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Daily Update: Bayley vs. Sasha Banks, Finn Balor, Being the Elite

THE ROUND-UP

THE LATEST NEWS

THE LATEST AUDIO

We're doing two polls this weekend, one on the New Beginnings in Osaka and the other on UFC from Perth, Western Australia. You can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to dave@wrestlingobserver.com.

We're also looking for reports from Raw tonight in San Jose with Main Event matches and anything else not on the live show to newstips@wrestlingobserver.com. We're also looking for reports on tonight's Smackdown house show from Stockton.

Announced for four is a four-way with Apollo Crews vs. Matt Hardy vs. Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt for the final spot in the Elimination Chamber and Bayley vs. Sasha Banks.

Tuesday will be a Smackdown / 205 Live and Mixed Match Challenge taping in Bakersfield. Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin for a spot in the Fast Lane title match, plus Elias & Bayley vs. Rusev & Lana and cruiserweight title tournament first round matches with Akira Tozawa vs. Mark Andrews and Drew Gulak vs. Tony Nese are all scheduled.


​F4W NEWSLETTER: Figure Four Weekly: Can a reboot salvage 205 Live?

The most newsworthy week in recent WWE history capped off with Ronda Rousey appearing at the end of the Royal Rumble on Sunday night. Instead of participating in the women's Royal Rumble match itself, Rousey closed the show with an appearance that initially did little to reveal what's next for her in WWE. She came out to "Bad Reputation" by Joan Jett, her old UFC walkout song, while wearing one of Roddy Piper's leather jackets. 


WON NEWSLETTER: February 12, 2018 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Wrestlemania plans, All Japan streaming service

An update on the road to WrestleMania, including the future prospects for Brock Lesnar, the story behind Ronda Rousey, changes this past week and what they mean for upcoming shows and the next three PPV cards being looked at is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

Look at WWE vs. UFC for Lesnar, the contract term, the comparisons, why his leaving was a given at one point and isn't right now, changes in the Chamber match and different directions things can go. 

Read about the XFL, the weak heel side of WWE, Rey Mysterio Jr. talks WWE return, Takeover for WrestleMania card, Dusty Rhodes tag team tournament, notes on 2019 WrestleMania, changes to 205 Live, storyline stemming from a crazy real-life story, another new Dwayne Johnson project, success of Jumanji, Raw U.K. numbers, debut of Ricochet in WWE, several injury updates, 205 Live touring, advance ticket sales for shows, movie with WWE star, plus some notes on people training this past week at the Performance Center tryouts.

Look at All Japan's first show of the year and its Champion Carnival tournament, and streaming service.

Find out about the injury to Max Holloway and how UFC has shuffled around booking, what major match is now out the window, who is Yana Kunitskaya and why is she main eventing while having never fought in UFC, what prior ideas UFC had and notes on other major fights the company has tried to put together.

The UFC show in Belem, Brazil is reviewed with thoughts on Mario Yamasaki as referee, weight cutting, and lot of business notes on the show including the most intriguing business note of all when it comes to television and streaming.

This issue covers the debut show of 5 Star Wrestling on Freesports, looking at the matches and direction, as well as the situation with Booker T and Corey Graves as well.


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WON BACK ISSUE: January 22, 2001 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Fusient Media to buy WCW, sale of UFC, more

After nearly a full year of various rumors, negotiations, and several near finalized deals, the sale of World Championship Wrestling by Time Warner to Fusient Media Ventures was officially announced on 1/11, literally hours before the announcement that the final step of the Time Warner/AOL merger had been cleared. Fusient Media Ventures, a one-year-old company headed by Brian Bedol and Stephen Greenberg, who are best known for starting up the Classic Sports Network, and then selling it to ESPN where it became ESPN Classics, for $175 million, is the parent company. 


MONDAY NEWS UPDATE

Bryan and I will be back tonight after Raw covering the show, more on WWE finances and the latest news. You can send questions to the show to mailbag@wrestlingobserver.com

New Japan is expected to announce the lineups for the Honor Rising shows in Japan and the New Japan Cup tournament either late tonight or tomorrow.

Regarding Bayley vs. Sasha Banks, it's notable that they are in San Jose, which is her home city. WWE has advertised Bayley as teaming with Elias on 3/16 in MSG against John Cena & Nikki Bella, which would seem to mean a heel turn is coming.

Very briefly, the WWE web site had an ad up for Elimination Chamber which listed Finn Balor as the final guy. Of the four guys in the match tonight, he would seem to make the most sense, but this stuff changes daily.

There will be an induction ceremony for Drew McIntyre in the ICW Hall of Fame today in Glasgow.

Being the Elite is now the place for the angles on the Bullet Club split with Cody playing heel and caught in the act at times.

WWE

  • Entertainment Weekly has a blurb and video of John Cena doing a spoof of Keeping up with the Kardashians where he plays all the roles. This is part of the promotion for him hosting the Nick Kids Choice Awards this year. (thanks to Jake Koch)
  • WWE got good press as family entertainment and even pushed this story on its own social media. (thanks to Mike Kuzmuk)
  • A story on last night's WWE show in Fresno.
  • Jumanji fell to fourth place, which is amazing since it came out eight weeks ago, at the box office. New releases Fifty Shade Freed, Peter Rabbit and The 15-17 to Paris all beat it out.

UFC

  • UFC is advertising the 4/14 show in Glendale, AZ around Dustin Poirier (22-5, 1 no contest) vs. Justin Gaethje (18-1) noting that it will be a fight of the year candidate. Given both guys' styles, it could be. The show will air on FOX. Tickets go on sale for UFC Fight Club members on Wednesday at 10 a.m. and to the public on Friday at 10 a.m., with the public sale at Ticketmaster priced from $160 down to $50.

MISCELLANEOUS

  • At the Michigan vs. Ohio State wrestling dual meet last night, Adam Coon, ranked No. 2 in the nation, beat Olympic gold medalist Kyle Snyder 3-1. This was Snyder's first collegiate loss since the finals of the 2015 NCAA tournament. Coon is now 22-0 this season. This may be the biggest college wrestling upset since Dan Gable lost to Larry Owings in 1970.
  • Bill Goldberg was announced for WrestleCon. He will be the WWE Hall of Fame headliner on Friday night 4/6 and then signing at WrestleCon on 4/7.
  • A story on Saturday night's Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair talk show in Tampa. (thanks to Kyle Niblett)
  • The NWA announced a Nick Aldis vs. James Ellsworth NWA title match. The entire match will be available later this week.
  • Major League Wrestling on 3/8 at Gilt Nightclub in Orlando. Tickets are on sale now.
  • Progress Wrestling ran The Ritz in Manchester, UK, yesterday before a sellout crowd of 800 fans, with the show selling out in 24 hours: Drew Parker b Spike Trivet in a Natural Progression Series first round match, Toni Storm & Charlie Morgan b Chakara & Nina Samuels (Morgan turned on Storm after the match and joined the House of Couture), Mark Andrews b Flash Morgan Webster, Zack Sabre Jr. b Tyler Bate, Pete Dunne & Trent Seven b David Starr & Matt Riddle, Walter b Mark Davis, Jimmy Havoc & Mark Haskins (with Vicky Haskins) b Zack Gibson & James Drake to win the tag titles, Travis Banks won a three-way over Chris Brookes and TK Cooper to keep their world title. Cooper punched Brookes after the match. Webster messed up and cost Gibson & Drake the tag titles. Fans gave standing ovations to Sabre vs. Bate and Dunne & Seven vs. Riddle & Starr. Next show in Manchester is 5/20 at the Victoria Warehouse, which will be the company's biggest event ever held outside of London.
  • AIW on 2/23 in Cleveland at Our Lady of Mt.Carmel has Britt Baker vs.Tenille Dashwood, and 3/1 in Akron, OH at the Tadmore Shriners with a show featuring an appearance by Ricky Steamboat.
  • River City Wrestling on 3/2 in Kirby, TX at Turner Club features Abyss vs. Michael Faith in a Monster's Ball match plus Jeff Jarrett will be there as a referee.
  • Wrestling has a tomorrow from Sunday in Providence, RI: Bronson won over Sebastian Cage, Steve Gibki and Danny Miles, KC Navarro won over Pinkie Sanchez, Shawn Donovan, Richard Holliday and Homicide, Keith Lee b Martin Stone, Sully Banger b Tripleicious, Dan Maff b EC Negro, AR Fox b Teddy Hart after Fox's wife gave Hart a low blow, Private Party won over Maine State Posse and Ken Broadway & Christian Casanova, Anthony Henry b Austin Theory, Tenille Dashwood b Rachael Ellering with Lance Storm as referee, Tommy Dreamer & Matt Tremont b JT Dunn & Jimmy Jacobs (subbed for Page) when Dreamer hit a Spicolli driver on Dunn on thumbtacks. Justin Credible came out after the match, brought in by Dunn, but he superkicked Jacobs and hit Dunn with a kendo stick. Dreamer then said that Credible was now 48 days sober and then brought out Lance Storm for an Impact Players reunion. (thanks to Patrick Tobin).
  • The One promotion announced they would be starting a kickboxing promotion to go along with their MMA group. The first show will be 4/20 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, The Philippines. Giorgio Petrosyan (85-2-2) will be on the first show. He will ace Jo Nattawut (60-11-2).
  • Pro Wrestling Eve on Saturday before a sellout 200 fans: Addy Starr & Laura DiMatteo & Rhia O'Reilly b Ayesha Raymond & Charli Evans & Jamie Hayter, Viper b Jawsolyn, Kaitlin Diemond won over Candyfloss, Erin Angel and Leah Owens, Nina Samuels b Session Goth in a ladder match, Kay Lee ray & Sammii Jayne b Charlie Morgan & Toni Storm. The next show is 3/10 in London at the Resistance Gallery with Viper vs. Jordynne Grace. The show is already sold out.
  • Baja Stars USE on 2/17 in San Diego at 3020 Coronado Ave has Penta 0M & Rey Fenix vs. Bestia 666 & Garza Jr.
  • Lucha Empire on 2/18 at Los Rieles Night Club in Houston has Soberano Jr. & Esfinge & Magnum vs. Aiden Cristiano & Trueno & Sajibran.
  • Hoodslam on 6/16 in Alameda, CA at the High School.
  • Jake Roberts and Jim Duggan will be doing a talk show together on 6/16 in Westland, MI at the Token Lounge talking about their careers. They are trying to put together The Jake and Jim Tour.
  • Alpha 1 Wrestling on 3/11 in Hamilton, ONT at 222 Queenston Rd.

Today in Professional Wrestling History: Kazuchika Okada wins his first IWGP Heavyweight title


WRESTLING OBSERVER / F4W - WRESTLEMANIA 34 in NEW ORLEANS

UPDATED

Here we go again! It's back to New Orleans for Wrestlemania 34 and a huge weekend of spectacular professional wrestling related fun and wackiness. EdinSanAntonio Productions along with the Wrestling Observer / Figure Four Empire~! is proud to present the annual Wrestlemania weekend trip details. This huge weekend includes a number of website "members only" events. Below are the two events currently scheduled. Click here for full event details. 

WOR Podcast Taping: Purchase TICKETS for the Wrestling Observer Radio LIVE MAILBAG~! - ONLY 8 General Admission Tickets Remain!

  • WHAT: Wrestling Observer Radio LIVE Podcast Recording with Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez
  • WHEN: Friday, April 6th, 2018 - 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (Doors open at 8:45 a.m. for VIP ticket holders and at 9:15 a.m. for general admission)
  • WHERE: The Bourbon Room, Royal St. Charles Hotel in downtown New Orleans; 135 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 70130

WO/F4W Brunch: Purchase TICKETS for the Wrestling Oberver BRUNCH~! - SOLD OUT~!

  • WHAT: All you care to eat brunch buffet on the morning of Wrestlemania 
  • WHEN: Sunday, April 8th, 2018 - T11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • WHERE: The Court of Two Sisters restaurant in downtown New Orleans; 613 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70130

CONTACT INFORMATION

Support the Empire~! with F4W shirts. Grab yours today!