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Daily Update: First RAW ever on leap day; Undertaker back tonight!

We're looking for your thoughts on Friday night's ROH PPV show, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to dave@wrestlingobserver.com

Raw is tonight in Nashville.  Undertaker is the guest star.  Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks was announced for the show with the winner getting a WWE women's title shot.  We're looking for live reports on the Superstars matches and anything else not evident on the live show to newstips@wrestlingobserver.com

Smackdown and Main Event will be taped on Tuesday in Atlanta.


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Figure Four Weekly 2/8/2016 Kevin "Mordecai" Thorn voices issues with WWE Network royalties, more
Former WWE Superstar Kevin Thorn voices his frustrations with the amount of money WWE pays in royalties for the WWE Network, plus more.


Wrestling Observer Newsletter

The Latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Feb 22, 2016 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: WWE 2015 Financial Report, Kevin Randleman passes

The return to WWE of Shane McMahon, his history, and how the deal to bring him back was put together and why it happened now, is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
 
McMahon's background, what about the TV angle is based on real life and what is based on fiction, where the idea for this year's WrestleMania first came from and what year it was first planned for, the story on Roman Reigns, the blood, and why that angle took  place.  What the current deal is for McMahon, various possible scenarios and the situation with Roman Reigns.  Shane McMahon's career in WWE, his attempts to run businesses in the past, high profile deals he attempted to put together that his father shot down, deals he tried to put together away from his father, and his latest venture and how changes in that company have changed his power. 
 
Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz on 3/5, including who was called, who was available, why Diaz got the shot and what his chances are.
 
Updated WrestleMania plans, where the Roman Reigns angle is headed, current card, scheduled guests and what key role is really not determined.

The Godfather, looking at his wrestling career, his pre-wrestling days, how he got into wrestling, why he was so popular with wrestlers, his different gimmicks and what he's doing now.
 
The ramifications and lessons of Bellator's last big show, what it says about what the public interest in the Kimbo vs. Dada and Shamrock vs. Gracie fights, what led to Dada's hospitalization, ratings and business notes on the show and coverage of the event.
 
More WWE business and why a lot of the analysis of the network is shallow and missing key points.
 
Shinsuke Nakamura in WWE, reason he came to WWE that isn't going to happen, John Cena update.  Kota Ibushi leaving New Japan, including an update on his plans, will he work for New Japan again, as well as WWE.

PLUS MUCH MORE! CLICK HERE FOR A FULL WRESTLING OBSERVER PREVIEW

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Click here for the most requested Wrestling Observer back issues.

Check out the latest Online Wrestling Observer BACK ISSUE: Jan 18, 1999 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Giant Baba retires, ECW Guilty as Charged review
Details on the retirement of Giant Baba, a full rundown of ECW Guilty as Charged, plus tons of news.

MONDAY NEWS UPDATE

Bryan and I will be back tonight for Wrestling Observer Radio talking all kinds of subjects including Raw, Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon, The Freebirds and more, as well as taking your e-mail questions to mailbag@wrestlingobserver.com

Raw tonight: is built around how Undertaker will explain his doing Vince McMahon's bidding in the WrestleMania match with Shane McMahon.   Tonight's RAW is said to have the weakest advance of any Raw during Mania season.

TNA has announced that this is Kurt Angle Week, with them featuring his match with Bobby Roode on Impact tomorrow night from London's SSE Wembley Arena, and on 3/8 they will air his final TNA match against Bobby Lashley from Birmingham.  They are also selling a Kurt Angle Farewell bundle with a Kurt Angle Farewell Tour T-shirt, and 8x10s covering Angle's career in TNA, as well as other Angle related merchandise.

Sports Illustrated had unprecedented UFC coverage this week.  Not only was Ronda Rousey featured in the Swimsuit issue and one of three cover models, but Conor McGregor is on the cover of the regular magazine with a feature story, and there is an article on the back penned by Holly Holm talking about how her life changed since beating Rousey.

UFC's biggest show so far this year is Saturday night in Las Vegas with McGregor vs. Nate Diaz and Holm vs. Tate for the women's welterweight title.  I wonder when the last time UFC has had a title match on a show and a non-title match not only goes on last but is advertised as the main event.  Even with Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir's first fight and the Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock second fight, which had title matches, they put the title matches on last and gave the title matches at least equal billing even if everyone knew they weren't really the match people were tuning in to see.  I wonder if UFC will do this for non-drawing champions and instead focus on a non-title match on top.

Michael Bisping has been going at it with suspended Nick Diaz (who will be able to fight in August), saying that he shouldn't be bitter because he beat somebody Nick couldn't beat and that he should be concerned with the beating Conor McGregor is about to give his brother.  Bisping said he'd be open to face Diaz.

WWE

  • A story on concussions in sports related to Daniel Bryan
  • Rusev on Twitter claims he will have a big announcement today.
  • Daniel Moody, the son of Paul Bearer, is now claiming that it was not his father's Hall of Fame ring on the show Pawn Stars and that he's trying to straighten out the situation.  Pawn Stars did an episode last week regarding a Hall of Fame ring that was claimed to be that of Paul Bearer's.  
  • NXT is on tour this weekend with shows in Columbus, OH in conjunction with the Arnold Fitness Expo.  Kurt Angle, Royce Gracie and AnnMaria DeMars will all be honored this weekend as part of the Arnold Fitness Expo into their Hall of Fame but that isn't in conjunction with the NXT activities.
  • WWE stock closed down 10 cents today to finish at $16.72 per share.
  • NXT announced a show on 4/22 in Kingston, RI, its first time in the market, announced right after ROH announced a show on 4/30 in West Warwick, RI.
  • Tommy Dreamer did an interview on the WWE web site talking about how he pitched WWE to sign Kimbo Slice.

UFC

  • Ed Soares, the manager of Anderson Silva, said that Silva would like a rematch with Michael Bisping in Brazil. 
  • Jose Aldo today on the MMA Hour pushed that he would like a fight with Conor McGregor at UFC 200.  He had said he would be ready to fight if Rafael dos Anjos got hurt, and said he'd face McGregor "anytime, anywhere," but  then when offered the fight last week, said he wasn't in his best shape and turned it down.  
  • 60 Minutes Sports tomorow night on Showtime features a segment with Sports Illustrated's L. Jon Wertheim looking at Holly Holm and Jackson Wink MMA.
  • Filipino mobile service provider Smart has signed a deal to become the exclusive mobile carrier of the UFC in the Philippines.  Subscribers will get special access to UFC events and experiences and the opportunity to interact with top UFC stars.  They will also present UFC viewing parties throughout the year and sell co-branded items. 

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Lucha Underground has struck an iTunes deal for season one.  All 39 episodes can be purchased for $34.99 in SD and $44.99 in HD.  They also have all the season two episodes up as well. 
  • E! on its web site has released wedding photos of Barbara Blank (Kelly Kelly in WWE) who was married over the weekend in Mexico to former NHL star Sheldon Souray.  The wedding will air on the second season of WAGS on the station, where Blank is one of the main characters.
  • The Fuji TV Network's documentary on the Stardom promotion
  • Scott Steiner on his upcoming UK talk show tour
  • Great Khali's angle in India that got mainstream coverage working with Mike Knox and Apolo from Puerto Rico
  • Pro Wrestling Tees has announced that after the end of this day, they will no longer be selling any New Japan related Kota Ibushi T-shirts since Ibushi has left New Japan.  Godfather T-shirts only have one more day as well since he's under a new WWE deal.
  • Premier Wrestling on Sunday at Gilroy, CA at the IFDES Lodge Portuguese Hall.  You can save $5 on tickets by ordering at www.premierwrestle.com  Shayna Baszler makes her area debut against Invicta's Colleen Schneider in Schneider's first pro wrestling match.  the show starts at 5 p.m.  JR Kratos (9-2-1) faces Joe Graves (4-1-1) for the Premier title, plus the women's title has Raze (2-2) vs. Nicole Savoy (3-2), Jeff Cobb (6-5-1) vs. Tyler Bateman (1-3) and several more matches.  Here is an interview with Joe Graves related to this show
  • Mick Foley talks his son working for WWE creative, the current WWE product, a piece he wrote on swimsuit model Ashley Graham and Donald Trump
  • Jake Roberts talks Dynamite Kid
  • Curtis Bowles Johnson on his Facebook page wrote that he's going to play the main role in a movie called "The Rocky Johnson Story produced by the directors of "Creed."  That's all we know on this.
  • Nova Pro Wrestling on 3/20 in Springfield, VA at the Annandale Sports enter with Sonjay Dutt vs. Logan Easton Laroux, plus Tim Donst and Matt Tremont.
  • Future Stars of Wrestling from last night in Las Vegas:  Whirlwind Gentlemen b Colby Corino & Rocky Romero, Cut Throat Cody b Bryce Harrison & Jakob Austin Young in three-way, Leon Hater & Jayson Cash b Silas Young & Sammy Six Guns Jr., Markus Burke b Alexander Hammerstone, Funny Bone b TJ Perkins, Midnight Marvels b Bonus Boys in ladder match for the FSW tag title, Evan Daniels & Tomaste & Greg Romero b Hyperstreak & Suede Thompson and Mike Dalite, Owen Travers b Nick Bugatti in a dog collar match, Kevin Kross won over Eli Drake, Willie Mack and Kenny King to retain FSW title (thanks to Mike Trask)
  • Mysteries at the Museum on The Travel Channel did a segment on The French Angel (Maurice Tillet) and show a life size bust of his face that is in the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago.  They mentioned that he was the inspiration for the movie character "Shrek."
  • Tier 1 Wrestling will be on the WWN Network doing a live iPPV featuring Timothy Thatcher vs. Tommaso Ciampa (if Ciampa wins he gets an Evolve title match).
  • CWE on Saturday night in Thunder Bay, ONT before a sellout crowd:  Tommy Lee Curtis b Travis Cole, Dick Blood b Moses Luke, Chase Owens b Carter Mason, Kevin Cannon & Rob Stardom b Danny Duggan & Robb Mass, Tyler Colton b Colt Cabana.  Their next tour will be in May feature Frankie Kazarian and Silas Young.
  • CWE on 3/11 at Rookie's Spots Bar in  Winnipeg with a Battle Royal for the King of Transcona.
  • AIW on 3/5 at Tequila Jaxx in Mentor-on-the-Lake, OH headlined by Rockstar Spud, Ethan Page, Little Guido Maritato, Eddie Kingston, Homicide, Tim Donst and more.  It's also the official bachelor party for Dick Justice.
  • United Wrestling Coalition at Kelly's Bar and Banquet Hall in Wrightstown, NJ on 3/12 for the anniversary show with the return of Don Montoya, who wrestled for the group from 1998 to 2010, as well as Rick Silver, who worked for the group during the same time frame.
  • Grand Slam Wrestling on 3/12 in Moosic, PA at the Youth Center featuring Bull James, formerly Bull Dempsey, who will be doing a meet and greet before the show, as well as a clinic at 3:30 p.m. for wrestlers and wrestlers in training for $20.  For more info go to info@gswrestling.com
  • A show scheduled by the Pure Wrestling Association on 3/6 in Kitchener, ONT at the Registry Theater has been canceled.
  • Correspondent Leonard Brand noted that over the weekend, there was an Ultimate Championship Wrestling show in Bay City, MI, which drew a sellout of 400 fans with Kevin Nash doing a signing and in-ring promo.  Brand noted that Nash stayed for the entire show, watched it, and gave the wrestlers advice on their matches, both positive and negative.  He noted that most guests show up, do their spot, and leave.
  • CZW on 3/26 in Voorhees, NJ at Flyers Skate Zone with Sami Callihan vs. Masada and Speedball Mike Bailey vs. Jon Gresham, as well as AR Fox vs B-Boy.
  • CZW is also part of WrestleMania weekend with a show on 4/1 at 8 p.m. in Dallas at Eddie Deen's Ranch with Jessicka Havok vs. Cherry Bomb ad AR Fox vs. Mike Bailey.
  • CZW is also running its annual Best of the Best show on 4/9 in Voorhees, NJ with Dave Crist, Lio Rush, Dezmond Xavier, David Starr, Jonathan Gresham and more.

ON THIS DAY IN WORLD PRO WRESTLING HISTORY: Sting wins WCW World Title; Pillman wins Light-Heavyweight Title