POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Brock Lesnar, Cain Velasquez return this weekend

Brock Lesnar is back on SmackDown, Cain Velasquez wrestles for AAA, several GCW announcements, Dynamite & IMPACT viewership notes & more.

Photo Courtesy: AAA


**Rewind-A-SmackDown is live tonight at 11:15 p.m. ET with reviews of Friday Night SmackDown and AEW Rampage along with your phone calls. Wai Ting and I will be live for all members of the POST Wrestling Café with the show available for Patrons immediately afterward.

**This weekend, we will have a lot of coverage on the site with thecubsfan from Luchablog covering the TripleMania Regia card for the site, Eric Marcotte will have reviews of both Bellator 272 and the UFC Fight Night, John Siino will review NWA Hard Times 2, and Andrew Thompson and I will have coverage of NXT War Games this Sunday.

**Brandon Thurston and I did a great show on Thursday going through our ballots for the annual Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame along with thoughts on the most interesting candidates from the given regions.

**We have an obit on the site for “Irish” Pat Barrett, who died this past weekend and was a wrestler that traveled the world finding success in many countries including a run as one-half of the WWWF tag champions with Dominic DeNucci in 1975.

**On Sunday, Braden Herrington & Davie Portman will be doing a live Watch Along for NXT War Games beginning at 8 p.m. ET at Twitch.tv/upNXTpodcast. The Watch Along will be followed by the War Games POST Show with a full review of the card that will also stream live and be available to download on the site after.

**Brandon Thurston and Chris Gullo return Sunday night with Wrestlenomics Radio. There is also a new Wrestlenomics Discord chat that is available for all POST users.


**Friday Night SmackDown takes place from the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas tonight at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. The show is built around Brock Lesnar’s return from his storyline suspension and first appearance since the October 22nd episode. Lesnar is also advertised for next Friday’s show in Los Angeles, which was originally promoted as Lesnar buying a ticket to the show to get around the suspension but that’s clearly changed with the news of his suspension being over. Reigns and Lesnar is the clear destination and just a matter of how the road is paved for the inevitable rematch, which would seem, like the biggest card they have to play regarding Reigns’ program for WrestleMania. The program has been handled very well and there are still lots that can be incorporated with Paul Heyman as the middleman. Lesnar is advertised for the Royal Rumble and these two appearances on SmackDown should set the next chapter in motion for the feud.

**AEW Rampage is a taped episode from Duluth, Georgia, and airs at 10 p.m. ET tonight on TNT and streaming TSN Direct in Canada with the following matches:
*TNT Championship: Sammy Guevara (champion) vs. Tony Nese
*Jade Cargill vs. Janai Kai
*Penta El Zero M & PAC vs. FTR

**Dave Meltzer reported on Friday that the Thanksgiving Eve edition of AEW Dynamite grew 41 percent in 18-49 with the Live+7 DVR viewership figures, which is a big jump by the current standards of the show. On that night, the show averaged 408,000 viewers in 18-49, so the Live+7 numbers would bring the key audience to 575,000.

**Brandon Thurston at Wrestlenomics reports that IMPACT Wrestling averaged 96,000 viewers for Thursday night’s episode on AXS TV with 32,000 (0.02) in the 18-49 demographic. It’s a bounce back from last week’s Wrestle House 2 special on Thanksgiving that hit their all-time low on AXS with 48,000 viewers and 13,000 in 18-49. This week’s 18-49 number is IMPACT’s highest since October 28th following Bound for Glory and even topped the November 18th episode that featured Minoru Suzuki vs. Josh Alexander and did 129,000 viewers but only did 30,000 in the key demo.

**AAA presents TripleMania Regia on Saturday night from Monterrey with Cain Velasquez wrestling his first match in two years and a five-way for the vacant Mega Championship featuring several AEW talents. It’s the first show back on Fite TV allowing viewers outside of Mexico to stream the show, although thecubsfan at Luchablog found a workaround solution allowing international viewing on Twitch for the recent big shows. Fite TV will stream the top six matches out of the eight scheduled with the following airing at 7:30 p.m. ET:
*AAA Mega Championship: El Hijo del Vikingo vs. Samuray del Sol vs. Jay Lethal vs. Bobby Fish vs. Bandido
*Cain Velasquez, Pagano & Psycho Clown vs. L.A. Park, Rey Escorpion & Taurus
*AAA Tag Championship: FTR (champions) w/ Vickie Guerrero vs. Penta El Zero M & Rey Fenix
*Dragon Lee & Dralistico vs. Laredo Kid & TBA
*Chessman, Murder Clown & Dave the Clown vs. Sam Adonis, Puma King & DMT Azul
*Tito Santana, Carta Brava Jr. & Mocho Cota Jr. vs. Sanson, Forastero & Cuatrero vs. Abismo Negro Jr., Arez & Psicosis II)
*Dark match: Venenoide & Enganso vs. Gran Mazo & Leyenda Americana
*Dark match: Faby Apache, Lady Shani & Sexy Star II vs. Lady Maravilla, La Hiedra & Flammer

I’m curious to see the impact Velasquez has on general interest for this show. When he wrestled at TripleMania in 2019 we saw a lot of interest in our coverage of the show for the site and he was one of the major stars coming out of the event in 2019. I sense little to no buzz this time around but come Monday it could be a different story if he goes out and has a stellar performance that erases the memory of his WWE tenure.

**Justin Barrasso at SI.com reported that the original plan for TripleMania Regia after Kenny Omega vacated the Mega Championship was a four-way for the title. The site reports that the match would have included El Hijo del Vikingo, Laredo Kid, Dragon Lee, and Rey Fenix but was not executed due to three of the four being earmarked for other matches. The four-way with those names involved would have been stellar and likely a contender for Lucha match of the year given the main event billing on a big show and the sheer talent involved. Given Omega’s promo when he vacated the title, it would make the most sense for Vikingo to win the title and seems like the obvious choice out of the five.

**Rey Fenix will be wrestling on Saturday at TripleMania Regia in Monterrey, Mexico. On Wednesday’s edition of Dynamite, it was stated that he was injured and unable to participate in the 2-of-3 falls match with FTR that was being taped that night for Rampage. We were informed he wasn’t hurt with Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer reporting that it was a travel issue and that he is scheduled for the AAA tag title match on Saturday with Penta against FTR.

**Sportsnet 360 in Canada is advertising that they will be airing NXT War Games on Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET for those without the WWE Network in the country.

**Vickie Guerrero is going to be in the corner of FTR on Saturday night as their Spanish ambassador.

**Chris Dart at CBC.ca has a lengthy feature on Kenny Omega.

**GCW has back-to-back nights in Texas starting tonight with ‘So High’ from the Houston Premier Arena streaming on Fite TV at 9 p.m. ET with the following card:
*Bandido vs. Tony Deppen
*Alex Zayne vs. Ninja Mack
*Dante Leon vs. Jack Cartwheel
*Effy vs. Sadika
*Matthew Justice & AJ Gray vs. Keith & Mysterious Q
*Allie Katch vs. Gino Medina
*Nick Wayne vs. Atticus Cogar
*Lucha six-man tag

**AEW is holding two taping sessions for Dark at Universal Studios today at 2 and 7 p.m. ET. Those advertised for the sessions include Orange Cassidy, Eddie Kingston, Powerhouse Hobbs, Ricky Starks, Wardlow, Jade Cargill, and Kris Statlander.

**The Best of the Super Juniors tournament card took place in Tokorozawa today in front of 628 fans. SHO suffered his second loss of the tournament losing to El Phantasmo although the House of Torture member remains in first place with 12 points followed by El Desperado and Hiromu Takahashi with 9 each. El Phantasmo, Robbie Eagles, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, YOH, Taiji Ishimori, Ryusuke Taguchi, and BUSHI all have eight points. Below are today’s results:
*YOH (8 points) over El Desperado (9)
*Hiromu Takahashi (9) over Ryusuke Taguchi (8)
*El Phantasmo (8) over SHO (12)
*BUSHI (8) over Taiji Ishimori (8)
*Robbie Eagles (8) over DOUKI (4)
*Master Wato (6) over Yoshinobu Kanemaru (8)
*Non-tournament: Kosei Fujita and Ryohei Oiwa wrestled to a 10-minute draw

**The World Tag League continues Saturday in Yamanashi and streams live at 4:30 a.m. ET on New Japan World with the following matches including Shingo Takagi in singles action:
*Guerrillas of Destiny (8 points) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toru Yano (8)
*Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi (12) vs. EVIL & Yujiro (8)
*Tetsuya Naito & SANADA (10) vs. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan (4)
*Great O-Khan & Aaron Henare (10) vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma (2)
*Minoru Suzuki & Taka Michinoku (0) vs. Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI (10)
*Yuji Nagata & Tiger Mask (2) vs. Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens (10)
*Non-tournament: Shingo Takagi vs. Ryohei Oiwa

**All Japan’s Real-World Tag League tournament wraps up this Sunday at Korakuen Hall with the semi-finals and finals involving the four block winners from the round-robin portion.

**DDT’s D-Oh King Grand Prix also concludes on Sunday with a show at Korakuen Hall with Yuki Ueno facing Konosuke Takeshita in the final. Our own Mark Buckeldee has been covering all of the shows from the Grand Prix on his own site.

**NXT has its biggest event of the 2.0 era on Sunday night with War Games. While the promotion has dropped ‘TakeOver’ from its billing, the comparisons will still exist and that’s a set of lofty heights for the line-up. The men’s War Games has a lot of inexperienced talent but more than enough quality guys in there to keep this enticing and build a compelling story of the young guard attempting the usurp the veterans. It’s a match that seems designed for a major night of Bron Breakker’s career to stand tall and set up a rematch down the road with Tommaso Ciampa. The women’s War Games has a similar ratio of experienced veterans to young and lesser developed performers and the challenge is always to differentiate the matches from each other. It would appear Cora Jade is in the Breakker spot of the women’s match and has already pinned Mandy Rose on television. Going into the show, the most interesting topic is the futures of Kyle O’Reilly and Johnny Gargano that will naturally add more attention to the handling of those two on Sunday. It will also be Beth Phoenix’s final night on commentary for the brand although she’s noted she will still be part of WWE.

**Due to illness, Lady Frost is off the NWA Hard Times 2 event on Saturday night in Atlanta. Frost posted a statement explaining the situation and was scheduled to team with Natalia Markova in a triple threat match with NWA women’s tag champions Allysin Kay & Marti Belle and Kylie Rae & Tootie Lynn. The Hard Times 2 event streams on Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET headlined by Trevor Murdoch defending the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship against Mike Knox.

**Business Insider has a profile on Effy and what led him down the path of professional wrestling and creating an independent juggernaut for himself through his merchandising, streaming, and other tools that have led to a six-figure income without being signed to a major company.

**IMPACT has announced a mixed tag match with Knockouts Champion Mickie James teaming with Chris Sabin against Deonna Purrazzo & Matthew Rehwoldt for next Thursday’s edition of the show.

**Glory Pro Wrestling has announced that Davey Richards, Charli Evans, and Laynie Luck will be unable to wrestle on this Sunday’s show due to injuries. Richards added that he sustained a fractured rib. Glory Pro’s card on Sunday takes place from St. Louis at the South Broadway Athletic Club and will feature an appearance by Scott Steiner while also announcing Trish Adora vs. Blair Onyx.

**Game Changer Wrestling made a slew of announcements on Friday including the addition of Sabu for its 1/14 card ‘Most Notorious’ at Harpo’s Concert Theatre in Detroit, Michigan. The card will also feature Rhino and Ricky Morton with tickets going on sale today for the promotion’s return to the city.

**Colby Corino has been added to GCW’s events on 12/31 and 1/1 in Atlantic City, New Jersey at The Showboat. Both nights have 8 p.m. ET start times.

**Joey Janela will take on Drew Parker on the 1/1 show for GCW in Atlantic City.

**PCO has been added to the GCW event in Hoffman Estates, Illinois on 1/15 at the Grand Sports Arena.

**After holding its first event last weekend, the GCW subgroup LA Fights returns on 1/9 at 7 p.m. ET with a show at Don Quixote in Los Angeles and will stream live and free on the GCW YouTube channel.

**Larry Zbyszko was interviewed on It’s My Wrestling podcast with Chris Deez and spoke about working for Vince McMahon Sr:

He was an approachable and very smooth character. I mean, if you watched movies from the 1930s and 40s and 50s, Mr McMahon Senior was like the perfect promoter from an old movie. I mean, he’d be walking down the back of the garden and even have his cashmere long, light brown jacket on. He had this habit of always having like four or five quarters in his hand, and he’d like move them around a little bit. So you get here a little jingling and you know Vince is coming. But he was a classy guy, grey hair, always looked good. If someone had a good idea he’d do it. If somebody had a bad idea you know, he had agents like Gorilla monsoon, and obviously some of the guys if they kept bugging him too much and Vince knew that this is not a great idea he’d say you know what, that’s a good idea, I’m gonna go think about that. Then later that night, he go into one of the offices and see Gorilla Monsoon there and go – Gorilla. Fire that guy. So then it wasn’t Vince that was the bad guy it was one of those agents. One of the middlemen, but that’s the way the business had to go in those days.

**The WWE stock closed at $49.42 on Friday.


**Bellator 272 has a great main event tonight with Sergio Pettis (21-5) defending the 135-pound championship against former champion Kyoji Horiguchi (29-3). Pettis is making the first defense of his championship after winning the title this past May and has been victorious in his past four fights. Horiguchi won the bantamweight title in June 2019 from Darrion Caldwell but had to vacate due to injury. The challenger last fought on New Year’s Eve 2020 where he avenged a loss to Kai Asakura in RIZIN with a TKO victory. In August 2019, Asakura ended a 13-fight win streak for Horiguchi.

Below are the fights on tonight’s main card airing at 10 p.m. ET tonight on Showtime:
*Bantamweight Championship: Sergio Pettis (champion) vs. Kyoji Horiguchi
*Emmanuel Sanchez vs. Jeremy Kennedy
*Jared Scoggins vs. Josh Hill
*Collin Huckbody vs. Johnny Eblen

**The UFC Fight Night card on Saturday features the other great bantamweight fight this weekend as former 145-pound champion Jose Aldo takes on Rob Font. Font has won his last four fights but has been stalled by inactivity given those four fights go back to December 2018 and this is the first time he’s had two fights in a calendar year since 2018. Aldo was unsuccessful against Petr Yan last year but rebounded with decision victories against Marlon Vera and Pedro Munhoz over the past year. Frankly, it’s remarkable Aldo has found the magic formula to make bantamweight seamlessly with four successful weight cuts after having a notorious time cutting down to make 145 when he ruled that division. The Fight Night card also had a must-see contest between Rafael Fiziev and Brad Riddell involving two rising contenders at lightweight of which the winner will be poised for big things in 2022 with a win on Saturday.

Here is the full card for Saturday night’s show with the main card airing on ESPN in the U.S:

MAIN CARD (10 p.m. ET on ESPN)

*Jose Aldo (136) vs. Rob Font (134)
*Rafael Fiziev (155.5) vs. Brad Riddell (155.5)
*Jimmy Crute (205.5) vs. Jamahal Hill (205)
*Leonardo Santos (156) vs. Clay Guida (155) – This will be Guida’s 32nd fight in the UFC going back to October 2006 and has lost three of his last four
*Brendan Allen (185.5) vs. Chris Curtis (185)
*Mickey Gall (170.5) vs. Alex Morono (170.5)


*Maki Pitolo (184.5) vs. Dusko Todorovic (185.5)
*Manel Kape (125.5) vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov (125.5)
*Bryan Barberena (170.5) vs. Darian Weeks (170) – Weeks is replacing Matt Brown on short notice
*Mallory Martin (115) vs. Cheyanne Vlismas (115.5)
*Alonzo Menifield (205.5) vs. William Knight (206)
*Chris Gruetzemacher (156) vs. Claudio Puelles (155)
*Jared Vanderaa (265) vs. Azamat Murzakanov (216.5)
*Vince Morales (135.5) vs. Louis Smolka (135.5) – a rare instance of a fighter in Smolka that both been a headliner and opened the prelims

**The heavyweight fight between Azamat Murzakanov and Jared Vanderaa for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card has been pulled due to COVID-19 protocols. The news was shared by Jon Anik after Friday’s weigh-ins.

**The UFC made a surprising cut this week with the news that Kevin Lee has been released. Guilherme Cruz and Damon Martin of MMA Fighting reported that Lee has been released by the promotion after being with the UFC for eight years. Lee, 29, is coming off losses to Charles Oliveira in March 2020 and Daniel Rodriguez this past August. He was recently suspended for six months after testing positive for amphetamines after losing the fight to Rodriguez with Lee later coming out to state that he takes Adderall for ADHD. Lee’s biggest fight for the promotion occurred in October 2017 when he fought Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight title after Lee had won five straight fights before being submitted by Ferguson. His last win was a major knockout win over Gregor Gillespie at UFC 244 in November 2019 at Madison Square Garden.


A 17-year old Jeff Hardy wrestles King Kong Bundy on the WWF Action Zone:

WWF attempted a Tuesday night pay-per-view ‘Tuesday in Texas’ in 1991 immediately after the Survivor Series that year. The company would attempt the same experiment years later with the ‘Taboo Tuesday’ concept that didn’t succeed either on the unfamiliar night:

A horrific WWE pay-per-view in 2006 with ECW’s December to Dismember. The fallout of this match resulted in Paul Heyman leaving the creative end of the brand and would eventually wind up in OVW before leaving the company until his return in 2012 as Brock Lesnar’s manager.

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Braden Herrington and Davie Portman talk about the November 30th, 2021 edition of WWE NXT 2.0 featuring the go-home show for War Games.
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John Pollock & Wai Ting review WCW Starrcade 1997 featuring Hollywood Hogan vs. Sting in one of the most anticipated and disappointing matches in WCW history.

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About John Pollock 5646 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.