POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: The Rock turns 50, TripleMania, Charlie Smith passes

Photo Courtesy: WWE

POST IT NOTES

**Rewind-A-Raw is live tonight at 11 p.m. ET immediately following WWE Raw with Wai Ting and I reviewing the show and taking your feedback from the POST Wrestling Forum.

**Rewind-A-Wai returns on Tuesday night with Wai and I reviewing New Japan’s Wrestling World card from the Tokyo Dome on January 4, 2003. This was at a period when New Japan was going full steam ahead with its mixture of pro wrestling and MMA and was considered a low period for the company that took years to recover from. This occurs days after the Inoki Bom Ba Ye event on New Year’s Eve, in which Yoshihiro Takayama and a young Shinsuke Nakamura competed, and wrestled days later. The main event sees Yuji Nagata defend the IWGP heavyweight championship against Josh Barnett, who had been suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission over a drug test result and stripped of the UFC heavyweight title months earlier. It also sees the return of Satoshi Kojima, who had left the company a year prior to joining All Japan. On this show, he is representing his new company while reuniting with former tag partner Hiroyoshi Tenzan against Masahiro Chono & Manabu Nakanishi. This show will be available for all members of the POST Wrestling Café.

**On Sunday’s edition of Wrestlenomics, Brandon Thurston did an extensive breakdown of the U.S. television rights for WWE and AEW as they head into a contract season. Thurston provided his methodology in estimating the rights increases he expects for both and what their present values are for the respective networks along with the value of each viewer they attract. Currently, WWE is believed to have an approximate value of $470 million per year between Raw and SmackDown with those deals expiring at the end of September 2024. AEW has a $175 million deal over four years that ends at the end of 2023 but contains a one-year option that would take them to the end of ’24. If Thurston’s estimates are close, especially for AEW, it would be a game-changer and solidify their standing beyond debate.

POST DAILY NEWS SHOW

– NJPW Wrestling Dontaku review
– Best of the Super Juniors
– Matches announced for Dominion
– TripleMania in Monterrey
– AEW Rampage start time
– WWE Raw tonight

Audio version for POST Wrestling Café members.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting
Tuesday: Rewind-A-Wai – NJPW Wrestling World 2003 (Patreon)
Tuesday: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Wednesday: Shot in the Dark with John Siino
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite with John & Wai
Thursday: Moon Knight season finale w/ Wai Ting, WH Park, Nate Milton & Rich Fann (Patreon)
Friday: WWE Q1 Earnings with John Pollock & Brandon Thurston
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown with Wai Ting & Kate from Montreal
Saturday: The Long & Winding Royal Road with WH Park
Saturday: UFC 274 POST Show with John Pollock & Phil Chertok
Sunday: Wrestlenomics with Brandon Thurston & Chris Gullo
Sunday: WrestleMania Backlash POST Show

WRESTLING NEWS

**WWE Raw takes place at the Greensboro Coliseum in North Carolina tonight. They have announced that Roman Reigns & The Usos will appear on the go-home edition of the program leading into WrestleMania Backlash this Sunday. WrestleTix reports that there are over 5,500 tickets out for the show tonight with the arena configured for just over 6,100, the arena is considerably larger than that figure would indicate.

**In Canada, the NHL playoffs are going to be a major factor, especially with the Toronto Maple Leafs qualifying. Game 1 of the Leafs vs. Tampa Bay series airs tonight against Raw with Sportsnet expecting in the range of three million viewers per game. Game 2 of the series airs Wednesday night and Game 3 on Friday night.

**Raw is airing on OLN tonight in Canada and will also stream live on Sportsnet Now. NXT 2.0 and Friday Night SmackDown are both listed for Sportsnet Now this week due to coverage of the NHL playoffs.

**SLAM Wrestling reported that referee Charlie Smith died on Monday at the age of 92. When the Cauliflower Alley Club began recognizing past referees each year at its convention, they named the award after Smith. He was born in Atlanta and was a lifelong fan that began attending matches at the Atlanta City Auditorium where he got a job as an usher and later sold Cokes. This preceded his entry into the business where he refereed on the independent level and was hired by the ABC Booking Corporation, which ran Atlanta. Smith worked as an occasional referee and ran the ticket office. In the early ‘70s, Smith was given several small towns to promote in the territory. Smith was one of many caught in the middle when the 1972 split occurred after the death of Ray Gunkel. Gunkel’s widow Ann continued to run under All South Booking in opposition to the NWA which led to a nasty promotional war for two years. Smith stayed with Gunkel, although when All South folded in 1974, he found work with Georgia Championship Wrestling with Jim Barnett buying out Lester & Roy Welch the prior year. In Greg Oliver’s obit on the SLAM site, he noted that Smith attended last year’s Cauliflower Alley Club and afterward, was hospitalized due to COVID-19.  Smith was married for 67 years to his wife Louise and had three children.

**The first of three TripleMania branded events for AAA began this past Saturday with WrestleTix reporting 13,637 were distributed for the card at Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey. The show included the opening round matches of the Ruleta de la Muerta (‘Death Roulette’) tournament involving eight masked wrestlers. Unlike most tournaments, the losers advance, and the one to lose all three of his matches will be unmasked in October. Ultimo Dragon defeated Pentagon Jr, L.A. Park beat Villano IV, Rayo de Jalisco Jr. defeated Blue Demon Jr., and Canek beat Psycho Clown with the losers moving to the second round in June.

Due to the age of some participants, there were lots of smoke and mirror tactics utilized to hide the fact that several couldn’t go at that level. That said the audience saw them as legends and were accompanied by tremendous video packages outlining each of the eight members of the tournament. The most heated match was between L.A. Park and Villano IV, who are 56 and 57 respectively. L.A. Park and his sons were recently dropped by MLW after an incident at the ‘Intimation Games’ event during WrestleMania Week where they started attacking Alex Hammerstone and Jacob Fatu with live rounds being thrown and reckless chair shots. During this match with Villano IV, they relied on blood and weapons with L.A. Park hitting Villano IV with several chair shots that were stunning to watch in 2022 but the audience was heated throughout the contest.

The show also saw numerous surprises including Dr. Wagner Jr., who attacked Psycho Clown leading to Canek’s win. Andrade El Idolo came down and aligned with Dr. Wagner Jr. Rayo de Jalisco Jr. overcame interruptions by Cien Caras and Mascara Anos 2000 as well as Forastrero, Cuatrero, and Sanson to beat Blue Demon Jr. In the big angle on the show, Latin Lover was announced for the Hall of Fame and interrupted by Jeff & Karen Jarrett with Rey Escorpion doing all the anti-Mexican rhetoric to incite the crowd. As they attacked Latin Lover, Vampiro came to the aid of Latin Lover and was met with a huge reaction.

The next TripleMania card is Saturday, June 18th at Estadio Caliente Xoloitzcuintles. The second-round matches will see Villano IV take on Psycho Clown and Pentagon Jr. faces Blue Demon Jr. The Hardys are scheduled for that show against Dragon Lee & Dralistico.

**The performer of the weekend was Tomohiro Ishii, who was the emergency backup after Will Ospreay tested positive for COVID-19, and Ishii was flown to Japan from the United States. Rather than have an acceptable or even ‘above average’ match with Hiroshi Tanahashi, the two came out and had a classic that will rank highly on match-of-the-year listings. The two traded each other’s signature moves including Ishii using a sling blade and a dragon screw leg-whip while working on the other’s neck. The highlights included the rarity of someone kicking out from Ishii’s vertical drop brainbuster and a sensational closing sequence. Ishii kicked out at the count of one but was near his expiration as he staggered to his feet having exhausted his last burst of energy into the kick out and was prone to the Aces High and follow-up High Fly Flow as Tanahashi won the vacant IWGP United States Championship. This was a must-see match and among the best, I have watched in 2022. Ishii returns to the United States where he will face Josh Alexander this Saturday at IMPACT’s Under Siege event in Kentucky.

**After Tanahashi’s win, he was attacked by a mystery assailant, who was revealed to be Juice Robinson, who is clearly staying with New Japan after noting his deal expired on April 30th. Tanahashi now has matches set with Jon Moxley for May 14th in Washington, D.C., and with Robinson, which hasn’t been announced but I could see that happening at Dominion. With the title on Tanahashi, it makes it interesting to see how the match with Moxley is booked as you would assume Tanahashi needs the title to defend against Robinson.

**Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson turns 50 years old today. It puts into perspective the meteoric rise of the performer, who wrestled his first match at 23, headlined his first WrestleMania at 26, had the match with Hulk Hogan at 29, and was effectively done as a full-time performer by the time he entered his ‘30s. While we look at many of the top stars of past generations and wonder if they would make it in the WWE’s current system, Johnson’s path is one that is closely linked to the current view of WWE’s recruitment strategy. Johnson was an ex-football star, who saw his career curtailed and a realization he wasn’t going to make it in the NFL. He gave wrestling a shot and was assisted by his family’s connections that got him an instant look and earmarked him for success from the get-go. It’s not that different from WWE’s Next in Line program where they are seeking ex-athletes and training them from scratch and rushing them onto television. The major difference is Johnson grew up surrounded by the business by both parents and had a significant leg up over other athletes that only have a cursory knowledge of it. There are plenty of second or third-generation performers that don’t make it regardless of growing up around the business and an even greater amount of ex-athletes that flounder. Once Johnson found his voice, he was off to the races as the charisma was evident and aided by his heel turn in 1997 after the initial resentment from audiences.

**Randy Orton spoke to Metro in the U.K. on his personal growth over two decades with WWE and his relationship with Vince McMahon:

He’s seen me in dark periods where I’ve had meltdowns and breakdowns in front of him. I’ve beat my head against the wall in front of him, as a 25-year-old man just emotional f***ing – “Arrrr!” – not knowing how to express myself. From an early age when I was f**king up like that, I think it almost made him want to nurture that part of me. We’ve grown together in that regard, so now our conversations are a lot different. If I knock on his door, peek my head in, nine out of 10 times, no matter who’s in there he’ll tell them to fuck off so I can come in and talk to him. Which is pretty cool, you know?

**Tomohiro Ishii vs. Steve Maclin will air on IMPACT this Thursday night on AXS TV from the recent tapings in Poughkeepsie, New York.

**MLW has added a match between ACH and Matt Cross for the ‘Kings of Colosseum’ card on Friday, May 13th at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia. Company CEO Court Bauer appeared on Busted Open Radio on Monday to announce that former WWE star Lince Dorado would also be part of the card in Philadelphia when he takes on nZo.

**All Japan’s Champion Carnival final takes place this Wednesday with Jake Lee and Yuma Aoyagi headlining the card at Korakuen Hall to determine this year’s winner.

**Stardom runs a show on Wednesday from Nagasaki Prefectural Gymnasium headlined by Giulia, Maika & Mai Sakurai taking on Tam Nakano, Unagi Sayaka & Mina Shirakawa.

**Harlem World has a story on Roderick James ‘Jess’ McMahon, who was the grandfather of Vince McMahon Jr.

**Wrestling Atomic has booked Sam Shaw (the former Dexter Lumis) for its “Born in Blood” card on Friday, June 24th in Melbourne, Florida. It is Shaw’s first booking to be announced since his release from WWE this past Friday.

**Chris Jericho is partnering with Inside the Ropes for The Jericho Chronicles, which will be a series of spoken word shows taking place this July. The shows take place on July 3rd in Glasgow, July 5th in Belfast, and July 6th in London, England with a different topic each night and a Q&A portion.

**WWE will be returning to the Bell Center in Montreal for Friday Night SmackDown on Friday, August 19th. It will be WWE’s first time at the Bell Center since 2019.

**Pat McAfee turns 35 years old today.

**Being the Elite Ep. 305: ‘Live-Love-Superkick’.

ON THIS DATE

Mitsuharu Misawa won the Triple Crown for the fifth and final time by defeating Vader in 1999. This match took place at the Tokyo Dome for the Giant Baba Memorial show taking place three months after the promoter’s passing.

Chris Jericho takes on Hulk Hogan on the May 2, 2002, edition of SmackDown (taped two nights earlier):

The Rock’s birthday celebration on Raw in 2011:

*****
POST DAILY NEWS: NJPW Wrestling Dontaku, BOSJ, TripleMania
John Pollock and Wai Ting discuss the latest wrestling news and review NJPW’s Wrestling Dontaku 2022. Plus, announcements for BOSJ, NJPW Dominion and results from AAA TripleMania: Monterrey.
*****
WRESTLENOMICS: AEW and WWE TV rights value
AEW and WWE are likely nearing negotiation time for their current U.S. live rights agreements. Brandon gives a detailed breakdown of how those rights might be valued.
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN
John Pollock & Wai Ting review AEW Rampage & WWE SmackDown. They discuss WWE’s latest round of NXT roster cuts involving Dakota Kai, Malcolm Bivens, and others.
*****
MCU L8R: Moon Knight Ep. 5 (Patreon)
Wai Ting & WH Park are joined by “Our Man” Neal Flanagan to discuss Moon Knight Episode 5: “Asylum” as Marc & Steven navigate the truths of their traumatic past.
*****
upNXT 4/28: NXT/AEW Roundup
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review the April 26th, 2022 edition of WWE NXT and the April 27th, edition of AEW Dynamite!
*****
BTWA: WWE Cruiserweight Classic (2016)
Martin Bushby is back with Andrew Thompson to journey back to 2016 and the WWE Cruiserweight Classic.
*****

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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.