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Daily Update: Royal Rumble notes, Killer Kross, AEW

DAILY UPDATE

Latest News:

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We're looking for reports on both New Japan shows this weekend in Tampa and Nashville and reports from the NWA tapings to newstips@wrestlingobserver.com
 
We're also looking for your thoughts on both the Royal Rumble and Worlds Collide, 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
 
ROYAL RUMBLE IS TODAY AT 5 P.M. EASTERN FOR THE PRESHOW FROM MINUTE MAID PARK IN HOUSTON
 
*Men's Rumble - The favorite is Roman Reigns at -200.  Drew McIntyre is +300.   Cain Velasquez at -550 is listed as a strong favorite as the person to eliminate Brock Lesnar.  McIntyre, Reigns, Strowman and Edge are the next favorites.
*Women's Rumble - The favorite is Shayna Baszler at -300 which is fairly strong odds for a Rumble.  Charlotte Flair is +650.
*Bayley is a -230 favorite over Lacey Evans to keep her title.  Evans is +170.  For me, this is actually a good time for a tile change.
*Sheamus is -700 while Shorty G is +450 for their singles match.
*Roman Reigns is -140 and King Corbin is +100 for their match
*Becky Lynch is -475 and Asuka is +325 for their Raw women's title match.
*Bray Wyatt is a -600 favorite over Daniel Bryan at +400 for the Universal title. (thanks to WWEleaks.org)

We haven't seen odds on Humberto Carrillo vs. Andrade for the U.S. title


WON NEWSLETTER: January 20, 2020 Observer Newsletter: Death of Rocky Johnson, AEW extends TV deal

We've got what will be one of the biggest issues of the year, a double issue with a look at the lives and careers of Rocky Johnson, La Parka and Kendo Nagasaki, plus what will be one of the biggest news stories of 2020, the AEW new television extension with TNT through 2023.

The lead story goes into the life and career of Rocky Johnson, the father of Dwayne Johnson and one of pro wrestling's biggest stars of the 1970s. We talk about Johnson's death this past week, his ancestry, the story of him being kicked out of the house at 13, his background in boxing and wrestling along with ties to both Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, as well as where the name Rocky Johnson came from.

We talk about his main skills, his dropkicks, the birth of Dwayne Johnson, the best television match on Roy Shire television of the 70s, his quick rise to main events and championships, and how his run in Los Angeles in 1970 made him into one of the biggest stars in pro wrestling. We cover his years in San Francisco, his landmark program with Jerry Lawler, his headlining in St. Louis, his world title battles, early championships and his brother, as well as how Dwayne Johnson got started in pro wrestling.

The new issue also covers:

Full details of the new television deal between AEW and TNT, including the value, the options, how this relates to the old deal, how this compares to other deals, what we know about the second show, questions this brings up regarding WWE countering, stars that are about to become free agents, Tony Khan talks the new deal, and the ratings in 18-49 and value per episode update on Raw, Smackdown, NXT and AEW and what type of value did TNT get for its money.

The death of La Parka, including his connection with the first La Parka, as well as the uncle of the first La Parka. We look at his career before La Parka, his rise to fame in AAA, his period on top, his biggest feuds, his heel turn and why it flopped, L.A. Park comments on his rival and more on his biggest matches.

The death of Kazuo Sakurada, the Japanese Kendo Nagasaki. We look at his connection with Bret Hart, with comments by Bret Hart, Ross Hart and Fumi Saito. How Dusty Rhodes created Kendo Nagasaki and who it was copied from.  Many of his other wrestling names.  Sakurada's tough guy reputation and his days in sumo prior to pro wrestling.  How he got into pro wrestling, his original relationships with Giant Baba and Genichiro Tenryu, his day in Stampede Wrestling as one of its biggest tag team stars, his wrestling in Japan, Mid South, WCW and the story of he and Bruiser Brody from Puerto Rico. His fights in the ring,and his one MMA fight.

Next WWE show in Saudi Arabia, a new Dwayne Johnson television show, a new Miz television show, notes on the return of Big Show, Paul Levesque and Paige, Bret Hart filming a WWE show, Brock Lesnar honored, WWE trademarks, WWE BT party in London,WWE European ratings, notes on several new WWE signings as well as a major star who has met with Paul Levesque about coming in.  We look at the next MSG show, DVR viewership of WWE programming, plus a look at all the WWE & NXT live events over the past week with results,highlights and business notes.

Update the Royal Rumble and World Collide shows and how tickets are selling for the next round of major WWE events.

The Tessa Blanchard controversy and her winning the Impact title, with comments from many in wrestling and a full rundown of TNA Hard to Kill with match-by-match coverage, star ratings and poll results.

Update the changes at Bellator in structuring, who is now in charge and what may be happening next.

More money being sent into MMA with the PFL, its new ownership and revenue sources and how much new capita they now have.

Coverage of the WWE U.K. Takeover show, with show notes, business notes, match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results of the show.

The 2019 Wrestling Observer Awards ballot.

Regarding the Wednesday numbers, we've got full details, demos that each side won, how every segment did and what match ended up as the difference maker. 

Full coverage of all the WWE and AEW television shows from the past week.

In-depth looks at the 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.


SUNDAY NEWS UPDATE

Just utterly stunned by the death of Kobe Bryant earlier today.  He was one of the most iconic sports figures of this generation.

Bryan and I will be covering the Royal Rumble as well as the latest pro wrestling and MMA news tonight with Wrestling Observer Radio.  You can send questions to tonight's show to mailbag@wrestlingobserver.com

Lots of the NXT women are in Houston presumably because there aren't enough spots with the main roster women for the Battle Royal. We were told most of the key stars are there.  PW Insider reported Mercedes Martinez as one of them. As we've noted all along, Shayna Baszler was expected to be a key part. They also listed Molly Holly, Beth Phoenix and Sasha Banks in the women's Rumble match. 

Tons of rumors regarding tonight. While not confirmed, there is a lot of talk going around regarding Edge as a surprise for tonight's show. That talk has been going on for months. Mike Johnson has reported that Santino Marella, Shane McMahon, Undertaker, Dominick Gutierrez, Ric Flair are all there and teased the idea of Sting being there to set up something for Saudi Arabia on 2/27. It was noted that it looks like they may have changed standards if Sting is cleared since both he and Edge had years back been flagged due to neck issues from ever taking another bump by WWE. No one has said anything about Ronda Rousey but if she's coming back to Mania, this is usually right around the time you do so and they like surprises in the Rumble. 

As far as Google trends for last night, Worlds Collide didn't rank, nor would anyone expect that it would since NXT and AEW rarely do and this had less interest than either.  Among combat sports, the most interest was Bellator which was No. 12 with 100,000 searches. The UFC show was No. 18 with 50,000, which is low, but there wasn't a lot of interest in last night's show even though it drew great.

Killer Kross pulled out of his 2/15 date for NHPW in Perth, Australia and has been pulling out of all dates after the next few weeks. He had recently met with Paul Levesque and has told he'd be fast-tracked. (thanks to Kevin Chiat)

 WWE

  • They will be filming a lot of documentary material this weekend.
  • For the Rumble, the men's and women's Rumble both at -150 are the favorites for best match based on Observer star ratings. Humberto Carrillo vs. Andrade at +100 is next. Everything else is listed as a long shot.  
  • Tommaso Ciampa is doing an event on Valentine's Day to benefit Give Kids the World Village in Kissimmee, FL called Over the Edge.  Ciampa is going to rappel down the 32 story Hyatt Regency to raise money. A lot of other NXT stars are also involved in the benefit.
  • Regarding last night's show when I brought up that Shaun Ryan may have done the videos that appeared, we were told that wasn't the case and that the video work was done in Connecticut with the regular crew led by Jeremy Borash.

UFC

  • Jeremy Stephens vs. Calvin Kattar is being talked about for the 4/18 PPV show in Brooklyn.
  • Paige VanZant is out of her 3/14 match in Brasilia, Brazil with Amanda Ribas due to a minor fracture of the arm and said she would be ready to fight in May.  Ribas will face Randa Markos.

AEW

  • There is a full page color ad for AEW in the official program for next week's Super Bowl. It is right next to the table of contents so it's very prominent. (thanks to Anthony Bergen)
  • Regarding a question on the commentary on Fite TV during the commercial breaks for Dynamite, you do hear commentary during commercial breaks in matches and occasionally, if there's not a match, you'll hear the announcers talking production, talking about what's up next, often you hear Jim Ross bringing up the rest of the show.
  • Jamie Hayter won the SWA title today on the Stardom show in Osaka beating Utami Hayashishita.  This was on The Kagetsu farewell to Stardom show. Kagetsu is promoting her own retirement show in Osaka on 2/24 where she faces Meiko Satomura.
  • A story on Nyla Rose.

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Former WWE head of security Jimmy Noonan has written a book about pro wrestling, a fictional diary of a world champion. The book is called "Getting Color" and it's available on Kindle and Amazon.
  • Combate Americas announced a 2/28 show from Fresno on both Univision and AXS TV as well as on Televisa in Mexico. The show is being pushed as Mexico vs. USA with a main event of Pablo Sabori (9-6)  of Mexico vs. Adrian Guzman (6-1) of the U.S. Given the ratings of Combate on Univision, there is no company that gets more out of lesser known talent and has deals with Univision, a strong U.S. station, and Televisa, the dominant station in Mexico.  Former Bellator champion Zoila Frausto (14-6) faces Karla Benitez (17-15-1-1, 1 no contest) of Spain.
  • Candice Michelle was brought to Australia for Wrestling Go in Sydney as a guest ring announcer for a women's Battle royal. The show was promoted by Albie, an influencer/model who is very popular in Sydney as a fundraiser for the Sydney Assyrian community. Douglas James from Southern California was also on the show. (thanks to Kevin Chiat)
  • KSW's first show of the decade with big a huge show in Lodz, Poland at the Atlas Arena on 3/21. Mariusz Pudzianowksi (13-7), the former world's strongest man and top draw, as well as welterweight champion Roberto Soldic (17-3) are headlining.
  • BCW on Friday night in Melbourne:  Cletus won over Cody Swift and Mick Moretti to win the Battle Express title, Sketch b Carlo Cannon, Aysha b Bixsin, Zhan Wn b Big Cuz-COR, Preston Kindred b Brat Pack to keep tag titles, Mortal b Steph De Lander to keep women's did, Mad Dog NC Gabriel Wolfe for BCW title, Ultimo Dragon b Syd Parker (thanks to Kevin Chiat).
  • AAW from Friday night in Chicago:  Karam b Storm Grayson, Jordan Oliver b Jake Lander, Fred Yehi b ACH, Ace Austin & Clayton Gainz & Stephen Wolf b Nate Webb & The Flip Brothers, AR Fox b Willie Mack, Sami Callihan & Jake Crist b Juventud Guerrera & Aramis, Savannah Stone & Hyan b Jessicka Havok & Kimber Lee, Killer Kross b Ace Perry, Fred Yehi b Killer Kross, Hakim Zane b Paco in a street fight to keep the Heritage title, Mat Fitchett  Davey Vega b Jake Something Curt Stallion to keep the tag titles. People were raving in particular about Juventud Guerrera and ACH (thanks to Case Lowe)
  • Defy on 2/21 in Seattle features Jeff Cobb plus talent from The Crash promotion in Tijuana.
  • Rise announced a free seminar and multiple promotion tryout event on 3/2 and 3/27 in Berwyn, IL. The tryout will be at zero cost to the participants. 
  • Rhino has a seminar on 3/1 for PWE in Oshawa, ONT at the Royal Canadian Legion.
  • Georges St-Pierre was in a commercial for BelairDirect Insurance spoofing the Rocky movies which played last week during the NFL playoffs in Canada (thanks to Grant Zwarych)
  • Northeast Wrestling from last night in Waterbury, CT:  Christian Casanova b Richard Holliday to keep the Facebook title, Keith Youngblood & Chris Battle & RJ Rude & Zane Bernardo b Brett Ryan Gosselin & DL Hurst & Danger Kid & Aiden Aggro, Jake Manning b Daniel Evans, Flip Gordon b Brian Pillman Jr., Wrecking Ball Legursky b Sledge, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa b JT Dunn & Mike Verna, Marty Scurll b Vincent when Matt Taven distracted Vince, Dan Maff b Darby Allin to win the NEW title in a no DQ match, Keith Youngblood won 30 man Rumble (thanks to Nick Mahmood)

Daily Pro Wrestling History: WWE Royal Rumble 2014


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