**Tonight the WWE Raw tapings are in Lafayette, Louisiana featuring The Rock scheduled for the show and probably a strong indicator of the top matches for WrestleMania. It would really surprise me if The Undertaker is not at the very least mentioned tonight whether it be promoting his appearance for next week’s Raw in Dallas or he actually does appear on the show tonight.
They are also teasing a “State of the Union” address tonight from Jack Swagger and Zeb Coulter on President’s Day as they start the program with Swagger and Alberto Del Rio leading into WrestleMania. My gut says they are going to go to many lengths to get this character as much heat as possible (within reason). It’s rare we have ever seen a character positioned so strongly after a week of being repackaged and whether it clicks or not. One of the aspects that could be an issue is the babyface sympathy that Del Rio can generate for this angle and if it will translate across the country over the next month and a half leading into WrestleMania. Can you imagine if you had a foil to Zeb Coulter on the level of someone like Konnan when he was the mouthpiece for LAX in 2006?
**Review-A-Raw will be up late tonight as Wai Ting and I chat tonight’s show, what is being set up for WrestleMania and take your feedback from The LAW Message Board.
**Last night’s edition of The LAW is up on the website with Dan Lovranski, Jason Agnew and I recapping the WWE Elimination Chamber event and taking lots of your phone calls at http://fightnetwork.com/news/6384650:feb-18-edition-of-the-law-w-lance-storm/. On the program we also were joined by Lance Storm to discuss his issues with the Hart Legacy Wrestling event back in January and his payment issues and Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter discussing Elimination Chamber, plans for WrestleMania and the Olympic wrestling story. You can also subscribe to Live Audio Wrestling on iTunes.
**To listen to the entire 17-minute chat I conducted with Lance Storm you can download the interview at http://fightnetwork.com/news/6384650:feb-18-edition-of-the-law-w-lance-storm/.
**The new Fight Network show we were discussing on The LAW last night is called Fighting Spirit Wrestling and runs Monday nights at 8pm EST and is a one-hour show featuring matches from CMLL and New Japan Pro Wrestling.
**The WWE held a press conference in New Orleans, Louisiana this morning to officially announce WrestleMania XXX for Sunday April 6th 2014 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome next year. The Super Dome (which was the site of some of the Mid South promotion’s biggest event and later a Dome that WCW ran Monday Nitro from on two occasions in January 1997 and January 1998) was opened in 1975 with a capacity of approximately 75,000 for football and was the site of this year’s Super Bowl with the listed attendance record at 87,500 for a Rolling Stones concert, which could be an inflated number. Among those on hand for the announcement today were: Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, Triple H, The Rock, John Cena, Alberto Del Rio, Mark Henry, Layla, Brodus Clay, Naomi and Cameron with Rock and Cena ending the press conference shaking hands for a photo op on stage and plugging their match this year as “arguably the biggest rematch in history”. During the press conference it was noted the economic impact in Miami for WrestleMania 28 was $100-million and expect that same impact for the city of New Orleans.
Another interesting story regarding wrestling history with the Superdome is that WCW was planning to run a huge show from there on New Year’s Eve 1999 and feature KISS performing on the show but after Eric Bischoff was out of power in September of 1999 and Bill Busch was put in his spot to reduce costs that was one of the first decisions made to axe that event as the advance was super low and would have been a big money loser considering the expenses involved for KISS alone.
**Chris Jericho is expected to be on Raw tonight and will be his last appearance on Raw for a few weeks as Fozzy’s tour of Australia begins this weekend and goes until March 4th and is Jericho is expected back following that leading into WrestleMania. Jericho’s new show Robot Combat League debuts next Tuesday on February 26th on SyFy and should get some strong promotion this week since it’s in the NBC Universal family.
**The Smackdown and Main Event tapings will be in Biloxi, Mississippi tomorrow night.
**The Extreme Rising organization has announced a third date for WrestleMania weekend with a card Thursday April 4th in Philadelphia at the National Guard Armory headlined by Extreme Rising champion Stevie Richards defending against Raven and the announcement that Jushin Thunder Liger will be working the show against Sabu in what is being billed as a “dream match” (the two have wrestled before) along with Matt Hardy vs. Luke Hawx and will air on iPPV that night along with their Friday and Saturday shows in Staten Island, New York.
**Kevin Sullivan will be our guest on The LAW this weekend chatting the upcoming Hardcore Road Trip event in London, Ontario and his career. For more information on the show please go to http://www.hardcoreroadtrip.ca.
**It was on this date in 2002 that the WWE shot one of the best set up angles I can recall in Chicago with The Rock challenging Hulk Hogan to a match at WrestleMania the night after his return at the No Way Out pay-per-view (and then was followed by a very unnecessary follow up with Hogan driving a semi and nearly killing The Rock):
**The official injury that Cyrille Diabate suffered this past weekend at the UFC on FUEL 7 event was a strained left calf muscle and not a tear. Diabate was unable to continue his fight with Jimi Manuwa after the opening round and the fight was stopped.
**This weekend’s UFC 157 card will feature twelve fights and kicks off at 6:35pm EST on Facebook with a 10pm EST pay-per-view start time. Jason Agnew and I will have a post show on TSN 1050 Toronto immediately after the main event concludes and will be joined by Todd Martin on Saturday night.
**There is a piece on Ronda Rousey in this week’s edition of TIME Magazine and was also featured on HBO Real Sports in a feature piece this weekend. There will be tons of media on Rousey this week and is one of those shows where you won’t have a good feeling on momentum until the end of the week because of all the media geared towards this week for the final push. The idea this show doesn’t perform at least modestly doesn’t seem possible to me and as of today I would say I’m feeling this one outdoing 350,000 buys but who knows what the ceiling is given the different makeup of the audience this one could attract out of curiosity.
**Invicta FC president Shannon Knapp will be on The MMA Report this Thursday chatting their next event on April 5th in Kansas City, the signing of Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos and the main event this weekend between Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche.
**UFC president Dana White revealed over the weekend that had Josh Barnett signed with the UFC they were planning to match him against Junior dos Santos but when they couldn’t reach a deal they put together the Dos Santos vs. Alistair Overeem fight for May 25th.
THE LAW – February 18th 2013
(The LAW recaps WWE Elimination Chamber, Lance Storm discusses HLW issues, Dave Meltzer stops by and more)
INTERVIEW – Lance Storm
(John Pollock chats with Storm about the issues from the Hart Legacy Wrestling show, working with Jerry Lynn one last time and more)
THE MMA REPORT W/ JOHN POLLOCK
(A bonus show with a full review of the UFC on FUEL 7 card from London, England)
REVIEW-AN-IMPACT – February 15th 2013
(John Pollock and Wai Ting review Impact from London, England and chat with Nate Milton)
THE MMA REPORT W/ JOHN POLLOCK – February 14th 2013
(John Pollock chats with WSOF president Ray Sefo, MMA Fighting’s Luke Thomas and a preview of UFC on FUEL 7)
REVIEW-A-WAI – TNA British Boot Camp (full series)
(John Pollock and Wai Ting review the entire British Boot Camp series from the U.K.)
REVIEW-A-RAW – February 11th 2013
(John Pollock and Wai Ting chat Raw from Monday in Nashville featuring Zeb Coulter and more)