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Daily Update: Backlash, Paige's retirement, Being the Elite

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THE LATEST NEWS

THE LATEST AUDIO

​F4W NEWSLETTER: Figure Four Weekly: Looking ahead to Wrestlemania 34

Though there will always be some complications when putting a big show together, things have pretty much fallen perfectly into place for WWE heading into WrestleMania 34 on Sunday. The 14-match card was scheduled to be finalized heading into this week's television, with John Cena vs. The Undertaker left as the last thing to be confirmed. In a different era, it would have been insane to not announce such a big match before the go-home episode of Raw. But selling WWE Network subscriptions is a bit different than pay-per-views, and the match almost feels unnecessary on such a loaded event.

WON NEWSLETTER: April 9, 2018 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Massive Wrestlemania 34 weekend, more

The final words before WrestleMania, the change in UFC's PPV this week, coverage of Sakura Genesis and a look at the Andre the Giant documentary are the lead stories in the new issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

Read the update on WrestleMania and the week regarding the matches, the questions and ticket sales. Look at what WWE Fan Axxess has scheduled and notes on who will be appearing on the different shows.

Go through the background of UFC making Max Holloway vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov as Saturday's PPV main event, including how Tony Ferguson was injured, who else was asked to face Nurmagomedov, challenges for Holloway, examining the risk/reward for Holloway and what Dana White says about how it all went down. 

Find out about the crazy risks that Will Ospreay has been taking, his match with Marty Scurll at Sakura Genesis as well as the Kazuchika Okada vs. Zack Sabre Jr. match, go through the upcoming matches, the lineups for the next month of new Japan major shows, business notes on the show, as well as the huge controversy Sabre got into based on a promo he did in Japan making mainstream media in Mexico.

Examine the life and times of Andre the Giant, and review the upcoming HBO documentary on Andre, how it got done, myths about Andre, Andre's early days, where the name came from, behind his confrontations with Akira Maeda, Blackjack Mulligan and Badnews Allen, the famous Andre vs. The Monster story, the build to Andre vs. Hogan and the sad end of his career and life.

There is more on Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman and their WWE futures, who WWE says won't be at Mania, notes to look for when WWE announces its new number, more on Greatest Royal Rumble, thoughts on WWE, injuries, health of Daniel Bryan, who else was talked with about teaming with Ronda Rousey, the next planned Roman Reigns program, Cena and Dwayne Johnson have new movies out, most watched shows on WWE Network, as well as results and highlights from every WWE and NXT show this past week with business notes.

Check out the new promotion that Josh Barnett and Kazushi Sakuraba are debuting next week in Japan at Sumo Hall, with the unique rules plus Sakuraba comments on it, and so much more.

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

Rates in the United States are $13 for 4 issues, $32 for 12, $61 for 24, $101 for 40 and $131 for 52. In Canada and Mexico, rates are $14.50 for 4, $35 for 12, $67 for 24, $111 for 40 and $144 or 52. In Europe, you can get the fastest delivery and best rates by sending to moonsault@mediaplusint.com. For the rest of the world, rates are $16.50 for 4, $44 for 12, $85 for 24, $141 for 40 issues and $183 for 52. If you order by mail with a check, cash or money order (P.O. Box 1228, Campbell, CA 95009-1228), you can get $1 off in every price range.)

If you are a new subscriber ordering 24 or more issues, you can choose one free classic issue, or two free classic issues with a 40-issue subscription.

TUESDAY NEWS UPDATE

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WWE

  • With Mixed Match Challenge over, tonight will be the first Tuesday since January to only have two WWE shows. Not much is advertised for SmackDown aside from WrestleMania fallout and teasing more NXT call-ups/surprises. 205 Live will return to airing right after SmackDown at 10 p.m. Eastern and will feature Cedric Alexander’s first appearance since winning the Cruiserweight Championship. Drew Gulak also faces Mark Andrews.
  • HBO’s Andre the Giant documentary premieres at 10 p.m. Eastern tonight. The documentary has an 85-minute runtime.
  • Though there’s still the Superstar Shakeup and the Greatest Royal Rumble between now and the pay-per-view, two matches are listed as official for Backlash. Those are Seth Rollins defending his Intercontinental title against The Miz and Roman Reigns facing off with Samoa Joe. Reigns will challenge for Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship at the Greatest Royal Rumble on April 27th. Backlash takes place on May 6th and will be a dual-brand show after WWE decided to move away from brand-exclusive PPVs.
  • After officially announcing her retirement last night, Paige thanked everyone who has shown their support for her: “Completely overwhelmed with the love and support. Thank you everyone. Seriously means so much to me. This isn't the end though. Just the beginning of something special. #ThankYou #ThisIsMyHouse”
  • AJ Mendez (the former AJ Lee) posted about Paige’s retirement: “The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long. #ThankYouSaraya”
  • WWE.com gathered a lot of the tweets of support after Paige's speech.
  • Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, and Jeff Hardy played with beach balls after Raw went off the air last night.
  • Following his NXT Championship win, Alester Black wrote a message about suffering from anxiety and depression and said winning the title was for everyone who thinks their situation or problems with mental health are too severe to accomplish anything.
  • Hour two of the WrestleMania pre-show, which was also available on the WWE Network and the company’s social media platforms, averaged 762,000 viewers on the USA Network. The one-hour 2018 Hall of Fame special did 665,000 viewers on Saturday night.
  • Ronda Rousey spoke to ESPN after her in-ring debut at WrestleMania, discussing how the fans have reacted to her: "I owe the WWE universe an apology, because I thought they were going to boo me out of the building from day one. They really accepted me from day one. Hopefully, I satisfied a lot of skeptics tonight. I underestimated how kind the WWE universe would be. I thought any outsiders would be shunned. I was expecting to get shunned and to have to battle to be accepted. I worked my ass off to pay respect to what's so important to them, and hopefully they saw that tonight. I'm just so grateful, man. I'm trying my best to deserve it."
  • Charlotte Flair did an emotional interview after WrestleMania where she reflected on her father’s health issues from last year and her late brother Reid.
  • Shinsuke Nakamura turning heel and low blowing AJ Styles is on the cover of Weekly Pro Wrestling in Japan.
  • Japanese wrestler Kikutaro was backstage at Raw last night and tweeted a picture with Stephanie McMahon.

Pro Wrestling

UFC/MMA

Daily Professional Wrestling History: Jeff Hardy wins IC title from Triple H

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