POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: 20 Years of Randy Orton, Tyson Fury-WWE

Photo Courtesy: WWE


**Rewind-A-Raw is live at 11:05 p.m. ET tonight with Wai Ting and I reviewing the show from Knoxville, Tennessee. We will be live on the POST YouTube channel and will be taking Super Chats and feedback from the POST Wrestling Forum.

**On Tuesday, the ASK-A-WAI Mailbag Show returns with Wai and I taking all your questions posted on the POST Wrestling Forum. You can still submit questions and the show will be available Tuesday evening for POST Wrestling Café members.

**There will be no edition of upNXT on Tuesday as Davie Portman is traveling back to Canada this week. Braden and Davie will be doing a show this Thursday covering both NXT 2.0 and AEW Dynamite on the upNXT feed.

**Rewind-A-SmackDown will be released on Saturday this weekend.

**I also did a bonus show on Saturday with a review of the IMPACT Rebellion card.


– The passing of Karl Lauer
– IMPACT Rebellion
– Shingo Takagi wins KOPW trophy
– Randy Orton’s twenty years in WWE
– Reaction to the F1 race in Italy on Sunday

Audio version for POST Wrestling Café members.


After performing in dark matches and on live events since the beginning of the year, Randy Orton made his first appearance on SmackDown on this date in 2002 against Hardcore Holly (the match was taped two nights prior). Orton was part of the loaded OVW class that included John Cena, Dave Batista, Brock Lesnar, and Shelton Benjamin among others with all five being called up that year.

Orton would suffer several setbacks due to injury but found his calling as a heel one year later with his RNN injury updates. He was pegged for success early and attached to the Evolution group where Orton and Batista would be in the roles of upcoming stars, although Orton was the major star-in-waiting. Orton had many problems over the years that he has spoken about and there was a period where the idea of Orton being released despite his level of stardom, would not have been surprising.

After a failed babyface turn in 2004 where he beat Chris Benoit for the World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam and was attacked by Evolution the next night, he was usurped by Batista for the next year’s WrestleMania program with Triple H. It was a poorly conceived handling of Orton where he lost the title one month after winning it and he fizzled as a babyface. It was a blessing in disguise with Triple H and Batista becoming one of the best programs the company had produced and elevated Batista to a top-level in 2005.

Over the years, Orton has had his highs and lows as a protected star that was over pushed at certain times and did not always deliver in the biggest settings including his eventual WrestleMania match with Triple H in 2009, which failed to follow Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. Orton had caught fire several months prior after punting Vince McMahon in the head on Raw and was the top heel in the company. They followed with a program involving Orton and Shane McMahon and it cooled off Orton’s momentum.

His highlights that come to mind include his program with Mick Foley, which Foley calls their match at Backlash 2004 the best of his career. Orton also had a significant run teaming with Edge and Rated RKO, a terrific feud with Christian in 2011, a key part of the Daniel Bryan story in 2013 and 2014 (which had some questionable creative decisions but the in-ring was a strong point), and his current run with Riddle has greatly exceeded any initial expectations and where Orton does feel like a big star on the show each week and able to get out of his comfort zone through his comedic chemistry with his partner.


**WWE Raw takes place from the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee tonight featuring Bianca Belair defending the Raw Women’s Championship in her hometown against Sonya Deville. It will also feature an Arm-Wrestling contest between Bobby Lashley and Omos, the return of Becky Lynch in her first appearance since WrestleMania, and a 20th-anniversary celebration for Randy Orton, who debuted on SmackDown twenty years ago this month.

**Raw will not be airing on Sportsnet 360 tonight in Canada due to the NHL. The broadcaster has stated that Raw will air on OLN (Channel 37 on Rogers) at 8 p.m. ET and will also stream on Sportsnet Now. According to the schedule, NXT 2.0 will also be affected by the playoffs on Tuesday and will be streaming live instead of airing live at its normal time on Sportsnet 360.

**Sportsnet has announced that Raw will air on OLN for three weeks in a row beginning tonight:

On April 25, May 2 and May 9, Monday Night Raw will not be available on Sportsnet 360 due to programming conflicts. Fans looking to watch on television can still do so on OLN Canada. Sportsnet subscribers can also stream the broadcast here, on SN NOW by logging in with the credentials for their tv provider.

**Chris Bryniarski, the brother of the late Adam Windsor, has launched a memorial fund to assist Adam’s widow Jade and their three children. The funds will go towards the funeral costs and several heart charities of Jade’s choosing. In the description, it stated Adam had been working as the general manager of a hospital in Ocala, Florida, and suffered a heart attack eight months ago:

Around 8 months ago Adam suffered from a Heart Attack causing him to go into Hospital. After the worse happed, he was feeling great and recovering thanks to his wife Jade, was the healthiest he had ever been! – Speaking with him just a few days ago he felt “Awesome”.

We are asking for donations for funeral costs and Heart charities of Jade’s choice. Leaving behind a wife and 3 children will not be easy, and we want to make sure we can do everything to help Jade and the Kids. Money will be split with full details after this has taken place of where it has gone.

**Below are the matches for AEW Dark: Elevation at 7 p.m. ET tonight on YouTube:
*Minoru Suzuki vs. QT Marshall
*Konosuke Takeshita vs. Brandon Cutler
*Penta Oscuro vs. Max Caster
*Kris Statlander vs. Julia Hart
*Nyla Rose, Emi Sakura & The Bunny vs. Ruby Soho, Anna Jay & Skye Blue
*Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, Alex Reynolds, Alan Angels & Preston Vance vs. Luther, Bulk Nasty, Tito Oric, RC Dupree & Jake Omen
*Tony Nese vs. Sunny Daze
*John Silver vs. Vince Valor

This is one of the bigger line-ups for Elevation given the appearances by Minoru Suzuki and Konosuke Takeshita.

**MLW has filed an opposition to WWE’s request for a dismissal of the MLW’s antitrust lawsuit against the company. In the suit, MLW is accusing WWE of intentional interference with contractual relations, interference with prospective economic advantage, violating the Sherman Act, and violating California’s Business and Professions Code. MLW is being represented in the suit by Jason Takenouchi and Marc Kasowitz.

**Eddie Kingston spoke with The Straight Shooters Podcast to promote this Wednesday’s Dynamite & Rampage taping in Philadelphia at the Liacouras Center. Kingston was asked about whether he would ever work elsewhere and Kingston indicated he is loyal to AEW and he doesn’t want to go anywhere else and is loyal to the promotion that gave him his break:

Where am I gonna go, dog? I’m good. I’m good. I worked for this. I don’t care. I don’t. I worked for this. AEW gave me my shot first, right? You know what I mean? I’m a loyal guy … I’m not knocking nobody, just chill … but when people say ‘Yeah, I’m here forever’, that’s cool. That’s them. I’m telling you from me. And my word is my bond. I ain’t got nowhere else to go. Don’t wanna be nowhere else. Having a blast, trying to beat up people in the ring. Trying to be world champ. Wherever I’m at, trying to be better than I was yesterday.

I’m like a dog, man, when it comes to loyalty. That’s it. My word is my bond. And [AEW] fits me because they took the shot. If people wanna know any deeper, it’s basically they let me be me. There’s no character. There’s no, ‘You can’t say that.’ … I got freedom. It’s just a really good environment when you shut out the negativity and understand this is the pro wrestling business. Not everyone is going to like each other. That’s it. Take care of your own stuff.

**Warrior Wrestling held a card on Saturday night in South Bend, Indiana with Will Ospreay retaining the promotion’s title against Blake Christian. Athena became the new Warrior Wrestling women’s champion after Thunder Rosa vacated the belt. Athena beat Shazza McKenzie and Skye Blue to become the new champion. Thunder Rosa was still part of the show working on the commentary for the FITE TV broadcast. Their next card is on May 28th in St. Louis with Ospreay defending the Warrior Wrestling title against Davey Richards and will also feature JONAH taking on Jeff Cobb. Ospreay is scheduled for a match with Low Ki for House of Glory the night before the Warrior Wrestling card.

**PW Torch is reporting that AEW has moved its next set of Dark tapings at Universal Studios from April 30th to the following day, resulting in several talents being removed from previously booked independent appearances. PWG has announced that JD Drake, Top Flight, and Wheeler Yuta are off this Sunday’s card at The Globe Theatre and Black Label Pro has stated Lee Moriarty, Skye Blue, and Jake Something are unavailable for their card this weekend. AEW is scheduled for two taping sessions of Dark this Sunday at 2 p.m. ET and 7 p.m. with Eddie Kingston, Orange Cassidy, Jade Cargill, Max Caster, Powerhouse Hobbs, Toni Storm, Jay Lethal, Anna Jay, Kris Statlander, 2point0, Wheeler Yuta, and Wardlow advertised on the promotional material.

**The Champion Carnival card continued on Sunday with Jake Lee over T-Hawk, Shotaro Ashino over Shigehiro Irie, and Shuji Ishikawa over Ryuki Honda in the A Block. Jake Lee has already won the A Block, so he will be wrestling in the final on May 4th against the B Block winner, which will be determined this Friday. The B Block is led by Yuma Aoyagi with six points, Kento Miyahara and Suwama each have five, and Takuya Nomura has four. Friday’s matches feature Miyahara vs. Aoyagi, Suwama vs. Yoshitatsu, and Nomura vs. Kuma Arashi.

If Aoyagi beats Miyahara, he wins the block. If Miyahara beats Aoyagi and Suwama loses, Miyahara wins. If Miyahara and Suwama both win there would likely be a playoff as they wrestled to a 30-minute draw in the tournament. Nomura can’t win even though he holds a win against Aoyagi. The best Nomura can do is get to six points and tie Aoygai, but that would mean Aoyagi loses to Miyahara to stay at six points.

**The PWG ‘Delivering the Goods’ lineup for this Sunday in Los Angeles features Bandido vs. Daniel Garcia for the PWG title, The Briscoes vs. Aussie Open, DDT star Konosuke Takeshita making his PWG debut, Shane Haste vs. Jack Cartwheel, Biff Busick vs. Speedball Mike Bailey, Black Taurus vs. Blake Christian, and Jonathan Gresham vs. Kevin Blackwood.

Gresham and Blackwood just wrestled on Friday for C*4 in Ottawa and people in attendance were raving about the match, which I’m hoping to watch in the next few days. The event from Friday will be available on IWTV on Tuesday night at 10:35 p.m. ET.

**IMPACT Wrestling’s next special is ‘Under Siege’ on Saturday, May 7th from Newport, Kentucky with television tapings the following day in the same location. After that, it’s the ‘Citrus Brawl’ on May 13 & 14 with back-to-back nights of television tapings in Kissimmee, Florida prior to Slammiversary in Nashville on June 19th.

**West Coast Pro out of South San Francisco has announced a match between Speedball Mike Bailey and Konosuke Takeshita for Friday, June 10th at The State Room.

**Being the Elite Ep. 204 ‘Emo Young Bucks’.

**The WWE stock closed at $60.81 on Monday.


**Tyson Fury defeated Dillian Whyte on Saturday at Wembley Stadium in London with an announced crowd of 94,000. Tyson stopped Whyte in the sixth round of their heavyweight contest before announcing his retirement. Fury clarified that his fighting career wasn’t over yet and brought UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou into the ring and would be willing to fight under ‘special rules’. Ngannou remains under contract to UFC until next year and is recovering from knee surgery after going into his fight with Ciryl Gane with the injury this past March.

At the post-fight press conference, Fury went out of his way to propose working with WWE again and specifically mentioning Drew McIntyre and both SummerSlam and the September card in Cardiff, Wales:

**Ngannou appeared on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani on Monday and stated that if he signs a new contract with the UFC, the fight involving Tyson Fury must be agreed to: (Transcription from MMA Junkie):

The Tyson Fury fight has to be part of the discussion. That’s not an option. It has to be part of the discussion because if that’s not part of the discussion, it will never be. If I sign another contract now, basically the same model of the contract, I’m screwed. That’s not happening ever. So we have to figure out a way to implement this into a contract.

The story involving Ngannou and the UFC will be an important one. Despite being their champion, Ngannou has a sunset clause in his deal that allows the deal to come to an end regardless of whether he is champion. Ngannou would then, theoretically, be free to sign anywhere and while there is big money with a fight against Tyson Fury, if it’s boxing rules, Ngannou is going to have little chance against someone of Fury’s caliber. For Fury, there is no incentive to fight in MMA or alter the ruleset when he can command sizable eight-figure deals to box. Outside of the Fury fight, where can Ngannou go and make the level of money in MMA that UFC can provide? Bellator and PFL are not geared towards pay-per-view models nor do they have the level of opponent for Ngannou to draw against. If Ngannou can get this fight with Fury, regardless of the ruleset, he should make an exorbitant amount of money and whatever you want to say about the competitive advantage for Fury if it’s a boxing fight, Ngannou would be well compensated by stepping into that world.

**There was controversy coming out of the main event of Bellator 278 on Friday night in Hawaii. Julianna Velasquez was up on all the scorecards going into the fourth round of her 125-pound title defense against Liz Carmouche. The challenger was winning the fourth round and got Velasquez in a crucifix position and began to connect with a few elbows as referee Mike Beltran stopped the fight, which most felt was a premature stoppage. Given the nature of the finish and that former champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane lost her fight the next night, it makes sense to book the rematch immediately. Velasquez was undefeated going into this fight and it felt like a bad judgment call by Beltran at the moment. If Macfarlane had won, there would be a strong argument to book her against Carmouche, but she lost to Justine Kish.

**Bellator ran a second event in Hawaii on Saturday with Bellator 279 that featured Cris Cyborg going the distance and retaining the featherweight title against Arlene Blencowe. Afterward, Cyborg mentioned wanting to have the biggest fights and named Cat Zingano, Amanda Nunes, and Kayla Harrison. The rematch with Nunes is impossible unless Cyborg returned to the UFC and things did not end well between both sides. Harrison would be a fight big but is always tricky with two promotions working together and logistically would need to work out where the fight would air as you would assume Showtime and ESPN would each want the fight. Zingano is the only opponent left for Cyborg of the available options in Bellator and she has won her two fights since coming to the promotion.

**The card on Saturday featured Raufeon Stots becoming the interim bantamweight champion and advancing to the second round of the Bantamweight World Grand Prix by beating Juan Archuleta by unanimous decision. Bellator’s Grand Prix always features the champion involved in the tournament with all the fights scheduled for five rounds and clearly, they wanted a champion involved after Sergio Pettis suffered an injury that will sideline him for a long time. Patchy Mix also advanced with a mild upset over Kyoji Horiguchi by unanimous decision with many people picking Horiguchi as the favorite to win the Grand Prix. Last December, Horiguchi was cruising to a decision win against champion Sergio Pettis when he was suddenly knocked out with a spinning back fist and it was a huge come-from-behind victory for Pettis. In the Grand Prix, Stots will face the winner of Leandro Higo vs. Danny Sabatello (June 24th) and Mix advances to fight the winner of Enrique Barzola vs. Magomed Magomedov (also scheduled for June 24th).

**Ben Rothwell announced on The MMA Hour today that he has signed with BKFC after his release from the UFC earlier this year. Rothwell, 40, fought for the UFC from 2009 until being released in March. He has been fighting professionally for over twenty-one years and competed for the IFL and Affliction prior to his UFC debut in October 2009. In 2021, he fought twice with a submission win over Chris Barnett and last competed in November where he was stopped by Marcos Rogerio de Lima.

**This Thursday’s PFL card features fights in the heavyweight and featherweight tournaments. Last year’s heavyweight winner Bruno Cappelozza headlines the card against Stuart Austin. Two-time featherweight champion Lance Palmer will fight Chris Wade in the main featherweight contest. This is not a big PFL card but the following week’s show on May 6th is a big one with Kayla Harrison, Ray Cooper III, Anthony Pettis, and Rory MacDonald all fighting on the main card.

**The UFC returns with a Fight Night card on Saturday with a bantamweight main event between Rob Font (19-5) and Marlon Vera (18-7-1). Font has won four of his last five fights but is coming off a decision loss to Jose Aldo in December. Vera also has a recent loss to Aldo but was victorious in his last two outings including a knockout of Frankie Edgar at UFC 268 last November. The main card includes Andrei Arlovski vs. Jake Collier, Andre Fili vs. Joanderson Brito, Jared Gordon vs. Grant Dawson, Darren Elkins vs. Tristan Connelly, and Krzystof Jotko vs. Gerald Meerschaert. They also moved the heavyweight fight between Chase Sherman and Alexandr Romanov to this card.


WWF presented its Backlash event on this date in 1999 featuring a rematch between Steve Austin and The Rock from WrestleMania the previous month. This was a better match than the ‘Mania 15 version and took place while the company was on fire. The card did approximately 400,000 buys on pay-per-view and included The Undertaker vs. Ken Shamrock, Triple H over X-Pac, and a Boiler Room Brawl match between Mankind and Paul Wight.

The Undertaker defends the World Heavyweight Championship against Batista on SmackDown in 2008 in a No DQ match:

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About John Pollock 5649 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.