POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: Superstar Graham battling significant health issues

An update on the health of Superstar Graham, Carmelo Hayes reflects on match, Fedor's retirement fight, Aramis & Arez in MLW, and more.

Photo Courtesy: WWE

POST IT NOTES

**Rewind-A-Raw is live at 11 p.m. ET tonight AT 11 p.m. ET tonight for a full review of the show from Orlando and streaming live on the POST YouTube channel.

**On Tuesday, we will release Rewind-A-Wai #125 with a look at the Feb. 15 & 22 episodes of Monday Night Raw from 1993 featuring Hulk Hogan’s return to set up WrestleMania 9. There is a feedback thread for your thoughts and memories of this era and the show will be out for all POST Wrestling Café members.

**Karen Peterson and I did a show on Sunday going over the top matches from both New Beginning in Sapporo cards along with Karen’s thoughts on the Stardom pay-per-view, and a preview of the New Beginning in Osaka event this weekend. This show is up for all Café members.

**Braden Herrington & Davie Portman have a Vengeance Day POST Show covering Saturday’s show from Charlotte with two new sets of tag champions crowned, and Bron Breakker taking on Grayson Waller in the main event.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting (11 p.m. ET)
Tuesday: Rewind-A-Wai #125 – WWF Monday Night Raw from Feb. 1993 (Patreon)
Tuesday: upNXT with Braden Herrington & Davie Portman
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John & Wai (Patreon)
Sunday: UFC 284 POST Show with John Pollock & Eric Marcotte (1 p.m. ET)
Sunday: Wrestlenomics Radio

WRESTLING NEWS

**WWE Raw takes place from the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, and will provide an indication of how strong the show is without Monday Night Football competition and free of the heavily hyped episodes over the past two weeks with Raw is XXX and following the Royal Rumble. The following matches have been announced for tonight’s show:
*Steel Cage Match: Becky Lynch vs. Bayley
*Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match: Candice LeRae vs. Carmella vs. Michin vs. Piper Niven
*Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match: Angelo Dawkins vs. Damian Priest
*Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match: Montez Ford vs. Elias

**Fightful Select has confirmed that Maxine Dupri, ma.çé and mån.sôör are now part of the Raw roster. The trio appeared on last Monday’s episode and appear to be starting a story involving Alpha Academy.

**Superstar Billy Graham (Wayne Coleman) continues to endure myriad health problems, according to his wife, Valerie. Coleman is hospitalized with mounting medical bills with a GoFundMe campaign launched to assist with those bills as Valerie is working full-time while also tending to her husband. The following was posted on the campaign site:

Friends, Wayne (Billy) has had a very rough run lately. He coded, but God decided that it was not his time to go, and brought him back to us! He is going on over three weeks in the Mayo hospital ICU, checked into a rehab center, and is now back at the Mayo. He is dealing with a myriad of very serious health issues: a major infection in his ears and skull that may take six months of intravenous IVs, congestive heart failure, diabetes, hearing loss as a result of the infection, and the list goes on. He is facing a long period of rehab, and his insurance will only pay a portion of this. He is facing at least two months in a skilled nursing facility, once he is stabilized and released from the Mayo hospital. Wayne has lost 45 pounds in the last three weeks.

Wayne’s wife Valerie is doing the best she can to work full-time, while also doing all she can for her husband. They are facing mounting long-term medical related bills. Any amount would be greatly appreciated.

God Bless you and thank you. Prayers would be much appreciated!

They are attempting to raise $25,000 USD for Coleman. Coleman got his start in Calgary under Stu Hart and became a major star including with the AWA and most famously, his run as WWWF champion from April 1977 where he used the rope for leverage to pin Bruno Sammartino and end his second WWWF title reign. As Superstar Graham, he knew from the day he won the title when he was losing it with Vince McMahon Sr. earmarking a long-term plan for Bob Backlund to unseat Graham, which went down as planned the following February despite Graham drawing incredibly well as champion and holding a grudge feeling it wasn’t his time to lose, but in fairness, Backlund drew very well as champion, too. Graham would have a major falling out with the WWF and was one its most outspoken critics during the ring boy and steroid scandals of the early ‘90s and appeared to be an irreconcilable relationship. However, Graham would work with the company again for both a DVD and book project and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in March 2004.

**Rob Bihari, who is extremely connected within the Lucha space and has relationships with many talents, spoke about the status of Arez and Aramis with MLW. In 2021, the two performers signed multi-year deals with the promotion but neither has been used since last April and June respectively. Since then, MLW has run five events including this past weekend’s Fightland event at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia. Both Arez and Aramis have still been working with AAA and for several of the MLW dates, they did work on other cards on those same nights including shows in the U.S. where Arez has become a regular on GCW events. Bihari said he was given permission on behalf of the performers to share this story and that the two have requested their release from their MLW deals but have been turned down with Bihari stating they were threatened with legal action and don’t have the resources for a legal battle. POST Wrestling has reached out to MLW for a comment on the status of the performers with the group and we are awaiting a response.

**The WWE stock closed at $90.55 on Monday.

**NXT performer Carmelo Hayes was a guest on Busted Open Radio and spoke about the two-of-three falls match with Apollo Crews at Vengeance Day. Hayes shared some of the changes he wishes were made and how the match could have been presented better: (Transcribed by Jeremy Lambert at Fightful)

I feel we could have put the stipulation of the match over better. An issue, in my mind, is that a lot of people are so programmed to see one fall, one fall, and then go to a third. I don’t think people were expecting I was going to to get the two falls. As I’m listening to the crowd, I’m thinking, ‘they’re about ready for an Apollo fall at this point.’ I felt like there were those down moments where they weren’t coming because they were like, ‘when is Apollo going to get his falls so we can really get cooking here.’ That’s just from a professional standpoint as far as being in there and being involved. I was happy with it. Apollo and I worked hard, we definitely worked hard. I thought all of our stuff was good, but I’m ready to get back out, do it again, and go up that.

**Beyond Wrestling has announced that several AEW performers will be unable to appear on the 2/26 Perfection or Vanity card in Worcester, Massachusetts. The promotion has removed Wheeler Yuta, Tracy Williams, Willow Nightingale, and Trish Adora from the event and is offering refunds if requested. They did not state the reason for their removals but Voices of Wrestling and Fightful have reported that ROH television tapings are expected to take place that weekend.

**New Japan Pro Wrestling held two New Beginning in Sapporo cards over the weekend. The first night drew 3,073 with Tetsuya Naito beating Shota Umino in the main event in Umino’s big test for a main event. The second night drew 3,316 headlined by Hiromu Takahashi retaining the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight title against YOH. Between the two shows, the top matches were Will Ospreay vs. Taichi and IWGP Jr. Heavyweight tag title match from the first night, and Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Tomohiro Ishii on night two. The closing stretch between Sabre and Ishii with the 15-minute time limit was so exciting and a perfect example of time limits adding so much drama and being unique to that title. I felt that Naito and Umino were not able to the following the previous two makes and they were out there for over 30 minutes and it did drag. Umino should be a big star one day but he isn’t a finished product yet and it never felt like the audience saw him as a threat to Naito. It was a fine match but went too long and was not strong enough to follow what preceded it.

**The retirement card for Keiji Muto at the Tokyo Dome on 2/21 will be available as a separate pay-per-view event on the Wrestle Universe streaming service. Access to the event with English commentary will require a separate purchase of approximately $38 USD. Muto’s final match will be against Tetsuya Naito with various promotions sending talent including New Japan, All Japan, DDT, Dragon Gate, and TJPW.

**Greg Oliver at SLAM Wrestling has an interesting story on Titi Paris, who is credited for women being allowed to wrestle in the state of New York. She died one year ago after suffering from dementia at the age of 83.

**WWE Intercontinental champion Gunther appears on The Rob Brown Show to discuss his Royal Rumble performance and admiration for Brock Lesnar as a wrestler.

**NJPW has a Road to New Beginning card on Wednesday in Tochigi headlined by Kazuchika Okada, Shota Umino & YOH against Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI.  

**DEFY Year 6 takes place this Saturday from the sold-out Washington Hall with a loaded card including several AEW stars. Swerve Strickland defends the DEFY Championship against Titus Alexander, Jon Moxley teams with SCHAFF against Zack Sabre Jr. & Davey Richards, Eddie Kingston takes on Artemis Spencer, Vert Vixen defends the women’s title against Danika Diehard, Second Gear Crew vs. Midnight Heat for the tag titles, and Nick Wayne takes on Cody Chunn. The card will be added to DEFYonDemand on 2/16.

**The theme song for MLW Underground Wrestling on REELZ will be “Enemies with Benefits” by Violent Idols.  

**Being the Elite Ep. 334: Goodnight, Son.

MMA NEWS

**Bellator 290 was the latest in a never-ending series of lessons that storybook endings in MMA are nearly impossible to pull off. If there was a silver lining, it’s that Fedor Emelianenko will not have the athlete’s dilemma of questioning if they had more to give or left with any doubt. It was clear for a long time, and at age 46, it was past the point that he should have been fighting. The win against Timothy Johnson gave a window of optimism that Fedor could be competitive but the reality was Ryan Bader would need to have the worst day of his career and Fedor would need one of his best and those theories came nowhere close to intersecting on February 4, 2023. John McCarthy hit the nail on the head inside the cage of it being an end of an era with a collection of yesterday’s stars gathered to celebrate the final stalwart of the PRIDE glory days going out on his shield. In a sport that rarely celebrates its past, it was a cool moment to see that collection of stars altogether. The legacy of Fedor will vary based on your fandom of the sport and whether you lived through this era and can properly contextualize what he meant. From 2003 until 2009, he was the consensus top heavyweight ever and perhaps the greatest fighter up to that point. He has been surpassed as the greatest to ever fight and I would not rank him as the greatest heavyweight, but certainly on a very short list that would include Cain Velasquez, Fabricio Werdum, and Stipe Miocic. The next level would consist of Daniel Cormier, Randy Couture, and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. What’s notable is that Fedor easily could have fought at light heavyweight and perhaps even at middleweight, which underscores how impressive his heavyweight run was. He never got to the UFC and the big “what if?” fights attached to his resume were Randy Couture and Brock Lesnar. The UFC tried to land Fedor and had they put together either of those fights, they probably would have been among the most-purchased events in MMA history. The flip side, was several competitors had the rights to co-promote Fedor with varying levels of success with Affliction (doing 100,000 buys with Fedor vs. Tim Sylvia) and Strikeforce (several big numbers between Fedor’s fights on CBS/Showtime) but Fedor didn’t come cheap and ultimately, these promotions died after a dynamic period for MMA in the U.S.

**The final viewership figures for Bellator on CBS will be out on Tuesday with the fast national numbers listed at 928,000 and 0.15 in the 18-49 demographic and only covers 9-11 p.m. ET and not any overrun. The purpose of Saturday’s card was to expose a larger audience to Bellator and hopefully, do a strong enough number for a future show on the network. The opening fight on CBS between Brennan Ward and Sabah Homasi was the first fight on CBS since Jake Shields fought Dan Henderson in April 2010 with the post-match brawl that soured CBS on MMA.

**The fight between Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler is expected to take place at 170 pounds, according to Ariel Helwani, which will be the first time Chandler has fought at that weight since the beginning of his career. Chandler appeared on The MMA Hour and said he was not confirmed as the coach for Ultimate Fighter until the day before Saturday’s announcement by Dana White. Helwani noted that Nate Diaz was the UFC’s first choice to coach against McGregor but that never went anywhere, and Chandler was the second option. Helwani added that the two are likely going to fight in September with TUF scheduled to air from May until August on both ESPN linear and ESPN+ and will make it the most-watched season of the series in years. McGregor also must re-enter the USADA testing pool, and there is no word if he’s officially re-joined yet but needs six months of clean tests before receiving the green light to fight. Between the speculation about coaching on TUF followed by the actual announcement, it has completely overridden the latest allegations levied against McGregor where a woman claimed she was attacked by McGregor and jumped off his yacht last summer when she was in fear for her life.

**Ariel Helwani reports that long-time MMA manager Tim Simpson is launching his own management firm called the Chosen Advisory Group. Simpson previously worked at Paradigm Sports Management and will be representing some heavy hitters in the sports with his new firm including Israel Adesanya, Jiri Prochazka, Leon Edwards, Max Holloway, Casey O’Neill, Jack Della Maddalena, Muhammed Mokaev, Jack Hermansson, and Don Madge. Of the fighters listed, Adesanya will be co-managed by Simpson and Attain Peace Sports Management.

**Jorge Masvidal has announced a loaded boxing card for Gamebred Boxing 4 on 4/1 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While speaking on The MMA Hour he announced the following boxing fights (which will be pro fights and not exhibitions):
*Anthony Pettis vs. Roy Jones Jr. – Eight rounds
*Jose Aldo vs. Jeremy Stephens – Six rounds
*Vitor Belfort vs. Ronaldo Jacare Souza – Six rounds
*Paul Daley vs. Anthony Taylor – Six rounds
*Gina Mazany vs. Pearl Gonzalez – Six rounds

**Episode 1 of UFC Embedded for UFC 284 and the Countdown to UFC 284 special.

*****
WRESTLENOMICS: WWE could be sold in 3 months…or not
Brandon Thurston, Chris Gullo, and Jesse Collings talk about Nick Khan’s assurance that Vince McMahon will accept a deal that keeps him out of WWE.
*****
upNXT
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman talk all about WWE NXT Vengeance Day 2023 from the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
*****
New Beginning in Sapporo POST Show
John Pollock & Karen Peterson go over the highlights of New Japan’s back-to-back nights in Sapporo with Tetsuya Naito vs. Shota Umino, and Hiromu Takahashi vs. YOH in the two main events.
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN
John Pollock & Wai Ting review this week’s WWE SmackDown with the fallout from The Bloodline’s split with Sami Zayn, and a women’s title match followed by AEW Rampage with The Elite vs. The Firm.
*****
WWE Q4 & Year-End 2022 Financials
John Pollock of POST Wrestling & Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics go through WWE’s Q4 and year-end financials for 2022.
*****
REWIND-A-DYNAMITE
John Pollock & Wai Ting review AEW Dynamite from Dayton with Jon Moxley vs. Hangman Page and a No Holds Barred match for the TNT Championship.
*****

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About John Pollock 5435 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.