POLLOCK’S UPDATE: “And the Emmy Goes To…”

POST IT NOTES

**Rewind-A-SmackDown is live at 10:05 p.m. ET for all members of the POST Wrestling Café with a review of SmackDown in Nebraska, a look at a super packed weekend of shows, and we will take your calls.

**Rewind-A-Wai #147 covers WWF Breakdown 1998 from Hamilton, Ontario, and a main event involving Steve Austin, The Undertaker & Kane for the WWF Championship. We also chat about the news from that week including the PR stunt during the filming of “Man on the Moon” involving Jim Carrey and Jerry Lawler, The Giant’s future with WCW, early notes and reaction to “Wrestling with Shadows”, Scott Norton wins the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, and more. It is available for all POST Wrestling Café members.

**The latest edition of Eagles Don’t Hunt Flies examines the feud between Dean Ambrose and CM Punk between FCW and the main roster of WWE.

**On Saturday, John Siino & I will have a free show immediately after Hard to Kill with a review on the POST YouTube channel. Collision Course will be hosted by Kate from Montreal & Wai Ting on the POST Wrestling Café with a rundown of Collision and Battle of the Belts IX. On Sunday, Karen Peterson & Bruce Lord will review NJPW’s Battle in the Valley on the POST Wrestling Café.  

POST SCHEDULE (Full schedule)

Tonight
: Rewind-A-SmackDown (POST Wrestling Café)
Saturday: TNA Hard to Kill with John Pollock & John Siino
Saturday: Collision Course & Battle of the Belts with Kate from Montreal & Wai Ting (POST Wrestling Café)
Sunday: NJPW Battle in the Valley with Karen Peterson & Bruce Lord (POST Wrestling Café)
Monday:
Rewind-A-Raw

WRESTLING NEWS

**Just days after his hiring by WWE, Lee Fitting was included in a feature on The Athletic by Katie Strang regarding a supposed scheme orchestrated by ESPN to secure Emmy statuettes. The story outlines how ESPN would insert fake names in its list of entries to secure the statuettes, re-engrave them, and hand them off to on-air personalities who were not eligible to receive one. The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) gained knowledge of the scheme and approached ESPN and levied punishments including Lee Fitting and executive Craig Lazarus being ineligible for future Emmy Awards due to their alleged involvement in the award scandal.

ESPN acknowledged fault while providing a statement to the New York Post on the accusations:

Some members of our team were clearly wrong in submitting certain names that may go back to 1997 in Emmy categories where they were not eligible for recognition or statuettes. This was a misguided attempt to recognize on-air individuals who were important members of our production team.

Once current leadership was made aware, we apologized to NATAS for violating guidelines and worked closely with them to completely overhaul our submission process to safeguard against anything like this happening again.

Andrew Marchand of the NY Post states the Emmy Award scandal played “a factor” in Fitting’s abrupt exit from ESPN last August after twenty-five years with the network and oversaw Monday Night Football and College GameDay.

It was announced this past week that Fitting has been hired by WWE as its new Head of Media & Production.

**WBD issued a press release on Friday trumpeting the success of AEW programming throughout 2023:

AEW programs across TBS and TNT in 2023 ranked in the top 10 of all cable programs among adults under-50 72 times, including 50 times with a top-5 program in that coveted demo.

Viewership of AEW programming on the networks saw increasing momentum as the year culminated, reaching 15.6 million total viewers in Q4 2023, up 3% vs. Q4 2022.

Overall, AEW programming reached nearly four million viewers each week across TNT and TBS.

TBS continued its success into the new year, with this week’s AEW: Dynamite telecast delivering cable’s most-watched live sports program on the night among P25-54, and second-most watched live sports program on the night among P18-49. The program was also up double-digits in both demos vs. last week’s AEW: Dynamite telecast.

**Friday Night SmackDown is at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska tonight with WrestleTix reporting over 6,500 tickets distributed. The following matches are advertised tonight:
*Bianca Belair vs. Bayley
*Grayson Waller vs. Cameron Grimes
*Humberto Carrillo & Angel Garza vs. Joaquin Wilde & Cruz del Toro

**Roman Reigns is not advertised for tonight’s show but is advertised on the WWE’s live event page for next Friday’s show in Atlanta at the State Farm Arena.

**WWE will be holding live events in Las Cruces and Rio Rancho, New Mexico this weekend.

**Below are the matches airing on AEW Rampage tonight at 10 p.m. ET on TNT from the tapings at Daily’s Place:
*AEW Continental Crown: Eddie Kingston © vs. Wheeler Yuta
*Swerve Strickland vs. Matt Sydal
*Hikaru Shida vs. Queen Aminata
*Matt Menard, Angelo Parker & Jake Hager vs. Evil Uno, John Silver & Alex Reynolds
*The Hardys & Mark Briscoe address the Trios division

**Saturday’s three-hour block of AEW on TNT from Norfolk, Virginia starts with Collision. They are advertising FTR & Daniel Garcia vs. House of Black, Adam Copeland continuing his open challenge, Deonna Purrazzo vs. Red Velvet, an ROH Six-Man tag title match as Brian Cage & Gates of Agony defend against Lance Archer & The Righteous, and Hangman Page returns to Virginia. Battle of the Belts IX follows with Big Bill & Ricky Starks vs. Chris Jericho & Sammy Guevara in a Street Fight and Julia Hart vs. Anna Jay for the TBS title. They will likely be adding to these cards during the Rampage broadcast.

**The TKO fell nearly 5% on Friday and closed at $77.12.

**Sean Waltman is publicly stating there is “zero chance” he will be in this year’s Royal Rumble match. Waltman, 51, has not wrestled since March 2022 when he wrestled a pair of matches for Game Changer Wrestling including a singles match with Joey Janela at Spring Break 6. After the match with Janela, Waltman revealed that he had torn his biceps the month before the first GCW match. Last year, he was on Dr. Beau Hightower’s show and mentioned having a torn labrum. While Waltman has made tons of appearances in WWE over the years and has been inducted twice into its Hall of Fame, he has not had a match inside of a WWE ring since July 2002.

**Donna Kelce, the mother of Kansas City Chiefs’ player Travis Kelce, was at the WWE Performance Center this week and posed for a photo with Shawn Michaels.

**GCW’s No Compadre event streams on TrillerTV+ tonight at 9 p.m. ET and was originally scheduled to include Andrade El Idolo but he’s been replaced by Lio Rush. Rush will face Jonathan Gresham tonight in Andrade’s place with the card including Mustafa Ali vs. Gringo Loco, Blake Christian vs. Calvin Tankman for the GCW title, Rina Yamashita vs. John Wayne Murdoch for the Ultraviolent title, Joey Janela vs. Myron Reed, Violence is Forever for Bang and Matthews for the GCW tag titles, Effy with Allie Katch & Masha Slamovich (replacing Maki Itoh) vs. Matt Cardona, Steph De Lander & Broski Jimmy, Arez with Latigo & Oni El Bendito vs. Aramis, Demonic Flamita & Jack Cartwheel, and Dan The Dad vs. Mance Warner.

**Pro Wrestling NOAH runs its card at Korakuen Hall on Saturday morning and streaming on Wrestle Universe at 4:30 a.m. ET, which includes English commentary. The main event features Kenoh defending the GHC Heavyweight Championship against former champion Go Shiozaki. They last wrestled in the final of the N-1 Victory Tournament last September with Shiozaki winning the tournament. Shiozaki is putting his “I Am NOAH” moniker on the line and will be unable to use the tagline if he loses. Below is the card:
*GHC Heavyweight Championship: Kenoh © vs. Go Shiozaki
*Jake Lee, Anthony Greene, YO-HEY & Tadasuke vs. Masa Kitamiya, Daiki Inaba, Shuji Kondo & Junta Miyawaki
*Manabu Soya vs. Ryohei Oiwa
*Jack Morris & LJ Cleary vs. Titus Alexander & Vinnie Massaro
*Daga, El Hijo de Dr. Wagner Jr. & Yoshinari Ogawa vs. Kaito Kiyomiya, Super Crazy & Hajime Ohara
*Naomichi Marufuji, Takashi Sugiura, Yu Owada & Taishi Ozawa vs. Muhammed Yone, Akitoshi Saito, Atsushi Kotoge & Hi69
*Ulka Sasaki vs. Shuhei Taniguchi
*Dragon Bane & Alpha Wolf vs. HAYATA & Eita vs. Ninja Mack & Alejandro

**New Japan’s Battle in the Valley streams on Saturday at 10 p.m. ET on TrillerTV with the card in San Jose, California. It will be Will Ospreay’s final match on U.S. soil as a New Japan contracted talent and faces his biggest rival throughout his NJPW tenure. It was an October 2015 match between them on a joint card with RevPro that led to Ospreay being brought in the next year as part of CHAOS as a protégé of Okada. Ospreay became a focal point of the junior heavyweight division and therefore, wouldn’t wrestle Okada again until 2018 when both held their respective belts and had a battle of stablemates on the Anniversary card in March 2018. They had two more matches in the New Japan Cup & G-1 in 2019 when Ospreay moved up to the heavyweight division with Okada continuing to win all their matches. It set the stage for the G1 in 2020 where Ospreay turned on Okada and won for the first time leading to the creation of the United Empire. Okada won the next three 1-on-1 matches at Wrestle Kingdom 15 and 16 and again at the G1 in 2022. Their last match occurred in the recent G1 where Ospreay won.
*Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay
*No Disqualification Match: Shingo Takagi vs. Jon Moxley
*AEW Continental Crown: Eddie Kingston © vs. Gabe Kidd
*Zack Sabre Jr. & Bad Dude Tito vs. Matt Riddle & TBA
*STRONG Women’s Championship: Giulia © vs. Trish Adora
*STRONG Openweight Tag Titles: El Phantasmo & Hikuleo vs. Alex Coughlin & Clark Connors
*David Finlay vs. TJP
*Volador Jr. & Mascara Dorada vs. Soberano Jr. & Rocky Romero
*Shota Umino, Fred Rosser & Jacob Fatu vs. Tom Lawlor, Royce Isaacs & Jorel Nelson
*Stephanie Vaquer vs. Viva Van (pre-show)
*Matt Vandagriff vs. Goldy (pre-show)

**TNA is back with its first show under the old branding with Hard to Kill on Saturday from The Pearl at the Palms in Las Vegas. WrestleTix lists the tickets distributed at 1,200 and they return on Sunday with the Snake Eyes TV tapings, which will include Kazuchika Okada & Will Ospreay on the tapings. It’s a really busy night but there is a curiosity for the rebranding, the tease of a big signing, and a good show on paper. They are competing with a strong NJPW pay-per-view in San Jose and a three-hour of AEW programming on TNT not to mention the NFL playoffs. The card will include three matches on the pre-show, which will stream on TNA+ and TrillerTV. Below is the card, which begins at 7 p.m. ET for the pre-show:
*TNA Championship: Alex Shelley © vs. Moose
*Knockouts Championship: Trinity © vs. Jordynne Grace
*X Division Championship: Chris Sabin © vs. El Hijo del Vikingo vs. KUSHIDA
*TNA Tag Titles: Chris Bey & Ace Austin © vs. Grizzled Young Vets vs. Speedball Mike Bailey & Trent Seven vs Trey Miguel & Zachary Wentz
*Ultimate X Match: Tasha Steelz vs. Alisha Edwards vs. Gisele Shaw vs. Xia Brookside vs. Dani Luna vs. Jody Threat
*PCO vs. Dirty Dango
*Josh Alexander vs. Alex Hammerstone
*Digital Media Championship: Tommy Dreamer © vs. Crazzy Steve (pre-show)
*Frankie Kazarian & Eric Young vs. Eddie Edwards & Brian Myers (pre-show)
*Rich Swann vs. Steve Maclin (pre-show)

**TNA’s Snake Eyes TV tapings on Sunday have just under 1,000 tickets distributed, per WrestleTix. They are advertising a rematch between Will Ospreay and Josh Alexander, and Motor City Machine Guns teaming with Kazuchika Okada against Moose, Brian Myers & Eddie Edwards.

**The NWA holds its Paranoia event on Saturday from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida with fourteen matches advertised. It will include EC3 vs. Matt Cardona for the NWA Worlds Heavyweight title in an ‘Ultimate Match of Death’, Silas Mason vs. Burchill for the National Heavyweight title, Max the Impaler vs. Mima in a Television Title Unification match, Colby Corino vs. Mecha Wolf for the NWA Jr. Heavyweight title, Kenzie Paige vs. Tiffany Nieves for the NWA Women’s title, Blunt Force Trauma vs. Jax Dane & Tim Storm for the NWA tag titles, and Pretty Empowered vs. The King Bees for the Women’s tag titles among the title matches scheduled. They will also tape episodes of Powerrr on Sunday in Tampa.

MMA NEWS

**The UFC holds its first event of the new year on Saturday with a card at the UFC Apex and streaming on ESPN+ in the United States. The card will be the first on the new Canadian rights deal with Rogers Sportsnet with the card airing on Sportsnet 360 beginning with the prelims at 5 p.m. ET. SN 360 in Canada is using WWE programming as a lead-in with replays of Raw and SmackDown airing from Noon to 5 p.m. on the network.

Below is the lineup for the show:

MAIN CARD (7 p.m. ET on ESPN+, Sportsnet 360 in Canada)

*Magomed Ankalaev (17-1-1, 1 NC) vs. Johnny Walker (21-7, 1 NC) – This is a rematch from UFC 294 where Ankalaev landed an illegal knee, which led to the doctor ruled Walker couldn’t continue and Walker disputing the decision and claiming the doctor spoke a different language and there was miscommunication but it was a brutal knee by Ankalaev and it could have been a DQ win for Walker. Ankalaev had a nine-fight win streak and seemed poised to be challenging for the 205-pound title but a split draw with Jan Blachowicz and this no-contest has curbed his momentum in the division.
*Matheus Nicolau (19-3-1) vs. Manel Kape* (19-6) – This is a rematch from March 2021 where Nicolau won by split decision but this time, Kape is a significant favorite. Nicolau has won four of his last five since returning to flyweight but was knocked out by Brandon Royval in his last outing in April. Kape has won four in a row.
*Jim Miller (36-17, 1 NC) vs. Gabriel Benítez (23-10) – Miller holds the record for the most fights in UFC history as this will be his 43rd fight in the Octagon and has the most wins in UFC history with 25. He is not finding the most dangerous guys at lightweight anymore but has a more than respectable mark of 4-1 in his last five fights since 2021. After a loss to Alexander Hernandez last February, he knocked out Jesse Butler in 23 seconds in June. Benítez returned to lightweight in his last fight after back-to-back losses at 145 pounds and beat Charlie Ontiveros by TKO in August. Benítez will have Cain Velasquez in his corner and enters as an underdog.
*Ricky Simón (20-4) vs. Mario Bautista (13-2) – Simon is 8-3 in the UFC and has won five of his previous six fights but looks to bounce back from a TKO loss to Song Yadong from their main event last April. Bautista has won his last five fights including three submission finishes in that stretch.
*Phil Hawes (12-5) vs. Brunno Ferreira (10-1) – Hawes has been knocked out in three of his last four fights including back-to-back losses to Roman Dolidze and Ikram Aliskerov in his last two. Ferreira scored a win on the Contender Series in 2022 and has gone 1-1 in his UFC campaign and was stopped in the first round by Nursulton Ruziboev last July in his last fight.

*Kape missed weight by 3.5 pounds but the fight will remain on the card with Kape forfeiting 25% of his purse, per MMA Junkie.

PRELIMINARY CARD (4 p.m. ET on ESPN+, 5 p.m. on SN 360)
*Andrei Arlovski (34-23, 1 NC) vs. Waldo Cortes-Acosta (10-1) – This will be Arlovski’s 41st fight in the UFC and ranks second of all-time behind Jim Miller. If he wins, he will have sole possession of second place for most-ever breaking a tie with Donald Cerrone. After fighting three times in 2022, he only had one fight last year where he lost to Don’Tale Mayes by TKO. Cortes-Acosta is a -700 favorite on DraftKings and is 3-1 in the UFC and coming off a TKO win against Lukasz Brzeski.
*Preston Parsons (10-4) vs. Matthew Semelsberger (11-6)
*Marcus McGhee (8-1) vs. Gaston Bolanos (7-3)
*Taylor Lapilus (19-3) vs. Farid Basharat (11-0)
*Jean Silva (11-2) vs. Westin Wilson (16-8) – Silva is the largest favorite on the card, currently listed at -950 on DraftKings. Silva beat Kevin Vallejos by decision on the Contender Series in September and this is his UFC debut.
*Tom Nolan (6-0) vs. Nikolas Motta (13-5)
*Felipe Bunes (13-6) vs. Joshua Van (9-1)

**UFC flyweight contender Amir Albazi has withdrawn from his fight against Brandon Moreno next month. Albazi stated he has a neck injury and won’t be able to fight on the card in Mexico City against the former champion. ESPN’s Marc Raimondi reports that Brandon Royval will replace Albazi and fight Moreno on February 24. Moreno and Royval previously fought at UFC 255 in November 2020 with Moreno winning by TKO in the first round and coming back the following month to fight then-champion Deiveson Figueiredo for the title. ESPN adds that Albazi is expected to undergo surgery.

**Rose Namajunas (11-6) will continue her flyweight campaign with a fight scheduled against Amanda Ribas on March 23, per MMA Hoje and confirmed by MMA Fighting. The former two-time Strawweight Champion moved up to 125 pounds in her last fight and dropped a decision to Manon Fiorot in September. Ribas (13-4) cut down to strawweight in her last fight and beat Luana Pinheiro by TKO in November but returns to flyweight for this fight.

**Chris Weidman spoke with Daniel Cormier on his YouTube channel about his next fight in March. The former middleweight champion noted that the March 23 fight against Bruno Silva could be his last one but isn’t making that decision after this training camp is over. Weidman noted he still believes he can be the best in the world, but his body has taken a beating over the last few years. In April 2021, Weidman broke his tibia and fibula when throwing a leg kick against Uriah Hall which led to several problems and procedures that took him out for two years. He returned last August where he dropped a decision to Brad Tavares at UFC 292. The March 30 fight takes place in Atlantic City, New Jersey at Boardwalk Hall.

**Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie spoke with Dricus du Plessis ahead of his fight with Sean Strickland next weekend at UFC 297 in Toronto.

*****
REWIND-A-WAI #147: WWF Breakdown 1998
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWF Breakdown: In Your House from September 1998 featuring Steve Austin defending the WWF Championship against the Mr. McMahon-appointed duo of The Undertaker and Kane.
*****
REWIND-A-DYNAMITE
John Pollock and Wai Ting review the Homecoming edition of AEW Dynamite with Sting & Darby Allin vs. Powerhouse Hobbs & Konosuke Takeshita.
*****
POLLOCK & THURSTON
John Pollock and Brandon Thurston discuss the WWE’s hiring of Lee Fitting, predictions for WWE Raw’s rights, and Pat McAfee’s drama at ESPN.
*****
upNXT
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review WWE NXT featuring First Round Matches from the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
*****
REWIND-A-RAW
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE Raw with Cody Rhodes taking on Shinsuke Nakamura and CM Punk appears on the show.
*****
POST’s Best & Worst of 2023 Show
John Pollock, Wai Ting, Braden Herrington & Davie Portman discuss the highs and lows of the past year in the Best & Worst of 2023 Show.
*****

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About John Pollock 5616 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.