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WON NEWSLETTER: July 19, 2021 Observer Newsletter: Paul Orndorff passes away, Conor breaks leg at UFC 264

A look at the life and career of Paul Orndorff, one of the top stars of the 70s, 80s and 90, is the lead story in the new issue of the Observer.  

We go deep into the issue of dementia, his life after wrestling, what he was known for in wrestling, the street fighter talk, the fight with Tony Atlas, the fight with John Matuszak, his high school and college sports stardom in Florida, the unique story about how he got into pro wrestling and another street fight story just as he was breaking in where he wound up arrested and Eddie Graham thought it was great for business, his rise to stardom in the territorial era, the Vader fight, how he got started lifting weights, his second run with Hulk Hogan that remains the most successful live event program in pro wrestling history, the Hogan vs. Orndorff years, both teaming and as rivals, the first WrestleMania, The Big Event in Toronto and how monumental that show was and how it blew away expectations, how WrestleMania III being held at the Pontiac Silverdome came from the success of The Big Event,  the injury that changed the trajectory of his career.

Also in this issue:

Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor turned into the second biggest PPV event in UFC history. Ryan Frederick, one of the top insiders in the MMA world, looks in depth at UFC 264, the stories that led to it, the success of the show, and what happens next coming out of it.  We look at the McGregor injury and what happened leading up to it.  We also look at the rest of the show, new stars to watch out for, business notes plus match-by-match coverage with poll results.

The return of the arena business to WWE and AEW, ticket advances, the Arthur Ashe Stadium & Newark shows for AEW and WWE in Madison Square Garden all at the same time.  We look at the numbers and give all the qualifying information.  We also look at how other major shows are doing, this coming week's stuff, SummerSlam update, what AEW show are they peaking for a major event, how the debut of Rampage will change things, the Money in the Bank show, new WWE date and more.

Top matches for SummerSlam, names talked about for Bobby Lashley, NXT schedule change during the Olympics, the Bayley injury and one top star talks about why the training sessions were a bad idea, why employee morale in WWE is up, thoughts on Jimmy Uso and why the Uso will be kept strong, Belair & Banks ESPY, other combat sport ESPY winners, the Riddle/Tavel lawsuit goes away and the story behind that, story behind the debuts of newcomers to main roster television, Mandy Rose stuff, how often WWE,New Japan, NXT and AEW do rematches, where Dwayne Johnson claims the term Smackdown came from, international TV ratings, notes on shows coming up and bookings, Riddle's heat with Rollins and why, an idea they were considering to make the Bray Wyatt puppets real people, Bea Priestley talks her WWE signing, Big E talks fighting the new Day breakup, WWE stock value and the most-watched videos from WWE this past week.

The Tokyo Dome show this coming week, with the lineup and a look at each match.

Full coverage of the ROH Best in the World show, with business notes, notes on the next show, the title change, the women's tournament, match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results.

A story on Travis Fulton, a former UFC fighter who had more than 300 MMA fights and 75 boxing matches, who committed suicide by hanging while in prison.

More detail on the ratings than any other source, we have how every segment on NXT and AEW did with different age groups, genders and more, plus a look at all other wrestling shows of the past week, how many different viewers the shows had, DVR numbers and how long the average fan watches.

Results of the major pro wrestling events of the past week.


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WEDNESDAY NEWS UPDATE

WWE

  • Odyssey Jones (former Syracuse football player Omari Palmer) advanced to the next round of the NXT Breakout Tournament by defeating Andre Chase (Harlem Bravado) on NXT last night. Jones joins Duke Hudson (Brendan Vink) in the second round. A first-round match between Carmelo Hayes (Christian Casanova) and Josh Briggs is set for next Tuesday’s NXT. Trey Baxter (Blake Christian) vs. Joe Gacy will be the final first-round match.
  • PWInsider reported that the producers for the matches at Sunday’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view were:
    • Roman Reigns vs. Edge for the Universal Championship -- Michael Hayes
    • Men’s Money in the Bank ladder match -- Jamie Noble and Shane Helms
    • Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair for the Raw Women’s Championship -- Adam Pearce
    • Bobby Lashley vs. Kofi Kingston for the WWE Championship -- Jason Jordan and Jamie Noble
    • AJ Styles & Omos vs. The Viking Raiders for the Raw Tag Team titles -- Chris Park
    • Women’s Money in the Bank ladder match -- Tyson Kidd and Pat Buck
    • Rey & Dominik Mysterio vs. The Usos for the SmackDown Tag Team titles -- D-Von Dudley
  • During an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, Michael Cole said working with McAfee has revitalized his career. Cole called Jim Ross the best pro wrestling play-by-play announcer ever when it comes to emotion. Cole said he thinks of himself as the best ever at running a show and directing traffic: “At the end of the day, listen -- I’ve busted my ass for 25 years in this business, and nobody can ever take that away from me. I may not be the greatest of all time, I honestly and will truly say that when it comes to emotion, Jim Ross is the greatest ever in this business. I think I’m the greatest ever when it comes to running a show, running traffic. But no matter what you think about me, listen - that’s your opinion, that’s the beauty of this business, that’s the beauty of wrestling. You can love people, you can hate people, but you’re never gonna be able to take away the fact that I’ve worked at this for 25 years... and I’ve literally missed two television shows in 25 years. To me, that’s a badge of honor... It’s a grind, but hey, it is what it is and I love it. I love what I do.”
  • Sports Illustrated interviewed Paul “Triple H” Levesque.
  • Levesque wrote about WWE sending the Milwaukee Bucks a custom title belt for their NBA Finals win: “@fiservforum and the@DeerDistrict were rocking last night! Amazing performances by @Giannis_An34, @Khris22m, @Jrue_Holiday11 and the entire @Bucks team throughout the #NBAFinals! I think you know what to do with this….#FearTheDeer”
  • Nikki A.S.H. and Finn Balor appeared on this morning’s episode of WWE’s The Bump.
  • AJ Styles & Omos will be guests on The Bump next Wednesday.
  • WWE’s YouTube channel uploaded Rey Mysterio vs. Kurt Angle for the World Heavyweight Championship from the April 28, 2006 episode of SmackDown, John Cena vs. Kevin Owens for the United States Championship from Battleground 2005, and Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton & Kane from the July 21, 2014 episode of Raw.

Other Wrestling

  • AEW revealed this week’s roster rankings. After previously being unranked, Christian Cage is now third in the men’s singles division.
  • The Dallas Morning News asked Mark Henry which AEW wrestlers stand out to him on a week-to-week basis right now: “Man, Ethan Page. All Ego. The dude is something else. Ricky Starks. I mean, Ricky, he’s been injured, he comes back one week and just murders the screen, just kills it. The Brian Cages of the world, the Darby Allins, the Britt Bakers -- I didn’t even mention the [Young] Bucks or Kenny [Omega], the people that are fixtures on the show. You asked me about who struck me. And Ethan Page and Ricky Starks, they special.”
  • Bleacher Report has an interview with Eddie Kingston.
  • Ryan Nemeth is the guest on today’s episode of Talk is Jericho.
  • Amanda Huber discussed Harry Potter with Cody Rhodes on Cody’s “Everything But Wrestling” podcast.
  • The AEW Elite General Manager Invitational kicked off on the AEW Games YouTube channel today. It features eight AEW stars competing against eight content creators. The winner receives an Elite GM title belt and will be able to book a real AEW match.
  • David Arquette, Jungle Boy, Dalton Castle, Peter Avalon, and RJ City will be a team on Sunday’s episode of Celebrity Family Feud on ABC.
  • On Busted Open Radio, Mickie James discussed returning to Impact Wrestling at Slammiversary: “It is, it is very exciting. I was very grateful to be able to show up at IMPACT and obviously, there’s a part of my heart, to hear Hardcore Country again but then walk back to the locker room, it’s like we often forget because we get up in our own little bubbles that we have friends everywhere. It’s such a small universe, this wrestling world, you know? And so it’s like to be able to walk back and it kind of felt like — to see so many friends, to see your face there, it felt really, really good and to go out there because often too I think, leaving and then kind of feeling so disheartened in that moment and even though you know it’s not the truth and you know it’s not your truth, it’s just really cool to have the fans validate that -- that you know, you did do something special somewhere along the way, so I’m grateful.”
  • James also spoke about booking the NWA’s EmPower pay-per-view: “He’s [Billy Corgan] legitimately giving me the whole space to do it myself. He’s not really chimed in at all, for EmPower at all and just said like, ‘You just book it’ and obviously if there’s going to be stuff that we’re crowning the first-ever NWA -- well not first-ever. We’re bringing back, re-crowning the NWA [Women’s] Tag Team Champions which haven’t been represented since like 1983, and then the Cup, we have this Cup. We’re introducing the first-ever NWA Women’s Invitational and the winner of that Cup will go on to face the champion the next night, whoever the champion is after EmPower. So those are two kind of big things we’re introducing. It was my idea to do the Cup and we had talked about the tag championships and so he’s having those made. I’m very excited about that.”
  • James announced Jamie Senegal for the Women's Invitational at Empower. The PPV is taking place at the Chase Park Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri on Saturday, August 28.
  • MLW announced the signing of KC Navarro. Navarro debuted for MLW at their Battle Riot tapings earlier this month. “With me signing with MLW at only 22 years old I plan on making history,” Navarro said. “I can’t wait to see what competition in MLW is Next to be Blessed because they just signed a Major League Blessing!”
  • Jerry Lawler vs. the former Enzo Amore has been announced for Northeast Wrestling’s Wrestlefest 25. The show is taking place at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York on Saturday, August 14.
  • Penelope Ford will face Allie Katch at GCW’s Homecoming part two in Atlantic City, New Jersey this Sunday.
  • “Speedball” Mike Bailey will be making his return to pro wrestling on his Twitch channel this Friday: “I will be making my official return to Pro-Wrestling in nearly a year LIVE, THIS FRIDAY AT 7 PM ON MY TWITCH! MYSTERY OPPONENT(S)! HOSTED BY @itsvedatime! HELL YEAH!”

Daily Pro Wrestling History: The Rock wins Undisputed title at Vengeance 2002


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