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Daily Update: SmackDown, Jon Jones, UFC 249


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WON NEWSLETTER: March 30, 2020 Observer Newsletter: WrestleMania continues to change

An update on pro wrestling around the world, where almost everything is canceled, update on WrestleMania, and how every company is handling the situation is the lead story in this week's issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

Why WWE had to tape WrestleMania in advance, update on the card, update on the changes, some of the early changes, what matches were changed from last week and why, many different matches that were talked about as recently as a week ago, PPV price, NXT big matches and the NXT UK next major show.

The new issue also covers: 

The massive stock sale of Vince McMahon, the questions regarding why he would do it, how much of the company he still owns, the television deal with ESPN, and how it compares with airing of big fights from the UFC and boxing on ESPN this week.  We also look at the latest WWE Network free offer and what it entails, how long AEW will be going without fans at shows, why the original plans for last week had to be scrapped, who is iced for now from appearing on AEW TV, how hard it has been to put shows together ad new dates.

Dana White's comments regarding UFC 249, what he said about testing and what the doctors have said about doing shows right now.  We also look at White's plans to make up for missed shows, Impact canceling its PPV, the Japanese sports scene, the Governor of Tokyo talks shutting down the city, the difference in stats between Tokyo and New York, and what Korakuen Hall management has decided.

Shows in Japan this past week and decisions made by companies for this coming week.  We look in particular at how New Japan is handling this as compared with other companies.  We look at problems for Americans getting to Japan, when the next possible New Japan show is and what content New Japan has been producing.

The arrest of Jon Jones this past week, details of the arrest and a look back at Jones' arrests and drug test failures.

The best of the 10s, who were the Best of the Decade as far as the Thesz/Flair Award, MMA Most Valuable, Most Outstanding Wrestler of Fighter, Biggest Box Office Draw, Best Tag Team, Best on Interviews, Most Charismatic, Best Technical, Best Brawler, Best Flyer, Best Promotion, Who had the best matches over the past decade, Best Non-Wrestler and Best Television announcer.

Daniel Bryan also talks his future after his current contract expires, WWE stars make marketing donations, WWE renews major TV deal, U.K. ratings for WWE and AEW, how WWE contract work and how that pressures some wrestlers into signing new deals, behind what Braun Strowman said that caused so much controversy, key exec stock sales, Arn Anderson on what Vince McMahon wanted said about Sting, new WWE movie coming to Netflix, Injury updates, and most-watched shows of the past week on the WWE Network.

A feature on the death of Branko Cikatic, the first K-1 champion and a pioneer on major MMA shows in Japan.  We look at his gigantic career, what star was made in Japan by beating him, the first K-1 World Grand Prix and early Pride shows.

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.

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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.

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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.



  • Roman Reigns and The Miz being out of WrestleMania 36 wasn’t addressed on last night’s SmackDown. WWE continued to promote Goldberg vs. Reigns for WrestleMania, including re-airing Reigns vs. Triple H from WrestleMania 32 and Triple H being interviewed about how he’s faced both Reigns and Goldberg in the past. A face-to-face segment with Goldberg and Reigns was advertised for next Friday’s go-home episode of SmackDown. That episode will also feature John Cena responding to Bray Wyatt’s challenge for a Firefly Fun House match at WrestleMania. After The Miz & John Morrison interfered in The New Day and The Usos’ number one contender’s match last night, Michael Cole announced that Miz & Morrison will defend their SmackDown Tag Team titles against The New Day and The Usos in a triple threat ladder match at WrestleMania.
  • Uncensored versions of Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions episodes will be made available on the WWE Network on Tuesday.
  • ESPN’s Ariel Helwani interviewed Becky Lynch about WrestleMania 36.
  • Dominik Dijakovic is selling personalized 8x10s and video shoutout combos with all proceeds going to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s COVID-19 response fund. 
  • WWE Shop released T-shirts for Brock Lesnar vs. Drew McIntyre, The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles, Becky Lynch vs. Shayna Baszler, John Cena vs. The Fiend, Edge vs. Randy Orton, and Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 36.
  • WWE uploaded a Playlist video of every WrestleMania intro ever.
  • WWE wrestlers picked their WWE Mount Rushmore.
  • WWE’s YouTube channel added John Cena vs. Edge from Backlash 2009, Ronda Rousey & Kurt Angle vs. Stephanie McMahon & Triple H from WrestleMania 34, The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar from WrestleMania 30, and the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal from WrestleMania 32.

Other Wrestling


  • Police bodycam video of Jon Jones’ arrest from Thursday has been released. After being pulled over, Jones admitted that he had a drink of vodka earlier in the day. Jones said when asked why he was driving: “I got stir crazy. I got pulled over just being nice to the homeless people. I literally just got stir crazy. I just wanted to have a drive. This is my first drive in two weeks. And I saw these homeless guys. I was being nice to them, having conversation with them, treating them like humans.” During the field sobriety tests, Jones mentions having attention deficit disorder, bad short-term memory, and how he gets punched in the head for a living.
  • Dana White says he has four or five locations for UFC 249: “I’m gonna try and pull off Tony vs. Khabib on April 18 and try to get some normalcy back in this country. Every day that I work on this thing, I get another curve ball thrown at me. Every time we plan something, it falls apart -- I have to re-do it, re-do it. I have four or five locations right now and we’re getting this deal done. And then we’re going to figure out who we can get in, who we can’t, what we can do and we’re going to build a card around it.”
  • On his podcast, Joe Rogan said he won’t be commentating at UFC 249.
  • Ali Abdelaziz, who manages Khabib Nurmagomedov, spoke about the UFC continuing with fights: “These guys want to fight. These guys have been in camp for two or three months. I’ve got guys fighting April 18 and April 11 and March 28. Marvin Vettori f*cking traveled to London and came back and didn’t fight. Listen, I’m writing checks to some of these guys and it’s fine. Because these guys have been paying my bills for the last 10 years so if I have to help pay their bills, I don’t care. I’m going to do it. But I’m telling you, the UFC is giving opportunities for the fighters to make money.”
  • Abdelaziz also that that “Dana White reached out to me and said ‘if any of your fighters need money to support their families, reach out to me, and they don’t have to fight if they don’t want to. For me, that means a lot. I want to go ahead and say that because that’s the truth. He didn’t have to say that. He’s telling me if any of my fighters need money, reach out to him. I haven’t yet but I’m sure I will.”

Daily Pro Wrestling History: WWE WrestleMania XXVI