POLLOCK’S NEWS UPDATE: WWE tops 16k at The Garden, Louie Tillet dies, UFC 303 preview

POST SCHEDULE

Tonight: Rewind-A-SmackDown with Wai Ting & Neal Flanagan (POST Wrestling Café)
Saturday: Collision Course with John Siino & Kate from Montreal (POST Wrestling Café)
Sunday: UFC 303 review with John Pollock & Eric Marcotte
Sunday: AEW Forbidden Door with John Pollock & Wai Ting

WRESTLING NEWS

**Former wrestler and booker Louie Tillet died on Thursday at age 90. Tillet was born in Quebec but billed from France and got his career off the ground in Texas under promoter Morris Sigel. An obstacle Tillet endured was his size as he was billed at 5-foot-9 but was reportedly much shorter and became a tough barrier to overcome in that era. He worked under several names including Karl von Stroheim and Joey Fargo. In 2011, he spoke with SLAM Wrestling and credited bookers Leo Garibaldi, Eddie Graham, and Lester Welch as mentors who aided his booking. He said after arriving in Florida, Welch was booking with Graham but left the territory, and an opportunity opened for Tillet to book with Graham. He booked and wrestled for a period and stated, “The booker should never wrestle. He should be doing the booking.” He is credited with giving a young Terry Bollea the name “Hulk” when he was Terry “The Hulk” Boulder with Vince McMahon Sr. later adding “Hogan” when he wrestled in the WWWF. During Tillet’s time in Championship Wrestling from Florida, Graham & Tillet brought Dusty Rhodes and Dick Murdoch to the territory, and in 1974, it exploded through Rhodes’ babyface turn and turned Rhodes into a major star. Tillet also booked in Los Angeles and orchestrated the program between Chavo Guerrero Sr. and Roddy Piper. His career lasted from 1956 until 1979 and had got into real estate in his post-wrestling career and operated several restaurants. (Additional notes from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter)

**Friday Night SmackDown is at Madison Square Garden and will be one of WWE’s largest attendances for television this year. WrestleTix reports 16,901 tickets distributed, topping the holiday tour house show last December and an episode of SmackDown from one year ago. SmackDown is coming off a two-month high for viewership for a show promoted around CM Punk’s appearance and a twenty-minute segment to begin the show. Tonight, they are advertising a Bloodline Acknowledgement Ceremony as the main segment. It will be interesting to see if the passing of Sika Anoa’i is referenced within the segment beyond a graphic or video during the program. Sika worked consistently at The Garden between 1980 and 1984 as a member of the Wild Samoans and challenged Bob Backlund for the WWWF title for a sold-out show on March 24, 1980.  Below is the card:
*Bloodline Acknowledgment Ceremony
*Money in the Bank – Qualifying Match: Logan Paul vs. LA Knight vs. Santos Escobar
*Money in the Bank – Qualifying Match: Tiffany Stratton vs. Jade Cargill vs. Candice LeRae
*Money in the Bank – Qualifying Match: Blair Davenport vs. Naomi vs. Indi Hartwell

**AEW Rampage was taped one week ago in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and airs at 10 p.m. ET on TNT with the following card:
*Roderick Strong & Gabe Kidd vs. The Infantry
*Orange Cassidy vs. The Outrunners
*TNT Championship Ladder Match – Qualifying Match: El Phantasmo vs. AR Fox
*Shingo Takagi vs. Dalton Castle
*Queen Aminata vs. Skye Blue

**The fourth and final episode of “Who Killed WCW?” averaged 129,000 viewers and 0.05 in the 18-49 demographic. The four episodes averaged 133,000 viewers and 0.04 on VICE with the peak being the third episode that was heavily promoted around Vince Russo’s involvement.

**Stardom confirmed that its merger with New Japan Pro Wrestling is now complete with the all-women’s group becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of NJPW.

**Dijak was interviewed by Sean Ross Sapp after announcing his WWE contract was not being renewed. In the 90-minute chat, he spoke about the idea behind Retribution, interactions with Vince McMahon, and the last several months including being drafted to Raw and barely being used.

**Mercedes Moné is promoting Forbidden Door with appearances on FOX 5 in New York, WFAN, and Z100.

**RevPro has announced a match between Dani Luna and Stephanie Vaquer at its 12th-anniversary event on August 24 at the Copper Box Arena in London, England. The match will be contested for the Undisputed British Women’s Championship. The show takes place on the night before AEW’s All In event at Wembley Stadium.

**TNA has tapings this weekend at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia beginning tonight. Jordynne Grace is holding another open challenge for the Knockouts title with the show including Frankie Kazarian vs. Mike Santana and Joe Hendry vs. Jake Something in qualifying matches for the six-way main event at Slammiversay. They are also advertising Matt Hardy & Reby Hardy taking on Eddie Edwards & Alisha Edwards in Reby’s first match in nearly eight years. Saturday’s taping will feature The Hardys wrestling in TNA together for the first time since 2017 when they face Eddie Edwards & Brian Myers. These are the final tapings before Slammiversary on July 20 in Montreal.

**Stardom is at Korakuen Hall on Saturday with three championship matches on the bill. In the main event, Hazuki & Koguma defend the Goddesses of Stardom titles against Syuri & Konami, Rina defends the Future of Stardom Championship against Nanami, and Saya Kamitani defends the High-Speed Championship against Fukigen Death.

**Game Changer Wrestling is at the Premier Arena in Houston, Texas, and streams at 9 p.m. ET on Triller TV+. The lineup features Mance Warner defending the GCW title against Dante Leon, Jordan Oliver vs. Fuego Del Sol, Broski Jimmy vs. Dulce Tormenta, 1 Called Manders vs. Brick Savage, Zilla Fatu vs. John Wayne Murdoch in a street fight, Alec Price & Cole Radrick vs. Gringo Loco & Arez, Joey Janela vs. Chris Carter, and Dark Sheik vs. Microman. On Saturday, they are in Dallas at Gilley’s with Kevin Ku & Dominic Garrini defending the tag titles against Gringo Loco & Arez, and the former SCRYPTS (Sidney Akeem) debuts against Ninja Mack.

**A famous match from the Attitude Era occurred on this date in 1998 with the WWF’s second Hell in a Cell match. The King of the Ring event was staged in Pittsburgh with the memorable match between The Undertaker and Mankind. It was easily the most dangerous and violent match WWF had ever presented up to that point and was a miracle Mick Foley walked away from the match, although in later years noted the damage he did to his body, which likely sped up his first retirement in 2000. Over the years, it seems to be a match that Foley is conflicted on as he achieved his dream of recreating his own “Jimmy Snuka moment” when he witnessed Snuka leap off the steel cage at Madison Square Garden and was a source of inspiration for his own career and no doubt, his 1998 match topped that and then some to a new generation of fans. However, Foley has always pointed out that he wants to be remembered for some of his other matches with the top ones being his April 2004 one with Randy Orton in Edmonton, and with Shawn Michaels in September 1996. The match will forever be tied to his legacy and represented a tipping point regarding the extreme length that performers were willing to go and the bar was hitting a scary level.

**Jackie Redmond was interviewed by Jan Murphy for the Toronto Sun about the upcoming set of shows in Toronto. Redmond spoke about growing up as a fan with her sister and watching during the Attitude Era. Redmond would go on to win The Score’s reality show “Drafted” to become a broadcast at the former network (which has since been rebranded to Sportsnet 360 under Rogers) where Renee Paquette was one of the judges on the panel. After joining The Score, Redmond would be part of Right After Wrestling / Aftermath with Arda Ocal and Jimmy Korderas.

**Historian and author Greg Oliver was a guest on Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw discussing the history of professional wrestling in Toronto. Oliver is among the top historians in the industry and along with Steven Johnson has written a series of books covering the greatest tag teams, babyfaces, heels, and storytellers in their Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame series.

**Kevin Owens was interviewed before Game 7 involving the Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers this past Monday during the NHL’s coverage.

**AEW will be airing its Countdown to Forbidden Door special on YouTube tonight at 7 p.m. ET.

**The TKO stock closed at $107.99 on Friday.

MMA NEWS

**The UFC’s annual International Fight Week airs Saturday from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The show was designed to stage Conor McGregor’s return after three years on the sidelines since shattering his leg against Dustin Poirier and UFC being in a position where it didn’t need to rush itself to book McGregor. The fight fell apart with the disclosed reason that McGregor broke his toe and wasn’t willing to fight at less than 100 percent when he has a high-volume kicking game and frankly, has the leverage to pick his spots. Dana White had stated they expected to set the promotion’s gate record with a $20 million+ figure and we will see what the final tally is. The Nevada Athletic Commission was obligated to offer refunds once the entirety of the main event was removed but how many opted for refunds? If the number is minimal, the UFC could potentially break its gate record for this card, then promote McGregor and Michael Chandler and will draw another gate with inflated ticket prices, and come out with two massive shows instead of one, just as they did when McGregor was taken off the UFC 200 card in July 2016 and his rematch with Nate Diaz was pushed back by a month and the UFC got two major gates that summer.

The new main event is a rematch from last November with light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira defending his belt against former Jiří Procházka. Pereira blistered Procházka with leg kicks in the first fight with Procházka’s strongest moments occurring when he let his hands fly and landed several big strikes, but Pereira ate them. Pereira used a left hook to set up a right hand that dropped Procházka and the fight was called off by Marc Goddard, which was a debated call. Procházka is a challenging striker because of his wild angles and unorthodox nature with lots of power, so he’s always going to be a threat while this fight is on the feet. The wild card is that neither has had a suitable training camp with less than two weeks’ notice to prepare for a five-round fight. The top three fights on the UFC 303 card are all late replacements with none of the six fighters booked for this card a month ago. On Friday, it was confirmed that Brian Ortega and Diego Lopes are going to compete at lightweight instead of featherweight with both making the new weight. Anthony Smith and Roman Dolidze doesn’t resemble the original fight at all as this transformed from Jamahal Hill vs, Khalil Rountree Jr. to Hill vs. Carlos Ulberg to Smith vs. Ulberg and now it’s Smith vs. Dolidze with Dolidze coming up from middleweight.

Since 2006, UFC has made 4th of July weekend one of its tentpole events with the rematch between Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock that year, Quinton Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin in 2008, UFC 100 in 2009, and Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin in 2010. The next year is when they officially branded it International Fight Week, and this is the first year it’s occurring in June. Over the years, it’s included the rematch between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen, Chris Weidman’s upset win against Silva, Conor McGregor beating Chad Mendes, and UFC 200, Daniel Cormier beating Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight title, and Dustin Poirier’s second win against McGregor in 2021.

This year’s card occurs as the brand is on fire with its live event business and setting gate records across the country. It’s a test to see where Pereira stands as a draw after being involved in some major cards including headlining Madison Square Garden twice and the centerpiece of UFC 300 in April. While nothing can replace the star power of McGregor, it’s still a very strong fight card providing the top fighters can adjust from the short notice for their bouts.

Below is the card along with the results from Friday’s weigh-ins.

MAIN CARD (10 p.m. ET on pay-per-view)

*UFC Light Heavyweight Championship: Alex Pereira (204.5) vs. Jiří Procházka (204.5)
*Brian Ortega (155) vs. Diego Lopes (155)
*Anthony Smith (206) vs. Roman Dolidze (205) – Smith was the last fighter on the scale and needed a curtain to make the limit
*Mayra Bueno Silva (136) vs. Macy Chiasson (135.5)
*Ian Machado Garry (170) vs. Michael “Venom” Page (171)

PRELIMINARY CARD (8 p.m. on ESPN & ESPN+)
*Joe Pyfer (185.5) vs. Marc-André Barriault (185)
*Andre Fili (145.5) vs. Cub Swanson (146)
*Charles Jourdain (146) vs. Jean Silva (147.5*) – Silva missed weight by 1.5 pounds and forfeits 20 percent of his purse
*Payton Talbott (135.5) vs. Yanis Ghemmouri (136)

EARLY PRELIMS (6 p.m. on ESPN+ & Fight Pass)
*Michelle Waterson-Gomez (115) vs. Gillian Robertson (116)
*Andrei Arlovski (245) vs. Martin Buday (264.5)
*Carlos Hernandez (125) vs. Rei Tsuruya (125.5)
*Ricky Simon (136) vs. Vinicius Oliveira (136)

**The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the UFC is receiving a $250,000 fee from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The group is spending $1 million for three sporting events including UFC’s International Fight Week, the two-day NHL Draft this week, and the Mountain West Basketball Championships next March. Beyond the UFC 303 event on Saturday, International Fight Week includes the UFC X fan experience, the Hall of Fame ceremony, and several concerts and charity events. The paper reports that the three events are expected to draw nearly 40,000 people to Las Vegas with an estimated economic impact of $139.2 million.

**Ariel Helwani shared details on the change in weight class for the fight between Brian Ortega and Diego Lopes at UFC 303.

**Episode 5 of UFC Embedded before UFC 303.

**The PFL 6 card airs on ESPN tonight from Sioux Falls, South Dakota with fights in its featherweight and welterweight tournaments. Below is the lineup and current point totals this season:

MAIN CARD (10 p.m. ET on ESPN)
*Brendan Loughnane (6) vs. Justin Gonzalez (0)
*Logan Storley (0) vs. Luca Poclit (0)
*Brennan Ward (0) vs. Magomed Umalatov (3)
*Gabriel Braga (5) vs. Bubba Jenkins (0)

PRELIMINARY CARD (6 p.m. on ESPN+)
*Lorenz Larkin vs. Alan Dominguez
*Shamil Musaev (5) vs. Murad Ramazanov (6)
*Timur Khizriev (3) vs. Enrique Barzola (0)
*Goiti Yamauchi (3) vs. Andrey Koreshkov (0)
*Kai Kamaka III (3) vs. Pedro Carvalho (0)
*Don Madge (6) vs. Neiman Gracie (0)
*Tyler Diamond (0) vs. Brett Johns (0)

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MCU L8R: The Wolverine (2013)
This week in their Deadpool & Wolverine ReWatch prep, Rich Fann & WH Park are joined by “The Empress” Karen Peterson to review The Wolverine from 2013.
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REWIND-A-DYNAMITE
John Pollock and Wai Ting review AEW Dynamite featuring Swerve Strickland & Will Ospreay teaming against Gates of Agony.
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POLLOCK & THURSTON
John Pollock and Brandon Thurston look at WWE’s partnership with the state of Indiana, and the demise of World Championship Wrestling.
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THE DOUBLE SHOT: “Who Killed WCW?” Ep. 4
John Pollock & Wai Ting share their thoughts on Who Killed WCW? Episode 4: “The Final Nitro”, documenting the final days of WCW and its sale to the World Wrestling Federation.
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POST INTERVIEW: Evan Husney
Evan Husney returns to discuss tonight’s finale of “Who Killed WCW?” covering the sale of WCW to the World Wrestling Federation.
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About John Pollock 5652 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.