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Daily Update: Akebono, Fate of the Furious, NXT farewells

THE ROUND-UP

The Latest from the F4W Staff

NEWS/REPORTS

AUDIO

We're looking for reports from WWE Raw in Champaign, IL, WWE Smackdown in Springfield, MO, and NXT in Concord, NC and Gainesville, FL to newstips@wrestlingobserver.com

WWE Raw is in Cincinnati and Smackdown is in Gape Girardeau, MO.

Raw will be Monday night from Columbus, OH, while there is a Monday night Smackdown house show in Bowling Green, KY.

Smackdown and 205 Live take place on Tuesday in Louisville, KY.

There will be four weeks of NXT taped on Wednesday at Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL.


FIGURE FOUR WEEKLY: 4/10/2017: ESPN's complicated relationship with WWE

As Mauro Ranallo's absence from the SmackDown broadcast booth nears a month and may become permanent, concerns about the legitimacy of ESPN's coverage of WWE have again been raised. Singling out ESPN from a group of mainstream media outlets that provide similarly toothless reporting probably isn't entirely fair, but the prominence of ESPN and their expanding relationship with WWE has made it so they will be criticized every time they fail to give a story that is critical of WWE the attention that it deserves.

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WRESTLING OBSERVER NEWSLETTER: April 17, 2017: WWE Superstar Shakeup, Mauro Ranallo situation, more

A look at the fallout of the WWE "Superstar shakeup" is the lead story in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer. Have a look at the moves, chart the talent on Raw, Smackdown and 205 Live, look at the next few PPVs and different programs, and identify weaknesses on each side as well as look at possible main event programs.

Also look at the death of Joaquin Roldan, the head of one of the largest pro wrestling companies in the world, and his role within AAA and the challenges that face AAA going forward.

Examine the Mauro Ranallo situation with his leaving WWE, plus look at how the situation was and has changed. There were comments from people regarding John Layfield, the TV change in Layfield, the crowd reaction in Boston, the story of Justin Roberts and his passport being stolen and ESPN coverage of WWE.

There is a backstage story in All Japan from 1994, while also talking about Katsuyori Shibata and his injury, and the nature of hard hitting Japanese matches and what the human body can take.

Full coverage of the Sakura Genesis show and the Okada vs. Shibata match, plus look at the big picture direction New Japan seems to be going, the lineups for the next series of big shows as well as match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results, all inside.

The Renee Young/Dean Ambrose wedding, Vince & Linda McMahon's assets, WrestleMania merchandise numbers, Kane running for mayor and his thoughts, why they did the Stephanie McMahon injury angle, Update on Kofi Kingston, Kurt Angle admits he was foolish in thinking about MMA, Backstage at Mania, Jim Ross' deal, WWE makes deal with streaming service, NFL story that has WWE implications, plus notes on the WWE house show schedule for the next year, Kevin Owens DVD, most popular network shows and coverage of all the company's events this past week, all inside this issue of the Wrestling Observer.

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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: March 20, 2000: WWF to leave USA network, ECW Living Dangerously review, more

The landscape of American pro wrestling may undergo major changes within the next month. Starting off, WWF officially gave notice to the USA Network on 3/1 that it is cancelling its contract with them effective in September when the new TV season starts. This isn't necessarily as big as it sounds, but most feel it is bigger. The WWF's deal for Raw, Livewire and Superstars expired in September 2001, but WWF has the right to get out of the deal in September 2000 by giving the network six months notice and USA Network has the right to match any offer.

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SUNDAY NEWS UPDATE

We want to wish everyone a Happy Easter.

There is another serious situation in Japan, as Akebono was rushed to the hospital after a show in Fukuoka. The last word we had is that he was in a medically induced coma. He was expected to be hospitalized for at least ten days. He was hospitalized after a match on Tuesday night in Omuta working for DDT.

The Fate of the Furious is currently estimated at grossing $100,182,000 in the U.S. this weekend which is actually at the lower end of predictions. However, the movie is a gigantic hit worldwide, doing $532,500,000 in its opening weekend, which is the biggest worldwide open in history. For the U.S., it's only the 42nd best opening weekend in history.   

Shelton Benjamin is back after shoulder surgery and is booked on a tour of Chile.

The first Super J Cup took place 23 years ago today. Chris Benoit beat Great Sasuke in the finals before a sellout of 11,500 fans at Sumo Hall in Tokyo. It was one of the greatest pro wrestling events ever held up until that point in time. 

Dave Bautista and the cast of the new Galaxy Vol. 2 movie will be on Jimmy Kimmel live on Monday night.

WWE

  • Due to the NHL playoffs, Smackdown will be airing on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. on Sportsnet in Canada. (thanks to Paul Fontaine)
  • Tye Dillinger, The Revival and Shinsuke Nakamura all did farewells to NXT at every show this weekend.
  • On Friday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal, during game two of the Canadiens vs. New York Rangers playoff game, they played WWE themes of HHH, Kevin Owens and Kurt Angle. Angle tweeted about it as well. (thanks to Patrick Laprade)
  • An interview with Kurt Angle about his career is here.
  • Former WWE creative team member Kevin Eck backs up Justin Roberts' portrayal of the key guys in WWE.
  • Another article on John Layfield is here.
  • Road Warrior Animal talks about his son, James Laurinaitis, and pro wrestling.

UFC/MMA

  • Nothing related to yesterday's UFC show cracked the list over the weekend of searched items, once again showing a correlation between that and real interest level.
  • Today is the 35th birthday of Gina Carano, who will hopefully go into the UFC Hall of Fame at some point even though she never fought for the organization, because it's very possible without her, there would be no women's fighting in the UFC. In fact, without her, it's doubtful there would be, since there wouldn't have been a Ronda Rousey.
  • Results from today's Rizin show from Yokohama, Japan. Mauro Ranallo and Frank Shamrock did the announcing:
    • Seiichiro Ito b Kizaemon Saiga via decision
    • Kenna Asakura b Aleksandra Toncheva via decision
    • Saori Ishioka b Bestare Kicaj via choke 2:11
    • Yusuke Yachi b Daron Cruickshank via knockout 5:12
    • King Reina b Jazzy Gabert (German pro wrestler) at 4:45 of the second round
    • Satoshi Ishii b Heath Herring via decision
    • Tenshin Nasukawa b Francesco Ghigliotti via knockout 1:07
    • Rena Kubota b Dora Perjes via knockout 2:40
    • Kyoji Horiguchi b Yuki Motoya via decision
    • Amir Aliakbari b Geronimo Dos Santos via stoppage from ground and pound 3:34
    • Tatsuya Kawajiri b Anthony Birchak via decision
  • Predictions from last night's UFC show:
    • 4-1 - Me, Josh Nason, Jason Pollock, David Bixenspan
    • 3-2 - Mike Sawyer, Steve Juon, Paul Fontaine
    • 2-3 - Mike Sempervive, Ryan Frederick, Frontrow Brian

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Visitation for Larry Weil (Pretty Boy Larry Sharpe) is on 4/29 from Noon to 2 p.m. at the Cross Keys United Methodist Church in Williamstown, NJ. There will a celebration of life service at 2 p.m.
  • Highspots has a new Bruiser Brody DVD.
  • A story on Chris Cruise's college class on the life of Bruno Sammartino is here.
  • A great article about the old Continental territory is here.
  • Phyllis Talabach, 90, of Mills, MA listed as the loving companion of Walter "Killer" Kowalski for 48 years, passed away on Monday. (thanks to Jack Barry) 
  • In conjunction with his appearance at the Cow Palace on 5/6, Pat Patterson will be appearing from 7-9 p.m. on 5/5 at The APW Bootcamp training facility in Pacifica, CA, and from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Cow Palace as well as during the show. To pre-order tickets you can text Dr. Kim Lee at 415-269-3293.
  • Fight Club Pro from yesterday in Manchester, UK: Jim & Lee Hunter b Jimmy Havoc & Clint Margera, Zack Sabre Jr. b Angelico, Dan Moloney b Mark Andrews, Travis Banks b Mark Haskins to keep the Fight Club Pro title, Chris Brookes & Kid Lykos b Trent Seven & Tyler Bate, Shane Strickland b Jack Evans, Rey Fenix & Penta 0M b Sami Callihan & Pete Dunne. Very good show. Not as good as the Wolverhampton show but a great main event as well as a great Banks vs. Haskins match. (thanks to Jan Buxton)
  • River City Wrestling on 5/12 in San Antonio features the company's 15th anniversary show headlined by Blue Demon Jr. vs. Hernandez and Rockstar Spud vs. Jeff Jarrett at Retama Park Horse Race Track.
  • H20 Wrestling on 6/9 in Williamstown, NJ at the Monroe Business Center featuring Shane Douglas, Nikolai Volkoff and Kevin Sullivan all wrestling on the show.
  • Big Time Wrestling from Friday night in Sebring, FL: Aaron Epic b Chasyn Rance, Sean Maluta b Earl Cooter, Kaci Lennox b Amber Nova, Terrance & Terrell Dudley b Michael Patrick & Leo Brien, Kahagas b Michael Tarver, Michael Cleveleley b Cuban Assassin, Flex Armstrong b Mitch Mitchell, Billy Gunn b Adam Rose. (thanks to Al Haft)
  • Appalachian Mountain Wrestling on 5/5 in Buckhorn, KY at the Buckhorn School, and 5/6 in Happy, KY at the Robert Combs Elementary School.
  • Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling last night in East Carondelet, IL before 325 fans: Mark Houston NC Troll, Johnny Blaze b Freddy Fury, Sean Vincent & Moondog Rover b Dave Vaughn & Curtis Wylde, Big Texan & Waco b Jimmy D & Clint Poe, Heath Hatton d Ax, Superstar Steve Fender b Bobby D, Gary Jackson b Jason Chaos-COR, Chris Harges b Ken Kasa. (thanks to Larry Matysik and Patrick Brandmeyer)
  • SICW on 5/20 in East Carondelet, IL features guests Barbara Goodish (wife of Bruiser Brody), Charlie Thesz (wife of Lou Thesz) and Abdullah the Butcher.
  • FCW on Friday night in Imperial Beach, CA before 275 fans: Douglas James won Battle Royal, Michael Hopkins b KC Douglas, Corey Jackson b Joe Hieken, Adrian quest & Andy Brown b Biagio Crescenzo & Donnie Suarez, B-Boy b Jesse James, Brody King b SoCal Crazy, Terex over Jake Atlas, Jacob Diez and Human Tornado, Eli Everfly won over The Oracle and Rocketboy D'Marco Wilson, Tyler Bateman won four-way over Jeff Cobb, Willie Mack and Douglas James.
  • SoCal Pro Wrestling last night had its 10th anniversary show in Oceanside, CA before 625 fans (more than four times their usual crowd): Ballard Brothers b Ryan Walker & Hunter Freeman, Paul London b Ricky Mantel, Anthony Idol won Battle Royal, Ryan Kidd b Bestia 666, Ju Dizz b Mike Camden, Anthony Idol b Ju Dizz, Rey Mysterio Jr. & Lil Cholo b SoCal Crazy & Rocky Romero. They had a ceremony to induct Charles Steele, a local promoter, and Jason Redondo into the SoCal Hall of Fame. (thanks to Steve Bryant)
  • Northeast Wrestling from last night in Bethany, CT: Keith Youngblood & Daniel Evans b Vic Dalishus & Hale Collins, Maxwell Jacob Feinstein b Christian Casanova, Rex Lawless b Dexter Lou, Maria Manic b Mandy Leon, Ron Zombie b Wrecking Ball Legursky, Vinny Marseglia b Chuck O'Neil, Brad Hollister b Mike Gamble, Travis Gordon b Donovan Dijak, Battle Brothers b Robbie E & Cam Zagami, Cody Rhodes b Bobby Fish to retain NEW title.
  • Lucha Xtreme TV from last night in Fresno: Cool Guy won three-way over Eli Everfly and Spirito, Chazz Herrera b Dickie Myra, Donny Surarez b Alonhso Alvarez. Next taping is 5/6 in Fresno at the Tioga Seqious Brewery with free admission at 5 p.m. (thanks to Jon Southerland)
  • Championship Wrestling from Ontario at The Rockpile on 5/7 at 5:30 p.m.
  • NWA Mid South Wrestling from Friday night in Ripley, TN: Matt Taylor b The Convict, Jakon Edwinn b DJ Menace, Coco Anderson b Brandon White, Greg Anthony b Matt Riviera.

Today in Professional Wrestling History (4/16): Wild Pegasus wins Super J-Cup 1994

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