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WON NEWSLETTER: September 28, 2020 Observer Newsletter: Death of Road Warrior Animal

A look at the Road Warriors, the biggest drawing tag team in pro wrestling history, is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. We talk about the birth of the team, the background of Joe Laurinaitis, the early days of Hawk, Animal and Rick Rude in pro wrestling, the role of Ole Anderson and Eddy Sharkey in the story, why the Road Warriors did and didn't work certain territories, why they rarely worked with Bruiser Brody, why they ended up in AWA, JCP, and how they wound up with WWE. We also look at their departure from WWE, Animal leaving wrestling, and their return.

Also in this issue:

COVID in WWE, AEW and CMLL, changes that were made, why AEW and WWE had a breakout in the same week, how AEW is changing its procedures, the belief of how this all started and much more.

G-1 Climax tournament, with an overview of the first shows, this week's lineups, standings, poll results, star ratings and more covering all the first week shows.

Sports news that affects WWE's next television deal as well as shakeups at NBCU that also do.  We look at a new WWE marketing idea, Stephanie McMahon's stock sale, why WWE stock fell, Undertaker talks the end of his documentary, changes at NXT UK, What NXT UK talent were told at meeting this week, NXT UK Heritage Cup tournament, former WWE star talked about returning, more on the Retribution storyline, who is doing the rules and the story behind the finish of the Raw match.  We also have international ratings notes, WWE up for awards, new WWE marketing ventures, Roman Reigns talks changes in his presentation, Dwayne Johnson talks, why Kane is in the news again, WWE market value as well as a look at the most-watched shows on the WWE Network.

Saturday's UFC show and more thoughts on Colby Covington and the line between playing bad guy wrestler and being offensive is.

WWE's next two major shows with the cards and backgrounds.

Dragon Gate Dangerous Gate show from this past week.

Ratings of all the major shows, the key demos and quarters for AEW and WWE, what happened head-to-head and what can be learned from them.

Results of all the major pro wrestling events around the world over the past week. 

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.

For the rest of the world, rates are $18 for 4, $48.50 for 12, $93 for 24, $155 for 40 and $201.50 for 52.

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.


Bryan and I will be back tonight talking Raw and the rest of the latest news with Wrestling Observer Radio. You can send questions to the show to mailbag@wrestlingobserver.com

Raw tonight will have competition of both the Kansas City Chiefs vs Baltimore Ravens on ESPN, which is expected to be the biggest Monday night game of the season, plus the Tampa Bay Lightning could clinch the Stanley Cup tonight against the Dallas Stars as they are up 3-2.  Many believe tonight's Raw will be the lowest rated and least-watched episode in the history of the show and WWE is bringing back Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Big Show and Christian tonight to avert that.  The show opens with them, plus Drew McIntyre, and also features Asuka vs Zelina Vega in a rematch for the women's title.  If it sets a low, while not good, it's not something to panic over because the reasons are legit. If it doesn't set an all-time low, it would be because of the bump coming off last night's show.

I have a new book just released working with Inside the Ropes magazine, the Wrestling Observer 1997 Yearbook. We look in depth with original coverage of one of the most important years in wrestling history, with the blow-by-blow of the biggest stories including the Monday Night Wars weekly, the 1997 Survivor Series with Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels and the most detailed coverage of every aspect of that story, the build to Hogan vs. Sting, the rise of Steve Austin and DX, as well as news from every major promotion all over the world and coverage of every major show.  It's an enormous book.  Digital copies are available right now.  Physical copies hardback and paperback will also be available.  Because the book is being printed out of the U.K., for those in North America, you will be able to save on shipping charges in a few days ordering through amazon but it won't be available there until later in the week. For digital copies or U.K. physical books you can check here.

WWE Clash of Champions was No. 17 on the Google search list yesterday with 200,000. That would indicate interest in the show was at the same level of usual B shows. We also have polls for the weekend for Clash, UFC 253 and both Sunday and Tuesday's New Japan G-1 shows, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match for each show to dave@wrestlingobserver.com

G-1 airs at 5:30 a.m. Eastern on New Japan World tomorrow morning from Korakuen Hall with this lineup:

  • Gabriel Kidd vs. Yuya  Uemura
  • Sanada (0-2) vs. Yoshi-Hashi (0-2)
  • KENTA (1-1) vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (1-1)
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi (0-2) vs. Juice Robinson (2-0)
  • Evil (1-1) vs. Toru Yano (2-0)
  • Hirooki Goto (1-1) vs. Tetsuya Naito (2-0) 



  • The first-ever match with Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage took place on this date 35 years ago at the Spectrum in Philadelphia before a sellout of 19,710 fans with Hogan winning in 11:17.
  • Smackdown on Friday will go head-to-head with both baseball playoffs and the NBA final series game two. None of the finals are on Mondays so that benefits Raw.  In the past, Raw has done some of its lowest numbers ever against the NBA finals.
  • There will be a WWE 24 show on Drew McIntyre that debuts Sunday after NXT Takeover.


  • Renato Moicano vs. Rafael Fiziev has been added to an 11/28 show.
  • Sodiq Yussuf is out of his scheduled 10/10 fight with Edson Barboza. Barboza will now face Makwan Amirkhani.


  • The 9/16 episode of Dynamite averaged 1.59 viewers watching per home viewing. That was not only the largest number in the history of the show, but the largest of any sports event on television for that week.  It is also larger than for any pro wrestling television show in a long time. Given the competition this coming Wednesday, it is unlikely that number will even  be approached this week..
  • AEW & NXT on Wednesday will face game one of the Lakers vs. Heat NBA playoffs, a New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians wild card baseball playoff game, and if necessary, the seventh game of the Stanley Cup finals.
  • Dark for Tuesday:
    • Chuck Taylor & Trent vs. M'Badu & BShop King
    • Tay Conti vs. Red Velvet
    • Billy & Austin Gunn vs. Cezar Bononi & Shawn Dean
    • Penelope Ford vs. Alex Gracia
    • Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy vs. Alan Angels & Preston Vance of the Dark Order 5 & 10
    • Dustin Rhodes & QT Marshall vs. Alex Reynolds & John Silver
    • Nyla Rose vs. Rache Chanel
    • Brian Pillman Jr. & Griff Garrison vs. Luther & Serptentico
    • Scorpio Sky & Frankie Kazarian vs. Ryzin & Ray Rosas 


  • IWA East Coast on 10/10 has the third annual Woody Numbers Memorial show at the Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, WV, featuring Juventud Guerrera, Sam Adonis, Jake Crist, Ray Lyn, Chance Prophet and more.  The show honors the memory of Numbers, who worked for the company and passed away three years ago.
  • A story on Killer Mal Kirk, who died in the ring decades ago in England which ended up a major story at the time because he was a big star, and it came out how little money he was making, that wrestling was fake and Big Daddy, who was a regular opponent of his and who was in the ring with him, got tremendous heat (not deserved regarding the death, but others complained he took no time off) at the time for it.  Kirk was also a regular for a time with Roy Shire's promotion in Northern California. (thanks to Mike Kuzmuk)
  • A GoFundMe for Maine referee Joey Gleitz’s family.
  • Daily Pro Wrestling History: AWA SuperClash 1985