POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: WWE on A&E schedule, WWE talent meeting

WWE and A&E release July schedule, meeting held with talent at MITB, Les Thatcher's anniversary, MITB attendance, UFC 276 analysis & more.

Photo Courtesy: WWE, A&E

POST IT NOTES

**Rewind-A-Raw is live at 11:05 p.m. ET with Wai Ting and I streaming the show live at YouTube.com/POSTwrestling.

**The annual POST Wrestling G1 Climax Contest is open for all to enter free of charge. You can join the contest at www.postwrestling.com/g1 and make your picks for all the matches in the tournament. We will update the standings on all our G1 Climax podcasts, which begin July 16th for all POST Wrestling Café members. The deadline to join the contest is Friday, July 15th and we will announce the top finishers after the G1.

**Tom Lawlor will be joining us Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET on the POST Daily News to discuss his first G1 Climax this year.

**Phil Chertok and Eric Marcotte reviewed UFC 276 on the POST Show on Sunday:

**Our Money in the Bank POST Show is available to watch and listen to from Saturday night.

POST DAILY NEWS SHOW

– WWE talent meeting at Money in the Bank
– MITB fallout
– McMahons attend UFC 276
– Israel Adesanya’s entrance
– Wrestlers speak on WES in England
– Big E. issues update on neck injury
– WWE Raw tonight in San Diego
– G1 Climax contest

WRESTLING NEWS

**A&E and WWE begin their Sunday night block of programming this weekend with 3 ½ hours every Sunday. The weekly schedule will feature a new Biography episode from 8-10 p.m. ET, an edition of WWE Rivals from 10-11, a 30-minute wrap-up show called WWE Smack Talk hosted by Jackie Redmond with Booker T., Peter Rosenberg, and a weekly guest to discuss that night’s episodes.

The first four weeks of programming have been released with the following schedule:

Sunday, July 10th:
*Biography: The Undertaker
*WWE Rivals: Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels
*WWE Smack Talk:  Kane

Sunday, July 17th:

*Biography: Bill Goldberg
*WWE Rivals: The Undertaker vs. Kane
*WWE Smack Talk: Eric Bischoff

Sunday, July 24th:
*Biography: The Bella Twins
*WWE Rivals: Steve Austin vs. The Rock
*WWE Smack Talk: The Bella Twins

Sunday, July 31st:
*Biography: Kurt Angle
*WWE Rivals: Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar
*WWE Smack Talk: Paul Heyman

**WWE held a meeting with talent prior to the Money in the Bank event on Saturday. Mike Johnson of PWinsider.com reported that Stephanie McMahon-Levesque and Paul Levesque spoke and described to Johnson as a ‘rah rah’ speech and referred to everyone as a family working together. Levesque reportedly added that he was back working full-time with the company, similar to what he said two weeks ago at the WWE Performance Center. After being in the background and having a minimal public profile, Levesque was both a key speaker at the meeting and on camera at the UFC 276 broadcast sitting with Vince McMahon, Stephanie, and Pat McAfee. It seems clear that Stephanie and Paul are being presented as public faces for the company including last week’s signing of Logan Paul and posing with the two for all the media coverage of the signing.

**WWE Raw takes place from San Diego, California tonight on the 4th of July, which is a very tough night on television. Last year’s episode of Raw on July 5th (the holiday weekend) averaged 1,472,000 viewers, which is the lowest overall viewership for Raw on record excluding the shows on Syfy. As of Monday afternoon, they have announced the following for tonight:
*The Miz responds to Logan Paul
*Finn Balor & Damian Priest vs. Rey & Dominik Mysterio

**The final count of tickets distributed for WWE’s Money in the Bank card at MGM Grand Garden Arena was 12,076 according to WrestleTix. They sold out the building after scaling back from the original venue of Allegiant Stadium. In hindsight, they overestimated their capacity to draw against the UFC in their home market for a major pay-per-view. However, they sold out the MGM and that was without Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, or Cody Rhodes, who were all originally advertised at Allegiant Stadium. WWE president Nick Khan has repeated several times that Las Vegas is a ‘Saturday night’ city for events and that proved accurate last August when they drew 41,000 paid and over 45,000 total to Allegiant Stadium for SummerSlam last year (which was also the first major card with fans back and Reigns vs. Cena on top). With the company more aggressive towards booking stadiums, it will be noteworthy how they schedule MITB next year and still view it as a viable “stadium level” event. This year can be chalked up to underestimating the UFC dominating the market and local coverage, as well as scaling back on star power for MITB. With three stadium shows booked this summer – one was moved to a smaller arena, Nissan Stadium for SummerSlam has over 28,000 tickets out and recently held a 30 percent off sale for available tickets, and the consensus is they overpriced the tickets for Clash at the Castle in Wales – which can be corrected but wasn’t the hot ticket right off the bat that I assumed it would be.

**Due to the 4th of July holiday in the U.S., television viewership will be delayed. Viewership figures for Friday Night SmackDown & AEW Rampage will be out Tuesday late afternoon, Raw’s numbers will be released Wednesday afternoon, and figures for NXT’s Great American Bash will be released Thursday morning. It gets back to normal on Thursday afternoon with the release of AEW Dynamite’s performance. (Thanks to Brandon Thurston)

**In Canada, Friday Night SmackDown finished seventh among sports programming for the night with 130,600 viewers and 62,600 in the 25-54 demographic on Sportsnet 360. They aired against the Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays, CFL football, and the Canadian men’s basketball game against the Dominican Republic. The previous week’s edition of SmackDown averaged approximately 123,000 and 46,000 in 25-54.

**Les Thatcher wrestled his first match on this date in 1960 when he was 19 years old against Ronnie Hill. Thatcher had occupied every role one could imagine throughout his career. He was part of a group with “cousins” Roger Kirby and Dennis Scott and held versions of the Mid-America tag titles with each in Tennessee. Thatcher also teamed with Nelson Royal, Whitey Caldwell, and Bearcat Brown among others throughout his career. The next chapter of his career was in broadcasting where he called shows for Continental, Mid-Atlantic, Georgia Championship Wrestling, and Smokey Mountain Wrestling for Jim Cornette. He was also the instrumental figure in coordinating the annual Brian Pillman Memorial shows from 1998 until 2002 raising over $125,000 for the Pillman family. These shows became one of the major events on the calendar for independent talent to get booked on and at their peak – featured talent from WWF, WCW, and ECW, which was unheard of during this era. One of the standout matches from shows came in 2000 shortly after William Regal had re-signed with WWF and had a match with Chris Benoit that became the must-see match of this period and was included on Benoit’s DVD that the WWE released in 2004. Sadly, Thatcher and the late Melanie Pillman had a falling out, and was very unfair to Thatcher, who worked tirelessly on those shows and didn’t profit from them. The fallout was detailed in Liam O’Rourke’s book on Brian Pillman where Melanie does not come off well and is further examined on Dark Side of the Ring regarding Melanie’s estrangement from her children over the years, although, Brian Jr. indicated they were on better terms over the past several years.

**Last year, we interviewed Les Thatcher about his career and his time running the Pillman Memorial shows.

**Kyle O’Reilly spoke with CHEK’s This is Vancolour podcast about his career in the various promotions he’s worked for and spoke about an injury that has sidelined him in AEW.

**Wrestling Entertainment Series (WES) is actively promoting this weekend’s event at the Motorpoint Arena in Liverpool, England. The promotion announced Dean Muhtadi (the former Mojo Rawley) will face Damo Mackle a.k.a. ‘Big Damo’ this Saturday on the show. Despite being advertised, Nia Jax has repeatedly stated she won’t be part of this event while IMPACT’s Matthew Rehwoldt wrote on Friday that the promotion had “ghosted” him and was skeptical of the show happening.

**The following matches will air on AEW Dark: Elevation tonight at 7 p.m. ET on their YouTube channel, which was taped in Detroit last week:
*QT Marshall, Nick Comoroto & Aaron Solo vs. Evil Uno, Alex Reynolds & Preston ‘10’ Vance
*Jay Lethal & Satnam Singh vs. James Alexander & Ren Jones
*Hikaru Shida & Yuka Sakazaki vs. Heather Reckless & Laynie Luck
*Anna Jay vs. Megan Meyers
*Anthony Ogogo vs. Pat Monix
*Chuck Taylor & Trent Beretta vs. Isaiah Broner & GPA

**Being the Elite Ep. 313 ‘Just Hit Send’.

**New Japan Pro Wrestling ran in front of 536 fans today at Korakuen Hall. This came one day after running the same arena that drew 1,200 for the returns of KUSHIDA and KENTA. Monday’s card featured Taiji Ishimori & KENTA beating Hiroshi Tanahashi & KUSHIDA in the main event with Ishimori submitting KUSHIDA with the Bone Lock, which is a puzzling choice to beat KUSHIDA immediately rather than submitting or pinning the champion in a tag match to set up the title match, which seems like the direction. The rest of the card saw Tetsuya Naito & Shingo Takagi & SANADA & Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI over Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii & Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato & Alex Zayne, Hirooki Goto & Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI over EVIL & Yujiro & Dick Togo, Taichi & El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru over Clark Connors & Alex Coughlin & The DKC, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma over Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Ryohei Oiwa, Satoshi Kojima over Taka Michinoku, and Minoru Suzuki over Kosei Fujita.

**New Japan’s last show before the G1 takes place Tuesday with their third night in a row at Korakuen Hall. The show is headlined by a NEVER Six-Man tag title match with EVIL, SHO & Yujiro defending against Hirooki Goto, YOH & YOSHI-HASHI, as well as a Dog Cage match between Toru Yano and Dick Togo where the loser needs to be put into a dog cage at ringside.

MMA NEWS

**The UFC 276 card did massive business on Saturday with the promotion’s 18th consecutive sell-out. They drew an announced 19,649 to the T-Mobile Arena and a live gate of $10,409,553.70. Even factoring in International Fight Week, that’s a phenomenal gate figure and didn’t feature a blockbuster fight rather, indicates the strength of the brand. Israel Adesanya and Max Holloway have both grown in star power over the years with Adesanya on the cusp of reaching the next level. Adesanya hasn’t had that major rivalry or opponent to bring him up to superstardom and perhaps Alex Pereira will assist in that regard given their backstory and being featured on the main card.

**The ‘Fight of the Night bonus was awarded to Bryan Barberena and Robbie Lawler, which was the easy choice for the distinction. Alex Pereira, Jalin Turner, and Julija Stoliarenko received the ‘Performance of the Night’ bonuses, all worth $50,000.

**Alexander Volkanovski was the star of the show with a magnificent performance shutting out Max Holloway for five rounds. He was already the top featherweight in the world and now, the debate is the pound-for-pound argument between Volkanovski and Kamaru Usman. Of the three fights with Holloway, this was the most decisive and I can’t argue Holloway was close in any round. There are questions for Holloway, who is only 30 but his resume is the size of Jericho’s list of 1,004 holds. We have seen Holloway have some wars including last year’s fight with Yair Rodriguez and he took a lot of damage against Volkanovski this weekend. It could be a case that Volkanovski is a terrible match-up where Holloway’s volume of strikes is shut down and forces him to look slower, or it’s an overall reduction in his game. Hopefully, Holloway takes an extended break and reassesses his goals as it would not stun anyone to see him come back and be competitive with the top fighters in the division. After seeing how close the first two fights were, I thought it was possible we could see a fourth fight down the road, but Saturday’s fight greatly reduced those chances as there is nothing Volkanovski needs to prove. After fifteen rounds together, I scored eleven of them for Volkanovski including the final eight between fights two and three.

**Volkanovski seems more interested in moving up to lightweight and becoming a two-division champion with an intent to defend both titles with a nonstop schedule. The lightweight picture is blurry until it’s decided who is fighting for the vacant championship. It was assumed Charles Oliveira would fight Islam Makhachev, but that fight isn’t officially announced. The only way Volkanovski could interrupt that picture would be if UFC couldn’t come to terms with one of the fighters.

**Donald Cerrone announced his retirement after being submitted by Jim Miller on Saturday night. It was definitely time for him to make that move with Saturday’s loss putting him at 0-6 with 1 no-contest since June 2019. He will go down as one of the all-time great action fighters of his era, who would famously take fights at a moment’s notice and brag at times about not watching film on his opponent. After competing for WEC, he came over to the UFC after the promotion dissolved beginning in February 2011. Saturday was his 38th fight with the UFC and leaves with an overall record of 36-17 with 1 no-contest. He had many impressive runs and always came short in the biggest fights. In December 2011, he was on a long winning streak and lost to Nate Diaz at UFC 141 where he probably would have been in line for a title fight if he won. Between 2014 and 2015, he strung together eight wins in that loaded lightweight class to earn his first UFC title fight against Rafael dos Anjos and was stopped in the first round in December 2015. His last major fight was the biggest one of his career, fighting Conor McGregor in January 2020 and losing in 40 seconds. It was a significant fight for the UFC as it was the first major pay-per-view on ESPN+ and helped drive subscriptions for the service.

Cerrone is tied with Charles Oliveira for the most performance bonuses in UFC history with 18. He holds the record for the most knockdowns in UFC history at 20 and is tied for second for the most wins in UFC history along with Andrei Arlovski at 23.

**Jessica Eye also retired at UFC 276 following her decision loss to Maycee Barber. Eye, 35, began her pro career in 2010 fighting out of Cleveland, Ohio. Within three years, she was 10-1 including three wins with Bellator before joining the UFC and debuting at UFC 166 in Houston where she fought Sarah Kaufman to a no-contest after Eye won by decision but tested positive for marijuana. Eye had a rough run at 135 pounds where she went 1-4 in her next five fights and cut down to flyweight once UFC introduced the division. She went 3-0 at the new weight class including a split decision against the tough Katlyn Chookagian – earning Eye a title fight with Valentina Shevchenko, where Eye was knocked out in the second round. Eye rebounded with a decision win against Viviane Araujo that year before losing the final four fights of her career to Cynthia Calvillo, Joanne Wood, Jennifer Maia, and Barber. Eye had left Ohio several years ago to train out of Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas.

**After Maycee Barber’s win against Jessica Eye, she said it was the last fight on her current deal but wants to re-sign with UFC. Barber is 24 years old and came off Dana White’s Contender Series in 2018 vowing to be the youngest champion in UFC history. She has gone 6-2 in the UFC and was sidelined with a serious knee injury for a year in 2020. After Saturday, Barber has won three fights in a row.

**The UFC runs the Apex next Saturday with an excellent main event between lightweights Rafael dos Anjos (31-13) and Rafael Fiziev (11-1). Fiziev has looked like the real deal after wins against Bobby Green and Brad Riddell in his last two but it’s a different ball game fighting former lightweight champion RDA. This will be RDA’s 32nd fight with the UFC going back to November 2008.

*****
POST DAILY NEWS: MITB fallout, Undertaker entrance at UFC 276
John Pollock & Wai Ting are back to discuss the fallout from Money in the Bank, a meeting held with talent, Israel Adesanya’s Undertaker entrance at UFC 276 & more.
*****
WRESTLENOMICS: Rita Chatterton allegations against Vince McMahon corroborated
Rita Chatterton, who says Vince McMahon raped her in 1986, is interviewed by New York Magazine. Brandon Thurston and Chris Gullo talk about the business of Forbidden Door, Logan Paul signing with WWE, and more.
*****
UFC 276 POST SHOW: Adesanya vs. Cannonier, Volkanovski vs. Holloway
Phil Chertok and Eric Marcotte review Saturday’s UFC 276 card featuring Israel Adesanya defending his title against Jared Cannonier and the third fight between Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway.
******
WWE MONEY IN THE BANK POST SHOW
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE Money in the Bank 2022 featuring Men’s and Women’s MITB ladder matches, The Uso’s vs. Street Profits, Ronda Rousey vs. Natalya, and more.
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN/RAMPAGE
John Pollock & Wai Ting review AEW Rampage headlined by the 20-man Royal Rampage to determine Jon Moxley’s first challenger for his Interim AEW Title and WWE SmackDown ahead of Saturday’s Money In The Bank.
******

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About John Pollock 3973 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.