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Daily Update: Okada vs. Shibata, Be a Star, Rumble's retirement

THE ROUND-UP

The Latest from the F4W Staff

NEWS

AUDIO

We're doing two polls this weekend, one for UFC 210 and the other for New Japan Sakura Genesis, 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.

Raw will be Monday night from the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY. Nothing has been announced for the show other than the Superstar shake up. That will also continue in Tuesday in Boston.


FIGURE FOUR WEEKLY: 4/3/2017: Memorable moments make Wrestlemania 33

Despite the match quality and show length being similar, WrestleMania 33 was much better than its predecessor. That's largely due to just having more memorable moments than WrestleMania 32. The Undertaker's retirement is what will define this year's show, even if he clearly held on too long. Jim Ross' return to the WWE broadcast booth was a nice touch and necessary to stress the magnitude of Undertaker's final match. The Hardys coming back brought genuine excitement while making the Raw tag team title ladder match feel like a big deal. And John Cena proposing to Nikki Bella at least gave reason for what was a nothing mixed tag after such a great build.

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WRESTLING OBSERVER NEWSLETTER: April 10, 2017 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Wrestlemania 33 review, WWE financials, more

Our annual WrestleMania double-issue of the Observer is out today, covering not only the big show, but also the entire week in Orlando with NXT, ROH, the top indie shows and even the NXT tapings.

Stories on New Japan's quick sellouts and plans for their first U.S. shows, behind-the-scenes bullying in WWE and what's next in WWE, in this issue.

Plus, look at all of the business numbers for WrestleMania, how to analyze the network number and what numbers need to be out before fully getting a picture of everything, the gain of subscribers this year as compared to the past two years and how much time the average subscriber spends during Mania week watching the network. Also, look at the live gate, what aspects of the show were the most talked about, general public reaction compared to big UFC events, and television ratings for the prelims.

Undertaker's retirement, the Cena proposal, return of the Hardys sans gimmick, Goldberg vs. Lesnar, ring psychology, length of matches, as well as when the finishes were finalized and the gambling money came in, inside.

This issue also has match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results for WrestleMania, NXT Takeover and ROH Supercard of Honor.

Read about the returns to WWE of Jim Ross and Drew Galloway and the backgrounds of everything as well as the unique Ross/New Japan/WWE dynamic that under normal circumstances would be unheard of, and also look at how the situation with Galloway went down.

Also, look at the dynamic of the Takeover show and why decisions were made the way they were.

This issue goes through the plans for the New Japan shows in Long Beach, what will be on the shows and goals of the shows.

Finally look at the highlight matches during the week from smaller promotions in Orlando.

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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
 
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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: March 13, 2000: Beyond the Mat controversy, New York Daily News stories on wrestling deaths and drugs, more

The controversy over the movie "Beyond the Mat" grew this past week when pressure tactics from the WWF caused the USA Network, UPN and Cris Craft Communications to all ban any advertising on any of their programs for the film. While some were surprised at the lengths Vince McMahon would go to attempt to bury the movie, it has been clear for some time by anyone who understands the "with us or against us" and no in between philosophy of McMahon, that he felt the movie wasn't "with us."

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SUNDAY NEWS UPDATE

We have a major audio show that has gotten a lot of feedback on the site today. Bryan and I will be back tonight with Wrestling Observer radio. We'll be covering Sakura Genesis and doing a heavy mailbag show. You can send questions to mailbag@wrestlingobserver.com although because of all the news of the past week, the preference will be for questions regarding news of the past week.

Regarding last night's show, when talking about Be a Star, Be a Star is actually a WWE organization and not a separate organization, but has a number of different partners that are outside of WWE.

Last night was quite strange with the Anthony Johnson retirement after his loss to Daniel Cormier. The one take I got from it, when it was brought up how well he did at 205 and how he should have never cut to 170 was Johnson saying he had to because he couldn't beat the guys at 185 at that time. His problem seems that he didn't think he could beat people that he actually could beat. But no matter what is said, a Cormier vs. Jon Jones fight is inevitable this year. Cormier did compare himself to Roman Reigns, even though he doesn't get booed anywhere near like Reigns, noting how badly Reigns was booed on Monday and people just do what they want to do and you can't control it.

The Kazuchika Okada vs. Katsuyori Shibata match earlier today was something. I'm not a fan of the head-butt Shibata threw, but other than that, this was very similar to a Misawa vs. Kawada match. The work of Okada this year with Omega, Suzuki, Tiger Mask W and Shibata is on par with any first four plus months of anyone you'll see. The big take on all this is Okada has won every match clean, and in every case, the loser has gotten over more just by being in the match. That's not the easiest thing to do. Naito did a tremendous job of making Juice Robinson a star in one night and it was a simple booking masterpiece given the crowd reactions to Robinson challenging for the title. It's textbook of protecting top guys and having them lose rarely, but when they do, it's not just my turn/your turn but it signals significant importance. Shibata was taken to the hospital on a stretcher, although that is likely storyline.

New Japan has a press conference at 3 a.m. Eastern and midnight Pacific to announce its next two major events on 4/29 and 5/3. Matches that are expected to be split among those two shows are Okada vs. Bad Luck Fale for the IWGP title, Hiromu Takahashi vs. Ricochet for the IWGP jr. title, Hirooki Goto vs. Minoru Suzuki for the Never title, Tetsuya Naito vs Juice Robinson for the IC title, War Machine vs. Tanga Roa & Tama Tonga for the IWGP tag titles and Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi vs. Rocky Romero & Baretta for the IWGP jr. tag title.

UFC had about 700,000 searches over the weekend which is above usual for a PPV that you don't expect to do monster numbers. But it's not necessarily telling because there were 200,000 searches for Pearl Gonzalez based on the idea that her fight was pulled because they wouldn't let her fight due to having implants. That changed quickly and she fought as planned, but lost. UFC was the fifth most searched for term

Prediction results from last night:

  • 3-2 Mike Sawyer, Josh Nason, Steve Juon, Ryan Frederick, John Pollock
  • 2-3 David Bixenspan, Frontrow Brian, Paul Fontaine
  • 1-4 Me and Mike Sempervive

WWE

  • Most of the Raw roster was told that they will be working Tuesday in Boston at the Smackdown tapings. Everyone will be there aside from Brock Lesnar, Bill Goldberg and John Cena this week for the brand switches, most of which are being kept secret, including from the talent.
  • There will be a new Ride Along episode this week with The Miz, Maryse, Alexa Bliss and Carmella.
  • Here is an article remembering back to John Layfield. 

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Urijah Faber was announced as the first member of the UFC Hall of Fame Class of 2017. The ceremony will be on 7/6. There will be two others and one match inducted which will be announced over the next few weeks. 
  • A story on the background of Will Ospreay is here.
  • AAW from last night in Chicago before 710 fans: Besties in the World b Trey Miguel & Stephen Wolf, ACH b Shane Strickland, Trevor Lee b Chuck Taylor, Jake & Dave Crist b Jack Evans & Angelico, Michael Elgin b Matt Riddle, Rey Fenix b John Morrison, Sami Callihan & Abyss b Low Ki & Kongo Kong, Penta 0M b AR Fox.
  • Welterweight wrestling (under 185 pounds) will be featured on an iPPV on 5/7 on FITE TV from Turners Hall in Cleveland. Announced for the tournament include Jonathan Gresham, Sammy Guevara, Cameron Zagami, Tommy Grayson, Justin Parker Grayson, Dylan Bostic, Kevin Bennett, Ace Perry, Rayo, Trey Miguel, Ace Austin, Nate Wings, Jason Gory, Rayn Kidd, Sonny Vice, Shawn Phoenix, Aiden Veil and others.
  • Sickening Pictures of Cleveland, TurnStyle Films and 1984 Productions have put together a horror movie about independent pro wrestling called "Powerbomb," about the concept of fandom taken to an extreme level. It will be working with Absolute Intense Wrestling of Cleveland with Matt Cross, Wes Allen, Pants Pantsley, Gregory Iron, Alex Daniels, Dick Justice and other area wrestlers as stars. The attempt is to raise $10,000 for production.
  • Glory 43 comes to The Theater in Madison Square Garden on 7/14. There is a ticket pre-sale going on right now.
  • APW runs the Cow Palace in San Francisco on 5/6 featuring a Rumble Battle Royal, plus Cody Rhodes vs. Joey Ryan in a cage match, Luster the Legend vs. Adam Thornstowe for the Universal title, Shayna Baszler vs. Raze for the women's title, John Morrison vs. Brian Cage vs. Jeff Cobb, Candice LeRae, Sean Waltman, Gangrel, Tony Jones, Chris Masters, Willie Mack, Almighty Sheik and other are also scheduled. 
  • Jeannie Williams, who was Lady Blossom and Jeannie Clarke in the late 80s and early 90s in World Class and WCW, noted that her autobiography book is now available on kindle. She also noted she will be at the Cauliflower Alley Club banquet and selling copes of the book.
  • The Cauliflower Alley Club presents Vendetta Pro Wrestling on both 4/30 and 5/1 at the Gold Coast Hotel in Las Vegas for live shows.
  • PW Eclipse on 5/20 in Harmony Creek, ONT a the Community Centre.
  • Glacier Ray Lloyd will be teaching classes at the Team Vision Dojo in Orlando starting next week with classes on Tuesday and Saturday mornings as well as private lessons. 
  • The I Believe in Wrestling show on 5/5 at the Team Vision Dojo in Orlando is headlined by Rhett Giddins vs. Josh Hess in a loser leaves town match, as well as qualifying matches for the Florida J Cup, which takes place on 6/2.
  • Lio Rush and Shane Strickland reportedly tore down the house at a Friday night Defy Wrestling show in Seattle. The show sold out with 500 fans: Darby Allin b Mike Santiago, Sexi Mexis over Batboy & Avispa, King Khash b Redman, Shane Strickland b Lio Rush, Eddie Van Glam b Steve West, Angelina Love won three-way over Catie Carny and Su Yung, Terrell Nelson b Carl The Catch, Davey Richards b Jeff Cobb. Penta 0M missed the show due to a family emergency, but he did work last night's show in Chicago for AAW. Richards vs. Penta was scheduled as the main event and Cobb was to face Allin. Richards at the end of the show said he wanted to make Seattle the next hot spot for wrestling and Richards got on his knee like a proposal to Angelina Love (they're already married) and asked her if she would move to Seattle and she said yes. (thanks to Jason Funk)
  • The next Defy show in 5/26 in Seattle at Washington Hall headlined by John Morrison vs. Shane Strickland. Tickets go on sale tomorrow.
  • Combat Zone Wrestling from last night in Voorhees, NJ: Joe Gacy b Lio Rush to keep the CZW title, Greg Excellent b Alexander James, Scorpio Sky b David Starr to keep the United Wrestling TV title, Tony Deppen b Rickey Shane Page, Joey Janela b Nate Webb, Drew Blood b Danny Havoc in a pit of thumbtacks match, Matt Tremont b Jeff Cannonball in a Cataclysm of Barbed wire match, Scarlet & Graves b EYFBO (LAX in Impact), Monsta Mack & Kyle the Beast and Dub Boys to keep the tag titles. Rush vs. Gacy in a no DQ match and Janela vs. Tremont in a cage match will headline the 5/13 show at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees.
  • Stardom from today in Tokyo before 280 fans: Ruaka b Hanan (Hanan's debut match, both girls are 12 years old), Kris Wolf b Azumi, Hettza (from Mexico) & Kaori Yoneyama b Konami & Arisu Nanase, Jessicka Havok b Natsuko Tora, Sumie Sakai & Rosa Negra & Hana Kimura b Kairi Hojo & Mayu Iwatani & Hiromi Mimura, Hiroyo Matsumoto & Jungle Kyona b Io Shirai & Hazuki to keep the Goddesses of Stardom tag titles.
  • Southside Wrestling in the U.K. announced Jack Swagger appearing on 7/1.

Today in Professional Wrestling History (4/9): Jim Crockett Promotions buys Mid South Wrestling

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