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Daily Update: AEW notes, Greg Hardy, CM Punk


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F4W NEWSLETTER: WWE's draft missed opportunity Joseph Currier looks at how the draft failed to establish a unique identity for SmackDown on FOX.

With a chance to establish a unique identity on FOX, this year's draft was a missed opportunity for WWE.

The draft was an early indication of what WWE will look like on FOX. Following up on a loaded premiere episode, it gave SmackDown an opportunity to define itself as a FOX property. WWE had the full weight of the network behind them, complete with pre-taped appearances by FOX's biggest sports personalities. But instead of leaning in to that identity, WWE gave mixed messages.

Ever since WWE struck their deal with FOX, there's been some question about how SmackDown would fit into the network's portfolio. It's categorized as part of FOX Sports, with WWE Backstage even airing weekly on FS1. SmackDown gives FOX the benefit of having live programming on Fridays for 52 weeks out of the year, but it's really more of a hybrid between sports and a weekly television show. WWE is never going to be -- and shouldn't be -- a promotion that presents itself as a pure sport. The beauty of pro wrestling is that you can create the over-the-top spectacle that sports can only wish to achieve. With appearances by Cain Velasquez and Tyson Fury on the FOX premiere, it seemed like WWE was going to be taking SmackDown in that direction.

Current subscribers click here to continue reading.

WON NEWSLETTER: October 21, 2019 Observer Newsletter: Eric Bischoff fired, WWE draft disappoints

In a huge week of news,we've got all the details in the new issue. Our lead story looks at the firing of Eric Bischoff. We look at his hiring, why it was largely not expected to work out by those who had worked with him in recent years and why people from the past rarely work when brought back into wrestling.

This week's Observer also covers: 

Bruce Prichard and the problems with both Raw and Smackdown.

WWE draft, why the moves were made, how the draft shows were put together and have a depth chart of where all the talent looks to be positioned, who got broken up and who haven't had a brand chosen for them yet.

Signing of Tyson Fury and Cain Velasquez by WWE. We look at WWE's place in Riyadh season, the kind of money being thrown around, why Anthony Joshua is facing heat while WWE really isn't, the set up for Velasquez vs. Lesnar and questions about Velasquez and his WWE career going forward, the background of how Fury and Velasquez got to WWE, the challenges Velasquez faces in WWE and the Crown Jewel show.

WWE's plans for NXT Japan, what major star has been signed and others who have been talked with, DVR viewership of Smackdown, updated WWE PPV numbers, Hulu numbers, Mike Bennett on why he wants to leave, Maria Kanellis responds. Hardy family drama, WWE gets award nominations, Injury updates, Evolve shows, most-watched shows on the WWE Network, plus a look at every arena event from WWE & NXT over the past week.

Coverage of King of Pro Wrestling with the background, the destination, the Tokyo Dome plans, Power Struggle, plus match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results.

Extensive coverage of Bushiroad's purchase of Stardom, how this happened, why Rossy Ogawa sold to Bushiroad and not WWE, what WWE was offering, Stardom's new TV deal, why this doesn't mean New Japan and Stardom are affiliated, Stardom coming to the U.S. in December and political implications of all this, as well a plans for the biggest Stardom show ever.

UFC in Tampa this past week with Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Michelle Waterson and Jedrzejczyk's quest for the strawweight title.

Full coverage of all the WWE 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. 

Current subscribers can access the issue here.

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 or by going to directing funds to

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.

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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.


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  • While appearing as a guest on Barstool Sports’ My Mom’s Basement podcast, CM Punk said he hasn't heard a thing regarding the audition he had for WWE Backstage on FS1 after trying out for the show. Punk praised Renee Young and Booker T and said when FOX approached him about the show the role they mentioned was an analyst like Alex Rodriguez for baseball or Troy Aikman for football.
  • Punk also appeared on Sportsnet’s 31 Thoughts podcast.
  • Nerdist released a new episode of CM Punk's Grammar Slam.
  • Dana White spoke about when he was contacted by WWE regarding Cain Velasquez: “I got a call from WWE. I knew. I knew what they were thinking. I was totally cool with it from the minute they called me. They didn’t even ask me. They were just looking for Cain. I figured that’s exactly what they were going to do because it completely makes sense.”
  • White also said he’s happy for Velasquez and his family: “I’m happy for him, I’m happy for his family, and I hope he does well like Ronda did and makes a lot of money. I hope the fans over there love him.”
  • Sami Zayn has partnered with Pro Wrestling Tees to create a Sami vs. El Generico T-shirt. All of the profits will go toward Zayn’s Sami for Syria campaign.
  • Becky Lynch wasn’t on Raw last night due to appearing at ESPN’s 10th annual Women and Sports Summit.
  • Dave Meltzer notes that Alex Shelley is guest coaching at the WWE Performance Center for a week.
  • On Twitter, Edge responded to someone who was supposed to get an autograph from him in the WWE 2K20 Collector’s Edition but it came unsigned: “Lame. Seems like it happened to a few other people too. Someone dropped the ball. I’m filming a movie for the next month but when I get home I’ll get a p.o box. Everyone who didn’t get one signed, I’ll follow you on here,  give you the address and you can send it to me to sign”
  • Paul “Triple H” Levesque and Tyson Fury appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show yesterday.
  • Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross are replacing Jeff Hardy at Ringside Collectibles’ Ringside Fest in New York City on November 3.
  • The WWE Performance Center’s YouTube channel has a video on Xia Li’s family visiting her in Orlando and watching her wrestle.
  • The XFL released its schedule for 2020.

Pro Wrestling

  • Dave Meltzer reports that Kenny Omega’s AAA Mega Championship win is going to be acknowledged in AEW. Omega won the title from Fenix at Heroes Inmortales this past weekend.
  • Jungle Boy spoke to Pro Wrestling Sheet about Jim Ross calling him by his real name on commentary: “Things are a bit different now than when I first kinda started it. I feel like I got here, at least, on my own merits. For me, honestly, to even hear Jim Ross say my name is cool. That’s the voice of wrestling to me. If that had happened at an earlier age and it were someone else, I probably would have said ‘Can you not do that?’ But I’m not gonna say that to Jim. If that’s what it sounds like to him, that’s cool with me.”
  • Brandi Rhodes tweeted that she’s taking a break from accompanying Cody Rhodes to ringside: “I have decided to take a break from accompanying my husband to ringside. My inability to focus has been noticeable. I will not allow my...distraction to affect the biggest night of his career. At some point you have to stop dreaming and start doing. I have to wake up.”
  • Cody responded to someone on Twitter about AEW Dynamite ratings: “We are happy and our partner is happy. We overshot projections and set a record for a [WarnerMedia] debut. This is the era of cord cutting, simulcast and dvr bumps. We are proud of how incredible the numbers have been and know we need to work hard now more than ever.”
  • TVInsider has an interview with The Young Bucks.
  • AEW posted video of the reaction Taz received when he came out to do guest commentary for AEW Dark in Philadelphia.
  • Rush & Dragon Lee vs. Mark Haskins & Tracy Williams will headline ROH’s Unauthorized show in Columbus, Ohio on November 3. The theme of the event is that Colt Cabana is the host and matchmaker for it. Dan Maff will also face PCO.
  • reported that Reno Scum (Adam Thornstowe & Luster the Legend) have signed with Impact Wrestling.
  • The NWA uploaded Nick Aldis vs. Cody Rhodes from last year’s NWA 70th Anniversary Show.
  • OTT Wrestling posted their hype video for Jordan Devlin vs. David Starr at their Fifth Anniversary Show this Saturday.
  • PWG released the preview video for the DVD of night two of this year’s Battle of Los Angeles.


Daily Pro Wrestling History: WWE TLC 2017