POLLOCK’S UPDATE: Reaction to Roman Reigns vs. The Rock

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POST IT NOTES

**Rewind-A-Raw is live at 11:05 p.m. ET and we will discuss the reaction to Roman Reigns vs. The Rock, the departure of Rossy Ogawa from STARDOM, NXT Vengeance Day, and a review of Raw from St. Louis.

**Braden Herrington & Davie Portman have a big review of NXT Vengeance Day including Carmelo Hayes attacking Trick Williams to end the show.

**This Thursday, Rewind-A-Wai covers the 2002 documentary “The Smashing Machine” featuring Mark Kerr. Kerr was one of the great heavyweight fighters of the era during a dark time for the UFC but then began fighting for PRIDE in 1998. The doc focuses on his drug abuse and his preparation for the PRIDE Grand Prix in 2000. This show will be available for all members at the POST Wrestling Café.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: Rewind-A-Raw
Tuesday: upNXT with Davie Portman & Braden Herrington
Wednesday: Pollock & Thurston
Wednesday: Rewind-A-Dynamite
Thursday: Rewind-A-Wai – “The Smashing Machine” doc (POST Wrestling Café)
Friday:
Rewind-A-SmackDown (POST Wrestling Café)
Saturday:
L&WRR with WH Park & Wai Ting (Misawa vs. Kawada, April 1995)
Saturday:
Collision Course with John Siino & Kate from Montreal (POST Wrestling Café)
Sunday:
New Beginning in Osaka with Bruce Lord & Karen Peterson (POST Wrestling Café)

REACTION TO ROMAN REIGNS VS. THE ROCK

The diversion in the public discourse occurred over the weekend after The Rock’s appearance on Friday Night SmackDown and implied confirmation that he is wrestling Roman Reigns at WrestleMania while Cody Rhodes stepped aside.

This resulted in significant fan revolt from online discourse, downvoting of the company’s YouTube clips involving The Rock, and audible booing at the live events and NXT Vengeance Day show in Tennessee. The online response has led to the creation of hashtags and turning Rhodes’ slight into a movement with one being #JusticeForCody, which even to the extremes that fandom can venture to, feels in poor taste when there is a much larger story involving Janel Grant. The silver lining is that many have seen the WrestleMania main event debate as a distraction and has amplified those wanting adequate attention paid to Grant, and the ongoing civil case and federal investigation.

For the short-term, it did take attention away from the Vince McMahon case, but that story isn’t going away with months, if not years, of ongoing issues related to the allegations.

The latest reporting from Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer suggests that the deal for Johnson to join the board of directors and be locked in for WrestleMania with Reigns goes back to January 3 and includes the acquisition by Johnson of “The Rock” name and likeness (that date of the deal confirmation was disclosed in an SEC filing). This reporting would throw a wrench in the belief that an audible was called after CM Punk’s injury during the Rumble and that Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes was ever going to be the destination. It’s puzzling given Rhodes winning the Rumble and then pointing to Reigns in the private box and sending the audience off the air last Saturday with a clear destination for Philadelphia in April.

They have two months to arrive at their destination with plenty of wiggle room. In the end, it’s a company that is either going to make an incredible amount of money that weekend or a really incredible amount of money that weekend.

Johnson’s addition to WrestleMania should improve sponsorships, although, there is the lingering question of non-traditional sponsors of WWE having cold feet to be attached to a product amid the ongoing scandal. Stephanie McMahon-Levesque already disclosed that they faced some friction with sponsorships when the initial stories broke in 2022 involving McMahon.

Cody Rhodes will actually benefit greatly no matter what the playbook reads. Today, he is that much more of a babyface to the audience because of the perception he has been wronged and “his” WrestleMania main event has been ripped away by the Hollywood outsider. He is the martyr to the audience that doesn’t see Friday’s segment as harmful to Rhodes, but rather mobilizing the audience’s anger and directing it at The Rock and the company.

It is hard to cast judgment in a definite manner when the culmination is two months away and we’re one segment in. But, that one segment certainly demeaned Seth Rollins and his championship and flat-out stated that Rhodes is off to fight for the number two title, so you’re starting from a position of fighting the audience and needing to leverage that to your advantage.

The funny part is that if Rhodes was going to face Reigns this year and they already committed to having Reigns face Johnson either later this year or as long-term as WrestleMania 41 then the timing of Reigns losing would not be April. Yes, you could do Reigns vs. Rock without a title, but it’s been over three years of Reigns going unbeaten in singles matches and taking the title and the winning streak out, it lessens the marquee match that WWE has wanted for years.

Short-term, Johnson is going to be booed out of every arena at his mere mention, “Rocky Sucks” chants will be back, and the audience can overtake segments by singing Rhodes’ theme, and other organic forms of protest. The test becomes how they react when Johnson is live in the building and if he’s booed, maybe they just run with it and call out the elephant in the room.

Tonight, Rhodes really needs to cut a hell of a promo to explain why he’s stepping aside and make Rollins’ title feel like an adequate consolation prize because Friday’s segment didn’t do anything to alter that perception of Rollins’ title.

WRESTLING NEWS

**Japanese wrestler Asahi died tragically over the weekend at age 21. She began wrestling at the age of fourteen with Ice Ribbon, which was her home promotion until moving to Actwres girl’Z.  She was originally from Gunma with her debut match listed from August 28, 2017, against Hall of Fame performer Manami Toyota for Ice Ribbon. Her career began with a 137-match losing streak. Asahi’s first major accolade was winning the Kizuna Tournament in 2019 teaming with Akane Fujita and beating Suzu Suzuki & Risa Sera in the final.

Due to school, she took a year off beginning in September 2020 and returned the following August. In May 2022, Asahi challenged Tsukushi Haruka for the ICExInfinity Championship in a losing affair at Yokohama Budokan and received another shot in December 2022 where she lost to champion Saori Anou.

In March 2023, she wrestled her final match with Ice Ribbon and joined Actwres full-time, and joined the Teppo☆ group. Her final match took place last Wednesday at Shin-Kiba 1st Ring where she teamed with Yufa against Kira An & Ayano Irie.

No cause of death has been confirmed yet and we send our condolences to her friends and family.

**Former New York Jets player Richard Caster, the father of AEW star Max Caster, died last Friday at 75. The Clarion-Ledger first reported his passing after Caster had been battling Parkinson’s Disease. Caster was born in Mobile, Alabama, and attended Jackson State where he majored in math before he was drafted 46th overall by the New York Jets in 1970 (The same draft where Terry Bradshaw was selected first overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers). Cater would play wide receiver for quarterback Joe Namath and later, moved positions to play tight end.  Caster played for the Jets from 1970-77 and was part of three Pro Bowl teams while playing for the Jets. He was traded to the Houston Oilers and had stints with the New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins before retiring. He was part of the Washington team that won the Super Bowl in 1983 by defeating the Miami Dolphins at the Rose Bowl.  After his career, he served on several boards including the Joe Namath Foundation and the Head Injury Association to assist with those surviving traumatic brain injuries. Caster leaves his wife Susan and five children including AEW star Max Caster of The Acclaimed. There will be a prayer service for Caster on Long Island this Friday evening. (New York Jets)

**Jim Ross disclosed that he had another surgery recently but did not elaborate on any details beyond being hopeful that it was “successful”. Ross had a separate procedure last week on his right hip where they had detected cancer and added, “All went well.”

**Monday Night Raw is at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, Missouri with WrestleTix reporting over 9,300 tickets out for the show. The following matches and segments have been announced:
*Bull Rope Match:
Cody Rhodes vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
*Women’s Tag Titles:
Kabuki Warriors © vs. Katana Chance & Kayden Carter
*Fatal Four-Way:
DIY vs. The Creeds vs. New Day vs. Giovanni Vinci & Ludwig Kaiser (Winners face Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate this Friday on SmackDown)
*The Miz vs. JD McDonagh
*Akira Tozawa & Maxxine Dupri vs. Ivar & Valhalla
*Gunther celebrates 600 days as Intercontinental Champion

**The TKO stock closed at $85.55 on Monday and increased 0.5% throughout the day.

**Brad Balukjian has a book coming out next month called The Six Pack which is going to be a must-read for anyone wanting to learn about the WWF’s national expansion in the mid-’80s with several key people speaking to Balukjian that were part of that era. I am about 1/3 through the book and there is lots of new information without finishing it yet, would strongly recommend it. The book will be released on April 2.

**Patrick Auger of The Fight Business Podcast looks at the Vince McMahon scandal from the perspective of the UFC and how they navigate this news as part of TKO.

**Jacob Henry, the son of Mark Henry, has announced that he has committed to the University of Oklahoma and will be part of its amateur wrestling program in the fall. Henry is a freestyle heavyweight wrestler and is a dual athlete at Vandegrift High in Austin, Texas in wrestling and football.  

**Ariel Helwani spoke on The MMA Hour about the circumstances behind last week’s issues surrounding the Dustin Poirier vs. Benoit Saint-Denis fight for UFC 299 in March. Poirier stated that the fight was not signed last week and led to Dana White revealing a text exchange with Saint-Denis to try and refute that assertion but never shared any confirmation from Poirier’s side. As Helwani explains, there are times when the UFC announces fights that have not been signed off on by both parties and this was one of these instances. He added that another fight on the UFC 300 also hasn’t been signed by both fighters but didn’t state which one. The issue between Poirier and UFC was settled and the fight is now official for UFC 299 on March 9 in Miami.

**The PFL has announced that its first Bellator card under its umbrella will take place on March 22 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Bellator Champions Series will feature Corey Anderson (17-6, 1 NC) vs. Karl Moore (12-2) for the Bellator Light Heavyweight title and a women’s featherweight rematch between Leah McCourt (8-3) and Sinead Kavanagh (9-6). The only broadcast outlet listed is DAZN for international viewers in the U.K., Italy, Portugal, Belgium, France, and other European markets with no U.S. outlet announced yet.

*****
NXT Vengeance Day Review
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review WWE NXT Vengeance Day featuring Ilja Dragunov vs Trick Williams for the NXT Championship.
*****
COLLISION COURSE
Join John Siino and Kate From MTL to talk about this week’s episode of AEW Collision, where the AEW/CMLL collaboration gets underway as Bryan Danielson faces Hechicero.
*****
POST PURORESU
WH Park & Karen Peterson talk about the departure of Kazuchika Okada from New Japan Pro Wrestling and the ramifications for the company.
*****
REWIND-A-SMACKDOWN
John Pollock and Wai Ting review this week’s WWE SmackDown and discuss the latest report that Vince McMahon is under federal investigation.
*****
MCU L8R: Echo Season Finale
Rich Fann and WH Park are joined by Nate Milton of the Nubian Wrestling Advocates and The Rocky Maivia Picture Show to talk about the outstanding finale to Marvel’s Echo.
*****

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About John Pollock 5574 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.