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Daily Update: NXT-Sportsnet 360, Hiromu, Miz & Mrs.

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WON NEWSLETTER: February 22, 2021 Observer Newsletter: Death of Tom Cole, NXT TakeOver review

The death of Tom Cole this week takes us back to one of the most sordid pro wrestling stories of the last 50 years, which involved media heavyweights at the time like Phil Donahue, Larry King, Geraldo Rivera and Phil Mushnick. It's the lead story of a new double issue of the Observer.

We look at the story and its tragic end this past week and all the key characters involved. We look at Cole's death, what exactly happened to him, different media appearances at the time, the WWF first settling his case, the unique plans for the Phil Donahue show, at the time the leading daytime talk show in the U.S. with a gigantic audience and how Vince McMahon planned the show and why it never transpired the way it was planned. Cole's memories of what happened, and things that triggered his past including a first suicide attempt that few knew about.  This is a major piece of wrestling history that has been largely hidden except from those who were around at the time.

Also in this issue:

NXT Takeover show with match-by-match coverage, star ratings and poll results of what undoubtedly will be considered among the best shows of 2021.

WWE not offering raises and promotions and how that went down this past week, as well as a look at WWE performer salaries if they were paid the same percentage as sports stars or even UFC fighters, Lacey Evans' pregnancy, a pilot for a new WWE Network show filmed, the attempt to re-litigate the concussion case and its likely outcome, injury updates, details of a number of different people having signed new deals, who they are and their background, notes on how many saw Sasha Banks start the Daytona 500, Finn Balor talks staying in NXT, TV show with WWE stars as guests, WWE & AEW international TV ratings and how last week's shows did compared to other sports, another celebrity training to appear in WWE rings, upcoming TV matches, a what ever happened to, current company value and the most-watched shows of the past week on the WWE Network.

Gina Carano and her social media posts that cost her a television series was was to be built around her, her new affiliation, and the situation with Ariel Helwani, Dana White and ESPN as well as media criticism of ESPN for how they handled the situation.

UFC 258 with match-by-match coverage and all the business news.

How Keiji Muto became one of the oldest world champions in history, why NOAH made the move, a look at NOAH today after its biggest show in many years.

WWE social media regulations for its talent, what is and isn't allowed.

Debut episode of "Young Rock," its ratings, and what was real, nor real and in between about the stories with a look at early women wrestling promoters, Rocky Johnson, Peter Maivia, Lia Maivia and Dwayne Johnson growing up.

Second night of New Japan's New Beginning in Hiroshima..

Television ratings of the past week, including segment-by-segment numbers for the past two weeks on Wednesday, who was watching in different age groups, how different segments did on Raw & Smackdown and more.


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MONDAY NEWS UPDATE

Bryan and I will be back tonight covering Raw, Chamber fallout as well as the latest news. We also have a Friday night show where we talked to Jon Moxley on a ton of different subjects, and Garrett and I did an all news show that is up on the site right now.  You can also send questions to the show to mailbag@wrestlingobserver.com

Elimination Chamber was the No. 4 most searched term on Google yesterday with 500,000 searches. That was well ahead of Saturday's UFC show and a good number for a non-major show.  We're still taking our poll for last night's show so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to dave@wrestlingobserver.com

Regarding NXT to Sportsnet 360 starting Wednesday, which WWE announced this morning. WWE had been trying to make this happen since October of last year when AEW started up, for obvious reasons, but the station didn't make the call until starting this week.  Paul Levesque will be on Sportsnet 590 in Toronto on the morning show on Wednesday promoting the debut.

With Hiromu Takahashi needing surgery for a torn pec, that changes a ton of plans, basically the entire New Japan jr. division. If you actually think about it, there is probably not one wrestler in the world more valuable to their division. The new card for Thursday (late Wednesday from Korakuen Hall which starts at 4 a.m. Eastern has:

  • Hiroshi Tanahashi & Satoshi Kojima & Yota Tsuji vs. Will Ospreay & Jeff Cobb & Great O'Khan
  • Kazuchika Okada & Toru Yano & Sho vs. Evil & Dick Togo& Chase Owens
  • Tomohiro Ishii & Hirroki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi vs. Jay White & Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa
  • Kota Ibushi & Yuji Nagata & Tomoaki Honma vs.Tetsuya Naito & Sanada  Shingo Takagi
  • El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori vs. Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru for IWGP jr. title. Desperado & Kanemaru replace Hiromu Takahashi  & Bushi

Right now nothing has been announced regarding Osaka with the Hiromu Takahashi vs. El Phantasmo title defense. The usual rule of thumb in New Japan is if a title match is announced, it takes place, which would mean Phantasmo would face somebody for the vacant title. That's the usual case with injuries.  But that hasn't been announced yet.

Regarding the WWE Network and its transition to Peacock, we should have more later in the week but Fast Lane will be on Peacock and the WWE Network in the U.S. separately, so it was not said WWE Network only for fans outside the U.S.  Everything will be in the process of transitioning.  As of right now, WrestleMania will be exclusively on Peacock in the U.S. and will be the first exclusive PPV on that platform.

Raw tonight has only announced The Miz opening the show.  The ratings should be up due to being the day after the PPV, but last week's numbers were also higher than usual.  

AEW tonight on YouTube has two U.S. matches and two foreign matches in the women's tournament. Emi Sakura vs. Yuka Sakazaki and Aja Kong vs. Ryo Mizunami are the Japanese bouts.  The two winners will face off on Sunday on Bleacher Report.  Tay Conti faces Nyla Rose and Britt Baker vs. Madi Wrenkowski (replacing Anna Jay) is also on tonight's show with those winners meeting on Dynamite on Wednesday.

After Raphael Assuncao pulled out of Saturday's UFC fight with Raoni Barcelos, Marcelo Rojo agreed to replace him in a 140 pound fight. But Barcelos tested positive for COVID-19 and is out.  Barcelos said he's feeling no symptoms and hopes to be able to fight again soon.

As noted yesterday, New York is now opening up for indoor sports games including the NBA and NHL, but the rules are this:

  • 10 percent capacity
  • All players must test negative for COVID within 72 hours

The New York Nets will be testing all fans for COVID and providing all fans with a mandatory mask. The Nets are the first pro sports team to include a COVID test in its ticket pricing. The Nets will only allow 300 fans until 3/7, when they will start after that with 1,800 tickets.

WWE

  • Miz & Mrs. will return to the USA Network on 4/12. It will air on Monday nights at 11 p.m. after Raw, which is a time slot the show will do far better in than Thursday  prime time.

UFC

  • Alez Perez vs. Matt Schnell has been added to the 5/15 show.
  • Randy Brown is out of Saturday's UFC show where he was to face Alex Oliveira.  No reason was given for his withdrawal.  The company is looking for a replacement.
     

AEW

  • Besides the injury to Anna Jay announced today, another AEW rookie woman wrestler, Brooke Havok, who just started her career, tore her ACL this past Wednesday night in a Dark match with Leyla Hirsch. The match airs tomorrow night and she did finish the match.  
  • Chris Jericho appeared on KTLA Ch. 5 in Los Angeles today plugging his rock band.

OTHER NEWS

  • Memphis Wrestling returns to television at Noon this coming Saturday on CW30. It's the first time local wrestling has been on TV in the market that had historically the highest television ratings for pro wrestling in nearly 15 years.  Dustin Starr and David Marquez are producing the shows. The show will air weekly in the Noon time slot in a market where pro wrestling used to be a Saturday morning fixture from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. We will have a lot more on this new issue.
  • Major League Wrestling will have some presence in the Canelo Alvarez fight on Saturday on DAZN. They also announced the next major TV show will be called Never Say Never and air on 3/31.
  • Former pro wrestler David Martin, who had signed to be a school superintendent, asked to be released after some parents were upset from a staged segment he did on the Jerry Springer show back in the 90s when Jamie Dundee was booking wrestlers as guests. Springer was  a totally worked show, obviously 
  • Pro Wrestling Australia is live on FITE TV on 2/27 in Ingleburn with a sold out show headlined by Robbie Eagles vs. Aaron Jake and Charli Evans vs. Cherry Stevens.  
  • Pro Wrestling Australia Black Label has a live show on 3/12 at The Factory Theater in Sydney also live on FITE with a 30 man Rumble, a title match with Caveman Ugg vs. Ricky South plus Aussie Open, Shazza McKenzie and more.
  • Impact+ has a taping on 2/27 with Lariato Pro Wrestling in Lyons, GA with Doc Gallows, Eric Young, Hernandez and John Skyler on the show.

Daily Pro Wrestling History: Sting vs. Hollywood Hogan at WCW SuperBrawl


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