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Daily Update: Becky Lynch-WWE Backstage, WWE notes, UFC 246


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WON NEWSLETTER: January 20, 2020 Observer Newsletter: Death of Rocky Johnson, AEW extends TV deal

We've got what will be one of the biggest issues of the year, a double issue with a look at the lives and careers of Rocky Johnson, La Parka and Kendo Nagasaki, plus what will be one of the biggest news stories of 2020, the AEW new television extension with TNT through 2023.

The lead story goes into the life and career of Rocky Johnson, the father of Dwayne Johnson and one of pro wrestling's biggest stars of the 1970s. We talk about Johnson's death this past week, his ancestry, the story of him being kicked out of the house at 13, his background in boxing and wrestling along with ties to both Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, as well as where the name Rocky Johnson came from.

We talk about his main skills, his dropkicks, the birth of Dwayne Johnson, the best television match on Roy Shire television of the 70s, his quick rise to main events and championships, and how his run in Los Angeles in 1970 made him into one of the biggest stars in pro wrestling. We cover his years in San Francisco, his landmark program with Jerry Lawler, his headlining in St. Louis, his world title battles, early championships and his brother, as well as how Dwayne Johnson got started in pro wrestling.

The new issue also covers:

Full details of the new television deal between AEW and TNT, including the value, the options, how this relates to the old deal, how this compares to other deals, what we know about the second show, questions this brings up regarding WWE countering, stars that are about to become free agents, Tony Khan talks the new deal, and the ratings in 18-49 and value per episode update on Raw, Smackdown, NXT and AEW and what type of value did TNT get for its money.

The death of La Parka, including his connection with the first La Parka, as well as the uncle of the first La Parka. We look at his career before La Parka, his rise to fame in AAA, his period on top, his biggest feuds, his heel turn and why it flopped, L.A. Park comments on his rival and more on his biggest matches.

The death of Kazuo Sakurada, the Japanese Kendo Nagasaki. We look at his connection with Bret Hart, with comments by Bret Hart, Ross Hart and Fumi Saito. How Dusty Rhodes created Kendo Nagasaki and who it was copied from.  Many of his other wrestling names.  Sakurada's tough guy reputation and his days in sumo prior to pro wrestling.  How he got into pro wrestling, his original relationships with Giant Baba and Genichiro Tenryu, his day in Stampede Wrestling as one of its biggest tag team stars, his wrestling in Japan, Mid South, WCW and the story of he and Bruiser Brody from Puerto Rico. His fights in the ring,and his one MMA fight.

Next WWE show in Saudi Arabia, a new Dwayne Johnson television show, a new Miz television show, notes on the return of Big Show, Paul Levesque and Paige, Bret Hart filming a WWE show, Brock Lesnar honored, WWE trademarks, WWE BT party in London,WWE European ratings, notes on several new WWE signings as well as a major star who has met with Paul Levesque about coming in.  We look at the next MSG show, DVR viewership of WWE programming, plus a look at all the WWE & NXT live events over the past week with results,highlights and business notes.

Update the Royal Rumble and World Collide shows and how tickets are selling for the next round of major WWE events.

The Tessa Blanchard controversy and her winning the Impact title, with comments from many in wrestling and a full rundown of TNA Hard to Kill with match-by-match coverage, star ratings and poll results.

Update the changes at Bellator in structuring, who is now in charge and what may be happening next.

More money being sent into MMA with the PFL, its new ownership and revenue sources and how much new capita they now have.

Coverage of the WWE U.K. Takeover show, with show notes, business notes, match-by-match coverage with star ratings and poll results of the show.

The 2019 Wrestling Observer Awards ballot.

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 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.

For the rest of the world, rates are $18 for 4, $48.50 for 12, $93 for 24, $155 for 40 and $201.50 for 52.

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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  • Becky Lynch has been announced as the guest for Tuesday’s episode of WWE Backstage. The show will also feature CM Punk’s third appearance as an analyst.
  • A tribute video for Rocky Johnson aired on last night’s SmackDown.
  • The WWE United Kingdom Championship has officially been renamed the NXT United Kingdom Championship. A title belt with the NXT UK logo was presented to WALTER at yesterday’s tapings in York, England.
  • TalkSport asked Charlotte Flair about coping with Kairi Sane’s injury at TLC and how it affected what they were planning to do in the match: “It didn’t in the moment. I guess, everyone, how they felt afterwards is what made them feel different. In the moment, it was more it’s a tough spot. It’s the main event of a brutal pay-per-view and everyone has already seen tables, ladders and chairs. It’s feeding off the crowd, going with the crowd and feeding off their reactions. So I didn’t really think anything until after. Obviously Kairi was hurt, but in the match I’m just thinking ‘how do we keep people invested?’ with them already seeing so many different TLC, brutal matches. You’ve already seen a kendo stick, you’ve already seen a chair, you’ve seen a ladder, a table. And the pressure of us delivering that, with a weird dynamic seeing me and Becky tag? To me, me and Becky tagging is more what I was thinking about. How does that come across and how our characters should be interacting on television. How do you go from this [indicates high level] to all of a sudden, they’re tagging? We had the let’s fight the enemy because we have a common enemy [mentality].”
  • WWE Network News reported that Monday’s classic content drop for January will feature episodes of Prime Time Wrestling from 1989.
  • Sylvan Grenier told TVA Sports that he’s been hired by WWE to be an agent.
  • PWinsider reported that Mike Kanellis & Tony Nese teaming together on this weekend's NXT house shows is a test run for a potential team for NXT TV. They defeated Nick Ogarelli & Mohamed Fahim at last night’s house show in Melbourne, Florida, with this being the first time Kanellis has wrestled since he requested his released from WWE.
  • Backstage interviewer Alyse Zwick debuted on SmackDown last night, She’s going by the name Alyse Ashton.
  • The WWE Performance Center’s YouTube channel has a video on Alex Shelley & Kushida and their story as a team.
  • Today is Dave Bautista’s 51st birthday. WWE uploaded a Playlist video of Batista conquering legends.
  • WWE also uploaded the 2010 Royal Rumble match.

Other Wrestling

  • Martha Hart and other members of the Owen Hart Foundation were filmed for Vice’s Dark Side of the Ring: “New York's Vice Media flew to Calgary to film Dr. Martha Hart, and other OHF members for their upcoming Dark Side Of The Ring series airing this Spring on CRAVE TV in Canada. Thanks guys for a job well done! #owenhartfoundation”
  • Amazing Red has been announced for this year’s WrestleCon SuperShow. Will Ospreay, Shingo Takagi, Bandido, Zack Sabre Jr., and Taurus have also been confirmed for the show. It’s taking place at The Ritz Ybor City on Thursday, April 2.
  • Barbaro Cavernario will face Caveman Ugg at WrestleCon Worldwide on the afternoon of Saturday, April 4.
  • The O.J.M.O., Cara Noir, Eddie Kingston, and the Anti-Fun Police have been confirmed for PROGRESS Wrestling’s WrestleMania week show. It’s being held at the Bryan Glazer Family JCC on Thursday, April 2 and is part of WWN’s WrestleExpo.
  • There was an incident where Psicosis II slapped Konnan outside of Impact’s tapings in Mexico City yesterday. Lucha Blog described what led to the situation: “Last month, the second Psicosis (***NOT THE WCW ONE***) was asked why he isn't on AAA TV right now. He said it was a Konnan issue, wouldn't be back until Konnan was gone. Konnan fired back that if Psicosis was so deserving, why couldn't he get a job in another big place? Psicosis II said he'd see Konnan in January to continue this discussion in person. Psicosis meant the show he was promoting in Leon, but instead ended (unmasked) at tonight's Impact tapings in Mexico City. Psicosis II demanded Konnan say the same things to his face. Konnan didn't want to talk to Psicosis. So, Psicosis slapped Konnan and dared him to fight. The video is all over Mexican wrestling sites tonight. Nothing more came of it. Konnan wasn't getting into a street fight. Psicosis II calmed down enough to walk away after a minute. Most didn't immediately even realize it was him unmasked but the tattoos gave it away. Konnan was apparently asked about the incident by the press there to cover the Impact taping and said it was no big deal.”
  • Konnan will be appearing at MLW’s Fightland tapings at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia on Saturday, February 1. MLW also announced that wrestlers from Lucha Libre AAA will be in action at the show.


  • The UFC released the opening video for tonight’s Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone PPV. They also uploaded the final episode of Embedded for the show.
  • McGregor’s disclosed purse for tonight is $3 million, while Cerrone is getting $200,000 to fight and another $200,000 to win. The disclosed purse doesn’t include money made from how the show does on PPV.
  • McGregor spoke about wanting to face Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson: “I think regardless of the result I think I should probably face both of these men (Nurmagomedov and Ferguson). I would like to face both of these men. I’d like to face Tony Ferguson. I’ve had a history with Tony, right? We managed Tony (at Paradigm). He was well looked after. We had him one of the highest paid non-champion in the game. There’s history with Tony. So, I’d like a bout with Tony at some stage.”
  • Dana White confirmed that the UFC is planning on booking a bantamweight title fight between Henry Cejudo and Jose Aldo.
  • Robert Whittaker posted a statement on withdrawing from his scheduled bout against Jared Cannonier at UFC 248: “I'm sorry to all my friends, supporters and family for not being able to fight in March. A lot has happened over the 12 last months and I need to take some time now to be with my family, slow things down and to refocus. Sorry to everyone again but I'll be back. The best is yet to come.”

Daily Pro Wrestling History: Ivan Koloff defeats Bruno Sammartino for WWWF title