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Daily Update: Payback, House of Horrors, Champion Carnival

THE ROUND-UP

The Latest from the F4W Staff

NEWS

AUDIO

We're looking for your thoughts on both today's WWE Payback and Friday's New Japan show in Beppu, 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.

WWE PAYBACK FROM SAN JOSE AT 7:15 P.M. EASTERN TIME ON WWE NETWORK

  • Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman - This will be Reigns' first appearance on a TV broadcast since the angle show a few weeks ago, although he did a website interview last Monday. The key here is that Strowman was the guy being groomed for the next title shot at Brock Lesnar, so logically he should win. That doesn't mean he will in every case because WWE can do anything, but Strowman is a 55-to-1 favorite as of this writing. These two tore the house down in their first meeting so it should be a good match.
  • Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt in a non-title House of Horrors match - This will be a combination taped match that has already taken place and it's expected that it ends up in the arena and finishes there. Essentially it's an on site movie fight scene which is very different from a usual pro wrestling match. Wyatt is a ridiculous 135-to-1 favorite right now.
  • Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe - On paper this is one of the two matches that looks like it could be a killer. Joe hasn't been put in the position to have a great PPV match in WWE since the Sami Zayn match was shorter and designed to get him over more than have the back-and-forth great bout style. Rollins is one of the best big match performers in the company. Rollins right now a 75-to-1 favorite.
  • Matt & Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus & Cesaro for the tag team titles - This also should be good. The Hardys return is still a novelty to where the crowd is going to be big into this match. Sheamus & Cesaro are good opponents, even if this is just a babyface match. It's too early to beat the Hardys and the odds of 500-to-1 are the longest odds in the history of WWE oddsmaking.
  • Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho for the U.S. title - Another match which looks good on paper. The result may be a big surprise since Jericho is leaving for touring with Fozzy soon and his last advertised match for a while is tomorrow night in Sacramento. If they do a title change, I'd expect him on Smackdown on Tuesday in a rematch. Given that Jericho is now a 92-to-1 favorite it looks like a win, whether a DQ, count out or title change for Jericho. 
  • Neville vs. Austin Aries for the cruiserweight title - This is another match that could steal the show. From a pure technical standpoint, they had the best match at Mania, but given it was so early in the afternoon, it didn't get the crowd response it should have. Tonight they should have the chance to tear the house down. Neville is a 92-to-1 favorite to retain the title.
  • Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss for the women's title - From a timing standpoint, I see nothing wrong with Bliss winning the title now. Bayley had a run. It's a title that is going to change hands often and when Bliss came over it was clear she was being groomed for it. I don't think this is the night, given it's Bayley's first truly major match on the main roster in San Jose. If you've been following this, it appears Vince McMahon changed his mind on the finish in the last 24 hours with Bliss right now a 45-to-1 favorite.
  • Miz TV with Finn Balor (pre-show) - If there is time for another main show match, it would probably Miz, Balor or Dean Ambrose in some form. 
  • Big Cass & Enzo Amore vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (pre-show) - Enzo & Cass are great at opening the show. Enzo & Cass are right now 75-to-1 favorites.

        When you look at the show on paper, most of it should be strong. It has the chance to be one of the better B shows with the only main show question mark really being how the House of Horrors thing gets over, because on paper, every match looks good. 

Raw will be Monday night in Sacramento. There will also be a Smackdown house show on Monday night in Stockton.

Smackdown and 205 Live take place on Tuesday in Fresno.

NEW JAPAN WRESTLING DONTAKU FROM THE FUKUOKA INTERNATIONAL CENTER ARENA ON WEDNESDAY MORNING AT 3:40 A.M. EASTERN TIME ON NEW JAPAN WORLD

  • Hirai Kawato & Yoshitatsu vs. Katsuya Kitamura & Tomoyuki Oka
  • Will Ospreay & Yoshi-Hashi vs. Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens
  • Tiger Mask W (Kota Ibushi) & Tiger Mask & Togi Makabe vs. Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi & Jushin Liger
  • Hirooki Goto & Toru Yano & Jado & Rocky Romero & Baretta vs Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Desperado & Taichi & Taka Michinoku
  • Cody Rhodes vs. David Finlay
  • Juice Robinson & Kushida vs. Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi
  • War Machine vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima vs. Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa for IWGP tag team titles
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi & Ricochet & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Seiya Sanada & Evil & Bushi for Never six man titles
  • Tomohiro Ishii vs. Kenny Omega
  • Kazuchika Okada vs Bad Luck Fale for IWGP heavyweight title

The Raw crew opens the European tour on Wednesday in Rome, Italy.


FIGURE FOUR WEEKLY: 4/24/2017: Jinder Mahal's surprising WWE title shot 

WWE's booking rarely ever manages to be quite as surprising as what happened on last week's SmackDown. Without any real build or any prior semblance of an ascent to the top of the card, Jinder Mahal became the number one contender for the WWE Championship by winning a six-pack challenge. It shouldn't have been as surprising as it was given the wrestlers involved in that match, but it was only a week prior that Mahal was introduced to the SmackDown roster in the Superstar Shakeup by losing to Mojo Rawley and once again getting shown up by New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.

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WRESTLING OBSERVER NEWSLETTER: May 1, 2017: Vince McMahon movie in development, Mauro Ranallo/WWE situation, more

The idea of a Vince McMahon movie is actually going to happen and we've got some early details on it as the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter; an update on the situation involving WWE and Mauro Ranallo, a look at the next two WWE PPV shows, a guy who in ten months went from an opening round loser on Ultimate Fighter to a viable title contender, a look at the Hall of Fame career of Maurice Smith and the latest from PWG.

Find out who was behind the McMahon movie and how that has changed, as well as the Ranallo situation, what happened and the repercussions and the overall situation, and look at the lineups for the next two WWE PPV shows and the main angles.

Coverage of the weekend UFC show inside.

Check out Dwayne Johnson movie news, new characters being pushed in WWE and why, interesting business dichotomy involving the Indian market, WWE looking for new stars from India, Mick Foley surgery news, A.J. Styles talks his attempting to wrestle Shawn Michaels, Shaquille O'Neal talks why his match with Big Show never happened, Injury updates, wedding update with Dean Ambrose and Renee Young, WWE wrestler leaves for Japan, new gimmicks to existing wrestlers, Shane McMahon and UFC story, WWE with a Japanese icon.

There is more on WWE releases, WWE booking, WWE stock market value, most watched shows on WWE Network, and highlights of all the major TV shows and of the arena matches over the past week.

Look at the career of Maurice Smith, what makes it noteworthy, how he molded MMA, kickboxing and pro wrestling into a long career and one of the most landmark matches in UFC history as well as twice headlining stadium shows as a pro wrestler and holding a kickboxing world title for nearly a decade.

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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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WON BACK ISSUE: April 3, 2000: Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo in charge of WCW, a look back at past Wrestlemanias, more 

After seemingly swimming in an ocean of rapidly declining numbers across the board, World Championship Wrestling went to a strange pair of people as its life preservers--Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo. In a decision that had been in the works for about one month according to company sources, Brad Siegel completed the circular back-stabbing game which wound up in, not almost, but actually a pro wrestling like tag team, of the two people, former enemies, with seemingly nothing in common, bound together by their hatred for common enemies.

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SUNDAY NEWS UPDATE

Bryan and I will be back tonight covering both Payback and Friday's New Japan show as well as the rest of the major weekend news. You can send e-mail questions to the show to mailbag@wrestlingobserver.com.

At least part of the The House of Horrors match was already taped. The match is expected to be the taped footage done already mixed in with a live finish in the arena. They taped fight scenes in different rooms of the House of Horrors, and then end up fighting in the kitchen. Orton at one point is trapped in the house and Wyatt leaves for the arena. 

There is horrible news regarding Wayne VanDyke, a Florida wrestler known as Richard Delicious. He did a match last night for Ronin Pro and out of nowhere, just collapsed. His body was frozen (it has since been unfrozen) and he was put in a medically induced coma. According to his trainer, Chasyn Rance, he suffered three heart attacks and is in critical condition. According to his trainer, the situation sounds very serious. According to Lori VanDyke, his sister, on Facebook, they put him in a medically induced coma to give his heart and brain a rest. During the match he told his partner that he was sick and needed to tag out. When he tried to go through the ropes, he had his first heart attack. They started CPR and got him into an ambulance. His second hart attack was in the ambulance and the third heart attack was at the hospital. He also has broken ribs from the CPR, which punctured his lung and he's taking on fluid in the lungs. We won't have a good idea of his brain functions until they take him out of the coma which would be expected to be late Wednesday afternoon.

IPW UK yesterday posted that Sean Waltman was scheduled to arrive at 2 p.m. yesterday in the U.K., and then, 12 hours later went public and said that nobody has been able to contact him and they hope he's safe. Afterbuzz TV's Kevin Undergaro tweeted an update: Everyone askin about r @TheTomorrowShow cohost & most imp r friend @TheRealXPac. We spoke. He'a dealing w-issues but IS ok. He'll speak soon."

Shuji Ishikawa won the Champion Carnival tournament beating Joe Doering in the finals in Fukuoka earlier today. 

WWE

  • Some more stuff on Bruno Sammartino announcing the Steelers fifth round draft choice is here.
  • Another Sammartino story in local media is here. (thanks to Chris Cruise)
  • Today's is the 40th anniversary of the Sammartino final WWWF title loss to Superstar Billy Graham in Baltimore.
  • "The Fate of the Furious" is No. 1 for the third straight week with a projected gross of $19.39 million. That streak will end next week since Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is likely to debut to a gigantic number.
  • Dwayne Johnson said on Instagram that he'll be working with Disneyland in California to revamp the Jungle Cruise ride.
  • The WWE Network will be introducing a Batista collection this week to coincide with that movie release.
  • The XFL 30 for 30 documentary airs in the UK on BT Spots 2 on Tuesday night at 10:15 p.m. (thanks to Matthew Singh-Dosanjh)
  • A story on developmental wrestler Hugo Knox is here. (thanks to Lee Wall)
  • Bayley was on KNBR, the leading sports station in San Francisco:
    • On her Wrestlemania experience: “I still can’t really wrap my mind around it…Mind blowing and being on the same show as the Hardy Boys, that’s when it really hit me, and the little kid in me was really freaking out, and wanted to cry.”
    • On Defending her title in her hometown at Payback: “I’m really excited because I have watched WWE live events and raw and Smackdown inside the arena where we are wrestling on Sunday. I kind of just grew up there, and it’s going to be so cool to be able to walk down the ramp and now have my family and friends watch me as the champion.”
    • On the history she and Sasha Banks made in NXT: “We were both really emotional during all of it. That Brooklyn match won match of the year actually for NXT, and it was voted on by the fans so that was a huge accomplishment, and we still get questions about that match…The other day we even said it’s so crazy that we had that match, and that it had such an impact that years from now we can look back and just be proud of that one match if not anything else.” 

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Shelton Benjamin, in what may have been his first match back, was in a Rumble at the VIP Wrestling show in Arlington TX last night.
  • TNA's Jessie Godderz was on the Red Carpet last night at the Daytime Emmy Awards representing his show "Tainted Dreams" on Amazon.TV. The event took place a the Pasadena, CA Convention Center. Tainted Dreams, a show he's on, got five nominations.
  • Hulk Hogan was at an autograph signing in City of Industry, CA yesterday at Frank & Sons and said that he would love to join the Bullet Club.     
  • Dan Hardy talks to the BBC about his UFC and martial arts days.
  • There will be a Legends of the Ring convention on 6/10 in Monroe, NJ with Edge, Alberto El Patron, Jake Roberts, Gail Kim Rosa Mendes, Afa & Sika, Manny Fernandez, Tony Atlas, Penta 0M, Taya, Teddy Long, Lanny Poffo, Cheerleader Melissa, Beth Phoenix, Jack Swagger, Boogyeman, Jerry Lawler, Nidia, Rockin Robin, Ivan Putski, Tony Schiavone, Ron Garvin and many others.
  • Defy Wrestling is hosting a screening of John Morrrison's movie "Boone: The Bounty Hunter" on 5/25 at the Central Cinema in Seattle. Morrison will then do a Q&A after the show.  Morrison vs. Shane Strickland will then headlined a show for the promotion on 5/26 at Washington Hall in Seattle. There are only a few tickets left as that promotion is now doing regular sellout business.
  • James Ward noted that even though April 27 is the anniversary of Tommy Rich beating Harley Race to win the NWA title, which was actually gigantic when it happened because NWA title changes were so rare, these days the Rich & Austin Idol & Paul Heyman angle with Jerry Lawler in Memphis six years later is far more remembered.  As Scott Bowden wrote, "One minute you're the NWA world heavyweight champion, six years later you're under a ring with a case or beer and a bucker of fried chicken, waiting to do a run-in." 
  • Battlarts on 5/6 in Scarborough, ONT at the Saint John Paul II Gym.
  • A show called CholoMania takes place on 5/27 in Tijuana at the Auditorio with L.A. Park & Mistico & Atlantis vs. Pierroth & Rush & La Mascara and Negro Casas & Valiente & Diamante Azul vs. Mephisto & Ephesto & Luciferno.
  • The end of the CWE tour on Friday night in Moosomin, SASK: Shane Sabre b Kute Kody, Tony Kozina b K-Dos, Omar Amir b Tasty Travis, Ray Gordon b Ethan Price, Jacob Creed & Bobby Collins b Alex Anthony & Garrison Creed, Phil Atlas b A.J. Sanchez.
  • Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling from last night in Millstadt, IL before 400 fans: Ax b Jimmy D, Curtis Wylde b Bobby D, Miss Monica b Wyldchyld, Karim b Dan Lewis, Sean Vincent & Clint Poe b Superstar Steve Fender & Waco, Moondog Rover b Dave Vaughn-DQ, Flash Flanagan b Mark Houston-DQ, Ken Kasa & Gary Jackson b Troll & Chris Hargas. (thanks to Larry Matysik and Patrick Brandmeyer)
  • NWF KC did its best crowd to date last night with 650 fans. The promotion ran matches at the Kansas City Comic Con which saw Ric Flair there and he had longer lines than any other celebrity. They also passed out free passes at Comic Con to lead to the record turnout: Royal Bloods b Howletts in a tornado match, Flex Zebra b Gil Rogers, Niles Plonk & Ken Dharma b Union, Red Cloud b Maverick, Todd Letterman b Blaine Meeks, Dak Draper b Hans Ruger to keep the Kansas City title, Jeremy Wyatt & Michael Stryder b Bob Holly & Thor Theirot. (thanks to Brian Hoops)
  • Bodyslam Pro Wrestling from Odense, Denmark yesterday: Swedish Elite b Rayo Blanco and Vcino, Kristian Thorn b Leeloo, Chuck Cyrus b Emertius-DQ, Vasyl b Zach White, Michael Fynne b Rick Dominick and Tank to win their Bodyslam title. (thanks to Kristian Nielsen)

Today in Professional Wrestling History (4/30): The Rock wins WWF title

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