POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: WWE ends year with big shows in Tampa & Toronto

Photo Courtesy: WWE


**Our final Rewind-A-SmackDown of 2022 will be a big show tonight covering Friday Night SmackDown with John Cena’s return and AEW Rampage. We have several guests stopping by with Davie Portman attending the WWE house show in Toronto and joining us afterward, plus Karen Peterson will stop by to discuss the major stories following STARDOM’s Dream Queendom II show. Wai Ting and I will also chat about the passing of Don West and take your phone calls to end the year. The show will be live for all POST Wrestling Café members at 11 p.m. ET (a link is already in your inbox).

**Wrestlenomics Radio will have a new show out this Sunday with Brandon Thurston, Chris Gullo & Jesse Collings.

**POST Wrestling’s BEST & WORST of 2022 Show will be released late Sunday night on the free POST Wrestling and available on your podcast app of choice and on the POST YouTube Channel. The following categories will be covered:

  1. BEST WRESTLER (Female)
  8. BIGGEST SETBACK (Least improved, performer whose stock fell)
  14. BEST PPV

**The Double Shot returned this week with Wai Ting and I spent an hour reviewing the Ric Flair documentary with our thoughts on it, along with Dragon Lee signing with WWE, Dax Harwood commenting on CM Punk, and more. The show is available for all POST Wrestling Café members.


Tonight: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John Pollock & Wai Ting (11 p.m. ET)
Sunday: Wrestlenomics Radio
Monday: The BEST & WORST of 2022


**WWE ends its year with one of its biggest television episodes of the year and John Cena’s first match in over a year. Friday Night SmackDown takes place from the Amalie Arena in Tampa, which is nearly sold out and saw a giant jump in ticket sales once Cena was announced for the show and continues to be the largest difference-maker for WWE when it comes to a singular talent. The tag match has been promoted significantly over the past two weeks including on Fox broadcasts. Below are the matches announced for tonight’s show at 8 p.m. ET on Fox:
*Roman Reigns & Sami Zayn vs. John Cena & Kevin Owens
*SmackDown Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey (champion) vs. Raquel Rodriguez
*Solo Sikoa vs. Sheamus
*The return of Lacey Evans

**WrestleTix reports that new seats have been opened up at the Amalie Arena and were quickly picked up with over 13,000 tickets distributed for the show. Between Tampa and Toronto, WWE has put out over 20,000 tickets between tonight’s two events.

**Due to his matches at house shows and pay-per-views, tonight is John Cena’s first match on Raw or SmackDown since January 2019. He last wrestled in a dark match at the September 2021 taping of SmackDown at Madison Square Garden teaming with Rey & Dominik Mysterio against Roman Reigns & The Usos.

**WWE also has a live event in Toronto at the Coca-Cola Coliseum (the same venue that AEW ran back-to-back nights at in October) featuring the Raw crew. They have advertised Bianca Belair vs. Bayley vs Becky Lynch for the Raw Women’s Championship and are currently listing Seth Rollins vs. Bobby Lashley in a steel cage match (they have also put out ads with Rollins against Austin Theory and Rollins against AJ Styles in the past few weeks). WrestleTix reports that over 7,500 tickets are out for tonight’s show and the venue is set up for just over 8,000.

**The New Year’s Smash edition of AEW Rampage airs at 10 p.m. ET on TNT and streams on TSN Direct in Canada. The taped show from Broomfield, Colorado will feature the following:
*AEW All-Atlantic Championship: Orange Cassidy (champion) vs. Trent Beretta
*TBS Championship: Jade Cargill (champion) vs. Kiera Hogan
*Swerve Strickland vs. Wheeler Yuta
*Interviews with Sting & Darby Allin, Jeff Jarrett & Jay Lethal, Jon Moxley, and Jamie Hayter

**AJ Styles might have suffered an injury on Thursday’s house show in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Styles was teaming with Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows against The Judgment Day and saw Styles execute a move to the floor and then grabbed his leg/ankle. It was serious enough that the match was waved off by the referee and ended without a finish with the performer being helped to the back. Styles is advertised for tonight’s show in Toronto.

**Brandon Thurston worked out the yearly average for the top wrestling programs. For Raw, the show averaged 1,758,000 viewers (1,756,000 in 2021) and 0.47 (0.50 in 2021) in the 18-49 audience. It should be noted for the comparisons that in 2022, there are 4.7% fewer homes with cable than the year prior, and at last check, USA Network is available in 74,363,000 homes in the U.S. AEW Dynamite averaged 960,000 viewers (up 2% from 2021), and 0.34 in the 18-49 demo (down 3% from last year) with TBS in 73,739,000 homes.

**The Lucha Libre Agency, which negotiated on behalf of Dragon Lee with WWE, issued a press release on their client signing with the company. The outlet stated that Lee will continue to be involved with the Legends of Lucha Libre licensing products that Masked Republic is releasing including an upcoming book series from Future House Publishing that Lee is involved with alongside his brothers Rush and Dralistico. Lee and his family will be relocating to Florida and are expected to start with NXT in early 2023. Lee & Dralistico won the AAA tag titles from FTR on Wednesday’s Noche de Campeones event in Acapulco with the team vacating the belts immediately after Lee made the public announcement of his WWE signing.

**Pro Wrestling NOAH presents one of its biggest events in years with The New Year 2023 event at Nippon Budokan early Sunday morning at 4 a.m. ET on Wrestle Universe and includes English commentary. The show is built around Keiji Muto taking on Shinsuke Nakamura as Muto’s retirement tour winds down. Nakamura went to great lengths seeking approval from WWE to work the show and didn’t become a reality until the regime change over the summer. While Muto and Nakamura are the reason for the heavy demand for tickets, the standout match should be the GHC heavyweight title match between Kaito Kiyomiya and Kenou. The story is that Kenou believes the champion should be a God-like figure and doesn’t Kiyomiya at that level yet. It also sees the reunion of Naomichi Marufuji & KENTA as they challenge Takashi Sugiura & Satoshi Kojima for the GHC tag titles. Marufuji & KENTA were two of NOAH’s major figures throughout the 2000s in the junior heavyweight division and both graduated to become heavyweights and led the company prior to KENTA signing with WWE. The eight-man tag has a mystery partner that will be revealed, teaming with Kazuyuki Fujita, Kendo Kashin & NOSAWA Rongai.

NOAH is poised to have a big spotlight over the next two months between this card, its Yokohoma Arena event on 1/22, and Muto’s retirement match at the Tokyo Dome in February.

Below is the lineup for Sunday’s show:
*GHC Heavyweight Championship: Kaito Kiyomiya (champion) vs. Kenou
*The Great Muta vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
*GHC Tag Team Championship: Takashi Sugiura & Satoshi Kojima (champions) vs. KENTA & Naomichi Marufuji
*Masakatsu Funaki, Katsuhiko Nakajima, Manabu Soya & Hajime Ohara vs. Kazuyuki Fujita, Kendo Kashin, NOSAWA Rongai & X
*GHC Jr. Heavyweight Championship: AMAKUSA (champion) vs. Junta Miyawaki
*GHC Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: YO-HEY & Kzy (champions) vs. Yoshinari Ogawa & Eita
*Masa Kitamiya, Daiki Inaba & Yoshiki Inamura vs. Muhammed Yone, Akitoshi Saito & Shuhei Taniguchi
*Yasutaka Yano vs. Taishi Ozawa
*Timothy Thatcher vs. Jack Morris
*Ninja Mack, Dante Leon & Alejandro vs. Shuji Kondo, Tadasuke & Hi69
*Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr., Atsushi Kotoge & Seiki Yoshioka vs. Masaaki Mochizuki, Susumu Mochizuki & Mochizuki Jr.

**NXT Level Up tonight at 10 p.m. ET on the WWE Network features Oro Mensah vs. Javier Bernal, Amari Miller vs. Thea Hail, and Bronco Nima & Lucien Price vs. Bryson Montana & Oba Femi.

**All Japan Pro Wrestling has its first two shows of the year on Monday (Sunday night at 9:30 p.m. ET in North America) and Tuesday (Monday at 9:30 p.m. ET) at Korakuen Hall and streaming on its AJPW.tv service. The first night sees Suwama & KONO defend the AJPW world tag titles against Kento Miyahara & Takuya Nomura and Atusuki Aoyagi defending the Junior Heavyweight title against Hikaru Sato. The big match is on Tuesday with Miyahara defending the Triple Crown against Nomura, which could be a phenomenal match.

**Game Changer Wrestling has two shows this weekend including Til Infinity on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET from The Showboat in Atlantic City and streaming on Fite+. The card on Saturday includes Maki Itoh vs. Allie Katch, Speedball Mike Bailey vs. 2 Cold Scorpio, Masha Slamovich vs. Cole Radrick, and John Wayne Murdoch vs. Sawyer Wreck. They return on Sunday with 56 Nights Live at 5 p.m. ET.

**The next episode of Dax Harwood’s podcast will cover the recent Double Dog Collar match from Final Battle. Harwood called it his favorite match of his career.

**GCW has added Komander vs. Lio Rush for its 2/18 card in Los Angeles at the Ukrainian Cultural Center.

**If ever there was a week to highlight the incredible amount of wrestling, this was one of them. The highlights of the week include the Falls Count Anywhere match between Death Triangle and The Elite, Hijo del Vikingo vs. Bandido from the AAA event on Wednesday, and Syuri vs. Giulia from Dream Queendom (I have not seen the DDT match between Kazusada Higuchi and Yuki Ueno but that’s probably in the mix too). The amazing part is that the next week is going to be just as stellar with several candidates that could be on par with these matches. Syuri and Giulia is an easy match-of-the-year contender and would place it as the best women’s match that I saw this year. Vikingo produced the best spot of the year with the inverted shooting star into a poisonrana on Bandido, which was breathtaking no matter how many times you’ve watched it.

**The WWE stock closed at $68.52 on Friday.


**Bellator and RIZIN will continue the New Year’s Eve tradition in Japan with an inter-promotional series of fights, which will stream live on FITE TV at 5 a.m. ET on Saturday and air on tape delay on Showtime at 8 p.m. The card takes place from the Saitama Super Arena, which was the site of countless legendary fights from PRIDE during its heyday when New Year’s Eve became the biggest night of the year in the sport. At its peak, you had K-1, PRIDE, and Antonio Inoki running competing cards and going against the institution of the Red & White Festival that aired in Japan. In 2003, Bob Sapp fought Akebono fought on the K-1 card on New Year’s Eve with the fight attracting 54 million viewers, a number that is unfathomable to imagine in today’s world for a fight. While this year’s show has some of Bellator’s biggest fighters including A.J. McKee, it is unlikely this card will generate any type of significant audience on New Year’s Eve in the U.S. I would imagine the diehard fans seeking out the card are more likely to watch the live stream on FITE than wait fifteen hours for the U.S. broadcast and in the U.S., watching fights is not a tradition nor is staying home to watch television. Bellator has lost a lot of its profile since leaving Spike and bouncing from the Paramount Network to Showtime. The larger stage for Bellator comes in February when it gets onto CBS which is a very important night for the company.

Below are the main card fights set for the Bellator x RIZIN show:
*A.J. McKee (18-1) vs. Roberto de Souza (12-1)
*Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (34-5) vs. Kleber Koike Erbst (28-5-1)
*Juan Archuleta (26-3) vs. Soo Chul Kim (0-0)
*Kyoji Horiguchi (29-5) vs. Hiromasa Ougikubo (23-5-2)
*Gadzhi Rabadanov (18-4-2) vs. Koji Takeda (12-2)

**Forrest Griffin posted a tribute for the late Stephan Bonnar, who died last week at the age of 45:

John Pollock & Wai Ting review AEW Dynamite: New Year’s Smash with Samoa Joe defending the TNT title against Wardlow, and Match #6 between Death Triangle and The Elite.
Davie Portman talks all about WWE NXT from December 27th, 2022 headlined by Wes Lee vs Tony D’Angelo for the NXT North American Championship!
POST Wrestling’s 5-Year Anniversary Show
Join John Pollock, Wai Ting, Braden Herrington, Davie Portman and members of the international POST Wrestling family for our live 5-Year Anniversary Show from QXT’s Night Club in Newark, NJ.
It’s the last episode of POST Puroresu for 2022! Joining WH Park to review the year in Japan is the creative force behind Dream Slam Weekly, Karen Peterson.
WRESTLENOMICS: The Fall of Vince McMahon
Vince McMahon was the most powerful man in the wrestling business. In 2022, he resigned in disgrace as WWE’s chief executive in light of multiple sexual misconduct allegations. These are the events that led up to and followed one of the biggest news stories in wrestling history.
Many surprise guests stop by the POST Office to chat with John Pollock and Wai Ting for the annual POST Wrestling Christmas Show! Plus, the POST Christmas Jingle Contest!

Browse the POST Wrestling Store

Subscribe to POST Wrestling

POST Wrestling Forum

Support our Patreon – The POST Wrestling Café

Follow us
Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube

About John Pollock 4582 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.