POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: AEW viewers, Orton on cinematic matches

AEW viewership drops, Canadian figures, Randy Orton on cinematic matches, UFC 262 weigh-ins, Cesaro on Heyman pairing & King of Gate begins.

Photo Courtesy: All Elite Wrestling


**The May 2021 edition of the ASK-A-WAI Mailbag Show is available for all members of the POST Wrestling Café. Wai Ting and I go through all the mailbag questions discussing Bill Goldberg’s run in WWE in 2003-04, best live crowd experiences we have had, the popularity and appeal of Botchamania, favorite fights from Strikeforce, journalism, and many other subjects.

**Wai Ting will be joined by guest co-host Kate from Montreal for Rewind-A-SmackDown tonight at 10:15 pm ET. The two will review Friday Night SmackDown and preview this Sunday’s WrestleMania Backlash event, plus take your phone calls covering all topics. This show is live for all members of the POST Wrestling Café and will be available to download for Patrons later tonight.

**On Saturday, Phil Chertok and I will be hosting the UFC 262 POST Show on the POST Wrestling YouTube immediately after the pay-per-view ends. The two of us will share our thoughts on the fights with a rundown of the event and be taking your calls. Throughout UFC 262, you can interact with other listeners on the POST Discord channel.

**On Sunday, Wai Ting and I are LIVE with the WrestleMania Backlash POST Show immediately after the pay-per-view. This show will be live for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**We have several interviews on the site this week including a one-hour chat with Les Thatcher with plenty of stories involving his work promoting the four Brian Pillman Memorial cards from 1998-2001, his relationship with Brian, attending the funeral, producing segments for WWF, his thoughts on Dark Side of the Ring, and the new Brian Pillman Memorial Anthology they have released.


Tonight: Rewind-A-SmackDown (10:15 pm ET for all POST Wrestling Café members)
Saturday: UFC 262 POST Show with John Pollock & Phil Chertok (LIVE on POST’s YouTube channel)
Sunday: WrestleMania Backlash POST Show (LIVE for Double Double+ members after the show)
Monday: Rewind-A-Raw with John & Wai (LIVE at 11:15 pm ET for Double Double+ members)


**AEW Dynamite averaged 936,000 viewers and 0.31 in the 18-49 demographic this past Wednesday. The overall viewership was down 14.1 percent and the demo dropped 26 percent from last week’s Blood & Guts figures. It was also Dynamite’s lowest 18-49 number since NXT moved to Tuesday nights last month. Showbuzz Daily has not posted the complete chart and therefore, we only have several pieces of information regarding the numbers, which were reported by PW Torch.

In Canada, Dynamite was going against both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Blue Jays’ games and averaged 118,900 viewers on TSN 2. The show averaged 62,700 in the 25-54 demo. Last week’s Blood & Guts show in Canada averaged 161,000 viewers and 97,000 in the 25-54 demo.

**I have a lengthy review of the Nick Gage episode of Dark Side of the Ring from Thursday night.

**AEW has added a tag match with Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston against The Acclaimed for Dynamite next Wednesday on TNT. Moxley & Kingston will challenge The Young Bucks for the AEW Tag Team Championship at Double or Nothing on May 30th.

**AEW put tickets on sale Friday for its three Dynamite tapings in July where they will leave Daily’s Place. The company is set to travel to Miami, Florida for the July 7th edition of the show, which will be its first outside of Daily’s Place since March 11th, 2020. Tickets are also on sale for the two dates in Texas with the July 14th edition of Dynamite in Cedar Park and July 21st in Garland. Monday is another big on-sale date for AEW with tickets available for Double or Nothing in two weeks and Daily’s Place opened at full capacity.

**Friday Night SmackDown takes place tonight at 8 pm ET on FOX with the final episode before WrestleMania Backlash this Sunday. Below are the announced matches for tonight’s show:
*Women’s Tag Team Championship: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (champions) vs. Natalya & Tamina

**Dave Meltzer reports in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Chris Jericho suffered a dislocated elbow from the fall off of the cage last week during the Blood & Guts Match. Meltzer assumes Jericho will be working the Stadium Stampede match since the angle was shot this past Wednesday but beyond that match (where you can work around the limitations and hide things), he is expected to be out of action for 4-6 weeks.

**A&E has posted an extended trailer for this Sunday’s Biography special on Shawn Michaels airing at 8 pm ET. The trailer features comments from his wife Rebecca, Vince McMahon, Paul Levesque, Kevin Nash, Ric Flair, Bret Hart, Steve Austin, and Mark Calaway. Shawn has been very open over the years about his problems, his past drug issues, and how difficult he was. Given his current placement with the company and the redemptive nature of his story, I would suspect that they will tackle a lot of those issues. It’s a given that the Survivor Series ’97 is going to be covered both in this one and the upcoming episode on Bret Hart, which will be our latest chapters covering the story and should be exhausting. The remaining A&E specials following Michaels will be Ultimate Warrior on May 23rd (four days before the Dark Side of the Ring airs on the same subject), Mick Foley on May 30th, and Bret Hart on June 6th.

**Randy Orton appeared on The Kurt Angle Show and shared his thoughts on the usage of cinematic match concepts by WWE over the past year and how his opinion of them has changed:

You know if you asked that same question a year or two ago, I would have shit all over the cinematic matches thing. But, that being said, now we’re here now, I guess ‘Mania 36 watching Cena vs. Bray – I thought that was brilliant and I don’t know if this has come out in an interview but Bruce Prichard and John Cena were out in the warehouse in Connecticut and they were walking around just trying to think how they were going to do this and how they were going to make it different. They saw all the props from all the history of the WWE and God knows what else was in there – the N.W.O. stuff, all kinds of props and I think it was Cena’s idea. He went to Bruce and was like, ‘this is what we do’. They did a whole history of John Cena throwing in the ‘what ifs’. Different timelines, like, there was a multiverse of WWE and ‘what if John Cena would have been in the N.W.O.?’ and ‘what if John Cena had done this instead of this?’ and I thought that cinematic match was awesome. The Undertaker vs. AJ match, I thought it was awesome and I thought it was great for ‘Taker to go out in that manner and it was different. I think people will remember it more, that man has had 10,000 matches give or take a few and that one was different than all those other ones. I think if it’s done right with the right talent and the right story, I think the cinematic matches thing works. I think that, like anything, you can overdo it too but I’m all for them in the right time and place and with the right performers.

**Asuka spoke with ET Canada’s Shakiel Mahjouri and shared an instance where she experienced racism during an encounter with a woman at an airport:

I have only one experience with racism. It was around the time when COVID-19 started spreading. In America, I was at the airport. A woman came towards me. When she noticed me, she covered her mouth with her hand and ran away from me. I was shocked. It never happened before COVID-19. Oh my gosh. I didn’t understand. I was shocked.

**Cesaro spoke with Steven Muehlhausen of DAZN about his match with Roman Reigns this Sunday and working his way to this position. Cesaro was asked about his pairing with Paul Heyman in 2014 and Heyman’s own reflection that it wasn’t the right time for the pairing given the focus on Heyman’s alliance with Brock Lesnar following the end of The Undertaker’s streak:

I’ll say this much. I learned a whole lot from Paul, and I still do. But I agree 100 percent with Paul’s assessment because that’s 100 percent right. Paul used that opportunity to talk about Brock Lesnar and, I was second fiddle at that point. He even said that in the Talking Smack interview that he did. He said that he knows that alliance was more beneficial to him than it was for me. But you know what, despite that, I’m here today, challenging Roman Reigns on Sunday. I’m here despite not being picked, not being “The Guy” chosen by powers that be. I’m still here because of what I bring to the table. I feel that speaks for itself.

**Below are the matches for tonight’s episode of 205 Live at 10 pm ET on the WWE Network:
*Ari Sterling vs. Tony Nese
*Ariya Daivari vs. Asher Hale

**Here are the matches listed for tonight’s edition of NJPW Strong airing at 10 pm ET on New Japan World:
*Elimination Match: Tom Lawlor, Chris Dickinson, JR Kratos & Danny Limelight vs. Brody King, Karl Fredericks, TJP & Clark Connors
*El Phantasmo & Hikuleo vs. Fred Rosser & Lio Rush
*Rocky Romero vs. AJZ

**IMPACT Wrestling is back with its ‘Under Siege’ special on Saturday at 8 pm ET. The special airs on IMPACT Plus & FITE TV with a six-way main event to determine who will challenge Kenny Omega for the IMPACT Championship. Below is the full card:
*Six-Way #1 Contenders Match: Sami Callihan vs. Matt Cardona vs. Moose vs. Trey Miguel vs. Chris Bey vs. Chris Sabin
*Kenny Omega & The Good Brothers vs. Eddie Edwards, Juice Robinson & David Finlay
*Knockouts Championship: Deonna Purrazzo (champion) vs. Havok
*X Division Championship: Josh Alexander (champion) vs. El Phantasmo
*Knockouts Tag Team Championship: Jordynne Grace & Rachael Ellering (champions) vs. Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz
*W. Morrissey vs. Willie Mack
*Taylor Wilde & Tenille Dashwood vs. Kimber Lee & Susan
*Brian Myers vs. Black Taurus
*#1 Contenders Match: Ace Austin & Madman Fulton vs. TJP & Petey Williams vs. Rohit Raju & Shera vs. XXXL

**Game Changer Wrestling presents ‘Draft Day’ on Saturday night at 11 pm ET on FITE TV with the following matches announced:
*GCW Championship: Nick Gage (champion) vs. AJ Gray
*Ricky Marvin vs. Jordan Oliver
*Lio Rush vs. Starboy Charlie
*Joey Janela vs. Allie Kat
*Dark Sheik vs. Effy
*Chris Dickinson vs. Bad Dude Tito
*Jimmy Lloyd vs. Jack Cartwheel
*Eli Everfly, Damian Drake & Matt Vandagriff vs. Mance Warner, 1 Called Manders & Matthew Justice

**Dragon Gate kicked off its ‘King of Gate’ round-robin tournament on Friday with an empty arena show at the Dragon Gate Studio. There are three blocks with the fourth semi-finalist to be determined by a battle royal. The tournament will run over the course of fifteen events and wraps up on June 3rd. Below are the results from Friday’s show with wins worth two points (courtesy: Purolove.com):
*BLOCK B: Dragon Kid over SB Kento
*BLOCK C: Kaito Ishida over HYO
*BLOCK B: Eita over Jason Lee
*BLOCK A: Naruki Doi over Ben-K
*BLOCK C: UT over Keisuke Okuda
*BLOCK A: Takashi Yoshida over BxB Hulk
*BLOCK B: Susumu Yokosuka over Kzy
*BLOCK A: Kota Minomura over Diamante
*BLOCK C: YAMATO over Shun Skywalker

**Stardom’s Cinderella tournament is down to the final four after Friday’s event at Korakuen Hall that drew 546. The semi-finals and finals take place on the new date of June 12th at Ota Ward Gymnasium and will feature Unagi Sayaka vs. Maika, and Himeka vs. Saya Kamitani.


**The UFC 262 weigh-ins took place on Friday with one fighter missing weight. Rogerio Bontorin was one pound above the bantamweight limit and was fined 20 percent of his purse but will remain on the card for his fight with Matt Schnell on the pay-per-view portion.

Here is the full card with results from the weigh-ins:

MAIN CARD (10 pm ET on pay-per-view)

*UFC Lightweight Championship: Michael Chandler (155) vs. Charles Oliveira (155)
*Beneil Dariush (156) vs. Tony Ferguson (156)
*Matt Schnell (136) vs. Rogerio Bontorin (137*)
*Katlyn Chookagian (126) vs. Viviane Araujo (126)
*Edson Barboza (146) vs. Shane Burgos (146)


*Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (186) vs. Andre Muniz (186)
*Lando Vannata (146) vs. Mike Grundy (146)
*Jordan Wright (185) vs. Jamie Pickett (186)
*Andrea Lee (126) vs. Antonina Shevchenko (125)

*Gina Mazany (126) vs. Priscila Cachoeira (126)
*Kevin Aguilar (145) vs. Tucker Lutz (146)
*Sean Soriano (156) vs. Christos Giagos (156)

**ONE Championship is airing a tape-delayed card on Saturday morning at 6 am ET on B/R Live headlined by Brandon Vera (16-8) defending the ONE heavyweight championship against Arjan Bhullar (10-1). The rest of the card includes Bi Nguyen (5-6) vs. Ritu Phogat (4-0), Ayaka Miura (10-3) vs. Rayane Bastos (4-0-1), and Roshan Mainam (6-2) vs. Gary Mangat (15-3).

**PFL fighter and Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison spoke with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani earlier this week. Harrison (9-0) will continue to fight for PFL in its female lightweight division with her contract set to expire after the 2021 season. The 30-year old is in an interesting spot as she outlined in the interview that her desire is to be the top female fighter in the world and that would require fighting the best female talent, which isn’t in PFL. This comes right after she destroyed Mariana Morais last week in 1:23 to keep her undefeated record. Harrison can make a lot of money in the PFL with their seasonal structure and $1 million prize for the winner each season but it’s a very shallow division where Harrison is head and shoulders above the other fighters. She trains at American Top Team, although revealed in the interview she no longer spars with Amanda Nunes, which is a fight the UFC would want to make if they were to sign Harrison. There are no featherweight contenders for Nunes, and Harrison proved she can make the featherweight limit when she fought for Invicta FC last November.

**Former welterweight contender Dan Hardy confirmed to MMA Fighting that he has received his release from the UFC. Hardy hasn’t fought since September 2012 when it was discovered he had Wolff-Parkinson White syndrome, which is a heart issue that can be taken care of with a procedure but wasn’t one Hardy was interested in. Hardy served as a UFC broadcaster but was released from that contract earlier this year. Hardy would appear free to explore options if he wants to return to fighting. He fought from 2004 to 2012 with a record of 25-10 and 1 no contest. He challenged Georges St-Pierre for the welterweight title in March 2010 losing by unanimous decision.

**The UFC has cut nine fighters from the roster with MMA Fighting reporting that the promotion has cut KB Bhullar, Anthony Birchka, Luke Sanders, Justine Kish, Bartosz Fabinski, Yorgan De Castro, Jordan Griffin, Aalon Cruz, and Oskar Piechota. Piechota had just received a 22-month suspension from USADA after testing positive for a growth hormone-releasing peptide.

**Episode 5 of UFC Embedded prior to UFC 262 on Saturday.

**Bellator has released its full card for Bellator 259 next Friday on Showtime. The main card is headlined by Cris Cyborg defending the women’s featherweight championship against Leslie Smith in a rematch from May 2016 when they fought for the UFC. The card will also feature Darrion Caldwell (15-4) vs. Leandro Higo (20-5), Austin Vanderford (10-0) vs. Fabian Edwards (9-1), Jaleel Willis (14-2) vs. Maycon Mendonca (11-4), and Christian Edwards (4-0) vs. Ben Parrish (4-1).


Ben Rothwell vs. Chris Barnett (Fight Bananas)

Islam Makhachev vs. Thiago Moises at UFC Fight Night on July 17 (ESPN)

Jeremy Stephens vs. Mateusz Gamrot at UFC Fight Night on July 17 (MMA Junkie)

Andre Ewell vs. Julio Arce at UFC Fight Night on July 24 (MMA Fighting)

Uriah Hall vs. Sean Strickland at UFC 265 on August 7 (ESPN)



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John Pollock and Wai Ting answer their patrons’ questions from the POST Wrestling Forum in the May 2021 edition of Ask-A-Wai.
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John Pollock speaks with Les Thatcher on the release of the Brian Pillman Memorial Anthology and his memories of Brian.
REWIND-A-DYNAMITE 5/12/21: Three Championship Matches
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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.
upNXT 5/11/21: “Come to Hit Row”
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review the May 11th 2021 episode of WWE NXT featuring KUSHIDA vs Santos Escobar in a 2 Out Of 3 Falls Match for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship!
POST INTERVIEW: Sean Waltman, “Pro Wrestling 4 Life”
John Pollock speaks with Sean Waltman about his “Pro Wrestling 4 Life” podcast and some of the integral moments throughout his career.
REWIND-A-RAW 5/10/21: WM Backlash Go-Home, Booker T Biography
John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE Raw for the go-home show before WrestleMania Backlash, and a big discussion on the A&E Biography on Booker T.

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About John Pollock 5662 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.