POST IT NOTES
**Rewind-A-Raw is live at 11 p.m. ET tonight as we chat WWE Raw from Hartford, Seth Rollins vs. Damian Priest, and go through our thoughts on NJPW Dominion, the participants for the G1 Climax, and the WWE deal with Twitch. Tune in live on the POST YouTube channel.
**We will be announcing the subject for our live Watch Along during tonight’s Rewind-A-Raw. The Watch Along takes place this Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET for all POST Wrestling Café members. You can submit your suggestions to [email protected] before Rewind-A-Raw.
**Karen Peterson and Bruce Lord have a big review of NJPW Dominion available for all POST Café members.
**Andrew Zarian from the Mat Men Podcast and Wrestling Observer Live will be joining Brandon Thurston and I this Thursday at 1 p.m. ET.
**Poisonrana and GRAPPL are teaming up for a live show at the Trinity Bar in Harrow (15 minutes from Wembley Stadium) on Sunday, August 27. The show will include a live podcast with members of both sites, trivia, and pre-show drinks before All In and will take place from 12-5 p.m. local time and tickets are available now.
Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw with John Pollock & Wai Ting (11 p.m. ET)
Tuesday: upNXT with Davie Portman & Davie Portman (10:15 p.m.)
Wednesday: The Double Shot – Shattered: The Magnum T.A Story (Patreon)
Thursday: Pollock & Thurston – Andrew Zarian, Mat Men Podcast (1 p.m. ET)
Thursday: LIVE Watch Along with John Pollock, Wai Ting & Brandon from New Jersey (8 p.m. ET, Patreon)
Friday: Rewind-A-SmackDown with Wai Ting & Kate from Montreal (Patreon)
Saturday: POSTmarks with guest Rob McDonald
Sunday: UFC 289 POST Show with John Pollock & Eric Marcotte (Noon ET)
Sunday: Wrestlenomics Radio
**WWE Raw has a clear path tonight without the NBA Finals to contend with, although Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final is tonight. Next week, they will air against Game 5 of the Miami Heat vs. Denver Nuggets and then will be sports-free until Monday Night Football returns. Based on the overnights, it appears that Friday Night SmackDown did a massive number for the Roman Reigns celebration and it’s possible that Raw could benefit from that sized audience watching the product, although that’s a limitation of the brand split where The Bloodline angle is so hot, and there isn’t likely to be any involvement tonight from those players.
Seth Rollins defends the World Heavyweight Championship against Damian Priest, which is a big match for television but made no sense having Rollins pin Priest clean with the Stomp last Monday in a tag match when Balor or Styles could have taken the fall.
The show is in the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut with WrestleTix reporting that approximately 8,400 tickets are out with less than 400 remaining and will likely be gone by show time. SmackDown was held at the arena last November and tonight’s show is up 32.6 percent in tickets distributed from that show.
Here are the matches and segments advertised for tonight:
*World Heavyweight Championship: Seth Rollins © vs. Damian Priest
*Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Becky Lynch vs. Sonya Deville
*Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Zoey Stark vs. Natalya
*Cody Rhodes on MizTV
**WWE and Twitch have entered a multi-year agreement that includes the launch of a WWE Raw “sidecast”, which sounds like its version of the ManningCast that everyone is attempting to replicate after the success of the Omaha Productions / ESPN venture for Monday Night Football. The first “sidecast” will air tonight at 8 p.m. ET on Twitch and will probably be similar to previous Watch Alongs that the WWE Network produced for its pay-per-view events. We will know right away how much WWE can promote this alternate broadcast on the USA Network because, in essence, it could dilute the viewing audience for Raw (which was a major issue back in 2005 when WWE launched ‘Unlimited’ where it continued to broadcast the show during commercial breaks and encouraged fans to tune away during commercial breaks and watch on WWE.com). Unlike ESPN and the ManningCast, NBC Universal has no ties with Twitch (which is owned by Amazon) and no incentive to promote an outside entity during Raw. The press release only promoted a “sidecast” for Raw with no mention of similar formats for NXT, Friday Night SmackDown, or premium live events. Nick Khan had theorized about the potential of its own ManningCast during one of his recent speeches and you would have to think that the hope is this sidecast becomes another valuable chip during its television rights negotiations. The financial terms of the deal with Twitch were not disclosed but the deal includes WWE Superstar channels, live content, and the return of a WWE channel on the platform.
**NJPW Dominion drew its second-largest audience of the year with 7,040 attending Osaka-jo Hall (a 16 percent increase from last year) and was a major feather in the cap of SANADA and Yota Tsuji in the headline position and drawing the best non-Tokyo Dome crowd of the year. Yota Tsuji was sensational in the main event and was backed by a red-hot audience ready to see the young star ascend and win the championship. It flew in the face of all the arguments of how long it takes to make a star and needing a long-term build as opposed to skyrocketing someone, so the audience takes them seriously and is taken by the new blood in the main event picture that represents a sea change. SANADA won the match, but Tsuji cemented his place as a future main event star and displayed top-level charisma in the seventeen-minute match. The final three matches were spectacular including Hiromu Takahashi beating Master Wato in another example where the audience was primed to see Wato take the next step after a career-making performance in Best of the Super Juniors. When Wato hit the Tsutenkaku German Suplex, the audience thought it was over as Wato won all his round-robin matches with the move, so Hiromu kicking out was huge. Then, the six-man involving Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tomohiro Ishii against Jon Moxley, Claudio Castagnoli, and Shota Umino was explosive from start-to-finish ending with the bully Okada defeating Umino but needing the Rainmaker to win. The major news on the show was top matches theoretically set for Forbidden Door with Okada vs. Bryan Danielson and the rematch between Kenny Omega and Will Ospreay for Toronto.
**NJPW revealed the 32 men for the G1 Climax this summer with a lot of turnover and fresh faces this year. First-time participants include Shota Umino, Hikuleo, Eddie Kingston, Ren Narita, Gabriel Kidd, Alex Coughlin, Shane Haste, Mikey Nicholls, Yota Tsuji, and NOAH’s Kaito Kiyomiya. As the outsiders, Kingston and Kiyomiya received the loudest reactions during Sunday’s reveal to the audience in Osaka. Those not returning from the 2022 edition are JONAH, Tom Lawlor, Bad Luck Fale, Jay White, Juice Robinson, Lance Archer, and Yujiro Takahashi. Of those not in this year’s tournament, most are due to being contracted elsewhere while Fale was really not up for this level of tournament last year and the depth is too much with all the young talent to save a spot for Yujiro. The only one I was surprised by is Lawlor, who had a really good G1 tournament and got over well between the style of matches he presented, a big match with Okada, and getting his personality over during commentary. But he’s not been brought to Japan over the past year but remained on the NJPW Strong shows. It’s clearly a youth kick that NJPW is going with and at age 40, perhaps that worked against Lawlor.
There are many intriguing stories from Kiyomiya as the outsider seeking revenge for the humiliating loss to Okada earlier this year and all the young performers that are poised for big tournaments like Tsuji, Umino, and Narita. We are also getting to the stage where you question how many more G1s are in the cards for two of the legends that have put the concept on the map for the current generation – Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tomohiro Ishii. The blocks and matches should be revealed throughout the New Japan Road tour with the G1 kicking off on July 15 and running until August 13.
**The latest Collision figures from WrestleTix show that the debut episode on June 17 at the United Center has distributed 8,000 tickets with the outlet noting that 994 tickets have moved since the announcement of CM Punk last Wednesday. It’s a very good number, which probably has some movement left as the show inches closer and whether a major match is announced for the premiere. However, the other Collision dates are not moving at the same pace. WrestleTix notes that June 24 in Toronto is at 1,853 and Hamilton on June 29 is at 784, so they have not experienced a “CM Punk bump” yet. Both are underwhelming figures.
**GCW held its Deathmatch Hall of Fame ceremony this past Saturday after the Tournament of Survival. The inductees were led by John Zandig along with the late Brain Damage (Marvin Lambert), Lowlife Louie, and the late “Piss Jug Mike” (Mike Bieszck). This ceremony will never be mistaken for the WWE Hall of Fame version unless the lead inductee accepts the award next year wearing a “MAGA” hat. Brett Lauderdale and Joey Janela gave speeches for Zandig, who they put over as the reason they are where they at in their careers and wouldn’t have made it without him. Janela stated it was the viral clip with Zandig from 2016 that put him on the map in a bump that Zandig broke his back taking. Zandig took center stage ripping on other promoters like Rob Black and DJ Hyde and putting GCW over as the premiere company. He said he wants to wrestle again but his back is destroyed and had a botched surgery several years ago and thus, will always live in pain rather than have a corrective procedure. Honestly, the best moment of the night came from Toby Klein, who inducted his former partner Brain Damage. Lambert took his own life eleven years ago and Klein stressed the need for men to talk about their problems and address mental health issues, so it never gets to that point and was a really moving speech in an environment you wouldn’t expect mental health talk to be so readily understood and drew applause from the attendees.
**Tuesday’s episode of NXT has a #1 Contenders Battle Royal for a future shot at Tiffany Stratton. They have also announced Mustafa Ali vs. Joe Gacy, The Creeds & Ivy Nile vs. The Dyad & Ava, Eddy Thorpe vs. Damon Kemp, and Blair Davenport vs. Dani Palmer.
**AEW Dynamite on Wednesday in Colorado Springs is advertising Orange Cassidy vs. Swerve Strickland for the AEW International Championship, Jack Perry & Hook vs. Preston Vance & Dralisticio in a Texas Tornado Match, Ricky Starks vs. Jay White, and MJF will speak on the show. With Dominion over with and three weeks to build up the card, I would assume all the key stuff for Forbidden Door will start to take shape this week.
**I have not seen the fight between Amir Albazi and Kai Kara-France from Saturday’s UFC Fight Night, but it was greatly disputed among those that did. Albazi won by split decision. The questionable card came from Judge Chris Lee for awarding the fourth round to Albazi when most stated it was a clear round for Kara-France and would have given him the win if Lee scored it as the other two judges did. According to UFC stats, Kara-France outstruck Albazi 27-5 in the fourth round and 99-43 overall in significant strikes throughout the fight.
Lee and Sal D’Amato scored the fight 48-47 for Albazi while Michael Bell had it 48-47 for Kara-France. D’Amato scored rounds one, two, and three for Albazi while Lee scored rounds two, three, and four for Albazi. Bell had rounds one, four, and five for Kara-France. On MMA Decisions, 90 percent of media members scored the fight for Kara-France including 48 percent that scored it 49-46 for Kara-France.
**UFC 289 this Saturday is at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia for the first Canadian event since September 2019. It’s a two-fight card as Amanda Nunes (22-5) defends the bantamweight title against Irene Aldana (14-6) and former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira (33-9, 1 NC) takes on Beneil Dariush (22-4-1) with the latter riding an eight-fight win streak that goes back more than five years.
**MMA Fighting reported that Paul Felder will take the spot of Joe Rogan on the UFC 289 broadcast this Saturday. Felder will be calling the show with Jon Anik and Daniel Cormier. No reasoning was provided for Rogan’s absence this Saturday.
**The UFC has announced a card for the Accor Arena in Paris, France on Saturday, September 2. UFC, Bellator, and WWE have drawn huge crowds in that arena with talent in WWE raving about the audience in Paris during the most recent European events in April.
NJPW Dominion 2023 Review
Karen Peterson & Bruce Lord review NJPW Dominion from Osaka-jo Hall where seven championship matches including SANADA vs. Yota Tsuji.
Brandon Thurston and guest co-host MJ from NJ talk about the value of AEW’s TV deal with the addition of Collision on Saturday nights, whether WBD could end up broadcasting both AEW and WWE and more.
THE LONG & WINDING ROYAL ROAD
Brandon Thurston from Wrestlenomics joins WH Park to discuss Toshiaki Kawada vs. Gary Albright from October 25th, 1995.
John Pollock & Wai Ting review WWE SmackDown with Roman Reigns’ 1,000th Day Celebration and AEW Rampage’s Championship Friday.
POLLOCK & THURSTON: Evan Husney, Dark Side of the Ring
John Pollock and Brandon Thurston chat with Evan Husney on the return of Dark Side of the Ring for its fourth season.