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Daily Update: WWE Timeline, XFL, Conor McGregor

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WON NEWSLETTER: August 3, 2020 Observer Newsletter: WWE has most profitable quarter ever

The most in-depth look at WWE business is the focal point of this week's double issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

WWE set an all-time record for profits even while having no revenue from arena shows or live event merchandise. We go through the key places the cost savings came from and how reliant the company is now on television money.  We also have notes on investors grilling Vince McMahon about the declining ratings and the firing of Paul Heyman and his responses.

The new issue also covers:

Huge growth in June of the WWE Network, the reasons it happened, and whether or not it's sustainable. We give a realistic reason for the growth as well as a WWE-speak version. We look at the change in marketing strategy and the early returns from this change; We look at where analysts were wrong about profitability, how the stock price rose, and why the rising level wasn't that much because of many analysts long-term concern and why.

The difference in tax rate, current market value of the company, why the big talent cuts played no part in these profits and how the profits should go once that talent that was let go is no longer being paid.

What the company is now talking about doing with all the extra cash on hand because the pandemic greatly helped short-term business.

Where the stock price really should be based on the sure-fire profits through 2024, and why it's still much lower. We also look at the Raw and Smackdown numbers for quarter two, how they compare to last year, and break through  just the numbers to look at the impact of wrestling on the USA Network both last year and this year.

More changes in the WWE Network strategy, updates on WrestleMania in Los Angeles, how soon Vince McMahon thinks before ratings turn around, building new stars, Vince's reason why AEW numbers are holding up better than Raw or Smackdown, safety measures, and even the WWE Hall of Fame.

The health of Antonio Inoki and look at his disease.

The merger of several Japanese companies and what it really means.

We also look at long-term WWE stock analysis.

Update on Rey Mysterio and WWE, WWE hires a new major executive from NBC, Update on people furloughed, departure of Kairi Sane, constant booking plan changes, Randy Orton talks philosophy of wrestling, Lance Storm talks his own status, Xavier Woods wants non-wrestling gig, Kurt Angle talks his retirement, where wrestlnig stands in sports ratings, update on U.K. ratings, strange Bruce Prichard/Nick Aldis story, return of Kyle O'Reilly as well as the most watched shows on the WWE Network.

A feature on Regis Philbin and his long association with pro wrestling. We look at where it started, where it didn't take place, how Philbin started using WWF talent and what segment nearly ended it.

New Japan's Sengoku Lord show with match-by-match coverage, business notes, poll results and star ratigns. We also look at the history of pro wrestling at Jingu Stadium, why New Japan booked a stadium show with such little advance time, the creation of the new KOPW title, and the famous world champion vs world champion match at the stadium in 1994.

This past week's UFC show, the final event of the Abu Dhabi Fight Island series.

The career of Zoltan Boscik, one of the great technical wrestlers of the 60s and 70s and a television regular. Despite being less than 150 pounds and having nothing of an impressive look, Boscik was a two-time British lightweight champion and a regular world title contender.

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. 


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TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE

WWE

  • A new series called WWE Timeline will premiere on the WWE Network on Sunday. Daniel Bryan and The Miz will be featured on the first episode. It will be made available on demand at 10 a.m. Eastern time and will also air on the WWE Network live stream at 8 p.m. Eastern that night.
  • Renee Young, CM Punk, and Booker T are taking part in a watch party on the Fox Sports app, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook starting at 9 p.m. Eastern time for SummerSlam 1992 airing on FS1. They’ll be joined by Finn Balor and Bret Hart.
  • Dany Garcia, who is part of the group that’s purchasing the XFL, spoke to Yahoo Sports about the league: “I was dying to have some ownership, but Vince [McMahon] had it completely under control and so I participated as a fan that opening weekend and following it for the five weeks. I was so engaged with the product that they had put together ... but it was the community that was surrounding these teams and the engagement in that community and the fact that they could connect with these athletes. A lot of times in professional sports, professional leagues, there’s a huge gap between an athlete and your fan. They’re untouchable ... The XFL knew how to close that, and when you begin to close that you create these magic moments where these moments matter, the games mattered, the plays mattered, and the athletes’ wins and losses, they impacted their lives.”
  • Garcia also shared the conversation she had with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson about buying the XFL: “I called DJ up and I said, ‘Dwayne, there’s something really big and really important for us to do. Are you in?’ He was like, ‘what is it?’, because of course he was in. He said, ‘Tell me, we gotta do it’, and I said, ‘Let’s go get the XFL’ and he’s like, ‘Let’s go get the XFL. 100 percent.’ And we started the mad process.”
  • Shane McMahon tweeted about Raw Underground after its debut on last night’s show: “I hope everyone enjoyed #RawUnderground...lots of work to do but looking forward to week two. #WWERaw”
  • Mustafa Ali will be in action on this week’s episode of Main Event.
  • In an interview with TVInsider, Drew McIntyre was asked about how WWE drawing lower ratings affects his mindset: “It doesn’t bring me down. I’ve been through so much. The ups and downs in my career. Some really low points. I don’t let it get to me or distract me from the goal at home. I know a lot of previous champions have let it get to them. They’ve suffered in their personal life as a result and lashed out on social media. I don’t allow it to get to me from that standpoint. Our WWE Universe, our audience is such a big part of the show. We’re all just giving it all we can. I know we’re learning through this period. The audience that has stuck around are getting to learn about the characters on a deeper level. I think because of this when we get back into the arenas, the viewership will grow. I think we will reach new heights to be honest because we’re going to have so many compelling characters. A lot of superstars are maximizing their opportunity in this environment. Right now you can really develop your character on a deeper level through this unique lens. I think when we do get back in the arenas they will attract the attention of fans. I hear what is going on. I see what’s going on social media. Things are gong well there, but they can also be better. Once we get back to normal, I think we’ll reach new heights as a company.”
  • WWE's YouTube channel uploaded Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks for the Raw Women's Championship from SummerSlam 2017, Rey Mysterio vs. Brock Lesnar from the December 11, 2003 episode of SmackDown, and Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage vs. Andre the Giant & The Million Dollar Man from SummerSlam 1988.

Other Wrestling

  • AEW posted on Twitter yesterday regarding the release of their Unrivaled action figures: “We’ve been counting the days for our new AEW Unrivaled action figures to arrive at Walmart. While we’re disappointed about the delay today, we understand the daunting logistics during these times and appreciate the efforts of the frontline retail team. The belts and rings are in-store now, and Walmart’s store management team has confirmed the action figures will be rolling in throughout the week. We agree with Jeremy at Jazwares that there are so many heroes at retail right now. We have the greatest fans in the world, we thank you for your patience and we hope you love the action figures as much as we do!”
  • Today is Dean Malenko’s 60th birthday and Franke Kazarian’s 43rd birthday.

MMA

  • Dana White confirmed that Conor McGregor won’t fight again in 2020: “He is retired. Conor McGregor is not fighting, he is retired. I have no plan. I’m in the war room right now and we have fights laid out to November 7 and Conor McGregor is not on any of them. This year, he is retired. He doesn’t have a fight this year, and he won’t have a fight this year. Conor McGregor will not fight in 2020. I’m not saying he won’t fight in 2021, but I’m telling you we don’t have a fight planned for him in 2021, but I guarantee he will not fight in 2020. Conor McGregor is retired.”
  • White said the UFC isn’t considering stripping Jon Jones of the light heavyweight title as of now.
  • Khabib Nurmagomedov wrote about his upcoming fight against Justin Gaethje at UFC 254: “Justin is a very nice guy and good opponent for me, but when octagon close he have to be ready not only boxing match, I’m not Dustin [Poirier] or Tony [Ferguson]. I will take him to the deepest ocean and drown him.”
  • Tyron Woodley thinks facing Colby Covington will be the biggest fight of his career: “This is a big fight for me. This is probably the biggest fight of my career, to be honest, because the situation – it’s like bragging rights. He’s talked all this (expletive), but in my mind, he really knows what time it is. But now that he has talked that much (expletive), now he’s got to try to live up to it. He’s got to try to beat me. He’s been calling me out for three, four years, damn near. So now it’s to the point where it’s personal and the other fights didn’t really mean as much. I feel like Usman and Gilbert are kind of goofy, and I really didn’t feel no animosity towards them. But I feel that with Colby. Some of the other guys, I felt the urgency because of how good they were. Carlos Condit and Robbie Lawler, those guys are the OGs. ‘The Natural Born Killer,’ ‘Ruthless,’ ‘Gorilla,’ all these different monstrous fighters that I got to bring it to them because they sure as (expletive) are going to bring it to me. I think Colby’s going to bring me that, that first time I get the opponent at the press conference, we’re probably just going to break the internet, to be honest.”

Daily Pro Wrestling History: Lex Luger wins WCW title from Hollywood Hogan


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