POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Nick Khan chats WWE business, Kevin Owens on working with Austin, ‘Mania shows tonight

POST IT NOTES

**Wai Ting and I will have a bonus show posted late tonight for POST Wrestling Café members with reviews of Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport 8 and Joey Janela’s Spring Break – Part 1.

**I was a guest on Ariel Helwani’s show to preview WrestleMania 38, the programs that have clicked the most going into the show, the two-night version, as well as a discussion on working in the media and about the site.

**WH Park will be joined by Rich Fann on MCU L8R tonight to review the first episode of Moon Knight. This show will be exclusive to members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**On today’s POST Daily News show, we discuss the Nick Khan interview on The Town, WWE and NBC developing a scripted dramatic series, NXT 2.0 ratings, and a preview of all the shows happening tonight in Texas. We will have a big preview of WrestleMania 38 on Friday’s show at 1 p.m. ET.

WRESTLING NEWS

**Nick Khan appeared on The Town with Matthew Bollini to promote WrestleMania and discuss WWE’s business. Khan shared that he and his family had left Los Angeles early in the pandemic stages and went to Hawaii, which is where he was contacted by Vince McMahon and flew to meet with McMahon and struck a deal for Khan to come on board in the summer of 2020. There was a discussion about the potential of Comcast and NBC Universal outright buying the company with Khan stating the usual “we’re open for business” but elaborated that Comcast lacks the intellectual property that some of its competitors such as Disney own. WWE becomes very attractive because they own the IP of its characters and seemed to outline a compelling rationale for why Comcast would pursue such a purchase.

On the topic of creating stars, Khan said it is tougher in this media landscape and hammered home how they want to create the easiest path possible for ex-athletes to transition to WWE. The tryouts are going on in Dallas this week with 53 athletes in attendance with a lot of football and basketball players taking part and that is the central focus of their recruitment process.

Khan believes that fans of the older WWF/WWE product are now in higher positions of power in the media, specifically naming Bill Simmons, so it’s an easier sell to have WWE coverage as opposed to twenty years ago when podcasts didn’t exist. The fact is that pro wrestling is much more respected and accepted than a generation ago but the notion that they couldn’t get onto major outlets is a bit of a stretch. When it comes to wrestling-specific media, there are outlets that get more access than others but those are also the outlets that are more likely to ask more involved questions than the surface-level ones. Khan brought up the interviews McMahon did with Bob Costas in 2001 (he did another the next year), and Armen Keteyan for HBO Sports in 2003 and used those as examples of pro wrestling receiving “no respect”, which is hilarious if you watch any of those interviews and your takeaway is that Costas or Keteyan were the ones acting disrespectfully in that setting rather than McMahon’s inability to respond to hard questions. That said, McMahon was very good at handling tough topics in his series of interviews with Michael Landsberg on TSN and for my money, Landsberg got the most out of McMahon while doing the best job of those three.

Nick Khan also appeared on CNBC to promote WrestleMania, the return of live fans last summer, and new revenue opportunities:

**Kevin Owens was interviewed by Pat Laprade of TVA Sports, who has been covering Owens’ career since his debut in 2000. Owens shared the background on when he learned he would be working with Steve Austin at this year’s show:

Usually, in November I start asking questions, to try to find ideas and see if they have ideas, explains the former Universal champion. But this year, I took a different approach. I had just signed my contract, I had my history with Seth Rollins so I thought to myself that I was in a good position. So I started asking questions in January and when I spoke to Vince, he was the one who told me that his plan was to bring Austin back for a night and that would be with me. I was super happy!

It is worth noting that Raw viewership numbers in Canada increased 40 percent in March compared with the previous month. Some of that should be attributed to the build for WrestleMania but they are much higher than SmackDown on the same station, and the rise in viewership has correlated with the Owens and Austin program kicking off.

**D Magazine in Dallas interviewed WWE chief brand officer Stephanie McMahon-Levesque back in February and just published the interview. Regarding WrestleMania remaining as a two-night event after this year, she stated:

It remains to be seen. The prior two nights were in the middle of the pandemic, so we shall see as we move forward into an endemic world.

Again, this interview was conducted in February and she was asked about the idea of Vince McMahon wrestling again (we reported that Vince McMahon was scheduled to work a program with Pat McAfee to lead up to WrestleMania, which Dave Meltzer additionally reported was on the books for the card. They have since gone with McAfee and Austin Theory and it remains to be seen if McMahon will get involved in the match). Stephanie gave the following answer about her father wrestling again:

So I’m neither confirming nor denying anything, but in the hypothetical, if I were to see my father get into the ring, I would say probably the same thing I would as an employee working for the company: I feel bad for whoever he’s in there with! Vince McMahon doesn’t lose! Vince McMahon will pull every trick out of the book, and he’ll create some new ones along the way! I am not worried about Vince McMahon at all. I worry about everyone else in there with him.

**IWTV has announced a deal that will see All Japan Women content from the ‘90s added to the streaming service. Each month, IWTV will be releasing five events from their archives beginning with the Wrestlemarinpiad card from 1990 with Bull Nakano vs. Aja Kong in a steel cage match. This is one of the more coveted libraries that is out there featuring some of the best matches of the decade.

**Becky Lynch spoke with Joseph Staszewski of the New York Post on why she isn’t facing Ronda Rousey this year at WrestleMania:

I think the idea was, let’s give it even more of a build and possibly do this in Hollywood [at WrestleMania 39] of all places. I think the idea was to give it a little bit of extra time, and hell, let frickin’ Ronda get her feet wet.

We had to tell this story with Bianca, too. So was I surprised? No, not entirely, not really. I think they thought of Hollywood as maybe being the spot for where this match would go down.

**Corey Graves was interviewed by The Athletic and said he has no plans for an in-ring return even though he has been cleared to compete while also describing the process of gaining clearance:

Three years ago, I might have had a different answer. But I have grown so confident and comfortable in this new role that I’m in, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

I felt like I had sort of plateaued, and I needed a different challenge. And so I went … down to Tampa to the same doctors that shut me down initially, went through the whole workup again, took that information, gave it to WWE. … They actually sent me down to the UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center). I did WWE’s testing protocol, and they said, ‘You’re medically clear; you don’t have any sort of issues that give us pause or worry.

**AEW is going to Independence, Missouri at the Cable Dahmer Arena for a live Dynamite and Rampage taping on Wednesday, June 8th with tickets going on sale next Friday at 11 a.m. Eastern.

**Here are the matches for tonight’s edition of IMPACT Wrestling airing at 8 p.m. ET on AXS TV:
*Jay White & Chris Bey vs. Motor City Machine Guns
*Josh Alexander vs. Madman Fulton
*Jonathan Gresham vs. Kenny King
*Knockouts Battle Royal to determine #1 contender (Jordynne Grace, Jessie McKay, Havok, Alisha, Gisele Shaw, Savannah Evans, Rosemary, Lady Frost, Madison Rayne, and Tenille Dashwood)
*Chump Chump Challenge with Johnny Swinger and Zicky Dice
*Before the Impact: Deaner vs. Black Taurus (7:30 p.m. ET on YouTube)

**GRAPPL put out a chart of its fan-generated voting for the top twenty-five matches in WrestleMania history with “five” being the highest rating. The top match is Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin from WrestleMania 13 (average rating of 4.86) with the top ten also consisting of Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker at WM 25 (4.83), Triple threat ladder match at WM X-Seven (4.79), Michaels vs. Kurt Angle (4.76), Bret vs. Owen Hart (4.76), Triple H vs. Michaels vs. Chris Benoit (4.73), Michaels vs. Undertaker at WM 26 (4.72), Michaels vs. Razor Ramon (4.71), Triple threat ladder match at WM 2000 (4.59), and Austin vs. The Rock at X-Seven (4.59).

**Roman Reigns was a guest on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and said that he expects Sunday to be the end of the Brock Lesnar chapter. He also spoke about Triple H’s retirement and the assistance he provided Reigns as he was rising in the WWE system.

**Pat McAfee appears on Get Up on ESPN to promote his match with Austin Theory this Sunday at WrestleMania. McAfee said he’s in the best shape of his life for this match.

**Randy Orton appeared on The Pat McAfee Show to chat about RK-Bro and how much fun he’s having teaming with Riddle. Orton turns 42 years old on Friday and went out of his way to mention how much Triple H meant to his career and helping him. Orton noted there were times in his career he didn’t work hard enough and “phoned it in” when the cameras weren’t rolling. He credited working with Edge in early 2020 for reinvigorating his passion and their work throughout the early part of the pandemic.

**DAZN spoke with Dolph Ziggler about going down to NXT to work with Bron Breakker, the potential he sees in the young star, and his praise for Robert Roode.

**WWE will be presenting several live podcast tapings at the Superstore Axxess. Kevin Owens will be interviewed later today at 4 p.m. central. On Friday, Drew McIntyre will be on the Cheap Heat podcast at 11 a.m. with The Miz on Out of Character with Ryan Satin at 2 p.m. and Randy Orton at 4 p.m. Sami Zayn is scheduled for Saturday at 10 a.m., and Omos on Sunday at the same time.

**A trailer for the WWE 24 episode covering this year’s Royal Rumble, which will be released on Friday.

**MLW has added EJ Nduka & Calvin Tankman against Los Parks to Friday’s Azteca Underground event at Gilley’s in Dallas, which is being taped for beIN Sports.

**NJPW has added a ten-man tag to its Windy City Riot card on Saturday, April 16th in Villa Park, Illinois. Fred Rosser will team with Josh Alexander, Chris Dickinson, Alex Coughlin & Ren Narita to take on JR Kratos, Royce Isaacs, Danny Limelight, Jorel Nelson & Black Tiger. The card takes place from the Odeum Expo Center and will stream on FITE TV.

WRESTLEMANIA WEEK SCHEDULE – THURSDAY

Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport 8
Location: Fair Park
Time: 4 p.m. ET
Broadcast: FITE TV
*Minoru Suzuki vs. Chris Dickinson
*Josh Barnett vs. JONAH
*Jon Moxley vs. Biff Busick
*Masha Slamovich vs. Janai Kai
*Yoya vs. Ninja Mack
*John Hennigan vs. Simon Gotch
*Zeda Zhang vs. Marina Shafir
*Timothy Thatcher vs. JR Kratos
*Speedball Mike Bailey vs. Yuya Uemura
*Alex Coughlin vs. SLADE
*Big Bad Tito vs. Royce Isaacs

AAA Invades WrestleCon
Location: Fairmont Hotel
Time: 6 p.m. ET
Broadcast: FITE TV
*Main Event: Psycho Clown vs. Taurus
*AAA Cruiserweight Championship: Laredo Kid (champion) vs. Bandido vs. Flamita
*No Disqualification Match: Pagano, Drago Kid & Jack Cartwheel vs. Sam Adonis, Puma King & Gringo Loco
*NWA Tag Team Championship: Mecha Wolf & Bestia 666 vs. Aero Star & Drago
*Octagon Jr., Aramis & Mr. Iguana vs. Arez, Abismo Negro & Faby Apache
*Taya, Nino Hamburguesa & Micro Man vs. Rey Escorpion, Mini Abismo Negro & La Hiedra

MLW Intimidation Games (Fusion TV taping)
Location: Gilley’s
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Broadcast: Taped for beIN Sports
*MLW Heavyweight Championship: Alex Hammerstone (champion) vs. Jacob Fatu vs. Mads Krugger
*MLW Middleweight Championship: Myron Reed (champion) vs. TBA
*Davey Richards vs. Richard Holliday
*LA Park & LA Park Jr. vs. Gangrel & Pagano
*EJ Nduka & Calvin Tankman vs. The Bomaye Fight Club
*Shazza McKenzie vs. Holidead
*nZo’s Open Challenge

CYN The Awakening: Dallas
Location: Southside Music Hall at Gilley’s
Time: 8 p.m. ET
*Announced: EC 3, Adam Scherr, Killer Kross

Joey Janela’s Spring Break 6 – Part 1
Location: Fair Park
Time:  9 p.m. ET
Broadcast: FITE TV
*GCW Championship: Jon Moxley (champion) vs. AJ Gray
*Joey Janela vs. Sean Waltman
*GCW Tag Team Championships: Nick Gage & Matt Tremont vs. The Briscoes vs. Mance Warner & Matthew Justice
*GCW Ultraviolent Championship: Alex Colon (champion) vs. John Wayne Murdoch
*Blake Christian vs. AR Fox
*Mickie James vs. Allie Katch
*Scramble Match: Nick Wayne vs. Jack Cartwheel vs. Gringo Loco vs. Jordan Oliver vs. Ninja Mack vs. Alec Price

Mark Hitchcock Memorial Super Show (WrestleCon)
Location: Fairmont Hotel
Time: 10 p.m. ET
Broadcast: FITE TV
*Minoru Suzuki vs. Biff Busick
*Tomohiro Ishii vs. Timothy Thatcher
*The Briscoes vs. Low Ki & Homicide
*Bandido vs. Speedball Mike Bailey
*Mia Yim vs. Athena
*Michael Oku, Rey Horus & Laredo Kid vs. Josh Alexander, Ace Austin & Black Taurus
*Ten-Man Tag: Team Atsushi Onita vs. Team PCO (members to be revealed on Thursday)
*Dirty Dishes Match: John Hennigan vs. Taya Valkyrie

Planet Death
Location: Fair Park
Time: 1 a.m. ET (late Thursday)
Broadcast: FITE TV
*Reed Bentley vs. Hoodfoot
*Shane Mercer vs. Neil Diamond Cutter
*Cole Radrick vs. Akira
*Sadika vs. Jimmy Lloyd
*Brandon Kirk vs. Sawyer Wreck
*Slade vs. Bam Sullivan
*Mad Man Pondo vs. Hoodfoot
*Hosted by Nick Gage

ON THIS DATE

The first WrestleMania took place in 1985 at Madison Square Garden. It was an enormous gamble by Vince McMahon and had this show bombed, there is no telling what McMahon’s future and WWF’s would have been. There were over 200 closed-circuit locations booked across the country, although the final figure was said to be 133 after many canceled due to poor sales. In the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the figures cited were $3.8 million in closed-circuit sales with approximately 398,000 watching nationally. The event hit big in the week leading up to the show through the mainstream appeal Mr. T generated including getting both he and Hulk Hogan onto Saturday Night Live the night prior. It was a success for the company and ensured a second one the following year but it’s always an interesting “what if?” if they didn’t get that last week of momentum and how it would have affected the national expansion given that the company was paying some huge weekly fees for television clearance in various markets around the country.

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About John Pollock 4085 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.