POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Mickie James calls Hard to Kill “probably one of the greatest matches of my career”

Photo Courtesy: IMPACT Wrestling

POST IT NOTES

**Rewind-A-Raw is live at 11 p.m. ET with John Pollock & Wai Ting going over the news from the weekend and a review of WWE Raw from Cincinnati and taking your questions & feedback from the POST Wrestling Forum.

**On Tuesday, Wai & I will have an edition of “Small Talk” for Double Double, Iced Capp & Espresso members of the Café with a catch-up on our personal lives, discussing the start of the year on the site, our recent coverage, and other topics. The other Café shows this week include Rewind-A-SmackDown on Friday and a review of Wrestle Kingdom – Part 2 on Sunday for all patrons.

**Congratulations to Kris Ealy from The N.W.A. Podcast, who announced on Saturday’s show that he recently got engaged. No word on whether Omos will be the best man.

**From this past weekend: Brandon Thurston and Jesse Collings break down one of the busiest weeks in WWE’s corporate history and assess Vince McMahon’s motivations, plus the N.W.A. Podcast chats Vince McMahon, Mercedes Mone’s debut at Wrestle Kingdom, and booking Cody Rhodes’ comeback. John Siino and I spent an hour covering Friday’s pay-per-view with the Hard to Kill POST Show, and a free edition of Rewind-A-SmackDown with Wai Ting and Kate from Montreal.

**A feature on a friend of the site, Damian Abraham. Watch Damian share a story about MVP & Zach Blair of Rise Against saving The Misfits from Randy Savage.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight
: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting (11 p.m. ET)
Tuesday: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Tuesday: Small Talk with John & Wai (Double Double+)
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite (10 p.m.)
Thursday: The Wellness Policy – “Anxiety” 
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John & Wai (11 p.m.)
Sunday: UFC 283 POST Show with Eric Marcotte & Phil Chertok (1 p.m.)
Sunday: Wrestlenomics Radio
Sunday: Wrestle Kingdom Part 2 / Muta “Final Bye-Bye” with John & Wai (Patreon)

WRESTLING NEWS

**WWE Raw takes place from the Heritage Bank Center in Cincinnati with two weeks until the Royal Rumble. The show will face one of its biggest obstacles in years as it runs against the Wild Card game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys. The good news is this is the final week of the football competition and next week’s audience should be abnormally high due to the lack of football and the Raw XXX special. Both this week and next are going to represent the two extremes of audience levels. The 1/30 show will be two days after the Royal Rumble, which is typically one of the most-watched episodes of the year, so the normal range for Raw without football competition should be evident after the 2/6 edition. 

**The only match announced for Raw is The Judgment Day taking on Alpha Academy.

**WrestleTix reports that over 7,100 tickets have been distributed for tonight’s show at the Heritage Bank Center in Cincinnati. AEW ran the same building last October, which was the Tuesday night edition of Dynamite where Hangman Page was knocked out during his match with Jon Moxley.

**Mickie James appeared on Busted Open Radio on Monday stating her match with Jordynne Grace at Hard to Kill “was probably one of the greatest matches of my career.” If you missed the pay-per-view, it was a very strong show capped off by the climax of “The Last Rodeo” which has been going on for months involving Mickie’s quest for the title and beating Grace. The presentation with Mickie coming out with the Mattaponi drummers and paying homage to her Native American roots was a wonderful touch and the match delivered as the audience was buying into all the key near-falls and were wholly invested in the outcome given its stakes. The Full Metal Mayhem match between Josh Alexander and Bully Ray was also executed tremendously well and, in both matches, you had strong outcomes with a winner and loser, and felt like the climax of the top stories in the promotion.

**In Canada, TSN has launched TSN+ as its new streaming platform and appears to be replacing the previously branded TSN Direct, which is/was the exclusive Canadian carrier of AEW Rampage on Friday nights. The TSN+ service is currently available on a free preview (although you must sign up by providing an email address). TSN has said subscription and pricing information will be revealed later as it’s unknown how long the free preview will last. With TSN Direct, all TSN subscribers had automatic access and we have reached out to TSN to find out if that will stay the same, or if an additional subscription will be necessary to view Rampage. TSN+ will also be carrying XFL games on the service when it launches next month.

**The WWE stock closed at $89.40 on Monday.

**Mike Johnson of PWinsider.com reports that Jeff Hardy is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing this Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. ET. This stems from Hardy’s arrest last June and faces charges of driving under the influence, which is a felony along with a pair of misdemeanor charges that he faces regarding driving while his license was canceled/suspended and violating restrictions placed on his license. Hardy has been off AEW television since the arrest occurred with Tony Khan stating at the time that Hardy was suspended without pay and could only return if he completed treatment and maintained his sobriety.

**Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter addressed his coverage of the Dragongate booking situation from the past several months. After reporting in May with several follow-ups over the next few months regarding NOSAWA Rongai’s involvement in the booking of the promotion and creating problems, Meltzer acknowledged on Sunday’s edition of Wrestling Observer Radio that he had been “pranked” by one person, and added that a second person may have been involved. The hoax is believed to have been from an email sent that claimed to be from Dragongate wrestler Kaito Ishida, which was proven to be false. This came to light through reports from Case Lowe and Mike Spears from the Open the Voice Gate podcast on the Voices of Wrestling network, Lowe outlined the genesis of the story and stated that NOSAWA Rongai was never a booker in the promotion. David Bixenspan wrote an article at Wrestling Inc. on the story this past Friday regarding the sourcing of the story and trying to unpack the details of how the story was presented and others trying to intervene with the legitimate details that contradicted the hoaxer’s email. Meltzer addressed it on Sunday’s show and stated, “I didn’t know I was being hoaxed and I feel horrible about it, obviously. This is not a minor thing to me, it’s a big, big thing to me and I better never let this happen again.”  

**CNN had coverage of the power moves by Vince McMahon and returning as the company’s Executive Chairman, which was voted on unanimously by the board of directors and revealed immediately after Stephanie McMahon-Levesque’s resignation last Tuesday.

**TBS champion Jade Cargill is interviewed by Bootleg Kev.

**Tuesday’s edition of NXT from the Performance Center is advertising Apollo Crews & Axiom against Carmelo Hayes & Trick Williams, and Mark Coffey & Wolfgang of Gallus taking on Brooks Jensen & Josh Briggs at 8 p.m. ET on the USA Network.

**C*4 Wrestling in Ottawa has its first card of the year this Friday with “Go” from the Preston Event Centre at 523 St. Anthony’s Street at 7:30 p.m. Kevin Blackwood defends the C*4 Championship against Stu Grayson, Junior Benito & Buxx Belmar take on T.D.T., Ortiz from AEW faces Myung-Jae Lee, LuFisto & Joshua Bishop take on Vanessa Kraven & James Stone, Alexia Nicole takes on Joseline Navarro, Dominic Garrini & Kevin Ku face Hawkestepper for the C*4 & IWTV tag titles, and PUF & Pretty Ricky & Sexxxy Eddy take on Kristara, Alex Maze & Space Monkey.

**Being the Elite Ep. 331: “Game 7”

MMA NEWS

**The major story from the weekend is the free agency of now former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, who is now free to sign with anyone without any matching restrictions by the UFC. It’s a major moment for the sport and directly tied to the efforts of the MMAFA (Mixed Martial Arts Fighter’s Association) which launched an antitrust suit against the UFC in December 2014. Through discovery, we have learned tons of information regarding the business practices of the UFC including the percentage of revenues earmarked for fighters that have hovered between 16-20% during the years examined in the documents and reported on by those including John Nash, Paul Gift, Luke Thomas, and Erik Magraken among others. A shift that has occurred within some UFC contracts is the addition of sunset clauses where a contract cannot just automatically roll over at the discretion of the company and this was the case for Ngannou, who had a drop dead date attached to his deal.

Dana White positioned the exit of the promotion’s top heavyweight as Ngannou wanting to fight lesser competition, which is a usual pattern from White that doesn’t hold any water. Ngannou has beaten the top heavyweights in the UFC including Ciryl Gane, who will be fighting Jon Jones on 3/4. If Ngannou can secure a major boxing fight with Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, or someone of that level, then he’ll be fighting superior competition and be a heavy underdog in those situations while also having the potential to make life-changing money if he can negotiate strongly. In the MMA space, it is a tougher environment for a heavyweight of Ngannou’s value given the lack of drawing opponents and promotions that can match what the UFC can. PFL has emerged as a promotion seeking big fights through its relationship with Jake Paul and the advent of a pay-per-view division but it still leaves questions regarding a marketable opponent and having the promotional muscle to pull off a successful pay-per-view to justify that cost. Bellator is not in the pay-per-view business and would only make sense to place Ngannou on pay-per-view for the larger cost he would require. Ngannou and Nate Diaz find themselves in similar boats where each could command a huge payday in boxing and ultimately, return to the UFC when the timing is right.

It’s a major win for Ngannou in terms of freeing himself from his UFC contract and was something Randy Couture could not do in 2007-08 where he lost a year of his career and wound up back with the UFC. Couture had the opponent in Fedor Emelianenko but not the legal ability to fight him. In this scenario, Ngannou is legally free to fight for whomever but doesn’t have an obvious opponent in the MMA space.

**Ariel Helwani will be doing a special interview with Francis Ngannou on Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET on the MMA Fighting YouTube channel.

**Dana White mentioned during the post-fight press conference on Saturday that Jon Jones has signed a new eight-fight deal with the promotion. Jones will have his first fight in three years at UFC 285 on 3/4 against Ciryl Gane and will be debut at heavyweight. There are going to be a million different opinions regarding how Jones will look and it’s all going to be speculation with too many unknown factors. Jones did look mortal in his last two fights against Thiago Santos and Dominick Reyes and many thought Reyes won the fight in February 2020.

**When asked about his involvement in Power Slap after the New Year’s Eve incident, Dana White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that nothing has changed indicating the show will not be edited. White said TBS delayed it by one week because White was scheduled for a media tour last week, which would have been poor timing after the TMZ footage of White slapping his wife surfaced. Last week, commercials aired during Dynamite that didn’t feature White and had a separate person doing the voiceover. The series will premiere this Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET.

**UFC 286 in London, England will be headlined by the third fight between welterweight champion Leon Edwards (19-3) and former champ Kamaru Usman (20-2) on 3/18 at the O2 Arena. Initially, Dana White had stated they were exploring options of hosting the rematch inside of a stadium before settling on the O2 Arena. The two first met in December 2015 with Usman winning by unanimous decision. Their rematch last August at UFC 278 saw Usman in firm control of the fight as it entered the fifth round where Edwards landed a head kick and knocked out Usman to win the title in one of the most memorable finishes in UFC history.

**The UFC has announced a welterweight fight between Gunnar Nelson (18-5-1) and Daniel Rodriguez (17-3) for UFC 286 at the O2 Arena in London on 3/18. Nelson has only fought once since 2019 with a unanimous decision against Takashi Sato last March in London. Rodriguez has won four of his last five fights and was recently submitted by Neil Magny in November.

**Episode 1 of UFC Embedded going into UFC 283 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this weekend.

**The Countdown to UFC 283 special.

**The card for this Saturday’s UFC 283 pay-per-view at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

MAIN CARD (10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view)

*UFC Light Heavyweight Championship (vacant): Glover Teixeira vs. Jamahal Hill
*UFC Flyweight Championship: Deiveson Figueiredo © vs. Brandon Moreno
*Gilbert Burns vs. Neil Magny
*Lauren Murphy vs. Jessica Andrade
*Paul Craig vs. Johnny Walker

PRELIMINARY CARD (8 p.m. on ABC, ESPN & ESPN+)
*Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Ihor Potieria
*Gregory Rodrigues vs. Brunno Ferreira
*Thiago Moises vs. Melquizael Costa
*Mounir Lazzez vs. Gabriel Bonfim

EARLY PRELIMS (6 p.m. on ESPN+ and Fight Pass)

*Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Jailton Almeida
*Terrance McKinney vs. Ismael Bonfim
*Warlley Alves vs. Nicolas Dalby
*Zarah Fairn Dos Santos vs. Josiane Nunes
*Luan Lacerda vs. Cody Stamann
*Daniel Marcos vs. Saimon Oliveira

ON THIS DATE

William Shatner was in the corner of Bret Hart on this 1995 edition of Monday Night Raw when Hart took on Jeff Jarrett. The match was taped the week prior in Houston with Shatner appearing on both episodes to promote his new TekWar series on the USA Network. It included Shatner getting physically involved with Jarrett and The Roadie (Road Dogg).

Sting’s final matches in TNA took place on this date in 2014 in Huntsville, Alabama. On the two-part ‘Genesis’ special, Sting lost to both EC3 and Magnus as he departed the company after first wrestling for the promotion in June 2003. Sting joined the company on a permanent basis in 2006 and would be part of the company for eight years. After signing a deal with 2K for the WWE video game, Sting appeared on WWE programming for the first time at the Survivor Series later that year.

*****
WRESTLENOMICS RADIO: Who will do business with Vince McMahon?
Brandon Thurston and Jesse Colling discuss the latest developments in Vince McMahon’s return to WWE and the company’s potential sale. Plus, did Mercedes Moné pop this week’s Dynamite rating?
*****
THE N.W.A. PODCAST: Moné, Power & Respect
Andrew Thompson, Nate Milton, and “The Professor” Kris Ealy break down Mercedes Moné’s move to NJPW/Stardom, recap a wild week for the WWE, respond to LIVE viewer feedback, and more!
*****
IMPACT Hard to Kill 2023 POST Show
John Pollock is joined by John Siino to review IMPACT Hard to Kill from Atlanta with a Full Metal Mayhem match between Josh Alexander and Bully Ray, plus Mickie James challenges for the Knockouts Championship.
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN [FREE]
Wai Ting & Kate from Montreal review this week’s WWE SmackDown featuring Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn and AEW Rampage featuring Darby Allin vs. Juice Robinson for the TNT Championship.
*****

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About John Pollock 5505 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.