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WON NEWSLETTER: May 17, 2021 Observer Newsletter: NJPW shows postponed, Brian Pillman Dark Side of the Ring

Dave Meltzer covers the  state of emergency in Japan, the actual stats, shows canceled, when NJPW is set to return

Lots more on the life of Brian Pillman, what Dark Side didn't cover, his football career, contract disputes, booking idea if he stayed with WCW, children and legacy.

Also in this issue: 

  • Match and wrestler of the week
  • AEW & WWE back on the road and details
  • A look at the next two major pro wrestling PPV shows
  • UFC coverage of Saturday's show, next week's show, new fights, new financial info
  • Most detailed look at ratings, what shows do people watch longest, what shows do they watch live or most on DVR, Segment breakdowns and and exclusive info on how the different shows are consumed
  • U.S. Olympic wrestling preview
  • The amazing historical story of a fugitive in a foreign country who held the biggest tag team title in the world, and his shocking death
  • Notes on AEW television schedule for the next six weeks
  • 2016 Gold medalist talks WWE

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@wrestlingobserver.com or by going to www.paypal.com directing funds to dave@wrestlingobserver.com.

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If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order to P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228, you can get $1 off in every price range.


FRIDAY NEWS UPDATE

We've got a busy weekend of shows, with Garrett Gonzalez and I doing a show today with Bruce Mitchell as guest, plus Saturday Bryan and I will cover UFC, AEW, preview WrestleMania Backlash and more, and Sunday we'll be covering Backlash. You can send questions to the shows to mailbag@wrestlingobserver.com

We're sorry to report that one of the most infamous and colorful wrestling characters of this generation, Jerome Young aka New Jack, passed away today from a heart attack.  He had been living in North Carolina.  New Jack started in Georgia where he met Mustafa Saed, and they first gained a reputation feuding with the Rock & Roll Express in Smoky Mountain Wrestling.  They became bigger stars going to ECW in 1995 where he became a cult favorite for diving off balconies through tables and weapons-filled attacks while his music was playing.  In many ways, he was one of the symbols of the company and it's out of control violence in the 90s.  There were endless stories of him, chronicled in the Dark Side of the Ring episode on him in season two.  Some, like slicing open Erich Kulas or nearly killing Vic Grimes by throwing him off a high place, or stabbing someone during a match, or beating up 70 year old Gypsy Joe are not pretty.  He was known for his promos and attitude and for the dangerous vibe he brought to wrestling.

My newest book, "The Wrestling Observer Yearbook 2014: The Year of the Yes Movement" has just been released.  It's available on Amazon. The key chapters in the book include the year of Daniel Bryan, C.M. Punk quits WWE, The launch of the WWE Network and UFC Fight Pass, TNA loses Spike TV, death of Ultimate Warrior, Sting arrives in WWE, Undertaker loses to Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, Jeff Jarrett's Global Force Wrestling and Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier.  As of today it was No. 2 in the Amazon best seller list in the wrestling category.

Smackdown tonight has Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler vs. Tamina & Natalya for the women's tag team titles. 205 Live has Asher Hale vs. Ariya Daivari and Ari Serling vs. Tony Nese.

After his horrific injury, Chris Weidman is already walking on an anti-gravity treadmill.

For AEW first day ticket sales, Cedar Park, TX sold about 2,700 tickets, Garland, TX sold about 2,000 and Miami had 200 tickets left at last check but we don't know how much was open.  So no instant sellouts but Miami is close.

UFC, on the other hand, sold out its 6/12 show in Glendale, AZ instantly.

UFC 262 tomorrow:

ESPN+ at 6:30 p.m.

  • Christos Giagos (156) vs.  Sean Soriano (156)
  • Kevin Agular (145) vs Tucker Lutz (146)
  • Gina Mazany (126) vs. Priscilla Cachoeira (126)

ESPN at 8 p.m.

  • Jordan Wright (185) vs. Jamie Pickett (186)
  • Andrea Lee (126) vs. Antonina Shevchenko (125)
  • Lando Vannata (146) vs. Mike Grundy (146)
  • Ronaldo Jacare Souza (186) vs. Andre Muniz (186)

PPV at 10 pm..

  • Matt Schnell (136) vs. Rogerio Bontorin (137) - For missing weight Bontorin forfeits 20 percent of his purse to Schnell
  • Shane Burgos (146) vs. Edson Barboza (146)
  • Katlyn Chookagian (126) vs. Viciane Araujo (126)
  • Tony Ferguson (156) vs Beneil Dariush (156)
  • Charles Oliveira (155) vs. Michael Chandler (155) for vacant lightweight title

Congratulations to Garrett Gonzales whose son graduates college this week.

There will be a press conference on Tuesday to announce TripleMania for this summer and the Kenny Omega vs. Andrade el Idolo main event for the mega championship.

The Cubs Fan reported L.A. Park is off all his bookings the next few days due to pneumonia.  

From www.BetOnline.ag for WrestleMania Backlash odds:

  • Bobby Lashley -200 vs. Drew McIntyre +175 vs. Braun Strowman +500
  • Roman Reigns -600 vs. Cesaro +350
  • Rhea Ripley -200 vs. Charlotte Flair +175 vs. Asuka +500
  • Bianca Belair -950 vs. Bayley +500
  • Rey & Dominik Mysterio -200 vs. Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode +150
  • Damien Priest -800 vs. The Miz +400

A correction from last week's show I did with Garrett  Gonzalez as a Q&A on Brian Pillman and Randy Savage. The Pillman radio show clip talking about his accident that aired on last week's Dark Side of the Ring was from Wrestle Radio USA with Vinnie Carolan and Ed Symkus. I said Vinnie Carolan and Cody Boyns.  Boyns did a different Boston area wrestling radio show.

The Mitsuharu Misawa Memorial show that was scheduled for 5/30 at the Ota Ward Gym in Tokyo has been moved to 5/31 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.

WWE

UFC

  • Uriah Hall vs. Sean Strickland is scheduled for the 8/7 PPV show according to a report by ESPN.

OTHER NOTES

  • Kevin Eck's weekly look at ROH news.
  • A story on former enhancement wrestler Chris Curtis. (thanks to Mike Kuzmuk)
  • Slam Wrestling has stories on 70s star Chris Colt. In the first one, Jonathan Plombon (who has a Herb Abrams book coming out), speaks with filmmaker Jack Fritscher about the gay porn movies that Chris Colt did at the end of his career. In the other piece, photographer Brad McFarlin recalls how he got a photo of Chris Colt and singer Joe Cocker together ... and then how Cocker later threw up on him during the concert!
  • MLW Fusion on Saturday at Noon on Vice has Erick Stevens vs. Douglas James and Tom Lawlor vs. Ross Von Erich.  MLW is expected to announce new wrestlers starting in the company over the next week or so.
  • There is a show on Sunday at 7 p.m. at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia with Rob Van Dam.  The show is called "A Night with Rob Van Dam at the ECW Arena."  There will be a live signing, a documentary on RVD and RVD doing a Q&A comedy show.  The price of $65 includes a picture with RVD or an autograph, plus food and beverage.  Additional autographs are $20.  Masks must be worn at all times in the building.
  • Going into the last week of the NBA season, viewership is down 13 percent from last year overall.  ABC is down nine percent.  ESPN and TNT are down 17 percent.  Overall TV viewership from last year is down 12 percent.
  • KSW will be bringing fans back on 6/5 for a show at the Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland, allowing 50 percent capacity.  The company's all-time biggest draw, Mariusz Pudzianowksi (14-7) faces Lukasz Jurkowski (17-11) in a heavyweight main event.
  • Paul Daley (43-17-2) vs. Jason Jackson (14-4) has been announced as the co-main event for Bellator on 6/11 on Showtime.  The main event on the show has Douglas Lima (32-8) defending the welterweight title against Yaroslav Amosov (25-0)
  • The CWE promotion in Winnipeg returns to Shaw TV on 5/21 at 9 p.m. Central time.  They will have a weekly Friday night show called CWE Adrenaline on Ch. 9 in Winnipeg and on Shaw Direct throughout Canada.  The show will also be uploaded on YouTube the next day.
  • LFA tonight from Sioux Falls, SD at 9 p.m. Eastern on UFC Fight Pass
    • Taylor Mauldin (124.8) vs. Ambar De la Harran (125.2)
    • James Wilson (155) vs. Daniel Jefferson (155.8)
    • Jordan Heiderman (241.4) vs. Anthony Garrett (244.4)
    • Allan Begosso (135.6) vs. Samarbek Sabyrzhan Uulu (137.6) - Uulu missed weight and had to pay a penalty to Begosso
    • George Garcia (136) vs. Ricardo Dias (135.2)
    • Kamuela Kirk (155.8) vs. Daniel Swain (155.6)
  • Steve Keirn will be honored as part of The Gathering weekend in Charlotte starting 7/22.  They also announced a David Schultz Q&A on 7/22.
  • Stardom from today at Korakuen Hall
    • Mina Shirakawa b Ruaka in a Future of Stardom tournament match
    • Natsupoi won four-way over Tam Nakano, Lady C and Hanan
    • Natsuko Tora & Konami & Fukigen Death b Momo Watanabe & AZM & Hina
    • Saya Kamitani b Starlight Kid in a Cinderella tournament match
    • Maika b Giulia via over the top rope in a Cinderella tournament match
    • Syuri b Utami Hayashishita via over the top rope in a Cinderella tournament match
    • Himeka b Mayu Iwatani via over the top rope in a Cinderella tournament match
    • Unagi Sayaka b Syuri via over the top rope in a Cinderella tournament match
    • This leaves Sayaka, Kamitani, Maiki and Himeka in the semifinals on 6/12.

Daily Pro Wrestling History: First WWF In Your House PPV


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