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Daily Update: Big Show & Shaq, Cody vs. Angle, UFC 209

THE ROUND-UP

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The Latest from the F4W Staff

NEWS/COLUMNS

AUDIO

For this weekend, we'll be doing three polls, for the UFC 209 PPV on Saturday night in Las Vegas, for WWE Fastlane on Sunday from Milwaukee, and from the New Japan anniversary show on Monday from Tokyo.

We're looking for reports on the Impact tapings in Orlando, WWE SmackDown show in La Crosse, WI (neither Randy Orton, Nikki Bella nor John Cena are advertised), NXT in Warren, OH and ROH in New York at the Hammerstein Ballroom (Adam Cole vs Bobby Fish for the ROH title, Young Bucks vs. Lio Rush & Jay White for the tag titles, Marty Scurll vs. Sonjay Dutt for the TV title, Will Ospreay vs. Dragon Lee, Dalton Castle vs. Colt Cabana, Cody & Hangman Page & Frankie Kazarian vs. Mark & Jay Briscoe & Jay Lethal, plus a 15-man battle royal where the winner gets an ROH title shot and the Top Prospect tournament semifinals with Brian Milonas, John Skyler, Josh Woods and Curt Stallion.

UFC 209 TAKES PLACE TONIGHT AT THE T-MOBILE ARENA IN LAS VEGAS

Fight Pass at 7 p.m. ET

  • Albert Morales (135.5) vs. Andre Soukhamthath (136)
  • Paul Craig (204) vs. Tyson Pedro (205)

FS1 at 8 p.m. ET

  • Mark Godbeer (241.5) vs. Daniel Spitz (240)
  • Iuri Alcantara (135.5) vs. Luke Sanders (135)
  • Mirsad Bektic (145) vs. Darren Elkins (145.5)
  • Luis Henrique (248.5) vs. Marcin Tybura (251.5)

PPV at 10 p.m ET.

  • Cynthia Calvillo (115.5) vs. Amanda Cooper (116)
  • Mark Hunt (265) vs. Alistair Overeem (256)
  • David Teymur (156) vs. Lando Vannata (156)
  • Rashad Evans (185) vs. Daniel Kelly (186)
  • Tyron Woodley (170) vs. Stephen Thompson (169) for the welterweight title

WWE FASTLANE ON SUNDAY AT 7:30 P.M. ON WWE NETWORK

  • Kevin Owens vs. Bill Goldberg for Universal title
  • Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
  • Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe
  • Bayley vs. Charlotte for women's title
  • Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Enzo Amore & Big Cass for tag titles
  • Neville vs. Jack Gallagher for cruiserweight title 
  • Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
  • Rich Swann & Akira Tozawa vs. Noam Dar & Brian Kendrick

There are Impact tapings on Sunday in Orlando as well as a Sunday WWE house show in Rockford, IL with the SmackDown brand. No John Cena nor Nikki Bella, but Randy Orton is advertised to return on that show.

NEW JAPAN 45TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW ON MONDAY AT 5 A.M. ET ON NEW JAPAN WORLD

  • Manabu Nakanishi vs. Tomoyuki Oka
  • Gedo & Jado & Yoshi-Hashi & Hirooki Goto vs. Minoru Suzuki & Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Taka Michinoku & Desperado
  • Togi Makabe & Yuji Nagata & Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask & David Finlay vs. Kenny Omega & Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi & Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa
  • Rocky Romero & Baretta vs. Taichi & Yoshinobu Kanemaru for the IWGP jr. tag titles
  • Katsuyori Shibata vs. Zack Sabre Jr. for the British heavyweight title
  • Ishii & Yano vs. Kojima & Tenzan for the IWGP tag titles
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi & Michael Elgin & Juice Robinson & Kushida vs. Tetsuya Naito & Seiya Sanada & Evil & Bushi
  • Hiromu Takahashi vs. Ryusuke Taguchi for the IWGP jr. title
  • Kazuchika Okada vs. Tiger Mask W (Kota Ibushi) in a non-title match

Raw will be Monday night in Chicago at the All-State Arena. Brock Lesnar, Bill Goldberg and Chris Jericho are all advertised for Monday's show. There will also be a SmackDown brand house show Monday night in Bloomington, IL. No John Cena or Nikki Bella advertised but Randy Orton is advertised. There will also be Impact tapings in Orlando.

NEW JAPAN FROM KORAKUEN HALL ON TUESDAY AT 4:30 A.M. ET ON NEW JAPAN WORLD

  • The card won't be announced until Monday after the anniversary show.

SmackDown and 205 Live will be taped Tuesday in Indianapolis. Announced so far are A.J. Styles vs. Randy Orton with the winner meeting Bray Wyatt for the WWE title at WrestleMania, plus John Cena & Nikki Bella vs. James Ellsworth & Carmella.

FIGURE FOUR WEEKLY: 2/27/2017: Looking ahead to WWE Fast Lane

With WWE's final pay-per-view before WrestleMania under a week away, the build to Fastlane has been aided by a few of the company's best television segments of at least the past several months. The Festival of Friendship was perfect. From the timing of it coming before the audience knew for sure that the full turn was happening, the performances of Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho, and even the parts played by the bit characters, everything delivered... Subscribers click here to continue.

WRESTLING OBSERVER NEWSLETTER: February 27, 2017, Massive Ivan Koloff bio, death of George "The Animal" Steele, tons more

The 2016 awards issue of the Observer is out with not only the winners, but the top place winners in every category as well as every winner of the awards which date back to 1980. Plus, have a look at the pros and cons of the Georges St-Pierre vs. Michael Bisping fight that looks to be the biggest PPV event at least until the fall, plus a detailed look at all the changes going on in TNA including people leaving, why they are leaving, where they are headed, who is coming in, and office changes.  We also look at the New Japan Cup, the career of Beth Phoenix, and Honor Rising tour.

The new issue has awards in these categories:

  • Ric Flair/Lou Thesz Award for Wrestler of the Year
  • MMA MVP
  • Most Outstanding Wrestler
  • Most Outstanding MMA Fighter
  • Best Box Office Draw
  • Feud of the Year
  • Tag Team of the Year
  • Most Improved
  • Best on Interviews
  • Most Charismatic
  • Bryan Danielson Award for Best Technical Wrestler
  • Bruiser Brody Award for Best Brawler
  • Best Flying Wrestler
  • Most Overrated
  • Most Underrated
  • Promotion of the Year
  • Best Weekly TV show
  • Pro Wrestling Match of the Year
  • MMA Match of the Year
  • Rookie of the Year
  • Best Non-Wrestler
  • Best TV announcer
  • Worst TV announcer
  • Best major show
  • Worst major show
  • Best maneuver
  • Most disgusting promotional tactic
  • Worst TV show
  • Worst match of the year
  • Worst feud of the year
  • Worst promotion of the year
  • Best Booker
  • Promoter of the Year
  • Best gimmick
  • Worst gimmick
  • Best Book
  • Best DVD/documentary

In this issue, there are notes on the business climate headed into WrestleMania week in Orlando as compared to last year, notes on Fast Lane, more on the WWE concussion lawsuit, departure of Jack Swagger from WWE, lots more on WrestleMania week, WWE Hall of Fame, HHH wrestling dates in March, a new WWE signee, John Cena outside activities and talks about Dwayne Johnson, Kurt Angle update and notes no next week's TV. Plus, look at the most-watched shows on the WWE Network, business notes from all the WWE and NXT weekend shows and highlights.

There is also the results of the major league arena events held all over the world this past week, as well as notes on the various TV shows.

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.

WON BACK ISSUE: February 7, 2000, Radicalz debut in WWF, The Rock autobiography review, more

Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn and Eddy Guerrero debuted as The Radicals on the 1/31 Raw show from Pittsburgh in what was considered a big push but it all fell apart the next night in their in-ring debut when Guerrero suffered what appeared to be a serious elbow injury on the 2/1 SmackDown tapings in Detroit. SmackDown, live Raw the previous night, was to be built around the newcomers with the stipulations that they would have a best-of-three series between DX and the Radicals, and if the Radicals won, then Hunter Hearst Helmsley would have to agree to sign them to a WWF contract... Subscribers click here to continue.

SATURDAY NEWS UPDATE

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WWE

  • In an interview with ESPN, Big Show blamed Shaquille O'Neal's weight for why their planned WrestleMania match may not happen. "It's on Shaq," Big Show said. "He has to figure things out in his own camp. Maybe he is just too scared to show up because he's too busy riding around singing karaoke with John Cena and going to Krispy Kreme and getting fatter every week."
  • Corey Graves filmed an interview with Kurt Angle, which will air on an episode of "Bring it to the Table" on the WWE Network on March 13th.
  • Charlotte Flair appeared at last night's Milwaukee Bucks game and interrupted the mascot race with a steel chair. The Bucks play at the Bradley Center, which is where Fastlane will take place on Sunday, and Charlotte was also interviewed before the game.
  • Sasha Banks spoke to Mirror Online about her Hell in a Cell match with Charlotte.
  • Dana Brooke competed at the Arnold Classic last night.
  • Mary Kate (formerly known as Andrea on the indies) and former Seattle Seahawks running back Demitrius Bronson made their NXT house show debuts at last night's show in Crystal River, Florida.
  • Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson continued to post pictures on his Instagram account from his time backstage at Raw last month. He had positive words for Samoa Joe, Bayley, and Enzo Amore.
  • Extreme Rules will be a Raw-exclusive pay-per-view.
  • The La Crosse Tribune has an article on Mojo Rawley's life in pro wrestling after football.
  • The Orlando Sentinel spoke to Shawn Michaels about his role at the WWE Performance Center.

Pro Wrestling

  • Kurt Angle had his indie farewell match last night against Cody Rhodes in a steel cage match in Waterbury, Connecticut for Northeast Wrestling. The show drew a sellout of 3,300 fans. Cody missed a moonsault from the top of the cage in a big spot at one point.
  • Thursday's episode of Impact on Pop TV was watched by an average of 293k viewers. That number is up from 275k the week prior.
  • Bubba Ray Dudley, Tommy Dreamer, and Velvet Sky appeared on a recent episode of "Impractical Jokers."

UFC/MMA

  • Daniel Cormier lobbied on Twitter for Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson to take place at UFC 210, which will be headlined by Cormier vs. Anthony "Rumble" Johnson.
  • Ferguson addressed the crowd at the UFC's ceremonial weigh-ins yesterday.
  • Dana White said that he's uncertain about rebooking Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson and said that their UFC 209 fight possibly could've been saved if Nurmagomedov's team called UFC doctors instead of going to the hospital.
  • White explained why he's tired of fighters, aside from Conor McGregor, talking about "money fights."
  • From Paul Fontaine on last night's Bellator show: "Bellator 174 took place last night on Spike TV and was a pretty good show. The show lost two main card fights due to weight cutting issues and they did allude to that at points during the show, but to casual fans they wouldn't have noticed the difference really. There were two retirements on the show as Cody Pfister, after picking up a win in his Bellator debut, announced he was leaving the sport following the fight. And in the main event, Marloes Coenen did the same after being stopped in the fourth round by new women's featherweight champion Julia Budd.""In other fights: Fernando Gonzalez beat Brandon Girtz via decision. Gonzalez had also missed weight but Girtz accepted the fight even though he was outweighed by almost eight lbs and it looked like closer to 25 lbs in the cage. Emily Ducote submitted Katy Collins in the first round of a women's flyweight fight, and Justin Wren submitted Roman Pizzolato in round one of a heavyweight fight. Afterwards he cut the most amazing babyface promo that's worth going out of your way to see. Rafael Lovato Jr. scored a 13 second KO over Charles Hackman in a 195 catchweight bout in the opener."

F4W / WO EMPIRE WRESTLEMANIA GROUP INFO

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BUS INFO:

  • The Empire bus to WrestleMania will cost $50.00 and will be round trip from Rosen Inn at 9000 International Drive 32819 (a few blocks away from Wrestlcon). THERE ARE ONLY 5 SEATS LEFT!
  • The bus will leave at 3:30pm (time subject to change) for WrestleMania and will leave WrestleMania no later then one hour after the show. If you would like a seat email Ed at f4wfan@hotmail.com or message him on the BOARD~! for Paypal payment instructions.

DINNER INFO:

  • WHAT: Dinner at Texas de Brazil
  • WHEN: Friday March 31st
  • WHERE: 5259 International Dr Ste F1, Orlando, FL 32819 at 5 p.m. (they may open at 4:30 for us)
  • WHO: All your best empire buddies, including BIG DAVE MELTZER
  • DETAILS: The cost of the dinner will be $68.00 which includes the dinner, salad bar, soft drinks and tea, and dessert, tax and tip. This is a pre pay dinner and you can send payment to paypal at Srjaialaiot@yahoo.com (please send as a gift to a friend). Payments must be made by March 24th (if you wait until after that, Ed will charge an extra $5.00 for being a pain).

Pro Wrestling Tees is now carrying our latest line of F4W shirts. Support the Empire~! Grab yours today!

    Today in professional wrestling history (3/4): ROH 10th Anniversary show

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