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Daily Update: New Japan Cup, Cody Rhodes, New Day


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F4W NEWSLETTER: Figure Four Weekly: #KofiMania

A combination of timing, fan support, and strong performances have come together to make Kofi Kingston the unlikely star of WrestleMania season.

It was only a few weeks ago where this seemed completely implausible. Kingston wasn't even originally supposed to be in the WWE Championship match at Elimination Chamber. He was on the outside looking in, with Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, Randy Orton, Samoa Joe, Mustafa Ali, and Jeff Hardy set to take part in the match.

WON NEWSLETTER: March 18, 2019, Wrestling Observer Newsletter: 2018 Observer Newsletter Awards 

One of the two biggest issues of the year, the awards issue, is out right now.

The awards issue contains not only the award winners but also top placeholders in every category and an all-time history of award winners dating back to 1980.

Have a look at the career and life of Dick "The Destroyer" Beyer, from football to college wrestling to TV stardom in Japan to teaching school. It's really an amazing story of one of the first Americans to become a TV celebrity in Japan and the greatest American masked wrestler of all-time.

Read full coverage of the road to WrestleMania with most of the card as well as full coverage of Fastlane with a match-by-match rundown with star ratings, poll results, and business notes.

Look at SummerSlam tickets, WWE creative, Bruce Prichard, Jeff Jarrett, AEW vs. WWE, Takeover Brooklyn's complete card, newcomers to WWE this week, Dwayne Johnson award, Harlem Heat Hall of Fame notes, WrestleMania 2020 week updates, new WWE hire, WWE ticket sales, WWE stock price, most watched shows of the past week no the WWE Network plus notes from all the weekend house shows with results, angles and business.

This issue has updated coverage of the New Japan Cup, with this week's shows, a rundown of every match so far in the tournament and an updated look at the brackets.

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.

Rates in the United States are $14.50 for 4 issues, $35.50 for 12, $70 for 24, $116 for 40 and $149.50 for 52.

In Canada and Mexico, the rates are $16 for 4, $27 for 8, $38.50 for 12, $76 for 24, $126 for 40 and $162.50 for 52.

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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.



  • After Vince McMahon added Daniel Bryan to Kofi Kingston’s gauntlet match on last night’s SmackDown, WWE furthered the storyline by uploading a post-show video where Big E and Xavier Woods said New Day should quit. Kingston said that would be letting Vince and Bryan win. Big E and Woods also posted their own videos as part of the angle.
  • Kingston tweeted after losing to Bryan in the gauntlet match: “I am physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. I want to thank everyone of you wholeheartedly for all of your support.”
  • Kingston spoke to TalkSport about what he said to Mustafa Ali after replacing him at Elimination Chamber due to Ali suffering an injury:
    • “Oh, absolutely. We texted back and forth and I -- number one -- it’s always a terrible situation when somebody gets hurt and not able to perform because we as WWE superstars, that’s all that we want to do and a guy like Mustafa Ali has worked so hard. He’s been wrestling on the independent scene as long as I have, maybe even longer. And then to get to WWE and be on 205 Live, and fight your way there and fight your way into the title picture there and then fight your way onto the main roster on SmackDown and have it come to an abrupt halt -- and I say halt because it’s not an end for him by any means -- but to have it come to a halt at the expense of an injury is always unfortunate.”
    • “But, I told him -- and he knows -- that his future is very bright, he’s one of the guys that I’d watch on 205 Live and be like ‘wow, this guy is pretty incredible.’ The things he can do with his body, the stories he’s able to tell, the emotions he’s able to portray and the way he’s able to connect with the WWE Universe is a very special thing. He has a bright future for sure and I knew that when I replaced him, oddly enough, I knew I would be able to deliver in a way that I thought wouldn’t disappoint him. Because, for him to be in that position, to watch somebody take his spot and, god forbid, I would have had a terrible performance? Now, he feels even worse! It wouldn’t have done him justice if I would have had a bad outing.”
  • Peyton Royce & Billie Kay defeated Women’s Tag Team Champions Sasha Banks & Bayley in a non-title match on SmackDown, presumably setting up Royce & Kay being added to a multi-team title match at WrestleMania 35.
  • On his Instagram account, John Cena posted a picture of a fan holding a “Baron Corbin is a dumpster fire” sign.
  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson responded to a Twitter thread about his identity: “Glad I came across this and I’ll give you guys some context & truth. I identify as exactly what I am - both. Equally proud. Black/Samoan. And my friend, let me expand your thoughts a bit here - I transcended race in wrestling so there was no ‘booked that way’. Thx guys”
  • WWE Network News reported that tomorrow’s Hidden Gems addition to the Network is the full “March to WrestleMania X” special.
  • Multichannel News named WWE co-president Michelle Wilson as one of their Wonder Women for 2019.
  • In an interview with The Mirror, Scott Dawson chose The Midnight Express as the team he thinks should be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
  • “You should see me in a crown” by Billie Eilish and “Are You Ready” by Disturbed are official theme songs for NXT TakeOver: New York.
  • An Amazon exclusive Becky Lynch Funko Pop will be released in August and is available for pre-order.
  • WWE uploaded Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton from WrestleMania 31 to their YouTube account.

Pro Wrestling

  • Kazuchika Okada defeated Will Ospreay and Tomohiro Ishii defeated YOSHI-HASHI in New Japan Cup quarterfinal matches this morning. Okada vs. Ishii is now set for the semifinals on Saturday. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Zack Sabre Jr. and SANADA vs. Colt Cabana will take place tomorrow to determine the other semifinal.
  • Cody Rhodes filed trademarks for “Prince of Wrestling,” “Battlebowl,” “Bash at the Beach,” and “Bunkhouse Stampede.” Cody and The Young Bucks posted tweets teasing the Bash at the Beach trademark, but Cody later wrote: "I’d turn off the google alerts on trademarks. They’re personal and most aren’t intended for AEW. I’ve filed/claimed over 50 the last few months. I’m just trying to get some of Dad’s cattle back. That’s the story."
  • Flip Gordon, who has been cleared to return from his torn MCL, will return to the ring at ROH’s Road to G1 Supercard show in Baltimore on March 31. Gordon's opponent has yet to be announced.
  • David Starr claimed that he’s been “asked by the powers that be” to take down his promo on Sinclair Broadcasting and their politics. Starr wrote that he will comply out of respect to the Israeli Pro Wrestling Association. Jay Lethal is defending his ROH World title against Starr at IPWA's Passover Bash 2019 show on April 21.
  • ROH announced the schedule for G1 Supercard Festival of Honor.
  • WWN announced the following matches for EVOLVE 125 and the WWN Supershow. Both are taking place at La Boom in Queens, New York:
  • EVOLVE 125 (Thursday, April 4 at noon Eastern time)
    • EVOLVE Champion Austin Theory defending against Kyle O'Reilly
    • EVOLVE Tag Team Champions The Unwanted (Eddie Kingston & Joe Gacy) defending against Konosuke Takeshita & MAO
    • Montez Ford vs. Shane Strickland
    • Angelo Dawkins vs. Colby Corino
    • Darby Allin vs. Anthony Henry
    • Higuchi vs. Curt Stallion
    • AR Fox & Leon Ruff vs. John Silver & Alex Reynolds
    • Harlem Bravado vs. Adrian Jaoude
    • More with WWN Champion JD Drake, Priscilla Kelly, Brandi Lauren, and others
  • WWN Supershow: Mercury Rising 2019 (Friday, April 5 at 3 p.m. Eastern)
    • Shane Strickland & EVOLVE Tag Team Champions Eddie Kingston & Joe Gacy vs. Team wXw (Lucky Kid, Marius Al-Ani & Bobby Gunns)
    • The Skulk (AR Fox, Leon Ruff & Adrian Alanis w/ Ayla Fox) vs. Team DDT (Daisuke Sasaki, Tetsuya Endo & Soma Takao)
    • WWN Champion JD Drake defending against Higuchi
    • EVOLVE Champion Austin Theory & Brandi Lauren vs. Darby Allin & Priscilla Kelly
    • FIP World Heavyweight Champion Anthony Henry will defend his title
    • SHINE Champion Allysin Kay will defend her title
    • Colby Corino vs. John Silver vs. Harlem Bravado vs. Anthony Greene vs. TBD vs. TBD in an elimination match (winner gets a WWN contract)
  • Mance Warner has been added to MLW’s Battle Riot match in Queens, New York on April 5.
  • Paul Robinson will be an entrant in this year's PROGRESS Wrestling Super Strong Style 16 tournament.


Daily Pro Wrestling History: WWF WrestleMania X

Ed in San Antonio presents the WRESTLEMANIA Weekend Events (more to be added):

  • Saturday, April 6th, at 12:00 pm: Lunch (all you can eat) at Churrascaria Plataforma ($90 per person), located at 316 W. 49th street in Manhattan. Purchase tickets here~! 
  • Luxury Bus to MetLife Stadium for Wrestlemania: We will depart from the Hilton Midtown (site of Wrestlecon) located at 1335 Avenue of the Americas. Departure time is 4:00 pm and will return from MetLife approximately 30 mins after the event. Times are subject to change, and cost $67.00 per person for the round trip. Purchase tickets here~!