POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Reports link Khan family to potential WWE sale

POST IT NOTES

**Rewind-A-SmackDown will be available live & free for everyone tonight at 11 p.m. ET with Wai Ting and Kate from Montreal. The two will catch up on all the latest news, take your calls, and review SmackDown & Rampage. The second show we have tonight is the IMPACT Hard to Kill POST Show with John Siino and I which will be exclusive for POST Wrestling Café members.

**On Saturday night, the N.W.A. Podcast will be live at 9 p.m. ET with Nate Milton, Kris Ealy & Andrew Thompson on the POST YouTube channel.

**On Saturday, I’ll be appearing on SiriusXM Canada Talks (Channel 167) at Noon ET to chat about the changes at WWE, a potential sale, and different candidates that could buy the company.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: IMPACT Hard to Kill POST Show with John Pollock & John Siino (Patreon)
Tonight: Rewind-A-SmackDown with Wai Ting & Kate from MTL (FREE at 11 p.m. ET)
Saturday: The N.W.A. Podcast with Nate Milton, Andrew Thompson & Kris Ealy (9 p.m. ET)
Sunday: Wrestlenomics Radio

WRESTLING NEWS

**A story that will instantly gain steam is the reports that Shahid & Tony Khan could emerge as bidders to buy WWE. The first report came from Barron’s, which is a sister publication to the Wall Street Journal, and added that a potential purchase could mean a role for Vince McMahon in a Khan-owned WWE. CNBC’s Alex Sherman confirmed there was interest in a merger but added it’s a “longshot” and no talks have taken place and that a strategic partner would likely be needed to pull off a purchase of that size, and there is no indication they have a partner(s) yet. Because of the dynamic of who is involved, this will likely generate a lot of headlines but there are plenty of reasons to assume this has a very small likelihood of coming true. Sherman added his own two cents in a tweet believing it’s a “non-starter” for other reasons.

**TSN is overhauling its streaming platform with the launch of TSN+, which is currently available for a limited-time free preview with pricing and subscription options to be announced later. This is the exclusive Canadian window for AEW Rampage on Friday nights, which had been streaming on the previous platform, TSN Direct. It is unknown if cable subscribers will have automatic access to TSN+ as they did with the previous incarnation and we will try to find out additional information on the service.

**The WWE stock closed at $89.45 on Friday and was over $90 shortly after the market opened. WWE currently sits at a market cap of $6.65 billion.

**Friday Night SmackDown is at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin with a major match advertised between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. This would be the first one-on-one match between the two since a last-man-standing match on the July 2, 2021, edition of SmackDown. The show is also advertising an Intercontinental Championship match between Gunther and Braun Strowman, which has been built up for several weeks.

**Braun Strowman will be wearing a special pair of boots for tonight’s match against Gunther. In honor of a fan of his that was killed during the attack during the Waukesha Christmas Parade in 2021, Strowman will wear boots with the colors of the Green Bay Packers. After the match, the boots would be auctioned off to benefit the victims of the 2021 attack in the city. The Christmas parade attack left six people dead and 62 others injured with the assailant being charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

**AEW Rampage airs at 10 p.m. ET tonight on TNT with the tapings from the Kia Forum in Inglewood on Wednesday night. Below are the matches set to air:
*TNT Championship: Darby Allin (champion) vs. Juice Robinson
*Street Fight: Anna Jay & Tay Melo vs. Ruby Soho & Willow Nightingale
*Malakai Black & Brody King vs. Eddie Kingston & Ortiz
*Appearances by The Acclaimed and Paul Walter Hauser

**IMPACT Wrestling presents Hard to Kill from Center Stage in Atlanta tonight, which they have noted is sold out. The show will be headlined by the culmination of “The Last Rodeo” which has been going on for months involving Mickie James working her way back to a title shot. It will be Title vs. Career between Jordynne Grace and Mickie James with the Full Metal Mayhem match between Josh Alexander and Bully Ray kicking off the show. The IMPACT title match could go either way. They have promoted it as Alexander being outside his comfort zone and delving into Bully Ray’s specialty match (since they can’t say TLC match and have always used this branding) with the idea of Alexander overcoming this threat, or the notion that without any top heels ready, putting the belt on Bully for a short run. I lean towards the former option as you could have structured this program much differently if it was a multi-match series given the heel turn by Bully and climaxing with a Full Metal Mayhem match instead of being the first match. Here is the full card:
*Title vs. Career: Jordynne Grace © vs. Mickie James
*IMPACT Championship, Full Metal Mayhem: Josh Alexander © vs. Bully Ray
*IMPACT Tag Team Championships: Heath & Rhino © vs. Matt Cardona & Brian Myers vs. Motor City Machine Guns vs. Ace Austin & Chris Bey
*X Division Championship: Trey Miguel © vs. Black Taurus
*Digital Media Championship: Joe Hendry © vs. Moose
*#1 Contender Match: Deonna Purrazzo vs. Killer Kelly vs. Masha Slamovich vs. Taylor Wilde
*Falls Count Anywhere: Steve Maclin vs. Rich Swann
*Jonathan Gresham vs. Eddie Edwards
*Pre-Show: The Death Dollz vs. Gisele Shaw, Tasha Steelz & Savannah Evans
*Pre-Show: Angels vs. KUSHIDA vs. Speedball Mike Bailey vs. Yuya Uemura vs. Mike Jackson vs. Bhupinder Gujjar

**Variety and Nielsen released a chart analyzing the 18-49 demographics among the top fifty networks. Of the top twenty networks, all but one declined significantly over the past year in the key demo. The exception is ESPN which averaged 702,000 viewers in the 18-49 demo and increased by 13 percent this past year. The top-rated network was NBC at 1,176,000 viewers in the demo (down by 13 percent), followed by Fox at 902,000 (down 23 percent), ABC at 864,000 (down 12 percent), and CBS at 811,000 (down 22 percent). When it comes to networks that carry professional wrestling, the USA Network average was 224,000 viewers in the 18-49 demo and shows you how valuable Raw is regarding propping that average up (Raw did nearly triple that number this past Monday with 652,000 in the demo). TNT averaged 383,000 and TBS did 299,000 (Dynamite outperforms the network average, but Rampage does not).

**AEW had a major surge in tickets sold during the final day for Dynamite at the Kia Forum on Wednesday. The last update from WrestleTix that day had an estimate of approximately 8,600 tickets distributed (a combination of tickets sold and comps). In the Friday edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, it’s the final numbers at 11,400 inside the building and 9,400 paid for a gate of $700,000.

**Alex Shelley has been added to GCW’s card on 3/17 at the Melrose Ballroom in New York City. The promotion has also announced that Shelley’s former partner KUSHIDA will be on the same card.

**Everything you need to know about All Japan Pro Wrestling heading into 2023 and where to watch the major events.

MMA NEWS

**The UFC returns with its first card of the year at the Apex on Saturday night. The fight week news cycle centered around Dana White and the fallout from the New Year’s Eve incident where he slapped his wife on camera. White appeared at the media day on Wednesday and addressed the situation but didn’t indicate there would be any punishment from Endeavor, nor has the company issued any statement on the matter. White’s explanation that his punishment is being identified as someone that has struck a woman did not hold up well and was scrutinized. His image was removed from all the advertising of Power Slap this past Wednesday when commercials aired during AEW Dynamite. That becomes very tricky for TBS, who have also come off looking tacky by pushing through with Power Slap and opting to just delay its premiere by one week. It will also be notable to see if AEW has to promote the series next Wednesday as they are putting the series in that slot to attract the wrestling audience and AEW has always been a good broadcast partner when TNT/TBS has integrated promotional elements into the show, but this could be one that AEW wouldn’t want to be connected to.

The Fight Night card will feature the following fights with the card streaming on ESPN+ on Saturday night:

MAIN CARD (7 p.m. ET on ESPN+)
*Nassourdine Imavov (194) vs. Sean Strickland (204) – This was originally a middleweight fight for Imavov against Kelvin Gastelum. When Strickland replaced Gastelum, they changed it to a light-heavyweight fight but clearly, Imavov is way below the weight limit and there will likely be a big size discrepancy.
*Dan Ige (145.5) vs. Damon Jackson (145.5)
*Punahele Soriano (185.5) vs. Roman Kopylov (185)
*Raquel Pennington (135.5) vs. Katlen Vieira (136)
*Raoni Barcelos (135) vs. Umar Nurmagomedov (135)

PRELIMINARY FIGHTS (4 p.m. ET on ESPN+)

*Abdul Razak Alhassan (185.5) vs. Claudio Ribeiro (183)
*Nick Fiore (155) vs. Mateusz Rebecki (155.5)
*Mateus Mendonca (134.5) vs. Javid Basharat (136)
*Carlos Hernandez (125) vs. Allan Nascimento (125.5)
*Nick Aguirre (145.5) vs. Dan Argueta (146)
*Charles Johnson (126) vs. Jimmy Flick (126)

**Sijara Eubanks is off Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card with John Morgan reporting “weight management issues”. Eubanks had been scheduled to fight Priscila Cachoeira in a flyweight fight. Eubanks had previously missed weight in 2018 for a fight against Roxanne Modafferi at flyweight and in her last fight that took place in December 2021.

**The latest reporting from ESPN on the James Krause situation reveals through sources that the former fighter was working as an agent for an offshore bookmaking operation going back to 2019. David Purdum has a lengthy report that Krause worked for ABCBetting.ag. Krause has been under investigation after suspicious line movement was spotted before an 11/5 fight last year between Krause’s fighter Darrick Minner and Shayilan Nuerdanbieke with an unusual amount of money coming in on Minner to lose early in the fight, which is what happened. It was later revealed that Minner was hurt going into the fight but did not disclose the injury to the Nevada commission before the fight. The UFC has cut ties with Krause’s fighters and released Minner after the controversy. Minner told ESPN that nothing out of the ordinary happened before the fight but had a minor knee injury going into the fight, which turned out to be torn ligaments.

**Further details have emerged regarding the murder case involving Phil Baroni and they are grim. Carlos Contreras Legaspi of ESPN Deportes reports that the former UFC, Pride & Strikeforce fighter could face 50-75 years in prison for “aggravated femicide” following the death of his girlfriend in a hotel in Mexico. Baroni’s version of the events to authorities was that he pushed his girlfriend into the shower, and she hit her head after she told Baroni that she had cheated on him. The injuries sustained to the victim were not consistent with Baroni’s story as they discovered her to have injuries all over her body. Additionally, the victim’s sister has testified that she had urged the victim to go to the authorities when she was seen with bruises and hematomas in the past, but the victim was fearful of repercussions. Baroni has enlisted a private attorney and a guilty plea could result in a reduced sentence. Extraditing the case to the U.S. could face opposition from the authorities in Mexico that are overseeing the case. ESPN Deportes added that Baroni is in custody in a state jail but could be transferred to a federal facility.

**Former UFC fighter Anthony Rocco Martin is facing a misdemeanor assault charge after he allegedly issued threats to police officers last month. Steven Marrocco & Damon Martin at MMA Fighting reports that officers responded to a call on 12/21 in Bonita Springs, Florida, and arrested Martin after he was cursing at the police officers. When the officers arrived, an unidentified female was seen crying in a vehicle, according to the police narrative in the arrest report. The officers believed Martin was inebriated and began to threaten the officers and became aggressive. Martin was handcuffed and taken to jail and booked without any additional incidents. After posting a $5,000 bond the next day, Martin was given a no-contact order and pleaded not guilty earlier this week to the misdemeanor charge. Martin is scheduled to return to court on 2/22 in Lee County. The 33-year-old fought in the UFC from 2014-2020 and has a pro record of 18-6. He left the UFC after a decision loss to Neil Magny in June 2020 and had one fight since leaving the organization when he competed for CES last May.

**Bellator has named the competitors for its World Lightweight Grand Prix that will kick off on 3/10 in San Jose with the winner of the tournament being both the lightweight champion and earning $1 million. The participants will include current 155-pound champion Usman Nurmagomedov, AJ McKee, Patricky “Pitbull” Freire, Benson Henderson, Sidney Outlaw, Alexander Shabily, Tofiq Musayev, and Mansour Barnaoui. Bellator’s Grand Prix format calls for all tournament fights to be five rounds with the championship defended throughout the Grand Prix. Bellator CEO Scott Coker released the news on The MMA Hour this past week. The 3/10 card at the SAP Center will feature Nurmagomedov defending the title against Benson Henderson, and Tofiq Musayev fighting Alexander Shabily. Coker is optimistic they can complete the Grand Prix by the end of 2023. 

**Bellator will return to Paris, France on 5/12 at the Accor Arena with a middleweight main event. Former champion Gegard Mousasi (49-8-2) will look to bounce back after his title loss to Johnny Eblen when he competes against Fabian Edwards (11-2). The 29-year-old Edwards competed twice in 2022 with a knockout victory against Lyoto Machida and earned a unanimous decision win against Charlie Ward in October. The Paris event will include Mansour Barnaoui taking on Sidney Outlaw in the opening round of the World Lightweight Grand Prix and will be a five-round contest. Bellator made its debut in France last May at the same venue an announced crowd of over 13,000.

**The PFL is launching a European season involving four weight classes with each tournament winner receiving $100,000. The promotion has listed four international events for 2023 beginning 3/25 in Newcastle followed by 7/8 in Berlin, 9/30 in Zurich for the playoffs, and 12/8 in Dublin featuring the finals of each tournament. The winners will have a chance to enter the 2024 season for the domestic tournaments. The international cards are set to stream live on DAZN with fighter announcements coming later.

**LFA returns on 2/17 at The Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana with a featherweight main event between Chepe Mariscal (12-6) and Guilherme Faria (18-9). The card will stream live on UFC Fight Pass at 9 p.m. ET.

*****
REWIND-A-DYNAMITE
John Pollock & Wai Ting review AEW Dynamite from the Kia Forum with Escalera De La Muerte, Jon Moxley against Hangman Page, and the return of Adam Cole.
*****
BREAKING NEWS: Stephanie McMahon resigns
John Pollock is joined by Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics to discuss Stephanie McMahon’s resignation from WWE and the future of the company.
*****
upNXT: New Year’s Evil
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman talk about Stephanie McMahon resigning from WWE… plus a review of WWE NXT New Year’s Evil!
*****
REWIND-A-WAI #123: WrestleMania VIII
John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWF WrestleMania VIII from April 5, 1992, featuring Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Vicious, Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair, and Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper.
*****
REWIND-A-RAW
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE Raw and discuss the latest reports of a WWE sale, the passing of Johnny Powers, PWG BOLA, and more.
*****
THE 2023 MMA PREDICTION SHOW
John Pollock is joined by Ariel Helwani to revisit his MMA predictions from 2022 before making a new list for 2023 in “Likely or Unlikely”.
*****

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About John Pollock 5519 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.