POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Young Rock renewed, Endeavor goes public

NBC renews Young Rock, Endeavor goes public, NJPW president on U.S. plans, Dynamite affected by playoffs, Muto-Kiyamiya, PFL results & more.

Photo Courtesy: NBC

POST IT NOTES

**Rewind-A-SmackDown is LIVE tonight at 10:15 pm ET with Wai Ting and I. We will review Friday Night SmackDown, chat the latest news, and open the phone lines for the remainder of the show. The show is available live and to download for all members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**The latest POST Movie Review is available for members of the POST Wrestling Café. On this episode, we conclude our Rocky reviews by looking at the 2018 release of “Creed 2” starring Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, and Tessa Thompson. Ed Boxler is back to share his thoughts on the film, the usage of Ivan & Viktor Drago, the future of the franchise, and we rank all eight films from the Rocky and Creed franchises.

**WH Park has a bonus edition of POST Puroresu with guest co-host Karen Peterson. The two discuss the latest state of emergency in Japan and its impact on pro wrestling events and the Summer Olympics, the ongoing Champion Carnival tournament, NOAH’s show from Nagoya featuring Keiji Muto vs. Masa Kitamiya, and the announcement that Yuji Nagata will wrestle on Dynamite on May 12th.

WRESTLING NEWS

**Friday Night SmackDown is headlined by the Universal Championship match between Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan with the stipulation that Bryan is banished from SmackDown if he loses. There are a lot of ways to go with this from Cesaro assisting Bryan to win by count-out or DQ, Edge returning to cost Bryan the match, or Reigns just winning outright. A stipulation of this magnitude should help the number, but you have a strong segment of fans conditioned to think “how do they get around the stip?” rather than the belief they will deliver on it. Bryan moving to Raw could enhance that show a lot, which is struggling to a high degree. Personally, I would transport the Bryan and Edge program to Raw, which would instantly add some intrigue for Monday’s show and Edge was never designated as a SmackDown performer.

Tonight’s episode of SmackDown will also feature the latest Intercontinental Championship match between Apollo Crews and Big E., which appears to be a best-of-seventy series.

**IMPACT didn’t receive a bump following its pay-per-view with Thursday’s episode averaging 120,000 viewers and 0.05 in the 18-49 demographic. The demo was identical to last week’s figure but overall viewership fell from 145,000.

**New Japan president Takami Ohbari spoke with the NJPW website about the introduction of NJPW Strong and how they adjusted plans for the U.S. expansion strategy. The U.S. chapter of the company is being led by Kaname Tezuka, who is the New Japan of America COO. The original goal was to hold simultaneous tours in the U.S. and Japan by 2022, which was going to require certain New Japan stars to be sent to the U.S. to take part in those tours. During the pandemic, they have relied upon U.S.-based talent and outsiders from around the country that comprise the regular roster for NJPW Strong. Ohbari provided the following answer regarding fans attending shows in the U.S:

We can say we want to do it! It’s a timing issue right now. Things are still fluid, and regulations differ depending on the state. The LA Dojo is in California, obviously, and California is among the strictest parts of the country; it’s very difficult to have events with attendees there. So the questions are, ‘OK, when do these restrictions look like they might ease?’ ‘Would it be easier for us to go to a different state and run there?’ Whatever the location it wouldn’t be a case of full venues right away. Then it becomes a question of how we can build a safe environment for fans, wrestlers, and staff in the same way we do in Japan. I will say that as of a couple of days ago, all our staff in the US have been vaccinated so it really does feel like we’re getting closer.

**The Wrestling Observer Newsletter is reporting that the NBA playoffs will force AEW to move the May 26th edition of Dynamite later in the week with a live show scheduled for Friday, May 28th at 10 pm ET on TNT. That show will serve as the go-home show for the Double or Nothing pay-per-view that airs that Sunday. The Observer adds that the following week they will not air on June 3rd and that Dynamite will air live on either Friday, June 4th or Saturday, June 5th depending on the playoff schedule for TNT. (CORRECTION: We had originally listed the start time of the May 28th show as 8 pm ET but the Observer listed 10 pm as the start time).

**Tonight’s episode of NJPW Strong is the L.A. Dojo Showcase with the following matches airing at 10 pm ET on New Japan World:
*Karl Fredericks vs. Clark Connors
*Ren Narita & Fred Rosser vs. Alex Coughlin & Kevin Knight
*The DKC vs. TJP

**Deadline reports that NBC has renewed Young Rock for a second season stating the show is the second highest new comedy in the 18-49 demographic. The series is a co-production of Dwayne Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions, Universal Television, and Fierce Baby Productions and features Johnson playing himself on the series. Executive producers for Young Rock include Johnson, former WWE writer Brian Gewirtz, Dany Garcia, and Nahnatchka Khan (the sister of WWE president Nick Khan).

**VICE TV has made the first half of Dark Side of the Ring’s season three premiere on Brian Pillman available.

**Gary Cassidy of Inside the Ropes received a statement from WWE confirming that NXT UK TakeOver: Dublin on June 20th has been canceled at the 3Arena and refunds will be available at the point of purchase.

**Game Changer Wrestling has resurrected Jersey Championship Wrestling with its return show taking place Saturday at 3 pm ET live on YouTube. The show takes place from the Showboat in Atlantic City, New Jersey featuring: Joey Janela vs. Slayer, Edith Surreal vs. Everett Connors, Steve Scott vs. Charles Mason, Ninja Mack vs. Dante Leon, JJ Garrett vs. Frontman Jah, 1 Called Manders vs. Conan Lycan, YDNB vs. Marcus Mathers & Dylan McKay, and Billie Starkz vs. Janai Kai.

**Later that night, GCW is running Ashes to Ashes at 8 pm ET on FITE TV featuring: Nick Gage vs. Jordan Oliver for the GCW title, Jimmy Lloyd vs. G-Raver, Joey Janela vs. Lee Moriarty, Atticus Cogar vs. Tony Deppen, Nolan Edward vs. Mance Warner, and KTB & Shane Mercer vs. Allie Kat & Effy.

**Shinjiro Otani is out of the remainder of the Champion Carnival tournament due to a shoulder injury. Otani wrestled Suwama this past Wednesday and was removed from Thursday’s show where he was set to face Kohei Sato, who was given the two points by forfeit. Otani’s final match was scheduled for Monday’s final event against Zeus, who will also receive two points due to the forfeit.

The Carnival is down to Jake Lee, Kento Miyahara, Kohei Sato, and Suwama who all have ten points each going into Monday’s final night of the tournament. Zeus will get two extra points because of the forfeit this Monday but will stay at ten and therefore, can’t win.

The following matches are scheduled for Monday at Korakuen Hall:
*Suwama (10) vs. Shuji Ishikawa (8)
*Kento Miyahara (10) vs. Jake Lee (10)
*Yuma Aoyagi (8) vs. Kohei Sato (10)
*Shotaro Ashino (6) vs. Koji Doi (2)

Aoyagi and Ishikawa can play spoilers preventing Sato and Suwama from being in the mix. If Suwama wins, he would win a tiebreaker against Lee but not against Miyahara. Sato lost to both Miyahara and Lee and therefore, can’t win on a tiebreaker with either. Basically, it comes down to Miyahara vs. Lee with a small window for Suwama to win in the event of a tie with Lee.

**On Saturday, New Japan’s ‘Road to Wrestling Dontaku’ tour continues in Beppu headlined by Will Ospreay, Jeff Cobb, The Great O-Khan & Aaron Henare vs. Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI. It’s New Japan’s final show before the two Wrestling Dontaku cards from Fukuoka on Monday and Tuesday that stream live on New Japan World. Monday’s show is headlined by a NEVER Openweight Championship match between Hiroshi Tanahashi and Jay White and the Ladder Match between Tama Tonga and Taichi.

**IMPACT Wrestling’s next special is ‘Under Siege’ on Saturday, May 15th, and will feature Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers vs. Eddie Edwards & FinJuice, along with a six-way match to determine the next contender to challenge Kenny Omega. Matt Cardona and Chris Bey were the first two to qualify for the six-way match with additional qualifying matches announced for next week’s episode with Trey Miguel vs. Rohit Raju, Rhino vs. Chris Sabin, and Moose vs. James Storm.

**Pat McAfee was a guest on Just Getting Started with Rich Eisen to discuss his new role on Friday Night SmackDown and last week’s episode being the first one where he had Vince McMahon producing him during the show.

**The next WWE Chronicle episode will profile Damian Priest and premieres on Sunday, May 9th on the WWE Network.

**I saw the Keiji Muto vs. Masa Kitamiya match from Thursday in Nagoya. It was Muto’s second title defense of the GHC championship and as expected, the structure featured Kitamiya attacking his knees as a prelude for the Prison Lock submission. Kitamiya applied the hold and blasted Muto with a headbutt that caused Kitamiya’s forehead to split open and baffles me regarding the lessons ignored at this stage of the game. It was a slow match by design and Muto is extremely limited at 58-years of age, but the closing two minutes were exciting as the crowd rallied behind Muto, who hit Kitamiya with five shining wizards including one from behind to score the pinfall.

It’s a polarizing choice of a champion but also one that has added a level of attraction for NOAH’s big shows to try and garner attention on its product. It is reminiscent of the decision to put the WWE championship on Hulk Hogan in 2002, which the company pulled the plug on after three weeks and saw the championship win as the furthest they could go. Muto will defend the title next against Naomichi Marufuji at the CyberFight Festival on June 6th (the same day as New Japan’s Dominion card in Osaka).

It feels like NOAH is going to keep Muto in the position for a lot longer as you still have the inevitable rematch with Go Shiozaki and probably a rematch down the road with Kaito Kiyomiya, who Muta made his first defense against. The event did sell out the Nagoya Conference Hall, which amounted to 718 in attendance.

**The WWE stock closed at $55.11 on Friday.

MMA NEWS

**Endeavor, the parent company of the UFC, went public on Thursday and raised $511 million on its opening day of trading. In 2019, Endeavor stopped short when it was preparing to go public before fully committing this time around. Executives from the company, including Dana White, were present at the New York State Stock Exchange to ring the bell to open trading on Thursday. As a public company, Endeavor will have to release quarterly earnings reports with a deeper look at its business, however, it is difficult to ascertain how significantly the UFC’s business will be broken down as its only a branch of Endeavor’s businesses, although a very important one especially over the course of the pandemic. The stock increased by 8.3 percent on Friday and closed at $27.56.

**Diego Sanchez was cut this past week by UFC after a bizarre set of circumstances putting the promotion in a difficult spot. Sanchez’s coach Josh Fabia, who has drawn immense criticism for how he has conducted himself and affected Sanchez, requested all of Sanchez’s medical records since entering the company. When UFC executive Hunter Campbell got involved, Fabia referred to long-term effects that Sanchez has experienced, which was an alarm bell for Campbell. When Sanchez, who had passed his most recent UFC medicals, was asked if he was okay, he could not verify it stating he was not a neurologist and the UFC released him.

It’s a sad end for its longest-tenured fighter that won the first season of TUF in April 2005 and produced some of the greatest fights in company history. Steven Marrocco at MMA Fighting obtained audio of an April 9th call allegedly involving Campbell and Fabia going over these issues and what Fabia was requesting with Campbell explaining the position of the promotion and being unable to allow Sanchez to compete if he is experiencing medical issues and alerting the UFC of them.

**Kevin Iole of Yahoo, who wrote the initial story behind the circumstances of Sanchez’s release has spoke to the fighter and coach Josh Fabia. In the interview, Iole stated that Sanchez confirmed he was paid for the canceled fight on May 8th with $155,000 in show money, a $35,000 win bonus, and $21,000 in the athlete outfitting bonus money.

**Bellator issued a statement on Thursday evening that Yoel Romero did not clear his pre-fight medical testing and his fight with Anthony Johnson for next Friday is off. The fight was the most anticipated of the opening round of the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix. The promotion is planning to find an alternate for Johnson to fight. Bellator added that Romero will be eligible to reapply for medical clearance in the coming months and they are still planning for Romero to fight for the promotion and eventually book the fight with Johnson.

**ONE Championship ran its final week on TNT for the month and averaged 219,000 viewers and 0.07 in the 18-49 demographic this past Wednesday. For the four shows in April on TNT, they averaged 260,500 viewers and 0.09 in the 18-49 demographic.

**The UFC holds a Fight Night card at the Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday night. The show is headlined by a light heavyweight fight between contenders Dominick Reyes and Jiri Prochazka. With 205-pound champion Jan Blachowicz expected to fight Glover Teixeira in September, this fight will likely force the winner to take another fight in the interim or be on standby in case of injury. The weigh-ins occurred Friday and included a pull-apart between Ion Cutelaba and Dustin Jacoby after Cutelaba wrapped his arm around Jacoby’s neck during the face-off before they were separated.

Below is the fight card and weigh-in results:

MAIN CARD (10 pm ET on ESPN2, ESPN+, TSN 2 in Canada)

*Dominick Reyes (205.5) vs. Jiri Prochazka (204)
*Cub Swanson (145.5) vs. Giga Chikadze (146)
*Ion Cutelaba (206) vs. Dustin Jacoby (205)
*Krzysztof Jotko (185.5) vs. Sean Strickland (185.5)
*Cody Stamann (135.5) vs. Merab Dvalishvili (135.5)
*Poliana Botelho (125.5) vs. Luana Carolina (128.5*)

PRELIMINARY CARD (7 pm ET on ESPN2 and ESPN+)

*Randa Markos (115) vs. Luana Pinheiro (115.5)
*Gabriel Benitez (150.5*) vs. Jonathan Pearce (146) – Benitez missed weight by 4.5 pounds and Pearce has stated that the fight is now off the card
*Kai Kamaka III (146) vs. T.J. Brown (145.5)
*Sam Hughes (115.5) vs. Loma Lookboonmee (116)
*K.B. Bhullar (186) vs. Andreas Michailidis (185.5)
*Luke Sanders (145.5) vs. Felipe Colares (145.5)

**The PFL held the second event of its regular season on Thursday night highlighted by a strong performance from Rory MacDonald, submitting Curtis Millender in the opening round of their welterweight fight. MacDonald dominated the pace and worked for a takedown where he easily took the back, exercised patience, and locked on a rear-naked choke for the submission and six points for his victory. The ESPN 2 main card did 136,000 viewers and 0.03 in the 18-49 demo finishing 146th for the night. Last Friday’s regular-season opener did 156,000 and 0.04.

In the PFL, you earn three points per victory and additional points if you earn a stoppage with a maximum of three points for a first-round finish. The PFL has a great production with a lot of information on the screen regarding statistics, fan voting for each round, and even tracking the speed of certain strikes, which I find to be excessive and not all that valuable for the viewer. Next week’s show is a big one for the PFL with the debut of former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum and the promotion’s biggest star Kayla Harrison competing.

Their play-by-play broadcaster is former fighter Sean O’Connell, who won a previous PFL tournament and is very good in the role. The transition for fighters has always been towards the analyst role but O’Connell has the broadcasting experience and does very well in the role, which is super unique for MMA.

Below are the results from Thursday’s card:
*Rory MacDonald def. Curtis Millender by rear-naked choke at 3:38 of Round 1
*Ray Cooper III def. Jason Ponet by arm-triangle choke at 1:23 of Round 1
*Joao Zeferino def. Gleison Tibau by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Emiliano Sordi def. Chris Camozzi by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-28)
*Antonio Carlos Junior def. Tom Lawlor by guillotine choke at 4:43 of Round 1
*Cezar Ferreira def. Nick Roehrick by knockout at 0:37 of Round 1
*Sadibou Sy vs. Nikolay Aleksakhin ended in a no-contest due to an accidental eye poke at 1:56 of Round 2
*Marthin Hamlet def. Dan Spohn by technical submission at 0:52 of Round 2

Antonio Carlos Junior and Cezar Ferreira both earned six points in the light heavyweight standings while Marthin Hamlet received five, and Emiliano Sordi has three points. In the welterweight standings, MacDonald and Cooper III received six points, and Zeferino received three points. Next week’s card features fights in the heavyweight and women’s lightweight divisions.

**LFA has a card tonight at 9 pm ET on UFC Fight Pass headlined by a light heavyweight fight between Joshua Silveira and Rafael Viana. The co-main features a lightweight bout between Terrance McKinney and Luis Gavinho.

**Combate Global will be holding a live event next Friday, May 7th at Midnight ET on Univision and TUDN USA from Miami, Florida. The event is called “Superfly” featuring all flyweight fights featuring Juan Puerta (21-6) facing Lloyd McKinney (14-7) among the six fights advertised. The fight card will re-air the next day on Televisa Nueve in Mexico at 5 pm local time.

**Brandon Vera is scheduled to defend the ONE Championship heavyweight title against former UFC fighter Arjan Bhullar at ONE’s event on 5/15 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. It’s a pre-taped event with the promotion noting it won’t be live.

**You knew we were in store for many follow-ups – Official Celebrity Boxing was announced for Friday, June 11th on pay-per-view. In the main event, former NBA player Lamar Odom will box Aaron Carter (the brother of Nick Carter from the Backstreet Boys). The pay-per-view is listed at $29.99.

ON THIS DATE

 

*****
POST PURORESU: Japan State of Emergency, NJPW, NOAH
WH Park is joined by Karen Peterson to discuss Japan’s State of Emergency and its effects on the Tokyo Olympics, recent happenings in New Japan Pro Wrestling, All Japan’s Champion Carnival, NOAH’s big Nagoya show, and the upcoming IWGP U.S. Title match happening on AEW Dynamite: Jon Moxley vs Yuji Nagata.
*****
POST MOVIE REVIEW: CREED II (2018)
John Pollock, Wai Ting and the returning Ed Boxler conclude their Rocky retrospective with a review of Creed II (2018) as Adonis Creed faces Viktor Drago, son of Ivan Drago, the man responsible for the death of his father, Apollo Creed.
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BTWA: The Rise & Fall of ECW (2004)
Martin Bushby & Andrew Thompson are joined by wrestling historian and author John Lister to look back at the documentary, The Rise & Fall of ECW from 2004.
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REWIND-A-DYNAMITE 4/28/21: Inner Circle-Pinnacle Parley, Darby Allin vs. 10
John Pollock & Wai Ting review AEW Dynamite featuring Inner Circle vs. Pinnacle in “The Parley” ahead of Blood & Guts, plus Darby Allin vs. 10 in a TNT title match. Plus: NHL-Turner, Drake Wuertz and more in today’s news.
*****
SHOT IN THE DARK
NJPW Strong crowns its first openweight champion, an NXT UK tag team reunites, and reviews of AEW Dark, Elevation, ROH, 205 Live, NWA Powerrr and more in under 15 minutes.
*****
upNXT 4/27/21: Indi Heartbreak
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review the April 27th, 2021 episode of WWE NXT featuring Legado Del Fantasma vs MSK & KUSHIDA in the main event!
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REWIND-A-RAW 4/26/21: WWE Raw, Roddy Piper & Miz doc reviews
John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE Raw with Braun Strowman attempting to get into the Universal title match at Backlash. Plus: Piper & Miz doc reviews, IMPACT Rebellion, UFC 261, and more.
*****
DEEP IMPACT 4/25/21: IMPACT Rebellion 2021 Review
Davie Portman and John Siino review IMPACT Rebellion 2021 featuring Kenny Omega vs Rich Swann for the AEW and Unified IMPACT World Heavyweight Championships!
*****

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About John Pollock 2500 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling.He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.