Preview w/ Sunday Night’s Main Event
John Pollock & Wai Ting reunite with Jason Agnew & Dan “The Mouth” Lovranski (Sunday Night’s Main Event) to preview WWE WrestleMania 37, NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver and more.
*****
REWIND-A-RAW 4/5/21: WrestleMania 37 Go-Home Show
John Pollock & Wai Ting review the go-home edition of WWE Raw leading into WrestleMania 37.
*****
upNXT: Worst WrestleMania Matches Ever
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman celebrate POST Podcast Day with a special look at the WORST WrestleMania matches of all time!
*****
POST INTERVIEW: John Arezzi, “Mat Memories”
John Pollock speaks with John Arezzi from Pro Wrestling Spotlight: Then & Now about his new book Mat Memories: My Wild Life in Pro Wrestling, Country Music, and the Mets.
*****
THE LONG & WINDING ROYAL ROAD: Kenta Kobashi vs. Johnny Ace
WH Park and newcomer to the King’s Road style of wrestling, Stephanie Chase discuss a hidden gem of a match between Kenta Kobashi and Johnny Ace from May 26, 1995.
*****
MCU L8R: Falcon & Winter Soldier Ep. 3 (w/ Shane McDonough)
Wai Ting & WH Park welcome Shane McDonough to review The Falcon & The Winter Soldier Ep. 3 as Sam & Bucky recruit Baron Zemo on their continued hunt for super-soldiers.
*****

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About John Pollock 2447 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling.He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.