POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: AEW & WWE hit by injuries to top talent

John Pollock looks at the recent injuries affecting WWE & AEW as both sides enter the summer, a preview of Dynamite, Misawa vs. Jumbo in 1990.

Photo Courtesy: WWE

POST IT NOTES

**Rewind-A-Dynamite is live at 10 p.m. ET tonight with a review of AEW Dynamite. Wai Ting and I will have a review of the show and will take your feedback from the POST Wrestling Forum. The show will be live on the POST YouTube channel and available on your podcast app by searching for POST Wrestling.

**The fifth installment of POLLOCK & TING: TALK is now available for all POST Wrestling Café members. Wai and I have received positive feedback whenever we have done these shows which don’t include much discussion on pro wrestling or news but instead, focus on our own lives, news concerning the site, and Wai shares some important life news on this month’s version.

**Andrew Thompson will have an interview with Yuka Sakazaki on the site Thursday.

**Next week, we will be having Steven Bell on the POST Daily News Show. Bell has just written Dynamite & Davey: The Explosive Lives of the British Bulldogs and we’ll be discussing the legacies of Tom Billington and Davey Boy Smith, the process of putting this extensive book together, and much more.

POST DAILY NEWS SHOW

– AEW Double or Nothing estimated number of buys
– WWE Raw numbers
– NXT 2.0 recap feat. Apollo Crews, Roxanne Perez
– Report on a possible direction for Judgment Day
– AEW Dynamite tonight

Audio version for POST Wrestling Café members.

INJURIES TO KEY PLAYERS IN AEW & WWE

Over the past week, a slew of injuries has impacted the two major wrestling promotions with the loss of its two top babyfaces days apart from each other.

Both CM Punk and Cody Rhodes are set for surgeries to address their respective injuries forcing AEW and WWE to scramble and come up with alternative plans. Compounding issues for AEW was the news that Scorpio Sky went into his match with Dante Martin last Friday with an injury and experienced a muscle strain while wrestling, rendering his right leg “useless” for the duration of the match, according to Sky. Bryan Danielson missed a scheduled appearance in Massachusetts this past weekend where the venue stated he was injured and could not appear. Adam Cole and Jeff Hardy were taken out of last Wednesday’s ten-man tag on Dynamite for their own injuries – and the NWA lost its champion for this weekend’s pay-per-view with Matt Cardona tearing his biceps on May 29th during a GCW match in Las Vegas.

The CM Punk injury came at a terrible time when he had just won the AEW Championship and had begun the set-up for a first-time match against Hiroshi Tanahashi in his hometown of Chicago and the sold-out United Center. The timetable for a return has not been disclosed, the fact that AEW made the call for an interim championship would suggest that it’s longer than four weeks for Forbidden Door but hopefully, All Out would be a possibility for Punk to return by. There is an unbelievable level of depth in AEW, but the star power of Punk is hard to replace immediately.

It would appear that Moxley is the strongest candidate to headline Forbidden Door while other options would include Hangman Page, Wardlow, Samoa Joe (although Joe just did a major injury angle with the attack on his shoulder), and Eddie Kingston (which is an option I like for a lot of reasons and would be the sentimental favorite to win the battle royal, face his former enemy and now close friend in Moxley, and then have Tanahashi square off with the King’s Road disciple in Chicago).

The interim champion has to face Punk at some point, so it might as well be someone with history with Punk and Kingston is that guy. The hottest character AEW has is MJF but wherever that story is going, it would seem to negate all the work done last week to blow up those plans and go in a new direction but it’s also a case of striking when he’s hottest.

Originally, I thought Danielson would be a great interim champion because he’s perceived at the level of Punk, it’s a dream match scenario for Forbidden Door and it promises the fans that the first AEW match with Danielson vs. Punk will happen soon. If Danielson cannot wrestle tonight, that disqualifies that option.

The option of putting the AEW interim title on Tanahashi (as I readily dismiss Goto beating Tanahashi, which would be a terrible business decision) is a potential card you can play. The negative is that the whole point of the interim title is to have a belt and champion in circulation while Punk is gone – and there is no way Tanahashi is missing the G1 Climax nor do I believe New Japan would be rebooking the tournament to allow Tanahashi to be protected as champion. As we’ve seen in previous years, Tanahashi will likely lose quite a few matches in the G1 and I don’t know if AEW gains anything by losing their interim title for a month and having him lose multiple times.

In WWE, the injury to Rhodes has led to a popularity boom for the performer where his standing has never been higher, and is poised for big things when healthy. It’s absolutely a hit to the depth situation with the additional handicap of one world champion that is doing fewer dates and Raw not having a championship. Rhodes has also worked all the live events and emerged as the top babyface in the company that now sees Bobby Lashley, Riddle, Drew McIntyre, Randy Orton (once he returns), and the recently turned Edge in the top spots.

The blueprint was written over 20 years ago for the way to bring back a star when Triple H tore his quad in May 2001. A series of weekly videos of Hunter rehabbing to U2’s ‘Beautiful Day’ resulted in one of the biggest reactions of that time period on the January, 7, 2002, episode of Raw from Madison Square Garden. More importantly, it led to a huge number of buys for the Royal Rumble where Hunter was the star of the show and won the Rumble. His return in 2002 and feud with Batista in 2005 would stand out as the most significant drawing period of his career.

For Roman Reigns, it is still a question mark regarding whether he will be wrestling at Money in the Bank in Las Vegas. When the show was scheduled for Allegiant Stadium, he was part of the advertising along with Brock Lesnar, and Ronda Rousey, and all three are absent from the current marketing with the show shifting to the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The July 2nd event is sold out and perhaps, you can hold Reigns off until SummerSlam four weeks later at Nissan Stadium. Riddle has outright stated he is going for Reigns’ title, you have Randy Orton’s eventual comeback, Bobby Lashley signaled his goal of getting the title after beating Omos & MVP, and Drew McIntyre has issued a challenge for Clash at the Castle. You actually have too many challengers than big events to stage those matches, but I feel it’s always great to have multiple people gunning for the title and making it their ultimate goal and making the championship the goal of every top performer.

If Reigns vs. McIntyre is the match for Wales in September, it is really hard to fathom beating McIntyre in that environment where it should be among the hottest crowds for a WWE event in years. Having Reigns drop the title to McIntyre, even if it’s for a few months, is perfectly fine and would be a major moment of McIntyre ending the two-year reign and spending the summer building McIntyre for that moment. Reigns can easily win the title back in time for next year’s WrestleMania. After this past weekend, Reigns vs. Rhodes for the title feels like such a big match and would be a year in the making from Rhodes’ return and outlining his goal the night after WrestleMania 38.

Between CM Punk and Cody Rhodes, it will be a challenge for the respective creative forces behind both companies to drop existing plans and show their audience how nimble they can be and deal with an injury to a major player. WWE has the cushion of so much guaranteed revenue that losing a top star doesn’t hold the same penalty of a bygone era where pay-per-view and live event business were so crucial to its profitability. AEW is much more dependent on its stars as it’s still reliant on its pay-per-view revenue and selling tickets across the country on a weekly basis while also having a healthy media rights deal.

WRESTLING NEWS

**AEW Dynamite has an important show tonight as it establishes one half of the interim AEW Championship match for Forbidden Door. The rollout of the format last Friday left many people confused until it was properly clarified. The match for the interim title will be official after Sunday’s Dominion card. Tonight’s show features a battle royal with the winner facing Jon Moxley in the main event and that winner goes to Forbidden Door against the winner of Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hirooki Goto.

The show takes place from the Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence, Missouri with WrestleTix reporting that over 4,100 tickets are out for the show. The last time they ran the arena was last November for Dynamite and drew 3,950 and 3,700 paid, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

Below are the matches that have been announced:
*Casino Battle Royale – No participants listed yet
*Jon Moxley vs. TBA – Winner goes to Forbidden Door
*Hangman Page vs. David Finlay
*Buddy Matthews vs. PAC

**The numbers for Dynamite, Rampage, and Raw next week are going to be impacted by airing against the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics. Raw will likely be more pronounced because they are coming off such a high figure this past week and these numbers are hardly ones to delve too deeply into given the circumstances. The NHL conference final series between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning is tied 2-2 and could go as late as next Tuesday before the Stanley Cup Final begins.

**With the Colorado Avalanche eliminating the Edmonton Oilers this past Monday, there will be no NHL conflict on TNT this Friday with Rampage in its normal time slot at 10 p.m. ET.

**Matt Cardona underwent surgery on Tuesday for a torn biceps that he recently suffered during a match with Blake Christian at GCW’s Downward Spiral event. Cardona was scheduled to defend the NWA championship against Nick Aldis this Sunday at its ‘Alwayz Ready’ pay-per-view, in which Cardona has stated he will appear. Cardona noted he was already back in the gym on Wednesday one day after surgery.

**Konnan was interviewed by Denise Salcedo and said he is awaiting a kidney transplant and said he is hanging in there and hopeful his life will be back to normal once the transplant occurs. Konnan was promoting the TripleMania XXX event on June 18th in Tijuana, which is scheduled to feature The Hardys taking on Dragon Lee & Dralistico and the semi-finals of the Ruleta de la Muerte tournament with Villano IV vs. Psycho Clown and Blue Demon Jr, vs. Pentagon Jr. with the losers advancing to October’s show and the ultimate loser being forced to unmask.

**Pro Wrestling NOAH ran a card at Korakuen Hall on Wednesday in front of 449 fans. In the main event, Satoshi Kojima teamed with Masato Tanaka, Daiki Inaba & Masaaki Mochizuki to beat Go Shiozaki, Kaito Kiyomia, Michael Elgin & Masa Kitamiya with Kojima pinning GHC champion Shiozaki. The two are set to headline the CyberFight Festival this Sunday for the GHC Heavyweight Championship. The card also featured Daisuke Harada, Atsushi Kotoge & YO-HEY winning the Dragon Gate’s Open the Triangle Gate titles from Yoshinari Ogawa, Seiki Yoshioka & Yuya Susumu. Timothy Thatcher has been brought into NOAH for this tour and beat Shuhei Taniguchi in his second match with the promotion.

**A match between Taya Valkyrie and Brittany Blake has been added to MLW’s Battle Riot IV on June 23rd at the Melrose Ballroom in New York City. The card includes Alex Hammerstone defending the MLW title against Bandido, the debut of Scarlett Bordeaux, and the Battle Riot match itself.

**Swerve Strickland spoke with Andreas Hale & Kel Dansby on The Corner Podcast.

**The Toronto-based Greektown Wrestling is running a larger event on Saturday, June 25th at the Ted Reeve Arena featuring Bret Hart making an appearance. The card will include IMPACT Wrestling’s Eric Young, Josh Alexander taking on Aiden Prince, Lady Frost against Taylor Wilde, and Anthony Carelli will appear.

MMA NEWS

**Pat McAfee interviewed Dana White to promote UFC 275 in Singapore this Saturday. McAfee started the conversation discussing the new Saudi Arabia-backed golf league and led to a question regarding White’s stance on working with countries that have been accused of doing terrible things. White downplayed it stating that ‘people are going to do mean shit to each other’ and if you boycott, you are going to be out of business and ‘it’s the way the world works’. In a more light-hearted part of the interview, White invited McAfee and his team to come to the UFC’s event on September 3rd in Paris, France, and said, ‘we’re f—king in’ not realizing it’s the same day as Clash at the Castle in Wales.

**With UFC 275 in Singapore, the promotion doesn’t want to affect the usual start time in the U.S. and therefore, fights will begin at 6:30 a.m. local time at the Singapore Indoor Arena, and the main card begins at 10 a.m. The card will see Glover Teixeira make his first defense of the light heavyweight title against Jiri Prochazka involving two of the more fan-friendly fight styles at the weight class. Teixeira has a great story, winning the title at the age of 42 last October, and will be the underdog against most of the top fighters in the division. That said, he demonstrated that he has retained elite skills at his older age when defeating Jan Blachowicz for the title and his submission game is much superior to Prochazka’s.

Women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko defends her title against Talia Santos where Shevchenko is a big favorite at -650 on Draft Kings. It is hard to imagine anyone being competitive with Shevchenko unless she leaves the weight class, but Santos is 19-1 but has never fought anyone nearly this skilled. Santos is coming off wins against Roxanne Modafferi and submitted Joanne Wood in her last fight.

The biggest fight on the card is the rematch between former champions Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Zhang Weili. Their fight in March 2020 was one of the best fights in the promotion’s history but you have to assume each walked away with significant repercussions from that five-round war. Jedrzejczyk has not fought since the last one with Zhang and that’s an eternity in MMA, so it is hard to know how she will look after two years without a fight. Weili has fought Rose Namajunas twice during that time period where she was knocked out by a head kick and then lost a five-round decision last November.

**Daniel Cormier spoke with Jose Youngs at MMA Fighting and stated that his coach “Crazy” Bob Cook would be inducting him into the UFC Hall of Fame during International Fight Week.

**Tim Kennedy appeared on The MMA Hour on Wednesday and was asked about the demise of the short-lived MMAAA (Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association), which sprung up in late 2016 and was gone almost as quickly. Kennedy explained that privately many fighters wanted a union or an association but when it came to putting their name down and committing to the cause, only five percent of the roster were willing to do so. The initial rollout included some heavy hitters involved including Cain Velasquez, Georges St-Pierre, T.J. Dillashaw, and Donald Cerrone with former Bellator C.E.O. Bjorn Rebney emerging as part of the group. All of the fighters would go back and fight with the UFC and nothing ever came of this and is the reality in both MMA and professional wrestling where the individual is concerned about upsetting their livelihood for the greater cause of the entire roster. Your result is an unbelievable level of control and leverage the promotions possess and the amount of revenue they retain without collective bargaining or athletes having a say in the distribution of revenues and what protocols they are subject to. The group that has persisted for years in its antitrust suit against the UFC is the MMAFA, which launched its suit against the company in December 2014 and has forced UFC to disclose several business practices that have allowed the public to see the distribution of revenues to fighters and where the percentages range from for the given time period.

**UFC has released Episode 1, Episode 2, and Episode 3 of UFC Embedded going into this Saturday’s card in Singapore.

ON THIS DATE

**One of the most famous matches of the era, Mitsuharu Misawa pins Jumbo Tsuruta on this date in 1990. The match took place weeks after Misawa was unmasked and dropped the Tiger Mask II persona to assume his own identity. The story has been told over the years that it was a decision made that night to go with Misawa winning clean sensing that the audience was ready for it. It was the correct call and began an incredible streak of sellouts for All Japan in Tokyo built on the backs of Misawa and Kenta Kobashi and ushering in one of the golden eras of in-ring match quality. This match was profiled in a previous edition of The Long & Winding Royal Road with WH Park & JP Houlihan.

**The 1997 King of the Ring took place and was won by Triple H after defeating Mankind in the final. The tournament win came one year after Hunter was scheduled to win it but took the heat for the ‘Curtain Call’ at Madison Square Garden. Hunter and Mankind would feud throughout the summer with matches in July at In Your House in Calgary, a steel cage match at SummerSlam, and a match at MSG in September where Foley would introduce the Cactus Jack character for the first time on WWF programming. They would engage in another program in 2000 including a classic street fight at the Royal Rumble.

An incredible transformation of the NXT title scene compared with one year ago:

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About John Pollock 3981 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.