POLLOCK’S UPDATE: World Title Tournament begins on Raw

Photo Courtesy: WWE

POST IT NOTES

**Rewind-A-Raw is LIVE at 11 p.m. ET tonight with Wai Ting & John Pollock on the POST YouTube channel.

**This Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET, Brandon Thurston and I will be interviewing sports media reporter Richard Deitsch.

**POST Café members will have access to MCU L8R this Thursday night as Wai Ting is joined by WH Park & Neal Flanagan to review Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

**Phil Chertok and Eric Marcotte have an extensive review of UFC 288 featuring Aljamain Sterling defeating Henry Cejudo by split decision in Newark.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting (11 p.m. ET)
Tuesday: upNXT with Davie Portman & Braden Herrington (10:15 p.m.)
Wednesday: Pollock & Thurston Interview – Richard Deitsch (3 p.m.)
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite
Thursday: MCU L8R – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (Patreon)
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown with Wai Ting & Kate from Montreal (Patreon)
Saturday: POSTmarks with guest Brent Chittenden
Sunday: Wrestlenomics Radio

Subscribe to the POST Wrestling YouTube channel.

WRESTLING NEWS

**The World Heavyweight Championship tournament begins on Raw in Jacksonville, Florida tonight. On Sunday, they announced the Raw bracket would include Seth Rollins, Cody Rhodes, The Miz, Damian Priest, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Finn Balor. The six will be involved in a pair of triple threat matches with the winners meeting later in the show to determine who goes to Night of Champions. The same format takes place on SmackDown in Knoxville with Austin Theory, AJ Styles, Bobby Lashley, Rey Mysterio, Edge, and Sheamus.

It would seem they wanted the additional star power by involving SmackDown talent even though it’s illogical to have the SmackDown talent competing for the Raw-exclusive title. I assume some caveat will be mentioned where a possible SmackDown winner will move to Raw, although it trivializes the draft during week one of the split. On the Raw side, the notable omission is Gunther, who is likely viewed as the top heel on the program ahead of Balor and Priest but if he’s not winning the title, why beat him? They are also keeping Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn out of the tournament and their attendance at Night of Champions would seem unlikely based on the history of the Saudi Arabian cards. There are reasons to keep some of the top talent out of the tournament but when you eliminate Brock Lesnar, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn & Gunther right out of the gate, it cheapens the tournament when several top stars aren’t competing for it.

Seth Rollins would seem like the favorite to win the title and establish it as the antithesis of the Roman Reigns’ version with Rollins going out weekly and having killer matches on television to cement it a major title. Cody Rhodes could win it, but to me, it’s such a step backward even if the long-term goal is having Rhodes unseat Reigns. By having Rhodes win, it screams ‘consolation prize’, which fans already look at this newly created title as and it will harm Rhodes’ authenticity to put this belt over as the real thing after failing to defeat Reigns for the title the audience views as the legitimate belt(s). There is also the ‘easy out’ by having Lesnar cost Rhodes his match tonight and set up the inevitable rematch, which the finish to their Backlash match suggests.

SmackDown essentially has all its top stars among the six, minus The Bloodline. If other champions and SmackDown exclusive talent can enter this tournament, what is the reason Roman Reigns can’t enter this? Reigns will be part of Night of Champions but doesn’t have an obvious challenger with his story tied up with the infighting among The Bloodline. It would seem quick, but Reigns & Solo Sikoa against The Usos is probably the biggest match they could pull the trigger on for May 27. That date also marks Day #1000 of Reigns as Universal Champion.

**WWE Raw will be airing against back-to-back NBA playoff games tonight including the massive series between the L.A. Lakers and Golden State Warriors. The New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat will begin their game at 7:30 p.m. ET against most of Raw, while the Lakers and Warriors begin at 10 p.m. against the last hour of Raw.

**Wednesday night is going to be a very tough night for AEW. In addition to the NBA & NHL playoffs, Dynamite will be airing against Donald Trump’s Town Hall event that will air on CNN. In Canada, Dynamite will be hurt badly airing against Game 4 between the Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs where the Leafs are facing elimination.

While Dynamite will avoid airing at the same time as the Golden State Warriors vs. L.A. Lakers, All Access will not with the season finale beginning at the same time as the NBA game. For those curious, All Access has averaged 311,000 viewers and 0.10 in the demo after five episodes compared to the eight-episode season of Power Slap which averaged 292,000 viewers and 0.09 on TBS.

**Progress Wrestling has confirmed that Will Ospreay will be part of its Super Strong Style 16 tournament on 5/28 and 5/29 at The Electric Ballroom in London. Ospreay joins Nathan Cruz, Mark Haskins, Big Damo, Luke Jacobs, Nick Wayne, Leon Slater & Tate Mayfairs. It comes one day after Progress announced that Ospreay and Paul Robinson would be welcomed back to the promotion. Robinson was named during the Speaking Out Movement and the sides parted ways after fans learned of a taping that Robinson worked in early 2021.

**Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 featuring Dave Bautista grossed $118 million in its opening weekend at the box office. It was the second largest opening of the year behind The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which generated $146 million. The third installment of the Guardians franchise was slightly below expectations of $120 million for its opening weekend and was 19 percent below the opening weekend for Vol. 2 in 2017. (Variety)

**AEW has announced Orange Cassidy & Darby Allin vs. Lee Moriarty & Big Bill for the House Rules event this Friday in Corbin, Kentucky. On Saturday, they added Toni Storm vs. Skye Blue for the House Rules event in Salem, Virginia at the Civic Center.

**DEFY Wrestling has added Nick Gage vs. Artemis Spencer to this Saturday’s card at Washington Hall in Seattle and includes The Second Gear Crew vs. Sinner & Saint for the tag titles, SCHAFF vs. Black Taurus for the Pacific Northwest title, and Joey Janela vs. Guillermo Rosas.

**El Hijo del Vikingo debuts for Northeast Wrestling on 6/9 in Waterbury, Connecticut.

**Roderick Strong vs. Kevin Blackwood will take place on 6/18 for Prestige Wrestling at The Globe Theatre in Los Angeles and streaming on IWTV.

**Roderick Strong is wrestling for Pro Wrestling Revolver on 7/1 at its Cage of Horrors event in Clive, Iowa, and streaming on Fite+.

**Being the Elite Ep. 346: ‘Secret Secret I’ve Got a Secret’.

**Mike McGuire has an interview with Michael Richard Blais, who is scheduled to wrestle an eight-hour ‘Infinity Gauntlet Match’ to raise money for Alberta’s Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation with a goal of raising $5,000.

**NOAH has announced that HAYATA will defend the GHC Jr. Heavyweight Championship against Dante Leon on 6/17 in Nagoya.

**The following matches have been announced for NXT on Tuesday night:
*NXT Tag Team Championships: Wolfgang & Mark Coffey © vs. The Dyad
*Ilja Dragunov vs. Dijak
*Trick Williams vs. Bron Breakker  
*Nathan Frazer’s Hard Hitting Home Truths

**The WWE stock closed at $106.34 on Monday

MMA NEWS

**UFC fighter Tony Ferguson was arrested on Sunday morning for DUI after allegedly crashing his truck into two parked vehicles and turning over his own vehicle with TMZ first reporting the story. Ferguson was taken to the Hollywood Community Police Station and released later that day on his own recognizance. The police stated that there were two people in the truck with Ferguson, who escaped without significant injuries. The fighter faces a misdemeanor DUI charge and potentially additional charges after refusing to take a sobriety test, per the report, which also stated Ferguson was “very uncooperative” at the scene.  One of the vehicles that Ferguson allegedly struck was a Mercedes that belonged to rapper Cash Gotti. Ferguson, 39, has been fighting for the UFC since 2011 when he won that year’s season of TUF and became one of the top lightweights in the world. Beginning in May 2020, he began a five-fight losing streak that continued through his most recent fight against Nate Diaz last September at UFC 279.

**Aljamain Sterling remained the champion of the loaded UFC bantamweight division with a split decision victory against Henry Cejudo on Saturday at UFC 288. It was a super close fight, but the majority believed Sterling won the fight. Judges Eric Colon and Derek Cleary scored it 48-47 for Sterling and Michael Bell had a 48-47 card for Cejudo. The judges agreed on Round 1 for Sterling & Round 3 for Cejudo, and Round 4 for Sterling with Rounds 2 and 5 being the dissenting ones. Cleary and Bell had Round 2 for Cejudo, and Bell and Colon had Round 5 for Cejudo (so, if Cleary had scored the last round for Cejudo, there would have been a new champion). From the UFC stats, Sterling completed 4/15 takedowns on the Olympic gold medalist compared to Cejudo’s 3/8.

**After the fight, Cejudo seemed to be contemplating retirement but on Monday, he issued a challenge to fight Merab Dvalishvili in Boston this summer. It’s a great fight to make for several reasons. Dvalishvili is a difficult fighter to book as he refuses to fight teammate Aljamain Sterling and he’s going to knock off many contenders, but with Cejudo already fighting for the title, it’s a fun one-off fight involving two of the top bantamweights in the world.

**Immediately after the fight, Sean O’Malley was brought into the cage to cement the next bantamweight title fight for Sterling. There was some drama as Sterling’s teammate Merab Dvalishvili stole O’Malley’s jacket and put it on before sitting on top of the cage and prompting O’Malley to go after him. Dana White said they are hoping to have the fight take place in Boston in August. O’Malley, 28, is coming off a split decision win against Petr Yan at UFC 280 last October, although it was a fight where the vast majority of media scored the fight for Yan, per MMA Decisions.

**Sean O’Malley appeared on The MMA Hour and confirmed that he will not receive a percentage of the pay-per-view revenue for his championship fight with Aljamain Sterling. O’Malley said he felt Cejudo won the fight watching it cage side on Saturday but has not watched it back on television.

**Belal Muhammad extended his unbeaten streak to ten fights after defeating Gilbert Burns by unanimous decision after five rounds. Burns had to contend with a shoulder injury throughout the fight and was coming back too soon after beating Jorge Masvidal four weeks ago in another five-round contest. Muhammad has essentially been guaranteed a welterweight title fight against the winner of Leon Edwards vs. Colby Covington, but that fight doesn’t have a date locked in nor has Edwards been keen on taking the fight due to Covington’s inactivity since March 2022. As always, promises and guarantees can change on a dime in the UFC, but Muhammad absolutely deserves to fight for the title at this point. Edwards and Muhammad fought in March 2021, but it ended in a no-contest due to an eye poke delivered to Muhammad, and the fight was called off.

**DAZN is holding a press conference on Tuesday for the Jake Paul vs. Nate Diaz fight at 2 p.m. ET. The presser is taking place in Dallas, which is the site of the 8/5 fight, and will be hosted by Ariel Helwani.

**MMA Fighting reports that Mackenzie Dern vs. Angela Hill is the new main event for the UFC Fight Night card on 5/20, which is now a five-round contest in the strawweight division. The two were set to fight this Saturday in a three-round affair but the UFC needed a new main event for 5/20 after Irene Aldana was plucked from that card to fight Amanda Nunes next month at UFC 289 in Vancouver after Julianna Pena withdrew due to an injury. Dern (12-3) has lost two of her last three fights and is coming off a majority decision loss to Yan Xiaonan last October while Hill (15-12) is coming off decision wins against Lupita Godinez and Emily Ducote.

**This Saturday, the UFC returns to ABC with an afternoon card in Charlotte, North Carolina. The main event pits heavyweights Jailton Almeida (18-2) against Jairzinho Rozenstruik (13-4). Almeida has won thirteen fights in a row and has only gone the distance once in his career. He was signed after winning on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2021 and has gone 4-0 in the UFC with four stoppages including a TKO of Shamil Abudrakhimov this past January. Rozenstruik is also a very big power hitter that has lived and died on knockouts throughout his UFC tenure going back to 2019. After losses to Curtis Blaydes and Alexander Volkov, Rozenstruik came back with a KO over Chris Daukaus in 23 seconds last December.

**Bellator 296 is this Friday at 4 p.m. ET on Showtime. The card is taking place in Paris, France, so to appeal to fans wanting the card live it’s airing at a terrible time for North American viewers including 1 p.m. on the west coast. Former 185-pound champion Gegard Mousasi (49-8-2) takes on Fabian Edwards (11-2) in the middleweight main event. The Lightweight Grand Prix will see Mansour Barnoui (18-4) take on Brent Primus (11-2) in their quarter-final fight, Douglas Lima (32-11) takes on Costello van Steenis (14-2), and Thibault Gouti (13-6) faces Kane Mousah (14-4) on the main card.  

*****
WRESTLENOMICS RADIO
Brandon Thurston, Jesse Collings, and Chris Gullo discuss the latest news in pro wrestling business including All In ticket sales reaching 60,000, WWE in Puerto Rico, and more.
*****
UFC 288 REVIEW
Phil Chertok and Eric Marcotte review the UFC 288 card with Aljamain Sterling defending the UFC Bantamweight Championship against Henry Cejudo in Newark, New Jersey.
*****
WWE BACKLASH 2023 REVIEW
John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE Backlash from Puerto Rico with Bad Bunny vs. Damian Priest in a San Juan Street Fight, and Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar.
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE SmackDown from Puerto Rico featuring Rey Mysterio & Zelina Vega vs. Rhea Ripley & Dominik and the return of Bad Bunny.
*****
REWIND-A-WAI: WWE Cruiserweight Classic Final (Patreon)
John Pollock & Wai Ting are joined live by Bruce Lord to review WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic Finals as Kota Ibushi, Zack Sabre Jr., TJ Perkins and Gran Metalik compete to become WWE Cruiserweight Champion.
*****
WWE Q1 Earnings Analysis
John Pollock and Brandon Thurston break down WWE’s Q1 earnings report and discuss the early success of AEW All In.
*****

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About John Pollock 5568 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.