POLLOCK’S UPDATE: WWE SmackDown sold out, Rock & Reigns to appear

Photo Courtesy: WWE

POST IT NOTES

**For all POST Wrestling Café members, we have a special edition of the audio news update with a preview of UFC 298. Our own Jack Wannan joined me to preview the main fights on the card. We will have a review of UFC 298 streaming live on Sunday at 11 a.m. ET on the POST YouTube channel.

**Rewind-A-SmackDown is live at 10:05 p.m. ET tonight for all POST Wrestling Café members.

**The February edition of the ASK-A-WAI Mailbag Show is up for POST Café members with over 90 minutes of Q&A with Wai Ting & I. The topics included booking Sting’s farewell match, the potential of SmackDown moving to three hours, handling criticism, the history between Bret Hart and Triple H, judging in MMA, and whether John will ever write a book.

**On Sunday, the N.W.A Podcast will be live at 8 p.m. ET with Nate Milton, Andrew Thompson, Kris Ealy, and Two-Way Ray.

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: Rewind-A-SmackDown with John Pollock & Wai Ting (POST Wrestling Café)
Saturday:
POSTmarks with guest Robert Pearson
Sunday: UFC 298 with John Pollock & Eric Marcotte
Sunday: The N.W.A. Podcast

WRESTLING NEWS

**There is a story on the site regarding Cara Pipia, who was close friends with Ashley Massaro, speaking on News Nation about Massaro’s sexual assault allegations. Pipia corroborated the allegations by stating Massaro immediately told Pipia the details once she returned to the U.S. from the tour of the Middle East. Pipia said knowledge of the assault went right to the top including Vince and Stephanie McMahon being aware. Pipia is the latest person to corroborate that company officials were made aware of the sexual assault after lawyer Edward Brennan confirmed on the record to VICE News that John Laurinaitis was aware but denied his client was part of a coverup. Former WWE doctor Ferdinand Rios spoke on the Isobel Thompson audio documentary about his discovery of the sexual assault and alerting others in the company. WWE issued a stern denial in 2019 regarding any knowledge of the sexual assault or that any meetings occurred. NCIS launched an investigation into allegations in June 2019, which lasted six months and the findings have not been made public, although expected to come out through Freedom of Information Act requests.

**Steve “Mongo” McMichael is facing further health complications. On Thursday evening, McMichael’s publicist stated that the former football player and wrestler was heading to the emergency room with concerns he might have contracted pneumonia. Later in the evening, it was shared that McMichael is dealing with a urinary tract infection and is in ICU and on three antibiotics. It comes just days after McMichael learned he was being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame later this year. McMichael has lost many of his functions due to ALS, as he has been hospitalized and is unable to speak. His story was just profiled by ESPN.

**Mike Santana revealed that he has been sober for one year and shared that he entered rehab last year. In a post, he said it was one year ago he hit his “rock bottom”. While in rehab he said, “I learned more about myself in those 30 days than in my lifetime. I learned to finally let go of the pain and trauma I carried around for so long. It taught me to genuinely love myself. To live and not just exist. Along with so many other great things. I also say that my injury was God’s greatest gift to me. Because that time is what gave me and made me who I am today.” Santana suffered a serious knee injury during a Blood & Guts match in May 2022 and was out of action for over a year, returning in June 2023.

**Friday Night SmackDown is expected to be a big show with a large audience given the advertised appearance of The Rock. It would seem probable that the picture for WrestleMania comes into focus with tonight’s segment involving Dwayne Johnson and Roman Reigns and nailing down the match. WWE is holding a double taping in Salt Lake City, Utah tonight with next week’s show being taped immediately after due to the crew heading to Australia for Elimination Chamber next week. The show will include four qualifying matches for the men’s and women’s Elimination Chamber matches.
*The Rock and Roman Reigns to appear
*Elimination Chamber – Qualifying Match:
Logan Paul vs. The Miz
*Elimination Chamber – Qualifying Match:
Kevin Owen vs. Dominik Mysterio
*Elimination Chamber – Qualifying Match:
Tiffany Stratton vs. Zelina Vega
*Elimination Chamber – Qualifying Match:
Naomi vs. Alba Fyre

**WrestleTix reports that the Delta Center in Salt Lake City is sold out for tonight’s SmackDown show with 11,033 tickets distributed.

**The following matches will be airing on AEW Rampage tonight at a start time of 7 p.m. ET and a replay will air later tonight on TNT after the NBA All-Star Weekend events:
*No Disqualification Match: Jeff Hardy vs. Sammy Guevara
*The Acclaimed, Daddy Ass, Jay White & The Gunns vs. Jeff Jarrett, Satnam Singh, Jay Lethal & Dark Order
*Anna Jay vs. Queen Aminata
*Dustin Rhodes & The Von Erichs vs. Romero Cruz, Hit & Shimbashi
*Segments with Jon Moxley & Claudio Castagnoli, Toni Storm, Brian Cage, and Ruby Soho & Angelo Parker

**Stephanie Chase a great article analyzing the culture of professional wrestling, which is under greater scrutiny following Janel Grant’s lawsuit. Chase argues that wrestling still runs on a “need-to-know basis” with secrets being a foundation of the business whether it be a façade presented to the fanbase, or keeping your talent and staff in the dark, which leads to paranoia and gaslighting.  

**WWE has live events in Oakland, California on Saturday and Fresno on Sunday.

**One of the big shows this weekend is RevPro’s High Stakes event at Crystal Palace with Ospreay’s final match for RevPro before joining AEW full-time. It is a rematch of one of the best matches in company history and a multi-year-long feud involving Ospreay and British Heavyweight Champion Michael Oku. The two faced off in October 2021 with Ospreay winning by referee’s stoppage and set up a rematch three months later for the British Heavyweight title. The match in January 2022 was a career-making one for Oku, who lost after an epic 41-minute match, which ranked high for match of the year.

**NJPW’s Fantasticamania tour is in Chiba on Saturday with the finals of the Faction Tournament with Magnus & Volador Jr vs. Ultimo Guerrero & Stuka Jr. The battle for third place sees Titan & BUSHI against Pegasso & Stigma. Saturday’s card includes STARDOM’s Starlight Kid & Ruaka facing Lluvia & La Jarochita. The tour concludes with shows at Korakuen Hall on Sunday & Monday. Over the past two years, Oku has become the British Heavyweight champion by beating Great O-Khan last July but the win over Ospreay is the elusive one. The card will be streaming on the RevPro site and has a loaded line-up:
*RevPro British Heavyweight Championship:
Michael Oku © vs. Will Ospreay
*British Women’s Championship:
Dani Luna © vs. Safire Reed
*Shingo Takagi vs. Gabe Kidd
*Luke Jacobs vs. JJ Gale
*Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Connor Mills
*Anthony Ogogo vs. Ricky Knight Jr.
*Oskar Leube & Yuto Nakashima (on excursion from NJPW) vs. Kieron Lacey & Mark Trew
*Mustafa Ali vs. Robbie X

**West Coast Pro runs a card on Sunday in Los Angeles at the Don Quixote with Starboy Charlie defending the West Coast Pro title against Aramis, Chris Hero vs. Adrian Quest, Takumi Iroha & Mio Momono vs. Queen Aminata & Trish Adora, Jacob Fatu teams with Lee Moriarty & Lio Rush against Los Vipers & TBA, Jiah Jewell & Keita Murray & Ishmael Vaughn & Vinnie Massaro vs. Lil Cholo, Lazarus, Jaguar Montoya & Bad Dude Tito, Jasmin Allure vs. Karisma, and Alpha Zo vs. Beef.

**Former WWE broadcaster Kevin Egan a.k.a. Kevin Patrick has been named the lead host for MLS 360 on Apple TV. In his post, Egan reflected on his time in WWE:

Nothing but love for 3 incredible years at WWE! From the exhilarating experiences & all the brilliant friends I worked with along the way, I’m flooded with gratitude. In saying that, it was time to turn the page, and I couldn’t be more excited for this new chapter! Cheers

**The TKO stock closed at $85.63 on Friday.

MMA NEWS

**The UFC 298 press conference was held on Thursday in Anaheim, California with the main card fighters in attendance. There appeared to be a lot of Spanish-speaking media as Ilia Topuria has a sizable following with his fight resonating in that market. The big moment of the presser saw Topuria grab Alexander Volkanovski’s featherweight title and hoist it up – straight out of Conor McGregor’s playbook with Jose Aldo. Topuria has predicted he will knock out Volkanovski in the first round and has listed himself as “UFC World Champion” on his social handles in the lead-up to the fight. Topuria is 14-0 and ran through Bryce Mitchell in December 2022 before earning a decision win against Josh Emmett last July to earn the title fight. He has all the tools to not just win this fight but be a major star for the company especially among Spanish-speaking fans and is loaded with charisma and poise. Volkanovski is coming off the toughest loss of his career when he took a fight on less than two weeks’ notice against Islam Makhachev and was stopped in the first round last October. There were many factors from Volkanovski admitting he was not ready for that fight, it was outside of his weight class, and it was against one of the top fighters in the world. However, this will be a major litmus test for Volkanovski and where he stands against an extremely difficult challenger. It is a tremendous main event.

**Henry Cejudo is stating that if he loses to Merab Dvalishvili on Saturday he will retire. Cejudo previously retired in May 2020 after defending the bantamweight title against Dominick Cruz but returned last year with a championship fight against Aljamain Sterling.

**The heavyweight fight between Justin Tafa and Marcos Rogério de Lima is off the UFC 298 card. However, another member of Tafa’s family is taking his spot. During the weigh-ins this morning, it was stated that Justin Tafa was injured and unable to compete. Less than two hours later, his younger brother Junior Tafa, weighed in and will now fight Rogério de Lima on Saturday in a heavyweight contest. Junior Tafa (5-1) was scheduled for a fight on March 23. He is 1-1 in the UFC and coming off a win against Parker Porter last August.  

**All fighters made weight on Friday ahead of UFC 298 with the following fights set for this weekend’s card at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

MAIN CARD (10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view)
*UFC Featherweight Championship:
Alexander Volkanovski © vs. Ilia Topuria
*Robert Whittaker vs. Paulo Costa
*Geoff Neal vs. Ian Machado Garry
*Merab Dvalishvili vs. Henry Cejudo
*Roman Kopylov vs. Anthony Hernandez

PRELIMINARY CARD (8 p.m. on ESPN & ESPN+)
*Amanda Lemos vs. Mackenzie Dern
*Marcos Rogerio de Lima vs. Junior Tafa
*Rinya Nakamura vs. Carlos Vera
*Zhang Mingyang vs. Brendson Ribeiro

EARLY PRELIMS (6:30 p.m. on ESPN+ & UFC Fight Pass)
*Josh Quinlan vs. Danny Barlow
*Val Woodburn vs. Oban Elliott
*Andrea Lee vs. Miranda Maverick

**Episode 5 of UFC Embedded going into UFC 298.

*****
ASK-A-WAI: Ask Us Anything! (February 2024)
John Pollock and Wai Ting answer their patrons’ questions about anything and everything in the February 2024 edition of Ask-A-Wai.
*****
REWIND-A-DYNAMITE
John Pollock and Wai Ting review AEW Dynamite headlined by a Texas Death Match between Orange Cassidy and Matt Taven.
*****
POLLOCK & THURSTON
John Pollock and Brandon Thurston continue their coverage of the allegations against WWE including new information on the Ashley Massaro case.
*****
upNXT
Braden Herrington and Davie Portman review WWE NXT featuring The Family vs The Wolfdogs for the NXT Tag Team Championship.
*****
REWIND-A-RAW
John Pollock and Wai Ting review WWE Raw as Cody Rhodes & Seth Rollins address The Rock & Roman Reigns. Plus, Elimination Chamber qualifiers.
*****

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About John Pollock 5505 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.