POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Nikki Bella confirms she’s cleared, Tony Khan teases surprise, MLW lawsuit breakdown

Tony Khan hints at a surprise tonight, a breakdown of the MLW lawsuit, Nikki Bella confirms she is cleared, NWA adds title match & more.

Photo Credit: WWE


**Rewind-A-Dynamite will be live tonight at 10:15 p.m. ET with Wai Ting joined by guest co-host Bruce Lord to review AEW Dynamite from Raleigh, North Carolina.

**The POST Daily News Show for Wednesday features Wai Ting and Andrew Thompson going through all the major news items. Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics stopped by to discuss the MLW lawsuit filed on Tuesday against WWE. Plus, a discussion on Tuesday’s episode of NXT 2.0, WWE Raw ratings, a preview of Dynamite tonight & more.

**On Rewind-A-Wai #101, Wai Ting and I reviewed the VHS release of ‘Cause Stone Cold Said So from 1997. The 60-minute piece is narrated by Steve Austin during his rise after winning the King of the Ring, the feud with Bret Hart, and going into the summer of ’97 before things exploded the following year. The two of us discussed the time period and explained the video distribution for the promotion in Canada, the difficulty of tracking down tapes before 1998. This was a fun show and is available to all members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**The annual MMA Prediction Show with Ariel Helwani and I will premiere on Thursday at 1 p.m. ET on the POST YouTube channel.


**AEW Dynamite takes place tonight from the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina with over 4,700 tickets out for the show. Below are the matches advertised for Dynamite tonight at 8 p.m. ET on TBS and TSN 2 in Canada:
*Interim TNT Championship: Sammy Guevara (champion) vs. Daniel Garcia
*CM Punk vs. Wardlow
*Serena Deeb vs. Hikaru Shida
*Powerhouse Hobbs vs. Dante Martin
*Penta El Zero M vs. Matt Hardy
*Hangman Page speaks

Tony Khan is teasing that there may be a surprise on tonight’s show.

**Nikki & Brie Bella spoke about the announcement that both will be part of the women’s Royal Rumble later this month in St. Louis. On The Bellas Podcast they discussed the news being revealed on Friday Night SmackDown:
*Both were surprised WWE announced the news because they often keep it a surprise but understood from a marketing point of view and allow their fanbase to attend knowing they are part of the match.
*Nikki officially got cleared to return a few weeks ago. Over the holidays in Phoenix, she saw her surgeon and they opened the clinic for her several days before Christmas. She had scans on her brain, neck, and other areas before receiving the go-ahead.
*Nikki said she’d love to win the Royal Rumble and go after the women’s tag titles instead of one of the women’s championships.

**On Tuesday, MLW Media LLC filed a lawsuit against World Wrestling Entertainment in the U.S. District Court of Northern California that alleges WWE intentionally interfered with contractual relations, intentionally interfered with prospective economic relations, violated section two of the Sherman Antitrust Act, and more. In the 19-page lawsuit, MLW alleges:
*WWE maintains dominance in the marketplace through ‘unfair and anticompetitive business practices, including poaching talent, misappropriating confidential information, interfering with competitors’ contracts and cutting off competitors’ access to their viewing audiences.’ They specifically cite ‘airing without authority MLW wrestling footage, inducing MLW wrestlers under exclusive contracts with MLW to terminate those contracts, and encouraging MLW wrestlers to breach their contracts with MLW by disclosing MLW’s confidential and proprietary business information.’
*MLW alleges that WWE interfered in its broadcast agreement with VICE TV that where the broadcaster had agreed to air MLW archival footage and engage in negotiations to expand the agreement to air new licensed programs. MLW claims that former WWE senior vice president Susan Levison contacted VICE relaying that Vince McMahon is “pissed” they are airing MLW content and wanted them to stop. Allegedly, the VICE representative countered that “I think that it is illegal what you’re doing” regarding the potential antitrust violation, to which Levison responded that she could not control McMahon. The suit states WWE had leverage over VICE regarding the broadcaster’s reliance on wrestling programming noting Dark Side of the Ring, which often focuses on WWE, and that A&E owns a 20 percent stake in VICE, which WWE does business with.
*MLW only aired one special on VICE with the October 7, 2021, broadcast of ‘Fightland’ that averaged 40,000 viewers and 16,000 (0.01) in the 18-49 demographic featuring a Title vs. Title match between Jacob Fatu and Alex Hammerstone. They also aired several replays of Fusion earlier in the year.
*In 2021, MLW states that they were on the cusp of announcing a streaming deal with the Fox-owned Tubi service. The suit outlines that once WWE was aware of the deal, Stephanie McMahon contacted a Tubi executive and threatened to cease doing business with Fox and would pull important programs from Fox platforms if they aired MLW, and the deal was killed on the day before the press release going out to announce the agreement.
*MLW cites lost momentum, had to make two event cancellations, and encountered a 40 percent drop in ticket sales as a result of the lost Tubi deal and unable to resume past negotiations with other services they had been in talks with.
*MLW says it was approached by FITE TV about a media rights offer that would pay MLW, which the promotion was interested in but was abandoned by FITE. The promotion discovered that FITE’s Gregg Bernard, who was its executive advisor of corporate development was also working with WWE as its senior vice president of strategic operations at the same time. On Bernard’s LinkedIn profile it states he worked for WWE from August 2018 until June 2021 with the title described above.
*No dollar figure is being listed from MLW, but they are seeking ‘compensatory, treble, and exemplary damages and are requesting a jury trial.
*MLW is being represented by Jason Takenouchi and Marc Kasowitz of Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP.

**Brandon Thurston noted on the POST Daily News Show today that Marc Kasowitz had represented former U.S. President Donald Trump for many years including during the Russian interference case during his presidency and left the White House legal team in 2017. He has also represented Bill O’Reilly.

**There is an interesting story to watch regarding the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The group announced a few weeks ago it was reconsidering the definition of what constitutes an independent contractor and if a more realistic standard is needed. The board is also asking whether the very act of classifying one as an independent contractor improperly is a violation of the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRB is seeking public comment on whether to abandon the current standards for the definition.

**Tony Schiavone announced on his What Happened When podcast that an extension has been picked up by AEW, although he did not note the length of the extension. He has been with the company since 2019 and was on the premiere broadcast of Dynamite.

**The NWA has added a match between NWA women’s champion Kamille and Taryn Terrell for the Powerrr Trip pay-per-view on Saturday, February 12th.

**MLW has added a triple threat match for the middleweight championship at its Blood & Thunder event on January 21st. Champion Yoshihiro Tajiri will defend the title against Myron Reed and a mystery participant at Gilley’s in Dallas, Texas. The card includes a Texas Tornado match for the world tag team titles between 5150 and The Von Erichs, a Falls Count Anywhere match for the world heavyweight title between Alex Hammerstone and Pagano, and Alex Kane defending the national openweight championship against Calvin Tankman.

**Jeff Jarrett was recently interviewed on The Business of The Business podcast with Lavie Margolin and John Pozarowski.

**Pro Wrestling NOAH has released the match between Katsuhiko Nakajima and Go Shiozaki from January 1st.

**The Bristol Herald Courier has a great story on Jim Crockett Sr., who died in April 1973 and the patriarch of the Crockett family that ran the Carolinas.


**UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski (23-1) will defend the 145-pound title against Chan Sung Jung (17-6) on Saturday, April 9th at a location to be determined for UFC 273. Ariel Helwani confirmed the fight that will be featured on the same card as the bantamweight championship fight between champion Aljamain Sterling and interim champion Petr Yan. Jung became the new challenger after Max Holloway could not fight on that date with the listed reason being due to injury. There was speculation whether Giga Chikadze (14-2), who is undefeated in the UFC, could snag the title fight with a big win this Saturday against Calvin Kattar but instead, they went with Jung. Originally, the UFC 273 card was expected to take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn but Helwani says that it’s unlikely the card ends up there.

**A huge grudge fight between Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington is expected to headline UFC 272 on Saturday, March 5th with Helwani reporting that the two fighters have verbally agreed to the fight. It is a rare non-championship main event for a pay-per-view. The former ATT teammates had a big falling out and the feud has brewed for some time. Masvidal (35-15) is coming back-to-back losses to welterweight champion Kamaru Usman including a vicious knockout in his last fight at UFC 261 last April. Covington (16-3) is also coming off a loss to Usman after losing by unanimous decision last November at UFC 268.

**Invicta FC returns tonight with a free show streaming on the Invicta FC YouTube channel at 8 p.m. ET. The card is headlined by a rematch for the atomweight 105-pound championship with Alesha Zappitella defending her title against Jessica Delboni. Their first fight took place last May where Zappitella won by split decision in her first defense of the championship. Delboni bounced back the next month with a decision win over Lindsey VanZandt and will receive a second crack at the title tonight. Below is the full list of fights:
*Atomweight Championship: Alesha Zappitella vs. Jessica Delboni
*Catchweight (153.4 pounds): Ramona Pascual vs. Shamir Peshewa – Peshewa missed weight as the fight was originally set for a 150 pound catchweight
*Bantamweight: Hailey Cowan vs. Monica Franco
*Flyweight: Elise Pone vs. Helen Peralta
*Atomweight: Tamika Jones vs. Katie Saull
*Catchweight (138.4 pounds): Maria Favela vs. Sarah Kleczka – Favela missed weight for the bantamweight fight

**Ariel Helwani reported on Tuesday night that the featherweight fight between Movsar Evloev and Ilia Topuria at UFC 270 is off due to a health issue with Evloev. Helwani adds that the hope is to keep Topuria on the card next weekend at the Honda Center in Anaheim.

**Charles Rosa (14-6) is stepping in to replace Gabriel Benitez on this Saturday’s UFC Fight Night event against T.J. Brown (15-8). The fight was set to take place at 145 pounds but with the change, this will now be a lightweight fight. Brown is coming off a split decision win against Kai Kamaka III last May. Rosa fought three times in 2021 and is coming off a unanimous loss to Damon Jackson in October. The lightweight fight will be part of the preliminary portion of the card that streams on ESPN+. The news of the replacement was first reported by Ariel Helwani.

**MMA Junkie is reporting that a strawweight fight between Mackenzie Dern (11-2) and Tecia Torres (13-5) is set to take place at UFC 273 on April 9th. Dern had her four-fight win streak snapped by Marina Rodriguez last October with Dern dropping a unanimous decision. Torres has won her previous three fights against Brianna Van Buren, Sam Hughes, and is coming off a decision win against Angela Hill at UFC 265 last August.

**PFL featherweight Brendan Loughnane has re-signed for the upcoming season with the promotion. Loughnane (21-3) defeated Sheymon Moraes and Tyler Diamond during the regular season in 2021 before losing by split decision to eventual winner Movlid Khaybulaev in the semi-finals.


Stephanie McMahon questions Daniel Bryan’s decision to return to the ring…in 2015:

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About John Pollock 5425 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.