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Daily Update: Bellator, Balor, WWE adds UK talent to house show tour

THE ROUND-UP

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The Latest from the F4W Staff

NEWS

AUDIO

IMPACT TONIGHT AT 8 P.M. ON POP TV

  • Jessie Godderz vs Bram
  • Tyrus vs. Eli Drake
  • Bobby Lashley vs. Josh Barnett for TNA title
  • Wedding of Laurel Van Ness and Braxton Sutter

We're looking for reports on today's WWE house show Nurnberg, Germany and tomorrow's show in Hannover to newstips@wrestlingobserver.com.

We'll be doing polls on both Sunday and Monday's ROH/New Japan shows at Korakuen Hall to dave@wrestlingobserver.com.


FIGURE FOUR WEEKLY: 2/20/2017, Looking at pro wrestling's steller start to 2017

While making judgments about a year less than two full months into it probably isn't a good idea, it's clear that 2017 is already on pace to surpass its predecessor in terms of match quality. That's not entirely unexpected. The stellar in-ring work that defined professional wrestling in 2016 didn't come out of nowhere. It was the result of there being more qualified workers, more opportunities for them to work, and a wider variety of promotions for them to work for than there have been in many years... Subscribers click here to continue.



WRESTLING OBSERVER NEWSLETTER: February 27, 2017, Massive Ivan Koloff bio, death of George "The Animal" Steele, tons more

A huge feature on the life and career of Ivan Koloff is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, which is available right now. Plus, there are also features on George Steele, Nicole Bass, Johnny K-9, Diamond Dallas Page and Teddy Long.

The Koloff story talks about the most famous match of the 1970s in the U.S., his win over Bruno Sammartino, as well as his loss to Pedro Morales in WWWF title matches, the birth of Ivan Koloff, his days as Red McNulty, his first match with Sammartino, how he got the Koloff gimmick and who he was named after. This issue also looks at his title run with Sammartino the first time in Pittsburgh and then the WWWF, the most one-sided trade in sports history, the return of Koloff for his title win, the angle done to cover Sammartino, and the two big nights in Madison Square Garden.

Have a look at the creation of Ivan Koloff in Quebec and how he first made his name as a major drawing card, and look at his run in Australia where Gary Hart managed him. Plus look at his days in the AWA, Hawaii, St. Louis, Georgia, Florida, the second WWWF run, the role as top heel for the opposition, the tag team with Ole Anderson, his feud with Dusty Rhodes, and the emergence of Nikita Koloff and the other Russians in the 80s.

Examine the career of George Steele, the life and times of Johnny K-9, the strange world of Nicole Bass, and the WWE Hall of Fame inductions of DDP and Teddy Long.

Plus, details about the filming of "Fighting with My Family" after Raw and Smackdown this past week, notes on the movie, the phone calls to C.M. Punk in front of the fans, the Naomi injury, an update on Fast Lane, return of Finn Balor notes, a look at plans for a show after WrestleMania, the busy Raw brand schedule, WWE working with Indies on WWE Network update, WWE market value, most watched shows on WWE Network, plus details of all the WWE & NXT house shows over the past week along with business notes.


ORDERING INFO: Order the print Wrestling Observer right now and get it delivered via mail, by sending your name, address, Visa or Master Card number and an expiration date to Dave Meltzer, or by using PayPal directing funds to Dave@WrestlingObserver.com
 
Rates in the United States are $13 for 4 issues, $32 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $14.50 for 4, $35 for 12, $67 for 24, $111 for 40 and $144 or 52. In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to moonsault@mediaplusint.com. For the rest of the world, rates are $16.50 for 4, $44 for 12, $85 for 24, $141 for 40 issues and $183 for 52. If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.)

If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can choose one free classic issue, or two free classic issues with a 40-issue subscription.

WON BACK ISSUE: January 31, 2000, WCW departures, WWF Royal Rumble review, more 

The soap opera surrounding WCW and the group of wrestlers who vowed to stick together got even stranger over the past week, with the company mired in even more uncertainty and friends who stuck together breaking apart. WCW sent unconditional release letters to Chris Benoit, Dean Simon (Malenko), Carlos Ashenoff (Konnan), Troy Martin (Shane Douglas), Eddy Guerrero and Perry Satullo (Perry Saturn) on 1/19, thus cancelling the planned meeting Bill Busch had agreed two days later to have with the group that same day, and allowing all of them to start with Titan Sports on 2/1 provided they agreed not to say anything publicly disparaging about WCW and agreed not to sue WCW... Subscribers click here to continue.


THURSDAY NEWS UPDATE

Thanks everyone for the response to this week's issue and the story on Ivan Koloff. 

The sexual assault trial for Jon (War Machine) Koppenhaver for his alleged attack and mutilation of former girlfriend and porn star Christy Mack in 2014 goes to trial on Monday. Jury selection begins at 1:30 p.m. Koppenhaver is facing 34 felony counts including attempted murder. 

Bellator filed a lawsuit yesterday to quash subpoenas that UFC asked for related to UFC's defense in its antitrust case, looking for copies of all Bellator contracts with fighters and detailed financial records of the company. Bellator in the lawsuit said that releasing the information would be giving away trade secrets. Scott Coker said in court documents that Bellator was not a party to the lawsuit (the Cung Le, Jon Fitch, Nate Quarry antitrust suit against UFC) and should not have to produce confidential documents, because it would lead to gave harm to the company, saying it would give UFC a significant advantage that would negatively harm Bellator and stifle competition in the industry.

There was an interesting note in the Las Vegas Review-Journal earlier this week that betting on the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight, with Mayweather as the 25-to-1 favorite, has been nonexistent.

An article with Bruno Sammartino talking about George Steele and Ivan Koloff is here. (thanks to Chris Cruise) 

The WWE is booking Tyler Bate, Pete Dunne, Trent Seven, Wolfgang, Joseph Conners, T-Bone, Mark Andrews, James Drake, Dan Moloney Sean Gradwell, Saxon Huxley, Tucker and Jordan Devlin on its May tour of the U.K.

WWE

  • Finn Balor returned last night at the NXT tapings doing a run-in to save Shinsuke Nakamura from a double-team attack from Bobby Roode and Andrade Cien Almas. This was likely just done for the live house in Orlando. Balor said he wasn't fully cleared, but he's expected back within two weeks.
  • The Raw crew is currently in Germany, with today being the second of four days there.
  • Heidi Lovelace debuted at the NXT tapings using the name Ruby Riot. It looks like she'll feud with Nikki Cross. 
  • The WWE Network sent out a survey asking how interested people were in each match at Fastlane, if they were going to watch Fastlane and their overall opinion of the lineup.

UFC

  • They announced a show on 6/17 in Kallang, Singapore at Singapore Indoor Stadium.
  • The UFC has added two more fight to the 3/4 show in Las Vegas. Albert Morales will face Andre Soukamthath, the CES bantamweight champion, debuting in UFC. Cynthia Calvillo debuts facing Amanda Cooper in a strawweight fight.

MISCELLANEOUS

  • An interview with Joe Koff of ROH is here.
  • Rob Terry & Kazushi Miyamoto won the NWA world tag team titles over Rob Conway & Matt Riviera earlier today in Tokyo. Road Warrior Animal was in Terry & Miyamoto's corner while Bruce Tharpe was in the corner of the champions. The title change happened at a Diamond Star Wrestling show.
  • Road Warrior Animal and Rikishi make appearances for River City Wrestling on 3/10 in San Antonio at the Ratama Park Horse Race Track. Tatanka will also face The Barbarian on the show headlined by Rikishi vs. Michael Faith.
  • A story on the long buildup for the debut of Glacier in WCW and how it turned out is here.
  • MCW on 3/3 in Joppa, MD at the MCW Arena features Brian Cage vs. Lio Rush. They also run 3/11 in Hollywood, MD at the Volunteer Fire Department with Ryback as the headliner.
  • Shannon Moore is taking wrestling and appearance bookings through Bill Behrens at showbis@aol.com. He is based in Orlando, FL. Silas Young is also available for bookings outside the U.S. and Ontario, based out of Milwaukee, at the same address. Other names listed are Chase Stevens our of Nashville, Sean Waltman (for appearances, he won't be wrestling after April), Mike Posey, DDP, Kevin Nash, Drew Galloway, Tommy Dreamer, Scott Hall, Al Snow, Shane Helms, Christopher Daniels (outside U.S. & Ontario), Frankie Kazarian (outside U.S. & Ontario), Young Bucks (outside U.S. & Ontario), Jay Lethal (outside U.S. & Ontario), Ricochet, Matt Sydal and Tessa Blanchard.
  • Tommy Dreamer will be doing a seminar on 3/18 in Martselle, AL at the House of New South Wrestling. For more info you can call 256-684-5435.
  • Rosemary of TNA headlines on Sunday at 5 p.m. in East York, ONT at the Detroit Eatery at 1083 Pape Avenue.
  • CWE on 3/18 in Winnipeg at Rookie's Sports Bar for the 2017 King of Transcona tournament. 
  • wXw from Sunday in Waldkraiburg, Germany: Absolute Andy b Hakeem Waqur, Robert Dreissker b Blaze, Michael Dante b Bobby Gunns, David Starr b Alexander James to keep the Shotgun title, Jurn Simmons b Chris Colen, Absolute Andy & Marius Al-Ani & Gunter Schmid b Axel Dieter Jr. & Timothy Thatcher & Walter. (thanks to Markus Gronemann)
  • WCWF on 5/11 in Yuba City, CA at the Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds headlined by Nathan Brick vs. Reggie Bright.
  • Anthony Bennett, who was in the WWE cruiserweight tournament, has been added to the ECWA Super 8 lineup for the tournament on 4/29 in Woodbury Heights, NJ at the Community Center.
  • Superkick'd tomorrow night in Toronto at the Longboat Hall at the Great Hall.
  • PWA from Sunday in Calgary at the Century Casino before 300 fans: Cody & Brandi Rhodes b Michael Richard Blaze & Connie Lynn, Brett Moran b Brandn Van Danielson, Alexander Pryme & Shaun Moore b Millennial Rebels, Fury (Kenneth Anthony) b Fabirn Ribeiro-DQ, Andrew Hawks & Richie Rage b Duke Durrango & Chris Steele, Omen Gabriel b Sheik Shabaz (Gama Singh Jr.-)-DQ, Giselle b Michael Allen Richard Clark in an intergender match, Kenny Stryker kept the PWA Mayhem title over Frantico & Aiden Adams. (thanks to Ross Hart)
  • C4 Wrestling on 3/18 in Ottawa, ONT at the Vanier Columbus Club.
  • Rock Solid Wrestling on Saturday at 4 p.m. in Sudbury, ONT at the Chelsmford Valley District Composite School
  • EVOLVE has announced the Keith Lee trial series with matches on 2/24 in Joppa, MD against Zack Sabre Jr., 2/25 in Queens, NY against Tracy Williams, 3/30 in Orlando against Ricochet and 3/31 in Orlando against Donovan Dijak.
  • Absolute Intense Wrestling Girls Night Out on 3/11 in Cleveland at Our Lady of Mt Carmel with Shayna Baszler vs. Allysin Kay (Sienna) for the AIW women's title, Gail Kim vs. Britt Baker, Sonya Strong vs Lufisto, Angeldust vs. Shotzi Blackheart, Veda Scott vs Penelope Ford, Ray Lyn vs. Faye Jackson and more.
  • CMLL from Tuesday night in Guadalajara: Divino & Gallo b Evola & Exterminador, Electrico & Fugaz & Shockercito b Mercurio & Pequeno Nitro & Relampago, Amapola & Dallys & Metalica b Vaquerita & Marcela & Silueta, Dragon Lee & Esfinge & Stuka Jr. b Bobby Villa & Hechicero & Polvora, Pierroth & Rush & Yoshitatsu b Atlantis & Diamante Azul & Valiente.
  • A group called Welterweight Wrestling debuts on 5/7 for shows with wrestlers only under 185 pounds. The show will take place in Cleveland. 
  • Legacy Fighting Alliance tomorrow night on AXS TV from Broomfield, CO with Marcus Edwards vs. Adam Townsend as the main event. 
  • FEW on 3/31 in Orlando at the Downtown Rec Complex with an all-women's show with Santana Garrett, Lindsay Snow, Marti Bell, Rebel, Faye Jackson and more. The show is at 3 p.m. over Mania weekend.
  • Alpha 1 Wrestling on 3/5 in Hamilton, ONT featuring ACH, Kikutaro and Ethan Page.
  • An almost all-women's show (one men's match is on it) called Girls Gone Wrestling takes place on Saturday in Surrey, BC at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds Alice McKay Building with Nicole Matthews, Holidead, Malia Hosaka, Chelsea Green (Laurel Van Ness) and more. 
  • Chaotic Wrestling on Friday night in Woburn, MA at the Elks Hall with a main event of Elia Markorpolous vs JT Dunn vs Adam Booker vs. Christian Casanova.
  • Christopher Daniels talks his tenure in ROH, Samoa Joe and other topics here:

You’ve been wrestling for a long time and were with Ring of Honor at its inception. Do you feel like you’ve paid your dues, and a title reign is overdue?
I think I paid enough dues a long time ago. But circumstances are what they are, and sometimes matches don’t go the way you want them to go. Certainly going into the 15th Anniversary Show I feel like there’s a lot of momentum on my side right now. If the fans’ feelings are that it’s about time I’ve had the championship, I’m not going to argue with that. It remains to be seen what happens…

Have you been frustrated that you haven’t been elevated to the top position in ROH?
Not specifically frustrated. Things go the way they go. It’s not up to me to say this is a good direction or a bad direction. It’s just the way it was. All of us as pro wrestlers try to put ourselves out there as the best product we can be. It falls to people above us to decide that’s the best direction for the company to go...

Are you surprised that it took so long for Samoa Joe to wind up on WWE’s main roster?
Not so much surprised, I’m just happy that it finally happened. I feel like one of the reasons that it took so long is that they were waiting for the right moment… I’m certainly interested to see where this goes. Coming off the Royal Rumble to go toward WrestleMania, I would think that would mean Joe is in a prime position to have a high-profile match at his first WrestleMania.

TNA has been undergoing a massive overhaul in recent months with turnover and new ownership. Did you have the feeling that this was something that’s been on the cusp of happening for years and you’re surprised it took so long?
I can’t really comment on it with any sort of intelligence because all I know is the same thing that everyone else has seen and read. … I know when I left that I felt like there was some upheaval in management. But I couldn’t tell you everything that’s gone on. I’ve seen what everyone else has with the ratings and mishaps that have gone on.

On the comic book cover you look like a nefarious character. You’re robbing a bank and Kazarian is saying you must be stopped. What’s going on?
I don’t want to give too much away. I’m not 100 percent ready to retire, so am I looking to add a couple of zeros to the end of my bank account? You’ll have to pick up the book to find out exactly what’s going on. It’s worth picking up to check out.

Growing up, you’re either a DC Comics guy or a Marvel guy. Which were you?
I was Marvel, 100 percent. I grew up reading Marvel comics. The first comic that really got me hooked was Uncanny X-Men.

Pro Wrestling Tees is now carrying our latest line of F4W shirts. Support the Empire~! Grab yours today!

F4W / WO EMPIRE WRESTLEMANIA GROUP INFO

BUS INFO:

  • The Empire bus to WrestleMania will cost $50.00 and will be round trip from Rosen Inn at 9000 International Drive 32819 (a few blocks away from Wrestlcon). THERE ARE ONLY 5 SEATS LEFT!
  • The bus will leave at 4pm (time subject to change) for WrestleMania and will leave WrestleMania no later then one hour after the show. If you would like a seat email Ed at f4wfan@hotmail.com or message him on the BOARD~! for Paypal payment instructions.

DINNER INFO:

  • WHAT: Dinner at Texas de Brazil
  • WHEN: Friday March 31st
  • WHERE: 5259 International Dr Ste F1, Orlando, FL 32819 at 5 p.m. (they may open at 4:30 for us)
  • WHO: All your best empire buddies, including BIG DAVE MELTZER
  • DETAILS: The cost of the dinner will be $68.00 which includes the dinner, salad bar, soft drinks and tea, and dessert, tax and tip. This is a pre pay dinner and you can send payment to paypal at Srjaialaiot@yahoo.com (please send as a gift to a friend). Payments must be made by March 24th (if you wait until after that, Ed will charge an extra $5.00 for being a pain).

Today in professional wrestling history (2/23): WWE Elimination Chamber 2014


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